The role of women has gone through drastic changes in the United States in the past few decades as more women are taking over new jobs and responsibilities outside the house by engaging in paid workforce. In the previous years, women made up a paltry one-third of the workforce, but today they make up nearly 50 per cent of all the workers in the United States (Brown, Irby & Jackson, 2012). Additionally, women have stepped up to take leadership positions in the country as more women are seeking elective positions and the high number of women serving in the Congress. Apart from making progress on issues related to leadership and employment, their progress in healthcare issues have impacted on their well-being thus can secure economic security. This paper is going to discuss the economic status of women in the United States with regard to their wages, labor force participation, earnings, and their involvement in professional or managerial occupations.
Women in the United States have improved their earnings in nearly all the states because they are working full-time, all year round coupled with the fact that women have increased their participation in the labor force (Henrickson & OConnell, 2012). This has indicated that the roles of women are changing and more women are getting employed. In some states, there has been a marked increase in the average earning among women. For example, women in states such as District of Columbia earn $65,000 annually while women in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Connecticut take home approximately $50,000 per year. These states represent the bests states that employ and compensate women. Additionally, other states have realized an improvement in the earning among women with South Dakota seeing the greatest improvement. This was boosted mainly by the sharp rise in the number of women who are employed in managerial or professional positions. On the contrary, women in states such as Mississippi, Arkansas, Idaho, west and Montana are worst states in earnings and employment as they pay women between $31,300 and $33,000 annually. These earnings present challenges for women because many families rely on women's earnings to realize economic stability and security.
Despite the high earnings by women in some states, there is a wide gap comparative to men and race. For instance, Brown, Irby and Jackson (2012) argue that women work full time, but their earnings are not equal because for every dollar a man earns, women earn 77 cents. Furthermore, women in states such as Montana, Utah, and Louisiana face the widest gaps and low earning rations with 70.2 per cent, 70 per cent, and 69 per cent of the men's earnings respectively. Women in other states enjoy a narrower wage gap and higher earnings ratios as compared with women in other states. For instance, women in Florida, New York, and California earn 8725 per cent, 89.6 per cent, and 90 per cent of men's earnings (Black, Schanzenbach & Breitwieser, 2017). Comparing the gains among women in every state also gives a wide wage gap. In Vermont, women make 85 cents while women in Wyoming take home a paltry 64 cents for each dollar earned by a man.
Additionally, college-educated women realize a pay gap which starts immediately after they enter the workforce. Brown, Irby and Jackson (2012) posit that after one year in employment, women with bachelor's degrees earn 80 per cent of their male counterparts earn and this drops swiftly to nearly 69 per cent after ten years in gaining employment. Also, women in positions of management in the workforce encounter similar problems. The wage gap among women is evident as they earn 81 cents for every dollar a man earns (Brown, Irby & Jackson, 2012). This wage gap affects women of all ages, and this has a ripple effect on their families. Furthermore, inequality exists among women themselves because of race. Despite being the breadwinners for their families or sharing this role with their spouses and partners, women earn less than men. For example, African-American women are paid 64 cents for every dollar made by a white male while Hispanic women experience a lower amount of 58 cents as compared to Hispanic men who earn 68 cents per dollar earned by white men (Brown, Irby & Jackson, 2012).
Women in the United States have made substantial progress in labor market participation because a majority of those aged between above 16 years are either actively looking for work or are working. The families of these women have benefited since the income has increased thus can meet the basic needs. Despite the increase in labor participation among women, some states have recorded a low number of women who are engaged in meaningful unemployment. Webster (2010) notes that states such as Minnesota, North Dakota, and District of Columbia have recorded the highest number of women in the American labor force. On the contrary, Black, Schanzenbach & Breitwieser (2017) argue that some women do not look for jobs because of improved educational attainment hence are less attached to the labor market. This is a different occurrence in states such as Mississippi, Alabama, and West Virginia. These states have realized low labor force participation among women as only half of the population are employed. These states also pay female workers poorly and employment policies that do not favor women (Caiazza, 2002).
Lastly, there exists a gender difference across occupations because a small number of women in the United States are employed in managerial or professional occupations. These occupations include management that requires one to have a college degree. A marked increase has beeb relized in women in managerial or professional occupations which gave women opportunities for high compensations despite them earning less than men (Reeves, 2010). The states that have high shares of women employed in managerial or professional occupations include Maryland, Massachusetts, and District of Columbia while Hawaii, Idaho, and Nevada having the least number of women in such positions. Furthermore, employment patterns, including career interruptions and the types of industry influence the gender differences in occupations. For instance, women are employed in lower paying occupations such as healthcare, education, office, and administrative support occupations, which have a hinders the economic security among women. Women who are hired in these jobs are paid less than men. Also, women work part-time or temporarily exit the labor workforce to raise children thus earns lower as compared to men.
In conclusion, a wide gap between the earnings of men and women in various areas in the United States exist. Women are increasingly participating in the workforce in most states despite the disparity in their earnings as compared to men. Also, women are gaining ground in managerial and professional occupations despite the low compensation as compared to men. The states where women earn a reasonable amount of money per year include District of Columbia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Connecticut where compensation ranges between $50,000 and $65,000. On the other hand, Mississippi, Arkansas, Idaho, west and Montana are worst states in earnings and employment as women earn $31,300 and $33,000 annually.
Black, S. E., Schanzenbach, D. W., & Breitwieser, A. (2017). The Recent Decline in Women's Labor Force Participation. Driving Growth through Women's Economic Participation, 5.
Brown, G. H., Irby, B., & Jackson, S. A. (Eds.). (2012). Women leaders: Advancing Careers. IAP.
Caiazza, A. B. (Ed.). (2002). The Status of Women in West Virginia: Politics, Economics, Health, Rights, Demographics. Institute for Women's Policy Research.
Henrickson, J., & OConnell, L. (2012). Investing in Women for Americas Economic Benefit. New York: Nova Science.
Reeves, M. (2010). Women in Business: Theory, case studies, and legal challenges. Routledge.
Webster, B. H. (2010). Income, Earnings, And Poverty Data from The 2005 American Community Survey. DIANE Publishing.
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