Here’s a nice cherry-topper to the news that woman still make 75% of men’s wages. At the New York Times, feminist economist Nancy Folbre analyzes new job growth data released by the National Women’s Law Center, suggesting that the “mancession” may soon have a new name. In short, women have filled fewer than 1 in 10 new positions since a pickup in job growth since 2010 — more accurately, fewer than 5%.
A huge factor in this disparity is that 7 in 10 men lost their jobs from the recession — but if 30% of that population were women, there’s still a pretty decent gap here that’s well worth looking at. Folbre connects this to the fact that women are more concentrated in state and local jobs that are in danger of getting cut:
[W]omen are more concentrated in state and local jobs that are now on the chopping block as a result of efforts to cut taxes and reduce public spending. About 52 percent of state employees and 61 percent of the much larger category of local employees are women – many of them working as teachers, secretaries, or social workers.
Women make up a majority of two important public sector unions, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and the American Federation of Teachers.
The economist Randy Albelda asserts that the conservative attack on public-sector unions resembles the welfare reform discussions of the 1990s, in which recipients of public assistance were labeled greedy, lazy welfare queens.
Bryce Covert at The Nation has much more on this, making it even more clear that we need to look more closely at the gender impact of public budgets. It just pains me (though not surprisingly) that when conservatives do turn their attention away from taking away women’s bodily autonomy and actually pay attention to the economy, it’s on taking away women’s work opportunities — as directly or indirectly as you’d like to see it.