Reviews current data on older women in low-wage jobs, providing policy recommendations for closing the wage gap.
“This analysis focuses on the role of gender in the low-wage workforce, using data on worker characteristics from the Current Population Survey and American Community Survey and data on median hourly wages for occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics. It reveals a stark reality: regardless of their education level, age, marital or parental status, race, ethnicity, or national origin, women make up larger shares of the low-wage workforce than do their male counterparts…. This report also provides a profile of the women who work in low-wage jobs. Nearly half are women of color. Half work full time—and nearly one in five is poor. Nearly one-third are mothers—and 40 percent of mothers in the low-wage workforce have family incomes below $25,000. More than one-quarter of the women working in low-wage jobs are age 50 and older; they make up nearly the same share of the female low-wage workforce as women age 16 to 24.” (p.3). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“An agenda to address the needs of women in low-wage jobs by:” (p.4): • “Increasing economic security through a combination of higher wages—starting with raising the minimum and tipped minimum wages—and other supports, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, affordable health insurance, nutrition and housing assistance, and removing restrictions on women’s access to reproductive health care;” (p.4). • “Supporting workers with family responsibilities by expanding access to child care assistance and early education, curbing abusive scheduling practices, and ensuring paid sick days and paid family leave;” (p.4). • “Removing barriers to opportunity by strengthening and enforcing protections against all forms of employment discrimination and providing a path to citizenship for immigrants who are particularly vulnerable to discrimination;” (p.4). • “Pregnant and parenting students and increasing student-parents’ access to child care, and expanding women’s access to higher-paying, nontraditional fields;” (p.4). • “Strengthening opportunities for collective action, including supporting organizing and collective bargaining through traditional unions and collective action by new worker justice organizations” (p.4). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)