Below is the newest installation of Research News Reporter (RNR) Online. Previous editions can be viewed in the Archives.
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
Research Making News ____________________________
Each selection includes a short excerpt, link to the news article, and link to the research cited:
1. "Tell Your Co-Workers How Much You Earn"
By Kimberly Weisul
CBS Business Network
July 5, 2011
Citing: "Pay Secrecy and Wage Discrimination" by Ariane Hegewisch, Claudia Williams, and Robert Drago, Ph.D., Institute for Women's Policy Research
"[...] In a new paper, the [Institute for Women's Policy Research] takes a look at both public and private sector jobs and comes up with an intriguing suggestion about how to eliminate much of the pay gap in the private sector: make salary information publicly available.
This may sound crazy, for the obvious reason that while even the most genteel among us may deign to talk about religion, sex, or politics, money remains the third rail. Indeed, the Institute found that in many workplaces, employees are contractually forbidden to discuss compensation with each other. When they queried workers in the private sector, here's what they found:
But in the public sector, the figures are much different, and so is the pay gap.
2. "Percentage of Minority Federal Workers Up Slightly"
By Ed O'Keefe
Federal Eye, a Washington Post blog
June 13, 2011
Citing: Fiscal Year 2010 Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program Report by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management
"The federal government employs a higher percentage of minorities when compared with the national workforce but is still employing a smaller percentage of Hispanics, according to a new government study.
The percentage of women in federal offices also dropped slightly year-to-year, according to the annual report on equal opportunity recruitment published Friday by the Office of Personnel Management.
In 2010, the percentage of minority federal workers grew 5 percent [...]to 647,588 employees, an increase of about 31,100 workers from the previous year. Minorities represent 33.8 percent of the federal workforce; just under 18 percent are black, 8 percent are Hispanic, 5.6 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 1.8 percent American Indian/Alaska Native and less than 1 percent are classified as "Non Hispanic/Multiracial."
[..The] widest disparity between the federal and national workforce is still among Hispanics. Their numbers in the federal sector remained flat year-to-year and more than five points below the national average [...] despite an astounding 43 percent growth rate of Latinos in the United States in the last decade, according to the 2010 Census. [...]
Women represented 43.9 percent of federal workers in 2010, down slightly from 44.2 percent the year before. Overall, the number of female workers nationwide rose one-tenth of a point to 46 percent, according to the report.
But in an encouraging sign, the number of women and minorities at senior pay levels climbed by almost 8 and 10 points, respectively. [...]"
3. "Life Expectancy of U.S. Women Slips in Some Regions"
By Noam N. Levey
Los Angeles Times
June 15, 2011
Citing: Falling Behind: Life Expectancy in US Counties from 2000 to 2007 in an International Context by Sandeep C. Kulkarni, Alison Levin-Rector, Majid Ezzati, and Christopher J.L. Murray, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and Imperial College
"[...] Women in large swaths of the U.S. are dying younger than they were a generation ago, reversing nearly a century of progress in public health and underscoring the rising toll of smoking and record obesity.
[...Over] the last decade, the nation has experienced a widening gap between the most and least healthy places to live. [...]
In 737 U.S. counties out of more than 3,000, life expectancies for women declined between 1997 and 2007. [...]
Communities with large immigrant populations - Southern California, for example - fared considerably better than average despite relatively high poverty rates. The worst-performing counties were clustered primarily in Appalachia, the Deep South and the lower Midwest. In those places, women died as much as a year younger in 2007 than women did a decade earlier. Life expectancy for women slipped 2 1/2 years in Madison County, Miss., which recorded the biggest regression. [...]
Nationwide, women's life expectancy at birth in the U.S. hit 81.3 years in 2007, placing the country 35th in the world. That's down from 20th in 1987, according to United Nations data. [...]
In general, men and women die youngest in poor, mostly rural parts of the South and in struggling urban centers like Philadelphia and St. Louis. In Baltimore, men on average live only 66.7 years.
By contrast, Americans in affluent counties near Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere have among the longest life expectancies in the world, outpacing even international leaders such as Japan and Switzerland. [...]"
