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March 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.

March 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. “Sick at Work”
2.“Female-headed household(s) [in Pittsburgh] worse off, study finds”
3. “Women M.B.A.s Continue to Lag in Pay, Promotions”
4.“Report: Unmarried Older Women More Likely to Lack Health Insurance”

Research Reports
1. Women and Men’s Employment and Unemployment in the Great Recession
2. Additional Actions are Needed to Strengthen DOD’s and the Coast Guard’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Programs

 

Research Making News _____________________________

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

1. “Sick at Work”

By Nancy Folbre
Economix (A New York Times Blog)
February 10, 2010

Citing: Sick at Work: Infected Employees in the Workplace During the H1N1 Pandemic by Kevin Miller, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and Bob Drago, Pennsylvania State University.

“…The United States stands out as one of the few rich nations in the world that doesn’t  mandate any form of paid sick leave.  About 40 percent of private-sector workers lack coverage from their employer. This means they will lose pay and even risk losing their jobs if they call in sick. Less than a third of part-time civilian employees and low-wage earners (those in the bottom 25 percent of the wage distribution) enjoy sick-leave benefits. On the other hand, about 90 percent of public-sector workers are covered.

State and local policies vary. […] Then again, you may know you are eligible, but eligibility doesn’t necessarily guarantee receipt. [… E]mployer compliance is patchy even where unpaid leave is concerned.
[…] The Healthy Families Act that got a bit of traction in Congress last spring would create a new national standard, guaranteeing employees one paid hour off for each 30 hours worked and enabling them to earn up to seven paid sick days a year. Workers would be entitled to claim their days when they or a child, a parent, a spouse or someone else close to them became ill.

Like mandated health insurance, mandated paid sick leave would cost money. Employers could pass on costs to employees in the form of lower wages. But, also like health insurance, paid sick leave could save money by improving health.

Evidence for this argument is presented in a briefing paper just published by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research analyzing the effects of the H1N1 epidemic last fall.

About 26 million employed Americans 18 and over were probably infected with H1N1 between September and November 2009 — about 20 percent of all nonfarm employees. Almost 18 million employees took at least part of a week off. The other eight million didn’t. Some of them probably didn’t feel all that bad (I wish I had been in that group). But some of them just toughed it out because they couldn’t afford to stay home.

In either case, they helped spread the virus. By not heeding strong advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stay home, employees infected with H1N1 are estimated to have infected as many as seven million co-workers.

[…] About 90 percent of public sector employees infected with H1N1 took time away from work — probably reflecting their access to paid sick leave. By contrast, only 66 percent of infected private sector employees, with much lower coverage, took time away from work. […]”

To read the full article, click here.  To download a free copy of the report click here and to learn more about the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, visit our website.

2. “Female-headed household[s] [in Pittsburgh] worse off, study finds”

By Bill Zlatos
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
February 19, 2010

Citing:  The Female Face of Poverty and Economic Insecurity: The Impact of the Recession in Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh MSA by Ariane Hegewisch and Claudia Williams, Institute for Women’s Policy Research

“More than four of 10 families headed by single mothers in the Pittsburgh area live in poverty, according to a study released Thursday.

The Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania, Downtown, commissioned the study to see how women in the Pittsburgh area and the state are faring during the recession versus men.

‘The unemployment rate for single mothers has nearly doubled since 2007 in both the Pittsburgh and state level, and the unemployment rate for single mothers is two and a half times the unemployment rate for married men,’ said Heather Arnet, executive director.

The plight of female-headed households is worse here than the rest of the state, where one in three families headed by a woman lives in poverty.

The study also finds that women in the Pittsburgh area earn just 74.6 percent what men make and minority women make even less -- 64.2 percent for black females and 65.6 percent for Hispanic women. But women have made some progress, Arnet said. Five years ago, females in the region made only 70 cents on the dollar. She attributed the increase to greater awareness among corporate leaders and public officials and more training of women in the art of negotiation.

Arnet said, ‘We hope the data will lead decision makers to increase investments in women's work force development and training programs and require that projects receiving stimulus funds increase their benchmarks for female participation.’”

To read the full article, click here.  To download the report click here. To learn more about the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, visit our website.

3.“Women M.B.A.s Continue to Lag in Pay, Promotions”

By Diana Middleton
Wall Street Journal
February 22, 2010

Citing:  Pipeline’s Broken Promise By Nancy M. Carter and Christine Silva, Catalyst

“Despite having similar educational backgrounds and experience, female M.B.A.-holders are still not getting the same pay, positions, or promotions as their male colleagues, according to a study released Thursday by Catalyst, a New York City-based nonprofit focused on women in the workplace.

