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Women Continue to Lose Jobs in the Public Sector

In the current economic recovery, a job gap exists between women and men.

A new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), finds that women employees lost 81 percent (473,000) of the 581,000 jobs lost in the public sector since December 2008.
Sep 09, 2011


Washington, DC– Many of these jobs were lost at the local and state level where women in the public sector are most likely to be employed as elementary and middle school teachers.

At the local level between December 2008 and July 2011, the number of women in public sector employment  decreased by 4.7 percent while the number of men  decreased by only 1.6 percent. At the federal level in the same period, women employees saw a decrease of 3.2 percent in their ranks while the number of men employed actually increased by 5.3 percent, possibly due to increased employment in areas such as homeland security and civilian employment in the Department of Defense.

Women employed at the local level in the public sector are most likely to be elementary and middle school teachers, teacher assistants, secondary school teachers, and secretaries and administrative assistants. Men employed at the local government level are more likely to be police and sheriff’s patrol officers, elementary and middle school teachers, secondary school teachers, janitors, and firefighters.

Due to the recession and the dwindling of economic stimulus funding, state and local government budgets have decreased, resulting in layoffs. While the private sector gained 17,000 jobs in August, the public sector lost an equal number resulting in a zero jobs gains last month.

“The American Jobs Act proposed by President Obama will ensure investment in the country’s infrastructure and education,” said Jeffrey Hayes, senior researcher at IWPR. “The boost in funding will help women employees in the public sector, in turn allowing them to invest in their families, their communities, and in the economy overall.”

The President's proposal includes a $30 billion investment in education to prevent the layoffs of up to 280,000 teachers while keeping more law enforcement officials and firefighters on the job. By allowing  districts to use the money for longer school days or years and to support after school activities, working parents might benefit from knowing their children are being cared for in a safe and instructive environment.

The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies. IWPR is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the women's studies and public policy programs at The George Washington University.



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