Stereotypes hold true when it comes to the jobs most women work. Asked to name the traditional careers typically pursued by women, most of us could easily come up with the jobs that employ the most women. Secretaries, nurses and teachers top the list. Together, these three occupations provide jobs for nearly 12% of all working women.
And working women are a sizable chunk of the population. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 72 million women age 16 and over were part of the labor force in 2008, either employed or looking for work. That's nearly 60% of the female population of the U.S. age 16 and older, estimated at 121 million in 2008.
Looking at the top ten occupations that employ the most women, together they provide jobs for 28% of the female workforce. The following table shows what those occupations are, how many women are employed, the percentage of workers who are female, and the average weekly salary earned by women in those jobs.
"20 Leading Occupations of Employed Women: 2008 Annual Averages." Women's Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor. November 2007.
Top Occupations of Working Women in 2008
|Occupation||Total of Women Employed||Percent of Workers Who are Women||Average Weekly Salary|
|Secretaries & Administrative Assistants||3,168,000||96.1%||$638|
|Teachers - Elementary & Middle School||2,403,000||81.2%||$871|
|Nursing, Psychatric, & Home Health Aides||1,675,000||88.7%||$424|
|First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers||1,505,000||43.3%||$556|
|Wait Staff (waitresses)||1,471,000||73.2%||$367|
|Receptionists & Information Clerks||1,323,000||93.6%||$502|
|Bookkeeping, Accounting & Auditing Clerks||1,311,000||91.4%||$603|