Informing policy. Inspiring change. Improving lives.
1200 18th Street NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20036
202 785-5100
iwpr@iwpr.org

September/October 2010

RNR Logo

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

 

September/October 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. “Gender Pay Gap Persists for Women”
2. “For Needy Families, A Needy Program”
3. "Housing Crisis Lingers in Post-Katrina New Orleans"
4. "Report: Obesity Hurts Your Wallet and Your Health"
5. "Women Earning More Doctoral Degrees Than Men in U.S."

Research Reports
1. Separate and Not Equal? Gender Segregation in the Labor Market and the Gender Wage Gap
2. The Institute for Women's Policy Research and Labor Resource Center for Paid Family and Medical Leave Simulation Model
3. Trends in Maternal Mortality, 1990 to 2008
4. Older Americans Working More, Retiring Less
5. Cutting Child Care Out from Under Californians
6. Statistical Evidence on the Gender Gap in Law Firm Partner Compensation
7. Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Programs: Interviews with Field Leaders
8. Social Security Keeps 20 Million Americans Out of Poverty: A State-by-State Analysis

Research Making News

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

1. “Gender Pay Gap Persists for Women”

By Ned Smith
Business News Daily
September 20, 2010

Citing: “The Gender Wage Gap: 2009” by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research

“Women aren’t doing better in the workplace, according to newly released data. A white woman who works full time year-round, only makes 75 cents for each dollar earned by a white man, a fact sheet released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and based on data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census reported.            

It’s even worse if you’re a woman of color. African-American women only make 62 cents for every dollar earned by a white man, the data sheet showed. And Hispanic/Latina women only earn 53 cents. [...]

Both sexes were affected by the recession, according to the Bureau of the Census. Fewer women — 2.4 million— and fewer men — 6.9 million — had full-time year-round jobs in 2009 than in 2007 when the recession began. The Bureau also reported that the United States added 360,000 female-headed households in 2009, compared to 2008.

Families are more dependent than ever on the earnings of women, especially in communities of color,” said Dr. Robert Drago, the IWPR’s research director.

Significantly, the IWPR said that closing the gender wage gap is not a zero-sum game – gains for one gender do not require losses for the other. For the gender wage gap to close, women’s real wages must rise faster than men’s, the IWPR said, but, as the economy begins to grow, real wages should rise for both men and women.”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free copy of the fact sheet, click here. To learn more about the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, visit our website.

2. “For Needy Families, A Needy Program”

By Nancy Folbre
New York Times
September 20, 2010

Citing: Women in Poverty During the Great Recession by Jane M. Henrici, Ph.D., Allison Suppan Helmuth, Frances Zlotnick, and Jeff Hayes, Ph.D., Institute for Women’s Policy Research

“Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, our nation’s primary cash-welfare program for families with children, would more accurately be named Inadequate Assistance for Needy Families.

The latest Census Bureau estimates show that an additional 2.1 million children officially entered poverty between 2007 and 2009, as the poverty rate among children rose to 20.7 percent from 18 percent.

This comes as no surprise, given increases in unemployment over these years, from 4.6 percent in January 2007 to 10 percent by December 2009 (declining only slightly to 9.6 percent in August 2010).

[…M] any parents seeking employment can’t find jobs, and those who rely on public assistance are especially vulnerable. About one-third of parents, and […] one-quarter of children in families receiving aid from this program, suffer from a chronic health problem or disability. […]

The needy-families program was not designed to deal with the effects of a major recession. […] As Elizabeth Lower-Basch of the Center for Law and Social Policy points out, relatively few low-wage workers qualify for unemployment benefits, and aid for needy families is not taking up the slack. […]

Mothers are even less likely than children to receive assistance. According to […] the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, only about 12 percent of impoverished adult women with dependent children reported receiving cash assistance from the program in 2008, with even lower rates typical in most states in the South. […]

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided an emergency fund intended to bolster aid for needy families, but this fund is scheduled to expire this month. The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program as a whole is also up for reauthorization this year. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free copy of the research report, click here. To learn more about the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, visit our website.

3. “Housing Crisis Lingers in Post-Katrina New Orleans”

By Michelle Chen
Colorlines
August 30, 2010

Citing: “Women in New Orleans: Race, Poverty, and Hurricane Katrina” by Allison Suppan Helmuth and Jane M. Henrici, Ph.D. and Mounting Losses: Women and Public Housing after Hurricane Katrina” by Jane M. Henrici, Ph.D., Allison Suppan Helmuth, and Rhea Fernandes, Institute for Women’s Policy Research

“Though the storm has long since passed, women and children in New Orleans are still without shelter. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, while the city’s recovery hobbles forward after Hurricane Katrina’s punishing blows, a deep affordable housing crisis continues to hold back impoverished mothers. […]

Housing authorities have blasted through the city’s four major public housing projects to make way for “mixed-income” units. The plan, reflecting a longstanding nationwide disinvestment in public housing, is purportedly to deconcentrate poverty in order to revitalize neighborhoods. Former residents, however, have witnessed more destruction than revitalization. […]

Take B. W. Cooper, which once contained 1,550 units, and where displaced residents rallied in 2007 to defend their homes from demolition. They’re still in limbo after the elimination of most of the original apartments as part of a market-oriented redevelopment plan. […]

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center also testified before Congress in July about rampant housing discrimination against families of color across the Gulf region.

