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August 2011 RNR

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

August 2011

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

1. "AARP: Families Provide $450B Worth of Unpaid Care"

2. "Wealth Gap Widens Between Whites, Minorities, Report Says"

3. "Teen Girls Face Heaviest Risk from Climate Impacts - Report"


Research Reports

1. Job Loss Tsunami of the Great Recession: Wave Recedes for Men, Not for Women

2. Paid Sick Days and Employer Penalties for Absence

3. Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps

4. Reinventing the Workplace

5. Visions of Britain 2020 --Working Women


Research Making News ____________________________


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


1. "AARP: Families Provide $450B Worth of Unpaid Care"

By Eileen AJ Connelly

Associated Press

July 18, 2011


Citing: Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update - The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving by Lynn Feinberg, Susan C. Reinhard, Ari Houser, and Rita Choula, AARP Public Policy Institute

"How do you put a value on caring for family members who are chronically ill or disabled?

AARP estimates it at about $450 billion a year.

That's how much it might cost for the unpaid care that roughly one in every four adults provide [...].

The advocacy group released a report Monday that estimates the economic value of family caregiving in 2009. The total was up 20 percent, from $375 billion in 2007, with the increase reflecting both an increase in the number of family caregivers and in the hours of care they provide. [...]

AARP said about 42.1 million individuals are caring for relatives and close friends at any time during the year - but about 61.6 million provide care at some point during the year. They put in an average of 18.4 hours of care per week, up 9 percent from its prior study. The organization arrived at its dollar value estimate by assuming the work of caregivers is worth an average $11.16 per hour. [...]

The study found that the average individual is a 49-year-old woman with an outside job, who spends nearly 20 hours per week caring for her mother for nearly five years.. [...]

For caregivers over 50 years old who leave the workforce to care for a parent, lost wages, income and pension benefits average $283,716 for men and $324,044 for women.

Another impact comes in the workplace, through lost productivity and higher health care costs for employers. The study notes that caregivers themselves frequently have higher medical costs, which can be borne by employers. [...]"

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about the AARP Public Policy Institute, visit their website.


2. "Wealth Gap Widens between Whites, Minorities, Report Says"


By Peter Whoriskey

Washington Post

July 26, 2011


Citing: Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics by Paul Taylor, Rakesh Kochhar, Richard Fry, et al., Pew Social and Demographic Trends

"The wealth gap between whites and minorities has risen to a historic high, according to new census data analyzed by the Pew Research Center, as the collapse of housing prices more severely affected the net worth of African American and Hispanic households.

The report [...] shows that the recession wreaked havoc on the wealth of all Americans but that whites lost the least amount as a percentage of their holdings.

Between 2005 and 2009, the median net worth of Hispanic households dropped by 66 percent and that of black households fell by 53 percent, according to the report. In contrast, the median net worth of white households dropped by only 16 percent.

The median net worth of a white family now stands at 20 times that of a black family and 18 times that of a Hispanic family - roughly twice the gap that existed before the recession and the biggest gap since data began being collected in 1984. [...]

Between 2005 and 2009, the share of wealth owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of all households rose to 56 percent from 49 percent. The same shift to the wealthiest was found among all ethnic groups. Among Hispanics, the share of the wealthiest rose to 72 percent from 56 percent, and among blacks it rose to 67 percent from 59 percent.

The report also found that in every group, the gap between the richest and everyone else expanded. [...]"

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Pew Social and Demographic Trends, visit their website.


3. "Teen Girls Face Heaviest Risk from Climate Impacts - Report""

By Soumya Karlamangla


July 20, 2011


Citing: Weathering the Storm: Adolescent Girls and Climate Change by Anita Swarup, Irene Dankelman, Kanwal Ahluwalia, and Kelly Hawrylyshyn, Plan.

"At the intersection of two of the world's most vulnerable groups - children and women - adolescent girls may end up bearing the biggest burden of climate change impacts, according to a new report.

In times of economic hardship - often caused by droughts, floods or other natural disasters - girls regularly suffer from a lack [of] educational opportunities, sexual violence, and early and forced marriages, all consequences of what the report calls "the double jeopardy brought on by gender and age." [...]

The researchers sat down with girls between ages 13 and 18 from cyclone-prone areas of Bangladesh and drought-prone parts of Ethiopia to discuss issues including global warming, disasters and education.

They found that when their families are stressed, girls are often pulled out of school to allow their mothers to go to work, or to get jobs themselves to help support their families [...]. The loss of education that results widens the already-existing gap in key survival skills between boys and girls. Studies have found that a lack of basic skills, like knowing how to swim or climb trees, puts women more at risk from disasters.

In fact, in Bangladesh, women made up 90 percent of the more than 138,000 people killed by a record 1991 cyclone. More than 80 percent of the victims [of] the 2004 Asian tsunami also were women, according to the report. [...]"


To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about Plan, visit their website.


