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
Research Making News ____________________________
Each selection includes a short excerpt, link to the news article, and link to the research cited:
1. "Pay Gap Persists in Female-Dominated Career Fields"
By Danielle Kurtzleben
U.S. News and World Report
April 17, 2012
Citing: The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation by Ariane Hegewisch, Claudia Williams, and Vanessa Harbin, Institute for Women's Policy Research
"[...] According to a study done by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, among the 20 most popular occupations for women workers, they only out-earn men in one field: bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. Among secretaries and administrative assistants, women make up 96 percent of workers but earn 86 percent as much as men. [...] A majority of financial managers are women-54.3 percent-but they earn only about 66 percent of what men in that occupation make.
'Women are less likely to be hired into the most lucrative jobs, and-when they work side by side with men-they may get hired at a lower rate and receive lower pay increases over the years,' says [Ariane] Hegewisch, study director at the Institute for Women's Policy Research and one of the study's co-authors. [...]
The pay and gender gaps also persist in jobs dominated by men. Only 24.7 percent of chief executives are women, and they earn only 69 percent as much as male executives. Among truck drivers and other driver/sales workers, only 4.2 percent of workers are women. Those women earn only 71.8 percent of the pay than their men counterparts take home. [...]"
2. " Teenage Pregnancy: High U.S. Rates Due to Poverty, Not Promiscuity"
By Stephanie Hanes
The Christian Science Monitor
May 22, 2012
Citing: Why Is the Teen Birth Rate in the United States So High and Why Does it Matter? by Melissa S. Kearney, University of Maryland, College Park, and Phillip B. Levine, Wellesley College, Journal of Economic Perspectives
"[...] Academics and policy-makers have known for decades that girls living in lower socio-economic circumstances are more likely than their wealthier peers to become pregnant. And anthropologists and social workers explain that teens who experience "despair" are more likely to turn to motherhood as a way to find meaning in a world where they see few other options.
[...] Research by professors Melissa Kearney of the University of Maryland, College Park and Phillip Levine of Wellesley College adds a new twist to this theory, creating an economic model to show what this 'despair' means, in measurable terms.
They found that the truly at-risk teens are those who live in areas of great income disparity.
'Teens in the highest-inequality states are roughly 5 percentage points more likely to give birth as a teen than teens in the lowest-inequality states. We find the opposite pattern when we focus on abortions as a teen-much less-frequent abortions among teens with low socioeconomic status in high-inequality states-and no pattern like this when we repeat this exercise for sexual activity.'
The authors tried to adjust their findings for other conditions that could lead to 'despair'- poverty concentration, for instance, or the incarceration rate. The conclusions were the same."
3. " For Most Graduates, Grueling Job Hunt Awaits"
By Lauren Weber and Melissa Korn
The Wall Street Journal
May 7, 2012
Citing: Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession by Charley Stone, Carl Van Horn, and Cliff Zukin, John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development; The Class of 2012: Labor Market for Young Graduates Remains Grim by Heidi Shierlholz, Natalie Sabadish, and Hilary Wething, Economic Policy Institute.
"Graduating college students face a mixed job market at best this year, and most will leave school without an offer in hand, despite an uptick in hiring by on-campus recruiters. A survey of employers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed those that recruit on campuses plan to boost hiring of new grads by 10.2% from last year. However, on-campus recruiting is only a small slice of the pie-the bulk of graduates find jobs on their own.
In a study to be released Thursday, the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University found that recent graduates are taking awhile to find work. Only 49% of graduates from the classes of 2009 to 2011 had found a full-time job within a year of finishing school, compared with 73% for students who graduated in the three years prior.
Overall, the unemployment rate among 20- to 24-year-olds with bachelor's degrees was 6.4% in April, compared with 8.1% for the overall population, according to the Labor Department.
[...] The class of 2012 faces tougher competition thanks to what Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center, calls "the recession hangover." Young adults who graduated into the dire labor market of 2008 and 2009 and have been out of work or underemployed since are applying for the same jobs as new grads are.
[...] A debt burden [also] looms. Two-thirds of students from the class of 2010, the latest figures available, graduated with student loans, with an average tab of $25,250-up 5% from the previous year-according to The Institute for College Access & Success, an independent group that promotes higher education affordability.
