Women Are Back On The Job

women back at work

By Tami Luhby


NEW YORK -- Women are finding their way back into the workforce.

The economic upswing had until recently been a "hecovery," but the revival is now becoming more balanced between the genders. The number of women employees has jumped by 300,000 in the past six months, nearly the same amount as men. And in September, men and women each saw a job gain of 57,000.

"The recovery has definitely picked up for women in the last year," said Joan Entmacher, vice president of family economic security at the National Women's Law Center.

Women's financial well-being over the past four years is a hot topic in this year's election, as President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney each court their vote.

In Tuesday's debate, Obama hailed his signing of the Lilly Ledbetter law, which lengthened the time in which women could sue employers for pay discrimination. Romney, meanwhile, attacked the president's economic record by saying that 580,000 women have lost jobs and 3.5 million more women fell into poverty in the past four years.

Romney would have been right about the jobs figures had it still been spring. Women were hit hard by job losses in the public sector -- particularly in schools -- which accelerated in 2011 after stimulus funds ran out. Governments continued to shed jobs well after the private sector started reviving, delaying women's recovery since they make up 59 percent of the state and local workforce.

And as governments looked to tighten their financial belts, they reduced funding for job support initiatives -- particularly subsidized child care programs that allow poor women to seek and retain jobs.

More: Obama vs. Romney: Who Is Better For Women?

But governments have finally begun to stem job losses over the past year. Local school districts added 79,000 jobs between July and September, the strongest summer hiring since 2006.

At this point, women have recovered 32 percent of the jobs lost in the recession, while men have gained back 43 percent, according to Entmacher.

Women are also benefiting from gains in education and health services in the private sector, Entmacher said, as well as professional and business services, which include temp jobs. For roughly every one job lost in the public sector, women have gained three in the private industry since June 2009.

When it comes to wages, women have actually done better than men in recent years. Women collected $684 in median weekly earnings last year, up from $667 in 2008, said Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women's Policy Research. Men's wages, meanwhile, remained stagnant at around $834.

This could be because women's employment has increased greatly in higher-wage industries like health care, she said. On the flip side, men have lost good paying jobs in manufacturing and construction, which haven't recovered. Also, women are becoming more educated, which often translates into higher wages.

More: Is Long Paternity Leave A Good Idea?

Romney was more accurate about the poverty figures. There were 25.7 million women in poverty in 2011, up from 22.1 million in 2008, according to Census Bureau data. The share of women in poverty has held even at 56 percent since the overall number of poor Americans jumped as well.

Women's fortunes, however, could soon take another turn for the worse, Entmacher said. If looming federal budget cuts become a reality, women could get slammed by a new round of government downsizing and reduced funding to child care programs.

"The real risk going forward are these public sector job cuts and [the loss] of job supports that have helped poor women," Entmacher said.

Obama, Romney Clash Over Women's Issues in Debate



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23 Comments

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Lisa

More AOL propaganda. Not only are women suffering in the job market but at the grocery store and gas pumps as well.

October 21 2012 at 8:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lifehub

Don't let AOL pull the wool over your eyes folks. NY is suffering bad---and there is no 'recovery' here or anywhere else in the nation. It's a rare breed that goes back to work.

October 21 2012 at 5:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ectullis

What recovery?

October 21 2012 at 1:49 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ectullis's comment
lifehub

Ditto.

October 21 2012 at 5:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
raydelv

The work force for women in this recession is down over 500,000, jobs. Even if the job market looks good for women, it’s because (not trying to be bias) women are still underpaid than men. It’s more economical sense for a company to hire a woman over a man.

October 21 2012 at 12:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hauntedemail

Want real news and not fantasy? infowars.com

October 20 2012 at 10:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
hauntedemail

RECOVERY = Great Depression II
Mainstream Media = Bought And Paid For Pathological Liars who think we are retards.

October 20 2012 at 10:38 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
susie

Obama if for us women and you had better be voting for your President. Romney will not even sign the lilly ledbetter bill, he wants women to wear a ball and chain around their ankles. You know whose is looking out for you so go vote and vote OBAMA.

October 20 2012 at 6:33 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to susie's comment
lklex

AOL: Always lamenting the perceived "plight" of women; never recognizing the real plight of men. After all male Americans: are more likely to die young from cancer and heart disease; have a significantly shorter life expectancy; account for 92% of workplace fatalities; are more likely to be homeless; have less access to healthcare; are more likely to be victims of suicide and homicide; are more likely to drop out of high school; and, are less likely to be enrolled in college.

October 20 2012 at 3:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lklex's comment
lifehub

To top it all off, AOL is grossly insincere about it all. They couldn't care less about anyone's plight.

October 21 2012 at 5:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lklex

AOL: Always lamenting the perceived "plight" of women; never recognizing the real plight of men. After all male Americans: are more likely to die young from cancer and heart disease; have a significantly shorter life expectancy; account for 92% of workplace fatalities; are more likely to be homeless; have less access to healthcare; are more likely to be victims of suicide and homicide; are more likely to drop out of high school; and, are less likely to be enrolled in college.

October 20 2012 at 3:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Escalonz

"The recovery has definitely picked up ......................................What recovery? You mean the low paying jobs? More liberal media's tricks to help Obama's re election. Unbelievable that a journalist would write such crap.

October 20 2012 at 2:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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