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November 2010 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 2010

 

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.“Restaurant employees say they must work when ailing, study finds”
2. “Women’s race and class impact contraception recommendations, study shows”
3. “The Spousal Safety Net”
4. “Study: Single Moms Crushed by Recession"
5. “It’s OK, moms. You can work"

Research Reports
1. 2010 Portrait of Women & Girls in the Washington Metropolitan Area
2. Are Doin’ It For Themselves,” But Could Use Some Help: Fatherhood Policy and the Well-Being of Low-Income Mothers and Children
3. Sustaining Pathways to Diversity: The New Paradigm of LGBT Inclusion: A Recommended Resource for the Legal Workplace
4. The Elder Care Study: Everyday Realities and Wishes for Change
5. The Global Gender Gap Report: 2010
6. Women-Owned Business in the 21st Century
7. Jobs and Economic Security for America’s Women
8. Mothers Behind Bars: A state-by-state report card and analysis of federal policies on conditions of confinement for pregnant and parenting women and the effect on their children

Research Making News

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

1. “Restaurant employees say they must work when ailing, study says”

By Diane Stafford
Kansas City Star
October 1, 2010

Citing: Serving While Sick: High Risks & Low Benefits for the Nation’s Restaurant Workforce, and Their Impact on the Consumer by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

“[…] Two-thirds of 4,323 food servers and preparers surveyed admitted they had worked while sick in the past year. The “Serving While Sick” report, commissioned by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a labor coalition for restaurant workers, pinpoints two reasons the workers don’t stay home:
•Nearly nine in 10 food service workers said they lacked paid sick days.
•More than six in 10 said they had no health insurance from any source. […]

In some cases, [restaurant workers] said, they had to go to work or lose their jobs. […] Restaurant workers are hardly the only ones to work when sick.

A report published this past summer in the Journal of the American Medical Association, also based on a worker survey, said nearly 58 percent of 537 medical residents […] had worked while sick. […]

Statistics from the U.S. Labor Department indicate that the restaurant industry is the nation’s third highest in terms of occupational injuries and illnesses, ranking after schools and hospitals.

This year [ROC] introduced a national restaurant workers health insurance plan — a low-cost, limited medical plan. The survey partly served to publicize the plan. […] The report noted that nearly half of the restaurant workers surveyed were foreign-born and that about one in seven admitted they lacked legal documents to work in the United States.
“We suspect that the magnitude of health problems and unsafe practices may be higher than found in this study,” the report said. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free copy of the research report, click here. To learn more about the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, visit their website.

2. “Women’s race and class impact contraception recommendations, study shows”

PhysOrg.com
October 8, 2010

Citing: Recommendations for intrauterine contraception: a randomized trial of the effects of patients’ race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status by Christine Dehlendorf et al., University of California, San Francisco.

A woman's race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status impact whether health care providers recommend one of the most highly effective forms of contraception, a [University of California – San Francisco] study confirms. The results also indicate that the interaction of both factors plays a role in clinicians' decisions.

Recommendations by health care providers previously have been found to vary by patients' race and socioeconomic status, contributing to health disparities, according to the researchers. The team investigated the effect of these factors on recommendations for contraception.

Study results appear in the October print edition of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and are available online. […]

In the study, clinicians' recommendations for intrauterine devices (IUDs) […] were affected by both the patient's class and her race/ethnicity.

  • Clinicians were less likely to recommend IUDs to white women of low socioeconomic status than to white women of high socioeconomic status.
  • Socioeconomic status had no significant effect on recommendations for IUDs for Latinas and black women.
  • But when the researchers evaluated the groups by race/ethnicity, clinicians were more likely to recommend IUDs to Latinas and black women of low socioeconomic status than to white women of low socioeconomic status.

[…]
The inconsistency in health care provider recommendations for such an effective contraception method suggests a need for further research into the influence of clinicians' recommendations on family planning and ways to prevent the differences in care, she said. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free copy of the research report, click here. To learn more about the University of California, San Francisco, visit their website.

3. “The Spousal Safety Net”

By Nancy Folbre
New York Times
October 12, 2010

Citing: Wives as Breadwinners: Wives’ Share of Earnings Hits Historic High during the Second Year of the Recession by Kristin Smith, Carsey Institute

“In today’s economy, men are lucky if they have a wife in their portfolio. Traditional women’s jobs have been hit less hard by recession than men’s jobs. Many married women have softened the financial impact of their husbands’ unemployment by finding jobs or increasing their hours of paid work.

[…] A recent briefing paper by Kristin Smith of the Carsey Institute of the University of New Hampshire documents a sharp uptick in historical trends. Wives now contribute 47 percent of family income in married-couple households where the wives are employed. […]

Past estimates have suggested that the effect of a husband’s unemployment on his wife’s participation in paid employment — termed the added-worker effect — is small. […]
Not surprisingly, we now see evidence of a significant added-worker effect – more specifically a husband-without-a-job effect. […]

The spousal safety net didn’t help all couples, because not all wives were able to find employment. Also, it’s unlikely that the increase in wives’ earnings fully compensated for the decline in husbands’ earnings, because, as Professor Smith points out, women employed full-time year-round earn, on average, about 83 percent of what their male counterparts earn.

