New Study Shows Most Low-Wage Workers Are Women

"The gender segregation of the workforce ... has meant, in general, that women are concentrated in jobs that pay lower wages.”

By Eric Shorey

Low-wage workers have been striving for better treatment and better pay under Barack Obama's administration, but it's looking like a lot of their efforts will be trounced by Donald Trump. With all the disussions about people working at minimum wage (or below!) it's worth wondering: who are these workers anyway? Turns out, most of them are women.

A new study by Oxfam and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research essentially concluded that women make up most of the workforce who are paid the least. Unsurprisingly, women of color and foreign women are disproportionately represented in this group. The study also predicts this pattern will continue — and probably worsen — in the near future.

“Millions of people in the US work in jobs that offer few rewards and demand a great deal. These jobs pay low wages, provide scant benefits, impose irregular hours, and take a toll on physical and emotional health,” reads the report. “Most of these workers are women. The gender segregation of the workforce (in the US and globally) has meant, in general, that women are concentrated in jobs that pay lower wages.”

The study considers those who work for less than $15 an hour to be "low wage." 43 percent of the women in these jobs are below the poverty line.

The scariest part of the study is that predictions about the future of these low wage workers are looking rather grim. The researchers reccommend a raise in minimum wage, which is currently stuck at $7.25 per hour, as a reasonable measure to help fix to the situation. Donald Trump has made numerous completely contradictory statements about this, but many Republicans in power are firmly agaisnt the idea

Similarly dark: the study proclaims that “low-wage women’s jobs will increase at one and a half times the rate of all other jobs” over the next decade and “even more women will be faced with the need to take jobs that undervalue their education and skills, undercompensate their contributions, and exact heavy physical and emotional costs.”

So much for those who say the gender pay gap isn't real.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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