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
Each selection includes a short excerpt, link to the news article, and link to the research cited:
1. “Study: Immigrants Fill Healthcare Worker Shortage”
By Danielle Kurtzleben
U.S.News & World Report
February 14, 2013
Citing: Increasing Pathways to Legal Status for Immigrant In-Home Care Workers by Cynthia Hess, Ph.D. and Jane M. Henrici, Ph.D., Institute for Women’s Policy Research
“[…] A new report says that immigrants, including many illegal workers, are staving off a labor shortage in [care for aging Americans], but those on the other side of the debate have a different view. As of 2010, the most recent year for available data, there were 3.4 million U.S. direct care workers, according to the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute. Direct care workers include personal care attendants, nursing assistants, and other similar positions. That number is expected to increase to 4.3 million by 2018, driven in large part by at-home workers and personal care workers, which are both expected to grow by around 50 percent, according to a report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research. The report, which focuses on women in the direct care workforce, finds that immigrants make up 28 percent of all in-home healthcare workers, and that more than 20 percent of all immigrants employed in direct care are [undocumented].
The report concludes immigrants are solving a labor shortage, filling jobs that would otherwise go unfilled, a problem that will only get worse as the number of people needing care, whether elderly or disabled, grows. "In the face of this labor shortage, a growing immigrant population in the United States has stepped up to fill a substantial portion of care work jobs," the authors write. […]
[…] The goal is to keep those workers in the country and make their lives better, says one of the report's authors. Median weekly pay for all female in-home care workers is $308, compared with $560 for all U.S. female workers, and illegal immigrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation (such as lower pay) and abuse, according to the report. "The wages for a range of reasons are kept low, and we do consider that a problem," says Jane Henrici, study director at IWPR. "We're concerned for the workers' sake that they be able to subsist on those salaries." […]”
2. “Rural America Has a Teen Pregnancy Problem”
By Laura Sessions Stepp
February 27, 2013
Citing: Teen Childbearing in Rural America by National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
“[…] A study recently released by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy showed that the birth rate of girls in rural counties in 2010 -- the latest available data -- was almost 33% higher than in the rest of the country. It's not for the reasons many people might think, according to my colleague, Kelleen Kaye, senior research director at The National Campaign.
What's not true, she says, according to an analysis of federal data, is what we often hear: Rural teens are more likely than other teens to have sex with older men, or at younger ages, or get married younger. What is true is that [rural teens] lack health clinics that are easily accessible and that offer contraception as well as counseling. Their parents may not have health insurance that makes birth control affordable. Abortion providers may be hard to find. […]”
3. “Women's Media Center: Gender Gap in Media is A 'Crisis'”
By Jack Mirkinson
February 23, 2013
Citing: The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2013 by Diana Mitsu Klos, Women's Media Center
“A new report from the Women's Media Center (WMC) paints an overwhelmingly negative portrait of the level of female representation in the news business.
The WMC's annual Status of Women in the U.S. Media report was published on Friday. […] The study pulled together statistics from various other investigations, such as an American Society of News Editors probe which found that newspaper newsrooms were 63.1 percent male, and 36.9 percent female — unchanged from the same study in 1999. The study also looked at six online newsrooms, and found similar issues. […]
[…] The WMC also said that women made up 14 percent of Sunday talk show guests, and 29 percent of roundtable participants. […]
[…] The report is one of many examinations of the lack of gender parity in the press that has been published in the past year. In 2012, separate studies showed that men had far more bylines…in major outlets; were much more likely to be quoted about political issues, even if the issues primarily affected women; and even far outranked women in the numbers of published obituaries.”
