Demelza Baer, Senior Counsel and Director of the Economic Mobility Initiative, spoke with the Star Ledger and NJ Spotlight on the new Census data on poverty and inequality.
From the Star Ledger:
Demelza Baer, senior counsel for the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, points to several possible factors as to why New Jersey has fallen behind in closing the gender gap.
New Jersey has seen a "hollowing out" of middle class wage earners as reflected in the state's high income inequality, Baer said...
Also, there are still structural barriers for women in the workforce to advance to better paying jobs -- the lack of inexpensive child care and discrimination in employment and job promotion, experts say.
"We need to have policy responses to this," Baer said. "What we need to see is more of a specific effort to make sure that women, especially women of color, are on track to join middle skills jobs [that require more than a high school but less than a bachelor's degree] that pay a living wage and allow for upward mobility."
From NJ Spotlight:
Meanwhile, income disparity remains high. In fact, New Jersey ranked 43rd among states for income equality, meaning it is among the worst in the nation, said Demelza Baer, senior counsel and director of the Economic Mobility Initiative at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. She also noted that the gender wage gap widened over the prior year...
“We still have so far to go,” said Baer. “The poverty rate is really an inadequate measure in general, but particularly in New Jersey. Low income people in New Jersey have the worst of both worlds: Housing costs are so high … There are still a lot of low-wage jobs.”