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 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 or a citation.
International Labor Office
This report examines women’s progress in the international labor market, providing current employment statistics for women around the world, as well as time trend data. The authors present data from the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) 2006 Global Employment Trends Model for a number of labor market indicators, including women’s labor force participation, unemployment, wages and earnings, and education and skills.. Findings are presented for eight regions: Developed Economies and the European Union, Central and Eastern Europe (non-EU) and the Commonwealth of Independent States, East Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Major findings include:
• More women than ever before are participating in labor markets (either working or actively looking for a job) worldwide. In 2006, there were a total of 1.2 billion women in the labor market around the world, up from 1.1 billion in 1996.
• During the past ten years, women’s labor force participation rate stopped growing, with some regions observing declines.
• Women are still more likely to be unemployed than men (6.6 percent unemployment rate versus 6.1 percent).
• The Developed Economies and European Union region, while scoring high in many areas, still maintain a labor force participation rate gap between women and men of 16.1 percent between women and men (52.7 percent versus 68.8 percent).
While the report does highlight some improvement in women’s employment over the past few decades, the authors conclude that there is much more to be done before women around the world achieve employment parity with men. As women continue to face numerous challenges entering the labor market and finding decent and productive work at a fair wage, women also continue to be disproportionately affected by working poverty. Substantive improvements in job quality and pay equity must accompany increases in labor force participation in order for women to truly be able to improve their socioeconomic outcomes.
The brief can be found at http://www.ilo.org/public/english/employment/strat/download/getw07.pdf.
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Journal of Marriage and Family
February 2007, Volume 69
This study examines how access to material resources influences the educational outcomes of teen parents. Using data from the 1988, 1992, and 2000 waves of the National Education Longitudinal Survey (NELS), the study examines which social and economic factors, including living with one’s parents, marital status, working for pay, and access to child care resources affect long-term educational attainment levels of teenage parents. The author also controls for several socio-demographic factors, including race and ethnicity and family structure, and educational aptitude factors as determined by composite scores on eighth-grade mathematics and reading tests.
The report finds that:
• On average, teen parents stay in school two fewer years than their peers.
• Teen parenthood can explain ten percent of the variation in educational attainment among women compared with only two percent of variation among men, though the number of years of education teenage mothers and fathers lose is comparable.
• Living with parents provides a long term educational advantage over not living with parents during adolescence.
• Working at least 20 hours per week for pay is an educational liability for teen parents.
• Living at home and not working reduces the likelihood that teen parents will drop out of school, though these factors appear to have a stronger effect on the educational outcomes of teen fathers.
The author concludes that increasing the economic resources available to teen parents may help to encourage them to stay in school. Additionally, expanding affordable child care services for teenage parents may help them stay in school longer, especially teenage mothers.
The full article is available at: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00347.x
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Guttmacher Policy Review
Winter 2007, Volume 10, Number 1
This policy brief examines how federal and state legislative changes, combined with anti-immigration sentiment, have affected Medicaid coverage of reproductive health care. Prior to federal welfare reform legislation in 1996, American citizens and legal non-citizen immigrants were eligible for most public benefit programs. The changes to welfare, however, denied federally funded Medicaid and SCHIP coverage for recent (have been in the United States for fewer than 5 years), legal non-citizens, except in emergency cases. A new law passed in 2006 requires all Medicaid recipients to provide proof of their citizenship. Many state legislatures have also enacted or introduced bills to further restrict immigrant access to public health benefits.
The brief outlines the following key impacts of these laws:
• Medicaid enrollment for all poor women ages 15-44 dropped between 1994 and 2005 from 46.5 to 36.4 percent. At the same time the share of poor women in that age range who were uninsured increased from 33.6 to 41.2 percent.
• Among recent immigrants, Medicaid coverage fell from 25.6 to 17 percent between 1994 and 2005; it fell among longstanding, legal non-citizens from 41.1 to 22.4 percent.
• In 2005, non-citizens were 70 percent more likely than native-born citizens to be uninsured, regardless of how long they had resided in the country.
• Health advocates estimate that between 1.2 to 2.3 million low-income American citizens may experience delayed care or lose their Medicaid coverage due to the time, expense, and difficulties of obtaining the necessary citizenship documentation.
• As of July 2006, 20 states require all pregnant women to provide proof of citizenship before access to services is granted, which can significantly delay initial prenatal care visits.
The report concludes that welfare reform and the new Medicaid law requiring proof citizenship have had negative and unintended consequences for long-standing legal residents as well as American citizens. The requirements for proving citizenship pose financial and logistical difficulties for American citizens. These consequences are particularly felt with the time-sensitive nature of prenatal, postpartum, and family planning services.
The full article is available at http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/10/1/gpr100107.pdf
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National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies
In this review of state child care policies and regulations, the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) provides rankings for all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and Department of Defense on state child care center standards and oversight. States were scored on 15 key indicators, including staff-to-child ratios, group size, health and safety policies, educational and training requirements for center teachers and directors, availability of programs addressing child development domains, frequency of inspections, background check requirements, and parental involvement. The states, District of Columbia, and Department of Defense were also given an overall score and ranking.
The report’s key findings include:
• Overall, and out of a total of 150 points, the Department of Defense ranks first for child care center standards and oversight with a score of 117. New York and Illinois tie for second place with a score of 90. Washington (89), Maryland (89), Oklahoma (85), Tennessee (83), Michigan (83), North Dakota (83), Vermont (82), and Minnesota (82) comprise the remainder of the top ten states.
• Among the bottom ten states overall, Idaho ranks last with a score of 15 points, preceded by Louisiana (37), Nebraska (49), Kentucky (51), California (54), Kansas (54), Utah (55), New Mexico (55), Maine (57), and New Hampshire (58). These states have the weakest standards and oversight.
• NACCRRA’s standard for effective oversight is 50 programs or fewer per licensing inspector. Only five states and the Department of Defense meet this benchmark.
• Only 3 states and the Department of Defense conduct quarterly inspections of child care programs.
• Eight states and the Department of Defense address all of the components for NACCRRA’s standard for health and safety requirement.
• Only New Jersey and the Department of Defense require that child care center directors have a Bachelor’s Degree as their minimum educational requirement.
• Twenty-one states have no minimum educational requirement for child care teachers.
• Only 13 states have activities in all 6 child development domains (social, physical, language/literacy, cognitive/intellectual, emotional, and cultural) included in NACCRRA’s benchmark.
The report finds that there is much room for improvement by states, as no state scores perfectly on any of the key benchmarks. The report concludes with recommendations for both federal and state governments to improve accountability and better coordinate policies for ensuring quality of care. These recommendations include requiring all paid providers to have undergone at least 40 hours of training prior to working with children, as well as at least 24 hours of on-going training annually, and requiring background checks on all paid providers. They also recommend quarterly unannounced inspections, the findings of which states should post on the internet so parents can easily access the information to be better informed about their child care options.
The full article is available at http://www.naccrra.org/policy/scorecard.php
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