During last Tuesday’s debate, both candidates had something to say about women and the job market. President Obama made it known that the first bill he signed in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extended the time period in which women could sue for equal pay. Mitt Romney criticized the president by saying 580,000 women have lost their jobs, and 3.5 million fell into poverty during his first term. According to CNN Money, Romney would’ve been correct in his figures six months ago, but the number of female employees has jumped by 300,000 since spring.
Women’s economic well being, and women’s issues in general, has been a highly discussed topic in this election because both candidates are fighting for the critcal female vote, even though reports say Obama is set to win their vote by a landslide, especially after Romney’s now infamous “binders full of women” comment at last week’s debate.
While is it true that women suffered a blow in the job market, along with the rest of the country, Joan Entmacher, vice president of family economic security at the National Women’s Law Center, told CNN that “the recovery has definitely picked up for women in the last year.” At this point, Entmacher tells CNN, women have recovered 32% of the jobs lost in the recession, and men recovered 43%. And when it comes to women’s wages, they have actually done better than men in recent years. Women collected $684 in median weekly earnings last year, up from $667 in 2008, while men’s wages remained stagnant at $834, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The change, according to CNN, may have something to do with more women entering higher-wage industries such as healthcare. More women are also seeking higher education, which translates to higher paying jobs. According to a 2009 Census Bureau report, 685,000 men and 916,000 women graduated from college that year.
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