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January 2006 RNR

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January 19, 2006

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 itself or a citation. We sometimes include short pieces in their entirety.

In this edition:

  1. Parent-Child Relations Among Minor Females Attending U.S. Family Planning Clinics
  2. Are Women opting out? Debunking the Myth
  3. Hunger and Homelessness Survey: A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America’s cities
  4. Getting Real: Black Women Taking Charge in the Fight Against AIDS

1. Parent-Child Relations Among Minor Females Attending U.S. Family Planning Clinics .

Rachel K. Jones, Susheela Singh, and Alison Purcell, Guttmacher Institute

Perspectives in Sexual and Reproductive Health , Volume 36, Number 4

Guttmacher Institute

December 2005

A new study by the Guttmacher Institute reveals that despite the recent push by some groups to require parental involvement in reproductive health services, a majority of minor females do in fact talk to at least one parent about sex and their sexual health. The study surveyed 1,526 women under the age of 18 attending U.S. family planning clinics about 7 sex-related issues. The major findings of the study were as follows:

  • Sixty percent of parents knew about the clinic visit;
  • Sixty-six percent of young women reported telling their parents about the clinic visit voluntarily;
  • Forty-two percent had talked with parents about abstinence;
  • Thirty-two percent had talked with parents about STD prevention and where to get birth control;
  • Only 7 percent had not discussed the seven sexual issues addressed by the study with parents;
  • More than one-half stated that their mothers disapproved of their sexual activity;
  • Two-thirds said that their mothers approved of the use of birth control if they were going to have sex.

The authors recommend that instead of implementing state-mandated parental involvement, which is being considered by various legislatures, a better strategy would be increased support for clinic-based parent-child communication programs, which already exist in 43 percent of the clinics surveyed.

The full report is available at:

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2. Are Women Opting Out? Debunking the Myth.

Heather Boushey

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Released November 2005, Revised December 2005

In response to a recent media focus on women who “opt-out” of the labor force after having children, this report analyzes the Current Population Survey’s Outgoing Rotation Group data, a nationally representative survey, to determine whether women with children are less likely to be in the labor force today than they were at earlier points within the last two decades (from 1984 to 2004). This analysis controls for demographic and labor market changes to isolate the effect of children on women’s labor force participation rates (LFPR).

Results of the analysis show that, in fact, the labor force participation of women with children has been on the rise since the mid-80s. In 1984, the LFPR for prime-age women (25 to 45) with children at home was 49.5 percent compared with 70.2 percent for women without children, a 20.7 percentage point difference. By 2004 that gap had decreased with 65.6 percent of women with children at home participating in the labor force compared with 74.8 percent of women without children, a difference of only 9.2 percentage points. Between 2000 and 2004, despite an overall decrease in women’s labor force participation, the gap between LFPRs for prime-age women with and without children was 9.2 percentage points, down from 9.9 percentage points in the year 2000. The analysis also finds that this trend holds true for women with children at different levels of education.

The report concludes that despite media claims that women are “opting-out” of the labor force to be stay-at-home moms, the real story behind declining labor force participation rates among all women from 2000 to 2004 is a weak labor market caused by recession.

The full report can be found at

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3. Hunger and Homelessness Survey: A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America’s Cities.

United States Conference of Mayors

December 2005

The United States Conference of Mayors surveyed officials in 24 major U.S. cities to assess the status of hunger and homelessness. The survey focused on requests for emergency food assistance and emergency shelter, the ability of the cities’ organizations to meet these needs, and the perceived causes of hunger and homelessness.

The main findings include:

  • Seventy-six percent of the cities surveyed experienced an increase in requests for emergency food assistance during the past year;
  • Over half of those requesting the aid were from families with children ;
  • The number of food assistance facilities increased in 32 percent of the cities over the past year;
  • More than half of the cities stated that they are not able to provide an adequate quantity of food;
  • Unemployment, high housing costs poverty, medical costs, mental health problems, substance abuse and transportation costs are perceived to be the top causes of hunger;
  • Over the past year, 71 percent of the cities reported an increase in requestsfor emergency shelter;
  • Sixty-three percent reported an increase in requests for emergency shelter by families with children;
  • Lack of affordable housing, low-paying jobs, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence unemployment, poverty and prisoner re-entry are perceived as the top causes of homelessness.

The survey finds that officials in 90 percent of the cities surveyed expect an increase in requests for emergency food assistance, and 93 percent expect an increase in requests for emergency shelter in the year 2006.

The full report is available at:

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4. Getting Real: Black Women Taking Charge in the Fight Against AIDS

Hilary Beard

Black AIDS Institute

December 2005

This educational resource by the Black AIDS Institute addresses the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among African American women and factors contributing to its spread, and steps that women can take to reduce these risk. With statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on infection rates as well as chapters dedicated to other social factors, the report explores what may be contributing to high infection rates in the Black community. These chapters cover topics such as relationship history, and inconsistent condom use. The author highlights new research from the CDC that shows a six percent drop in infection rates among African-American women and a five percent drop among African Americans in general between the years 2000 and 2003. The CDC attributes this drop largely to the use of needle exchange programs that combat the spread among intravenous drug users. While these drops are good news, the author points out that Black women still lead the nation in HIV infection rates, accounting for 68 percent of all women newly diagnosed in the U.S. Heterosexual sex is the most common route of transmission among these women and according to the CDC 78 percent of Black women who contract HIV do so through unprotected sex. Each chapter provides advice to women on how to decrease their likelihood of contracting HIV.

More information on this report is available at:

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This edition of Research News Reporter was prepared by IWPR extern Miriam Pérez

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