Chart of the Day: There’s even a gender wage gap in babysitting

I honestly can’t decide what pisses me off more–the fact that less than 3 percent of babysitters are men or that the few who are earn more than their female counterparts. Via The Atlantic:

pie chart of babysitters by gender showing higher earnings for men than women

As the Priceonomics blog, which compiled the data, points out, it’s pretty amazing that male babysitters out-earn women considering how much cultural bias there is against them. As one mom in a parenting forum said, “I personally would have a hard time hiring a male babysitter for obvious reasons.” Right, because obviously guys couldn’t possibly be good caretakers. It’s not like they’re equally likely to have grown up with younger siblings or anything. And thank god, we don’t let guys become dads responsible for parenting their own children…Oh wait. And yet! “Even in an industry like babysitting where men are likely discriminated against, they still try to charge more for their services!”

And it’s not just babysitting — gender wage gaps persist in most traditionally feminized jobs. Men who enter these industries — which they are increasingly doing these days — tend to make more money and be promoted at faster rates. A study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that in the female-dominated worlds of administrative assistants, teachers, and nurses, women make about 10 percent less than their male colleagues.

Maya DusenberyAs a long-time babysitter, Maya is clearly taking this personally.

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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  • James

    They left one thing out there. What’s the average experience and training level for male babysitters? Do they have doctorate degrees? Maybe they need to hit a certain level of training and experience to be considered, and that boosts them up the price ladder. You might have to be really dedicated to fight your way into the babysitting market.
    You have to compare that to the fact that when you post a nanny ad it looks like just about every woman feels that she’s qualified to care for children. I got a response from a women who wanted to retire from working at the post office, and hadn’t dealt with a young child in 20-30 years. One applicant with a masters degree in psychology, but too little experience, failed to even follow the instructions in the job posting. The few men who applied did on average have more experience. They were at that “I’ve worked at a preschool” level.

  • John

    There’s only about a 3% difference in the wages 14.50 to 15.00 an hour. Could it be that people who are enlightened enough to hire a male babysitters simply pay more? Not to get political, but I suspect the blue state are wealthier, have a higher standard of living, and are more likely to hire male babysitters.

  • Greg D

    If you look at the priceonomics city data, you can see that every city is rounded to the nearest 50 cents.

    So that means that the $15 boy wage and the $14.50 girl wage are also rounded.

    It would be interesting to know the unrounded data. The true gap could be as much as 99 cents, or could be as little as 1 cent. (eg. $14.75 versus $14.74 or $15.24 vs $14.25)

  • justvisiting

    It makes perfect sense. Mothers hire more for men because they want their child to have a male role model and because of the short supply, the price of their labour goes up.

  • a male

    Thank you for standing up for men who’d like to work in childcare. I’m a male nurse and face a number of similar issues. But you can’t point at a simple wage gap and call that discrimination. As pointed out, there are some things missing:

    Education/training vs. gender
    Experience vs. gender
    Performance vs. gender
    For whatever reason, some families may actually desire a rare male caregiver and let market forces apply

    Does it mean I believe male caregivers are “better” than the women in any way? No, but we aren’t given the information to decide if there is any difference. I’ve had to work with census figures and study statistics for business, and had to think of ways to explain, for example, why my partner and I discovered someone driving alone would buy a different grade of gasoline or use self vs. full serve at a gas station; versus someone driving with someone else in the vehicle.

    I believe in equal pay for equal work. Whether someone is male or female, or has “some high school” or PhDs and a Nobel Prize with 40 years in their field, if they have similar responsibilities and similar results, they should be paid the same for that job.