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September 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.

September 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. “Study:  Number of Women Working in TV Stays Steady”
2. “Few Gender Differences in Recession”
3. “The Case for Paid Family Leave”

Research Reports
1. “Health Care Reform: What Women Need”
2. Health Coverage and Expenses: Impact on Older Women’s Economic Well-Being
3. Improving Quality and Value in the U.S. Healthcare System
4. Hurricane Katrina:  Barriers to Mental Health Services for Children Persist

Research Making News

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

1. “Study:  Number of Women Working in TV Stays Steady”

By Amy Kaufman
The Wrap
August 24, 2009

Citing:  Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D., and the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

The number of women working on broadcast network programs declined to 25 percent during the 2008-09 primetime season, according to a study released today by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

[…] The slight decline isn't cause for worry, said San Diego State University's Dr. Martha Lauzen, who led the study […].  ‘What we really have been seeing in television overall is very small incremental growth, so one percentage point is steady,’ she told TheWrap. […].

The number of writers has increased from 23 percent the season prior, but is less than the recent historical high in 2006-07, when it stood at 35 percent.

[…] The study looked at over 2,000 individuals working behind-the-scenes on a randomly selected episode of every genre of show on ABC, CBS, CW, Fox and NBC.

‘It is interesting that reality programming, sitcoms and dramas all stayed the same,’ Lauzen said. ‘With reality, a new genre, we think it's going to do things differently or be more progressive, but the business structure and economics overwhelm what might be the inclination to be progressive.’

Of those networks, the most women worked at ABC (30 percent), followed by CBS (26 percent). Fox employs the fewest number of women—only 19 percent. […]”

To read the full article, click here.  The executive summary for the 2008-09 prime-time season is not yet available electronically.  Click here to access the findings for the 2007-08 season or visit the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film website to learn more.

2. “Few Gender Differences in Recession”

By Dana Mattioli
Wall Street Journal
August 18, 2009

Citing:  High Potential Women and Men During Economic Crisis, a Catalyst report by Nancy m. Carter, Ph.D., and Christine Silva.

“Women with M.B.A.s have fared during the recession as well as their male counterparts, according to a new study by New York nonprofit research group Catalyst.

The study, scheduled to be released Tuesday, analyzed data from 873 M.B.A.s who graduated between 1996 and 2007 from top business schools in Asia, Canada, Europe and the U.S. The respondents were surveyed about their experiences between November 2007 and June 2009, as the economic downturn intensified.

[…] The study, being published in the Harvard Business Review, found men and women were roughly equally likely to be promoted or laid off. Among men, 36% were promoted and 10% lost jobs; among women, 31% were promoted and 12% lost jobs. The authors said the differences weren't statistically significant. […]

The findings are consistent with other studies and government statistics. The Labor Department says 5.4% of men and 5.2% of women age 25 and older with college degrees were unemployed in July. At the start of the recession, unemployment among college-educated women was higher than for men, but as the slump wore on, men saw higher unemployment. […].

[…] In some instances, female M.B.A.s are having a harder time than men, according to the Catalyst study. In Europe, 44% of male respondents have been promoted compared with 26% of women. Eleanor Tabi Haller-Jorden, general manager of Catalyst Europe AG, said the disparity ‘doesn't seem to be related to the crisis but magnifies an ongoing issue in Europe—the challenge of recruitment, retention and development of women.’

Catalyst found women fared less well near the top of organizations. The study found 19% of women classified as executives had lost jobs, compared with 6% of male executives. The results reflect small samples—27 women and 131 men, which Catalyst says reflects the few women in those posts. ‘Women and men are lockstep except at the top,’ says Ilene H. Lang, Catalyst's president and CEO. ‘Our research has shown for a long time that women hold their own in the middle levels, it's the senior levels where there's a drop-off.’

To read the full article, click here.  To download a free copy of the executive summary or learn more about the Catalyst study and findings, click here.

3. “The Case for Paid Family Leave: Why the United States Should Follow Australia’s Lead”

By Lew Daly
Newsweek Web Exclusive
August 3, 2009

Citing:  The Work, Family, and Equity Index: How Does the United States Measure Up?, by Jody Heymann, Alison Earle, and Jeffrey Hayes.

“Only two countries in the advanced world provide no guarantee for paid leave from work to care for a newborn child. Last spring one of the two, Australia, gave up that dubious distinction by establishing paid family leave starting in 2011. I wasn't surprised when this didn't make the news here in the United States—we're now the only wealthy country without such a policy.