To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, visit their website. To learn more about Imperial College, visit their website.
4. "Toll of Caring for Elderly Increases"
By Kelly Greene
Wall Street Journal
June 14, 2011
Citing: The MetLife Study of Caregiving Costs to Working Caregivers: Double Jeopardy for Baby Boomers Caring for Their Parents" by the MetLife Mature Market Institute
"A steep rise in people caring for elderly parents is taking a toll on the health and finances of many baby boomers, a new study says.
Older caregivers who work and provide care to a parent at the same time are more likely than other workers in their age group to report poor health, with problems including depression and chronic disease. There is evidence they "experience considerable health issues as a result of their focus on caring for others," the report says.
The percentage of adult children taking care of their parents has tripled since 1994, with nearly 10 million people who are 50 and older doing so in 2008, according to a new analysis of the U.S. Health and Retirement Study, a bank of economic and health data on people over age 50 that was collected by the University of Michigan. [...]
The financial toll on care providers who are 50 or older averages $303,880 per person in lost wages, pensions and Social Security benefits over their lifetime, due to leaving the work force early to care for a parent, according to the study. For women, the cost is higher: $324,044, with $142,693 in lost wages, $131,351 in lost Social Security benefits, and $50,000 in lost pension benefits or matching contributions to defined-benefit plans. [...]
The new study calls for employers to do a better job of accommodating caregivers so they don't quit, and steering them to stress-management and free caregiving resources. It also points out that caregivers would benefit from paid family leave and says more states are beginning to show interest in doing so by tapping workers' compensation funds.
5. "Americans Doing More Work on Weekends"
By Oliver St. John
June 24, 2011
Citing: American Time Use Survey - 2010 Results by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
"[...] Americans have cut back a little on time they previously spent relaxing and watching TV, according to the 2010 American Time Use Survey, released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. [...]
The survey shows that work-life changes since 2009 affected women more than men. Women worked more hours overall than they did two years ago, especially on weekends.
Employed women, who historically have worked fewer hours than men, are catching up as the hours men work are decreasing.
While employed men still work about 40 minutes more a day than women, the average employed woman spends seven hours and 26 minutes a day doing work or work-related activities - more than 10 minutes more than last year. [...]
On the other hand, the average employed man spends eight hours and nine minutes doing work or related activities, several minutes less than last year. [...]
Among all American workers, the survey found that:
·35% of workers overall work on weekends. A slightly greater percentage of part-timers work on weekends than full-time employees. On average, those who work weekends work 5½ hours. More than half of sales workers work on weekends, the largest percentage among occupations in the survey. [...]
·On a typical working day, 24% of Americans did some or all of their work at home. Self-employed people were three times more likely to do work at home. People working in business management were most likely to work at home among all occupations in the survey.
·More than half of those with multiple jobs work on weekends, compared with about a third of those with just one job. Almost 40% of those with more than one job work at home, compared with about 22% of those with a single job."
Research Reports ____________________________
Each selection includes a short exceprt from the research and a link to the report:
1. Pension Crediting for Caregivers: Policies in Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan
Elaine Fultz, Ph.D., Consultant on Social Security to the International Labour Organization, retired
Institute for Women's Policy Research
"This report examines pension crediting for caregivers in seven countries. These credits are most often awarded to mothers of young children, but also to fathers, adult children, grandparents, or unrelated caregivers. They improve pension adequacy by compensating for periods of unpaid work during which the care provider makes limited or no pension contributions. The credits may help to establish pension eligibility, advance the date of retirement, improve the pension amount, or affect a combination of these. The countries examined here are Canada, Japan, and five members of the European Union (EU): Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom."
2. Six Key Facts on Women and Social Security
Institute for Women's Policy Research
"As research by the Institute for Women's Policy Research [...] and others shows, the current Social Security program is a mainstay for women. Fifty-seven percent of all beneficiaries aged 65 and older-including retirees, the disabled, and survivors of deceased workers-are women. Over 21 million women aged 65 and older receive Social Security checks each month."
