Report: Many Women in New England Face Economic Insecurity, Not Recovery

Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy | November 22, 2016
Report: Many Women in New England  Face Economic Insecurity, Not Recovery

The fitful economic recovery after the Great Recession has raised overall earnings for women in New England, but income inequality persists, according to a new report from UMass Boston’s Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy.

The publication, “Recovery for All? A Snapshot of Women’s Economic Status in New England,” finds that while women’s overall earnings are now higher than pre-recession levels, other key indicators demonstrate a growing wage gap for many women—especially minorities and low-wage workers.

Minority women in New England who are employed full-time, year-round earned 62 percent as much as white men, both before and after the recession. While the gap between minority women’s and white women’s earnings decreased in Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island after the recession, it stayed the same in Massachusetts and widened in Connecticut and Vermont.

Also, the percentage of female workers earning less than $20,000 a year is on the rise. Thirty percent of female workers across the region fall into this category, and in every New England state except for Maine, the proportion of women with these low annual earnings increased in the post-recession period. Data on the low-wage, female-dominated occupations of retail and direct care show that annual earnings for female workers employed in these occupations have decreased in every New England state from the pre-recession period.

“Our analysis shows that too many women and their families across New England continue to face economic insecurity. It is time to implement a high-quality jobs policy agenda to address the persistent wage inequality and inadequate earnings that persist despite the so-called economic recovery in our region,” said Ann Bookman, director of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy. 

“This research shines a spotlight on the economic conditions facing women in New England, specifically minority women, and provides valuable data that supplement the overall narrative of a recovering economy,” said Kristin Smith, a research associate professor of the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire and co-author of the report.

The report is based on research conducted by the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, in the McCormack Graduate School, and the Carsey School of Public Policy at UNH. It was released at the Second Biennial New England Women’s Policy Conference held Friday at UMass Boston.

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s nine colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit

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