IWPR's Research News Reporter is distributed to highlight informative, innovative, and sometimes controversial research related to women and their families.
Research Making the News
Research Making News ____________________________
Each selection includes a short excerpt, link to the news article, and link to the research cited:
By Kay Steiger
The American Prospect
March 28, 2011
Citing: Improving Child Care Access to Promote Postsecondary Education Among Low-Income Parents by Kevin Miller, Ph.D. and Barbara Gault, Ph.D., Institute for Women's Policy Research
"[...] Student parents [...] make up about a quarter of all postsecondary students in the United States, according to a new report released by the Institute for Women's Policy Research. The report estimates that of the total of 3.9 million student parents in the country, more than half are low-income. About 12 percent of all undergraduate students in the United States are single parents, and of those, more than three-quarters are low-income. The vast majority of them are women. [...]
Student parents need the equivalent of an estimated 1.1 million full-time child care slots, and only about 4.8 percent of that need is currently being met at campus child-care centers. The IWPR report finds that only about 17 percent of postsecondary institutions offer some type of on-campus child care. Of those, public colleges and universities do the best: Half of them provide some [type] of on-campus child care. Private nonprofits lag far behind, with just 9 percent of private four-year schools providing such a facility and 7 percent of private two-year schools offering the service to students. The number of for-profit schools with child-care centers, at just 1 percent, is virtually nonexistent. Even if campuses have on-campus facilities, the children of faculty or staff often get priority, and student parents compete for fewer open slots or end up on waiting lists.
[...]Schools have resources to draw upon to help these students. There are grants from the Department of Education that provide funding for on-campus child-care facilities. But the current allocation for the program nationwide is only about $16 million, which averages out to about $7 per family that uses federally subsidized child care. [...]"
By Daniel B. Wood
Christian Science Monitor
March 1, 2011
Citing: Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being by U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration and the Executive Office of the President Office of Management and Budget for the White House Council on Women and Girls
"Young women in America are more likely than men to have a college degree, and women's earnings constitute a growing share of household income, but their wages still lag significantly behind those of men with comparable education, according to a report on the status of women released Tuesday by the White House.
The White House released the report, which it called the "first comprehensive federal report on the status of women in almost 50 years," on the first day of Women's History Month.
It was 1963 when the Commission on Women, formed by President John F. Kennedy and chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, issued the first such report. [...]
Some of the report's key findings include:
· Women have not only caught up with men in college attendance, but younger women are now more likely than younger men to have a college or a graduate degree. Women are also working more and the number of women and men in the labor force has nearly equalized in recent years. As women's work has increased, their earnings constitute a growing share of family income.
· Gains in education and labor force involvement have not yet translated into wage and income equity. At all levels of education, women earned about 75 percent of what their male counterparts earned in 2009. In part because of these lower earnings and in part because unmarried and divorced women are the most likely to have responsibility for raising and supporting their children, women are more likely to be in poverty than men. These economic inequities are even more acute for women of color.
· Women live longer than men but are more likely to face certain health-care challenges. One out of seven women age 18 to 64 has no usual source of health care. The share of women in that age range without health insurance has also increased.
· Women are less likely than in the past to be the target of violent crimes, including homicide. But women are victims of certain crimes, such as intimate partner violence and stalking, at higher rates than men."
To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about the U.S. Economics and Statistics Administration, visit their website. To learn more about the Office of Management and Budget, visit their website. To learn more about the White House Council on Women and Girls, visit their website.
By Rachel Emma Silverman
The Juggle, A Wall Street Journal Blog
March 9, 2011
Citing: Like Daughter, Like Father: How Women's Wages Change When CEOs Have Daughters by Michael S. Dahl, Aalborg University, Cristian L. Dezsö, University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, and David Gaddis Ross, Columbia Business School
"[...In] an interesting new study, researchers have found that wage differences within a company decrease when something seemingly unrelated to the workplace occurs: when male CEOs have daughters.
Three economists studied the salaries of some 734,200 Danish workers at 6,230 firms, from 1995 through 2006. The data set also included information on CEOs, including the sexes and birth dates of their kids. [...]
The researchers found that when male CEOs had daughters, the wage gap closed by 0.5 percentage points, on average, at their firms in the same calendar year, and if a CEO's first born happened to be a daughter, the wage gap closed by nearly 3 percentage points. (Overall, Denmark has a gender wage gap of 21.5%, unadjusted for hours worked or rank.)
The birth of a son, however, had no effect on the wage gap. And the researchers found no changes in the relative wages of women and men when female CEOs had children.
The professors who performed the study [...] proposed that having a daughter could make male CEOs more sensitive to gender issues. [...]
The researchers also found that this "daughter effect" was strongest at firms with 50 or fewer employees, which could be because chiefs of smaller firms are typically more directly involved in individual pay decisions than CEOs of much larger firms. [...]"
To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about Aalborg University, visit their website. To learn more about the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, visit their website. To learn more about Columbia Business School, visit their website.
By Derek Abma, PostMedia News
The Vancouver Sun
March 29, 2011
Citing: Spoiled Milk: An Experimental Examination of Bias Against Mothers by Jessi L. Smith, Kristin Hawkinson, and Kelli Paull, Montana State University
"[...] New research from Montana State University, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, suggest people hold lower opinions of women who breastfeed. The researchers conducted three experiments. In one, subjects rated actress Brooke Shields as less competent - but warmer and friendlier - when given biographical information saying she breastfed, rather than bottle-fed, her children. Another test showed women were judged less competent and not as capable in the workplace after being shown in a magazine advertisement endorsing a breast cream to treat nipples after breastfeeding. The competence scores for women in the ad were higher when the breast cream was described as a product to "refresh nipples before intimacy" or to treat nipples chafed by jogging.
