Gender Equality . . . In the number of unemployed

Women and men are leaving the workforce at an equal pace. A new study shows that there is no gender inequality in at least one area of today’s workforce–how many are leaving it.  Men and women are leaving the workforce for the same economic reasons: job elimination; salary reduction; or lack of equivalent work.  j0409268

The gender differences appear after an employee leaves the workplace.  Women “stay home with the kids” but men are simply “unemployed.”  Women are more inclined than men to say that they have dropped out of the workforce to run the household or stay home to raise children.

As reported by the N.Y. Times, in Women Are Now Equal as Victims of Poor Economy, if pushed from the workforce because of economic factors, women are less likely to return to work.  According to Lawrence Katz, a labor economist at Harvard, wage stagnation causes them to stay away.  The median pay for women in the 25-to-54 age group has fallen by 20 cents in the past three years, bringing women’s pay in at just about $2.00 less than men. 

The industry most affected is manufacturing, a sector where women could earn good wages without the educational or professional backgrounds required for equal-paying jobs as knowledge workers.  But women who have been removed from the manufacturing industry–whether by choice or by market changes–will likely face difficulty if they try to return.  Technology advances have caused the manufacturing job segment to shrink, affecting both genders. And the pay has continued to decline.  Women may have to consider retraining to work in other sectors of the economy if they desire to return to to the workplace in the future.