12 Stats About Working Women

Editor's note: text-only version of the graphic is below. 


This Women’s History Month, we’re taking a look at women’s contributions to the U.S. labor force.  Here are some noteworthy statistics we’ve rounded up!

Women are Integral to Today’s Workforce

  • There are 74.6 million women in the civilian labor force.
  • Almost 47 percent of U.S. workers are women.
  • More than 39 percent of women work in occupations where women make up at least three-quarters of the workforce.
  • Women own close to 10 million businesses, accounting for $1.4 trillion in receipts.
  • Female veterans tend to continue their service in the labor force: About 3 out of 10 serve their country as government workers.

Editor's note: text-only version of the graphic is below. 

Working Moms are the Norm

  • Seventy percent of mothers with children under 18 participate in the labor force, with over 75 percent employed full-time.
  • Mothers are the primary or sole earners for 40 percent of households with children under 18 today, compared with 11 percent in 1960.


Trends in Women’s Employment Have Evolved over Time

  • Women’s participation in the U.S. labor force has climbed since WWII: from 32.7 percent in 1948 to 56.8 percent in 2016.
  • The proportion of women with college degrees in the labor force has almost quadrupled since 1970. More than 40 percent of women in the labor force had college degrees in 2016, compared with 11 percent in 1970.
  • The range of occupations women workers hold has also expanded, with women making notable gains in professional and managerial occupations. In 2016, more than one in three lawyers was a woman compared to fewer than 1 in 10 in 1974.
  • Despite these gains, women are still underrepresented in STEM occupations, with women’s share of computer workers actually declining since 1990.
  • The unemployment rate for women is currently 4.8 percent, down from a peak of 9.0 percent in November 2010. (Source)

Since 1920, the Women’s Bureau has been working to address the challenges and barriers unique to women in the labor force, and data plays an important role in helping us understand those challenges. For more of the latest stats on working women, be sure to check out our data and statistics page.

Mark DeWolf is an economist with the department’s Women’s Bureau.







Women at Work: Percentage of Women's Representation in Selected Occupations

Speech-language pathologists 98%
Dental assistants 93%
Social workers 82%
Physical therapists 69%
Pharmacists 60%
Lawyers 36%
Civil engineers 11%
HVAC and refrigeration mechanics and installers 1%


Women in Management Occupations

Human resources managers 74%
Social and community service managers 71%
Education administrators 65%
Food service managers 46%
Marketing and sales managers 45%
Chief executives 27%
Computer and information systems managers 26%
Construction managers 7%


  1. Safe + Sound Week
  2. After the Army, a New Career in Tech
  3. 3.9% Unemployment Rate, and Five More Things You Should Know From July’s Jobs Report
  4. 28 Years of the ADA: Jobs for All Americans
  5. The Department of Labor Celebrates National Hire a Veteran Day


It doesn't matter how much experience a woman has, employers like Coastline Community College and Google profess that they hire women, but the jobs that I had applied for were filled by boys who had no working experience. I know because I know the boys who had gotten the positions. Very sad.

Boys, or men? I have one idea why you possibly did not get the job.

Also, the law that was written against discrimination is unfortunately a law that is rarely, if never, enforced. What good is a law that isn't enforced? Discrimination is more widespread than at any other time in history, illegal or not.

"If ever" not if never.
No I have two ideas why you didn't get the job.

I think you meant "now" instead of no.

Edie. . . Bahahahaha!!!

my goodness John you seem a bit touchy about the truth. Maybe she meant boys just out of school. have you ever used the term 'girls' when speaking of fellow employees.

John - stop picking apart her posts. Her points are valid and you would have no idea because you aren't female. I was a manager at several Fortune 500 companies and I was responsible for EEO reporting . What can I tell you: Many people were offered positions who had less experience (if any) than other applicants because they were non-white and non-female.


So there is more discrimination now then the 1865-1970's.

There are women in engineering management which is unaccounted for in this statistics. They should be given credit for that too.

There is many Women Truck Drivers out here which is unaccounted for in the statistics.....

Question - how many men to women to men apply in the stem field? That data doesn't show here.

Women self select. They are not "underrepresented", that term is sexist and anti choice.

Please don't forget about those/us women who are full timepisode mom's housewives farm wives. We do without to stay with our children and support our husbands on our farms. It's a great life. But we need some tax breaks for us women. Thanks

Where did you get these stats from? I know many female Civil Engineers, I am amongst them. I doubt that I'm in that count.

Hi Dana,

The stats are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).

@John Filo there's something ironic about a man degrading a woman on a women's history month article about the rise of women in the workforce


I'm currently writing a paper on the stereotypes that go against men and women in the work place. Women will get their equal rights. Both in the military, as well as in the civilian sector. But once you get what you've begged for, you'll complain it's not enough. Sure, I agree with equality. What I don't agree with is the feminist that say all men must die.
If you've the qualifications then you should get the job.

Feminists don't want men to die, they just want equal rights between men and women. A feminist is just trying to advocate for women's rights that are being ignored. So the " feminist that say all men must die" isn't a feminist they're just someone who does not like men i guess.

I would like to point out that businesses focus more on the personality of a person. Yes, experience is a factor but businesses like to hire for personality and train for skill. You're more likely to be hired at a business if you have a positive attitude and can easily get along with people. This might explain, @Angela Young, why you didn't get accepted. Not that you had a bad personality but that the person or people who got the job had a more appealing one. Is it possible that the "boys" had different training or schooling than yourself? More factors may be involved than the other applicants are male so that's why they got the job.

hi I am happy to say as I professional pet sitting company...my company has grown..to part time status..it has taken
alot of work for me. I think waomen just have to take the "leap of faith" and become their own boss and make it
happen. I gave up trying to find a job afte 60 and happy to started my own business..it has been worth the effort

Roberta (truck driver) I applaud you for being a truck driver. How many of you are there compared to men? 10%? 30%? 50%?
Most of, if not all, the statistics we see are about women in positions of management. It doesn't matter which field we're talking about, all that matters is that it's the "management" part of the field. Men do not only and solely occupy management career fields. So why is it that the only statistics we see concerning women in the workforce, are women in management positions? Why is it that when people compute the pay gap, poorly done and inaccurate as that is done, it's only against management positions? We talk about women in STEM fields but again, only in the management parts of those fields. What about the women who are Noobs to those fields? How is their career progression vs men's progression? What is the starting pay for women vs men at this level? After 5 yrs how many women are still in the field vs men? These same questions should also be asked about truck drivers, road repair (not signal persons), garbage collectors, construction workers, the list goes on. Where are these statistics?

The statistics should also include women that hold Welding positions.

Omg this is SOOO true


yep soo true

I drive a tanker tracker trailer in the night shift delivering chicken and pig feed to off road farms. And love it. It's not your typical over the road truck delivers. I load my truck. Drive to off road farms. Chain up when. Need be and within a man mostly world. And I love it. It's a different and new challenge everyday. At 94# I don't consider my size as a disability. It's just more of a victory when I keep up with the best of the men. I love it and RECOMEND it to anyone who loves working in an office under God's beautiful earth and close to nature and feeding animals that feed the world.

The article is titled "12 Stats About Working Women". It is not "Every-Single Stat About Working Women". Various stats can be selected to prove just about any viewpoint you want to prove, leaving out the ones that are contrary to the point you are trying to make.


Add new comment

17 + 1 =




Don't miss a post!

Sign up to be notified when we publish a new post:

Connect with us

Connect with the Secretary

Connect en español