Jobs For Women That Pass The “Bechdel Test”

Kathy Morris
by Kathy Morris
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It’s not always easy being a working women. In addition to being responsible for more unpaid labor, women only earn $0.75 for every dollar their male counterparts earn. Those numbers are even more severe for women of color.

While no industry has women making as much as men, some jobs offer far worse opportunities for women than most. In some fields, woman earn as much as 45% less than men.

For movies, the Bechdel Test is used to determine whether movies have women play meaningful roles as fully fleshed out characters. It made us wonder, can that same logic be applied to jobs?

Where can women have full careers, collaborate meaningfully with male and female colleagues, AND earn a decent wage?

We analyzed the data to find the jobs that offer women the most equal opportunities and the ones that fail miserably.

Jobs That Pass The Bechdal Test

  1. Life, physical, and social science occupations
  2. Federal government workers
  3. Educational services
  4. Community and social services occupations
  5. Real estate and rental and leasing
  6. Architecture and engineering occupations
  7. Healthcare practitioner and technical occupations
  8. Public administration
  9. Non-Profits
  10. Computer and mathematical occupations

Keep reading to see how we determined these jobs offer women exceptional opportunities, and which jobs leave women behind.

How We Figured This Out

We analyzed 48 fields in the following areas:

  • Percent of women earnings to men’s in the position- the more the better
  • Percent of women in the occupation- the more the better
  • Median female earnings- the higher the better

The first one is fairly self explanatory, but the wider the wage gap the worse opportunities exist in that field for women. How good can a job be if you’re making less than your male coworkers are to do it and are being passed up for promotions?

After that we examined the percent of women in the field. While it is always exciting to see women work in predominantly male industries, it can be challenging. Not only are they more likely to be the only women voice in the room, they also have less opportunity for female mentorship and to collaborate with other women. More concerning, since women are more likely to promote women, it can make advancement more difficult.

Finally, we then cut out all the industries with a median income of less than $40,000 (a depressing 17!) before ranking median income. We determined it was not a very good job in general or very feminist for women to make less than a living wage.

All of our data came from the Census’ ACS.

1. Life, physical, and social science occupations

Median Earnings: $63,226
Amount Earned For Every Male Dollar: 88%
% Of Women In Field:46.8

The #1 jobs for women are in the life, physical, and social science occupations. The field is broad with exciting jobs that include great jobs like biochemist and psychologist. Women in this field earn a healthy median salary of $62,226 a year. Even better, the wage gap in these fields is one of the smallest– women only earn 12% less than male colleagues. Speaking of colleagues, the ratio of men-to-women is nearly 1-to-1.

2. Federal government workers


Source: Public Domain

Median Earnings: $62,718
Amount Earned For Every Male Dollar: 88%
% Of Women In Field:44

Government jobs are known for diversity and public salary brackets that help keep pay transparent. While women’s pay fulls short of male federal government workers, the gap is smaller than other industries.

3. Educational services

Median Earnings: $49,440
Amount Earned For Every Male Dollar: 88%
% Of Women In Field:65.3

Education has traditionally been occupied by women. Today women still occupy a majority of jobs (65%) in educational services. This means women in education work with other women and have access to important female mentorship.

4. Community and social services occupations

Median Earnings: $45,904
Amount Earned For Every Male Dollar: 94
% Of Women In Field:66.1

This is the lowest paying industry to make our list, with a median female pay of only $45,904. The types of workers who fall under the community and social services occupations include social workers, therapists, and counselors– all necessary jobs in a community, but not the highest paying positions. However, women who enter the field, in an addition to the satisfaction of doing good, have the satisfaction of earning 94% of what their male coworkers earn.

5. Real estate and rental and leasing

Median Earnings: $46,916
Amount Earned For Every Male Dollar: 90%
% Of Women In Field:62.7

Real estate careers offer more equal opportunities for women than other careers. Women occupy 63% of real estate jobs– and earn 90% of what their male colleagues do. A huge plus? Real estate and leasing do not require a 4-year degree, making it a great choice for those who can’t or don’t want to purse a bachelor’s degree.

6. Architecture and engineering occupations



Median Earnings: $73,701
Amount Earned For Every Male Dollar: 87
% Of Women In Field:16.1

Women who enter architecture and engineering earn an impressive $73,701 annually. While male coworkers earn more, women aren’t far behind them, making only 13% less. Why isn’t this field ranked higher? Only 16% of workers in the industry are women. To put that into perspective, in a meeting of 5, odds are only 1 of those voices at the table will be female.

