According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60 percent of American women are currently employed in the workforce. As more women choose to enter part-time or full-time employment, the face of the American workplace continues to change. Not all of the changes are positive. A workers compensation lawyer in Chicago knows that many work-related injuries and diseases occur at higher rates among female employees than among men in the same industries.

Demographic changes in the workplace

In the 1950s, according to CDC statistics, barely one-third of American women were active in the workforce. As women began to delay childbearing, have smaller families and seek higher levels of education, they entered the workplace in increasing numbers. Many women work full-time or part-time while also caring for children or elderly family members.

On-the-job health challenges for women

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following work-related injuries and disorders are more common among female employees than among their male counterparts:

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Parasitic and infectious diseases
  • Anxiety or stress disorders
  • Tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

While women suffer fewer deaths on the job than men, a workers compensation lawyer in Chicago is aware that they often face higher rates of injury.

Possible reasons for discrepancy

The reasons for this gender discrepancy are complex and hard to reduce to a few simple figures. Many women are more likely than male colleagues to work on a contingent, temporary, part-time or contract basis, leading to decreased job security and weaker health benefits, or, in many cases, no benefits at all. Contingent workers are often afraid to raise safety issues or complaints for fear of losing their jobs. In some industries, women are less likely to file official reports of work-related injuries.

Immigrant women face additional dangers

Many immigrant women are active in the U.S. workforce. Every workers compensation lawyer in Chicago is acquainted with cases in which these employees face even higher risks of injury because of job insecurity, language issues or discrimination. CDC studies show that they also work in disproportionate numbers in industries with higher rates of injury on the job. Some immigrant employees are unaware of their right to safe working conditions and workers’ compensation.

The American workplace offers many opportunities for women. Unfortunately, it can also harbor a serious danger of injury on the job. Female employees who have suffered injury or illness in the workplace may find it helpful to consult an attorney.