[...] Even when new graduates do find jobs, their starting salaries tend to be lower than those for their counterparts who graduated a decade earlier, adjusted for inflation. With a lower base pay, research shows they may never catch up. According to the Economic Policy Institute [...] entry-level, college-educated men age 23-29 earned an average $21.68 an hour in 2011, a 7.6% decline from 2000. For women, the corresponding figure fell 6%, to $18.80. Men and women both now earn just a bit more than they did in 1989, when measured in 2011 dollars [...]."
To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession, click here. To download a free PDF of The Class of 2012: Labor Market for Young Graduates Remains Grim, click here. To learn more about the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, visit their website. To learn more about the Economic Policy Institute,visit their website.
4. "Best Cities for Women: 25 U.S. Metropolitan Areas Ranked for Women's Well-Being"
By Emma Gray
The Huffington Post
April 30, 2012
Citing: Women's Well-Being: Ranking America's Top 25 Metro Areas by Kristen Lewis and Sarah Burd-Sharps, Measure of America and the Social Science Research Council
"[...] A new report released by Measure Of America indicates that a woman's well-being is inextricably linked to where she resides.
The report focuses on the 25 most populated metropolitan areas in the United States and ranks each city based on the American Human Development Index (AHDI). This measure examines information for each region on women's educational attainment, life expectancy and median earnings, converting this data into a score out of 10. Although women in the majority of these metropolitan areas are faring as well or better than average-the average American woman's score on the AHDI is a five-six regions ranked below this national standard.
The nation's capital [...] topped the list. In D.C. women make an average of $16,000 more each year than women in the lowest-ranked urban area, Riverside-San Bernadino. There, [...] 1 in 5 women haven't completed high school, and female workers earn an average of $22,300-the same as the national average for both men and women in 1970, adjusted for inflation.
Measure of America also looked at how women's marital status, race and ethnicity factored into overall well-being. One noteworthy finding was that a higher percentage of single women tended to mean higher overall earnings for women in a given metropolitan area. The report also found that African-American women have the shortest life expectancy and faced some specific health challenges, including higher rates of HIV infection. Asian and Latina women tend to outlive Caucasian and African-American women, even though Latina women fall behind when it comes to educational attainment."
To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about Measure of America, visit their website. To learn more about the Social Science Research Council, visit their website.
5. "How Gender Equality Is the Friend of the Family"
By Jill Filipovic
April 20, 2012
Citing: A Gender Reversal on Career Aspirations: Young Women Now Top Young Men in Valuing a High-Paying Career by Eileen Pattern and Kim Parker, Pew Research Center
"[...] According to a new Pew poll, [...] in 2010 and 2011, 66% of women - compared to 59% of men - said being successful in a high-paying career or profession was "one of the most important things" or "very important" in their lives. For women, that's a 10-point jump from 1997, when only 56% put success in a high-paying career as a top priority.
[...] Instead of showing that men's ambitions have "stagnated" or that women are "surpassing" them, these Pew results instead reflect financial realities for many Americans, and the benefits of shifting gender roles. The gender wage gap, though narrowing, is still substantial [...]. More than twice as many women as men (and most of them women of color) work in occupations that pay poverty wages for a family of four. Many women are single mothers, and a high-paying job means the difference between thriving and barely surviving. [...] For many women, prioritizing a well-paying career is a necessity, since making a liveable wage doing low-skilled work isn't something we can count on.
But the Pew poll also reflects how increases in gender equality have been better for families, including men. Fifty-nine percent of women and 47% of men say that being a good parent is a top priority: that's a 17-point hike from what women said in 1997, and an 8-point hike for men. [...]"
6. "IHME Study: Many Girls in U.S. Will Have Shorter Lives Than Their Mothers"
By Claudia Rowe
Humanosphere (a blog of KPLU 88.5)
April 19, 2012
Citing: Latest Life Expectancy Estimates by County Reveal Big Differences Nationwide by Ali Mokdad, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
"Despite living in a country with one of the best health-care systems in the world, thousands of American girls will have shorter lives than their mothers, according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
In 661 areas of the country life expectancy for women has stagnated or decreased since 1999. [...] Nationwide, they found a range of life-spans so broad that in some areas, such as Stearns, Minn., life expectancies rivaled those in Japan, Hong Kong, and France - which are among the longest on earth. But elsewhere, particularly in the rural south, average life-spans were lower than in Egypt, Indonesia, and Colombia, countries that spend far less on health care than the U.S. [...]
