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 to highlight informative, innovative, and sometimes controversial research related to women and their families.
1. Are Women Now Half the Labor Force? The Truth About Women and Equal Participation in the Labor Force
2.Valuing Good Health in Connecticut: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
3. Paid Sick Days Can Help Contain Health Care Costs
4. Supporting State Child Care Efforts With American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds
5. Male Reproductive Control of Women Who Have Experienced Intimate Partner Violence in the United States
6. Unintended Pregnancy Among U.S. Adolescents: Accounting for Sexual Activity
Each selection includes a short excerpt, link to the news article, and link to the research cited:
New York Times
April 6, 2010
Citing: U.S. Birth Rate Decline Linked to Recession by Gretchen Livingstone and D’Vera Cohn, Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends Project, and Births: Preliminary Data for 2008 by Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D.; Joyce A. Martin, M.P.H.; and Stephanie J. Ventura, M.A.; of the Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics at the Center for Disease Control
“American births fell in 2008, […] probably because of the recession. The one exception was the birth rate among women in their 40s […].
The birth rate for women in their early 40s rose 4 percent over the previous year, reaching its highest mark since 1967. The rate for women in their late 40s also rose, slightly. But birth rates fell for teenagers, as well as women in their 20s and 30s.
‘Women are postponing births to those later ages, above 40,’ said James Trussell, director of the Office of Population Research at Princeton.
Experts do not know for certain why so many are delaying having children, though some suspect that the economy is a big factor. […]
The report [was issued by the] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [and] is based on a review of more than 99 percent of birth certificates for 2008 — the first full year of the recession. Over all, about 4.2 million children were born that year, a 2 percent drop from 2007. It is the first annual decline in births since the start of the decade.
Experts say the most likely explanations are the recession and a decline in immigration to the United States, for which the weak job market has been blamed.
Some early information for the first six months of 2009 indicates a continuing decline of about 3 percent in total births, officials with the disease control centers said. […]
The Pew Research Center also issued a report Tuesday that found that several states with the biggest declines in birth rates — Arizona, California and Florida — were among those that fared the worst by various economic measures.
The organization also pointed to a 2009 survey that found that 14 percent of people in their prime child-bearing years said they had put off having a child because of the recession. […]”
To read the full article, click here. To download a free copy of the Pew Research Center report click here, or visit their website to learn more about the Social and Demographic Trends project. To download a free copy of the Center for Disease and Control report, click here. To learn more about the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, visit their website.
By Hope Yen
April 20, 2010
Citing: Educational Attainment in the United States: 2009 by the U.S. Census Bureau
“Women are now just as likely as men to have completed college and to hold an advanced degree, part of an accelerating trend of educational gains that have shielded women from recent job losses. Yet they continue to lag behind men in pay.
Among adults 25 and older, 29 percent of women in the U.S. have at least a bachelor's degree, compared with 30 percent of men, according to 2009 census figures released Tuesday. Measured by raw numbers, women already surpass men in undergraduate degrees by roughly 1.2 million.
Women also have drawn even with men in holding advanced degrees. Women represented roughly half of those in the U.S. with a master's degree or higher […].
At current rates, women could pass men in total advanced degrees this year, even though they still trail significantly in several categories such as business, science and engineering. […]
While young women have been exceeding men in college enrollment since the early 1980s, the educational gains have now progressively spread upward to older age groups. That could have wide ramifications in the workplace: more working mothers, increased child-care needs and a greater focus on pay disparities among them.
Women with full-time jobs now have weekly earnings equal to 80.2 percent of what men earn, up slightly from 2008 but lower than a high of 81 percent in 2005.
‘I don't know if we can be heartened by the educational gains, because it is persistent wage discrimination that is driving women to get a higher education,’ said Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. […]
And women now represent a majority in the nation's work force. They have consistently outpaced men in employment rates in the current economic downturn that some researchers are now dubbing a ‘man-cession.’ The main reason is that the male-dominated construction and manufacturing industries, which require less schooling, shed millions of jobs after the housing bust.
Still, despite recent gains, women's advantage in the work force is expected to be temporary as job losses spread to other sectors, such as state and local government, where women are more highly represented. Some men are also returning to school for degrees in female-dominated industries such as nursing and teaching, which tend to fare better during recessions. […]
The findings are the latest to highlight a shift of traditional roles of the sexes, caused partly by massive job losses in the Great Recession. The effects have included a growing number of working moms who are the sole breadwinners in their families, declining births and small increases in stay-at-home dads. […]”
By Annalyn Censky
April 20, 2010
Citing: The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation by Ariane Hegewisch and Hannah Liepmann, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
“Even in the highest paying jobs, women still make less than men, according to a new report by a women's research group.