7. Healthcare practitioner and technical occupations

radiation therapist

Median Earnings: $60,940
Amount Earned For Every Male Dollar: 75%
% Of Women In Field:74.4

74% of workers in healthcare technical positions are women. The field has opportunities with various positions at all education levels. Women in the field earn an excellent $60,940 yearly. Where does this field fall short? Male workers earn 25% higher.

8. Public administration

Median Earnings: $51,795
Amount Earned For Every Male Dollar: 78%
% Of Women In Field:74

Public administration covers a range of jobs including Human Resources. While public administration offers one of the widest wage gaps in the top 10, a disappointing 22%, the field still offers women more equal opportunities than most. Women in the field earning a living wage and work with many female colleagues on average.

9. Non-Profits

Median Earnings: $50,014
Amount Earned For Every Male Dollar: 86%
% Of Women In Field:60

Women interested in giving back, should strongly consider a job in the non-profit world. 60% of non-profit workers are women and overall the field offers a diverse environment that goes beyond sex.

10. Computer and mathematical occupations

Median Earnings: $75,914
Amount Earned For Every Male Dollar: 85%
% Of Women In Field:26.4

Only 26% percent of workers in computer and math jobs are women. However, for the women who do enter the profession, they can expect high earnings and a slim wage gap if they are willing to be one of few women in the room.

Some jobs have a long way to go

Women in the 10 jobs above experience better than average earnings, have more diverse work spaces, and more on the dollar than other professions.

However, some jobs don’t offer the same level of opportunity. While no job has women earning the same amount as many, the discrepancies in some fields is staggering.

For example, while women social service workers earn 94% of what men in their field do, that number drops to an unpleasant 55% for legal workers. While these numbers should both be 100%, the difference is still staggering. Imagine your paycheck cut in half, that’s close to the gender gap in the legal and other professions.

These numbers matter.

While there is no one overarching solution to fix all of these big, complicated problems (and in an ideal world women shouldn’t have to fight for the equality), there are small steps women can use to help tackle the job inequality.

The first is to seek out diverse companies, both in color, walks of life, and gender. For pay, women can use this calculator to see how their salary measures up.

You can see below in alphabetical order, how all the industries we studied did in each category.

How Jobs Did On The Bechdel Test

Industry Female Earners %-Male-Earnings %-Women-Workers
Accommodation and food services $25,293 82 54
Administrative and support and waste management services $32,733 88 74
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting $27,339 75 23
Architecture and engineering occupations $73,701 86 16
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations $51,939 86 49
Arts, entertainment, and recreation $36,153 87 49
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations $23,483 74 40
Business and financial operations occupations $61,601 77 54
Community and social services occupations $45,904 94 66
Computer and mathematical occupations $75,914 84 26
Construction $45,621 98 5
Construction and extraction occupations $37,272 88 3
Education, training, and library occupations $48,123 80 73
Educational services $49,440 87 65
Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations $22,783 72 23
Federal government workers $62,718 87 47
Finance and insurance $52,061 59 54
Food preparation and serving related occupations $22,344 83 54
Health care and social assistance $41,690 70 66
Healthcare practitioner and technical occupations $60,940 74 74
Healthcare support occupations $29,172 91 85
Information $56,146 77 26
Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations $42,132 86 3
Legal occupations $69,361 54 51
Life, physical, and social science occupations $63,226 87 46
Local government workers $48,760 83 47
Management occupations $64,685 75 40
Management of companies and enterprises $61,054 66 40
Manufacturing $41,689 76 29
Material moving occupations $26,535 83 24
Office and administrative support occupations $37,220 84 74
Personal care and service occupations $26,103 75 75
Private not-for-profit $50,014 85 60
Production occupations $30,617 71 29
Professional, scientific, and technical services $61,963 67 52
Protective service occupations $42,186 75 23
Public administration $51,795 77 74
Real estate and rental and leasing $46,916 89 62
Retail trade $31,452 78 60
Sales and related occupations $36,519 66 62
Self employed $30,713 74 40
self-employed- incorporate business $50,490 74 40
State government workers $48,994 85 47
Transportation and warehousing $41,252 81 14
Transportation occupations $32,858 71 14
Utilities $62,599 81 3
Wholesale $45,928 86 60
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