Category Archives: Working Women

State of the Union

Source: Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, Pathways, Special Issue, 2018

From the summary:
The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality is pleased to present its fifth annual report examining the state of the union. In this year’s report, we provide a comprehensive assessment of gender inequality in eleven domains ranging from education to health, employment, earnings, poverty, sexual harassment, networks, and more. The report concludes with a discussion of the most promising sciencebased policies for reducing gender inequality at home and in the labor market.

Articles include:
Gender Identification
Aliya Saperstein
The traditional gender binary just doesn’t work. When respondents of a national survey were asked about their femininity and masculinity, 7 percent considered themselves equally feminine and masculine, and another 4 percent responded in ways that did not “match” their sex at birth (i.e., females who saw themselves as more masculine than feminine, or males who saw themselves as more feminine than masculine).

Erin M. Fahle and Sean F. Reardon
Despite common beliefs to the contrary, male students do not consistently outperform female students in mathematics. It’s only in high school that the male advantage in mathematics surfaces. What’s going on?

Mark Duggan and Valerie Scimeca
For women and men alike, life expectancy has stagnated for the last several years, primarily due to increases in drug poisoning deaths and in the suicide rate. The male-female life expectancy gap, which favors females, fell from 7.6 years in 1970 to 4.8 years in 2010, a reduction of more than one-third.

Melissa S. Kearney and Katharine G. Abraham
After rising steadily for many decades, the overall female employment rate has been falling since 2000. Why has it fallen? Are there straightforward policy fixes that could increase women’s employment?

Emmanuel Saez
When gender differences in labor force participation, fringe benefits, and self-employment income are taken into account, women earn only 57 cents for each dollar earned by men.

H. Luke Shaefer, Marybeth Mattingly, and Kathryn Edin
Are women more likely than men to be in deep poverty, official poverty, and near poverty? Yes, yes, and yes.

Safety Net
Linda M. Burton, Marybeth Mattingly, Juan Pedroza, and Whitney Welsh
Why do women use safety net programs more than men? A hint: It’s not just because they’re more likely to be eligible for them.

Occupational Segregation
Kim A. Weeden, Mary Newhart, and Dafna Gelbgiser
Nearly half of the women in the labor force would have to move to a different occupation to eliminate all occupational segregation by gender. This is a classic case of stalled change: If recent rates of change are extrapolated, it would take 330 years to reach full integration.

David S. Pedulla
A new science of gender discrimination is being built with audit studies and other experiments. A key result: Gender discrimination is more likely to emerge when the applicant’s commitment to work can be called into question or when an applicant is behaving in a gender-nonconforming way.

Workplace Sexual Harassment
Amy Blackstone, Heather McLaughlin, and Christopher Uggen
The workplace is rife with sexual harassment. By age 25 to 26, one in three women and one in seven men experience behavior at work that they define as sexual harassment.

Social Networks
Adina D. Sterling
Although men used to have more social ties than men, now the gender gap has reversed and women have the larger networks. But women still have fewer coworker ties than men … and coworker ties matter a lot.

Marianne Cooper and Shelley J. Correll
What are the most promising science-based policies for reducing gender inequality at home and in the labor market?

Women in Congress, 1917-2018: Service Dates and Committee Assignments by Member, and Lists by State and Congress

Source: Jennifer E. Manning, Ida A. Brudnick, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, March 19, 2018

….This report includes committee assignments, dates of service, district information, and listings by Congress and state, and (for Representatives) congressional districts of the 327 women who have been elected or appointed to Congress. It will be updated when there are relevant changes in the makeup of Congress.

For additional information, including a discussion of the impact of women in Congress as well as historical information, including the number and percentage of women in Congress over time, data on entry to Congress, comparisons to international and state legislatures, tenure, firsts for women in Congress, women in leadership, and African American, Asian Pacific American, and Hispanic women in Congress, see CRS Report R43244, Women in Congress: Summary Statistics and Brief Overview, by Jennifer E. Manning and Ida A. Brudnick…..

Libraries Respond to #MeToo Movement

Source: Julia Eisenstein, American Library Association, March 9, 2018

Libraries have long been in the forefront when it comes to responding to social justice issues. The current focus on the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements are no exception. ….

…. The University of Minnesota (U of M) Libraries runs a regular blog titled A Matter of Facts. Kimberly Clarke and Karen Carmody-McIntosh wrote the February 7 post Me Too: Hashtag and Social Movement. In it contains links to resources regarding the origin of the #MeToo movement Helpful books, ebooks, databases, journal articles are available only to U of M faculty and students, but the Newspaper, Magazine articles and websites are available for anyone to view.

