New IWPR Briefing Paper Finds Women's Unemployment, Economic Insecurity, and Poverty at Historic Hig

The Institute for Women's Policy Research released a comprehensive, 67-page Briefing Paper, entitled Women and Men's Employment and Unemployment in the Great Recession. Based on analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, the Briefing Paper finds many families are relying on women's earnings when men are unemployed and that unemployed men and women are experiencing an average of 29 weeks of unemployment before finding a new job.

The Briefing Paper, authored by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Ashley English, and Jeffrey Hayes, Ph.D., researchers at IWPR, is available on the IWPR website here: www.iwpr.org/pdf/C373womeninrecession.pdf.

Big Gender Wage Gap Found After Federally Funded Training

A new Briefing Paper, The Workforce Investment Act and Women's Progress: Does WIA Funded Training Reinforce Sex Segregation in the Labor Market and the Gender Wage Gap?, released by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, shows that federally funded training may reinforce sex segregation and the gender wage gap.

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is likely to come up for reauthorization this Congress. The Briefing Paper finds, based on data from the WIASRD Data Book, that:

  • Women on average earn $1500 to $2000 less per quarter than men after federally funded career counseling or training. After completing services, women earn 79.5 percent of what men earn among adult participants and 74.1 percent of what men can earn among dislocated workers.
  • The wage gap is not due to less training: on average women received more weeks of WIA-funded training than men.
  • Fewer than 3 percent of WIA exiters received training for non-traditional occupations, occupations where the opposite sex accounts for at least 75 percent of workers.

WIA includes 'self-sufficiency' as a stated objective of training services. Unless greater attention is paid to the causes of the gender earnings gap after WIA services, that goal will remain elusive for many women and their families.