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. "Women's Equality Yet to Be Fully Realized"
By Representative Carolyn Maloney
August 26, 2011
Citing: "Growing Job Gap Between Men and Women: Monthly Number of Women and Men on Payrolls (Seasonally Adjusted), January 2007-2011" by Heidi Hartmann, Ph. D. and Jeffrey Hayes, Ph.D., Institute for Women's Policy Research
"Today we acknowledge a monumental step on the historic and ongoing path toward women's equality. Ninety-one years ago the states ratified the 19th Amendment, securing women the right to vote, and we celebrate Women's Equality Day to commemorate this victory. [...] Sadly, despite many significant triumphs for women over the years, there are poignant examples that prove America has still not fully realized the principle of equality between men and women. [...]
These are challenging times for all Americans, but there are several indicators that suggest that women have been disproportionately burdened by the recession. It is well-documented that women earn significantly less money than men in the workplace -- working women make about $0.78 for every $1 a man earns. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, last month men gained 136,000 jobs while women lost 19,000.
As the Congressional "supercommittee" formed as part of the debt limit deal composes its deficit reduction proposals, it is important that they carefully consider how potential spending cuts may harm vulnerable women and families. [...] As it stands now, the equal rights of women are subject to interpretation of law. That is a risk our mothers, sisters and daughters cannot afford. Women deserve the same permanent rights and explicit protections given men in the Constitution.
2. "Discouraging News on Unintended Pregnancies"
By Jennifer LaRue Huget
The Checkup, a Washington Post blog
August 24, 2011
Citing: Unintended Pregnancies in the United States: Incidence and Disparities, 2006 by Lawrence B. Finer and Mia R. Zolna, Guttmacher Institute
"[...] Researchers at the Guttmacher Institute in New York City pooled data about pregnancy intentions, live births and abortions to establish rates of unintended pregnancies. The paper, published today in the journal Contraception, found that of the 6.7 million pregnancies in 2006, almost half (49 percent) were unintended.
[...] The report also highlighted disparities among socioeconomic groups. The unintended pregnancy rate among poor women ages 15 to 44 has risen from 88 per 1,000 women in 1994 to 132 per 1,000 women in 2006 - a 50-percent increase. At the same time, higher-income women's unintended pregnancy rate dropped from 34 per 1,000 women in 1994 to 24 per 1,000 in 2006. [All told,] the unintended pregnancy rate about poor women was five times that of higher-income women and their rate of unintended birth six times as high.
Unintended pregnancy rates were also particularly high for women who were 18 to 24 years old and those who were cohabiting.
The report does offer a couple of bright notes: The unintended pregnancy rate for 15- to 17-year-olds actually decreased, and the percentage of unintended pregnancies ending in abortion among all women decreased from 47 percent in 2001 to 43 percent in 2006. [...]"
3. "Welfare Reform Leaving More in Poverty"
By Janelle Ross
August 23, 2011
Citing: What Role is Welfare Playing in this Period of High Unemployment? by Sheila Zedlewski and Pamela Loprest with Erika Huber, Urban Institute
"Fifteen years after President Clinton joined with congressional Republicans and affixed his signature to a law that "ended welfare as we know it" [...] the social safety net is failing to keep pace with the needs of struggling Americans, many experts say.
"Today, everybody is expected to work," said Sheila Zedlewski, an economist at the Urban Institute and co-author of an institute study released last week that examines the consequences of welfare reform during the recession. "The problem is finding a job is incredibly hard."
[...] The share of people who both live in poverty with no reported income and lack welfare assistance has changed significantly since welfare reform. In 1996, 1 in 8 single mothers fit this profile, according to Zedlweski. By 2008, the most recent year for which this data is available, that figure had climbed to 1 in 5, she said.
In 1997, the first year the reforms took effect in most states, Georgia used 73 percent of its federal welfare block grant to provide cash aid to poor families, according to data the state reported to the federal government. By 2009, the most recent year for which complete data is available, Georgia spent just 11 percent of its block grant on cash aid. Spending in Florida, Texas and Arizona plunged by similar margins.
[...] The impact of these cuts is easy to discern: Far fewer poor families are being given cash assistance. In 2009, Georgia and Texas each provided cash aid to less than 10 percent of poor families, according to the Urban Institute report."
4. "Black Women Lost More Jobs during the Recovery"
By Eliza Ronalds-Hannon
Crain's Business New York
August 16, 2011
Citing: Employment Crisis Worsens for Black Women During the Recovery by the National Women's Law Center
"While the recession hit black men harder than any other group, the economic recovery has shifted that impact to their female counterparts, according to a recent report by the National Women's Law Center [...].
Between June 2009 and June 2011, black men gained 127,000 jobs while black women lost more than twice that number, 258,000 [...]. That means that black women have now lost more total jobs than have black men since the recession began in December 2007.
[...But] the report suggests that women are more critical to the economic health of the black population. "Black women are a majority [53.4%] of the black workforce, head a majority [52.8%] of black families with children, and were more economically vulnerable even before the recession started," according to the report.
[...] In fact, women of all races are suffering disproportionately during the weak recovery, as public sector jobs shrink under the chokehold of tightened budgets. Women hold a high percentage of those jobs, largely because local governments were the first places to implement fair employment practices, said Jeff Hayes, senior research associate at the Institute for Women's Policy Research."
