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Women in Rhode Island's Economy
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US Census data show there is often a clear difference between the career choices of men and women. While women dominate the occupations in Healthcare Support, men represent a higher percentage of workers in the Construction and Extraction occupations. Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters are more likely to be male, while Secretaries and Administrative Assistants are more likely to be female. While some ‘traditional’ female occupations, such as waitresses and maids, are relatively low paying jobs, women also dominate in more high-paying occupations, such as registered nurses and teachers. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Rhode Island women working full-time earned a median weekly wage of $679 in 2008. This was 78.7 percent of what full-time working males earned ($863) that year - the 3rd highest earnings ratio in New England and the 27th highest in the country. Since 1998, the earnings gap between Ocean State women and men working full-time has improved when compared to regional neighbors and the nation as a whole. Whereas Rhode Island women had earned 71.2 percent of what men did in 1998, the ratio had improved to 78.7 percent by 2008. This 7.5 percentage point change was the highest reported in New England and the 3rd highest recorded nationally during this period (tied with Iowa and Indiana). Only Arkansas (+10.7) and Ohio (+7.9) posted larger percentage gains. In 1998, females earned a median weekly wage of $455 compared to $638 earned by males. By 2008, women's median weekly earnings had increased by 49.2 percent (+$224) to $679. In contrast, the median weekly earnings of Ocean State males rose to $863, a 35.3 percent (+$225) increase.

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RI Department of Labor and Training
Labor Market Information
Center General Complex
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920

Phone: (401) 462-8740
Fax (401) 462-8766
TTY via RI Relay: 711
5/8/15 MDF
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