Women in the Labor Force:: Some Salient Features

Even while statistics suggest that increasing women’s participation in the labour market to male levels boosts GDP by 21% in Italy, 19% in Spain, 16% in Japan, 9% in America, France and Germany, and 8% in Britain, according to the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Women in the Labor Force: A Databook“, percentage of women in the labor force is decreasing. Only 58.6 percent women in the United States are employed today, compared to 60.0 percent in 1999. Women who worked full time in wage and salary jobs earn $669 weekly, compared to $824 weekly earnings of their male counterparts. Likewise, 27 percent of women are employed part time, compared to 13 percent of men who are employed part time.

Among them, Black women had the biggest unemployment rate at 13.8 percent, followed by Hispanic women at 12.3 percent, White women at 7.7 percent and Asian women at 7.1 percent. Unmarried mothers (never married, divorced, separated, or widowed) are part of the civil labor force in greater numbers (74.9%) than the married mothers (69.7%). Proportions of wives earning more than their husbands have increased from 18% in 1987 to 29 percent now.

In terms of academic progress of women, it is exceedingly noticeable. In 1970, 34 percent of women were high school dropouts, whereas today it is only 7 percent. Only 11 percent of women in the labor force used to have a college degree back in 1970, whereas today that number is 36%. In terms of quality of job, the differences between men and women are staggering. Only 13 percent of architects and engineers in the country are women, whereas 82 percent of women are engaged in elementary and middle school teaching professions.

Since 2008, the union representation of workers in the United States has been on a decline. Today, only 12% of women and 14% of men in the workforce have union memberships.