While men represented the majority of job losses during the recession, IWPR’s research shows that single mothers were almost twice as likely as married men to be unemployed. IWPR’s briefing paper, “Women and Men’s Employment and Unemployment in the Great Recession,” examines how the “Great Recession” was an equal opportunity disemployer, doubling nearly every demographic group’s unemployment rate. In many families, women increasingly became the primary breadwinner, but they still spent more time in unpaid household labor than men. This imbalance of effort at home persists whether men are employed or not.
In the briefing paper, “Women in Poverty During the Great Recession,” IWPR shows that the numbers of single mothers in poverty receiving TANF assistance varies in the states. In Louisiana, only four percent of single mothers in poverty have TANF assistance. While Washington, DC, is the jurisdiction where impoverished mothers have the best access to this program, still only 40 percent receive any cash assistance through TANF.
More than one-quarter of the students at community colleges have children, yet the supply of child care on campus does not meet the current needs of students. For many student parents, community college is an avenue to better jobs that allow them to support their families. As part of IWPR’s current project on post-secondary education, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IWPR released a fact sheet in June, “Child Care Support for Student Parents in Community College Is Crucial to Success, but Supply and Funding Are Inadequate,” which noted that the proportion of community colleges providing on-campus care for the children of students decreased between 2001 and 2008, despite the great need.
Reversing the progress made by earlier cohorts of young women entering the labor market, younger women today are now less likely to work in traditionally male and integrated occupations, which tend to pay better than traditionally female occupations. When told that traditionally male occupations pay more, women receiving workforce training said they would choose the higher paying job. IWPR’s annual fact sheet, “The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation,” one of two released in 2010 addressing occupational segregation, shows that women earn less than men in all but four of 108 occupational categories including in occupations—such as nursing and teaching—where women represent the majority of workers.
IWPR’s new study shows that, while 69 percent of likely voters—including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—endorse laws to provide paid sick days, two-fifths of all private sector workers lack this benefit. IWPR’s fact sheet, “Paid Sick Days Can Help Contain Health Care Costs,” shows that preventing workplace contagion of communicable diseases—such as influenza or H1N1—by providing paid sick days will save employers and the US economy millions of dollars.