One wonders if men who stopped working for pay began doing more work around the house. Research on the time use of men without jobs in the United States finds that they don’t devote much more time to housework and child care than other men. However, husbands who become more dependent on a wife’s earnings over time are likely to be more responsive. […]”

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

4. “Study: Single Moms Crushed by Recession”

Seth Freed Wessler
COLORLINES
October 14, 2010

Citing: At Rope’s End: Single Women Mothers, Wealth and Assets in the U.S. by Mariko Chang, PhD and C. Nicole Mason, PhD, Women of Color Policy Network

“A new report from NYU’s Women of Color Policy Network, “At Rope’s End,” offers a definitive examination of wealth in families headed by single mothers. The findings are not surprising: women of color, who bear the [...] weight of racial and gender inequities in the economy, are most likely to be left with no wealth. Wealth [...is] what provides a cushion in hard times and a step up for children.
With recent cuts to the social safety net pushed through Congress by obstructionist Republicans and defecting Democrats, these inequities are set to grow. “At Ropes End” offers a set of proposals to prevent this and begin to create a more equitable economy.

Among the report’s many findings:
Single mothers possess only 4 percent of the wealth of single fathers: $100 compared to $25,300.
• Race and ethnicity are significant factors. Black and Latino single mothers have a median wealth of zero, whereas white women report a median wealth of $6,000. [...]
• Younger single mothers experience the greatest disadvantage in terms of wealth and assets. Over half of single mothers under the age of 40 have zero or negative wealth.

[...] The report points to legislative solutions that include an increase in child care subsidies and passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would require race and gender wage equity and bolster tax credits for low-wage single mothers. But it [...] also offers solutions that bypass Congress altogether—things like better enforcement of existing racial and gender bias protections; larger programs to help low-income women and women of color enter higher education and more “culturally competent” financial literacy. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free copy of the research report, click here. To learn more about the Women of Color Policy Network, visit their website.

5. “It’s OK, moms. You can work.”

Shari Roan
Los Angeles Times
October 15, 2010

Citing: Maternal Work Early in the Lives of Children and Its Distal Associations With Achievement and Behavior Problems: A Meta-Analysis by Rachel G. Lucas-Thompson of Macalester College and Wendy A. Goldberg, and JoAnn Prause, University of California-Irvine

"Women who return to work after childbirth shouldn't worry that they are dooming their offspring to future developmental and emotional problems because they aren't at home to tend to them around-the-clock. An analysis of all of the solid studies on the topic -- 69 to be exact -- found that children whose mothers return to work before the child turns 3 are no more likely to have academic or behavioral problems compared with kids whose mothers stayed at home. […]

The analysis, of research conducted between 1960 and 2010, suggests some kids are better off if mom does work. Children from single-parent or low-income families whose mothers worked had better academic and intelligence scores and fewer behavioral problems compared with similar children whose mothers did not work. This is due to the better economic environment these children experience and because the mothers became positive role models for their children, the authors said.

Moreover, the study suggests that children of middle-class and upper-class families with two working parents were slightly more likely to experience decreases in achievement later on in childhood. And these children had a slight increase in behavioral problems if the mother went back to work full-time during the first year of the child's life. […]”

To read the full article click here. To download a free copy of the research report, click here. To learn more about Macalester College, visit their website. To learn more about the University of California-Irvine, visit their website.

Research Reports

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

1. 2010 Portrait of Women & Girls in the Washington Metropolitan Area

Washington Area Women’s Foundation, Urban Institute, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Trinity University, and the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital
October 2010

“Since [2003], Portrait Project has served as an invaluable source of information for policymakers, community leaders, funders, and others in addressing the varied needs of women and girls in our region. […] In 2003, the region was in the midst of a housing and economic boom. Fast forward to 2010, and many in the region are struggling to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, with its very high rates of unemployment and foreclosure. […M]uch remains the same. Many of the region’s divisions are as pronounced as ever, with disproportionate effects on women and girls, and communities of color. If anything, these divisions could get worse, as the effects of the recession continue to reverberate in the lives of women and girls well beyond the time when economists declare the recovery complete. Portrait Project 2010 begins to paint a portrait of the status of women and girls in our region today so we can take action tomorrow.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, visit their website. To learn more about the Urban Institute, visit their website. To learn more about the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, visit their website. To learn more about Trinity University, visit their website. To learn more about the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, visit their website.

2. Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves,” But Could Use Some Help: Fatherhood Policy and the Well-Being of Low-Income Mothers and Children”

Joy Moses, Jacquelyn Boggess, and Jill Groblewski
Center for American Progress
October 2010

“[T]his paper first reviews the history of incorporating fathers into social services policy. We then step back to examine the policy debates about how to best fashion responsible fatherhood programs to meet the needs of today’s low-income mothers. We conclude by examining ways in which includ­ing men in social services could benefit low-income women, with specific policy recommendations. This paper focuses on services for men, but we stress throughout that the needs of women must remain vitally important, such that fatherhood programs shouldn’t work to the disadvantage of women. Rather, these policies must strive to increase their economic stability, their physical security, and real-life options for families. Our aim is to identify policies and practices that will achieve greater economic and social justice for all members of low-income communities.”

