Exploring Society By The Numbers

Gender, Occupation and Earnings

Jill Bouma, Berea College


Overall, we see that even when controlling for occupation, gender continues to affect earnings: women make less than men. Regardless of occupation, we find that a higher proportion of women than men fall into the low-income categories. Likewise, a higher proportion of men than women fall into the high-income categories. Students will explore these ideas by analyzing the effects of gender, occupation and education on earnings.

Learning Goals

  • Identifying independent and dependent variables
  • Quantitative writing
  • Learning how to read and interpret bivariate tables displaying frequencies and percentages
Use data to understand/discover:
  • The effect of occupation on earnings;
  • The effect of gender on earnings;
  • The effect of gender on earnings when controlling for occupation

Context for Use

This activity is used in a Problems in American Institutions class for undergraduate students. This activity explores impacts of gender on occupation and earnings in the United States.

Description and Teaching Materials

Exercises: PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 95kB Mar24 09)
Exercises: DOC (Microsoft Word 47kB Mar24 09)
Teaching Notes: PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 30kB Mar24 09)
Teaching Notes: DOC (Microsoft Word 23kB Mar24 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity uses a customized data set made from the 2000 Census. It provides students with data tables to analyze. There are two handouts to introduce second module used in class:
  • Hand-out 1 is given at beginning of class; students discuss tables and write brief summaries -entire class period spent teaching how to talk and write about findings; develop idea of control variable
  • Hand-out 2 is passed out at end of class. Students are asked to review write-up - following day, given a quiz asking them to describe set of tables; module distributed afterward


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References and Resources

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