Data Visualization by Tibco Sotfire
Web Page by Hilary Lips  and W. Andrew   Web Update April 14th  2021
Gender and the Essential Workforce
Essential Jobs are Gendered and Often Undervalued
    During the current pandemic, we have become increasingly aware of the importance of certain jobs that have often been taken for granted: childcare workers, home health care aides, housecleaners, truck drivers, delivery workers, grocery store clerks. Workers in these jobs are some of the most important people for keeping our lives in balance, especially during these trying times. In fact, these workers have always been essential, but the current situation highlights their importance.
    One major category of essential work is domestic work: the work that takes place in private households by workers who provide care for elderly persons, persons with disabilities or illnesses, and children, by those who clean, cook, and manage domestic tasks in private homes. According to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute, more than 90% of these workers are women and just over half are women of color. As a group, they earn significantly less than other workers and are more likely than other workers to live in poverty. They have little job security, and are unlikely to have any retirement plan or health insurance coverage through their jobs.
    The low wages earned by this category of worker are related to the gendering of domestic work. Years of research has shown that work done by women tends to be undervalued and underpaid. On this page, we illustrate these issues.
These graphs , constructed with the help of Tibco Spotfire software, are based on data from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report1 on domestic workers. As the first one shows, women predominate by a huge margin in jobs classified as domestic. On the other hand, men predominate in non-domestic jobs taken together. The female domination of domestic jobs probably accounts in large part for the fact that they are so low-paid. As shown in the second graph, the median hourly pay for domestic jobs is considerably lower than that for non-domestic jobs. Studies2 show that work that is generally associated with women tends to be valued less and lower-paid than work that is associated with men. As the EPI report reveals, domestic workers earn far less than non-domestic workers do, even when controlling for factors such as education, age, and race.