3. Beyond the Breadwinner: Professional Dads Speak Out on Work and Family
Dina Bakst, Jared Make, and Nancy Rankin
A Better Balance
"Juggling work and family is a well-documented challenge for many women. But American men are increasingly experiencing the struggle of succeeding at work while caring well for their children. Although low-income workers experience the most profound work-family conflicts, professional fathers, who face intense pressure to work long hours and put job responsibilities above all else, are struggling too. To learn more, A Better Balance conducted an online survey of approximately 250 working fathers, largely white-collar professionals, living in 31 states and Washington D.C. We found that their biggest challenges as working fathers revolve around time-having enough time to care for their children and enough time to spend on their jobs. Given the high level of stress and conflict reported by professional dads, it is not surprising that they strongly support workplace and public policies that would give them more time and flexibility to care for their families."
4. Maternal Depression and Early Childhood
Children's Defense Fund Minnesota
"[...] Depression raises stress hormones to toxic levels in both mother and child and can affect mothers' capacity to nurture and meet their children's basic care needs. If not addressed, children of depressed parents are more likely to fall behind their peers across an array of developmental areas, including cognition, social emotional, physical and mental health. They are at higher risk for needing special education in school, being involved in juvenile justice in adolescence and developing mental health and health problems in adulthood. [...] Approximately one in ten new mothers in Minnesota experiences serious depressive symptoms in the year of her child's birth. This translates to approximately 14,000 mothers and newborns in 2009 experiencing the consequences of depression. While women at all income levels and backgrounds experience maternal depression, some women are more at risk than others including those with a history of depression and those who are poor, single, or young. In Minnesota, women at highest risk are those with incomes below $15,000, African American or American Indian women, or those with less than or equal to a high school degree. [...] Maternal depression in early childhood exacts not only high personal but also high public costs. It is estimated that the annual cost to society of each untreated mother with maternal depression in Minnesota is at least $23,000. [...]"
5. The New Male Mystique
Kerstin Aumann, Ellen Galinsky, and Kenneth Matos
Families and Work Institute
"The Families and Work Institute's most recent National Study of the Changing Workforce, a nationally representative study of the U.S. workforce, finds that men now experience more work-family conflict than women. Since that finding was released two years ago, it has generated a great deal of attention and speculation. This paper is the first to take the same data set and conduct an in-depth exploration of the underlying reasons behind men's rising work-family conflict. [...] We find that although men live in a society where gender roles have become more egalitarian and where women contribute increasingly to family economic well-being, men have retained the "traditional male mystique"-the pressure to be the primary financial providers for their families. As such, men who are fathers work longer hours than men the same age who don't live with any children under 18. However, men are also much more involved in their home lives than men in the past, spending more time with their children and contributing more to the work of caring for their homes and families. In other words, men are experiencing what women experienced when they first entered the workforce in record numbers-the pressure to "do it all in order to have it all." We term this the new male mystique."
6. The State of the World's Midwifery 2011: Delivering Health, Saving Lives
United Nations Population Fund
"The report presents a body of knowledge to inform and accelerate the availability of quality midwifery services for women and newborns. It aims to make a valuable contribution both to strengthening the midwifery workforce around the world and to the critical planning that is needed to achieve the health Millennium Development Goals. The first ever State of the World's Midwifery is focused on 58 countries with high rates of maternal, foetal and newborn mortality. Its content has been largely informed by responses to a detailed survey that was developed to collect new or updated data and information in six areas: the number and types of practising midwifery personnel, education, regulation, professional association, policies and external development assistance. Most of the 58 countries that participated have been identified as suffering from a crisis in human resources for health. Collectively, across these countries women gave birth to 81 million babies in 2009, accounting for 58 percent of the world's total births. The inequitable 'state of the world' is most evident in the disproportionate number of deaths in these countries: 91 percent of the global burden of maternal mortality, 80 percent of stillbirths and 82 percent of newborn mortality. These figures partly reflect the distribution of the global workforce: less than 17 percent of the world's skilled birth attendants are available to care for women in the 58 countries."