Women’s Share of Jobs Slipping

In October 2009, Male unemployment peaked at 11.4 percent where women held a record 49.96 percent of the jobs. Ms. Magazine reported that month, “Women are about to become the majority of the nation’s paid workers.” Actually October turned out to be the high point for women and their job share has been slipping ever since, as male-dominated industries like manufacturing recovered and female-dominated ones like education were cut as cash-strapped states slashed budgets. Women may need something more, like a new generation of workers. Although women make up half the attendance of law schools and graduate from college at higher rates than men do, they account for only 18 percent of partners in private law practice and 3 percent of Fortune 500 executives. Despite higher levels of education, women graduates routinely enter the workforce at a lower pay grade than male peers. Last year, women’s median full-time earnings were $36,278, compared with $47,127 for men.

Not everyone thinks women are poised to become a majority in the workforce. The Labor Department projects that they will account for 46.9 percent of the labor force by 2018. Even if women become the majority of the US workforce, other challenges remain such as raising a family. What really matters more what kind of jobs women have access to and how they can progress in those jobs over time.” The so-called Millennials (under age 29) could be a linchpin of change. Young women’s desire to advance and have high-powered careers is now equal to that of men, regardless of the woman’s parenting status, according to a 2008 study by the Families and Work Institute, a New York research organization. As women seek higher-powered careers, they’re more apt to become better negotiators of higher salaries. In addition, young men, particularly those raised by working mothers, are more likely to believe women can work and be good mothers at the same time. Male Millennials now spend more time engaged in home- and child-care tasks than their fathers did.

Thanks to the Christian Science Monitor for this information.

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