Nationally, life-expectancies for men are on the upswing overall, gaining an average of 4.6 years. Women's life expectancies also improved, but less dramatically, by only 2.7 years [...].
[...] The mortality rates were driven primarily by preventable causes of death, according to IHME's research: tobacco and alcohol use, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. For example, the lives of an estimated 54,000 women could be saved annually by simply reducing salt consumption, the IHME found. [...]"
7 . "Some Tax Breaks Unavailable to Same-Sex Couples"
By Tara Siegel Bernard
Bucks (a blog of The New York Times)
April 16, 2012
Citing: Unequal Taxation and Undue Burdens for LGBT Families by the Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council, and Center for American Progress
"Tax season provides a stark reminder for same-sex couples: Their families receive second-tier status when it comes to filing their federal tax returns, and many of them, particularly those with children, pay more in taxes than their heterosexual peers, a new study says.
The study, co-authored by three research and advocacy groups, lists many disadvantages that families headed by same-sex couples confront because the federal government defines marriage as between one man and one woman. [...] The study also found that these families are often precluded from taking certain tax breaks or they don't receive their full benefits.
[...] Being unable to file jointly means that many families headed by gay couples, particularly those where there is only one breadwinner or where there is a big disparity in the parents' income, pay more in taxes.
[...] Part of the problem, the report says, goes back to the fact that, in many areas, both parents cannot establish legal ties to their children. Same-sex couples, along with unmarried heterosexual couples, are banned from jointly adopting children in five states, and they face "uncertainty" in 28 states. That makes it hard, and sometimes impossible, to claim child-related deductions, exemptions and credits.
[...] On top of that, many same-sex couples often pay more for health insurance to cover their partners. Under federal law, employer-provided health benefits for domestic partners are counted as taxable income if the partner is not considered a dependent. Additionally, the employees cannot use pretax dollars to pay for their premiums - unlike their opposite-sex married counterparts. [...]"
To read the full article, click here. To view a PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Movement Advancement Project, visit their website. To learn more about the Family Equality Council, visit their website. To learn more about the Center for American Progress, visit their website .
Research Reports ____________________________
Each selection includes a short excerpt from the research and a link to the report:
1. The Next Generation: A Handbook for Mentoring Future Union Leaders
Institute for Women's Policy Research, The Berger-Marks Foundation
"This handbook provides an overview of how to mentor union members or staff. It draws on literature on mentoring in unions and other settings as well as interviews with ten individuals who have mentored or been mentored in unions. The handbook is intended primarily for union leaders and for those who want to develop union members and staff to keep unions strong. Much of the information the handbook contains, however, is applicable to any not-for-profit organization."
To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about the Institute for Women's Policy Research, visit our website. To learn more about the Berger-Marks Foundation, visit their website.
2. Slow and Positive Job Growth Continues in April
Institute for Women's Policy Research
"According to IWPR analysis of the May employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth continued in April with 115,000 jobs added [...]. In April, women gained 84,000 jobs (nearly three-quarters of jobs added) and men gained 31,000.. [...] IWPR analysis of the BLS payroll data shows that women have regained more than one out of three (997,000 or 36 percent) of the total jobs they lost in the recession [...].The picture looks somewhat better for men: men have regained 46 percent (2.8 million) of the jobs they lost between their job peak during the recession in December 2007 and the trough for men's employment in February 2010 [...]. In the last year, from April 2011 to April 2012, of the 1.8 million jobs added to payrolls, 600,000 or 33 percent were filled by women, and 1,216,000 or 67 percent were filled by men."
