It is easy to be misled about the gender gap in education. When popular media constantly publishes articles stating that women are more likely to get a college degree than men or that girls earn higher grades than boys, it is easy to believe that the gender gap doesn’t exist and women have finally achieved some semblance of equality ― when that is not the case at all.
Despite inspirational statistics regarding women’s achievements in education, the fact remains that women continue to suffer in the professional sphere. Not only do women still earn dramatically less ― the wage gap currently hovers around 20 cents less per dollar than men ― but women tend to be relegated to less prestigious careers, such as nursing or teaching, which generally promise lower salaries and worse conditions.
Women who lack a diploma or degree have a significantly harder time finding work than men with the same lack of qualifications, which means it is imperative that women seek education for any hope of career success. However, the type of education earned definitely matters.
The Best Career Paths for Women
A woman can and should pursue any career that interests her. Regardless of the scope of the career ― selling products, waiting tables, or living aboard the ISS ― all jobs should be attainable to a person of any gender. That being said, there are definitely careers that assure higher salaries and better benefits, and most ambitious women will prefer to consider these before anything else. What follows are a few of the best careers in the country, and what women need to attain them.
- Accountant. Though it may sound dull, accounting can be a fulfilling and secure career. The median salary is $65,900 ― or $73,800 for certified public accountants (CPAs), who can also set their hours and choose their clients. Most accounting positions require a bachelor degree, at least, and CPAs must pass a licensing exam.
- Dentist. Unlike medical doctors, who must endure at least a decade of training, dentists must only obtain a bachelor degree and a four-year dental school degree. After that, practicing dentists earn upwards of $150,000 per year. Considering that the need for dentists is expected to add more than 20,000 jobs in the coming years, dentistry isn’t a terrible career choice.
- Business administration. Though working at a big company may seem daunting, working at the top of a big company has its perks. C-suite executives tend to earn a base salary of about $280,000, plus various bonuses and benefits. Though it remains difficult for a woman to breach the male-dominated c-suite, thanks to accessible MBA degree programs and fellow female mentors, it is more possible than ever before.
- Software developer. As tech becomes more and more vital to everyday life, software developers are becoming a valuable resource, and the good ones can earn as much as $95,500 per year. Developers can work freelance, gaining autonomy, or they can join a company’s development team, gaining stability. Though a few famous software developers ― Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. ― have made it big without education, women should seriously consider earning at least a bachelor degree to carve a space for themselves in this male-dominated field.
How to Encourage Women’s Education
The above-listed careers are only accessible through education, which means it is imperative that women receive the schooling they need to reach true equality with men. A handful of organizations have strict plans to provide equal opportunities for education, but there is much we can do domestically to ensure our fellow women obtain higher learning. For example, we can support legislation that lowers child care costs so single mothers have time to return to school, and we can ally with older and younger women to create a network that ensures female success.
Clare Boothe Luce ― author, politician, and famous public figure ― once said, “Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, ‘She doesn’t have what it takes.’ They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.’”
In their professional lives, women must strive to be the best they can be, if only to prove to cynics that women can perform highly in any career. Therefore, women should obtain sufficient education to help them excel in their chosen fields and work to inspire future generations of girls to do to the same.