The CBP yesterday released a new report showing that almost four years since the official end of the Great Recession, the impact of the downturn is still acutely felt among women — especially low-income women — in California. Released in partnership with the Women’s Foundation of California, A Fair Chance: Why California Should Invest in Economic Opportunity for Women and Their Families shows that California’s women have not shared equally in the state’s emerging recovery. In addition, the report highlights how budget cuts made in recent years continue to cloud the economic outlook for women and have weakened services and supports that foster their economic security.
The report finds that:
- Men’s and women’s employment rates have gone in opposite directions during the past two years. Between December 2010 and December 2012, the employment rate for California men increased by 1.7 percentage points (from 79.4 percent to 81.1 percent), while decreasing by eight-tenths (0.8) of a percentage point for women (from 65.3 percent to 64.5 percent).
- Local government employment — long a jobs mainstay for California’s women — has declined over the past four years and continued to trend lower throughout 2012, showing the lasting effect on women’s employment of the deep budget cuts made in recent years. Local government employment includes jobs with K-12 public schools, community colleges, and cities and counties.
- Women account for more than two-thirds of a huge drop in California community college enrollment, which declined by more than 300,000 students between 2007-08 and 2011-12. This means women have less access to education and training that lead to immediate employment or to a four-year degree program. In addition, women’s enrollment at the University of California and California State University has lagged that for men since 2007.
- Amid a weak job market and growing poverty, state policymakers have made significant cuts across a range of programs and services that help women find and keep work and provide for their families. These included steep reductions to child care and preschool funding — causing the elimination of more than 100,000 slots — as well as to welfare-to-work services and cash assistance provided through the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Program.
The report was featured yesterday at a Capitol briefing for legislators and their staffs and received coverage from the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Business Journal, Inland News Today, and other outlets across the state. You can read the full report here and an executive summary of the report here.
— Steven Bliss