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August 2009 RNR

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Below is the newest installation of Research News Reporter (RNR) Online. Previous editions can be viewed in the Archives.

August 2009

IWPR’s Research News Reporter is distributed to highlight informative, innovative, and sometimes controversial research related to women and their families.

Research Making News
1. “Families and Work Institute Releases Findings on Impact of Recession on Employers”
2. “Female Minority Lawyers Don’t Stay at US Firms”
3. “Study: Women are New Face of Migration to US”
4. “Paying for Health Care in Retirement”

Research Reports
1. Restoring Equal Opportunity in Education: An Analysis of Arguments for and Against the Bush Administration Single Sex Education Regulations
2. Family Friendly Workplaces:  Do Unions Make a Difference?
3. Hidden Casualties: Trade, Employment Loss & Women Workers
4. Making Government Work for Families: The Federal Government’s role as Employer and Contractor in Improving Family-Friendly Policies
5. The Pension Factor: Assessing the Role of Defined Benefits Plans in Reducing Elder Hardships

Research Making News

Each selection includes a short excerpt, link to the news article, and link to the research cited:

1. “Families and Work Institute Releases Findings on Impact of Recession on Employers”

Fox Business
July 23, 2009

Citing:  The Impact of the Recession of the Employer, by Ellen Galinsky and James T. Bond of the Families and Work Institute.

“[…] How is the economic downturn affecting the American workplace? A new study released today by the Families and Work Institute (FWI) finds that in the face of recession, and at a time of cost cutting, the overwhelming majority of employers (94%) are maintaining or increasing their workplace flexibility programs. In fact a quarter of the employers (26%) specifically used flexible workplace options—from reduced work weeks to telecommuting—to minimize the need for layoffs.

The study, based on a May 2009 survey of U.S. employers with 50 or more employees, measured a number of trends including percentage of employers reducing labor and operational costs, specific cost reduction strategies, and how different types of employers are helping employees deal with the recession.

[…] ‘Employers are increasingly recognizing the value of work-life balance policies to their bottom lines—now we see it's true in good times and in tough times,’ said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Chair of the Joint Economic Committee. […]”

To read the full article at Fox Business.com, click here.  To download a free PDF of the Families and Work Institute report, click here.

2. “Female Minority Lawyers Don’t Stay at US Firms”

By Francine Knowles
Chicago Sun-Times
July 22, 2009

Citing: Women of Color in US Law Firms, a report by Deepali Bagati in the Catalyst series Women of Color in Professional Services.


“A study has found that more than 75 percent of female minority attorneys at U.S. law firms will leave their jobs within five years due to continuing barriers to advancement. The finding is by the women's research group Catalyst, which notes the barriers bring with them big costs.

[…] The report looked at the workplace experiences of minority women, compared with those of men of color and white women and men. Challenges unique to women of color include limited growth opportunities and a greater sense of ‘outsider status,’ racial and gender stereotyping and more feelings of sexism in the workplace compared with white women; lack of access to high-profile client assignments and important client engagements, and missed opportunities for candid feedback, the report said.

The findings come as firms focus on associate satisfaction and retention and address diversity issues while facing a client base and talent pool composed of more women and minorities, Catalyst said. […]”

To read the full article from the Chicago Sun-Times, click here.  To download a free PDF of the full Catalyst report, click here.

3. “Study: Women are New Face of Migration to US”

Latin American Herald Tribune
July 17, 2009

Citing: Women Immigrants: Stewards of the 21st Century Family, sponsored by New America Media.

“[…] The story of migration has ceased to be ‘a masculine epic’ and women are now making their way across the border as much as men are, according to the study ‘Women Immigrants: Stewards of the 21st Century Family,’ […].

[…] At present, more than half of the migrants who enter the United States are women and worldwide females account for more than 50 percent of the total migrant population, according to the study, which was based on surveys last year of 1,002 female immigrants from Latin American, Asian, African, and Arab countries.

More and more women are deciding to cross oceans and borders, ‘either to join the male once he has settled or to move (and thereby) preserve the entire family as a unit,’ the study said, adding that ‘when women come to America, they come as wives and as mothers.’

[…] The study was sponsored by New America Media, a coalition of more than 2,500 ethnic media outlets nationwide, and conducted by Bendixen & Associates, a public opinion research, management, and communications consulting firm based in Miami, Florida.”

IWPR attended a press release for the report in Washington, DC where other immigrant demographics (including single women and women without children) were discussed.

To read the full article from the Latin American Herald Tribune, click here.  To download a free PDF of the executive summary, click here.

4. “Paying for Health Care in Retirement”

By Emily Brandon
Planning to Retire (Blog of US News and World Report)
July 6, 2009

Citing:  “Savings Needed for Health Expenses in Retirement: An Examination of Persons Ages 55 and 65 in 2009,” from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

“Baby boomers who have lost their health insurance often struggle to find affordable coverage until Medicare kicks in at age 65.  But even qualifying for government health insurance won’t completely quell your money worries. While Medicare is far more affordable that buying an individual health insurance policy, the program still has significant premiums and out of pocket costs for retirees.

