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Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Director of Research and Policy Analysis

Katherine Gallagher Robbins

Katherine Gallagher Robbins is Director of Research and Policy Analysis at the National Women’s Law Center where she oversees the Center's research with a primary focus on women's economic security and educational equity. 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 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.


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:


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

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information below is now out-of-date. For the latest on the minimum wage in your state, read our 2015 update. You can also check out our interactive map, Women and the Minimum Wage, State by State. (January 5, 2015)

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.


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

Posted by Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Director of Research and Policy Analysis | 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).


Five Things to Know About Women of Color and the Gender Wage Gap in the States

This week the Census released new state data that we used to look at the gender wage gap in earnings for African-American and Hispanic women working full time, year round as compared to white, non-Hispanic men in all 50 states and D.C.

Here are the top 5 things you need to know:

  1. Washington, D.C.’s gender wage gap is the smallest in the nation – but the wage gaps for Hispanic and African-American women in D.C. rank among the ten worst in the country.
  2. Based on these wage gaps, the difference in lifetime earnings between African-American women and white, non-Hispanic men over a 40-year career would be more than $1 million in five states and D.C. For Hispanic women, it would be more than $1 million in 21 states and D.C.