Employment and Earnings2020-08-10T20:16:48-04:00

Employment and Earnings

Whether paid or unpaid, women’s work is crucial for their families’ economic security and well-being. Greater gender equality in paid and unpaid work will reduce poverty and improve economic growth and prosperity; persistent inequity in employment and family work is costing all of us. Women are held back by the undervaluation of historically female work, workplaces designed as if workers had no family responsibilities, and a broken-down work-family infrastructure.

IWPR’s Employment and Earnings program highlights the extent of pay inequalities, and the role played by stark occupational segregation in perpetuating unequal pay. We conduct research and analysis on women’s labor force participation and employment trends; workforce development, non-traditional employment, and apprenticeships; the impact of sex discrimination and harassment on women’s career advancement and mobility; the gender pay gap and pay inequity across race and ethnicity; work-family policies and employer practices; the and the impact of automation and technological advances on women workers.

We work with policymakers, employers, advocates, and practitioners to identify promising practices and policy solutions.

Building the Future
Build(ing) the Future: Bold Policies for a Gender-Equitable Recovery

This report, Build(ing) the Future: Bold Policies for a Gender-Equitable Recovery, provides a framework for shared prosperity and equitable economic recovery. It examines the impact of the economic crisis and recession on working women, their families, and communities. It provides a blueprint for a gender-equitable recovery that is not only about meeting the immediate economic needs of women and families, but lays out a long-term strategy for creating stronger systems and institutions that reflect the experiences and contributions of women.

Breadwinner Mothers
Holding Up Half the Sky: Mothers as Workers, Primary Caregivers, & Breadwinners During COVID-19

The loss of jobs in sectors dominated by women will have a devastating impact of families, especially those headed by single mothers or where women are the primary or co-breadwinner. One in two of more than 30 million families in the U.S. with children under the age of 18 have a breadwinner mother, who contributes at least 40 percent of the earnings to the household.

Gender Wage Gap
The Gender Wage Gap: 2019 Earnings Differences by Race and Ethnicity

The gender wage gap in weekly earnings for full-time workers in the United States narrowed marginally between 2018 and 2019. In 2019, the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings was 81.5 percent, leaving a wage gap of 18.5 percent.

Future of Work
The Future of Care Work: Improving the Quality of America’s Fastest-Growing Jobs

Paid adult care work jobs are expected to increase substantially in the coming years, due to both an aging population and a comparatively low risk of automation for many of these jobs. These jobs, however, are among the lowest quality occupations in the U.S. labor market, with paid adult care workers facing low earnings, limited access to benefits, high rates of injury on the job, and scheduling unpredictability.

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Lost Jobs, Stalled Progress: The Impact of the “She-Cession” on Equal Pay

In year one of COVID-19, the gender wage gap narrowed slightly only for full-time, year-round workers, with women in low-paying jobs bearing the brunt of the crisis. For all workers, the gender gap widened slightly.

By |September 15, 2021|

Stronger Together: Union Membership Boosts Women’s Earnings and Economic Security

In every state, unionized women out earn women in non-union jobs—an essential wage advantage that would increase women’s economic security following the pandemic-induced “she-cession.” This brief shares insights on the ways unions narrow gender wage gaps and improve economic security for all women.

By |September 1, 2021|

Strong Jobs Growth for Women in July, but a Troubling Recovery of Child Care Jobs

New July jobs data show that women’s jobs grew by 649,000, marking the largest jobs growth since August 2020. Yet women’s recovery continues to lag behind men’s: Women still need 3.1 million more jobs on payroll to get back to pre-COVID levels. And, child care centers are recovering much more slowly than the overall economy, signaling difficulties for women’s return to work.

By |August 16, 2021|

Shortchanged and Underpaid: Black Women and the Pay Gap

The COVID-19 pandemic and related recession has both highlighted the persistent inequalities that Black women face in the labor market and exacerbated them. Black women were overrepresented in many low-paying jobs that were recognized as “essential” during the pandemic, but had often been dismissed as “low-skilled” before. [...]

By |July 27, 2021|
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