Over the past three decades women’s median income has increased 63%, and now more than a third of working wives earn more than their husbands. It’s no surprise when, although they were once discouraged from pursuing higher education, women now surpass men in achievement of bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Across sectors, women continue earning only 82 cents for every dollar earned by men, but more and more they are landing high-paying professional jobs and narrowing the gap. An analysis of the median weekly earnings of full-time American workers in 2011 by occupation and gender, as tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows the top 20 jobs where women are earning the most. All require some college and most are concentrated in health care, science and technology, and business fields.
At No. 1, pharmacist is the best-paying job for women, where they earn a median of $1,898 a week or approximately $99,000 a year. Women comprise more than half (56%) of all pharmacists and earn nearly as a much as men in the job. Moreover, the field offers more than 10,000 annual openings and is expected to grow 25% by 2020.
“Pharmacy is known for paying very well straight out of school and all the way through your career,” says Katie Bardaro, lead economist at compensation research firm PayScale. “It’s a very good return on investment in terms of money and time spent on education.”
While pharmacists must achieve a four-year professional degree and pass licensing exams, physicians and surgeons attend four years of medical school and complete three to eight years of internship and residency. Yet, for women, doctor comes in as the fourth highest paying job—behind pharmacists, lawyers (No. 2) and computer and information systems managers (No. 3)—with median weekly earnings of $1,527 or about $79,000 a year. They also earn 21% less than male doctors.
Bardaro explains that physicians face a much wider range of specialty and practice type. Men trend toward high-risk, high-paying areas like plastic and brain surgery, she says, while women are more likely to move into lower-paying specialties like general practice and pediatrics.
See all 20 jobs and complete Forbes article