Sunday, February 19, 2012

Should We Consider Gender When Creating Jobs?

The city of San Jose in Silicon Valley has a shrinking public sector, and residents feel difficult to live with less resources. In San Jose, the Fire Department laid off 49 firefighters two years ago, bookshelves in public library is empty, and the number of government employees shrank from 7,418 to 5,400. In addition, pension costs now tripled, compared to a decade ago. With a low tax revenue, the city is struggling to support workers (New York Times).

This article reminds of me the debate of Keystone pipeline, because what is in common is that job creation is vital. As the article points out, residents who used to be policemen, translators at NGO, and teachers lost their jobs. Many of them are women. Then I realize a problem that jobs created by the Keystone pipeline, let us say the number is not inflated, are mainly for men, because women might not have the strength to do construction work. Even though the pipeline’s jobs do not require high education, it is still selective and specialized. People, such as physically-challenged, women, seniors, and teenagers, are not best candidates for these jobs.

As the President expressed in the State of the Union, he hopes to bring back manufacturing by offering favorable tax policies to companies that “insource” jobs back to the U.S. from overseas. But women are more competitive and educated then ever before, the targeted job creation might not produce the same result as decades ago. Before, women used to work less and men are bread-winners, but “women comprise 46% of the total U.S. labor force” (College Times), which is very different from the situation before. The growing manufacturing factor may not be satisfactory and will create another obstacle for women to actively participate in the workforce.

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