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August 2013 Research News Reporter

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

August 2013

Research Making the News

1. “Restaurant Industry Shortchanges Working Mothers: Child Care and the Third Shift”

2. “Report Finds Gradual Fall in Female Genital Cutting in Africa”

3. “Snapshots of Upwardly Mobile Areas”

4. “The 1 Move That Could Suddenly Pull 300,000 Workers Out Of Poverty”

5. “Federal Poverty Line Doesn't Adequately Reflect Cost Of Living In America, Analysis Finds”

Research Reports

1. Prepping Colleges for Parents: Strategies for Supporting Student Parent Success in Postsecondary Education

2. Student Parents and Financial Aid

3. Building Expectations, Delivering Results: Asset Based Financial Aid and the Future of Higher Education

4. Financial Inclusion and Legal Discrimination Against Women: Evidence from Developing Countries

5. The Intersection of Welfare and Disability: Early Findings from the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project

6. No Empowerment without Rights, No Rights without Politics: Gender-Equality, MDGs and the post 2015 Development Agenda

Research Making the News

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

1.“Restaurant Industry Shortchanges Working Mothers: Child Care and the Third Shift”

By Linda Meric
The Huffington Post
July 10, 2013

Citing: The Third Shift: Child Care Needs and Access for Working Mothers in Restaurants by The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, Center for Law and Social Policy, Family Values @ Work, Institute For Women’s Policy Research, MomsRising, National Organization For Women, National Partnership For Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center

“According to a new report "The Third Shift: Child Care Needs and Access for Working Mothers in Restaurants," released today by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, 9to5 and others, female restaurant workers pay penalties for both gender and motherhood. Despite representing one of the largest segments of the U.S. economy and experiencing one of the largest growth rates, the restaurant industry continues to exploit its workers -- particularly women, including mothers. Key findings in the report concluded that working mothers lack access to affordable child care, career mobility and a living wage with benefits. […]

Women make up over half of the more than ten million workers in the restaurant industry […]

Female restaurant workers working full-time, year-round, typically earn 79 cents for every dollar earned by their male co-workers. Women with children pay a wage penalty of approximately 4 percent per child […]

Another key finding in the report discovered that over 90 percent of mothers surveyed were unable to earn paid sick days. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the full report click here.  For more information about Restaurant Opportunities Centers Untied, visit their website. For more information about the Center for Law and Social Policy, visit their website. To learn more about Family Values @ Work, visit their website. To learn more about the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, visit our website.

2. “Report Finds Gradual Fall in Female Genital Cutting in Africa”

By Celia W. Dugger
New York Times
July 22, 2013

Citing: Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Statistical Overview and Exploration of the Dynamics of Change by Claudia Cappa and Bettina Shell-Duncan, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

“A comprehensive new assessment of the ancient practice of female genital cutting has found a gradual but significant decline in many countries, even in some where it remains deeply entrenched.

Teenage girls are now less likely to have been cut than older women in more than half of the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the practice is concentrated, according to the assessment by the United Nations Children’s Fund. In Egypt, for example, where more women have been cut than in any other nation, survey data showed that 81 percent of 15- to 19-year-olds had undergone the practice, compared with 96 percent of women in their late 40s. […]

In almost half of the 29 countries, young women were less likely to support the practice than older women. […]

Over all, Unicef estimates that more than 125 million girls and women have undergone the practice and that 30 million girls are at risk of it over the coming decade. […]

Unicef found that the steepest declines in the prevalence of the practice, also known as female genital mutilation, have occurred in Kenya, one of Africa’s most dynamic and developed nations, and — most surprisingly — in the Central African Republic, one of its poorest and least developed. […]

The Unicef report also found that while the practice is sometimes seen as a patriarchal effort to control women’s sexuality, it is often women who carry it out, and in a few countries, including Guinea, Sierra Leone and Chad, more men than women support its abandonment. Significant numbers of women also do not know what men think about the practice and often underestimate the proportion of them who want it to end, survey data show. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), visit their website.

3. “Snapshots of Upwardly Mobile Areas”

By Andrew Siddons
Economix, a blog from the New York Times
July 22, 2013

Citing: The Economic Impact of Tax Expenditures: Evidence from Spatial Variation Across the U.S by: Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Patrick Kline, Emmanuel Saez, The Equal Opportunity Project

Scranton, Pa., may not be anybody’s idea of a boom town. A year ago, with the industrial city in northeastern Pennsylvania on the verge of bankruptcy, the mayor cut city workers’ pay to the minimum wage.

