The United States workforce remains profoundly segregated by gender. Millions of women work in jobs that are seen as “women’s work” and are in fact done disproportionately by women, such as teaching young children, cleaning, serving and caring for elders—essential jobs that, despite requiring physical skill, emotional labor, and often postsecondary education, offer workers low wages and scant benefits.
At the same time, research finds that there are few women in good jobs traditionally performed by men. IWPR’s recent work on the middle-skill workforce—focusing on jobs that require a high school diploma, but not a bachelor’s degree—found that women are only 11 percent of workers in good, in-demand jobs in manufacturing, IT, and transportation that pay a family-sustaining wage.
IWPR examines the quality of jobs across a diverse range of workers, job types, and industries. Our research explores access to employment benefits such as overtime pay, paid sick days, health care, and various “family-friendly” policies such as paid time off to care for newborns or sick family members, flextime, telecommuting, and child care assistance.
In addition to its ongoing research, IWPR researchers participate in public education activities, including presenting at briefings and testifying before local, state, and federal lawmakers on the need for and benefits of new policies that improve the quality of jobs.