[…] When Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was elected from the Labor Party in 2007 (Australian Labor is like our liberal Democrats), he campaigned on the promise of defending families. But he wasn't simply campaigning for more social benefits from government: instead, he challenged the opposing Liberal Party (Australia's version of our Republicans) on their own terrain: the culture war. He described their culture war, which like ours has long been focused on "family values," as a complete fraud. The more the conservatives talked about family, Rudd forcefully declared, the less they did to protect the family from what is truly threatening its vitality and cohesion, namely, "corrosive" market forces and an unbalanced economic power structure extracting more and more labor from families in return for lower wages and benefits and less security. So in some sense Rudd ran against the conservatives from the right, as the protector of families against destructive forces. But he did so in the terms of government responsibility, the traditional standpoint of the left. If the United States is to follow Australia out of the family-policy void, this kind of left-right dynamic may be important in a similar way.

While the United States has been a leader on equal opportunity in the work place, a 2007 McGill University study found that we are far behind in terms of supporting parents and balancing work and family. In fact, says author Jody Heymann, America ranks "among the worst." In the study of 173 countries, we stood with Liberia, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea as the only countries providing no paid maternity leave. Of the 169 countries that guarantee paid maternity leave, 98 of them provide 14 or more weeks. Among wealthy countries—except ours—parents are entitled to as much as 47 weeks of paid family leave. […].

To read the full web exclusive, click here.  To download a copy of the McGill University study, click here.

Research Reports

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

1. “Health Care Reform: What Women Need”

By the National Partnership for Women and Families
August 2009

“Health care is central to the well-being of women and families. It is a key determinant of their quality of life, their economic security, and their ability to thrive and prosper. Women are often the primary health care decision-makers for their families […].  Unfortunately, in many—and perhaps most—ways, our health care system is failing women. They experience high costs, inadequate coverage, and poor quality care. […]. They find a health care system incapable of providing adequate coordination or quality care, and as a result, women and their families bear the enormous physical, emotional and financial costs of our health care crisis. […]”

To download a free PDF of the full issue brief, click here.  To learn more about the National Partnership for Women and Families, visit their website.

2. Health Coverage and Expenses: Impact on Older Women’s Economic Well-Being

By Alina Salganicoff, Juliette Cubanski, Usha Ranji, and Tricia Neuman
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
August 2009

“The health issues women face over the course of their lives, as well as policies that shape Medicare, Medicaid, and other supplemental coverage can affect retired women’s economic well-being. This study uses a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older in 2002 to explore gender-based differences in health and long-term care use, spending patterns, and the financial burden of health and long-term care out-of pocket health expenses. Women’s health care expenses were higher than men’s; older women paid for a greater share of their total spending out of pocket and they faced a greater financial burden by shouldering these out-of-pocket costs with less income at their disposal. Low-income women, those with Medigap or no supplemental coverage, and white women, who are less likely to qualify for Medicaid which covers long term care, faced the greatest financial burdens associated with health and long-term care costs. The implications of these findings for women in the context of the current health policy landscape are discussed. Controlling health spending and developing options to finance long-term care are key elements of the policy solutions that will need to be developed to preserve and support economic security for millions of retired women in the United States.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here.  To learn more about the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, visit their website.

3. Improving Quality and Value in the U.S. Healthcare System

Brookings Institution
August 2009

“This report reviews the evidence on a range of payment and delivery system reforms designed to improve quality and value. It reaches several conclusions: 1. While there is ongoing debate about the ability of various delivery system reforms to increase value, there are clear attributes of different approaches to reform that are more likely than others to improve health and slow cost growth. […] 2. Interventions that are targeted to specific patient populations and clinical areas typically have a greater impact on quality improvement and cost containment than broader approaches. […] 3. Delivery system reforms are most effective when they are integrated and ensure real accountability from providers and patients to improve results. […] 4. Reforms are needed to transition provider reimbursement away from volume and intensity of services and toward quality and value. […] 5. To be most effective, changes in the delivery system and coverage expansions should be implemented together. […]”

To access a free PDF of the full report, click here.  To learn more about Brookings Institution, visit their website.

4. Hurricane Katrina:  Barriers to Mental Health Services for Children Persist in Greater New Orleans, Although Federal Grants are Helping to Address Them

Government Accountability Office
July 2009

“Stakeholder organizations most frequently identified a lack of mental health providers and sustainability of funding as barriers to providing mental health services to children in the greater New Orleans area; they most frequently identified a lack of transportation, competing family priorities, and concern regarding stigma as barriers to families’ obtaining services for children. Fifteen of the 18 organizations identified a lack of mental health providers—including challenges recruiting and retaining child psychiatrists and psychologists—as a barrier to providing services to children. Thirteen organizations identified sustainability of funding, including difficulty securing reliable funding sources, as a barrier to providing services. A lack of transportation was most frequently identified—by 12 organizations—as a barrier to families’ ability to obtain services for their children. The two second most frequently identified barriers to obtaining services were competing family priorities, such as housing problems and financial concerns, and concern regarding the stigma associated with receiving mental health services.”

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

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