Very few babysitters are men, yet those who do this work still charge more for their services.
The Priceonomics blog scraped information from babysitters’ online profiles to see their age, gender, hourly rate, and other information. It found that just 2.9 percent of babysitters are men.
But while the median price for a babysitter is $14.50, which is also what the median woman charges, men bid that price up, charging $15 an hour. The site notes, “Even in an industry like babysitting where men are likely discriminated against, they still try to charge more for their services!”
And before you claim that it’s just supply and demand – since there are fewer men in the industry, they may charge a premium for those who prefer their services – that’s not likely the story here. Men are rarely sought after for these services. Priceonomics notes that babysitting site Sittercity.com only shows women by default – to get a man in your search results, you have to change the advanced settings. One mother on a parenting forum wrote, “I personally would have a hard time hiring a male babysitter for obvious reasons.” It’s not clear what those reasons are – men are just as capable of being caregivers, after all – but her views are likely somewhat widespread.
The babysitting gender disparity is just one of the gaps that start early on. Young girls are also given more chores but paid less in allowance than boys. One study found that girls are asked to do two more hours of chores a week than boys, while another survey found that three-quarters of girls do chores, compared to 65 percent of boys. But they get paid less: a British study found boys are being paid 15 percent more than girls for the same chores.
This gap in pay is something that will follow young girls throughout their lives. They are paid less in their first jobs straight out of college even when they have the same grades, majors, and other credentials. Even if they get more education, they’ll earn less than a man with the same degree. They will make less not just in babysitting, but in virtually any job they take and in every industry.