A man who retires this year at age 65 and has median drug expenditures would need $86,000 in savings to have a 50 percent chance of having enough money to pay for health care expenses throughout his retirement, according to recent calculations by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). That number assumes that the man doesn’t have employment-based retiree health benefits, but purchases Medicare Part B medical insurance, Part D prescription drug coverage, and a Medigap policy. Women, because they tend to live longer, need to save even more.  A 65-year-old women scheduled to retire this year would need to accumulate $125,000 to have a 50 percent chance of being able to pay all her medical bills. If these individuals want a 90 percent chance of affording all their health expenses, the man would need $177,000 and the women should save $221,000, according to EBRI.

[…] These estimates do not include the savings needed for long-term care or the expenses associated with retiring before becoming eligible for Medicare, both of which could rapidly escalate health care costs. Above average prescription drug costs would also inflate these numbers. However, some workers can get by saving less if they choose to work during retirement and receive health benefits from their company or if they are eligible for subsidized retiree health benefits from a former employer.”

To read the full blog post on US News and World Report, click here.  To download a free PDF of the executive summary, click here.


Research Reports

Each selection includes a short excerpt from the research and a link to the report:

1. Restoring Equal Opportunity in Education: An Analysis of Arguments for and Against the Bush Administration Single Sex Education Regulations

By Ashley English, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
July 2009

“In 2006, the George W. Bush Administration issued new Title IX regulations that allow for sex segregated classrooms and schools in public, non-vocational elementary and secondary schools. These regulations provide schools with another condition that allows them to provide sex segregated programs as long as they meet an “important governmental objective” (US Department of Education 2006). […] The Bush Administration’s regulations are not legal and Constitutional. Given the limited accountability and evidence that these programs work, combined with the threat to equal opportunity and the potential legal issues regarding these regulations, the Obama Administration should seek to repeal them. This report provides an overview of the history of Title IX and then examines the arguments for and against sex segregated education. […]”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here.  To learn more about the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, click here.

2. Family-Friendly Workplaces:  Do Unions Make a Difference?

By Jenifer MacGillvary and Netsy Firestein
UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education
Labor Project for Working Families
July 2009

“This report analyzes the “union difference” in family-friendly workplace policies. It reviews studies that compare union workplaces with nonunion workplaces to determine whether there is a difference in the extent to which these workplaces implement policies that acknowledge their employees’ family responsibilities and promote a healthy and viable balance between work life and home life.  Family-friendly policies are becoming increasingly important as more and more U.S. households find themselves with all adult household members working while they also have child-care and elder-care responsibilities. The report finds that in most areas unionized workers receive more generous family-friendly benefits than their nonunionized counterparts. […]”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here.

3. Hidden Casualties: Trade, Employment Loss & Women Workers

By David Callahan and Ramya M. Vijaya
Demos
July 2009

“This report presents new evidence of how trade-related job losses are impacting women workers.  It shows how women workers are concentrated in industries which have been drastically affected by the surge in cheap imports over the past decade. The report also shows that current policy responses to dislocations faced by women workers are woefully insufficient, with many laid off women workers receiving little help in securing comparably paying jobs or handling family obligations as they participate in retraining and conduct employment searches.  The United States should continue to engage in an open global economy in the years ahead. But in light of the trends documented in this report, that engagement must be coupled with a much more comprehensive set of policies to help workers and families navigate the economic restructuring that has become an inevitable part of increasing trade and globalization.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here.

4. Making Government Work for Families: The Federal Government’s role as Employer and Contractor in Improving Family-Friendly Policies

By Ann O’Leary
Center for American Progress
Center for Health, Economic & Family Security
UC Berkeley School of Law
July 2009

“This report documents how existing laws that protect against inequitable pay and set prevailing wages and benefits in the federal contractor workforce have failed to fully assist workers contracted by the federal government in meeting the dual demands of work and family responsibilities. The report then recommends how to fully enforce existing laws, and encourages the government to consider new ways of rewarding contractors offering family-friendly benefits at least as good as those offered by the federal government to its own workers.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here.

5. The Pension Factor: Assessing the Role of Defined Benefits Plans in Reducing Elder Hardships

By Frank Porell, Ph.D., and Beth Almeida
National Institute on Retirement Security
July 2009

“Defined benefit pension income plays a critical role in reducing the risk of poverty and hardship for older Americans.  Poverty rates among older households lacking pension income are about six times greater than those with such income.  The study finds that pensions reduce—and in some cases eliminate—the greater risk of poverty and public assistance dependence that women and minority populations otherwise would face […].”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here.

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