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Women: Low Wages and Part-Time Work Mean Hard Times

August 24, 2014
Plain English Version

women wagesThat women earn less than men is well known. What comes after that makes things even worse.

Low wages make marriage and raising a family very hard. Men with low wages are more reluctant to stay and support a family. That leaves the job to women. They must balance work and raising their children.

Even when men are around, things do not always get better. Studies show that most of the housework and child care still are left to women. The job of managing the family is called the “second shift.”

Paid maternity leave is not the law in the United States. Lower-wage workers cannot afford all the child care they need. Therefore the poorest people have to leave work to care for their children.

When women come back to work, they have lost time and skills. This means they fall further behind men.

That is just part of the problem. Part-time work adds to it.  Men and women who work part-time usually get paid less per hour than full-time workers. Experts are not sure why part-time workers earn less per hour than full-time workers. It may be because part-time workers cost employers more. Fixed costs for all workers are part of the reason.

This reduced hourly part-time pay rate hurts women more than men. Women often have to work part-time because they have to care for families.

There is more. Part-time workers often do not have steady hours. They must be available when needed. Uncertain hours upset the schedules of women more than men.

The best jobs for women juggling schedules are as technicians. Jobs such as clinical lab workers and legal assistants require more training. However, they allow for more flexible work hours.

Sources: The New York Times August 21, 2014

The New York Times August 18, 2014

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