Fact Sheet: How the TPP will Hurt Women

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FACT SHEET: How the TPP Will Hurt Women

June 11, 2015


Women already earn less due to a lifetime of gender-based pay discrimination and often struggle to support their families on limited incomes. The Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP, a massive trade agreement with Pacific Rim nations will be soon be voted on by Congress. The agreement – like many others before it – will likely result in lower wages for U.S. workers. Undoubtedly, women stand to lose the most if the TPP is adopted.

The TPP will disproportionately affect women — especially women of color and LGBTQIA women — and low-wage workers, who already experience:

  • Gender-based pay discrimination often compounded by race, sexual orientation, gender identity and immigration-status in nearly all occupational categories.
  • Persistent patterns of low pay in occupations dominated by women, including retail, food service, day care/nursing homes and home health care attendants.

Not only do women continue to be paid less, they are paying more for living expenses because:

  • Two-thirds of minimum wage jobs are occupied by women, and the vast majority of these jobs don’t offer health insurance and other benefits, so they are forced to pay out of pocket for these services for both themselves and their children and often live paycheck to paycheck.
    • If the TPP passes, the minimum wage job market will become even more competitive, and employers will not be incentivized to start or continue offering benefits to their employees.
    • This will most dramatically impact women of color, who make up a much higher percentage of minimum wage workers than is proportionate to their population.

These potential negative impacts of the TPP will exacerbate the net accumulated income loss for women as a result of a lifetime of unequal pay, which is already between $400,000 and $1.2 million per woman.

The Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership is an enormous twelve-country free trade agreement that will affect 40 percent of the global economy. The agreement was developed in secret between government officials and large multinational corporations, perpetuating a long-existing pattern of free trade agreements that promised to benefit workers, but merely served to further the interests of the elite. The public has yet to be able to read the full text of the agreement. Congress will soon vote on the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (S. 995/H.R. 1890), otherwise known as “Fast Track” which will allow only a “yes” or “no”, with no amendments permitted.