The prolonged and deepening recession has not only affected the household budgets of the commons in the US,it may soon challenge the long standing gender roles,with a slight increase in the number of women assuming the place of breadwinners in families.
According to a report in today’s New York Times,a huge 82 per cent of the total job losses have befallen on men leading to a slight rise in the percentage of families supported by women.
The proportion of women who are working has change very little since the recession. But with maximum layoffs concentrated to men,the fairer sex is poised to surpass them in the nation’s payrolls,taking majority for the first time in American history,the report said.
Given how stark and concentrated the job losses are among men,and that women represented a high proportion of the labour force in the beginning of this recession,women are now bearing the burden ¿ or the opportunity,one could say ¿ of being breadwinners, Heather Boushey,a senior economist at the Center for American Progress,is quoted as saying.
The men,the NYT says,are heavily represented in distressed industries like manufacturing and construction.
Women tend to be employed in areas like education and healthcare which are less sensitive to economic ups and down and in jobs that allow more time for child care and other domestic work.
CRISIS-WOMEN 2 LST Economists,the Times said,have predicted before that women would one day dominate the labour force as more ventured outside the home.
The number of women entering the work force slowed and even dipped during the boom years earlier this decade,though,prompting a debate about whether women truly wanted to be both breadwinners and caregivers.
Should the male-dominated layoffs of the current recession continue,the debate will be moot.
As of November,women held 49.1 percent of the nation’s jobs,according to nonfarm payroll data collected by the Bureau of Labour Statistics.
By another measure,including farm workers and the self-employed,women constituted 47.1 per cent of the work force.
Women may be safer in their jobs,but tend to find it harder to support a family. They work fewer overall hours than men,according to the government data.
Also,they are much more likely to be in part-time jobs without health insurance or unemployment insurance. Even in full-time jobs,women earn 80 cents for each dollar of their male counterparts’ income,the data added.
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