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Job Segregation Keeps 1 in 4 Working Women in Traditional Care, Serving, and Cleaning Roles with Lowest Pay

December 5, 2016

A new study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and Oxfam America finds that more than one in four employed women in the United States are concentrated in low-wage “women’s work”—such as teaching young children, cleaning, serving, and caring for elders—jobs that are done primarily by women, pay less than $15 per hour, and provide few benefits.

Workers in these female-dominated jobs, who are disproportionately women of color, earn less than men working in jobs with similar requirements for education, skills, stamina, and hours. For instance, maids and housekeepers, who earn $9.94 per hour, are 90 percent female, while janitors, who are mostly men, earn 22 percent more, at $12.13 per hour.