5. "Latina Lesbians Face Discrimination: Study"
By Esther Cepeda
August 7, 2011
Citing: Latina Portrait: Latina Queer Women in Chicago by Nicole Perez and Lourdes Torres, Amigas Latinas and Mujeres: Latinas En Acción
"[...] Through a joint project between Mujeres Latinas en Acción, a Latina advocacy organization, and Amigas Latinas, a support agency for lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning Latinas, [Latina Portrait: Latina Queer Women in Chicago], based on a sample of 300 women...begins to tell us how these women see themselves. [...].
17 percent agreed that they are discriminated against because of their race/ethnicity in places specializing in services for predominantly Caucasian LGBT communities. Nine percent of the respondents indicated that racism was currently one of the greatest sources of stress in their lives.
[...] 25 percent [of Latinas surveyed] agreed that they feel discriminated against because of their sexual orientation in places servicing the Hispanic community...
[...] In terms of domestic violence, 49 percent reported that a female partner had tried to keep them from contact with family and friends. Forty-three percent of Latina LBTQ women reported having been pushed or hit by a partner. And 31 percent stated that a female partner had threatened to kill them.
Women not only stated that they were victims of female-on-female violence, but also admitted that they, too, had perpetuated violence. Forty-five percent said they had punched or hit a female partner and 23 percent had threatened to kill a past or current partner."
To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about Mujeres Latinas en Acción, visit their website. To learn more about Amigas Latinas, visit their website.
Research Reports ____________________________
Each selection includes a short excerpt from the research and a link to the report:
1. The Union Advantage in Wireline Telecommunications for African-Americans, Hispanics, and Women
Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. and Jeffrey Hayes, Ph.D.
Institute for Women's Policy Research
"Jobs in the wired telecommunications industry traditionally provide excellent opportunities to African-American, Hispanic, and women nonsupervisory workers. These jobs offer nonsupervisory workers higher earnings, more full-time work schedules, and greater labor union representation compared to all nonsupervisory positions in the U.S. economy. Wired telecommunications jobs are also more likely to be held by black workers
[...] Not only are nonsupervisory workers in wired telecommunications more likely to be union members or covered by a union contract, union representation increases earnings for nonsupervisory workers substantially. [...] In 2009, the average hourly wage for production and nonsupervisory workers was $18.63 or $745 for a 40 hour work week [...] Median earnings in wired telecommunications are above average overall and union workers are doing much better."
2. Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation
David Beede, Tiffany Julian, David Langdon, George McKittrick, Beethika Khan, and Mark Doms
U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration
"Our science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce is crucial to America's innovative capacity and global competitiveness. Yet women are vastly underrepresented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and half of the college-educated workforce. [...] There are many possible factors contributing to the discrepancy of women and men in STEM jobs, including: a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and less family-friendly flexibility in the STEM fields. Regardless of the causes, the findings of this report provide evidence of a need to encourage and support women in STEM."
3. Improving Job Quality: Direct Care Workers in the U.S.
Eileen Appelbaum and Carrie Leana
Center for Economic and Policy Research
"Demand for care and support in England and Wales is projected to rise sharply in the coming decades just as it is in America. Scenario work by the [UK] Department of Health suggests that an ageing population and medical advances will expand the care workforce in England to 2.6 million people by 2025 - the equivalent of 3.1 million jobs, of which a third will be personal assistant or directly employed care worker roles. [...] These shifting patterns of growth across different sectors of the economy must be reflected in the industrial strategies of both nations as our governments search out ways of kickstarting an economic recovery. And that means focusing on what can be termed 'low productivity' sectors such as health and social care, as much as high technology and green jobs [...].
Drawing on American research, this essay argues that an industrial strategy for the health and social care sector will need concrete policies that raise wages, improve working conditions, provide opportunities for career mobility, as well as initiatives to increase the dignity of the paraprofessional health care workers who provide hands-on, non-medical care services - personal or home care aides, home health aides, and certified nursing assistants and orderlies. These changes are essential for maintaining a vibrant middle class."
4. Reexamining the Impact of Family Planning Programs on U.S. Fertility: Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X
Martha J. Bailey
National Bureau of Economic Research (Working Paper)
"Almost 50 years after domestic U.S. family planning programs began, their effects on childbearing remain controversial. Using the county-level roll-out of these programs from 1964 to 1973, this paper reevaluates their shorter- and longer-term effects on U.S. fertility rates. [This report] finds that the introduction of family planning is associated with significant and persistent reductions in fertility driven both by falling completed childbearing and childbearing delay. Although federally-funded family planning accounted for a small portion of the post-baby boom U.S. fertility decline, the estimates imply that they reduced childbearing among poor women by 21 to 29 percent."
5. Unequal Aid: Discriminatory Treatment of Gay and Transgender Applicants and Families Headed by Same-Sex Couples in the Higher Education Financial Aid Process
Center for American Progress
"[...] In addition to the federal government, nearly all financial aid providers rely on the federal government's application for financial aid to determine a student's eligibility for financial assistance. Due to federal and state laws, however, this application cannot fully recognize families headed by a same-sex couple and often renders them invisible. The application may discriminate against children with same-sex parents by discounting one or both parents as a part of that child's application. Gay applicants themselves may not be able to include their spouses, children, or other dependents as part of their application. [...] Because of the various impediments facing these applicants, the federal financial aid process will often deflate or inflate applicants' financial need and hence their total financial aid package based on factors completely irrelevant to financial need. And since most other financial aid depends on the application for federal aid, these distortions will trickle down throughout the entire financial aid application process, even outside of the federal government's support."