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March 2008 RNR

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

March 2008

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. “Catching Up to the Boys, in the Good and the Bad”
2. “Study Shows Women Still Face Hurdles in High-Tech Careers”
3. “Midlife Suicide Rises, Puzzling Researchers”

Research Reports
1. Designing Subsidy Systems to Meet the Needs of Families: An Overview of Policy Research
2. The Economic Status of Women in South Carolina
3. Opting Out? The Effect of Children on Women's Employment in the United States
4. Public Funding for Family Planning, Sterilization and Abortion Services, FY 1980–2006
5. Uninsured Moderate-Income Children: The Impact of Parent Employment on Access to Employer Coverage
6. Girls Count: A Global Investment and Action Agenda

 

Research Making News _____________________________

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

“Study Shows Women Still Face Hurdles in High-Tech Careers”

The Washington Post
By Kristina Cooke
February 14, 2008

Citing:

Women in Technology: Maximizing Talent, Minimizing Barriers by Heather Foust-Cummings, Laura Sabattini, and Nancy Carter of Catalyst

Female scientists, engineers and product developers still face barriers in climbing the career ladder due to a lack of role models, mentors and access to networks, according to a new study.
Even though there has been some progress since the beginning of the decade, nonprofit research group Catalyst said certain issues remain problematic for women in the high-tech workforce.
It found that two areas in particular were critical—the interaction with their supervisors and the lack of opportunities to voice their opinions in the decision-making process.
‘I think that there are unique challenges that technical women face, because it is such an incredibly male dominated sphere,’ said Heather Foust-Cummings, who headed the research group.
Women engineers and product developers were satisfied with their jobs, but were less pleased when it came to any measure relating to supervisors than technical men and non-technical men and women.
Although demand for employees with technical skills has jumped in the 21st century, the overall percentage of jobs held by women in technical fields has declined in recent years, according to the study.

For the full article, go to The Washington Post online.

To view the report, Women in Technology: Maximizing Talent, Minimizing Barriers, click here: http://www.catalyst.org/files/full/2008%20Women%20in%20High%20Tech.pdf

 

“Catching Up to the Boys, in the Good and the Bad”

The Washington Post
By Lori Aratani
February 10, 2008

Citing:

Survey of Teens in the Greater Washington, D.C. Area by The Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University

National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XI: Teens and Parents by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

Girls and Drugs by the Office of National Drug Control Policy Executive Office of the President


“A generation of parents and educators have pushed to ensure that girls have the same opportunities as their male counterparts, with notable results. In 2007, for example, it was girls who dominated the national math and science competition sponsored by Siemens. But a growing number of reports show that the message of equality might have a downside.
Teenage girls now equal or outpace teenage boys in alcohol consumption, drug use and smoking, national surveys show. The number of girls entering the juvenile justice system has risen steadily over the past few years.
[...] Experts say there is no single explanation for why more teenage girls are deciding to experiment with drugs or why some are getting into fights. However, they do note that society's expectations about girlhood have changed dramatically over the years. Annette Funicello's wholesome beach blanket antics have given way to Britney Spears’s latest meltdown.
‘The why of what's happening is in part a direct response to the advances that we're making as a society around gender equity,’ said Deborah Prothrow-Stith, a professor of public health at Harvard University. If society offers girls and boys the same opportunities, that means they're exposed to the good as well as the bad, she said.
[...] Experts who work with teenage girls, particularly those in the Washington region, say more options can also equal more stress. A 2005 poll, conducted by The Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard found that more than four in 10 local high school girls said they ‘frequently’ experienced stress in their daily lives, compared with fewer than three in 10 nationally.
[...]According to a 2006 survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, girls between the ages of 12 and 17 were at equal or higher risk of substance abuse compared with boys. That same year, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy found that the number of girls who smoke or abuse prescription drugs had surpassed that of boys. More troubling: The increase in drug usage among girls comes at a time when overall numbers for teenage drug abuse are on the decline.
Sue Foster, vice president and director of policy research and analysis at CASA, said these behaviors can be especially dangerous for girls because of the different ways in which their bodies process substances. One drink for a woman is the equivalent of two for a man. CASA researchers found that girls and women ‘are also likely to become addicted to alcohol, nicotine, illegal and prescription drugs and develop substance-abuse related diseases at lower levels of use and in shorter periods of time.’”

For the full article, go to The Washington Post online.

To view the Survey of Teen in the Greater Washington, D.C. Area, click here: http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/upload/-Survey-of-Teens-in-the-Greater-Washington-DC-Area-Toplines.pdf

To view the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XI: Teens and Parents, click here: http://www.casacolumbia.org/absolutenm/articlefiles/380-Teen%20Survey%20XI%20Final%20PDF.pdf

To view the report Girls and Drugs, click here: http://www.mediacampaign.org/pdf/girls_and_drugs.pdf

“Midlife Suicide Rises, Puzzling Researchers”

The New York Times
By Patricia Cohen        
February 19, 2008

Citing:

Deaths: Leading Causes for 2004 by Melonie Heron, Ph.D. Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


A new five-year analysis of the nation’s death rates recently released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the suicide rate among 45-to-54-year-olds increased nearly 20 percent from 1999 to 2004, the latest year studied, far outpacing changes in nearly every other age group. (All figures are adjusted for population.)
For women 45 to 54, the rate leapt 31 percent. ‘That is certainly a break from trends of the past,’ said Ann Haas, the research director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
By contrast, the suicide rate for 15-to-19-year-olds increased less than 2 percent during that five-year period—and decreased among people 65 and older.
The question is why. What happened in 1999 that caused the suicide rate to suddenly rise primarily for those in midlife? For health experts, it is like discovering the wreckage of a plane crash without finding the black box that recorded flight data just before the aircraft went down.
[...] ‘There’s a social-bias issue here,’ said Dr. Eric C. Caine, co-director at the Center for the Study of Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester Medical Center, explaining why suicide in the middle years of life had not been extensively studied before.
There is a ‘national support system for those under 19, and those 65 and older,’ Dr. Caine added, but not for people in between, even though ‘the bulk of the burden from suicide is in the middle years of life.’
Of the more than 32,000 people who committed suicide in 2004, 14,607 were 40 to 64 years old (6,906 of those were 45 to 54); 5,198 were over 65; 2,434 were under 21 years old.”