3. Birth Rates for U.S. Teenagers Reach Historic Lows for All Age and Ethnic Groups
Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., and Stephanie J. Ventura, M.A.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
"Teen childbearing has been generally on a long-term decline in the United States since the late 1950s. In spite of these declines, the U.S. teen birth rate remains one of the highest among other industrialized countries. Moreover, childbearing by teenagers continues to be a matter of public concern because of the elevated health risks for teen mothers and their infants. In addition, significant public costs are associated with teen childbearing, estimated at $10.9 billion annually. The most current data available from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), the 2010 preliminary file, are used to illustrate the recent trends and variations in teen childbearing. [...] The U.S. teen birth rate declined 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, reaching a historic low at 34.3 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19; the rate dropped 44 percent from 1991 through 2010."
4. The State of Communities of Color in the U.S. Economy: Still Feeling the Pain Three Years Into the Recovery
Christian E. Weller, Julie Ajinkya, and Jane Farrell
Center for American Progress
"Three years into the recovery, the economic outlook is improving as economic growth is stabilizing and job creation gradually accelerating. [...] Stable economic growth in the future, however, will depend on having a strong, broad-based middle class. While economic growth in the United States is on the mend, the data show that the benefits of this growth have not been equitably shared. Many middle-class families, regardless of race or ethnicity, do not enjoy the opportunities needed for them and their children to get ahead. More disturbingly, the data [summarized in this report] shows that communities of color are substantially less likely than their white fellow citizens to enjoy the opportunities that come from having a good job, owning a home, and having a financial safety cushion in the form of health insurance, retirement benefits, and private savings. This difference exists because economic opportunities eroded faster for communities of color than for whites during the Great Recession-and those opportunities have been coming back much more slowly for communities of color than for whites during the economic recovery."
5. Cultivating Fear: The Vulnerability of Immigrant Farmworkers in the US to Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment
Human Rights Watch
"Hundreds of thousands of women and girls in the United States today work in fields,
packing houses, and other agricultural workplaces where they face a real and significant risk of sexual violence and sexual harassment. While the exact prevalence of workplace sexual violence and harassment among farmworkers is difficult to determine due to the challenges of surveying a seasonal, migrant, and often unauthorized population, the problem is serious.
Sexual violence and harassment in the agricultural workplace are fostered by a severe imbalance of power between employers and supervisors and their low-wage, immigrant workers. Victims often then face systemic barriers-exacerbated by their status as farmworkers and often as unauthorized workers-to reporting these abuses and bringing perpetrators to justice. To meet its human rights obligations to these farmworkers suffering sexual violence and harassment, the US government and agricultural employers must take steps to reduce and eliminate these barriers. This report documents the experience of immigrant farmworker women and girls with workplace sexual violence and harassment-with particular attention to unauthorized immigrants-and sets forth detailed recommendations for improving their working conditions and access to services and legal remedies."
6. Gender Equality in Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship: Final Report to the MCM 2012
Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development
"In the aftermath of the Great Recession, there is now an urgent need to focus on the economic case and on how changes in the labour market might provide better economic opportunities for both men and women. The OECD Gender Initiative (Box) was developed as an integral part of the wider policyquest for new sources of economic growth; greater gender equality and a more efficient use of everyone's
skills are an important part of the answer. It is true that many countries around the world have made significant progress towards gender equality in education in recent decades. Today girls outperform boys in some areas of education and are less likely to drop out of school than boys. But, the glass is still half-full: women continue to earn less than men, are less likely to make it to the top of the career ladder, and are more likely to end their lives in poverty.
This report from the OECD Gender Initiative is designed to inform, share policy experiences and good practices, and help governments promote gender equality in education, employment and entrepreneurship. It looks at the state of play from a gender perspective across all three issues, whether inequalities exist, how and why they have developed, and which obstacles need to be overcome to move towards greater equality."
7. On Work Hours in the U.S. and Europe
Indraneel Chakraborty, Hans Holter, and Serhiy Stepanchuk
"According to recent research, Americans work 30% more than Europeans (Prescott 2004 and Rogerson 2006). This was not the case in early 1970s when Western Europeans worked more than Americans. What accounts for the large differences between countries today? [This] study finds that divorce rates and tax rates together on average explain 58% of the difference in terms of hours worked between the US and 17 European countries. [This] research starts by trying to uncover the determinants of cross-country differences in work hours through analysing the hours worked by different demographic subgroups (Chakraborty et al. 2012). [It] finds that women are typically the largest contributors to the aggregate differences. European women work less than American women, irrespective of whether we look at single or married women, or women with and without children."