Ok, so things are improving on many fronts when it comes to women in the workforce, but we’re slipping compared to other countries when it comes to female labor force participation.
Since 1990, the U.S. has dropped from 7th to 16th in that category among advanced democracies—that’s in the bottom third. In fact, we’re the only developed country that does not guarantee paid maternity leave.
But with the right policy changes, we can jump back up the leaderboard and help expand opportunity for millions of women. Paid leave and other policies that enable workers to better balance work and family obligations could help boost female labor force participation. One study estimated that U.S. female labor force participation would be 6.8 percentage points higher if the U.S. had implemented a suite of family-friendly policies. (cc Republicans in Congress)
Ok, let’s get back to wages.
The earnings gap between men and women still exists today, but since the 1970’s:
- Women’s hourly earnings have grown more quickly than men’s, following a similar trend to GDP growth.
- Growth in median family income has largely come from increases in women’s earnings, rather than from men’s earnings.
- Earnings for both married and single mothers increased by about 33%.
- Married mothers’ contributions to total family income increased from less than one-third to about 40%.
In other words, women are bringing home more of the bacon, but we still have more work to do to ensure equal pay for equal work.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (via fy-perspectives)