4. “5.8M Women Have Used 'Morning After' Pill”
By Sharon Jayson
February 14, 2013
Citing: Use of Emergency Contraception Among Women Aged 15–44: United States, 2006–2010 by Kimberly Daniels, Ph.D., Jo Jones, Ph.D. and Joyce Abma, Ph.D., National Center for Health Statistics and Contraceptive Methods Women Have Ever Used: United States, 1982-2010 by Kimberly Daniels, Ph.D., William D. Mosher, Ph.D., and Jo Jones, Ph.D., National Center for Health Statistics
“As many as 11% of U.S. women ages 15-44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used a "morning after" pill at least once, according to the first federal report on emergency contraception, out Thursday.
That's 5.8 million women—and half say they used it because they feared their birth control method may have failed. The rest say they had unprotected sex.
The National Center for Health Statistics analysis is based on responses collected through in-person interviews with 12,279 women from 2006-2010. Of those, 10,605 said they were sexually experienced. […]
[…] The report shows that emergency contraception was most common among women 20-24, the never married, Hispanic and white women, and the college-educated.
The fact that half of the women used emergency contraception because they worried their contraceptive didn't work suggests that "women are concerned they don't have access to highly effective, long-acting methods," says Deborah Nucatola of Los Angeles, an OB-GYN in clinical practice and senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood. […]
In a separate report, the agency…also analyzed contraception use since 1982. […] Among findings on contraceptive use trends:
[…] Claire Brindis, director of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco, says the report points out women's need for different contraceptive alternatives over the years. "The fact that women may need to use four or five or six different methods in their lives ... points to me to the importance of having many contraceptive options available for women," she says.”
To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the full report, Use of Emergency Contraception Among Women Aged 15-44, click here. To download a free PDF of the full report, Contraceptive Methods Women Have Ever Used: United States, 1982-2010, click here. To learn more about the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, visit their website.
5. “DOL Officials Mark 20th Anniversary of FMLA”
Occupational Health & Safety
February 5, 2013
Citing: Family and Medical Leave in 2012: Technical Report by Jacob Alex Klerman, Kelly Daley, and Alyssa Pozniak, Abt Associates
“A survey of more than 2,800 adult Americans by the U.S. Department of Labor asked employers and workers how the Family and Medical Leave Act has affected them since it was enacted 20 years ago. The survey showed 16 percent of workers took FMLA leave within the last year, and businesses have had few problems implementing the law. […]
[…] The DOL survey found:
• Women made up 56 percent of employees who took leave in the past year.
• Most of the workers who took leave (57 percent) did so for their own illness, while 22 percent said they took leave for reasons related to a new child and 19 percent took it to care for a parent, spouse, or child with a serious health condition.
• Forty percent of workers reported they were away from work for 10 days or less, and 70 percent were back at work within 40 days. […]
[…] "The significance of the FMLA is in its recognition that workers aren't just contributing to the success of a business, but away from their jobs they are contributing to the health and well-being of their families. Our survey results show that, for two decades, granting job-protected leave has been good for employers and good for millions of workers and their loved ones. The FMLA is working,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, acting deputy administrator for DOL's Wage and Hour Division.”
1. Access to Earned Sick Days in Maryland
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
“A new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reveals that more than 700,000 private sector employees in Maryland lack even a single earned sick day. […] Earned sick days allow people to take time off work to recover from personal illnesses and to tend to family members’ health without the fear of lost pay or other negative consequences.
[…] The lack of earned sick days is especially common in jobs requiring frequent contact with the public, with important public health consequences. Across the broad spectrum of occupations in Maryland, access to earned sick days varies from 86 percent for employees in computer and mathematical occupations to 24 percent for those employed in food preparation and serving occupations. […]”
2. Improving Career Opportunities for Immigrant Women In-Home Care Workers
Jane M. Henrici, Ph.D.
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
“Low-income immigrant women constitute a large part of the rapidly growing workforce that provides assistance to individuals with disabilities, the chronically ill, and the elderly in need of personal care within private residences.