[…S]tarting from the first job post-M.B.A. women lagged behind male respondents. For example, 60% of women respondents reported that their first job was at an entry level position, as opposed to 46% of male respondents.  Women also earned an average $4,600 less than men in their first job, even if they had the same amount of previous work experience, the study found.

[…] ‘From the start, women start in lower positions, and they aren't getting the right support from their management,’ the study results indicate […].

Ann Bartel, an economics professor at Columbia Business School who studies labor economics and human resource management, says women may lag behind men for two reasons. In some cases, companies anticipate female employees will have children and do not include them in succession planning. The other reason is not driven by corporations, but rather by women themselves, who, anticipating the time commitment of a potential family, do not lobby hard for plum positions.

‘I think companies want equality, but they will have to redesign jobs so flex-time and working from home aren't negatives for the fast track,’ says Ms. Bartel[.] […]

Despite potential bias toward working mothers, Ms. Lang says the results showed no real difference for women without children. The study also found that men were twice as likely to be a CEO or senior executive in their current job. […]

To read the full article, click here.  To download a free copy of the report, click here. To learn more about Catalyst, visit their website.

4.“Report: Unmarried Older Women More Likely to Lack Health Insurance”

California Healthline
February 25, 2010

Citing:  Health and Health Care Access Among California Women Ages 50-64 by Roberta Wyn and Erin Peckham, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Older California women without spouses are more than twice as likely as married women to be uninsured, according to a new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research[.] […]

Researchers used data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey to examine coverage rates among women ages 50 through 64. For women in this age group, the study found that: 25% of women who had never been married lacked coverage; and 21% of women who had been divorced, separated or widowed were uninsured.

In comparison, the report noted that 10% of older married women lacked coverage.

Researchers also identified racial disparities in coverage among women in this age group. […]

To read the full article, click here.  To download a free copy of the policy brief, click here. To learn more about UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, visit their website.


Research Reports
_________________________________

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

1. Women and Men’s Employment and Unemployment in the Great Recession

Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Heidi Hartmann, Ashley English, and Jeffrey Hayes
February 2010

“Since December 2007, the U.S. economy has been in the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Because much of the slowdown has occurred in traditionally male fields such as manufacturing and construction, while a few traditionally female fields such as health and education have shown job growth or minimal job loss, many reports have focused on the job losses among men in the labor force. At the same time the substantial job losses that have also occurred among women in such sectors as retail, hospitality, and personal and business services are rarely discussed. The number of unemployed women is now 6.3 million (as of December 2009), an increase of 2.8 million unemployed women since the recession began, a number larger than men's increased unemployment in most previous recessions. Once they lose their jobs, women and men spend a similar number of weeks unemployed; in December 2009, unemployed women and men had been out of work for an astounding 29 weeks, on average. Moreover, a smaller share of unemployed women collect unemployment insurance benefits compared with unemployed men. Between December 2007 and November 2009, 36.8 percent of unemployed women received unemployment benefits, on average, compared with 40.3 percent of unemployed men.”

To download a free PDF of the complete briefing paper, click here. To learn more about the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, visit our website.

2. Additional Actions are Needed to Strengthen DOD’s and the Coast Guard’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Programs

U.S. Government Accountability Office
February 2010

“This report discusses our efforts to evaluate the Department of Defense's (DOD) and the U.S. Coast Guard's oversight and implementation of their respective sexual assault prevention and response programs. Our findings build upon our previous work related to sexual assault in the military services. DOD and the Coast Guard have taken a number of positive steps to increase program awareness and to improve their prevention and response to occurrences of sexual assault, but additional actions are needed to strengthen their respective programs. As we have previously reported, sexual assault is a crime with a far-reaching negative impact on the military services in that it undermines core values, degrades mission readiness and esprit de corps, subverts strategic goodwill, and raises financial costs. Since we reported on these implications in 2008, incidents of sexual assault have continued to occur; in fiscal year 2008, DOD reported nearly 3,000 alleged sexual assault cases, and the Coast Guard reported about 80. However, it remains impossible to accurately analyze trends or draw conclusions from these data because DOD and the Coast Guard have not yet standardized their respective reporting requirements.”

To access a free PDF of the report, click here.  To learn more about the U.S. Government Accountability Office, visit their website.

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