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January 2010 RNR

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

January 2010

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. “Caregiving: The Extra (Unpaid) Part-Time Job”
2. “Where are the Women: U.S. Boardrooms May be Missing the Boat?”
3. “A Peril in War Zones: Sexual Abuse by Fellow G.I.s”

Research Reports
1. A Real-Time Look at the Impact of the Recession on Publicly Funded Family Planning Centers
2. An Expanded and Refundable Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit Would Help Make Child Care More Affordable for Millions of Families

Research Making News _____________________________

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

1. “Caregiving:  The Extra (Unpaid) Part-Time Job”

By Rachel Emma Silverman
The Juggle (A Wall Street Journal blog)
December 9, 2009

Citing:  Caregiving in the U.S. by the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with the AARP

“A new study released this week highlights the extra part-time job that many Americans, especially women, manage: caregiving for loved ones who are elderly, sick or have special needs.

The study, conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, and funded by MetLife Foundation, interviewed nearly 1,500 caregivers chosen at random.  Nearly a third of the U.S. adult population, or 65.7 million people, are caregivers. These caregivers provide an average of 20 hours of care per week, the equivalent of a part-time job, albeit usually an unpaid one. […]

The study also found that caregivers are predominantly female (66%) and are an average of 48 years old. Most care for a relative (86%), often an elderly parent or a child with special needs, such as autism or major developmental delays. And it’s a job for the long haul: Caregiving lasts an average of 4.6 years.

‘Caregiving is still mostly a woman’s job and many women are putting their career and financial futures on hold as they juggle part-time caregiving and full-time job requirements,’ the report says.

The study underscores the need for more assistance for caregivers, many of whom report increased mental and physical stress because of their responsibilities. Support recommendations include better access to information, help with transportation, emergency-response devices and respite services, which can give caregivers a short-term break.

And as the population ages and more people become caregivers, employers may become more sensitive to their overextended workers. […]”

To read the full article, click here.  To download a free copy of the report click here and to learn more about the National Alliance for Caregiving, visit their website.

2. “Where are the Women: U.S. Boardrooms May be Missing the Boat?”

By Ilene H. Lang
Huffington Post
December 15, 2009

Citing:  2009 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Board Directors and 2009 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Executive Directors and Top Earners by Rachel Soares, Nancy M. Carter, Ph.D., and Jan Combopiano at Catalyst.

“The results of the 2009 Catalyst Census of women in leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies are in—and they aren't pretty.

In 2009, a year when America endured the worst recession in sixty years, women held just 15.2 percent of board seats. Again. The level has been essentially flat since 2003. The percentage of women in executive office positions also remained low this year, at 13.5 percent, and women held only 6.3 percent of top-earner positions. What's stunning is that almost 30 percent of companies had no women executive officers at all. This means the pool of women who would be considered obvious candidates for corporate board seats is small and not increasing.

Moreover, in our recent study of women and men MBA graduates during this recession, we found that women in senior leadership positions are losing their jobs at three times the rate of men, potentially perpetuating a gender gap in the future. Younger women coming enthusiastically into the workplace are likely to be less engaged when they see the number of women in top leadership decreasing. […]

Our research shows a predictive link between women board directors and corporate officers: companies with more women on their boards, on average, will have more women corporate officers five years later. The effect is even more pronounced when you look at women in line positions, rather than the staff roles women have traditionally held.

Other countries are already doing this. In Norway, it's legally mandated that women hold 40 percent of the seats on the boards of public companies. Spain has a similar quota that is being phased in over several years. Canada and Italy are considering similar legislation. And earlier this month, French lawmakers introduced a bill that would require that women hold 50 percent of board seats. […]

So what's holding us up? We're not Norway or France, of course, but corporate America could use a jolt too. "Give it time." has run its course. The theory that the percentage of women in leadership roles would eventually rise to reflect women's clout in the marketplace and large numbers in the work force hasn't panned out.

[…T]he number of companies with three or more women on their boards continued on a steady uptick. Since 2003, the number of companies with three or more women on their boards has risen 42.6%. Catalyst research shows that companies with more women in leadership, on average, outperform those with fewer women, and those with three or more women board directors do even better. It may be that when these companies add more women directors to their board, they also experience the fresh perspectives, creativity, and independent thought that diversity can bring to corporate governance. […]

To read the full article, click here.  To download the reports, click here and here. To learn more about the Catalyst, visit their website.

3. “A Peril in War Zones: Sexual Abuse by Fellow G.I.s ”

By Steven Lee Miller
New York Times
December 27, 2009

Citing:  Report of the Defense Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military Services.

