More Women Are Entering Washington, DC’s Job Market — but There’s One Problem

Despite a majority female workforce, women are still underpaid.

Finally, some positive news out of the nation’s capital. According to a recent study by GOBankingRates, Washington, D.C., is one of the biggest cities in the nation where women are “taking over” the workforce, but there are some troubling facts beneath the surface.

For the study, GOBankingRates determined the cities where women are taking over based on U.S. Census Bureau data detailing percentages of women and men in the labor force, median earnings for both groups and percentage increase of both women and men in the job market over the last five and 10 years.

Click to See Why: More Than 20% of Women Change Jobs for This Reason

Washington, DC, Has More Women in the Workforce Than Men

From 2007 to 2017, data shows that the percentage of women workers in Washington, D.C., increased by 26 percent, but the increase for men was less significant at 23.8 percent. In Washington, D.C., not only has the percentage of women workers seen an upswing, but since 2007, women have comprised the majority of the workforce. Even more impressively, when compared to the top four most populous cities in the nation — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston — Washington is the only city that has a female majority workforce. In 2017, women made up 51.6 percent of the workforce in Washington, which is up 0.4 percent from 2007. Washington also has seen the largest 5-year and 10-year change in female employment with 15.6 percent and 26.0 percent, respectively.

CitySize Rank5-Year Change10-Year Change2017 Civilian employed population 16 years and over with earnings2017 Male – Employed population 16 years and over with earnings2017 Female – employed population 16 years and over with earnings
New York17.7%12.1%4,072,83951.1%48.9%
Los Angeles210.0%14.9%1,954,04554.5%45.5%
Washington, D.C.2115.6%26.0%357,70148.4%51.6%

Not as surprising, however, are the three industries that employ a majority of the female workforce. Scientific and technical services make up 17.2 percent of the employed female population, followed closely by public administration at 16.2 percent and social assistance at 12.7 percent.

Related: Jobs Where Women Make More Than Men? There Aren’t Many

Does an Increasing Female Workforce Participation Equate to Better Pay?

As women continue to “take over” the workforce in the nation’s capital, one would assume that the wage gap between men and women must be closing as well. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Since 2007, the median salaries have gone from a difference of $4,123 in favor of men to a difference of $7,893 — a 5.11 percent increase. In 2017, the median female earnings of $46,858 in Washington, D.C. — while much higher compared to the rest of the U.S. — is still nearly $8,000 less than their male counterparts.

Check Out: These 13 Women Battled Workplace Discrimination — and Won

The difference in median female earnings to median male earnings in Washington, D.C., is also greater than in any of the nation’s four most populous cities.

CitySize Rank2017 Median Earnings – Males2017 Median Earnings – FemalesDifference
New York1$40,457$34,032-$6,425
Los Angeles2$31,121$25,842-$5,279
Washington, D.C.21$54,751$46,858-$7,893

So while Washington, D.C., is the standard bearer for big cities in terms of women “taking over” the workforce, there are still some worries about the rising wage gap between men and women in the city. What this study does suggest is that Washington is one of the best places for women to find employment, but, like most things that come from the nation’s capital, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Keep reading to see how women can close the gender wage gap.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the cities where women are taking over based on several factors: (1) Percentage of women in the labor force; (2) percentage of men in the labor force; (3) percentage increase in women in job market over the last five and ten years; (4) percentage increase in men in job market over the last five and ten years; (5) median earnings for women; and (6) median earnings for men, all sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey, as well as top industries. List of cities was generated based on the largest 200 cities by population in the U.S.