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 the News
Each selection includes a short excerpt, link to the news article, and link to the research cited:
By Megan Bradley
Up Front, a Brookings Institution blog
May 29, 2013
Citing: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons by Chaloka Beyani, Human Rights Council, United Nations General Assembly
“With crises unfolding in Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and ongoing violence in Somalia, Sudan and Colombia, 2012 saw record-high numbers of people displaced within the borders of their own countries. Half of those displaced are women.
[…] Chaloka Beyani, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons and our Project co-director, presented a new report to the Human Rights Council on the rights and wellbeing of women uprooted within their own states. The first of its kind, the report examines progress made to date at the local, national and international levels in responding to the rights and needs of internally displaced women, from the development of important standards and protection frameworks to the creation by internally displaced women themselves of organizations dedicated to advancing their rights and carving out solutions to their predicament. The report also analyzes the many challenges that persist despite these accomplishments – from sexual and gender-based violence and inadequate reproductive health care to economic marginalization and exclusion from peace talks and decision-making processes. Perhaps most importantly, the report points to ways in which governments, UN agencies and other actors can help ensure that internally displaced women can enjoy the full range of rights to which they are entitled. […]”
By Catherine Rampell
New York Times
May 29, 2013
Citing: Breadwinner Moms: Mothers Are the Sole or Primary Provider in Four-in-Ten Households with Children; Public Conflicted about the Growing Trend by Wendy Wang, Kim Parker, and Paul Taylor, Pew Research Center
[…] Four in 10 American households with children under age 18 now include a mother who is either the sole or primary earner for her family, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census and polling data released Wednesday. This share, the highest on record, has quadrupled since 1960. […]
It is also more common for single women to raise children on their own. Most of the mothers who are chief breadwinners for their families — nearly two-thirds — are single parents.
The recession may have played a role in pushing women into primary earning roles, as men are disproportionately employed in industries like construction and manufacturing that bore the brunt of the layoffs during the downturn. Women, though, have benefited from a smaller share of the job gains during the recovery; the public sector, which employs a large number of women, is still laying off workers. […]
Demographically and socioeconomically, single mothers and married mothers differ, according to the Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey. The median family income for single mothers — who are more likely to be younger, black or Hispanic, and less educated — is $23,000. The median household income for married women who earn more than their husbands — more often white, slightly older and college educated — is $80,000. When the wife is the primary breadwinner, the total family income is generally higher. […]
Such marriages are still relatively rare, even if their share is growing. Of all married couples, 24 percent include a wife who earns more, versus 6 percent in 1960. (The percentages are similar for married couples who have children.) […]
By Frank Bass
May 10, 2013
Citing: Long-Term Trend Accelerates Since Recession: Record Share of New Mothers Are College Educated by Gretchen Livingston and D’Vera Cohn, Pew Research Center
“The percentage of new mothers with a college education is rising to record levels, while births among less-educated American women continue to drop, a study shows.
Two of every three new mothers had at least some college education in 2011, according to the study released […] by the Pew Research Center. The rate has almost quadrupled since 1960, when only 18 percent of new mothers had college experience.
The drop in births among the less educated intensified after the onset of the recession in late 2007.
Pew said the decline in birth rates was most pronounced among blacks, Hispanics, young adults and low-income women, all of whom were hit hard by the 18-month recession that marked the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. […]
The percentage of older, college-educated mothers without children has dropped more than 15 percent since the early 1990s, according to Washington-based Pew. Only 22 percent of women with a bachelor’s degree from 40 to 44 years of age had no children in 2010, down from 26 percent about two decades ago. […]
The typical mother without a high school diploma has 2.5 children, while women with a bachelor’s degree average 1.7 kids. Women with high school diplomas or some college typically have 1.9 children during their lives, the study said.”
By Anna Simonton
May 9, 2013
Citing: Underwriting Bad Jobs: How Our Tax Dollars are Funding Low-Wage Work and Fueling Inequality by Amy Traub and Robert Hiltonsmith, Dēmos
“According to “Underwriting Bad Jobs: How Our Tax Dollars are Funding Low-Wage Work and Fueling Inequality,” taxpayers subsidize nearly 2 million low-wage jobs through federal contracts, Medicare and Medicaid spending, Small Business Administration loans, federal infrastructure funds, and other areas of government spending.
Low-wage workers in these sectors include apparel manufacturers, construction laborers, retail workers, security guards, janitors, and home health aides, to name a few. The vast majority of these workers are paid less than $12 per hour, and depending on the sector, wages are often much lower than that. The struggle to live and raise families on low wages is made even more difficult by the lack of benefits and job security that are typically part and parcel of these jobs. […]
“Underwriting Bad Jobs” asserts that the President has the power to sign an executive order requiring all companies that do business with the federal government to pay living wages and raise workplace standards. Throughout the press conference, workers from a variety of sectors that contract with the government implored President Obama to take action. […]
The Dēmos report anticipates the concern that raising wages for workers contracted by the government would be a burden on taxpayers. [Amy] Taub and her co-author Robert Hiltonsmith counter that in cases where living-wage laws and other job standards agreements have been enacted on the municipal or county level, the cost to taxpayers has not risen significantly.
