Based on the largest national survey of tradeswomen ever conducted, with over 2,600 responses, IWPR's new report shows that more than four in ten women working in the construction trades have seriously considered leaving their jobs. Discrimination and harassment are among the main reasons that women depart the industry.
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.
New IWPR survey data show young women’s experience of economic hardship during the COVID-19 crisis varied across racial/ethnic groups and gender and sexual identities—with some struggling more than others. To achieve an equitable recovery, policies should level the playing field by supporting young women who have been hit hardest.
Higher education is essential to accessing high-demand jobs with family-supporting wages and improving family financial well-being. This was true before the COVID-19 pandemic and is especially true now as the nation continues the process of recovering from one of the worst public health, economic, and social crises in modern U.S. history. Early evidence suggests that the pandemic exacerbated barriers faced by student parents, affecting their college plans.
Careers in the construction trades can provide high earnings and good benefits, often through a learn-while-you-earn apprenticeship. In 2020, more than 300,000 women worked in the trades—the largest number ever. Yet while their numbers are growing, women still make up fewer than one in twenty of workers in construction occupations.
The Build Back Better (BBB) Framework proposed by the Biden Administration will accelerate gender equality and significantly reduce poverty for women and families. The plan invests in women’s economic security and equity by bolstering our care infrastructure, targeted tax credits, food and nutrition assistance, and higher education and training.
Union membership provides improved access to critical benefits like paid leave, along with better pay, health insurance, and pensions. For women, this advantage is especially helpful for weathering crises like COVID-19 and the resulting “she-cession.”
Evidence from California suggests that construction workers face the highest COVID-19 infection rates of any other sector. IWPR’s 2021 survey of tradeswomen across states shows that most construction workers who needed to take leave during COVID-19 had to do so without pay.