First the good news: the unemployment rate for African-American women fell from a whopping 12.3% in March to 10.8% in April. Single moms also saw a drop in unemployment rates, from 10.8% in March to 10.3% in April. That’s a respective 1.5% and 0.5% drop in unemployment rates.
Now the bad news – the unemployment rate for males is still at just 7.5%.
Now why exactly are single mothers and African-American women still lagging behind in the job market?
One theory is that women and people from so-called ‘disadvantaged’ backgrounds have been less exposed to career-related information. They are claimed to have less experience in competing for jobs, less exposure to the jobs they are looking to get into, have incomplete training for said jobs and/or may have performed poorly in school.
Single moms are especially vulnerable here, as the demands of work and family prevent them from furthering their careers – keeping them stuck in dead-end jobs just to make ends meet.
So what can we do to deal with this discrepancy in employment? Do it the classic American way: keep moving forward.
“They have to make themselves a perfect match for their target job or jobs while they are waiting for a vacancy to be announced,” says Dr. Cassi Fields, president and CEO of Fields Consulting. Fields encourages people to find out all they can about the jobs they are aiming to get. This includes the qualifications, day-to-day responsibilities and even the company culture or the beliefs held by the company.
This is, of course, easier said than done. It is difficult to juggle between training sessions and taking the kids to school, but this is seriously the only way moms – and women in general – can become competitive in the labor market.
One great resource is the combined efforts of MIT and Harvard in providing free online classes to anyone around the world. The joint non-profit program is called edX – an online educational resource that everyone should keep their eyes on.