Employment & Unemployment

Women continue to lag behind men in earnings and wages. The underlying reasons for these continuing disparities are cultural, social and economic. While unemployment rates for women have declined less for women than for men during the recent economic downturn, women are still apt to have lower-paying jobs, with fewer benefits, and more part-time and interrupted careers. As the jobless rate for men rises, women are increasingly becoming primary breadwinners for their families, often without increased access to child care, elder care and help with domestic chores and other key supports.

Precarious Lives: Gender Lens on Low-Wage Work

 

 

Download Precarious Lives: Gender Lens on Low-Wage Work Primer
 

Written by: Rosa Cho; Edited by: Gail Cooper
Contributors: Mimi Abramovitz, Julia R. Henly and Stephen Pimpare
 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

2014 Annual Conference

Re:Gender, formerly National Council for Research on Women, and the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan hosted "Women and Economic Security: Changing Policy and Practice" in Ann Arbor from May 14-16, 2014.

This 3-day interdisciplinary, multi-sector conference focused on identifying and combating barriers that women living in poverty face as they seek economic security and mobility, and drilled down on the precarity of low-wage workers. It covered everything from tipped workers as they struggle to get employers to treat them fairly and with respect to worker centers' efforts to help low-wage workers understand relevant laws and their rights. In addition, a range of policy recommendations were generated during the conference's breakout sessions and were then provided to Michigan elected officials.

Highlights included:

Why the Farm Bill Needs a Gender Lens

On July 11th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a version of the farm bill that eliminates all nutritional aid to hungry Americans in need, which is provided mainly through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Not since 1973 has Congress separated subsidies to farmers from individuals in need of food security.  At a moment when Congress is seeking substantial changes to SNAP, it is important to ask: Who exactly is affected by changes?


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Great Gifts for Mothers of Young Children: Quality, Accessible, Affordable Early Care and Education

Quality early care and education are truly gifts that will keep on giving, not only to mothers, but to all of us.  We’re not saying that it’s only important to mothers; fathers need and want this too.  However, there has been much research on its impact on mothers, especially single mothers.  According to the Center for American Progress, “...although mothers are now the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American households with children, women spend more than twice as much time as men providing primary care to children.


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Why Negotiation is Only Part of the Solution

Did you know that women are more likely to face negative social consequences for negotiating?  This seems to go against the pervasive notion that women effectively negotiating for high salaries will be a magic bullet for closing the wage gap.  According to Hannah Riley Bowles, Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Linda Babcock, Carnegie Mellon University, in their article How Can Women Escape the Compensation Negotiation Dilemma? Relational Accounts Are One Answer, “…women entering compensation negotiations face a dilemma: They have to weigh the benefits of negotiating against the social consequences of having negotiated.”


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The Food Assistance Program: A Critical Safety Net for America’s Poor

A recent New York Times editorial states that under the Obama administration the homeless population has remained steady. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which provided $840 billion as stimulus monies included a $1.5 billion program that providing housing, rental assistance and temporary aid to people who had suddenly become homeless. But the editorial also notes, while conditions might be improving for homeless individuals, things are bleak for families with children. The National Women’s Law Center reported findings that in 2010, over 40 percent of single-mother families were poor; African-American and Hispanic single-mothers families living in poverty were 48 percent and 50 percent respectively.


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The State of Women of Color in the United States

Issue brief from the Center for American Progress:

This issue brief examines the state of women of color in the United States at large in regards to four key areas: the workplace wage gap, health, educational attainment, and political leadership. While conversations in the mainstream media would suggest that women of color are a monolithic entity, it is important to note that women of color are a diverse group with a variety of experiences. We offer specific data points on various racial and ethnic groups where available as we present the issues of greatest importance to women of color today, but remember that data are not always available for direct comparisons of different groups of women of color compared to their white counterparts.

 

URL: 
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2012/07/women_of_color_brief.html
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