Now that the post-Katrina landscape has become a fresh slate for pro-market housing reforms, New Orleans may soon forget that before the storm, places like B. W. Cooper weren’t just urban blights but real homes, where mothers struggled mightily to hold their communities intact—until Washington washed them away.”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free copy of the fact sheet “Women and Public Housing after Hurricane Katrina,” click here. To download a free copy of the fact sheet “Race, Poverty, and Hurricane Katrina,” click here. To learn more about the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, visit our website.

4. “Report: Obesity hurts your wallet and your health”

By Lauran Neergaard
Washington Post
September 21, 2010

Citing: A Heavy Burden: The Individual Costs of Being Overweight and Obese in the United States by Avi Dor, Ph.D., Christine Ferguson, J.D., Casey Langwith, B.A., and Ellen Tan, M.Sc., of the George Washington University Center for Health Policy Research

“Obesity puts a drag on the wallet as well as health, especially for women.

Doctors have long known that medical bills are higher for the obese, but that's only a portion of the real-life costs.

George Washington University researchers added in things like employee sick days, lost productivity, even the need for extra gasoline - and found the annual cost of being obese is $4,879 for a woman and $2,646 for a man. […]

Why the difference between the sexes? Studies suggest larger women earn less than skinnier women, while wages don't differ when men pack on the pounds. That was a big surprise, said study co-author and health policy professor Christine Ferguson.

Researchers had expected everybody's wages to suffer with obesity, but "this indicates you're not that disadvantaged as a guy, from a wage perspective," said Ferguson, who plans to study why.

[…] Two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, and childhood obesity has tripled in the past three decades. Nearly 18 percent of adolescents now are obese, facing a future of diabetes, heart disease and other ailments.

Looking at the price tag may help policymakers weigh the value of spending to prevent and fight obesity, said Schulman […]

A major study […] found medical spending averages $1,400 more a year for the obese than normal-weight people. Tuesday's report added mostly work-related costs - things like sick days and disability claims - related to those health problems. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free copy of the research report, click here. To learn more about the George Washington University Center for Health Policy Research, visit their website.

5. “Women Earning More Doctoral Degrees Than Men in the U.S.”

By Rebecca Appel, International Herald Tribune
New York Times
September 19, 2010

Citing: Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 1999 to 2009 by Nathan E. Bell, Council of Graduate Schools

For the first time, women have earned the majority of doctoral degrees awarded in the United States, according to the annual survey of U.S. graduate enrollment and degrees conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools.

In the 2008-9 academic year, 50.4 percent of doctoral degrees were awarded to women, a finding that the survey said reflected larger trends in higher education. Over the past 10 years, the annual rate of increase for doctoral and master’s degrees awarded to women has been consistently greater than that for men. […]

The majority is not consistent across all doctoral disciplines: women earned only 22 percent of degrees in engineering, and only 27 percent of math and computer science doctorates. However, women represented 60 percent in the social and behavioral sciences, 67 percent in education, and a full 70 percent of doctoral recipients in the health sciences — the field which also showed the greatest one-year increase in applications overall. It is also the first year in which women earned the majority of doctoral degrees in the biological and agricultural sciences.

At the same time, the rate of increase in graduate enrollment was greater for men (5.2 percent) than for women (4.4 percent), breaking a long-term trend. But those numbers are not a harbinger of a larger trend, said Nathan Bell, director of research and policy analysis at the council. They indicate simply that “men are not abandoning graduate education,” he said.

The economy likely played a role in last years’ results, Mr. Bell said, with the recession having a particularly significant impact on men’s decision to pursue graduate education. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free copy of the research report, click here. To learn more about the Council of Graduate Schools, visit their website.

Research Reports

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

1. Separate and Not Equal? Gender Segregation in the Labor Market and the Gender Wage Gap

Ariane Hegewisch, Hannah Liepmann, Jeffrey Hayes, and Heidi Hartmann
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
September 2010

“Occupational gender segregation is a strong feature of the US labor market. While some occupations have become increasingly integrated over time, others remain highly dominated by either men or women. Our analysis of trends in overall gender segregation shows that, after a considerable move towards more integrated occupations in the 1970s and 1980s, progress has completely stalled since the mid 1990s. Occupational segregation is a concern to policy makers for two reasons: it is inefficient economically, preventing able people from moving into occupations where they could perform well and that would satisfy them more than the ones open to them. And occupational segregation is a major cause for the persistent wage gap. Our analysis confirms that average earnings tend to be lower the higher the percentage of female workers in an occupation, and that this relationship is strongest for the most highly skilled occupations, such as medicine or law. Yet this is also a strong feature of jobs requiring little formal education and experience, increasing the likelihood of very low earnings for women working in female-dominated, low-skilled occupations such as childcare.”

