The growth in the American workforce is being driven by older women, bringing to light new aspects of worker safety and care that must be addressed.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting the number of workers 55 years and over will reach 40.6 million in 2024, meaning 1 in 4 workers will be 55 or older.
By the time Governor Newsom's first term ends, there will be 6.3 million working women between the ages of 65 and 84, with 800,000 of those in California. And 53 percent of those women are working just to survive.
Whether or not our workers' compensation system is ready to meet the specific needs of this growing number of working women is the real question.
According to the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation, women's risk of suffering work injuries from repetitive motion - cumulative trauma - increases as they get older. Working women over the age of 55 have a 50 percent higher injury rate.
Other startling facts about women and workplace injuries:
- The number of assault-related injuries against women have increased 60 percent since 2011, reaching a total of 12,820 in 2017.
- Women account for 70 percent of assault-related work injuries.
- Women working in the healthcare, education, and management/business/financial sectors experience disproportionate injury rates compared to their male counterparts.
- Women who've experienced a workplace injury are three times as likely to die from suicide or overdose.
These are alarming truths everyone should care about. We can, and should, do better to address the failures of a system that does not adequately provide the necessary care to help people recover, physically and mentally, from their injuries.