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November 2009 RNR

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

November 2009

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. “Report: Unsafe abortions kill 70,000 annually”
2. “Recruitment is Key to Graduating More Women Engineers”
3. “Poll finds wide support for women in workplace”

Research Reports
1. Valuing Good Health in New Hampshire: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
2. Falling Through the Cracks: The Homeless and Child Welfare Experiences of New York’s Most At-Risk Families
3. Unmarried and Uninsured: Single Women Face Additional Health Insurance Barriers
4. The Harried Life of the Working Mother
5. Technical Assistance and Better Defined Evaluation Plans Will Help Girls’ Delinquency Programs

Research Making News

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

1. “Report: Unsafe abortions kill 70,000 annually”

Associated Press
October 13, 2009

Citing:  Abortion Worldwide: A Decade of Uneven Progress by the Guttmacher Institute.

“Increased contraceptive use has led to fewer abortions worldwide, but deaths from unsafe abortion remain a severe problem, killing 70,000 women a year, a research institute reported Tuesday in a major global survey.

[…]The report, three years in the making, was compiled by the New York-based Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights and is a leading source of data on abortion-related trends. Researchers examined data from individual countries and multinational organizations.

[…] ‘In almost all developed countries, abortion is safe and legal,’ she said. ‘But in much of the developing world, abortion remains highly restricted, and unsafe abortion is common and continues to damage women's health and threaten their survival.’

[…] Guttmacher estimated previously that the number of abortions worldwide fell from 45.5 million in 1995 to 41.6 million in 2003―the latest year for which global figures were available.

[…]The survey concluded that abortion occurs at roughly equal rates in countries where it is legal and where it is highly restricted. The key difference, according to the report, is the high rate of deaths and medical complications from unsafe clandestine abortions in the restrictive countries[…].

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

2. “Recruitment is Key to Graduating More Women Engineers”

Innovations Report
October 26, 2009

Citing:  Widening the Net: National Estimates of Gender Disparities in Engineering by the Urban Institute.

“Low enrollment, not low retention, undercuts the number of women graduating with engineering bachelor’s degrees, according to an Urban Institute study highlighted in this month’s issue of PRISM magazine, the flagship publication of the American Society for Engineering Education.

The full study […] explores the causes behind the severe underrepresentation of women in engineering. While women account for half of all bachelor’s degrees annually, they earn only about 20 percent of undergraduate engineering degrees.

The study found that, overall and in most fields, women receive engineering degrees at rates equal to or higher than men. Civil, environmental, and chemical engineering are among the disciplines in which women are more likely to complete their studies than male students.

These are ‘major results,’ observed Dr. Norman Fortenberry, the director of the Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education at the National Academy of Engineering. Before this study, “there seemed to be evidence that women were more likely to leave engineering, and so the dominant question appeared to be why they were leaving, whether they lost interest or encountered hostile environments.”

Clemencia Cosentino de Cohen, the study’s lead author and director of the Program for Evaluation and Equity Research at the Urban Institute, recommended, ‘If we are to grow and diversify the nation’s scientific workforce, we must focus on attracting more women to engineering. Early education and outreach will be essential.[…]’”

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

3. “Poll finds wide support for women in workplace”

By Allison Linn
MSNBC
October 15, 2009

Citing:  The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress.


“Men and women are accepting — and even embracing — the increasing role of women in the workplace, but many are still struggling with the repercussions on family life.


Those are some of the findings of a nationwide survey released Thursday in conjunction with a major report on the status of women by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress. ‘The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything’ takes an in-depth look at what has happened, and what still needs to happen, now that women make up virtually half the work force, up from about one-third of the work force 40 years ago.

The survey found that around three-quarters of men and women believe that the growing presence of women in the workplace has been very or somewhat positive for American society and the economy. […] On a personal level, men and women are dealing with the increase in dual-earning households by negotiating family schedules, duties and responsibilities — in fact, 40 percent of those surveyed said they coordinate such tasks daily.

[…] The survey clearly showed that men and women would like more help with these challenges, particularly when it comes to taking care of children and elderly parents. Forty-two percent of women, and 36 percent of men, said there had been a time when they wanted to take time off from work to care for a child but were unable to do so.

