When it comes to equal pay for equal work, the U.S. still has a long way to go.
Yet even though women workers were paid 78 cents for every $1 earned by men in 2013, there are some fields where women are making inroads, according to a new study from employment site CareerCast. Many of the jobs are in so-called STEM fields, or jobs that are in professions focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Decades ago, the only employment opportunities available for many women were in what CareerCast publisher Tony Lee calls "the velvet ghetto," such as fields including nursing and teaching. While those occupations continue to be dominated by women, CareerCast found that women are moving into management roles within some of those fields, providing greater earnings and professional mobility than in previous generations.
"These are jobs that appear to be the best for women based on hiring activity, compensation and the percentage of women in the field and whether that's growing or not," Lee said. "We looked to make sure we weren't finding fields where women were gaining but salaries were not."
Students may want to consider these jobs for potential career directions, Lee added. "These are the ones that will continue to be good for a while," he said. "These are ones that women are making inroads in, and that should tell you that barriers that may have existed are disappearing."
Although CareerCast calls its ranking the "best" jobs for women, we're choosing to describe the list as good jobs since the former depends so much on personal preference and other subjective judgments.
Read on to learn about 11 good jobs for women in 2015.
11. Event planner: $45,810
Corporations and other organizations are increasingly relying on professionally organized meetings and events, which is helping boost demand for this profession, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs in the field are expected to surge by 33 percent through 2022, compared with 11 percent for all U.S. occupations.
While this job has the lowest median pay of the 11 on this list, it's still higher than the median pay across all occupations of $34,750. The pay gap between men and women is also also very slight, with the U.S. Census noting that women in this field earn 98 cents for every $1 earned by their male counterparts.
10. Market research analyst: $60,330
With corporations increasingly relying on data and related insights to drive their decisions, the number of market research analyst jobs is projected to grow 32 percent by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Median income is also considerably higher than the U.S. median of $34,750, across all professions.
To become a market research analyst, workers should have a bachelor's degree and courses in statistics and marketing under their belts. One downside is that the gender pay gap in this field is wider than some others, with women earning about 75 cents for every $1 earned by their male colleagues, according to Census data.
9. Dental hygienist: $70,201
The job outlook for dental hygienists is strong, with the BLS predicting that the profession will expand 33 percent by 2022. More people are getting dental insurance, and an aging population will increasingly need dental care, which is driving employment.
Because this field is dominated by women, who constitute about 95 percent of all dental hygienists, the Census didn't have enough data to create a statistical reliable comparison of wages between the genders.
8. Occupational therapist: $75,400
This field is forecast to grow 29 percent by 2022, driven by the increased need for occupational therapy as the Baby Boomers age and as seniors remain more active in their later years, according to the BLS.
To become an occupational therapist, workers must earn at least a master's degree in the field, while some also have doctoral degrees.
The gender pay gap in this field is also smaller than across all occupations, with the Census finding that full-time occupational therapists who are women earn 89 cents for every $1 earned by their male counterparts.
7. Statistician: $75,560
For people with a head for numbers, this field offers an above-average pay grade and growth. The number of statistician jobs is predicted to expand by 27 percent by 2022, according to the BLS.
Statisticians typically need a master's degree in statistics, mathematics or survey methodology, although some jobs require only a bachelor's degree, the BLS notes. This is an example of a STEM field where almost as many women are employed as men, with about 49 percent of the jobs held by women, according to Census data. While there's a pay gap, it's lower than the U.S. average, with women in the field earning 85 cents for every $1 their male counterparts make.
6. Education administrator: $86,490
In this role, workers oversee student services, admissions, and academics at colleges and universities, according to the BLS. The field is projected to grow 15 percent through 2022, or slightly higher than the 11 percent growth across all occupations.
A master's degree or higher is often required in this role, especially for high-ranking administrators such as deans.
While women greatly outnumber men in this profession, there is a pay gap that's bigger than some other fields on this list. Women in this field make about 78 cents for every dollar earned by their male colleagues, according to the Census.
5. Biomedical engineer: $86,960
With an aging population needing more medical care and increased medical advances in this field, job growth is expected to increase 27 percent by 2022, according to the BLS.
To enter the field, workers need a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering, or a bachelor's degree in an other engineering field and a graduate degree or on-the-job training in biomedical engineering.
Men largely dominate the field, holding about 87 percent of the jobs, according to the Census, which didn't have enough data to make a statistically accurate comparison of wages by gender. Still, there are signs that more women are entering the field, with many biomedical engineering programs at colleges enrolling more women and actively recruiting them.
4. Actuary: $93,680
This job might come with a boring reputation, but the fact is that the field is growing and offers an above-average income to its practitioners.
The field will expand by 26 percent in 2022, thanks to demand from insurance companies for people who can predict and evaluate the risks to property and communities from more frequent storms owing to climate change. The health insurance industry is also expected to hire more actuaries to keep up with changes to health care laws and how they impact customers.
While men dominate this field, it has a smaller gender pay gap than many other professions. Women who work as actuaries make 92 cents for every $1 earned by their male colleagues, according to the Census.
3. Public relations manager: $95,450
A public relations manager creates campaigns that promote or elevate the reputation of their clients or employers. While it's a high-paying job, it's not one of the fastest growing ones, given that the field will expand by 13 percent through 2022, or about on par with the average for all occupations, according to the BLS.
This field is dominated by women, who make up about 63 percent of the workers, although it suffers from a bigger gender pay gap than other fields. Women make about 73 cents for every $1 their male colleagues earn, according to the Census.
2. Human resources manager: $99,720
These employees are required at almost ever company, where they help recruit and hire new staff, as well as help employees and management deal with personnel issues. While the pay is relatively high, the field is expected to grow 13 percent through 2022, or about as fast as average for all U.S. occupations.
The gender pay gap in the field is smaller than the national average, with women working as HR managers earning about 86 cents for every dollar their male colleagues earn, according to Census data.
1. Advertising and promotions manager: $115,750
Professionals in this field often work in advertising firms and help create product marketing or ad strategies. The job growth is about on par with the country's average, with the field expected to expand 12 percent through 2022, according to the BLS.
While more women work in the field than men, it tends to have a slightly larger gender pay gap than other careers on this list, with the Census finding that women make about 74 cents for every $1 earned by their male colleagues.