The number of positions in the United States that are held by women has increased by more than 70 percent since 2000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And that number has remained relatively steady over the past decade.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that women comprise just over 40 percent of the country’s workforce and over 40.9 percent of its state and local workforce, but only about 13 percent of those in federal civil service.
But even as the number of women in federal government has risen, the number holding those jobs has remained largely stagnant, according a new study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
In fact, the percentage of women working in these positions has remained stable since the start of the 21st century.
The report, which examines federal and state-level data for the past 15 years, also shows that women have gained a greater percentage of jobs in the public sector in recent years.
The share of federal civilian jobs held by a woman has increased from about 9 percent in 2016 to over 12 percent in 2017, and the share held by men has dropped from over 10 percent in 2015 to under 10 percent.
“Women are making up the majority of federal civil servants and public employees,” says Laura J. Sallis, one of the authors of the study and the director of the Institute’s Center for Women in Public Service.
Salls, a professor of political science at Rutgers University, conducted the research with her colleague Jennifer Wojcicki.
She also worked with researchers at the University of Virginia and at the U, Sallas said.
In her study, she looked at data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Defense, Department and Labor, U. S. Postal Service, and U. State Department.
The researchers used the Federal Register and Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Survey to track changes in the number and types of jobs held in each agency and government agency.
The authors found that the number held by females rose from just over 3 percent in 2000 to more than 8 percent in 2018.
“There are more women working on environmental protection, health and safety, human resources, and environmental protection than there were 20 years ago,” Salls said.
“And that is very telling, given that those are areas where women make up a large percentage of the workforce.”
But, as Salles points out, the gender gap in the civil service has narrowed since the 1990s.
“The gender pay gap in federal public service has closed and women are making more progress in the fields where they are making most progress,” Sallins said.
While the percentage holding the most positions increased from 3.6 percent in 2006 to 4.2 percent in 2019, the proportion held by males dropped from about 10 percent to just over 9 percent.
The data also show that, in 2018, the majority (56 percent) of public sector jobs held were held by non-minority men, and that percentage increased to 68 percent in 2020.
Women hold a higher share of the state and federal public workforce, too.
Women comprised 56.6 of the 539 jobs in state government held by minority women in 2019.
But women also made up 51.4 percent of all federal public servants in 2019 and 63.2 of the 2,058 in the federal workforce.
Women made up 14.7 percent of state employees in 2019 but only 5.3 percent of federal employees.
“We’re seeing more and more gender diversity in public service and public service-related occupations in general,” Salla said.
Women also are getting more opportunities in government.
Since 2010, the U of S and the UVA have conducted a study that found that women and men who attended college or have graduate degrees in science and engineering have more opportunities to advance their careers than those with bachelor’s degrees or less.
Salla noted that women in particular are getting paid more than their male counterparts.
“In the public service, there are now more women in management positions than there are men in management,” Salling said.
She noted that the Bureau of Public Housing has recently announced a $10 million investment in a new office for women and that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced a new $2.5 million initiative to improve housing for women.
In addition, Salla pointed out that women are increasingly employed in STEM fields, like STEM education.
Salling points to the Women in Science, Engineering and Maths (WISE) Grant Program, which has a significant impact on the hiring of women, as a way to look at the role of women at the federal level.
The program is designed to help companies recruit and retain women.
But, Salls added, the data also shows a significant gender wage gap.
“When you look at a dollar amount that we have seen on the federal public payroll over the last few years, it’s been between women and people of color,” Sallas said.
Sallas points out that