Economic Security, Mobility and Equity (ESME)2022-03-23T13:22:56-04:00

Economic, Security, Mobility and Equity (ESME)

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 ESME 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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It’s Time to Reframe Care as a Public Good

In March, academics, researchers, and advocates came together to discuss the future of the U.S. care infrastructure at a conference presented by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, American University's Program on Gender Analysis in Economics, and the Carework Network. Taking stock of the caregiving landscape in the age of COVID-19, panelists focused on the impact of the pandemic, the current policy environment, shifting narratives around care, and the urgent changes needed to create a care system that works for women and families.

By |April 12, 2022|

Care Workers Join Older Adult and Disability Advocates to Call for Vital Reforms

Last week, disability rights advocates were joined by caregiving professionals and policymakers at a rally in Washington, DC, to call for much-needed investment in the care infrastructure. Rally participants delivered the call to invest in care—with a focus on home and community-based services and living wages for direct care workers—at an important moment, as Congress continues to debate legislature that would provide critical funding like the Build Back Better Act and its reincarnations.

By |April 8, 2022|

History Is Made! Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Is First Black Woman Confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 7, 2022 Contact: William Lutz | lutz@iwpr.org | (202) 684-7534 History is Made! Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is First Black Woman Confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court! Washington, D.C. — The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) CEO and President C. [...]

By |April 7, 2022|

Not Built with Them in Mind: It’s Time to Center Black Single Mothers in Higher Ed

“College campuses were not designed with student parents in mind.” This is now a common refrain echoed among student parent success advocates. It must be acknowledged, too, that the U.S. system of higher education was not designed for women, Black people, anyone parenting while in college, or those who experience life at the intersections of all three of these identities.

By |April 6, 2022|

Numbers Matter: Clarifying the Data on Women Working in Construction

In 2021, the number of women working in trades occupations reached the highest level ever. However, many women in the trades, particularly women of color, face discrimination in hiring and on the job. Having clear data can create accountability and help ensure that women have access to sustainable careers in the trades.

By |March 31, 2022|

The Future of the Expanded Child Tax Credit: Holding on to Hope

Expanding the Child Tax Credit was a historic policy moment and a hopeful national experiment on how recurring payments to families with children can impact economic security. How might we build on this to secure a brighter future for women and families?

By |March 28, 2022|
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