For the full article, go to The New York Times online.

To view a copy of the analysis Deaths: Leading Causes for 2004, click here: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_05.pdf

 

Research Reports _________________________________

 

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

Designing Subsidy Systems to Meet the Needs of Families: An Overview of Policy Research

Gina Adams, Kathleen Snyder, and Patti Banghart
The Urban Institute
February 2008

“Many state and local child care subsidy agencies have been redesigning their policies to better meet the needs of the families they serve, and to create more efficient and fiscally responsible systems. These strategies reflect states’ growing understanding of the dynamic nature of low-income families’ lives and of the challenges they face as they move toward stable employment. This report synthesizes findings from various research projects conducted by the Urban Institute (and other organizations), and lays out a range of policy strategies states are implementing to support eligible families in accessing and retaining child care subsidies.”

To view the full report, click here: http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411611_subsidy_system.pdf

The Economic Status of Women in South Carolina

Erica Williams
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research
January 2008

“This paper examines how women in South Carolina fare on eight indicators of women’s economic status, in comparison with women in other states, including in South Carolina’s region, and with women nationally. It highlights where South Carolina women have seen economic progress and where their conditions have stagnated and examines differences among South Carolina’s women by race and ethnicity. It also details a number of recommendations for policy and practice to improve women’s lives and to promote a more productive state economy.”

To view the full briefing paper, click here:
http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/SC_Women_2007.pdf

Opting Out? The Effect of Children on Women's Employment in the United States

Heather Boushey, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Published by Feminist Economics, Volume 14, Issue 1, pages1-36.
January 2008

“In the United States, a recent spate of popular media attention has focused on whether mothers, especially highly educated mothers in their thirties, are increasingly "opting out" of employment.

This paper uses data from the Current Population Survey's Annual Social and Economic Survey (ASEC) to examine whether children cause women to exit employment. This paper finds that the "child effect" on women's employment has fallen since the end of the 1970s. The child effect was -21.8 percentage points in 1979 and has fallen consistently over the last two decades to -12.7 percentage points in 2005. Between 2000 and 2005, the child effect grew from -11.1 to -12.7, but the change was statistically insignificant. Recent declines in women's employment may be more an effect of the weak labor market for all women, mothers and non-mothers, rather than an increase in mothers voluntarily choosing to exit employment.”

To purchase the article, click here http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content?content=10.1080/13545700701716672

Public Funding for Family Planning, Sterilization and Abortion Services, FY 1980–2006

Adam Sonfield, Casey Alrich and Rachel Benson Gold
The Guttmacher Institute
January 2008

“The federal and state governments have long subsidized contraceptive and sterilization services, and to a lesser extent abortion, for low-income Americans.

[...] In this report we present the results of a survey of FY2006 public expenditures for family planning client services, family planning education and outreach activities, sterilization services and abortion services. We also compare FY 2006 data for family planning client services with those from a series of prior surveys between FY 1980 and FY 2001.

[...] Public funding for family planning client services suffered major cuts during the early 1980s and has only this decade fully recovered at the national level. Yet, even today, inflation-adjusted spending has decreased or stagnated in one-third of the states.

The growth that did occur was driven, almost entirely, by increases in spending through the Medicaid program. In many ways, this growth in family planning expenditures via Medicaid mirrors a broader growth in spending throughout that massive program, which has become the nation’s single largest payer of medical services. Even at $1.3 billion, expenditures for family planning under Medicaid account for less than one-half of one percent of the program’s total spending in FY 2006.

[...] Despite the increasing importance of Medicaid, the Title X program, state appropriations and the federal block grants all continue to play important roles in individual states and, especially with regard to Title X, nationwide.

[...] Together, these funding sources form a safety net to help provide family planning and related services to millions of low-income women and men. With these services, women and couples avoid over one million unplanned pregnancies annually, pregnancies that would have a real impact on individuals, families and society.”

To view the full report, click here: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2008/01/28/or38.pdf


Uninsured Moderate-Income Children: The Impact of Parent Employment on Access to Employer Coverage

Karyn Schwartz, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, and Gary Claxton, Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health Care Marketplace Project
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
January 2008
“This brief focuses on moderate-income families and examines how family income and the types of jobs that parents have differs depending on whether the child is uninsured or privately insured. Uninsured children are significantly more likely to have parents who earn lower wages and have the types of jobs with lower rates of employer coverage.”
To view the full brief, click here: http://www.kff.org/uninsured/upload/7730.pdf

Girls Count: A Global Investment and Action Agenda

Ruth Levine, Center for Global Development; Cynthia Lloyd, Population Council; Margaret Greene, International Center for Research on Women; Caren Grown, American University
Center for Global Development
January 2008

“This report is about why and how to put girls at the center of development. It is about how the health of economies and families depends on protecting the rights of and fostering opportunities for today’s girls. It is about how far girls in many developing countries have come—but how far we remain from a world in which girls’ rights are respected.”

To view the full report, click here: http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/15154

 

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