Who Has the Recession Hurt More: Men or Women?

September 3, 2009 | NeW Staff

Every day, the media reports something new about the effects of the economic downturn. The latest?   Women are outpacing men in the labor force.

On the front page of USA Today, in an article titled, “Women Take Over Job Market,” author Dennis Cauchon describes the dramatic impact of the recession for men. While women have lost 1.6 million jobs, men have lost a startling 4.75 million.   In June, this brought the new female share of the nation’s jobs to 49.83%, and many expect women will soon gain a greater hold of workforce in the coming months.

Of course, this is not only a time for feminists to reflect on the gains made by women in American history but also an opportunity to point out the inequality they believe still exists.  The article reports that women only earn 77% of what men make and still hold fewer executive jobs than men do. Heidi Hartmann, the president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, stated,

“The change reflects the growing importance of women as wage earners, but it doesn’t show full equality.”

What Hartmann and other feminists still refuse to acknowledge is that a number of women simply still do not want to pursue the executive track but instead often prefer jobs like nursing and teaching.   As well, feminists neglect to account for something called “maternity leave.” Even if women work and raise a family, the setback from having children still influences the national average.

Certainly women have made gains in the workforce, particularly in recent history, and these gains should be praised. But is this a time to rejoice that men are losing more jobs? Or is it a time for complaining about inequality in light of the greater economic hardships we have currently facing our country? I think not.

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