How are Women Faring in Massachusetts?

There has been a lot of talk about the gender dimensions of the Great Recession and subsequent recovery efforts--most notably the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But there has been little actual data. In steps UMass Boston, Randy Albelda, and Christa Kelleher with their new report Women in the Down Economy: Impacts of the Recession and the Stimulus in Massachusetts. After examining how women have been affected by the recession and where stimulus funding is actually going, the report concludes that

Both men and women have been deeply affected by the down economy, although in different ways, because of where they are employed, their earnings, and their utilization of certain government services and programs.

For instance, men are more likely to collected unemployment insurance while women and children comprise the majority of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps) and TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or welfare). Funding for physical infastructure and the green economy in Massachusetts will mostly benefit men as women comprise only 7.9% of all workers in the construction industry and are less likely to be "green ready." The one area where women will benefit more than men is funding for state budgets to prevent cuts to human instructure.

To ensure a truly equitable recovery, the report calls for:

1. improved job creation data including demographic information such as gender and race

2. the enforcement of existing anti-discrimination provisions

3. the promotion of training for women in "non-traditional occupations"

4. monitoring to ensure that low-income women, women of color, and low-income communities are being served by Recovery Act funding

To download a copy of the report, click here.

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