Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Building on Employment and Wage Gains for Working-Class Women Requires Ongoing Federal Investments
Press Release

RELEASE: Building on Employment and Wage Gains for Working-Class Women Requires Ongoing Federal Investments

Washington, D.C. — The Biden administration’s once-in-a-generation economic investments and proposed expanded investments in the care economy offer an opportunity to address barriers and improve employment outcomes for working-class women. A new Center for American Progress report analyzes the current state of working-class women, what challenges they continue to face, and the need for ongoing federal investment.

While employment of working-class women is rebounding after hitting pandemic lows in spring 2020, working-class women still face long-standing obstacles that hinder their economic advancement. This CAP analysis examines how gender wage gaps, occupational segregation, and caregiving responsibilities continue to be challenges for working-class women and provides recommendations for how to overcome these barriers. Some of the findings from the report include:

  • Employment rates for working-class women under age 40 have rebounded back to pre-pandemic levels.
  • In the past two years, working-class women have experienced faster wage growth than most men with similar educational attainment as well as women and men with four-year college degrees.
  • If working-class women of prime working age had labor force participation rates comparable to those of women with four-year college degrees, there would have been 5.3 million more women in the labor market in 2022.
  • More than 1 in 3 working-class mothers were either out of the labor force or working part time because of child care or family responsibilities in 2022.

“Too many working-class women continue to be held back by structural inequities that interfere with their ability to obtain quality jobs, fair compensation, and equitable treatment at work,” said Beth Almeida, senior fellow for the Women’s Initiative at CAP and author of the report. “The recent economic investment legislation offers a chance for working-class women to access high-quality jobs with stable career prospects. But new investments will be needed to knock down barriers for working-class women in the labor market once and for all.”

Read the report: “Building on Employment and Wage Gains for Working-Class Women Requires Ongoing Federal Investments” by Beth Almeida

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Sarah Nadeau at [email protected].

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