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

2. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research and Labor Resource Center Paid Family and Medical Leave Simulation Model

Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Randy Albelda and Alan Clayton-Matthews, Labor Resource Center, University of Massachusetts-Boston
August 2010

“In developing a simulation model to estimate the cost of paid family and medical leave programs in a given state, we rely on data documenting known leave-taking behavior. Where this is not possible, we provide a set of reasonable assumptions about unknown aspects of behavior in the presence of a paid leave program. To obtain the estimates about known leave-taking behavior, we use the Department of Labor’s Family and Medical Leave 2000 Survey of Employees (hereinafter referred to as the DOL survey) to estimate behavioral models of leave-taking conditional on the demographic characteristics of individuals, combined with the Census Bureau’s March Annual Demographic sample of the Current Population Survey (hereinafter referred to as the CPS) to capture the demographic characteristics of individuals in individual states.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, visit our website. To learn more about the Labor Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, visit their website.

3. Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2008

World Health Organization
September 2010

“Five years remain until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) adopted at the 2000 Millennium Summit. There are two targets for assessing progress in improving maternal health (MDG 5): reducing the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by three quarters between 1990 and 2015, and achieving universal access to reproductive health by 2015. Closer examination of maternal mortality levels is needed to inform planning of reproductive health programmes, to guide advocacy efforts and research at the national and international levels, and to inform decision-making for the achievement of MDG 5. […] The modest and encouraging progress in reducing maternal mortality is likely due to increased attention to developing and implementing policies and strategies targeting increased access to effective interventions. Such efforts need to be expanded and intensified, to accelerate progress towards reducing the still very wide disparities between developing and developed worlds.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the World Health Organization, visit their website.

4. Older Americans Working More, Retiring Less

Anne Shattuck
The Carsey Institute
September 2010

“[…] This brief provides a portrait of recent trends in labor force participation among Americans age 65 and older by gender, education level, and marital status. It also considers differences by rural or urban residence. In this brief, individuals are considered to be in the labor force or “working” if they are currently working for pay, full-time or part-time, or if they are unemployed and looking for work. The unemployed comprise only a small fraction of this group—less than 8 percent of workers over 65 in 2009. […]”

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

5. Cutting Child Care Out from Under Californians

Catherine Albiston, M.A., J.D., Ph.D., Melissa A. Rodgers, J.D., and Shira Wakschlag
Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security
September 2010

“The California budget battle is continuing with no clear end in sight. To help patch a nearly $20 billion shortfall in California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed to cut $1.2 billion in child care funds, a move that would eliminate most subsidized child care for low-income families. He also proposed to terminate California’s welfare program, CalWORKs, which serves 1.4 million people, 1.1 million of whom are children.
Included in the CalWORKs cuts are child care subsidies for families receiving or successfully transitioned off welfare. In total, 240,000 children would lose access to subsidized child care. While the Legislature's Joint Budget Conference Committee rejected these child care cuts, the continued uncertainty about child care funding undermines the availability and sustainability of child care as districts are forced to close their programs because the state budget remains unresolved. This paper outlines the impact these child care cuts would have on working parents, children, and the state's economy.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security, visit their website.

6. Statistical Evidence on the Gender Gap in Law Firm Partner Compensation

Marina Angel, Eun-Young Whang,
Rajiv D. Banker, and Joseph Lopez
September 2010

“This study compiled the largest research sample on the gender gap in compensation at the 200 largest law firms by combining two large databases to examine why women partners are compensated less: because they are less productive than men partners or because they are women. […] Our statistical analysis concludes that women partners are compensated less than men on average at the Am Law 200 firms regardless of whether they are equity partners or non-equity partners. This gender disparity cannot be explained by lower productivity of women partners. It is more appropriately attributed to discriminatory practices under both disparate treatment and disparate impact analyses.”

To download a free PDF of this report, click here.

7. Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Programs: Interviews with Field Leaders

Maureen Conway, Allison Gerber, and Matt Helmer
The Workforce Strategies Initiative, Aspen Institute
September 2010

“[…] For the research presented in this paper, we interviewed 25 leaders of promising and innovative pre-apprenticeship programs across the country to explore factors that impact how programs are designed and to identify policies that constrain and support their efforts. […] If implemented, these supports could help the pre-apprenticeship model in the U.S. become stronger and more viable. As a result, a ready pipeline of skilled and diverse workers would be established for the construction sector to tap into, and more career and high-wage opportunities would be created for low-income adults, minorities and women.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Workforce Strategies Initiative of The Aspen Institute, visit their website.

8. Social Security Keeps 20 Million Americans Out of Poverty: A State-by-State Analysis

Paul N. Van de Water and Arloc Sherman
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
August 2010

“Social Security benefits play a vital role in reducing poverty. Without Social Security, according to the latest available Census data (for 2008), 19.8 million more Americans would be poor. Although most of those kept out of poverty by Social Security are elderly, nearly a third are under age 65, including 1.1 million children. Depending on their design, reductions in Social Security benefits could significantly increase poverty, particularly among the elderly.”

To download a free PDF of this research briefing, click here. To learn more about the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, visit their website.

[ top ]

Go to Home Page