Most Nurses Are Women, But They Still Earn Less Than Men in Their Field

You’d think that one of these days there’d be some good news when it comes to the wage gap. Today is not that day. 

A new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that men outearn women in the field of nursing despite the fact that women outnumber men in the profession 10 to 1. 

Even after controlling for age, race, marital status and children in the home, male nurses outearned females in nearly every position. The biggest disparity can be found for nurse anesthetists, with men earning $17,290 more. In outpatient settings, male nurses earn $7,678 more per year than their female counterparts and $3,873 more in hospitals.

What’s even more infuriating is that one of the reasons that the study’s authors provide for these wage disparities is the fact that men may actually start out earning more because of their negotiating skills. While it’s true that women are less apt to negotiate their salaries as compared to men, this is because they have been socialized to be agreeable and have found that when they do negotiate they put their jobs in jeopardy. In fact, several studies have found that when women negotiate there is a high cost for doing so. Not only are they perceived in a negative light, but employers report being less willing to work with them after negotiation conversations. Men, on the other hand, do not face the same repercussions. Of this dynamic the Harvard Business View says: 

The results of this research are important to understand before one criticizes a woman — or a woman criticizes herself — for being reluctant to negotiate for more pay. Their reticence is based on an accurate read of the social environment. Women get a nervous feeling about negotiating for higher pay because they are intuiting — correctly — that self-advocating for higher pay would present a socially difficult situation for them — more so than for men.

Nursing of course isn’t the only field where the wage gap persists. A recent report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research called the “Status of Women in the States: 2015″ offers a comprehensive study on the wage gap and finds that women won’t reach pay parity with men until 2058. For women in some states like Wyoming, Louisiana and North Dakota, the wage gap won’t close in this century. If there were any silver lining to this news it that’s the wage gap is narrowing among millennials. Women in this group earn 85.7 percent in comparison to their male counterpart.  This is promising news that shines even brighter when you take a look at a group of savvy high school students from Utah who hosted a bake sale earlier this week that raised some eyebrows. The students, who are members of the Young Democrats Club at Jordan High School, decided to sell cookies at school and charge men one dollar and women 77 cents to shed light on the wage gap among their peers. Kari Schott, president of the club, says the following about the initiative: 

It’s not fair that just because I was born a woman that I get paid 77 cents so this is an issue in my life and I thought I might as well raise awareness starting young…I’m proud that as a club we are doing this.

As one might imagine, Schott and the club have received some criticism for their creative bake sale. Many students complained it was unfair – highlighting the group’s point that the wage gap isn’t fair to women either. Scott’s response to her critics is spot on: “They didn’t think it was fair and I said yeah, it’s not fair. That’s why we’re doing it.”

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago


Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Loesje vB
Loesje Najoan3 years ago

This is ridiculous!

Roro l.
Roro l3 years ago


LF F3 years ago

I noticed since nursing school and at the workplace, men seem to get favoritism since they are a minority in nursing.

The problem in my field since I work with children, is that I can be assigned with the boys or the girls. But male nurses aren't usually assigned to the girls because of possible allegations. (its to protect the male nurses)

Thank you everyone for continual support for nurses. All kind compliments are always welcome. We do work long and hard shifts.

luna starr
luna starr3 years ago

So very wrong,they are special angels and deserve more

Sharon Tyson
sharon Tyson3 years ago

Nurses - all nurses - need to lobby for equal pay. It would elevate the whole profession.

Lorraine Andersen

Equal pay should be the norm!!

Dt Nc
Dt Nc3 years ago

Interesting. Didn't know this was a problem in the nursing profession.