“[…] Sexual harassment and sexual assault, which the military now defines broadly to include not only rape but also crimes like groping and stalking, continue to afflict the ranks, and by some measures are rising. While tens of thousands of women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, often in combat, often with distinction, the integration of men and women in places like Camp Taji has forced to the surface issues that commanders rarely, if ever confronted before.

[…] A Pentagon-appointed task force, in a report released this month, pointedly criticized the military’s efforts to prevent sexual abuse, citing the ‘unique stresses’ of deployments in places like Camp Taji. ’Some military personnel indicated that predators may believe they will not be held accountable for their misconduct during deployment because commanders’ focus on the mission overshadows other concerns,’ the report said.

That, among other reasons, is why sexual assault and harassment go unreported far more often than not. “You’re in the middle of a war zone,” Captain White said, reflecting a fear many military women describe of being seen, somehow, as harming the mission. […]

By the Pentagon’s own estimate, as few as 10 percent of sexual assaults are reported, far lower than the percentage reported in the civilian world. […]

A report last year by the Government Accountability Office concluded that victims were reluctant to report attacks “for a variety of reasons, including the belief that nothing would be done or that reporting an incident would negatively impact their careers.”

Although exact comparisons to the civilian world are difficult because of different methods of defining and reporting abuse, Pentagon officials and some experts say that the incidence of abuse in the military appears to be no higher than in society generally, and might be lower. It appears to be even lower in combat operations than at bases in the United States, because of stricter discipline and scrutiny during deployments, as well as restrictions on alcohol, which is often a factor in assaults, for example, on college campuses.

The number of complaints, though, is rising. Across the military, there were 2,908 reported cases of sexual abuse involving service members as victims or assailants, in the fiscal year that ended in September 2008, the last year for which the Pentagon made numbers available. That was an 8 percent increase from the previous year, when there were 2,688. […]

“A woman in the military is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq,” Representative Jane Harman, a Democrat from California […].

At least 10 percent of the victims in the last year were men, a reality that the Pentagon’s task force said the armed services had done practically nothing to address in terms of counseling, treatment and prosecution. […]

Senior Pentagon officials argued that the increase in reports did not necessarily signify a higher number of attacks. Rather, they said, there is now a greater awareness as well as an improved command climate, encouraging more victims to come forward. […]

To read the full article, click here.  To download a free copy of the report, click here. To learn more about the Defense Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military Services, visit their website.

Research Reports

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

1. A Real-Time Look at the Impact of the Recession on Publicly Funded Family Planning Centers

Guttmacher Institute
December 2009

“This report provides the first systematic look at the impact of the recession on the network of publicly funded family planning centers that strive to provide free and low-cost contraceptive care to all of the women who need and depend on this care. Specifically, the report examines changes experienced between early 2008 and early 2009, during the height of the economic recession. First, to understand the rising demands faced by centers from the numbers of women who are uninsured, this report analyzes the most recent data from the Current Population Survey on the number and percentage of women, and of low-income women in particular, who were uninsured in 2008. It then looks at new data from a survey of 60 family planning centers from around the nation that receive funding through the Title X program, and that are representative of the range of provider types constituting the family planning center network (e.g., public health department clinics, community and migrant health centers, hospital outpatient clinics and Planned Parenthood clinics). Centers were chosen randomly from among all Title X–funded family planning sites serving at least 200 contraceptive clients a year. Although the sample size is relatively small, the results do represent the first systematic consideration of the recession’s impact on a range of family planning centers in all regions of the country.”

To download a free PDF of the complete report, click here. To learn more about the Guttmacher Institute, visit their website.

2. An Expanded and Refundable Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit Would Help Make Child Care More Affordable for Millions of Families

National Women’s Law Center

“The federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit helps parents afford the child care they need to be productive at work while their children develop the skills they need to succeed in school. In 2007, the credit provided $3.5 billion in child care assistance to 6.6 million families. Lower income families have the greatest need for child care assistance, as child care consumes a higher percentage of their budgets. Families with incomes below the poverty line who pay for child care spend, on average, 32 percent of their incomes on child care, compared to 15 percent for families with incomes between 100 and 200 percent of the poverty level, and 6 percent for families with incomes at or above 200 percent of the poverty level. However, millions of lower income families receive little or no benefit from the credit, due to some of its current features. In 2009, only 11 percent of the credit’s benefits are expected to go to the 42 percent of households with cash income levels of $30,000 or less.

To access a free PDF of the factsheet, click here.  To learn more about the National Women’s Law Center, visit their website.

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