The President’s budget proposes billions for infrastructure and manufacturing – critical job investments for both women and men. For this investment to pay off for working families, we need to prioritize programs that move women into nontraditional, higher paying jobs. Yet the budget simultaneously eliminates the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) program.
WANTO supports community-based organizations that provide training to women in pre-apprenticeship programs and technical assistance to employers and labor unions. WANTO promotes nontraditional occupations for women and provides support for women’s success in the trades. Eliminating WANTO may slow women’s entrance into traditionally male-dominated fields, and leaves vulnerable the organizations who received support through WANTO for almost a decade. Women are already losing traction in these fields, accounting for just 10 percent of the gains in the 272,000 jobs added in the construction and manufacturing industries in the last year, despite comprising 22 percent of these industries.
Women’s job gains in non-traditional industries have been disproportionately small over the last year:*
- Women accounted for just 13 percent of the 93,000 jobs added in the manufacturing industry last year, despite comprising 27 percent of the industry in January 2013.
- Women account for just 8 percent of the 179,000 jobs added in the construction industry last year, despite comprising 13 percent of the industry in January 2013.
Traditionally female occupations pay less than traditionally male occupations:
- In occupations where women make up more than 60 percent of full-time workers, median weekly earnings average $795. In fields where men make up more than 60 percent of full-time workers, median weekly earnings average $988 – almost $200 more per week.
*Technical note: Industry figures capture all workers in these industries including administrative positions. Share of women in specific occupations can be substantially smaller (see, for example, NWLC’s analysis of women in construction [PDF]).