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Women More Educated but Lack Job Parity, Study Finds

May 05, 2003|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Women are more educated and employed at higher levels than ever before but remain largely confined to traditional "pink-collar" jobs, a study by the American Assn. of University Women found.

The highest proportions of college-educated working women are in teaching and nursing, according to the study being released today. For college-educated men, neither occupation appears on their list of the 10 most common.

Overall, the most common occupations for women are secretaries, bookkeepers, sales supervisors, nurses, waitresses, receptionists and cooks, the study says. It cites data from the Census Bureau.

Men share just two of their most common occupations: sales supervisors and cooks.

Women have achieved parity with men in obtaining four-year college degrees and are more likely to work in managerial and professional careers today than 20 years ago. But they are not sufficiently prepared to move into the better-paying, higher-status and fastest-growing occupations such as systems analysts, software designers and engineers, the study says.

It recommends more focus on advanced education for women in such fields as science, engineering and computers.

"The good news is that women have made great strides in education and the workforce," said Mary Ellen Smyth, president of the association's Educational Foundation. "The bad news is that the new high-tech economy is leaving women behind.

"It's not that women are hitting a glass ceiling in the high-tech sector. It's that they don't have the keys to open the door," she said.

American women now graduate from high school at higher rates than men and have higher rates of college enrollment. Women also have higher rates of obtaining bachelor's degrees.

Two-thirds of women are in the workforce, and their participation is expected to grow 15% through 2010. Men's participation is projected to grow 9%.

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