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.
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.
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.
Full-time, Year-Round Workers with Projections for Pay Equity, by Race/Ethnicity
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.
https://youtu.be/qhl7tvs7zJg Martha Burk (Director, Corporate Accountability Project, National Council of Women's Organizations, and former Senior Policy Adviser for Women's Issues to Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico) discusses her initiative to achieve equal pay in New Mexico's contract compliance program, which is the only program [...]
Occupational gender segregation is a strong feature of the US labor market. While some occupations have become increasingly integrated over time, others remain highly dominated by either men or women. Our analysis of trends in overall gender segregation shows that, after a considerable move towards more integrated occupations in the 1970s and 1980s, progress has completely stalled since the mid 1990s.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research constructed a dataset from the 2002 through 2004 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Files (ACS) for people residing in the state of Maryland.
Although the wage gap, measured by conventional methods, has narrowed in the last several decades, with women who work full-time full-year now earning 77 percent of what men earn (compared with 59 cents on the male dollar 40 years ago), its sweeping effects are largely unacknowledged because its measurement is limited to a single year and restricted to only a portion of the workforce. When accumulated over many years for all men and women workers, the losses to women and their families due to the wage gap are large and can be devastating.
Equal Pay for Working Families: National and State Data on the Pay Gap and Its Costs
(Based on IWPR Report, Equal Pay for Working Families, by Heidi Hartmann, PhD, Katherine Allen, and Christine Owens)