[…] the productivity gains and lower employee turnover that living-wage laws engender result in widespread economic benefits that outweigh any marginal increase in taxes. More often though, taxes don’t increase at all, because higher wages mean that fewer people resort to other taxpayer-funded programs like food stamps and public health services in order to meet their needs. […]”
Each selection includes a short excerpt from the research and a link to the report.
Institute for Women's Policy Research
“An analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reveals that about 596,800 private sector employees in Oregon lack even a single earned sick day. Access to earned sick days promotes healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illness, increasing productivity, and supporting work and family balance. Earned sick days allow people to take time off work to recover from illness and to tend to family members’ health without the fear of lost pay or other negative consequences. This briefing paper presents estimates of lack of earned sick days access rates in Oregon by occupation, by sex, race and ethnicity, personal annual earnings, and work schedule through analysis of government data sources, including the 2010–2011 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2009–2011 American Community Survey (ACS).”
Yuko Hara and Ariane Hegewisch
Institute for Women's Policy Research
“The United States is one of only four countries globally, and the only high-income country, without a statutory right to paid maternity leave for employees. In all but a few states, it is up to the employer to decide whether to provide paid leave. This briefing paper summarizes employees’ legal rights in relation to pregnancy, childbirth and adoption, and nursing breaks, and examines how far employers are voluntarily moving to provide paid parental leave beyond basic legal rights. It draws on three data sources: leave benefits offered by Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies,” the Family and Medical Leave Act in 2012 Survey, and the National Compensation Survey. This briefing paper finds that the large majority of the “100 Best Companies” provides paid maternity leave, and many provide paid leave for adoption or paternity leave, although only a small minority provides pay during the full 12 weeks of FMLA leave. Among employers more broadly, a third (35 percent) of employees work for an employer offering paid maternity leave, and a fifth (20 percent) paid paternity leave, according to the FMLA 2012 Survey. According to the National Compensation Survey, only 12 percent of employees in the United States have access to paid leave for any care of family members (newborns, adopted children, or ill children or adults). Lower paid workers are least likely to have access to paid leave. International research suggests that the introduction of a statutory right to paid leave for parents would improve the health and economic situations of women and children and would promote economic growth.”
Sarah Jane Glynn, Jane Farrell, and Nancy Wu
Center for American Progress
“[…] Most families currently have three options for securing child care. First, parents can
stay at home and care for their children themselves. But this is increasingly difficult, as
most families now rely on two breadwinners to stay above water. Moreover, mothers are more likely than fathers to take time away from paid work to care for a child, which can exacerbate mothers’ lifetime earnings gap. Second, parents can pay for child care out of pocket. But this approach is very costly for families, eating up 35.9 percent of a low-income family’s monthly budget. The third option for families is to use federal or state-funded child care, but access to any publicly funded program, let alone a high-quality program, is very limited. Nationwide, nearly three in four children are not enrolled in a federal or state-funded pre-K program. Understanding the drawbacks, risks, and shortcomings of each of these options and especially how these limited choices negatively impact families and working mothers makes clear the need for increased investment in high-quality pre-K and child care. We explore each option in detail below. […]”
Rachel M. Shattuck and Rose M. Kreider
U.S. Census Bureau
[…] This report focuses on survey data from the American Community Survey (ACS) that is unavailable in administrative birth records and highlights the characteristics of currently unmarried women who report having had a birth in the last year. […] The percentage of U.S. births to unmarried women has been increasing steadily since the 1940s and has increased even more markedly in recent years. […] The data analyzed in this report come from the 2011 ACS. This report discusses women aged 15 to 50 who gave birth in the last year and who were unmarried at the time of the survey. Estimates of numbers and percentages of recent births to unmarried women are presented at the national and state levels, with an additional table with metropolitan area level estimates provided on the Internet. The mothers discussed in this report include both women who do not live with the father of th eir child and women in cohabiting unions living in households in which the father of the child may be present. […]”
Andresse St. Rose, Ed.D and Catherine Hill, Ph.D
American Association for University Women
[…] This report […] is based on a review of the literature on community colleges, interviews with community college leaders, a review of program materials, and data from two federal sources: the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and the Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) Longitudinal Study. Drawing on these resources, the report looks at two areas of particular importance to women: the challenges facing student parents and the opportunities available in nontraditional career fields, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Finally, this study considers how community colleges can provide more women with a reliable path to opportunity and economic security. […]”