Monday, March 5, 2012

Women's Money Week: Making Money

So it's women's money week and I'm participating in the 7 Days, 7 Topics writing experiment (click that link to take a gander at the other fabulous bloggers who are participating). Today's topic is making money, and to talk about that from a women's issues angle, I'm going to focus on ways women can make money that men typically can't.

We frequently discuss income in terms of gender disparity - that women get paid less than men do for the same jobs, that women tend to drop out of the workforce in larger numbers and for longer times than men do, that we have a harder time negotiating fair salaries and benefits and that we play down the amount we earn. However, there are some areas in which women have the potential to outearn men, and I'd like to look at those today.

The Sex Industry
Obviously, men can and do earn money in the sex industry. However, women have the upper hand here when it comes to getting paid for sex - whether it's implied, simulated, voyeuristic or actual. There are simply a lot more jobs for women because it's generally men that are willing to pay for sex. While the majority of these jobs can be dangerous, there are also some high-paying, high-powered positions, and I fully believe that there are women who can find sex work a very satisfying career choice. (I also believe that all sex work should be de-criminalized as a way to make it a safer choice. Things that are legal are easier to regulate and people who won't get in trouble for their work are more likely to report crimes perpetrated against them. /end political rant)

Teachers, particularly of elementary and middle schools, have traditionally mostly been female. In my opinion, teachers are criminally underpaid, and getting three months off in the summer doesn't make up for it (you know that in many jurisdictions, that's three month off unpaid, right?). Still, there will always need to be teachers and this is a job where I think women may still have a slight edge over men.

Most childcare providers, whether they be daycare centers, home care providers or nannies, are also women. Perhaps this is evidence of a natural gift for child-rearing or perhaps it's a symptom of a sexist culture, but most parents seem to be more comfortable having their children cared for by women.

Historically, women have filled the ranks of nurses, but there's been a shortage lately. I think nursing is a really demanding and difficult job, and I would be a terrible nurse myself, but I think it's an important position to highlight as a secure job for women. Just like not everyone wants to be the CEO, not everyone wants to be a doctor, and there will always be a need for nurses.

Most of the positions I've highlighted here are traditionally held by women, and they are traditionally lower-paid and less prestigious than analogous positions held by men (principal, doctor). Why do you think that is? Can you think of any other jobs generally held by woman that I've left off?


  1. I work in the financial services industry and there are hardly any women. I wish that would change!

  2. What about modeling? I was thinking about becoming a "before" model. It could happen!


Thanks for commenting!