In the coming days, you will be hearing a lot about working women. Not the women leaning in, not the women opting out, but the working women living in or near poverty.
The retail industry alone employs about 1.3 million women who live close to the poverty threshold, according to a new report from the public-policy group Demos. Amy Traub, the author of “Retail’s Choice: How Raising Wages and Improving Schedules for Women in the Retail Industry Would Benefit America,” argues for an increase to $25,000 a year, or $12.25 an hour. The average hourly wage for saleswomen is now $10.58.
The report arrives as Walmart Moms head to the headquarters of Wal-Mart Stores(WMT) for the retailer’s annual shareholder meeting on June 6. The union-supported group is asking for $25,000 a year for full-time work. Traub says one of the reasons she chose to look at the effects of an increase to $25,000 is because that was the number the Walmart Moms had chosen. “Walmart is always the elephant in the room when talking about retail,” she says. “But we’re looking at all large retailers.”