Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Obama's Stimulus Plan Won't Help Women

Barack Obama’s proposed stimulus package that intends on creating 2.5 million jobs over the next two years sounds too good to be true. His proposal has fired up a number of feminists who believe this package will be of limited help to women. Unfortunately, women in the work force will not receive the same economic boost from this package that men will. In Obama plans on investing in road and bridge maintenance and school repair to create jobs and at the same time reduce energy use thus decreasing the affects on global warming.

 The downside of his road to recovery that has many females up in arms is the way in which the program will provide jobs for male dominated industries. He wants to create more building projects which will generate jobs in construction, where women make up only 9 percent of the workforce. Obama also wants to increase green jobs, which lone behold is almost entirely male. A study conducted by the United States Conference of Mayors discovered that half the projected new jobs in any green area will be in either of the following areas: engineering, a field consisting of 12 percent female, manufacturing, agriculture and forestry. 

Today women constitute approximately 46 percent of the labor force, and something needs to be adjusted in his plans to include jobs in female dominated fields. Obama can easily include opportunities for economic growth for females by concentrating on professions that build upon human capital such as social workers, child careers’, teachers, and librarians. All these fields consist of 75 to 95 percent females. Many of these areas of work are included in Obama’s campaign promises. Some may argue that women should participate more in the fields of engineering and construction, but their are programs out there that encourage women to pursue careers in these areas of work and they have had little success.

            One well-known feminists in particular, Barbara Bergmann, decided to take a stand. She wrote a letter calling for a package that would do more for women. Her letter, addressed to Obama, began by applauding his noble intentions but turned to address the way in which the package will segregate women and only benefit males. She suggested three lines of action to insure a fair playing field for women as well. They read:

"1. Revive and enforce the Labor Department regulations that require government contractors to institute affirmative action plans that provide a share of the jobs for women and minorities. Closely monitor the contractors for compliance.

2. In connection with the infrastructure projects, institute apprenticeships, and ensure that at least one third of the positions go to women.

3. Add projects in health, child care, education, social service that will both provide jobs to women, and also provide needed services to them."

I agree with the actions Barbara has suggested. Recent research has shown that women’s employment has become more vulnerable to recessions than in the past. After the 2001 recession, for example, women's employment rates never returned to their pre-recession levels. Before, recessions tended to hit men's jobs harder than women's, but in the 2001 recession, that changed, and this pattern is expected to continue.

Hopefully, more women will stand up and in turn influence Obama to include more opportunities for women in his stimulus package. I believe we deserve the same benefits that males will receive from this package.



1 comment:

Ali Wunderman said...

I think Obama should put a lot more money into education which would not only help create jobs for women, but would also help this country's continuous decline in the quality of education. I believe better education will help all the things he wants to improve, such as the economy and global warming. The more money we take from the schools, the more damage we do to this country and the world in the long run.