Many academic libraries are creating LibGuides on sexual harassment providing links to resources for both scholars who are researching sexual harassment and survivors of sexual harassment. Examples include Tulane University’s Howard Tilton Memorial Library guide on Sexual Violence Prevention Resources, the University Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign guide on Sexual Harassment, and New York’s Adelphi University guide on Sexual Harassment Resources. ….

Harassment Resources

Capitol Offenses

Source: Elizabeth Drew, Sarah Jones, Ana Marie Cox, Eve Fairbanks, Heather Boushey, Ai-Jen Poo, Monica Potts, Jill Abramson, New Republic, Vol. 249 no. 3, March 2018
(subscription required)

Eight essays from women in policy, public affairs, and media.

Goings On About Town
By Elizabeth Drew

Washington has all the ingredients for inappropriate sexual adventuring. For one thing, it’s full of lonely people—in particular, men disconnected from their families. We owe much of this to Newt Gingrich, who upon becoming speaker of the House in 1995 told incoming Republican freshmen to leave their families back home so that the members could concentrate on their jobs in Washington. The nation’s capital is also full of ambitious people—young things setting out on what they hope is an ever-rising path to more important jobs, whether it’s the lobbyist who sets his sights on becoming head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the lowly congressional aide who longs to take the seat one day of the congressman or senator whom he is currently serving.

This heady brew of ambition, power, loneliness, and opportunity leads to extracurricular sex of various types and of various degrees of seriousness—short-term affairs to some lasting marriages…..

Overdue Diligence
By Ana Marie Cox

Backlash to the #MeToo phenomenon hinges on two obfuscations. First, there are critics who fret that the discussion of predation at its heart is overly puritanical: a sex panic, as Masha Gessen would have it, on the part of censorious prudes who would forbid so much as a flirtatious glance between colleagues. Then there are those who speculate about a societal “rush to judgment” or “mob rule,” and who bemoan a lack of proportionality and due process. Both arguments miss the real context of the conversation: the workplace. The first set of criticisms elides the boardroom with the barroom. The second sees no difference between professional consequences and personal (or legal) ones…..

The Flirting Trap
By Eve Fairbanks

….When the constant reward for intellectual achievement, wonkiness, or political ambition is sexual appreciation, women may become confused: Will their intellects be treated not as ends in and of themselves but as “signals” of some other ambition?….

The Immoral Majority
By Sarah Jones

….The culture of the religious right is not, in my experience, one that celebrates a woman’s individual merits. We are weaker vessels to be protected, wombs to be filled. The privileges of men—professional, spiritual, sexual—delimit the borders of our lives. These kinds of doctrinal beliefs reside not only inside evangelical or fundamentalist churches. People with real power in this country are convinced of their veracity, and those people have tried, and often succeeded, to pass laws and implement policies that afford these doctrines official force…..
Gaps in the Market
By Heather Boushey

…. Marion Fourcade, a Berkeley sociologist who studies economists, points out that U.S. economists tend to be “more favorable to economic ideas based on free trade and market competition” than their British, French, or German peers. The economics job market in the United States is emblematic of this market-oriented preference. Job advertisements go up in the early fall; candidates are screened at the annual economics meeting the first weekend in January; and by early spring, Economics Job Market Rumors is abuzz with discussions. Everybody knows who’s on top and who’s not. ….. Because the process is so market-driven, the question that economists need to ask is whether gender and racial bias in the profession indicates something more troubling about economics itself. If men cannot overcome their sexism toward women when discussing the qualifications of female economists, then how can they assume that any job market—or any market—is free of discriminatory bias? If the market for economists isn’t efficient, what market is? ….

Domestic Workers, Too
By Ai-jen Poo

As the United States faces up to the prevalence and impact of sexual misconduct in the workplace, the consistent story we have heard from survivors, time and again, is one of power imbalance. Actual or perceived, the distance between power held by men and by women in this country has directly resulted in cycles of harassment, misconduct, and abuse from which our society has looked away for decades.

Imagine, then, the breeding ground for abuse created in the nation’s capital by some of the world’s most powerful men—and it is usually men—for the domestic workers laboring behind the closed doors of their Washington residences…..

