BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Posted by espressodog on December 11, 2009

When they are not talking about health care reform, Afghanistan or climate change, policymakers are talking about jobs. Although recent news is better – the unemployment rate dropped from 10.2% to 10% in November – this has been the worst recession in terms of job loss since World War II.

Some of the hardest-hit groups are teenagers, people of color, those with a high school education or less and unmarried women. Unmarried women represent less than half of all women workers, but they represent 60 percent of unemployed women.  Unmarried women who head families, now have an unemployment rate of 12.6 percent.

Last week, President Obama hosted a Jobs Summit and has proposed more tax cuts for small business, investing in roads, bridges and infrastructure, and creating jobs through energy efficiency and clean energy investments. The president noted that even though the economy is now growing, the pace of growth does not look like it will be high enough to put the 15.4 million unemployed workers back on the job. Congress is expected to take action on a Jobs Bill sometime in early 2010.

The federal government has three main job creation tools at its disposal — government spending on goods and services, changes in taxes and hiring labor directly. Experts and policymakers have proposed numerous strategies to create and retain jobs such as tax credits, public service employment and the expansion of work-sharing/short-time compensation. Tax incentives directed at employers including tax cuts on business profits and investments were all already instituted as part of the Recovery Act. The Administration is now proposing tax incentives to encourage firms to hire new workers.

Policymakers are also focusing on promoting green jobs as a part of the overall recovery agenda. Despite the struggling economy, employers in several industries are facing severe shortage of skilled workers including information technology and renewable energy – industries which are considered non-traditional for women.

Women continue to make inroads into non-traditional occupations. As more women enter jobs that were once dominated by men, many jobs that were defined as non-traditional for women in 1988 are no longer non-traditional in 2008, including  chemist, physician, lawyer, and bailiff.

BPW Foundation strives to increase the number of women in better-paying, non-traditional fields and ensure that careers of the future are pursued equally by all genders. The Moving from Red to Green: Working Women in the Green Economy pilot project is ensuring that women are recruited, trained and retained in the sustainable jobs of the future.

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