But Scranton still stands out as one of the American cities where poor people have among the best odds of climbing into the middle class, according to a large new study. A poor person from Scranton is almost twice as likely to rise into a higher income bracket than a poor person from Toledo, Ohio, or South Bend, Ind. By the measurements of the professors who did the research — four economists, at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley — rates of upward mobility in Scranton are similar to those in Seattle, Boston and New York. […]

The authors of the new study found four factors that areas with more upward mobility tend to have in common: a large and geographically dispersed middle class; better than average schools; a high share of two-parent households; and populations engaged with religious and community organizations. […]

Another factor that sets upwardly mobile cities apart is that lower-class people live among the middle and upper classes: according to the study, there is a correlation between upward social mobility and income diversity. […]

The study, based on millions of anonymous records, tracked people over the course of their lives to compare their family income as children with their family income as adults. About 26 percent of children who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s in Seattle families from the poorest fifth of the national income distribution have ended up in the top two-fifths today, for instance.

On the other end of the spectrum, the equivalent figure was 9 percent for Memphis natives, 13 percent for Atlanta natives and 15 percent for Indianapolis natives.

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

4. “The 1 Move That Could Suddenly Pull 300,000 Workers Out Of Poverty”

The Huffington Post
July 16, 2013

Citing: Strengthening the EITC for Childless Workers Would Promote Work and Reduce Poverty by Chuck Marr, Krista Ruffini, and Chye-Ching Huang, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

“Legislation introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives could pull hundreds of thousands of the country's working poor out of poverty, according to a new study by the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The legislation in question would alter the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a wage supplement for low-income families, by lowering the eligibility age to 21 for childless workers and raising the maximum credit available to all. Doing so, according to the study, would lift more than 300,000 people out of poverty. […]

CBPP claims that [currently] the credit "entirely" misses many low-income workers and offers only partial support to others. A childless adult under the age of 25 years old, for example, doesn't receive any EITC, even if he is working full-time at the minimum wage and earning only $14,500 per year.

Low-income young men, whose labor-force participation rates were hit hard during the recession, are among those who stand to benefit most from a potential EITC expansion, according to the CBPP. Inflation-adjusted median earnings for a male high-school dropout with a full-time job fell by 10 percent between 1991 and 2011, CBPP notes. […]”

To read the full article, click here.To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, visit their website.

5. “Federal Poverty Line Doesn't Adequately Reflect Cost Of Living In America, Analysis Finds”

Jillian Berman
The Huffington Post
July 3, 2013

Citing: What Families Need to Get By: The 2013 Update of EPI’s Family Budget Calculator by Elise Gould, Hilary Wething, Natalie Sabadish, and Nicholas Finio, Economic Policy Institute

“ […] The federal poverty line for a family of four was $23,283 last year, nearly one-quarter of what it takes to live in New York City and slightly more than one-third of what it takes to live in St. Louis, according a family budget calculator from the Economic Policy Institute. […]

EPI found that in 615 cities across the country it takes a total income at least twice the federal poverty line for any type of family with three children or fewer to afford basic expenses. […]

In determining the income required for a family to get by, EPI’s budget calculator considers the regional cost of housing, child care, health care, transportation and other basic needs. It illustrates the limits of the Census' official poverty measure, which is determined using the cost of certain food staples nationally and adjusts with inflation. […]

In order to be able to afford to live anywhere in the country, workers have to be making more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, according to EPI. There’s nowhere in America where two parents earning the federal minimum wage, which amounts to about $30,000 per year collectively, can make enough to support a family of three or four, the analysis found. […]”

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


New Research


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

1. Prepping Colleges for Parents: Strategies for Supporting Student Parent Success in Postsecondary Education

Rachel Schumacher
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
July 2013

This brief is a product of the Student Parent Success Initiative (SPSI) at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). It provides a framework for thinking about the range of supports student parents typically need and example programs. It draws from information and lessons learned collected by IWPR from initiatives supporting student parents at two- and four-year colleges and universities across the country. SPSI resources may be used to inform the decisions of leaders on campuses, in communities, and among policymakers to promote better success rates and stronger families for student parents in postsecondary education

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


2. Student Parents and Financial Aid

Mark Huelsman and Jennifer Engle
Institute for Higher Education Policy
July 2013

This brief aims to explain the circumstances of student parents – particularly vis-á-vis the financial aid system – as well as detail major federal programs that could impact student parents’ college-going experience. Given that this population makes up around 1 in 4 students in higher education, it is important that these programs are better understood, utilized, and improved upon where needed.

