Informing policy. Inspiring change. Improving lives.
1200 18th Street NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20036
202 785-5100
iwpr@iwpr.org

May 2011 RNR

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

May 2011

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

1. "Study; Women Hurt Most by Economic Downturn"

2. "For Business Women, Equal Pay Day Still Quite Far Away: Women Earn Lower Pay than Men in 107 of 111 Occupations, Says New Research from the Institute for Women's Policy Research"

3. "OECD: Child-Care Money Has Biggest Effect on Fertility"

4. "Study: Care Under Reform Affordable for 'Majority of Families"

5. "Height: Very Poor Women Are Shrinking, As Are Their Chances at a Better Life"

6. "We're A Long Way from Economic Recovery"

 

Research Reports

1. Latinas and Social Security

2. Access to Paid Sick Days in the States, 2010

3. The American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses Report: A Summary of Important Trends, 1997-2011

4. Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use

5. Making Care Less Taxing: Improving State Child and Dependent Care Tax Provisions

Research Making News ____________________________

 

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

 

news11."Study: Women Hurt Most by Economic Downturn"

By Corrinne Hess

The Business Journal

April 28, 2011

Citing: Women, Poverty, and Economic Insecurity in Wisconsin and the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis MSA by Claudia Williams and Ariane Hegewisch, Institute for Women's Policy Research

 

"The economic recession has been particularly detrimental to women and single mothers, according to a new study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research and the Wisconsin Women's Council.

 

Overall, the number of adults living in poverty in Wisconsin increased by 34 percent since 2007. About 72 percent of all poor families with dependent children were headed by single mothers in 2009, even though single-mother families represent only 30 percent of all families with children.

In Milwaukee, more women than men live below the poverty line due to factors such as unemployment and the persistent gender wage gap, according to the study.

 

Statewide, there are 125,700 female-headed households below the poverty level with 49,905 of those households in Milwaukee. [...]

 

The study points to several government-funded programs, including FoodShare Wisconsin and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, as the key to the well being of people living in poverty in Wisconsin. [...]"

 

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

 

news22. "For Business Women, Equal Pay Day Still Quite Far Away: Women Earn Lower Pay than Men in 107 of 111 Occupations, Says New Research from the Institute for Women's Policy Research"

 

Bulldog Reporter's Daily Dog
April 14, 2011

 

Citing: "The Gender Wage Gay by Occupation (April 2011)" by Ariane Hegewisch, Claudia Williams, and Amber Henderson and Ending Sex and Race Discrimination in the Workplace: Legal Interventions That Push the Envelope by Ariane Hegewisch, Institute for Women's Policy Research, Cynthia Deitch, George Washington University, and Evelyn Murphy, The Wage Project

"In recognition of Equal Pay Day on April 12 [...] the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) released a new fact sheet on the occupational gender wage gap that shows women have lower median earnings than men in 107 out of 111 occupations, regardless of levels of education. [...]

According to the fact sheet, in the lowest paid ten occupations close to two-thirds of workers are women, while in the highest paid ten occupations close to two-thirds of workers are men. Women's median earnings are lower than men in the ten most common occupations, in the ten highest paid occupations, and in the ten lowest paid occupations. [...]

A new IWPR report, Ending Sex and Race Discrimination in the Workplace: Legal Interventions That Push the Envelope, sheds light on factors contributing to the gender wage gap and steps that employers can take to eliminate unequal pay. [...]

According to the report, certified class action settlements are more likely to include ways to hold supervisors accountable for preventing discrimination and to introduce quantitative measures to monitor progress in achieving equal opportunity in workplace. [...]"

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of "The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation (April 2010)", click here. To download a free PDF of Ending Sex and Race Discrimination in the Workplace: Legal Interventions That Push the Envelope, click here. To learn more about the Institute for Women's Policy Research, visit our website. To learn more about George Washington University, visit their website. To learn more about The Wage Project, visit their website.

 

news33. "OECD: Child-Care Money Has Biggest Effect on Fertility"

By Sebastian Moffett
Wall Street Journal

April 27, 2011

 

Citing: Family Policies in OECD Countries: A Comparative Analysis by Olivier Thévenon, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

 

"Money spent on services such as child care helps raise fertility rates more than money given away to families as subsidies, according to a report released Wednesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. [...]

 

Total fertility rates [...] declined in the OECD club of industrialized countries to an average of 1.7 in 2009 from 2.7 in 1970. But they have picked up a little since 2002.

 

Among large economies, Japan has a fertility rate of just 1.37, while Germany's is 1.36, well below the replacement rate of 2.1 needed to maintain the population. [...]

 

By contrast, the U.S. and France are the only large economies whose fertility rates rose between 1980 and 2009, to 2.01 for the U.S. and 1.99 for France. [...]

