We’ve Come A Long Way

It’s not mom-focused, but this is something that I thought would be of interest to all women, moms or not.

Women have made significant gains in some professional fields, such as legal and medical, according to new Census figures reported in The Wall Street Journal earlier this week.

The numbers are dramatic. While a generation ago, most of the nation’s doctors and lawyers were men, women now comprise a third of the nation’s doctors and lawyers.

It’s hard to believe that not so long ago – up until 1950 — Harvard Law School didn’t accept women. Nowadays, roughly the same number of women graduate from law school as men. Women also represent just under half (45.5%) of medical residents and fellows, or medical-school graduates in training.

Still, wage gaps between men and women still exist, although it’s unclear whether some of the pay discrepancy could be due to women taking more time off for childrearing responsibilities.

In 2007, the median income of female lawyers was $90,000 and income for female physicians was $112,128, compared to $122,000 and $186,916, respectively, for males in those jobs.

Women also aren’t moving up to partner nearly as often as men.  At large law firms, women represent just 15% of equity partners, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Women Lawyers. In some cases, of course, women opt out of the partner track in order to have a more flexible schedule.

As one who grew up at a time when the woman doctor or lawyer was rare, I felt these statistics – both the good and the bad — were well worth sharing.