Research Reports ____________________________

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

1. Job Loss Tsunami of the Great Recession: Wave Recedes for Men, Not for Women


Heidi Hartmann, PhD and Jeff Hayes, PhD

Institute for Women's Policy Research

July 2011


"The Great Recession has been characterized by massive job loss for both women and men. It is as if a giant tsunami wave washed across the American economy and wiped millions of jobs away. As the wave recedes, people are attempting to rebuild their lives. The Institute for Women's Policy Research new graphic shows that the tsunami has been both larger and longer lasting for men than for women, but that the recovery for men has at least begun, while women's job growth has so far failed to take hold. Men had 33 months of nearly consecutive job loss and women 'only' 23 months. The number of months of nearly consecutive job loss and the size of the job loss is, however, unprecedented for both men and women (with the exception of the Great Depression of the 1930s). As can be seen in the graphic, women's recession, as measured by their job loss, started later than men's and their recovery has also begun later and has been more anemic then men's recovery."


To download a free PDF of the Quick Figures, click here. To learn more about the Institute for Women's Policy Research, visit our website.


2. Paid Sick Days and Employer Penalties for Absence


Kevin Miller, PhD, Robert Drago, PhD, and Claudia Williams

Institute for Women's Policy Research

July 2011


"This fact sheet provides new findings on the extent to which employees with paid sick days either operate under policies that could lead to dismissal for missed time or, more generally, fear employer penalties for the use of paid sick days (or any time off from work), using data from the IWPR/Rockefeller Survey of Economic Security. [...] Comparing only those employees who have access to paid sick days, employees in the private sector are more likely than public sector workers to report dismissal policies for missed time, regardless of the reason for absence (49 percent versus 42 percent). Private sector workers are also more likely (by 9 percentage points) to report fears of negative consequences for missing work."


To download a free PDF of the Fact Sheet, click here. To learn more about the Institute for Women's Policy Research, visit our website.


3. Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps

Committee on Preventive Services for Women, Institute of Medicine

July 2011


" [...The] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) charged the Institute of Medicine (IOM) with reviewing what preventive services are important to women's health and well-being and then recommending which of these should be considered in the development of comprehensive guidelines. [...] The committee found sufficient evidence to endorse eight recommendations for specific preventive services and screenings that support women's overall health. For sexually active women, the committee found that current recommendations of screening for cervical cancer, counseling for sexually transmitted infections, and HIV counseling and screening are too limited in scope and should be expanded. It also made several recommendations that support women's reproductive health. These include a fuller range of contraceptive education, counseling, methods, and services so that women can better avoid unwanted pregnancies and space their pregnancies to promote optimal birth outcomes. Additional recommendations address needs of pregnant women, including screening for gestational diabetes and lactation counseling and equipment to help women who choose to breastfeed to do so successfully. [...] Finally, the committee recommended that all women and adolescent girls be screened and counseled for interpersonal and domestic violence in a culturally sensitive and supportive manner. [...]"


To view a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about the Institute of Medicine Committee on Preventive Services for Women, visit their website.


4. Reinventing the Workplace

Dan Leighton and Thomas Gregory


July 2011


"This [UK] report, which is based on new polling of employees and employers as well as extensive focus groups and structured interviews with managers and employees in 'vanguard' businesses, makes the case for safeguarding and extending flexible working practices. [...] Our survey has given us the ability to identify certain barriers, or 'risk factors', to flexibility such as firm size and sector. [...] The results of our research show that flexible working has become entrenched in the working lives of most people - a substantial achievement for flexible working advocates: [today], 91 per cent of employers offer at least one form of flexible working arrangement to their employees. [...] Yet our results also present some pessimistic predictions for future expansion [...]. Of the firms that currently do not offer any form of flexible working arrangement, 92 per cent said they were unlikely to start offering it in the next two years. Half of firms with fewer than 50 employees said they granted less than 1 in 4 flexible working requests. Compounding the problem is lack of knowledge: 60 per cent of employees did not know who was covered by the legal right to request. Flexible working has also not been able to address many gender-based inequalities. Belying the narrative of the 'new man', men were less than half as likely to use flexible working in order to 'look after children' than women and 86 per cent of men said they would not use a longer period of paternity leave if it was offered to them. [...]"


To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about Demos, visit their website.


5. Visions of Britain 2020 - Working Women


Friends Life

Future Foundation

July 2011


"[...] In the fifth report in [the Visions of Britain 2020] series, we examine the particular challenges being faced by working women. We look at whether recent initiatives by both the Government and the private sector to remove the glass ceiling have changed expectations among working women regarding future career opportunities and workplace equality. We examine the ongoing challenge they face in striving to balance career and family aspirations. We look at the extent to which the recession has shaped the attitudes of working women towards their own finances, financial independence, and financial behaviour within relationships. We also explore the particular challenges facing working women approaching retirement, especially their attitudes towards proposed changes to the basic state pension age, and examine the drain on financial resources which even grown-up children represent. [...]"


To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about Friends Life, visit their website. To learn more about the Future Foundation, click here.



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