To download a free PDF of the working paper, click here. To learn more about the Institute for Higher Education Policy, visit their website.



3. Building Expectations, Delivering Results: Asset Based Financial Aid and the Future of Higher Education

Assets and Education Initiative
Kansas University School of Social Welfare
July 2013

“The Biannual Report on the Assets and Education Field, Building Expectations, Delivering Results, brings together a wide body of research to demonstrate the potential that CSAs have for transforming the way that students pay for, and prepare for, college. By changing the timing of aid delivery and strengthening household finances in the years leading up to college, an asset-based financial aid system need not cost more than our current system, either. The transformation could, in turn, restore the promise of economic mobility for a generation of talented but disadvantaged young people.”

To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about the Assets and Education Initiative, visit their website. To learn more about the Kansas University School of Social Welfare, visit their website.


4. Financial Inclusion and Legal Discrimination Against Women: Evidence from Developing Countries

Asli Demirguc-Kunt, Leora Klapper, and Dorothe Singer
World Bank Policy Research
April 2013

“More than 1.3 billion women don't have a formal financial account, according to a recent working paper by Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, Leora Klapper, and Dorothe Singer. Gender differences in the use of financial services can be clearly seen in data drawn from the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) database. Even after controlling for a host of individual characteristics, such as income, education, employment status, rural residency, and age, women lag men in the use of financial services. That may be partly explained by legal discrimination against women. In fact, in countries where women face legal restrictions on their ability to work, head a household, choose where to live, and receive inheritance, women are less likely to own an account, save, or borrow. Other manifestations of gender norms, such as the level of violence against women and the incidence of early marriage for women, also help explain the gender differences in the use of financial services”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about World Bank Policy Research, visit their website.


5. The Intersection of Welfare and Disability: Early Findings from the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project

Mary Farrell and Johanna Walter
Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, an office of the Administration for Families and Children
May 2013

“This initial report from the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project offers a unique look at the overlap between TANF and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, using merged data files from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).  The analysis shows less overlap between the two programs than some observers anticipated; it also sheds light on application timing and approval rates. The report also draws on field observations from TANF and SSI program sites in four states, examining the coordination between the two programs and the resources available to TANF clients with disabilities.”

To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, visit their website.


6. No Empowerment without Rights, No Rights without Politics: Gender-Equality, MDGs and the post 2015 Development Agenda

Gita Sen and Avanti Mukherjee
Harvard School of Public Health
Harvard University FXB Center for Health and Human Rights
The New School
May 2013

“The main argument here is that progress on women's empowerment in the development agenda necessarily requires (1) the centrality of a human rights based approach, and (2) support for thewomen's movement in pushing this agenda; both of which are missing from MDG3. Empowerment requires agency along multiple dimensions--sexual, reproductive, economic, political, and legal – rights for which were hard won by women's rights groups through CEDAW and conferences at Cairo in 1994, and Beijing in 1995. MDG3 however is associated with targets and indicators that frame women's empowerment as reducing educational disparities. By omitting other rights and not recognizing the multiple interdependent and indivisible human rights of women, the goal of promoting women's empowerment is distorted and “development silos” are created. Such distortions and silos dovetail with the politics of agenda setting where economic justice is pitted against gender justice. Women's organizations are key actors in attempts to integrate both during global negotiations, and hence crucial to pushing the gender equality agenda forward. However, the politics of agenda setting also influence funding priorities such that financial support for women's organizations and for substantive women's empowerment projects are limited. To re-focus the post 2015 development agenda around human rights, we conclude by outlining an approach of issue-based goals and people-focused targets, which would make substantive space for civil society including women's rights organizations.”

To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about the Harvard School of Public Health, visit their website. To learn more about the Harvard University FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, visit their website. To learn more about the New School, visit their website.

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