SELF SUFFICIENCY

Moving From Alimony Dependence To Work

by Richard Fry and D’Vera Cohn, Pew Research Center
January 19, 2010

“The institution of marriage has undergone significant changes in recent decades as women have outpaced men in education and earnings growth. These unequal gains have been accompanied by gender role reversals in both the spousal characteristics and the economic benefits of marriage.”

“A larger share of men in 2007, compared with their 1970 counterparts, are married to women whose education and income exceed their own, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of demographic and economic trend data. A larger share of women are married to men with less education and income”

“In 1970, 28% of wives in this age range had husbands who were better educated than they were, outnumbering the 20% whose husbands had less education. By 2007, these patterns had reversed: 19% of wives had husbands with more education, versus 28% whose husbands had less education. In the remaining couples — about half in 1970 and 2007 — spouses have similar education levels.”

“Along the same lines, only 4% of husbands had wives who brought home more income than they did in 1970, a share that rose to 22% in 2007.” More…


A. Benefits and Opportunities For Divorced Women Who Work

1) Higher Self-Esteem and Lower Distress For Divorced Women Who WorkGina Michele Bisagni and John Eckenrode of Cornell University, Human Development and Family Studies, co-authored a research study, The Role of Work Identity In Women’s Adjustment to Divorce.

Based on data from 40 semi-structured interviews, this inquiry explored the role of employment as a focus of identity in women’s divorce adjustment. Four salient aspects of the worker role were measured: meaningfulness, social interaction/support, productivity, and positive distraction. The work identify was associated with higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of distress…

2) More Financial/Work Opportunities For Women To Control Their Destiny

  1. Women and Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny By Suze Orman, TV host and author. She writes in her 2007 book, (Chapter 2, page 1):
Women today make up nearly half of the total workforce in this country. Over the past thirty years, women’s income has soared a dramatic 63 percent. Forty-nine percent of all professional and managerial-level workers are women. Women bring in half or more of the income in the majority of US households …. Women-owned businesses comprise 40 percent of all companies in the US. There are more women than ever before who can count themselves among the country’s millionaires, more women in upper-management, and more women in positions of power in the government.
  1. Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World, By Linda R. Hirshman
  2. If I Don’t Do it Now: Career Makeovers for the Working Woman, By Pamela Robinson
  3. Chicks and Balances: Empowering Women and Families through Financial Literacy

3) More Workforce Participation By Women Howard N Fullerton, Jr., is senior demographic statistician in the Office of Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, stated in an article he wrote, Labor force participation: 75 years of change, 1950-98 and 1998-2025,

Remarkable changes in age-specific labor force participation rates for women occurred in the United States from 1950 to 1998, reflecting the significant change in women’s role in the world of work over the past 50 years.

The Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor maintains quick facts of women’s employment statistics. For 2007, some highlights include:

    1. Women comprised 46% of the total U.S. labor force and are projected to account for 47% of the labor force in 2016.
    2. A record 68 million women were employed in the U.S.–75% of employed women worked on full-time jobs, while 25% worked on a part-time basis.
    3. The largest percentage of employed women (39%) worked in management, professional, and related occupations; 34% worked in sales and office occupations; 20% in service occupations; 6% in production, transportation, and material moving occupations; and 1% in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
    4. Women accounted for 51% of all workers in the high-paying management, professional, and related occupations. They outnumbered men in such occupations as financial managers; human resource managers; education administrators; medical and health services managers; accountants and auditors; budget analysts; property, real estate, and social and community association managers; preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers; physical therapists; and registered nurses.
    5. The unemployment rate for women was 4.5% and for men it was 4.7% in 2007. For Asian women, it was 3.4 %; white women, 4.0%; Hispanic women, 6.1%; and black women, 7.5%.
    6. The ten occupations with the highest median weekly earnings among women who were full-time wage and salary workers were as follows:
      1. Pharmacists, $1,603;
      2. Chief executives, $1,536;
      3. Lawyers, $1,381;
      4. Computer and information systems managers, $1,363;
      5. Computer software engineers, $1,318;
      6. Psychologists, $1,152
      7. Physical therapists, $1,096;
      8. Management analysts, $1083;
      9. Computer programmers, $1074; and
      10. Human resource managers, $1073

Women gain in professional jobs: Women now make up more of the workforce in “management, business, and financial operations occupations”, professional and related occupations”, “service occupations”, and “sales and related occupations”, as shown in the below chart from the updated Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, Women in the Labor Force: A Databook (2007 Edition).