The third experiment put subjects in a situation where they overheard a woman's voice mail messages. Some of the messages addressed a situation in which the recipient would go home to breastfeed her baby. [...]
In the cases where the messages addressed breastfeeding, the woman involved was ranked more negatively.
Significantly, the researchers found no appreciable difference in the way males and females responded in the experiments. All of the subjects were childless. [...]
Women cast in these experiments in a sexual nature also had diminished ratings in terms of competence and employability. However, the breastfeeding women were usually rated lower. [...]"
By Karen Sloan
National Law Journal
March 29, 2011
Citing: Poor, Pregnant, and Fired: Caregiver Discrimination Against Low-Wage Workers by Stephanie Bornstein, Center for Work Life Law
"Discrimination lawsuits brought by working professionals tend to draw public attention, but it's low-wage workers who suffer the harshest consequences in those circumstances, according to a report by the Center for WorkLife Law at University of California Hastings College of the Law.
The report [...] analyzes 50 workplace discrimination lawsuits - most resolved during the past five years - brought by low-wage workers.
It highlights ways in which employers violate workers' rights.
Author Stephanie Bornstein [...] said that low-wage breadwinners often face more caregiver demands from children and older family members, but often have less social support - in part, because they are more likely to be single parents. [...]
Among the problems low-wage workers face is that their jobs often come with too few hours, leading them to juggle multiple jobs. Those jobs can come with unpredictable or inflexible schedules. Not only that, low-income families are less likely to have access to paid sick days or unpaid family or medical leave, the report concludes.[...]
Companies put themselves at financial risk when they maintain policies that violate workplace laws, the report warns. Caregiver discrimination lawsuits have a higher success rate than overall employment discrimination suits, and the average verdict awarded among cases the center analyzed was $500,000.[...]
According to the report, the most common employment discrimination suits brought by low-wage plaintiffs involved pregnancy discrimination. [...]"
Research Reports ____________________________
Each selection includes a short exceprt from the research and a link to the report:
Claudia Williams, Robert Drago, Ph.D., Kevin Miller, Ph.D., and Youngmin Yi
Institute for Women's Policy Research
"Analysis from the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) finds substantial variation across the country in rates of access to paid sick days for private sector employees. As IWPR reported in December 2010, 44 million workers lacked access to paid sick days in 2010, with a national average rate of coverage of 58 percent. The five states with the lowest rates of access (below 54 percent) are Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, and West Virginia [...]. Among workers with access to paid sick days, many still face restrictions on the use of sick days and may be unable to use sick days to care for sick family members or seek out preventative care."
Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., Jane Henrici, Ph.D., and Claudia Williams
Institute for Women's Policy Research
"This report presents findings from a two-year study exploring how nonprofit organizations and religious congregations strive to advance the rights, economic standing, and overall well-being of low-income Latina immigrants in Atlanta, GA; Phoenix, AZ; and Northern Virginia, a region within the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. It examines the challenges that service providers, clergy, and advocates in these areas see immigrant women grappling with on a daily basis, as well as the broad array of resources that "religious" and "secular" organizations offer to address these challenges. In documenting these resources, the report highlights the remarkable efforts of groups that strive to assist immigrant women in contexts often shaped by strong anti-immigrant sentiment and restrictive public policies. It also explores the gaps in resources that continue to remain despite these efforts and captures the views of organizational leaders on how programs and policies can be improved to support Latina immigrants. Based on the research findings, the report makes recommendations for changes in policies and practices that would benefit immigrant women and their families. [...]"
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
"Household production constitutes an important aspect of economic activity and ignoring it may lead to incorrect inferences about levels and changes in well-being. This paper sheds light on the importance of unpaid work by making use of detailed time-use surveys for 26 OECD member countries and 3 emerging economies. The calculations suggest that between one-third and half of all valuable economic activity in the countries under consideration is not accounted for in the traditional measures of well-being, such as GDP per capita. In all countries, women do more of such work than men [...]. While unpaid work - and especially the gender division of unpaid work - is to some extent related to a country's development level, country cross-sectional data suggest that demographic factors and public policies tend to exercise a much larger impact. The regular collection of time-use data can thus be of tremendous value for government agencies to monitor and design public policies, and give a more balanced view of wellbeing across different societies."
International Trade Union Confederation
"The initial impact of the global economic crisis on employment, which has left at least 27 million people without jobs, has been well documented. This report analyses recent international research from a range of sources, highlighting a second wave of employment impacts which affects women in particular, and which is poorly reflected in official statistics and government policies. The pre-existing long-term trend towards precarious employment arrangements and increasing informalisation of the labour market has been markedly accelerated by the crisis, leaving more and more women without employment and income security, and further driving their wages down. [This report] analyses global trends in the world of work from a gender perspective including the devastating impact of the 2008 global economic recession. It stresses that there is a second wave impact of the crisis on women which is insufficiently recognized. [...] The report maintains that standard indicators and data used to measure developments on labour markets fail to capture the extent to which women are being driven into increasing economic insecurity. [...]"
Nadya A. Fouad, Ph.D. and Romila Singh, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
"Women comprise more than 20% of engineering school graduates, but only 11% of practicing engineers are women, despite decades of academic, federal, and employer interventions to address this gender gap. Over 3,700 women who had graduated with an engineering degree responded to [the] survey and indicated that the workplace climate was a strong factor in their decisions to not enter engineering after college or to leave the profession of engineering. Workplace climate also helped to explain current engineers' satisfaction and intention to stay in engineering."