CEO, pharmacist and lawyer are among the 10 most lucrative job titles for women, according to the study released Tuesday by the Institute for Women's Policy Research. But while women in those positions earned median pay topping $100,000 a year, that was just about 75% of what men with the same job titles earned. […]
When looking at how much women are paid vs. men in all jobs, the overall wage gap holds at 77 cents to the dollar. But that so-called wage gap doesn't take into account differences in education, tenure and industry -- all factors which determine a worker's pay.
Even when researchers account for those factors, at least half of the gap remains unexplained, said Ariane Hegewisch, who directed the study.
Betty Spence, president of the National Association of Female Executives, an advocacy group representing women executives, says those numbers are alarming.
Still, she says, gender bias may not be entirely responsible for the unaccounted-for part of the gap. Women may work fewer hours than men or may not be as aggressive in negotiating salaries, said Spence.
Among the 10 highest paying jobs, the disparity was widest for women physicians and surgeons, who on average make 64 cents to the dollar compared to their male counterparts.
Women in technology-related fields, however, fared the best. […]
Women computer programmers make 93% of what men in the same position make and on average earn $1,182 per week.
Each selection includes a short excerpt from the research and a link to the report:
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Jeff Hayes, Ph.D., and Ashley English
“For more than a year the news media have been tracking the moment when women might become half the labor force. In spring 2009, it was said it might happen in the next few months, by summer it was said maybe it would happen in the fall. By one measure, women’s share of employment reached a high of 49.96 percent in October 2009; still 113,000 fewer women than men were counted on payrolls that month, and as of March 2010 the gap has grown to about 360,000 workers. Although still a statistically significant difference, a gap that small is nevertheless close to equality, especially when total payroll employment in the United States is measured at nearly 130,000,000.
Is something new happening? Are women half the labor force? ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ and ‘Not Really.’”
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Kevin Miller, Ph.D., and Claudia Williams
“Policymakers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring that workers have paid sick days. In addition to concerns about workers’ ability to respond to their own health needs, there is growing recognition that, with so many dual-earner and single parent families, family members’ health needs can be addressed only by workers taking time from their scheduled hours on the job. Paid sick days policies allow workers with contagious illnesses to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers and, thus, are a fundamental public health measure. Paid sick days protect workers from being fired when they are too sick to work and offer substantial savings to employers by reducing turnover and minimizing absenteeism. Connecticut lawmakers are now considering SB 63, which would require employers to provide all workers with paid sick days. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the proposed law, using government collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s cost benefit analysis.”
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Kevin Miller, Ph.D.
“Health spending in the United States as a proportion of GDP has more than doubled in the past 35 years and is the highest among all nations in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). Many American workers, though they may soon have new health insurance coverage due to health insurance reform, still find themselves in the difficult position of lacking paid sick days. Over 50 million American workers do not have paid sick days.”
National Women’s Law Center
Karen Schulman, Senior Policy Analyst, and Helen Blank, Director of Leadership and Public Policy
“Child care helps children learn and enter school ready to succeed and helps parents work with the peace of mind that their children are in safe, supportive settings. For 2009 and 2010, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is providing a $2 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), including $255 million for improving the quality of child care, of which $93.6 million is targeted for activities to improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers. Even with this new funding, however, states are grappling with serious budget shortfalls that are threatening their ability to maintain funding for a range of programs and services, including child care. These two developments make this a time of both opportunity and risk for efforts to support high-quality child care and early education.”
Ann M. Moore and Lori Frohwirth, Guttmacher Institute,
Elizabeth Miller, University of California, Davis School of Medicine
“Women who have experienced intimate partner violence are consistently found to have
poor sexual and reproductive health when compared to non-abused women, but the mechanisms through which such associations occur are inadequately defined (Coker, 2007). Through face-to-face, semi-structured in-depth interviews, we gathered full reproductive histories of 71 women aged 18-49 with a history of IPV recruited from a family planning clinic, an abortion clinic and a domestic violence shelter in the United States. A phenomenon which emerged among fifty-three respondents (74%) was male reproductive control which encompasses pregnancy-promoting behaviors as well as control and abuse during pregnancy in an attempt to influence the pregnancy outcome. Pregnancy promotion involves male partner attempts to impregnate a woman including verbal threats about getting her pregnant, unprotected forced sex, and contraceptive sabotage. Once pregnant, male partners resort to behaviors that threaten a woman if she does not do what he desires with the pregnancy. Reproductive control was present in violent as well as non-violent relationships. By assessing for male reproductive control among women seeking reproductive health services, including antenatal care, health care providers may be able to provide education, care, and counseling to help women protect their reproductive health and physical safety.”
Lawrence P. Finer, Ph.D, Guttmacher Institute
“Unintended pregnancy rates typically include all women in the denominator. This understates adolescent rates, since many adolescents are not sexually active. When rates are recalculated including only sexually active people, women 15–19 have the highest rates, arguing for a continued focus on adolescents in efforts to reduce unintended pregnancy.”