Sixty percent of women’s job gains since the recovery period began in 2009 have been in low-wage occupations, according to a new analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). This represents a big shift, as these jobs employed less than 15 percent of all working women in 2009.
In contrast, just 20 percent of the jobs men have added since the recovery have been in these low-pay jobs.
In general, the report notes, women make up a large share of the low-wage workforce. They dominate the top 10 low-wage jobs: childcare workers, housekeepers, home health and personal care aides, cashiers, waiters and waitresses, food servers, food prep workers, bartenders, and hand packagers.
Women’s overrepresentation in low-pay jobs is why raising the minimum wage would have a significant impact on them. Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage earners are women, an 13.1 million would be impacted by raising the minimum wage.
A failure to raise wages as the bottom is also an important piece of the gender wage gap, which currently means women make just 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. A previous study from the NWLC found that the states have a higher minimum wage also have a lower wage gap.
But Wednesday marked four years since the last time the minimum wage was raised, and its purchasing power is more than three dollars lower than it would have been if it had kept with inflation. While President Obama has proposed raising it to $9 an hour and Congressional Democrats proposed an increase to $10.10, some Republicans have gone in the other direction, saying that it should be gotten rid of altogether.