 

Mostly, countries with rising birthrates tend to spend a relatively large share of gross domestic product on family-related polices, such as child-related services or cash benefits. On average, OECD countries spend $36,000 of public money on each child from birth to the age of 5. The U.S. is an exception, spending just $19,700. [...]

 

Among other countries with relatively high fertility, Norway, Sweden and Denmark all spend over $60,000, while France and the U.K. spend over $50,000.

 

[...The] policies that seem to have the greatest effect on birth rates are the ones aimed at helping women combine career and family, rather than those trying directly to boost the birth rate. [...]"

 

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, visit their website.

 

news44."Study: Care Under Reform Affordable for 'Majority of Families'"

 

By Janice Simmons
Fierce Healthcare

April 27, 2011

 

Citing: Realizing Health Reforms' Potential: Will the Affordable Care Act Make Insurance Affordable? by Jonathan Gruber and Ian Perry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, National Bureau of Economic Research

 

"Under federal assistance available with the Affordable Care Act, at least 90 percent of families living above the federal poverty level will be able to afford healthcare insurance. However, high out-of-pocket costs still could mean some families will not be able to afford health-related expenses, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.

 

The report, "Will The Affordable Care Act Make Health Insurance Affordable?," reviewed consumer spending and compared this data to costs related to purchasing health insurance through the health insurance exchanges (scheduled to begin in 2014) and with typical out-of-pocket healthcare spending.

 

A majority of American families -- even lower-income families -- would have room to cover premiums and typical out-of-pocket costs, the report said. For example, households between 100 and 150 percent of the poverty level (up to $33,525 for a family of four) would spend 75 percent of their resources on necessities -- such as child care, food, housing, taxes and transportation -- which leaves coverage for health-related expenses.

 

However, some families will continue to struggle to afford their healthcare because of the high out-of-pocket costs. For example, 10.8 to 17.5 percent of families with incomes between 100 and 200 percent of poverty -- and about a quarter of families earning between 200 and 300 percent of poverty, who have high out-of-pocket costs -- could not afford all their necessities plus health-related costs. [...]"

 

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, visit their website. To learn more about the National Bureau of Economic Research, visit their website.

 

news55."Height: Very Poor Women Are Shrinking, as Are Their Chances at a Better Life"

 

By Donald G. McNeil, Jr.
New York Times

April 25, 2011

 

Citing: Height of Nations: A Socioeconomic Analysis of Cohort Differences and Patterns among Women in 54 Low- to Middle-Income Countries by S.V. Subramanian, Emre Özaltin, and Jocelyn E. Finlay, Harvard School of Public Health

"The average height of very poor women in some developing countries has shrunk in recent decades, according to a new study by Harvard researchers.

 

Height is a reliable indicator of childhood nutrition, disease and poverty. Average heights have declined among women in 14 African countries, the study found, and stagnated in 21 more in Africa and South America. That suggests, the authors said, that poor women born in the last two decades, especially in Africa, are worse off than their mothers or grandmothers born after World War II. [...]

 

The study, published last week in the online journal PLoS One, analyzed data on 365,000 adult women in 54 poor and middle-income countries from the hundreds of huge Demographic and Health Surveys paid for largely by American foreign aid.

 

The study found that the richest 20 percent of women in all the countries surveyed have grown. Those born in the 1940s averaged 5 feet 1 1/2 inches; those born in the 1980s averaged 5-foot-2.

 

Those in the poorest 20 percent averaged 5-foot-1, no matter what decade they were born in. Guatemala and Honduras had the biggest gaps in height between rich and poor women; Uganda and Ethiopia [...] had the smallest."

 

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Harvard School of Public Health, visit their website.

 

news66."We're A Long Way from Economic Recovery"

 

San Francisco Chronicle
April 2, 2011

 

Citing: The Basic Economic Security Tables for the United States by Shawn McMahon, Wider Opportunities for Women, Yunju Nam, Ph.D., University at Buffalo School of Social Work, and Yung Soo Lee, Center for Social Development

"[...] According to [a report released by Wider Opportunities for Women], a single worker needs to make $30,012 annually to be economically stable. That means a job that pays a little more than $14 an hour, which is nearly twice the federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour). The overall income needed is nearly three times the 2010 national poverty level ($10,830 annually).

[...] It takes at least $14 an hour for a single person (and $27 an hour for a single parent of two children) to have a shot at the middle class. The report doesn't take regional differences into account. [...]"

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about Wider Opportunities for Women, visit their website. To learn more about the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, visit their website. To learn more about the Center for Social Development, visit their website.

