On Tuesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report on women in the workforce, and while there was some surprising news (female pharmacists make more than female CEOs), the report mostly told everyone what they already knew.
As of 2012, the year from which the report took its statistics, men still outnumbered women in the labor force: 70.2 percent of men were employed compared to 57.7 percent of women, although both numbers were slightly down from the previous year. Working wives still make well less than half of their families' total earnings at 37 percent. Women still earned a fraction of men's income at 81 cents to the dollar. (Perhaps sensing controversy, the authors note that note that "the comparisons of earnings in this report are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that may be important in explaining earnings differences.")
And now the really depressing part: for jobs with at least 100,000 people employed in 2012–comprehensive earnings numbers aren't given for smaller employment categories–men out-earned women, often significantly, in all but two jobs. Unsurprisingly, those jobs were in traditional pink-collar categories: female counselors earned 102.6 percent of their male counterparts' median pay, and female "health practitioner support technologists and technicians" made 103.7 percent of male technicians' earnings.
There are a few other career paths on the list that report nearly equal earnings for women and men: the earnings of female wholesale and retail buyers, social workers and pharmacists, for instance, all hover near 99 percent of men's earnings in the same occupations. As Vocativ notes, the jobs in which women out-earned men changed slightly between 2012 and 2013: in the latter year, female bakers (107.4 percent), buyers (106.8 percent) and "computer occupations, all other" (103.5 percent) unseated the counselors and medical technicians in out-earning men.
We're getting there. After all, progress in just a few professions is still progress. As the report implies, some of the lower earnings can no doubt be attributed to unpaid or extended family leave, which is another discussion entirely. But family leave alone cannot explain why women at the top of their fields–CEOs (79.9 percent), physicians (71.7 percent), and lawyers (78.8 percent)–still earned less last year than even that 81-cents-to-the-dollar baseline.
There's plenty going on here, both obvious and systematic. There's no one change that will magically fix all these inequalities. But maybe we could take a few cues from the bakers, because leaning in is just not cutting it.
[Image via Getty]