The gender wage gap is a hot topic, and there are a number of usual responses to explain it away. One of the most common is that women tend to choose the sorts of careers that are lower-paying–usually “caring” professions like nursing and teaching. However, this recent article reporting on a study published in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) roundly refutes that notion. That study, which included data on 290,000 registered nurses over a 25-year period, found:
- “Male nurses make $5,100 more on average per year than female colleagues in similar positions”
- The pay gap did not narrow between 1988 and 2013
- The gap varied across specialties, with male cardiology nurses making $6,000 more than females in the same position and male nurse anesthetists making $17,290 more per year than their female counterparts.
Those numbers are pretty shocking. Over a 30-year career, that’s more than half a million dollars that female nurse anesthetists are losing out on. (That’s not even accounting for salary-based raises or interest earned on investments). Thus, it’s clear that the gender wage gap is not a result of women choosing lower-paying “care” careers, since the gap within such a career is still so significant.