In 2006, 59.4 percent of women aged 16
and older were in the labor force (either employed or unemployed
and actively seeking employment). This represents a 37 percent
increase from the 43.3 percent of women who were in the
labor force in 1970. Females aged 16 and older made up 46.3
percent of the total workforce in 2006. Among working females,
75.3 percent worked full-time compared to 89.4 percent of
The representation of females in the labor
force varies greatly by occupational sector. In 2005, women
composed 63 percent of sales and office workers, but only
3.6 percent of construction, extraction, maintenance, and
repair workers. Other positions which were more commonly
held by women than men include service jobs (56.6 percent)
and management, professional, and related jobs (50.7 percent).
Women were the minority in production, transportation, and
material moving (23.1 percent); farming, fishing, and forestry
(20.4 percent); and in the military (14.6 percent).
Earnings by women and men also vary greatly.
Women represent a majority of earners making less than $25,000
per year. Of earners making less than $2,500 per year, 58.5
percent were women in 2005; however, women represented only
20.2 percent of earners making $100,000 or more per year.
The difference between women’s and men’s earnings is larger
among older than younger workers. For instance, women aged
45–54 made 75 cents for every dollar earned by males, while
women aged 16–24 earned 93 cents for every dollar earned
by males of the same age.2