Study: Progress made for working women, but more needs to be done

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, June 23 2014 at 5:49 PM, Updated: Tue, June 24 2014 at 3:30 PM

Medford, Ore. -- A new study out of the White House shows that women appear to be making progress in today's working world.

Findings from the report titled Nine facts about American families and work blew up all over Twitter and social media. Many of the revelations regarding women gained a lot of attention.

Medford mother Ashley Rejcek juggles a full time job and being a mom.

"I think it's more of a requirement now to make things work and to make ends meet," began Rejcek.

"It really is a balancing act," she continued.

Rejcek said she and her husband are a team and bring in nearly the same amount of money. She's one of many women who are now participants in a changing workforce.

According to the new government report, mothers are increasingly becoming household breadwinners. 24% of married women now earn more than their husbands, compared to only seven percent in 1970.

Women also make up almost half of today's workforce and are increasingly becoming more skilled, getting college degrees and more work experience.

"That's pretty much true, the big question is why is there still the disparity between men's and women's earnings," said Echo Fields, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Southern Oregon University.

Despite some progress, the gender wage gap is still a problem.

"It's frustrating. You always have to be on point, you always have to prove that you can do the same job that a man can do," explained Rejcek.

Women still make 77-cents for every dollar a man makes. According to data from the White House, by age 65, the average woman will have lost $431,000 over her working lifetime because of the gender wage gap.

Women like Rejcek and Fields agree there's more work to be done.  However for now, the report points to more autonomy and financial independence for more women in the workplace.

The study says increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour could mean more progress, decreasing the gender wage gap by five cents.

"Increasing the federal minimum wage, which is below in equivalent dollars what it was in the 1970s, would make a substantial difference because women are far more likely to be found in that sort of low wage end of the labor market," said Fields.

The study also touches on the rising number of stay-at-home dads. According to data, in the last 25 years, the number of stay-at-home dads with a working mom doubled. The report also talks about the challenges both men and women face when it comes to balancing work and family.

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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