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:
Vicky Lovell, Heidi Hartmann and Jessica Koski
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
This report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research evaluates the status of non-supervisory women and workers of color in the Communications and Media Sector. This sector has been a source of stable, well-paid jobs for women and workers of color, especially in Wired Telecommunications, in part because of a strong union presence. Representation of diverse perspectives through ownership, employment, and content in the sector has historically been viewed as critical to democratic discourse. Intense industry restructuring, fast-paced technological innovation, relaxation of Federal Communications Commission oversight, and new rules governing market-share ownership, however, threaten the sector’s diversity and job quality.
The report uses data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to analyze current employment outcomes as well as trends over the last 15 years. The report’s major findings include:
Women are losing jobs in Wired Telecommunications, an industry that is shrinking overall. Employment growth in expanding industries such as Wireless and Other Telecom favors men over women, so women’s share of jobs in the sector as a whole is falling.
The authors urge policy makers to pay close attention to the impact of legislative, regulatory, and technological changes in this sector on job quality and diversity.
The full report is available at: http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/C364.pdf
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Institute for Women’s Policy Research
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research released a report that analyzes the costs and benefits of a proposed paid sick days policy in San Francisco. Under the plan, workers would accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours of work. All firms would be covered by the policy, with the maximum number of days required under the proposal set higher for larger firms (nine days) than for those with 10 or fewer employees (5 days per year). Leave could be used for workers’ own illness, injury, health conditions, and medical appointments and to care for family members.
The report uses data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the California Employment Development Department to estimate how much time off workers would take under the plan and how much they would be paid for that leave. It concludes that a paid sick days policy in San Francisco would save employers money by decreasing involuntary job turnover, avoiding low productivity, reducing the spread of disease at work, and reducing expenditures for short-term nursing home stays.
The report’s major findings include:
Nearly one of every four private-sector workers in San Francisco (23.3 percent) would be covered by the proposed plan.
The author concludes that San Francisco’s proposed paid sick days policy would provide overall savings while promoting healthier citizens. The paper discusses other benefits that may be measured when data become available, including lower use of health-care resources, avoidance by workers of wage losses for suspension for missing work, reduced expenditures on public assistance, and increased financial stability.
The full report can be found at: http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/B252.pdf
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Xiao Xu, Divya A. Patel, Anjel Vahratian and Scott B. Ransom
Women’s Health Issues , Volume 16.
This study examines the status of near-elderly women’s health insurance coverage in the United States and how it influences their use of health care services. Using data from the 2002 wave of the Health and Retirement Study, the authors evaluate the impact of insurance coverage on the use of outpatient services, inpatient services, and prescription medication over a 2-year period for women ages 55-64. The main findings of the study include:
This study concludes that insurance coverage for near-elderly women significantly affects the utilization rates of essential health care services. They suggest that in this era of an aging population, the health care of near-elderly women without adequate insurance coverage deserves more attention.
Information on the full article is available at: http://www.jiwh.org
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Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
This brief summarizes key findings from the Forum on Child and Family Statistics’ annual report on the economic status, health and social well-being of children and families in the United States. The data in the report and brief describe basic demographics and 26 indicators of child and family well-being and are derived from twenty federal agencies including the Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics.
Some of the important findings summarized in this brief include:
The report is available at: http://childstats.gov
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Save the Children
In this report, Save the Children details challenges to and factors that promote maternal and newborn survival. Data from the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the World Health Organization were used to create composite scores and rankings for 125 countries around the world on mother and newborn mortality. In addition to assigning countries scores and ranks, the report also highlights countries that are working to lower mortality rates among poor women and newborns and gives recommendations for improving the safety of mothers and newborns.
This report finds that:
This report concludes that lowering mortality rates among newborns and mothers across the world will require vaccinating mothers before birth; providing skilled care at the birth of a child; encouraging breast feeding; and asking mothers to adopt new care giving practices. The report also recommends that countries think seriously about low-cost, low-tech solutions to improve conditions for mothers and newborns.
This report is available on the Save the Children website: http://www.savethechildren.org/publications/SOWM_2006_final.pdf
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Catherine T. Kenney
Gender & Society, Volume 20, Number 3
In The Power of the Purse: Allocative Systems and Inequality in Couple Households, author Catherine Kenney asserts that earning money does not necessarily lead to controlling income in couple households. This study uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine systems for income control, pooling, and allocation in two person households with young children. The study sample is representative of an urban population and is limited to heterosexual couples that were either married or cohabitating between March 2002 and December 2003. Individual level data was collected for an assortment of household and individual characteristics. In addition, variables were created from survey questions to assess what type of financial control exists in each household. The types of income control include separate accounts with female control, separate accounts with male control, separate accounts with equal control, shared account with female control, shared account with male control, and shared account with equal control.
Results from the analysis include:
The study concludes that there is substantial complexity in systems of pooling resources among couples, and that many women with relatively low earnings have little control over their money, which often exacerbates existing disadvantage. Increased labor force participation and financial contributions to household income by women does not necessarily result in equal pooling or equal control of household income. While increased labor force participation among women has increased their contributions to household income, this alone does not determine fiscal independence.
An abstract of this report and information about ordering can be found at: http://gas.sagepub.com/
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