Women Trying to Navigate the Recession's Path
Women have made great economic progress, relatively speaking, over the last 30 years. According to the latest BLS Labor Force Survey “Women in the Labor Force 2008“:
- Almost 60% of women were In the labor force;
- Unemployment was approximately 5.4%;
- 36% of women held college degrees;
- Women made up more than 50% of the workforce in several industries: finance, education, health service, leisure and hospitality;
- 62% of women worked in full-time positions but at a wage that was 80% of men’s;
- 25% of women worked part-time; and,
- In 2007, 26% of working wives earned more than their working husbands.
Now things have changed in the U.S. economy since 2007 and 2008. According to the U.S. Labor Department, women have lost over 2 million jobs and almost 3% of their income over the last 2 years.
The White House released a report last week, written by the National Economic Council entitled White House Report on "American Women's Job and Economic Security" that underscores how the recession has impacted women.
The recession has had a negative impact on virtually everyone in most categories. Although women are the major breadwinners in more families, their incomes are declining while municipal social services are being cut back. Industries that have traditionally been dominated by men (construction, heavy industry, automobile) have shrunk considerably, so a woman’s earning capacity and career opportunities are more important than ever.
In addition, single and elderly women are in greater danger because they earn less, have to interrupt their careers for child-rearing and they lack the benefits of higher management positions, such as pension and retirement accounts.
This report highlights the need to continue and expand policies and programs that counteract the effects of the recession on women. The White House hopes to continue current initiatives beyond the November election and wants to emphasize that the government needs women voters' support to keep the programs and momentum going.Continued on the next page