IWPR’s Research News Reporter is distributed monthly to highlight informative, innovative, and sometimes controversial research related to women and their families. Each selection includes a short description of the research and either a link to the report or a citation.
Heidi Hartmann, Olga Sorokina, and Erica Williams
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
In this report, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research continues to track how women fare across state economies on a number of different economic indicators, using data from the Current Population Survey and the Economic Census. The study ranks and grades all 50 states and the District of Columbia on two composite indices comprised of four indicators each: the Earning and Employment Composite Index, which is based on median annual earnings figures, the earnings ratio between women and men, the percent of women in the labor force, and the percent of women in managerial or professional occupations and the Economic Policy Environment Composite Index, which is based on the percent of women with health insurance, the percent of women with a four year college degree or more, the percent of businesses that are women-owned, and the percent of women living above poverty. This study marks the tenth anniversary for the Status of Women in the States series, and provides insight into the current status of women at the state and national level, while also taking note of longer term positive and negative trends.
Some of the findings include:
The report concludes by offering a number of policy recommendations for legislators and employers for expanding the opportunities available to women throughout the country. Some of these recommendations include ensuring comparable pay for men and women in similar positions, expanding affordable early education and child care options, and improving family friendliness in the workplace through enhanced paid sick days policies and longer family care leave.
The full report can be accessed at http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/R334_BWStateEconomies2006.pdf.
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Richard Hausmann, Laura D. Tyson, Saadia Zahidi
World Economic Forum
This report provides an expansive look at how women fare socially and economically in comparison with men around the world. The 2006 report is the second in an on-going series first created by the World Economic Forum in 2005 and contains a new Gender Gap Index, used to quantify the gap in men’s and women’s outcomes in individual countries in four fundamental categories: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. The authors draw on a wide array of 2006 data collected from a number of international organizations to build the index, including the International Labor Organization, the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the International Parliamentary Union. Detailed country profiles are also provided for 115 countries.
Some key global and regional trends include:
The authors conclude by drawing links between economic performance and increasing equality for women, noting that optimizing a country’s human capital is essential to remaining competitive in the global market.
The full report can be found at http://www.weforum.org/pdf/gendergap/report2006.pdf
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Rachel K. Jones, Susheela Singh, Lawrence B. Finer, Lori F. Frohwirth
Occasional Report No. 29, November 2006
This study examines patterns of repeat abortions, highlighting social, demographic, and economic differences between repeat and first-time abortion patients. Drawing upon a number of sources, including statewide annual abortion surveillance reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through 2002, the Guttmacher Institute’s 1999 and 2000 Abortion Provider Census, 2000-2001 Abortion Patient Survey, and 2004 Abortion Reasons and Logistics Survey, and the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), the authors explore characteristics of women seeking repeat abortions, and discuss how this information might be relevant in reducing the need for repeat abortions in the future.
Key trends outlined in the study include:
The authors outline several strategies for reducing the number of women needing repeat abortions in the future. The authors note that repeat abortion is a strong indicator of repeat unintended pregnancy, and thus policy changes targeting unintended pregnancy could reduce the number of women seeking repeat abortions. Suggestions include the provision of elective IUD insertion and emergency contraceptives to all women following an abortion procedure and increased funding for Title X, to allow all women access to family planning resources regardless of income.
The full report can be accessed at http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2006/11/21/or29.pdf
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Joan C. Williams, Jessica Manvell, and Stephanie Bornstein
Center for WorkLife Law
University of California, Hastings College of Law
This report examines how American media sources report professional women’s choice to cut back on work hours or leave the workforce altogether. These women are portrayed as “opting out” of the paid workforce in order to provide full-time care for children. The researchers conducted the most comprehensive news content analysis published-to-date, analyzing 119 print news articles from major national as well as regional newspapers, published between January 1, 1980 and March 10, 2006.
The main findings of the review include:
The authors conclude that the “Opt Out” storylines portrayed in American newspapers are largely flawed and do not accurately analyze existing data. The report calls for a more accurate accounting of women and work and public policies that address the realities faced by today’s working parents.
The full article is available at http://www.uchastings.edu/site_files/WLL/OptOutPushedOut.pdf
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Committee for Economic Development
In this issue brief, the Committee for Economic Development (CED) analyzes public investment strategies in early education. Currently, 39 states and the District of Columbia offer publicly funded preschool programs, the majority of which are designed to primarily serve pooror at-risk children, as do federal commitments to early education. Public investments for early education are directed to various funding streams, and programs must rely on an array of appropriations from different federal, state, and local sources. The authors provide examples of innovative financing strategies for improving the quality of and access to early education for all children, regardless of financial need. These models are drawn from within and outside of the education sector, as well as from other countries.
The authors highlight the following strategies:
The authors conclude that implementing programs and providing access to high-quality care to all three- and four-year old children will require new investments, and that the necessary funds will have to come from new and innovative sources. The examples provided in this issue brief generate ideas for policymakers to move forward in making high-quality preschool programs accessible and affordable for all children in the United States.
The full article is available at http://www.ced.org/docs/prek_brief_200611.pdf
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