"Our startling and disturbing findings belie the conventional wisdom that women are thriving in today's economy and underscore a basic fact: The job and income prospects for women are bleak," said Joan Entmacher, NWLC vice president for family economic security.
"Women are underpaid and overloaded with stress from low incomes, high caregiving responsibilities, and employers and policymakers who still don't get it," she said in a news release, citing her group's analysis of May 2103 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The study found that the only group of women not overrepresented in low-wage jobs compared to their share of the overall workforce are those with a bachelor's degree or more.
Just a few groups of men are overrepresented in the low-wage workforce those without a high school degree, those ages 16 to 24 and Hispanic men. Even in those groups, men are overrepresented less than their female counterparts.
Entmacher said such findings "should compel lawmakers to adopt an agenda that improves economic security for women and their families."
The study proposes raising the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and providing more nutrition and housing assistance.
It supports expanding affordable child care and curbing scheduling practices that often prevent low-wage earners from holding a second job. It calls for making higher education more affordable.
"It should be a no-brainer," Entmacher said. "Policies that work for women in low-wage jobs will lift up all workers and their families and strengthen the economy for everyone."
To see the study
OTThe National Women's Law Center study is available at bit.ly/1qLd8Jn