20 job titles women took from men in just 20 years

Women are taking over jobs that they were largely excluded from 20 years ago (Shutterstock)

It's women's month, and what better way to celebrate them, than their growth in the workplace.

We’re commemorating Women’s Month this year by putting together a list of 20 careers that women were largely excluded from 20 years ago. See below and let us know if you are now proudly building a career in an industry or sector from which you might have been excluded at one time.

1. Pharmacists

The 2014 National Pharmacist Workforce Study found that 57.1% of actively practicing pharmacist are females. The study also found that 55.2% of women were in pharmacy-management positions, compared to 44% of men.

% female pharmacists: 59%

2. Accountants

Accounting and tax preparation positions now skew noticeably towards a female bias. Recent studies have cited females as making up a significant portion of the sectors within the finance industry.

% female accountants: 60%

3. Physician Assistants

In 2013, the percentage of female Physician Assistants under the age of 40 was at 62.2%, while 37.7% were men. Part of the reason why there are more women in the profession might have to do with the fact that on average, it is more lucrative for women to become PA’s than doctors.

Did you know? A study conducted by Yale suggested that due to the cost of education and the wage gap between female and male, female PA’s could end up earning more than women doctors.

% female PAs: 88%

4. Photographers

While the field of photography is predominantly still male, since the early 90’s this seems to have changed relatively rapidly as the number of female photographers shot up to 11% in 2005.

% female photographers: 53%

Did you know? Constance Stuart Larrabee was South Africa’s first female World War II correspondent, best remembered for her images of South Africa. One of her most memorable compilations was of the vanishing tribes of Southern Africa. Her exhibitions drew national attention and led to her appointment as a war photographer.

5. Financial Managers

We are seeing a greater representation of women in the financial services field. However, there is still a long way to go before equality between male and female is reached. Although women pursuing careers in finance are more likely to make more money than in traditionally women-dominated industries, they still earn less than their male counterparts.

% female financial managers: 52%

6. Medical Scientists

Although it has been estimated that, on average, only 30% of science roles throughout the world are held by women, South Africa is ahead of the curve, with more and more women taking up positions in this field.

% female medical scientists: 72%

7. Education Administrators

In 2008, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, reported an overwhelming number of females in the education sector. Although men still dominate school principal positions, there has been a significant increase of women in administrative roles.  

% female education administrators: 50%

8. Veterinarians

With an expansion of farming in South Africa into game and wildlife, the demand for skilled veterinary specialists has increased. And as the field grows, so has the number of women graduating with bachelor’s degrees in the field.

% female veterinarians: 49%

9. Budget Analysts

South Africa’s female finance professionals are no longer just performing functional roles, but are taking on major decision-making leadership roles, such as leading the future financial needs for businesses.

Nonkululeko Goboda and Sindi Zilwa, are two exceptional females that stand out. As the first and second Black women respectively to qualify as CA (SA)'s, both women have successfully headed up accounting firms - in addition to promoting the interests of Black women in the Accounting profession.

10. Human Resources Managers

The field of human resources has for years been dominated by females, with 7-in-10 grassroot HR roles filled by females. In terms of senior management positions, the Grant Thornton International Business Report found that of the South African companies that employ women in senior managerial positions, 21% of females were employed as Human Resources Directors.

Did you know? In US the number is close to 70%; that’s 71% of HR managers according to the Forbes List of the Top 10 Best-Paying JOBS FOR Women in 2011 and 69% of HR professionals based on a study by HRxAnalysts.

Read: 5 things confident women don’t do

11. Psychologists

Records held by the Health Professionals Council of South Africa, under which the Professional Board of Psychology is registered, reveals that in the last two decades, more women than men registered with the Board per year - a trend which has dramatically increased the number of women in the field to 67%.

12. Advertising Managers

Women have generally controlled the majority of purchasing decisions in the household, and although the gender gap is still great, women’s influence in the creative world is gradually being felt too. Organisations, such as the Loeries Awards Company, are assisting to bridge this gap as they offer bursaries and scholarships to up-and-coming young female creatives.

% female creative directors: 39%

13. Health and Safety Managers

Today, women account for 78.4% of the labour force in health care and social assistance, and take with them an average salary of R318 800 per year. The next step is to see more women filling executive officer and board director positons as they currently only account for 14.6% and 12.4% of the positions respectively.

% female health and safety managers: 26%

14. Tax Managers

Intriguing research has suggested that in order for companies to be ethical and law abiding, they need to place more women in top financial and leadership roles. Perhaps this could be the reason why more women are enjoying successful careers as tax managers?

% female tax managers: 64%

15. Business Operations Specialists

A gradual shift towards women filling senior management positions in the business field is taking place. A Women Matter report concludes that more women in business are needed as an imperative for competitiveness, especially as they account for 71% of household purchases and make up 51% of the population.

Lisa Ferraz, Organisational Development Specialist at Engen Petroleum Ltd says that to get to where she is she approached Engen to complete her Industrial Psychology Internship. After Engen graciously accepted her request, she was exposed to the Organisational Development field and many of its projects. “I have since been identified as talent in Engen and hence my move to my current role was considered a ‘talent move’, which was aligned to my passion and my studies” she said.

16. Security guards and police services

In recent years, the security industry and South African Police Service have grown at an astronomical rate. In the security sector, since 2001, private security officers having increased by 111.30%! Also, 15% of the overall security workforce is now made up of females – significant growth considering that women were once not permitted to work in the law enforcement.

Did you know? Mangwhashi Riah Phiyega was the first female South African National Commissioner to be appointed in 2012.

17. Insurance Claims Adjusters, Examiners, Investigators

In a challenging operating environment, the South African insurance sector has enjoyed excellent financial health, and with that an increase in the number of women working in the industry. According to a report released by PwC, female millennials will play an important part in the future growth of the sector.

% female claims adjusters, examiners, investigators: 50%

18. Social and Community Service Managers

The percentage of females employed in the community and social services sector, including the government service, has according to Stats SA, shown the largest increase between 2001 and 2014, at just over 10%.

19.   Entrepreneurs

South African women are catching up with men when it comes to startups and entrepreneurship. In 2001, 8.7% of South African men aged between 18 and 65 were involved in early stage entrepreneurial activity - compared to just 4.5% of women. By 2013 however, the gap closed somewhat, with 9% of women and 12.3% of men involved in entrepreneurial activities.

Thuli Sibeko, Founder of Girls Invent Tomorrow, suggests that female entrepreneurs “Need to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in growing fields, such as in ICT.”

20. Bus, train and taxi drivers

Notwithstanding their growing presence, women’s participation in the transportation industry is still limited. However, women such as Asnath Mahapa – the first black female commercial pilot – are evidence that women are making moves in the transportation sector, even if slowly.

World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2014 reported that it will take until 2095 to completely close the gender gap for economic participation and opportunity.

At Careers24 we support gender equality in the workplace and as such advertise a wide range of exciting and lucrative careers available to all.