America is inching towards recovery from the Great Recession. Women, however, aren't benefiting from it, a recent study by the the Pew Research Center reported. But why?
According to the findings, from the end of the recession in 2009 through May of 2011, men gained 768,000 jobs and lowered their unemployment rate to 9.5%, while women lost 218,000 and raised their unemployment rate by 0.2%.
That's a complete 180 from the employment trends during the recession itself, when men accounted for 5.4 million of the 7.5 million (or about 71%) jobs lost from the U.S. economy in total.
Dr. Linda Brodsky, MD and president of Expediting the Inevitable, an organization dedicated to revolutionizing the growth potential of the healthcare marketplace by better engaging women physicians, thinks it might have something to do with men still being perceived as the "chief breadwinners" of a household.
"A woman physician in my office had four children, one disabled, and was ready to back to work full time," she told the Huffington Post. "When she interviewed they said 'you're very qualified but your husband has a good job and there might be men who need this job more to support their families.''"
However, Brodsky was quick note the possibility of other causes.
"Since women lost fewer jobs during the recession, the results might be that men just have more jobs that they need to get back," she said.
The study overview makes it clear that there is no ready explanation for why the economic recovery has favored men, only that men have "most notably" made stronger advances than women in certain sectors. For example, women lost about 433,000 jobs in manufacturing, retail, trade and finance during the recession recovery, whereas men gained 253,000 jobs in those departments.
Another potential cause of the employment disparity might be the growing number of women entrepreneurs in the United States, before and even after the recession. An article from the Christian Science Monitor elaborates:
"Between 2002 and 2007, women created almost twice as many businesses as men, according to data from the Census Bureau. The number of women transitioning from the labor force to self-employment hit a two-decade low in 2007, just as the recession was about to hit, according to the Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City, Mo., group devoted to entrepreneurship. By 2009, the rate was back to normal."
What would make the study more conclusive, Brodsky noted, would be if the salaries that men were hired with were indicated. Women generally still make about 77 cents on the dollar to men, and if men are accepting salaries at this "women's rate" Brodsky says it might not be a "gender thing" but simply a "numbers thing."