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February 2011 RNR

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

February 2011

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."'Dramatic’ Increase in Reliance on Social Security”
2. “Paid Sick Leave and Public Health””
3. "Mixed Bag for Family Leave"
4. "Women in the House: Why Female Politicians Are More Effective”"
5. "Report Examines Combat Stress Care of Women Vets"

Research Reports
1. Holding Steady, Looking Ahead: Annual Findings of a 50-State Survey of Eligibility Rules, Enrollment and Renewal Procedures, and Cost-Sharing Practices in Medicaid and CHIP, 2010-2011
2. Mothers' Day: A Study of Trends in Hiring Working Mothers Across the Globe
3. Report: Abortion Incidence and Access to Services in the United States, 2008
4. The State of Communities of Color in the U.S. Economy: A Snapshot as We Enter 2011

Research Making News _____________________________

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

1. “‘Dramatic’ Increase in Reliance on Social Security”

By Diane Stafford
Kansas City Star
January 27, 2011

Citing: Social Security Especially Vital to Women and People of Color, Men Increasingly Reliant by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Jeff Hayes, Ph.D., and Robert Drago, Ph.D., Institute for Women’s Policy Research

“Between 1999 and 2009, reliance on Social Security for at least 80 percent of retirement income ballooned by 48 percent among men aged 65 and older, according to a report released today.

Among women, such reliance on Social Security grew 26 percent, the Institute for Women's Policy Research said. […]

[Social Security] was the main income source for 10.3 million women (or about half of women aged 65 and older).

The research organization said Social Security helped more than 14 million Americans stay above the poverty line. Without it, nearly half of those aged 65 and older would have been classified as poor in 2009.”

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

2. “Paid Sick Leave and Public Health”

By Liz Borkowski
The Pump Handle
January 11, 2011

Citing: “44 Million U.S. Workers Lacked Paid Sick Days in 2010 by Claudia Williams, Robert Drago, Ph.D., and Kevin Miller, Ph.D., Institute for Women’s Policy Research

“According to new research from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, in 2010, 44 million private-sector US employees, or 42% of the workforce, lacked access to paid sick time. This IWPR analysis distinguishes between employees who are eligible for paid sick time vs. those who can actually access it, because employers often don't allow for the use of paid sick time by employees in their first months on the job. IWPR reports that new employees have to wait an average of 3.5 months to access paid sick days. […]

In low-wage service occupations, people without paid sick leave often can't afford to take unpaid days to recover from an illness—and even if they're willing to forego the income, many face threats of losing their jobs if they miss work. […] In addition to being a rotten deal for workers, this means that the people who handle our food and care for our children are probably coming to work sick, and potentially exposing many more people to their viruses and bacteria. […]

DC, Milwaukee, and San Francisco have all passed legislation requiring employers to provide employees with a minimum number of paid sick days, but there's no national-level requirement for private employers to offer such a benefit. […]”

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

3. “Mixed Bag for Family Leave”

By Sue Shellenbarger
The Juggle, a Wall Street Journal blog
January 26, 2011

Citing: Leaves That Pay: Employer and Worker Experiences with Paid Family Leave in California by Eileen Appelbaum, Ph.D., Center for Economic and Policy Research, and Ruth Milkman, Ph.D., Murphy Center for Worker Education and Labor Studies, CUNY

“Six years ago, California enacted a pioneering family-leave law that provided eligible employees up to 55% of their usual pay for up to six weeks of leave, including bonding by either parent with a newborn, adopted or foster child or caring for ill family members.

A new study has examined the impact of the law on both families and employers and found the results mixed. The upshot: The law hasn’t had many of the negative consequences employers predicted. […]

More than 85% of employers surveyed said the law had no noticeable effect on productivity, profitability or turnover. (The program is funded by a 1.2% payroll tax on employees.) And contrary to predictions by some employer groups, 91% of employers surveyed said they weren’t aware of any employees who had abused the law by taking leave to which they weren’t entitled […].

Among workers who knew about the law but chose not to use it when they needed family time off, more than one-third said they feared negative consequences for them at work […]. Nearly one-third cited financial obstacles, saying the wage replacement provided by the law was too low to enable them to take time off.

Despite the law’s drawbacks, more men have been taking paid parental leave compared with five years ago, as the law has become better known, the study says. Also, mothers using the law report it has doubled the time they are able to breastfeed. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Center for Economic and Policy Research, visit their website. To learn more about the Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, visit their website.

4. “Women in the House: Why Female Politicians Are More Effective”

By Tony Dokoupil
The Daily Beast
January 21, 2011

Citing: The Jackie (and Jill) Robinson Effect by Sarah F. Anzia, Stanford University and Christopher R. Berry, Ph.D., University of Chicago

“[…More] than 90 years after the first woman was elected to Congress, female politicians still hold less than a fifth of all national seats, and do only slightly better at the state level. But that's more than just a blow for diversity and equality, according to a forthcoming study in the American Journal of Political Science—because women also rank as the most effective lawmakers in the land.

The research is the first to compare the performance of male and female politicians nationally […]. Between 1984 and 2004, women won their home districts an average of $49 million more per year than their male counterparts (a finding that held regardless of party, geography, committee position, tenure in office, or margin of victory). […]

[…] Women sponsored more bills [,…] co-sponsored more bills [,…] and attracted a greater number of co-sponsors than their colleagues who use the other restroom. These new laws driven by women were not only enacted—they were popular. […]

So are women just innately better politicians? Probably not. More likely, say Berry and Anzia, female politicians are better than men because […] they simply have to be. […] In order to overcome lingering bias against women in leadership positions, those women must work that much harder to be seen as equals. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about Stanford University’s Department of Economics, visit their website. To learn more about the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, visit their website.

