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Liz Watson, Senior Counsel and Director of Workplace Justice for Women

Liz Watson, Senior Counsel

Liz Watson was the Director of Workplace Justice for Women and Senior Counsel to the Education and Employment and Cross-cutting Teams at the National Women's Law Center. Liz focused on ending workplace discrimination and combating the erosion of wages and working conditions in jobs at the bottom of the labor market, which are most often held by women. Liz's work included a particular focus on achieving workplace policies that allow low-wage workers with family responsibilities to both succeed at work and in caring for their families. In 2013, Liz coauthored It Shouldn't Be A Heavy Lift: Fair Treatment for Pregnant Workers, a report highlighting the persistence of pregnancy discrimination against women in low-wage and physically-demanding jobs, and employers' all too frequent failure to accommodate pregnancy in the workplace. Also in 2013, Liz coauthored 50 Years & Counting: The Unfinished Business of Achieving Fair Pay. Before coming to the Center, Liz was Executive Director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy where she led public policy initiatives focused on improving policies and programs that address the needs of low-income workers and marginalized girls and young women. Prior to that, she was legislative counsel for Workplace Flexibility 2010 at Georgetown Law, where much of her work focused on developing policy solutions to work-family conflict and its consequences for low-wage workers. She also practiced employment law at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Liz began her career as a Skadden Public Interest Law Fellow, working with low-wage workers and women receiving public benefits in New York City. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Susan Y. Illston of the Northern District of California. Liz is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Carleton College. 

My Take

Low-Wage Jobs Drove Women’s Employment Gains in July

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: August 07, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Today’s release of July’s jobs data shows that women added 115,000 jobs in July, accounting for 54 percent of all job gains. But our analysis reveals a troubling fact: almost four in ten of the jobs added by women were in low-wage sectors. In fact, two-thirds of the low-wage jobs added in July went to women.

The economy added 215,000 jobs in July. 66,000 jobs were added in the low-wage sectors of leisure & hospitality and retail – 64 percent of them (42,000) went to women. These low-wage job gains made up 37 percent of all women’s job gains in July, even though these sectors make up just 23 percent of all women’s jobs. On the other hand, men added 23,900 jobs in these low-wage sectors, accounting for 24 percent of their July job gains. These sectors make up 21 percent of all men’s jobs.


Black Women Have to Work 19 Months to Make What White Men Did in a Year

African American women who work full time, year round are typically paid $19,399 less per year than their white male counterparts. This means African American women have to work nearly 19 months — until almost the end of July — to make as much as white men did in the previous year alone. That makes today African American women's equal pay day — the day that African American women are finally catching up to white men's pay, 208 days into the year.

Here are four key facts you need to know:


Over Half a Million Public Sector Jobs Lost Since the Start of the Recovery and More Cuts on the Way

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: July 02, 2015 at 04:59 pm

Today’s release of June’s jobs data shows another month of solid private sector job growth and declining unemployment. Our analysis finds that two-thirds of the 223,000 jobs added last month went to women. Though we’re moving in the right direction, we’re not out of the woods yet.


Girls, Sports, and Equality: A State-by-State Ranking on Title IX

Public high schools across the country are not providing girls with their fair share of spots on sports teams—and today, on the 43rd anniversary of Title IX, we released a new analysis that shows every state is falling short. The analysis features an interactive map and a state-by-state ranking based on the percentage of high schools in each state and the District of Columbia that have large gender equity gaps in sports participation.*

Using the latest Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection for the 2011-2012 school year we find that:


Low-Wage Sectors Overrepresented in May's Job Growth

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: June 05, 2015 at 04:30 pm

Today’s release of jobs data for May shows another month of strong job growth. Our analysis finds that women gained two-thirds of the jobs added in May. However, 43 percent of all the jobs added were in low-wage sectors that don’t pay enough to support a family. This month’s numbers prove that it’s past time for lawmakers to support the growing movement to raise the minimum wage.