Low-Wage Women and the Great Recession

Awarded Scholars:
Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Jeffery Hayes, Institute for Women's Policy Research
Robert Drago, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Project Date:
Feb 2012
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
The Social and Economic Effects of the Great Recession

In the early part of the Great Recession, men became unemployed at higher rates than women, which lead to a substantial focus on the impact of the recession on men and terms like “the great mancession.” This focus on men’s unemployment overshadowed the fact that during the recession women continued to earn less than men and remained more likely to fall into poverty. Heidi Hartmann, Robert Drago and Jeffery Hayes from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research will examine the economic difficulties faced by women, particularly those in low-wage jobs, during the Great Recession.

Hartmann, Drago and Hayes will use data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) from 2004 and 2008, which includes information on household characteristics, labor market participation, sources of income and participation in social safety net programs. The 2008 panel, which contains information through August 2010, will allow the researchers to examine how low wage women fared during the depth of the recession and its immediate aftermath. This information will be compared with data from the 2004 panel, which took place during a period of normal economic growth. Low-wage women are defined as those whose earnings are less than a poverty wage for a family of four.


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