She Called It
By Monica Potts

In 1996, the head of a small government agency called the Commodity Futures Trading Commission was a woman named Brooksley Born. …. When Born began her work, she became alarmed at the rapid growth and lack of transparency in the financial market for a complicated, relatively unheard-of product called over-the-counter derivatives. She wanted to better monitor them, and it was the kind of regulation her agency had the authority to do. But when Born started to push for new rules, a quartet of powerful economists—Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan, and Arthur Levitt, all of whom were in charge of much more powerful entities—dismissed her concerns. …. When Born tried to regulate the market anyway—she and her agency had the authority to do so without their approval—their attacks on her went public….

My Year Zero
By Jill Abramson

…. When the Hill-Thomas hearings ended, everyone who mattered in Washington said the truth would never be known. It was a case of he said, she said. Jane and I spent three years reporting and unearthing new information that shattered this silly myth, which was just Washington’s way of avoiding painful truths, like the fact that a sitting Supreme Court judge had perjured himself. Washington is still a town that avoids painful truths. ….

Stopping Sexual Harassment

Source: Camille Colatosti & Elissa Karg, Labor Notes, February 23, 2018

This article is adapted from Stopping Sexual Harassment: A Handbook for Union and Workplace Activists, published by Labor Notes in 1992.

While some things have changed since then, we’ve found much of the book’s advice is still quite relevant. ….

…. It’s hard enough to confront workplace sexual harassment when it’s coming from management. But what about harassment between co-workers?

It’s a more difficult issue—but one that has to be addressed if the union is worth its salt.

The most important step is confronting co-worker harassment head-on, even if some argue that the union should not “choose sides.”

…. Unions that shy away from dealing with co-worker harassment may find themselves with new problems and divisions. Women may turn to management, and some co-workers may blame them for getting co-workers in trouble. ….

Women report more rudeness at work from other women

Source: Futurity, February 21, 2018

Women report more incivility from other women at work than from male coworkers, according to a new study.

The phenomenon of women discriminating against other women in the workplace—particularly as they rise in seniority—has long been documented as the “queen bee syndrome.” As women have increased their ranks in the workplace, most will admit to experiencing rude behavior and incivility….

Further Understanding Incivility in the Workplace: The Effects of Gender, Agency, and Communion
Source: Allison S. Gabriel, Marcus M. Butts, Zhenyu Yuan, Rebecca L. Rosen, Michael T. Sliter, Journal of Applied Psychology, December 14, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Research conducted on workplace incivility—a low intensity form of deviant behavior—has generally shown that women report higher levels of incivility at work. However, to date, it is unclear as to whether women are primarily treated uncivilly by men (i.e., members of the socially dominant group/out-group) or other women (i.e., members of in-group) in organizations. In light of different theorizing surrounding gender and incivility, we examine whether women experience increased incivility from other women or men, and whether this effect is amplified for women who exhibit higher agency and less communion at work given that these traits and behaviors violate stereotypical gender norms. Across three complementary studies, results indicate that women report experiencing more incivility from other women than from men, with this effect being amplified for women who are more agentic at work. Further, agentic women who experience increased female-instigated incivility from their coworkers report lower well-being (job satisfaction, psychological vitality) and increased work withdrawal (turnover intentions). Theoretical implications tied to gender and incivility are discussed.

Negotiating While Female

Source: Andrea Kupfer, Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 18-12, Posted: February 16, 2018  

From the abstract:
Why are women paid less than men? Prevailing ethos conveniently blames the woman and her alleged inability to negotiate. This article argues that blaming women for any lack of negotiation skills or efforts is inaccurate and that prevailing perceptions about women and negotiation are in-deed myths. The first myth is that women do not negotiate. While this is true in some lab studies and among younger women, more recent workplace data calls this platitude into question. The second myth is that women should avoid negotiations because of potential backlash. Although women in leadership do face an ongoing challenge to be likeable, it is clear that not negotiating has long-term detrimental effects. The third myth, based on the limited assumption that a good negotiator must be assertive, is that women cannot negotiate as well as men. However, the most effective negotiators are not just assertive, but also empathetic, flexible, socially intuitive, and ethical. Women can and do possess these negotiation skills. This article concludes by proposing an action plan which provides advice on how women can become more effective negotiators and identifies structural changes that might encourage negotiation and reduce the gender pay gap.

Unreported Sexual Harassment: Should You Have A Crystal Ball?

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Volume 35, Issue 3, February 8, 2018
(subscription required)

As stories of previously unreported behavior ranging from boorish to egregious emerge, individuals across the country are wondering whether the employers involved were turning a blind eye to sexual harassment in their workplaces or if they were truly unaware.