Workforce News: When it helps to be underpaid, underemployed

Apparently, men are losing their jobs more than women are during this “economic downturn.”

Not surprising, really – because most of the jobs lost have been in the construction and manufacturing sectors, which are mostly populated by men.

The USA Today article notes that

Women are more likely to work part time than men, perhaps making them less vulnerable. Approximately 25% of women work part time vs. 12% of men, Mission Residential chief economist Richard Moody says.”When employers are actively cutting hours for the workers they do keep, it could be that those already working part time have a bit more security … as they are not likely to be receiving benefits and in general, are likely to cost employers less than full-time workers,” he says.

It’s great to know there’s an upside to being the underdogs in the workforce, isn’t it?

Now, the NPR story did wonder if, as women become the primary breadwinners of US households, if employers will start offering more childcare/eldercare benefits – and if the equal pay cause will get a boost.

I doubt it. Not to be bitter, but it doesn’t look promising. If the reason women are more employed now is because they make up the majority of teachers, nurses, health aides, secretaries, housecleaners, daycare providers, etc., it’s not exactly like they’re in some power position to broker additional perks.

And those of us who are not in a two-parent household, while we may have that part-time job, well, while that’s better than not being employed at all (maybe?), not having benefits or the wages of a full-time job may push us or keep us hovering around the poverty line – and stressed out.

And, isn’t it funny?

– That women are still the primary caregivers for children and the elderly – when are men going to fully engage in this? Until they do, I don’t see employers adapting policies to help with either –

– We still have such gender-segmented workforce populations? Will that ever shift? Will the guys down in IT ever get more than one geeky girl? Will the construction crew ever feature a host of buff women? Our stereotypes are so intimately tied to the jobs we do – still…

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2 Responses to Workforce News: When it helps to be underpaid, underemployed

  1. bradinathan says:

    Very true. We also have to remember that there are more men in the workforce period. So, naturally there will be more men laid off than women.

    Part-time clearly offers moms more benefits than ever!

  2. Mary Beth says:

    I see so much gender-based behavior playing our in this description. Women bend with the forces of nature, and do whatever it takes to keep the family safe and alive. Caretaking, self sacrifice, maintaining a strategic long term vision…..
    …….Not necessarily bad behaviors, but how do we find ourselves in a culture that IS so gender-based, so dependent on the binary system of what men do and what women do?
    …….What if we had more freedom to act in ways that suited our unique personalities, strengths and attributes? What if more women said “Fuck it” and took unemployment until they got another gold star job? What if more men took on moderately paying part-time jobs to create a more family-friendly lifestyle? What if we described people’s decisions based on factors such as their early life experiences, the values taught in their families of origin, their lens into the world? What if we described gender on a spectrum? Wouldn’t this throw things into a tailspin! Mmmmm-hmm.

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