5. “Report Examines Combat Stress Care of Women Vets”

By Veronica Chufo
Daily Press
January 9, 2011

Citing: Review of Combat Stress in Women Veterans Receiving VA Health Care and Disability Benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General

“The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General released a report studying the growing number of women who suffer from combat stress. […]

Although women aren't assigned to units primarily engaged in direct ground combat, many female veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from the same combat stress as their male counterparts. […]

The study looked at 246,976 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and 246,080 who served elsewhere.

Among those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 12 percent of active female veterans and about 16 percent of reserve unit female veterans were diagnosed with [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)], compared to about 17 percent of active and reserve male veterans.

Women were denied PTSD claims more often than men, while men were denied claims for other mental health conditions more often than women. The report identified no gender bias in the claim denials. Decisions were consistent with medical evidence and current policies and procedures, the report said.

Changes to the Veterans Benefits Administration's PTSD policy will enable more men and women to qualify for PTSD benefits. Before July, the administration assumed that veterans who had received certain combat decorations had engaged in combat and thus were more likely to have experienced a traumatic event that triggered their PTSD. […]

Now, the VA's starting assumption is that all veterans assigned to a combat zone had experiences that could lead to PTSD even if they did not receive combat decorations. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Department of Veteran Affairs Office of Inspector General, visit their website.

 

Research Reports _________________________________

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

1. Holding Steady, Looking Ahead: Annual Findings of a 50-State Survey of Eligibility Rules, Enrollment and Renewal Procedures, and Cost-Sharing Practices in Medicaid and CHIP, 2010-2011

Martha Heberlein, Tricia Brooks, and Jocelyn Guyer, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families
Samantha Artiga and Jessica Stephens, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured
January 2011

“Over the past year, […] Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continued to play their central role of providing coverage to millions of people who otherwise lack affordable coverage options. In 2010, this role was more pronounced than ever as families losing their jobs and access to employer‐based coverage turned to public programs in growing numbers. […] Based on a survey of state officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia conducted by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, this tenth annual report provides an overview of state actions on eligibility rules, enrollment and renewal procedures, and cost-sharing practices in Medicaid and CHIP during 2010, as well as the status of coverage as of January 1, 2011, for children, parents, pregnant women, and other non‐disabled adults. As the survey findings illustrate, families could turn to Medicaid and CHIP because nearly all states “held steady” or made targeted improvements in their eligibility and enrollment rules in 2010, with a total of 13 states expanding eligibility and 14 states making improvements in enrollment and renewal procedures. […]”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, visit their website. To learn more about the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, visit their website.

2. Mother’s Day? A Study of Trends in Hiring Working Mothers across the Globe

Regus
January 2011

“In a worrying development for equal opportunities across the globe, this latest research report from Regus has shown that the proportion of firms intending to hire more working mothers has slumped by one fifth since the same time last year. Compared to a year ago, when 44% of companies planned to hire working mothers, only 36% expect to do so in 2011. These findings will be of particular concern to women’s groups as overall employment prospects brighten with the accelerating global economy in the New Year. The new study also reveals a residual proportion of businesses who continue to harbour concerns about employing working mothers, along with some detail as to what those concerns are.”

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

3. Report: Abortion Incidence and Access to Services in the United States, 2008

Rachel K. Jones, Guttmacher Institute
Kathryn Kooistra, College of Nursing, SUNY Downstate
March 2011

“The incidence of abortion in the United States declined for more than a decade, but this trend may be ending, or at least leveling off. Nationwide, the number of abortions peaked in 1990, at 1.61 million, and dropped 25%, to 1.21 million, by 2005. Similarly, the abortion rate declined 29% over the same period, from 27.4 per 1,000 women aged 15–44 to 19.4 per 1,000. However, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on records from health departments in 48 reporting areas, show that the number and rate of abortions increased 3% between 2005 and 2006. The number and rate of abortions are in part dependent on the accessibility of abortion services […]. The number of abortion providers in the United States has been declining steadily: [it] peaked in 1982, at 2,900 facilities, and had fallen to 1,800 by 2005. In that year, 87% of counties lacked an abortion provider, and 35% of women aged 15–44 lived in those counties; some of these women may lack the time or resources to travel to a provider. […] This analysis provides abortion information for 2007 and 2008 to examine if the CDC data represent a reversal of the long-term decline or a “blip” in abortion incidence, and also presents updated measures of the accessibility of services. […]”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Guttmacher Institute, visit their website. To learn more about the SUNY Downstate College of Nursing, click here.

4. The State of Communities of Color in the U.S. Economy: A Snapshot As We Enter 2011

Christian E. Weller, Jaryn Fields, and Folayemi Agbede
Center for American Progress
January 2011

“The Great Recession of 2007–2009 produced widespread employment losses for communities of color and white families alike […]. All U.S. households were severely hurt by the recession but communities of color experienced larger losses than whites. This also means that, as the economic recovery deepens [,…] communities of color will have to climb out of a deeper hole to regain the same level of economic security as they had before the crisis. […] African Americans saw few economic gains during the last business cycle, with stagnant or declining homeownership and wages [and] high unemployment rates […] even as the economy grew. Latinos, in comparison, saw comparatively strong jobs gains that were reflected in other gains, particularly in homeownership, during the last business cycle. Those gains, though, were insufficient to provide a buffer for Latinos once the recession hit, leading Latinos to lose most of the ground gained during the previous business cycle. The data show that Asian Americans’ employment and earnings are generally on par with those of whites, but the data are dominated by Chinese and Indian Americans. Other Asian nationalities, among them Vietnamese Americans and Cambodian Americans, are struggling to recover from the Great Recession, but limited data disguise the diversity within the Asian-American community. […]”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Center for American Progress, visit their website.

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