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

3. The Elder Care Study: Everyday Realities and Wishes for Change

Kerstin Aumann, Ellen Galinsky, Kelly Sakai, Melissa Brown, and James T. Bond
The Families and Work Institute
October 2010

“[…] In [the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce (NSCW)], we found that 42% of employed Americans (nearly 54.6 million employees) have provided elder care in the past five years. Forty-two percent! That’s almost one in two of us. This is all the more striking because the NSCW uses a very strict definition of elder care. We ask: “Within the past five years, have you provided special attention or care for a relative or in-law 65 years old or older—helping with things that were difficult or impossible for them to do themselves?” […] Now that almost half of us have experienced elder care, what have we learned? What are the everyday experiences that worker family caregivers have in providing this care with their other family members, with the medical system and with their employers? What are their wishes for change in each of these areas? And, most importantly, what are their wishes for themselves as they age? These are the questions addressed in The Elder Care Study.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Families and Work Institute, visit their website.

4. Sustaining Pathways to Diversity: The New Paradigm of LGBT Inclusion: A Recommended Resource for the Legal Workplace

Brandon Fitzgerald and Veta T. Richardson, Minority Corporate Counsel Association
Arin Reeves, Athens Group
October 2010

“In the years following [Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s] 2003 report Perspectives from the Invisible Bar: Gay & Lesbian Attorneys in the Profession, LGBT employees, including attorneys in law firms, have enjoyed slow but steadily increasing equality at work and in the community. Many law firms and other private-sector businesses have led the way in providing protections against employment discrimination based upon sexual orientation, ensuring that benefits include LGBT employees and their families, and supporting civil rights for LGBT people generally. [The] findings in [the 2010] research report show that, although many LGBT attorneys feel that their law firms have improved considerably by integrating issues that impact them into the firms’ overall diversity and inclusion efforts and programs, LGBT attorneys still experience a number of unique challenges. […] This report highlights the steps that law firms must take in order to build workplaces that are fully inclusive and committed to equality for their LGBT attorneys.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, visit their website. To learn more about the Athens Group, visit their website.

5. The Global Gender Gap Report: 2010

Ricardo Hausmann, Harvard University
Laura D. Tyson, University of California, Berkeley
Saadia Zahidi, World Economic Forum
October 2010

“The Global Gender Gap Index was created with the specific purpose of being comparable across time. The 2010 Report aggregates five years of data and seeks to reveal country progress in a transparent manner. By doing this, we hope this Report will serve as a call to action to the international community to pool its knowledge and resources and to leverage the current unique window of opportunity so that faster progress can be achieved. Every moment that we wait entails colossal losses to the global
society and economy.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about Harvard University, visit their website. To learn more about the University of California – Berkeley, visit their website. To learn more about the World Economic Forum, visit their website.

6. Women-Owned Businesses in the 21st Century

Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
October 2010

“Women-owned businesses make a significant contribution to the U.S. economy and have grown in number and size over the past two decades. Yet, women-owned businesses still have a long way to go to achieve parity with men-owned firms. This report, prepared by the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce at the request of the White House Council on Women and Girls […], analyzes the changing role of women-owned businesses in the U.S. economy. The report explores differences between women-owned and men-owned businesses and investigates how the characteristics, choices, and constraints of female business owners relate to these differences.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Economics and Statistics Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, visit their website.

7. Jobs and Economic Security for America’s Women

National Economic Council
October 2010

“This report lays out the economic landscape facing women today and details some of the many ways the [Obama] Administration is committed to making sure the government is working for all Americans and especially American women.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the National Economic Council, visit their website.

8. Mothers Behind Bars: A state-by-state report card and analysis of federal policies on conditions of confinement for pregnant and parenting women and the effect on their children

Rebecca Project for Human Rights
National Women’s Law Center
October 2010

“There are now more women behind bars than at any other point in U.S. history. Women have borne a disproportionate burden of the war on drugs, resulting in a monumental increase of women who are facing incarceration for the first time, overwhelmingly for non-violent offenses. This rampant incarceration has a devastating impact on families. Most of these women, unseen and largely forgotten, are mothers. Unfortunately, pregnant women, incarcerated women and their children are subject to federal and state correctional policies that fail to recognize their distinct needs or honor their families.
The Rebecca Project and the National Women’s Law Center collaborated on this Report Card, which analyzes federal and state policies on prenatal care, shackling, and alternative sentencing programs and grades states on whether their policies help or harm incarcerated women in these key areas. This effort is intended to help advocates assess their own state’s policies affecting these significant phases of pregnancy, labor and delivery, and parenting.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, visit their website. To learn more about the National Women’s Law Center, visit their website.

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