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Looking Glass News 2-13-09

Posted by Lissa on February 13, 2009

The recession is hard on a lot of families and demographics, but as usual women are being unfairly and disproportionately affected:

The proportion of men who are working has changed very little since the recession started. But a full 82 percent of the job losses have befallen women, who are heavily represented in areas like education and health care [snip].   Men tend to be employed in industries like manufacturing and construction.

“Given how stark and concentrated the job losses are among women, and that men represented a high proportion of the labor force in the beginning of this recession, men are now bearing the burden — or the opportunity, one could say — of being breadwinners,” says Heather Boushey, a senior economist at the Center for American Progress.

Riiiiight. 

In case you can’t tell (or didn’t click the link), I flipped “men” and “women” in that article excerpt (and snipped one mention of women inhabiting less business-cyclical sectors).  If 82 percent of the job losses had affected WOMEN, I’m sure they would have done a dispassionate analysis of the types of job the men were left holding, as well as mentioning that it might be an opportunity for men to attain or maintain their role as breadwinners.

In other news, gravity is now optional.

*Note: It wasn’t a bad article.  I think it made some good points and highlighted some of the options that women tend to take more often than men do — namely, taking lower-risk lower-reward jobs in exchange for having more free time and more stability.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  But if you think that a similarly dispassionate article would have been written if the recession job toll flipped the other way — 82% women laid off to only 18% men — then you are out of your freaking mind.

(h/t from another Corner article)

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3 Responses to “Looking Glass News 2-13-09”

  1. Brad K. said

    Lissa,

    Part of the report touches on the distance between number – fewer women losing their jobs – and the impact – most households affected by men losing their jobs, lose a greater proportion of income (in the first case cited, lost his $150k job while she hangs on with $30k). And, most of those homes also lost health care benefits.

    I found that slipped-in mention that most jobs lost were “union jobs” interesting. As if only union jobs ever came with health benefits. I thought it was the other way around – the unions focused on jobs with benefits to move in on. Of course, union contracts pretty much preclude affected employers from independently providing benefits to union workers.

    Because of the unfair balance of jobs between lower-wage, part time jobs with few benefits for women, the impact of this report on families is still pretty devastating.

    I can’t wait for the Department of Unicorns and Rainbows (DoUR) to redefine poverty as $5k or less per year. Or raise Minimum Wage to $13 an hour. Or redefine “full time” work as 50 hours per week. Maybe they will decide that $30k or more salary are “exempt”, and subject to 50% taxation.

    I also anticipate taking cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana off the “controlled substance” list and start licensing and taxing distributors, manufacturers, and imports. Shut down the DEA and turn the IRS loose – that might actually do some good.

  2. Brad K. said

    Lissa – sorry, what I was getting at, is that even though women are keeping more jobs, many are still losing benefits and disproportionate income loss.

    Brad K.

  3. Lissa said

    Oh, indeed, Brad. If anything, I think the article makes the situation seem far more positive than things really are. Instead of concentrating on how 82% percent of job losses belong to men, and that men make up a higher percentage of primary breadwinners than do women, the author seems almost pleased that mostly men have lost their jobs, not women. And I do think that an article detailing an 82% job loss to women would be presented in a much, much more negative light.

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