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Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Senior Policy Analyst

Katherine Gallagher Robbins

Katherine Gallagher Robbins is a Senior Policy Analyst for Family Economic Security at the National Women’s Law Center where she examines how tax and budget policies influence the financial stability and security of low-income women and families.  Before joining the Center in 2010, Ms. Gallagher Robbins worked as an organizer for the California Public Interest Research Group at the University of California, San Diego. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a graduate of the College of William and Mary.

My Take

President Obama's Budget Expands Investments in Infrastructure and Manufacturing - But Women Are Falling Behind

The President’s budget proposes billions for infrastructure and manufacturing – critical job investments for both women and men. For this investment to pay off for working families, we need to prioritize programs that move women into nontraditional, higher paying jobs. Yet the budget simultaneously eliminates the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) program.

WANTO supports community-based organizations that provide training to women in pre-apprenticeship programs and technical assistance to employers and labor unions. WANTO promotes nontraditional occupations for women and provides support for women’s success in the trades. Eliminating WANTO may slow women’s entrance into traditionally male-dominated fields, and leaves vulnerable the organizations who received support through WANTO for almost a decade. Women are already losing traction in these fields, accounting for just 10 percent of the gains in the 272,000 jobs added in the construction and manufacturing industries in the last year, despite comprising 22 percent of these industries.

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President Obama's Proposed Expansion of the EITC Will Benefit 6.1 Million Working Women

In President Obama’s FY15 budget he proposes expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) [PDF] for workers without dependent children.

This expansion would benefit women at all stages of their lives. It will help young women entering the workforce, including financially independent students. It will help mothers, whose earnings have been reduced because of caregiving, after their children have left home. It will also help older women seeking to supplement or increase their Social Security benefits.

Women are a majority of low-wage workers, and this proposal means that the tax code would no longer push low-wage, childless workers into poverty. Instead, it rewards work, boosts incomes, and reduces poverty.

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Gender Wage Gap for Union Members Is Half the Size of Non-Union Workers' Wage Gap

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on union membership for 2013. The data show women’s union membership held steady in 2013 after dropping sharply the year before – and that’s a relief for women seeking better wages and equal pay.

NWLC analysis reveals that the wage gap among union members is half the size of the wage gap among non-union workers and female union members earn over $200 per week more than women who are not represented by unions—an increase that represents a larger union premium than men receive.

This release is especially timely. Earlier this week the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that challenges the right of low-wage workers, overwhelmingly women, who provide home care services under Illinois’ Medicaid program—and potentially the right of all public employees—to be represented by unions. Today’s data make it clear that this case has high stakes for working women and men.

Here are all the details:

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Minimum Wage Rates Go Up In 13 States for 2014, Increasing Wages for More than 2.5 Million Workers

Posted by | Posted on: January 03, 2014 at 01:15 pm

The minimum wage rose in thirteen states at the start of 2014. New Jersey saw the largest boost of $1 per hour thanks to New Jersey voters, who overwhelmingly approved the wage increase on the state’s ballot in November. Minimum wages have also gone up in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island due to legislative action in 2013. (California also enacted a minimum wage increase in 2013, which will begin to phase in on July 1.) Minimum wages in the other nine states – Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington – increased automatically because they are indexed to inflation, a policy that ensures the minimum wage keeps pace with the rising cost of living.

According to analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, more than 2.5 million workers will get a raise from the increases that went into effect on January 1. In nearly every affected state, women are a majority of minimum wage workers. The economies of these states will also benefit: the higher minimum wages will add more than $619 million to GDP in 2014.

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Low-Wage Jobs Disproportionately Filled by Women and Long-Term Unemployment Remains Painfully High in November

Posted by Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Senior Policy Analyst | Posted on: December 06, 2013 at 02:54 pm

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data on unemployment and job growth for November. Here are the key take away points from NWLC’s analysis:

 Despite a month of strong growth, low-wage jobs were disproportionately filled by women:

  • In November, women’s strongest job gains were in education and health (+39,000), professional and business services (which includes the low-wage temporary help services sector) (+17,000), and retail (+15,600).
  • Men’s strongest job gains were in transportation and warehousing (+26,700), professional and business (+18,000), and manufacturing (+17,000).
  • In November, 24 percent of women’s job gains were in the low-wage sectors of retail and leisure & hospitality. Only 15 percent of men’s gains came in these two sectors. (Gender data on the temporary help services sector are not yet available for November).

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