Wisconsin Women Twice as Likely as Men to Hold a Low-Wage Job
Women are vastly-overrepresented in jobs that pay low wages, in Wisconsin and across the country, according to a new report from the National Women’s Law Center.
Women’s educational attainment and work experience have increased dramatically in recent decades, but they are still far more likely than men to work at low-wage jobs, which are defined in the report as jobs that pay $10.10 an hour or less. In Wisconsin, 1 in 5 women work in low-wage jobs – adding up to nearly a quarter of a million workers. In contrast, only about 1 in 12 men in Wisconsin work in low wage jobs. Put another way, Wisconsin women are 2.3 times as likely as Wisconsin men to work for low wages.
Many women who work in low-wage jobs are parents, according to the report. Nearly one-third of women nationally who work at low-wage jobs are mothers, and nearly half of these mothers are single.
Women are more likely than men to have low-wage jobs, but even in jobs that pay $10.10 an hour or less, women earn less than men. Women working full-time, year round in low-wage jobs can expect to earn just 87¢ for every dollar earned by their male counterparts in the low-wage workforce.
Policymakers can take a number of steps to improve the economic well-being of low-wage workers in general and especially women in low-wage jobs, according to the report. Potential actions include:
- Raising the minimum wage. Boosting the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would give a raise to 333,000 women in Wisconsin and would raise the family incomes of 234,000 children in our state.
- Protecting and improving tax credits that help parents lift their families out of poverty. State lawmakers cut an important tax credit for working families in 2011, which has resulted in these families paying $114 million more in taxes over the last four years.
- Access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance.