Maybe you think that gender inequality is a thing of the past — or soon will be — because women are outpacing men in educational achievement.
Despite holding better educational credentials than ever before, women make up two-thirds of the workers in low-wage jobs — jobs that typically pay $10.10 per hour or less. For men, it takes only a high school degree to avoid being overrepresented in low-wage jobs. But for women, it takes a bachelor's degree.
Those are just some of the startling findings in the National Women's Law Center's new report, Underpaid & Overloaded: Women in Low-Wage Jobs. The report takes an in-depth look at women and men in the low-wage workforce, in positions such as home health aides, child care workers, fast-food workers, restaurant servers, maids, and cashiers. We found that regardless of their education level, age, marital or parental status, race, ethnicity, or national origin, women represent a disproportionate share of the low-wage workforce.
For example, federal employment data indicate that women with some college or an associate's degree make up twice as large a share of the low-wage workforce as their male counterparts (22 percent versus 10 percent). Women age 50 and older make up more than three times as large a share of the low-wage workforce as their male counterparts (17 percent versus 5 percent). Mothers make up three and a half times as large a share of the low-wage workforce as fathers (21 percent versus 6 percent). Here's how we know this is a gender-related economic problem: In each of these groups, women make up a similar or smaller share of the workforce than men.