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.

FAST FACT: Changing Things Up—Gender Dynamics at Work and at Home

April 3, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird The Families and Work Institute  recently released a fascinating report on the changing gender dynamics in the home and workplace.  What they found is quite exciting:


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Love in the Time of Layoff: Her Expendable Career

April 1, 2009 posted by Deborah Siegel Deborah Siegel is the author of Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild, creator of the group blog Girl w/Pen and a long-time friend of the Council.  The following was originally posted on Recession Wire as Deborah's latest installment of her weekly column, Love in the Time of Layoff. Those who read this column know that I’ve been writing very personally about how the downturn has affected my relationship. In all honesty, I’m starting to fear that by focusing on what’s happening inside relationships, we may be losing sight of larger contexts—what could and should be happening in the structures that govern our lives. The personal is political, after all! Whoever invented the notion that a wife who earns less than her husband has a career that is, by definition, “expendable”? The ubiquity of this sentence—“she has an expendable career”—was brought home to me once again when I read Diane Clehane’s “Recession Marriage Wars” in yesterday’s Daily Beast. Clehane poignantly shares her frustration that for her, and for many working mothers she knows, “The recession means wives are under pressure from their husbands who tell them a sitter is now a luxury they can’t afford.” These are working mothers, mind you—women who have defined themselves by their careers for most of their lives and who know that being a good mom and having a great career are not mutually exclusive. As someone with big hopes of starting a family, and as a feminist, I’m thinking government-funded or employer-subsidized childcare is sounding like a pretty darn good idea right about now.


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FAST FACT: Don’t Forget About Health in the Economic Storm

March 12, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird This week is http://www.lgbthealth.net/awarenessweek09/ ">National LGBT Health Awareness week.  In honor of this important week, I wanted to share with you a stat I found from the Big Five Research: 50 percent of uninsured women have dependent children and half of them (54 percent) are employed. Even as much of our energy has been focused these past few months on the economy, I think it is vital we don’t forget about the importance of health!  Which is why the Council features both economic security and health as part of our Big Five Campaign.


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ECONOMIC STIMULUS FORUM: Round-Up

March 2, 2009 posted by admin 

Photo Cred: Matt Collins via Society and PoliticsIt is undeniable that we are facing tough economic times.  In January, the unemployment rate registered 7.6% with 11.6 million people lacking jobs.  An additional 7.8 million people are deemed underemployed, that is, working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs.  And prospects are dimming. According to the Economic Policy Institute , finding a job today is twice as hard as it was when the recession started a year ago.  With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA], however, there is some room for hope. Many of our network members are doing excellent work on the stimulus plan.  The Ms. Foundation held a conference call to discuss the legislative package and how to secure more jobs for women.  The National Women’s Law Center is analyzing the stimulus process and how it affects women and families. Check out their latest breakdown.   In examining the bill, we were particularly struck with provisions regarding small businesses, healthcare, education and, especially, job creation.  Naturally, we had some questions, for example, what other areas are critical for stimulating growth and supporting women and girls, their families and communities? To find the answers, we turned to our experts:


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ECONOMIC STIMULUS FORUM: Center for American Progress’ Heather Boushey—Let’s Get People Back to Work!

February 27, 2009 posted by admin The best thing we can do for women and their families is to get people back to work. We’ve seen 3.6 million jobs disappear over the past year and millions more have seen their hours cut back. The recession is turning out to be deeper and more protracted than many had predicted even a few months ago. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was a down payment on creating jobs in the months to come and laying the foundation for long-term economic growth. The Council of Economic Advisors estimates that the recovery package will save or create 3.5 million jobs and that about four in ten of these jobs will go to women workers. In particular, the recovery package will help states avoid some cutbacks, which takes some women’s jobs out of jeopardy since women make up the majority of state and local government workers. But, most importantly, the recovery package will get the economy back on track, which benefits all kinds of families. The recession – so far – is leading to higher unemployment among men than women: as of December 2008, the latest data available by gender, men account for four out of every five jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007. This means that in millions of U.S. households, it is a woman who is supporting the family. This means that families will have to rely increasingly on women’s earnings, which are typically lower than men’s and are less likely to come with health insurance. Now is the time to insist that every woman earns a fair day’s pay. 


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ECONOMIC STIMULUS FORUM: The Bitter with the Sweet

February 25, 2009 posted by admin Overall, the economic stimulus plan that Congress passed and President Obama signed is a strong package.  We fervently hope it will provide the help that struggling families urgently need, and begin putting the nation on the road to lasting economy recovery.  We’ve never needed that more. There were victories, large and small, for those of us working for equal opportunity, 21st Century benefits, and quality, affordable health care.  The relief for working families and the expansion of unemployment benefits are significant, as is the lower threshold for the child tax credit and increased funding for child care. Not as well known, but extremely important, is the health information technology (HIT) provisions that we fought to maintain.  They withstood an attack from pharmaceutical manufacturers, health plans and drug store chains intent on putting profits ahead of privacy.  With protections against inappropriate disclosures of health information, electronic medical records can do a tremendous amount to reduce medical errors, coordinate and streamline care, and reduce costs.  This was a real step forward.


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ECONOMIC STIMULUS FORUM: A Great Start-- But Low-Income Women and Families Need Economic Security

February 25, 2009 posted by admin From Legal Momentum’s perspective, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will do a great deal of good for women and families in the crisis. While we applaud a number of provisions in the bill, we are very concerned that yet more must be done to guarantee that women, and low-income women in particular, have access to good jobs on the one hand, and on the other, that our national safety net is strong enough to protect those who find themselves out of work and out of resources. In terms of jobs, women can take some comfort in ARRA’s provisions to shore up jobs in the traditionally women-dominated fields of health care, child care and education. However, many of the women employed in these industries are barely scraping by in low-wage jobs as home health care and child care providers. While these jobs offer a paycheck, they do not translate into economic security. Like the millions of other women who comprise the majority of the nation’s low-wage workforce, these women need access to jobs that will raise them out of poverty and offer a path to stability and prosperity.


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FAST FACT: Layoffs Not Dwindling

February 12, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird

In the first few days of February, 50,939 people working at America's 500 largest companies have been laid off.  Companies include Nike, US Airways, Wal-Mart, Macy's and General Motors. (via Forbes' Layoff Tracker)

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FAST FACT: Where Women Can Earn $20 or more an Hour

February 6, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird

In 2007, the nontraditional occupation for women with the largest number of employed women was laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand.


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FAST FACTS: Disturbing Poverty Disparities

January 23, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird A few weeks ago, I received a newsletter from the Institute on Community Integration .  The entire issue focused on employment and women with disabilities.  Given the Council's dedication to women and economic security, my interest was instantly peaked.  Check out these stats:


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