Wages of Women and Men 2007
Additional BLS data is available on women in the workforce and in BLS Highlights of Women’s Earnings.

4) Boston Globe: Job losses are disproportionately falling on males 
In a December 5, 2008 front page article, Robert Gavin of the Boston Globe reported that in the current recession, “1,069,000 fewer men are working than a year ago. 12,000 more women are working.” More specifically, he reported:

Men are losing jobs at far greater rates than women as the industries they dominate, such as manufacturing, construction, and investment services, are hardest hit by the downturn. Some 1.1 million fewer men are working in the United States than there were a year ago, according to the Labor Department. By contrast, 12,000 more women are working. 
This gender gap is the product of both the nature of the current recession and the long-term shift in the US economy from making goods, traditionally the province of men, to providing services, in which women play much larger roles, economists said. For example, men account for 70 percent of workers in manufacturing, which shed more than 500,000 jobs over the past year. Healthcare, in which nearly 80 percent of the workers are women, added more than 400,000 jobs.

5) Maria Shriver: A Woman’s Nation 
Source: Huffington Post, April 15, 2009
Excerpt: 
For the first time in our nation’s history, women now represent half of all workers and are becoming the primary breadwinners in more families than ever before. These two facts have far reaching consequences to government, business, faith communities, women and even men. Clearly, this country is now what I like to call “A Woman’s Nation.”” [Emphasis added]


B. Encore: A Second Career Later In Life


From the Encore Career Press Release:

“The Encore Career is emerging as a major social trend.
There has been plenty of anecdotal evidence that people are launching a new stage of work that combines social impact with personal meaning and continued income. Now a nationwide survey shows these pioneers may represent millions of others, and may be followed by tens of millions more.

The 2008 MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures Encore Career Survey found that between 6 percent and 9.5 percent of Americans ages 44 to 70 are already in their encore careers, even if they don’t yet use that term. That puts the population of Encore Nation at somewhere between 5.3 million and 8.4 million.”

Encore Career Choices

“The survey found that those who are working in encore careers are happy with them. Eighty-four percent said they derive a “tremendous amount” (38 percent) or “quite a bit” (46 percent) of satisfaction in them. And 94 percent said they have seen positive results of their work and know they are making a difference.”

“The report found that most of those interested in finding encore careers are worried that they may be hard to find or may not meet their needs for flexible work hours and adequate income and benefits. But respondents who are currently in encore careers reported having few problems with these issues. Although most work full time, 73 percent said they have the flexibility they want and 76 percent reported having the pay and benefits they need.”Read the 2008 Encore Survey Report.


C. Woman’s Job and Career Resources


The following table contains links to reports and websites that are specifically designed to help divorced women re-enter the workforce, upgrade their job skills, and move away from alimony-welfare dependence — thus “owning their power to control their destiny”.

Title

Description

Department of Labor: Women’s Job and Workforce Resources

The Department of Labor maintains an extensive list of links to resources to help women enter or re-enter the workforce.

Womenworking.com

Advice and insights for working women, helping them to succeed and advance in their careers.

A Guide for Stay-At-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work

“Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-At-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work is a comprehensive, inspiring, step-by-step guide offering strategy and advice for the millions of stay-at-home moms in the U.S. who want to return to the workforce successfully.”

Women For Hire

“Founded in 1999 as the first and only company devoted to a comprehensive array of recruitment services for women, Women For Hire offers signature career expos, inspiring speeches and seminars, a popular career-focused magazine, customized marketing programs, and an online job board that helps leading employers connect with top-notch professional women in all fields.”

Womensmedia.com

Resources to help women get jobs and advance in their careers.

Sequencing a career, family

Strategies for work, family, and re-entry to work

Labor statistics of women in the work force

The National Labor Statistics of Mature women was a group of women in their 30s and early 40s, many of whom were reentering the workforce and balancing the roles of homemaker, mother and labor force participants. The NLS of Young women was comprised of women in their teen and early 20s who were completing school, making initial career and job decisions, and starting families.

State Homemaker Displacement Legislation

A report that compares state programs to help displaced homemakers become self-sustaining.

Women Friendly MBA Programs and MBA 101

A review of the MBA programs designed to meet women’s lifestyles.