[…G]ender divides do remain, especially when it comes to household responsibilities. The survey found that about 55 percent of women strongly agreed that, in households where both partners have jobs, women take on more home and family responsibilities. Only 28 percent of men strongly agreed with that conclusion. […].

For families to get the kind of accommodating policies the survey showed that they both want, Kimmel thinks men will have to become more vocal about their need to balance work and family life. That means thinking of issues like on-site childcare and flex time not as women’s issues but as family issues that will benefit men as well. […]”

To read the full article, click here.  To download a free copy of the report, click here. 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. Valuing Good Health in New Hampshire: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days

By Kevin Miller, Ph.D., and Claudia Williams
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
October 2009

“[…T]here 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. New Hampshire lawmakers are now considering HB 662, which would make it mandatory for businesses with 10 or more employees to provide paid sick days. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research […] has estimated the costs and benefits of the proposed law, using government-collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology.”

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

2. Falling Through the Cracks: The Homeless and Child Welfare Experiences of New York’s Most At-Risk Families

Institute for Children and Poverty
Fall 2009

“Almost one-third of families who reside in the New York City shelter system have children with current or past Administration for Children’s Services' involvement. This report offers a snapshot of these families and highlights key areas for future study to help guide practice and funding priorities to better serve them.”

To access a free PDF of the full report, click here.  To learn more about the Institute for Children and Poverty, visit their website.

3. Unmarried and Uninsured: Single Women Face Additional Health Insurance Barriers

By Liz Weiss, Ellen-Marie Whelan, and Jessica Arons
Center for American Progress
Fall 2009

“[…]Recent media coverage of health care reform has focused on the bias women face in the current system and what they stand to gain from the pending overhaul. Little attention, however, has been paid to the additional problems unmarried women face in obtaining and maintaining health insurance. Unmarried women cannot rely on receiving coverage through a husband’s plan. And because they usually have only their own income, they may not be able to afford the premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs required by a plan that is willing to cover them. Furthermore, married women who have health insurance through their husbands are vulnerable to losing their coverage if the marriage ends.[…] This brief will outline why unmarried women are particularly vulnerable in our current health insurance system and how health reform legislation pending before Congress can help more of them receive and pay for coverage.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Center for American Progress, visit their website.

4. The Harried Life of the Working Mother

By Kim Parker
Pew Research Center
October 1, 2009

“Women now make up almost half of the U.S. labor force, up from 38% in 1970. This nearly forty-year trend has been fueled by a broad public consensus about the changing role of women in society. A solid majority of Americans (75%) reject the idea that women should return to their traditional roles in society, and most believe that both husband and wife should contribute to the family income. But in spite of these long-term changes in behaviors and attitudes, many women remain conflicted about the competing roles they play at work and at home. Working mothers in particular are ambivalent about whether full-time work is the best thing for them or their children; they feel the tug of family much more acutely than do working fathers. As a result, most working mothers find themselves in a situation that they say is less than ideal.”

To read the full report, click here.  To learn more about the Pew Research Center, visit their website.

5. Technical Assistance and Better Defined Evaluation Plans Will Help Girls’ Delinquency Programs

U.S. Government Accountability Office
September 2009

“This testimony discusses issues related to girls' delinquency―a topic that has attracted the attention of federal, state, and local policymakers for more than a decade as girls have increasingly become involved in the juvenile justice system. […F]rom 1995 through 2005, delinquency caseloads for girls in juvenile justice courts nationwide increased 15 percent while boys' caseloads decreased by 12 percent. More recently, in 2007, 29 percent of juvenile arrests […] involved girls, who accounted for 17 percent of juvenile violent crime arrests and 35 percent of juvenile property crime arrests. […R]esearch on girls has highlighted that delinquent girls have higher rates of mental health problems than delinquent boys, receive fewer special services, and are more likely to abandon treatment programs. […] This testimony highlights findings from that report and addresses (1) efforts [Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention] has made to assess the effectiveness of girls' delinquency programs, (2) the extent to which these efforts are consistent with generally accepted social science standards and federal standards to communicate with stakeholders, and (3) the findings from OJJDP's efforts and how the office plans to address the findings. This statement is based on our July report and selected updates made in October 2009.”

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

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