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REPORT: Women Workers Still Undervalued by State and Workforce Policies

March 16, 2015

Women continue to be systematically undervalued in the U.S. labor market due to obsolete regulations and workplace practices, a report by the National Women’s Law Center argues.

“Our nation’s public policies and workplace practices too often are based on outdated assumptions about who works, who stays home, and the supports necessary to make sure families are economically secure,” the report, entitled Moving Women & Families Forward, says.

The report presents 17 ways for states to better recognize the value of women workers. Those strategies include:

  • Raising the minimum wage
  • Expanding Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act
  • Holding employers accountable for violating the Equal Pay Act
  • Improving access to higher education for low-income women
  • Reversing policies that have weakened labor unions

The direct-care workforce, which is nearly 90 percent women, would benefit from each of those policies, PHI data shows.

The average direct-care worker earns just $17,000 a year, 30 percent lack health insurance, and turnover among the workforce is high due to a lack of career-advancement opportunities.

The report notes that the 2014 Supreme Court decision Harris v. Quinn has “limited the rights of home care workers to organize.”

— by Matthew Ozga

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