 


Research Reports
____________________________

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

research11. Latinas and Social Security

 

Jeffrey Hayes, Ph.D., Youngmin Yi, and Heather Berg
Institute for Women's Policy Research
April 2011

 

"Social Security is a crucial source of income for many Americans. This is particularly true for women and people of color, who tend to have fewer alternative sources of income, experience higher poverty rates, and earn less on average throughout their working years [...] Latinas are one group for whom Social Security is especially important. This is, in part, because Latinas have a higher life expectancy than the majority of the population: those who were age 65 in 2010 have an average life expectancy of 89 years, compared with 85 years for all women and Hispanic men and 82 years for all men [...]. Moreover, Latinas who participate in the labor force tend to be concentrated in low-wage jobs without pensions [...]. Because Social Security provides benefits even after other resources may be exhausted, is annually adjusted for inflation, and returns a greater percentage of earnings to lower-wage workers, it is a crucial form of support for Latinas."

 

To download a free PDF of the fact sheet, click here. To learn more about the Institute for Women's Policy Research, visit our website.

 

 

research22. Access to Paid Sick Days in the States, 2010

 

Claudia Williams, Robert Drago, Ph.D., Kevin Miller, Ph.D., and Youngmin Yi
Institute for Women's Policy Research
March 2011

"Analysis from the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) finds substantial variation across the country in rates of access to paid sick days for private sector employees. As IWPR reported in December 2010, 44 million workers lacked access to paid sick days in 2010, with a national average rate of coverage of 58 percent. The five states with the lowest rates of access (below 54 percent) are Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, and West Virginia [...]. Among workers with access to paid sick days, many still face restrictions on the use of sick days and may be unable to use sick days to care for sick family members or seek out preventative care."

To download a free PDF of the fact sheet, click here. To learn more about the Institute for Women's Policy Research, visit our website.

 

 

research33. The American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses Report: A Summary of Important Trends, 1997-2011

American Express OPEN
April 2011

"With this publication, American Express OPEN [...offers...] an up-to-date accounting of the state of women-owned businesses in the United States in 2011. Using data from the three most recent business census surveys (1997, 2002, and 2007)-the most recent of which was just published in December 2010-this report provides estimates of the number, employment and revenues of women-owned firms as of 2011. Data are reported at the national level in total, and by industry, revenue and employment size class. Trends at the state level are also reported. [...] This new analysis not only confirms what we know from past government reports-that women continue to launch enterprises at a rate exceeding the national average, yet their firms remain smaller than those owned by their male counterparts-but shares a new and nuanced investigation into the growth trends among women-owned enterprises over the past 14 years. The report concludes with several observations and calls to action for everyone interested in small business development in general-and women's enterprise development in particular-to consider. [...]"

To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about American Express OPEN, visit their website.

research44. Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use

 

Rachel K. Jones and Joerg Dreweke
Guttmacher Institute
April 2011

"[...] This report provides important context to this ongoing policy debate by examining religion and contraceptive use among U.S. women: the extent to which women of various religious affiliations practice contraception and the methods they use. Data for the report come from the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), which gathered information on contraceptive use from a nationally representative sample of women. [...] This research suggests that the perception that strongly held religious beliefs and contraceptive use areantithetical is wrong-in fact, the two may be highly compatible. Contraceptive use by Catholics and Evangelicals, including those who frequently attend religious services, is the widespread norm, not the exception. Add to this Mainline Protestant denominations' historic support for contraception, and the implications for policymakers are clear: Policies that make contraceptives more affordable and easier to use are not just sound public health policy-they also reflect the needs and desires of the vast majorityof American women and their partners, regardless of their religious affiliation. [...]"

To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about the Guttmacher Institute, visit their website.

research55. Making Care Less Taxing: Improving State Child and Dependent Care Tax Provisions

 

Nancy Duff Campbell, Amy K. Matsui, Julie G. Vogtman, and Anne W. King
National Women's Law Center
April 2011

"Paying for care for children or adult dependents takes a big bite out of many families' already limited budgets. Yet without such care, married-couple and single-parent families alike have difficulty entering or remaining in the labor force. [...] The tax codes of the federal government and over half the states provide some assistance to families in meeting their employment-related care expenses. However, many states provide little or no tax assistance to families struggling to pay for the care that is so essential to their economic wellbeing. This report is designed to help state policy makers and advocates rectify this situation and assist them in developing the best child and dependent care (CADC) income tax provisions possible for their states. By analyzing and evaluating tax policies relating to care for children and adult dependents, this report can help states lacking such provisions enact them, and help other states improve CADC provisions already on the books. The report reviews the reasons supporting enactment of CADC tax provisions; describes the federal child and dependent care tax credit, which serves as the basis for many state provisions; and provides an overview of the state CADC tax provisions in effect for tax year 2010. Finally, the report identifies policy decisions commonly made when enacting and implement­ing CADC income tax provisions and makes recommendations designed to help policy makers and advocates identify and pursue the best decisions for families."

To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about the National Women's Law Center, visit their website.

Go to Home Page