Women have played a critical role in advancing the labor movement as activists and workers. The labor movement has offered critical workplace protections and benefits that have enabled women and especially working mothers to advance professionally.

As Labor Day approaches, we’re thinking about the jobs and opportunities that do the best job of promoting women’s economic mobility and security.

  1. Join a Union: If you are the beneficiary of paid leave, a minimum wage, or overtime pay, thank a union. Unionists and labor movement activists are the original advocates for workplace policies that support the economic security of workers and families. Women covered by union contracts earn 66 percent more than women who are not covered by unions. They are more likely to have health insurance and other benefits such as pension plans. These increased earnings and benefits are important for women, who earn on average 82 cents for every dollar a White man earns. Closing the gender pay gap for women would cut the poverty rate for children and working mothers in half.
  2. Embrace Sisterhood: The average salary for someone who completed an apprenticeship is $60,000 per year. For women who want to break into good paying trade jobs, women-only apprenticeship programs offer mentorship, training, and placement opportunities for jobs with good salaries.
  3. Build a Dream Home: Construction trades provide well-paid jobs that do not require a college degree. In 2018, the increase in women working in construction reached a twenty year high of 17.6 percent. However, women still comprise less than 4 percent of all construction workers. Increasing the number of women in construction opens another avenue for women to achieve economic security.
  4. Become a techie: Women are 58 percent of people at the highest risk of losing their jobs to technology. Women need training that allows them to develop the skills that can prepare them to remain in the workforce and advance to new jobs as more job tasks become automated. STEM jobs offer a path to professional and financial mobility.
  5. Get A(nother) Degree: Postsecondary education is one of the best paths to a job that pays a living wage capable of sustaining a family. In the United States, women with a bachelor’s degree earn, on average, more than twice the amount that women with less than a high school diploma earn.