The Washington Post and NPR listed a number of professions where the gender disparities in pay were the largest and the smallest. As Dylan Mathews of the Post noted:
Interestingly, many blue collar professions — such as cafeteria work, security guard work, and warehouse stock clerking —are the most egalitarian in their compensation, while female white collar professionals like doctors, stock brokers and insurance saleswomen face among the worst pay gaps around.
I maintain the white collar jobs rely more on social networks and mentoring for success and promotion than the blue-collar ones. Lam Thuy Vo, in the original NPR article, writes:
Part of the gap in pay is driven by choices, even within single job categories. Among physicians, for example, women are more likely than men to choose lower-paid specialties (though this does not explain all of the pay gap among doctors).
And among all workers, women are more likely than men to take a significant time off from work to raise children, and they tend to be re-hired at lower wages than their counterparts who remained in the workforce.
I maintain that it's not much of a "choice" that women are either going into lesser paid specializations of medicine or taking more time off of work to raise children. Although gender relations and roles have undoubtedly changed since the Mad Men days, one must ask why women physicians continue to choose lower paying specializations in this day and age. Is it because they need and/or desire the flexablity to juggle their familial and parental duties? And although either parent could take time off of work to raise children, is it really true that women simply avail themselves of this "choice" more than men or is it because our enlightened society in 2013 continues to expect women to perform the bulk of the childcare and eldercare--even if they hold down a full time job? Plus ce change..