Generally speaking, 2020 proved to be a benchmark year for women in the workforce as females held the majority of jobs for the first time in nearly a decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women held 50.04 percent of American jobs as of December 2020, excluding the self-employed and migrant workers, which has increased almost 1 percent from the previous year.
Specifically, two sectors that experienced significant employment gains: retail and health care. Both employ many females and are propelled by the demand generated from economically-empowered buyers who happen to be women. As such, ladies have gained more control over consumer spending in American households and entered the workforce in droves over the last 100 years. This has, in turn, helped to bolster the rise of the service sector, which includes the education, retail, and healthcare industries, all of which employ a large portion of female workers.
As a result, service-oriented occupations, such as home health care, food preparation, retail, hospitality, and daycare, have grown exponentially and created a plethora of job opportunities for women. Despite this momentum, however, there are workplace and societal hindrances that continue to limit both genders. Here are two issues we’ve seen regarding women at work in 2020.
Women Are Employed But Many Are Underpaid
While the majority of the workforce is female-centric as of 2020, the struggle for equal wages and gender parity remains a slow progression. This is particularly true of corporate and senior management positions where minority women remained dramatically underrepresented. Historically, these positions have been male-dominated, but the tide is turning, and more opportunities for females are emerging.
Women May Seek Flexible Work Schedule to Accommodate Other Obligations
A significant hurdle to equal compensation and career progression for many females lies in a need for a more relaxed or flexible work schedule. This desire may stem from various circumstances, such as health concerns, physical limitations, career transitioning, or family obligations. In many cases, both women and men with children, or those caring for other family members, may require a more flexible work schedule. Moreover, they may also opt to work part-time. By doing so, they can reduce their need for childcare and attend to their other obligations while still generating an income. Furthermore, they can also maintain a presence in the workforce.
Alas, while women at work in 2020 proved to be an emerging force, the struggle for pay parity and gender equality in the workplace is far from over. The progression is slow, but change is happening, and the future looks promising.