WOMEN IN THE LABOR FORCE
In 2003, females aged 16 and older made up 46.4 percent
of the workforce. Among working females, 75 percent worked full-time,
compared to 89 percent of males. Females who were full- time wage
and salary workers earned a weekly median of $552 while men earned
a median of $695 per week, a ratio of 79.5 cents to one dollar.
This ratio has risen from 63 cents to a dollar in 1979. In 2003,
5.7 percent of employed women held multiple jobs, compared to 4.8
percent of men. Among women holding multiple jobs, 46 percent held
a primary job full time and a secondary job part time, 32 percent
held two part time jobs, and 2 percent held two full time jobs.1
The ratio of females’ earnings to those of males differed
considerably by age, race, and ethnicity in 2003. Women aged 45
to 54 earned only 73 cents for every dollar earned by their male
counterparts, while women aged 16 to 24 earned 93.3 cents for every
dollar earned by males of the same age. Among Blacks and Hispanics,
females earned 88 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts,
while White females earned 79 cents for every dollar earned by their
male counterparts. The earnings of Asian females were 5 percent
greater than those of White females, 22 percent greater than those
of Black females, and 46 percent greater than those of Hispanic
females. Comparatively, the earnings of Asian men were 8 percent
greater than those of White men, 39 percent greater than those of
Black men, and 66 percent greater than those of Hispanic men.2
Both males and females with less than a high school diploma have
experienced a decline in inflation-adjusted earnings since 1979;
however, females’ earnings have fallen by only 8 percent compared
to 28 percent for males. Among those with college degrees, earnings
for women and men have risen 34 and 22 percent respectively since
1 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The employment situation: December 2004. January 2005.
2 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Highlights of women’s earnings in 2003. Report #978. September