[…] Improving Career Opportunities for Immigrant Women In-Home Care Workers is one of two IWPR studies focused on ways to improve labor conditions and rights among immigrant women in home care work. This report addresses the lack of employment options and career mobility that many foreign-born women who are care workers—particularly those with limited English proficiency—face within their jobs helping others. Using original expert interviews and an extensive review of the literature, IWPR’s research discusses the need to increase access to high-quality training that specifically targets the needs of immigrant women care workers. […]”
3. Moderate Job Growth Continues for Women and Men Revised: Numbers Provide Brighter Picture of Recovery for Women
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
“According to IWPR analysis of the January employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), released February 1, 2013, job growth was stronger for women (102,000 jobs) than men (55,000 jobs), for a total of 157,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls during the month of January. Women’s employment growth in January was aided by strong growth in Education and health services (32,000 jobs added for women), Professional and business services (23,000 jobs added for women), Retail trade (17,000 jobs added for women), and Information (10,000 jobs added for women). However, women lost 8,000 jobs in Government in January. […] IWPR analysis now shows that women have done better in the recovery than men have, having regained a larger share of the jobs they lost than did men. IWPR analysis of the BLS payroll data shows that, as of January 2013, women have regained 72 percent (2 million) of the total jobs they lost in the recession from December 2007 to the trough for women’s employment in September 2010 (2.7 million). Men have regained nearly 59 percent (3.6 million) of the jobs they lost between December 2007 and the trough for men’s employment in February 2010 (6 million). […]”
4. An Executive Order to Prevent Discrimination Against LGBT Workers
Lee Badgett, Crosby Burns, Nan D. Hunter, Jeff Krehely, Christy Mallory, and Brad Sears
Center for American Progress and the Williams Institute
February 19, 2013
“Under federal law it is entirely legal to fire someone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. At the same time, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender—or LGBT—Americans report widespread discrimination in the workplace, which forces many of them into the ranks of the unemployed and leaves them without an income to pay the mortgage, buy groceries, and otherwise make ends meet. Workplace discrimination is not only a problem for workers—it also presents problems for businesses by introducing inefficiencies and costs that cut into profits and undermine businesses’ bottom lines.
While many states, municipalities, and corporations have instituted policies that shield LGBT workers from workplace bias, LGBT individuals currently lack adequate legal protections from employment discrimination. In fact, a majority of workers currently live in states that have not passed laws giving LGBT workers legal protections from workplace discrimination. […]”
5. Sex Stereotypes: How They Hurt Women in the Workplace—and in the Wallet
National Women’s Law Center
“Today, women who work full time, year round are paid only 77 cents on average for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. That’s shortchanging women and their families more than 10,000 dollars per year. This wage gap—which hasn’t changed in a decade occurs in part because of outdated stereotypes about women and their “proper” place in society and in the workforce. These stereotypes contribute to women receiving lower pay for the same work, fewer promotions, fewer opportunities for advancement at work, fewer workforce training opportunities for higher-paying jobs, and being concentrated in low-paying positions in traditionally female fields. […] Women in the workforce face a range of outmoded stereotypes and preconceptions that contribute to the wage gap. They are viewed as not needing raises or promotions because they aren’t “breadwinners,” not tough enough for some jobs, too tough for other jobs, and less dedicated to the workplace—usually because of their caregiving responsibilities—than their male counterparts.
[…] Stereotypes continue to limit women’s opportunities at work and contribute to the wage gap. […]”
6. Women in Senior Management: Setting the Stage for Growth
“This report, based on the latest research from the International Business Report (IBR), explores the global shift in the number of women at the top of the business world and examines ways to make this growth permanent and parity possible. Key findings from the survey include:
• women hold 24% of senior management roles globally, a three point increase over the previous year
• there has been a sharp rise in China, with 51% of senior management positions held by women, compared to 25% last year
• the proportion of businesses employing women as CEOs has risen from 9% to 14%
• education and talent management may work in tandem with flexible work arrangements, which 67% of respondents offer, to increase the number of women in top leadership
• just 19% of board roles around the world are held by women
• although quotas have been put into place around the globe to increase women’s participation in boards, 55% of respondents oppose such quotas. […]”