Category Archives: Working Women

How the Affordable Care Act Has Helped Women Gain Insurance and Improved Their Ability to Get Health Care: Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 2016

Source: Munira Z. Gunja, Sara R. Collins, Michelle M. Doty, Sophie Beutel, Commonwealth Fund, Issue Brief, August 2017

– The number of U.S. working-age women lacking health insurance has fallen by nearly half since the ACA was enacted
– Because of the ACA, women are finding it easier to buy an affordable plan that fits their health needs

From the abstract:
Issue:
Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one-third of women who tried to buy a health plan on their own were either turned down, charged a higher premium because of their health, or had specific health problems excluded from their plans. Beginning in 2010, ACA consumer protections, particularly coverage for preventive care screenings with no cost-sharing and a ban on plan benefit limits, improved the quality of health insurance for women. In 2014, the law’s major insurance reforms helped millions of women who did not have employer insurance to gain coverage through the ACA’s marketplaces or through Medicaid.

Goals:
To examine the effects of ACA health reforms on women’s coverage and access to care.

Method:
Analysis of the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Surveys, 2001–2016.

Findings and Conclusions:
Women ages 19 to 64 who shopped for new coverage on their own found it significantly easier to find affordable plans in 2016 compared to 2010. The percentage of women who reported delaying or skipping needed care because of costs fell to an all-time low. Insured women were more likely than uninsured women to receive preventive screenings, including Pap tests and mammograms.
Related:
Appendices
Chartpack (pdf)
Chartpack (ppt)
Press Release

The Status of Black Women in The United States

Source: Asha DuMonthier, Chandra Childers, and Jessica Milli, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, July 2017

From the summary:
Black women are integral to the well-being of their families, their communities and the nation as a whole. Through their work, entrepreneurship, caregiving, political participation, and more, Black women are creating opportunities for themselves, their loved ones, and improving the our economy and society. They have all the makings of what should be success, yet their contributions are undervalued and under compensated. Black domestic workers are particularly vulnerable because of the ways in which racial disparities, gender discrimination, and immigration status serve to further marginalize and disempower the very people who power our economy and push our democracy to be the best that it can be. Whether one examines Black women’s access to healthcare, earnings, or access to much needed social supports like childcare and eldercare, Black women are getting the short end of the stick, despite having contributed so much to the building of this nation. …. The report analyzes data by gender, race and ethnicity for all 50 states and the District of Columbia across six topical areas: political participation, employment and earnings, work and family, poverty and opportunity, health and well-being, and violence and safety. In addition, the report includes basic demographic data for each state and a set of policy recommendations. ….
Related:
Executive Summary

Equal Pay for Black Women

Source: Brandie Temple and Jasmine Tucker, National Women’s Law Center, Fact Sheet, July 2017

From the summary:
When comparing all men and women who work full time, year round in the United States, women are paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts.  But the wage gap is even larger when looking specifically at Black women who work full time, year round—they are paid only 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.  This gap, which amounts to a loss of $21,001 a year, means that Black women have to work more than 19 months—until the very last day of July—to make as much as white, non-Hispanic men did in the previous 12-month calendar year.

Flurry of Laws Enacted on Women’s Access to Health Care

Source: Christine Vestal, Stateline, July 24, 2017

As Washington moved to reduce federal funding for women’s health this year, adversaries in the war over affordable birth control and other women’s health services shifted the battleground to state capitals — resulting in a spate of new laws that both expand and contract women’s access to care.

It happened quickly in Iowa. In May, then-Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. Medicaid dollars stopped flowing to the group July 1, and four of the state’s Planned Parenthood clinics closed within a week.

That left nearly 15,000 women in small communities without access to reproductive health services, including cancer screenings, birth control, testing for and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and annual checkups. ….

….In December, President Barack Obama signed a Health and Human Services rule clarifying that states could not block funding to health care providers for purely political reasons. But that policy was quickly reversed when Trump took office…..

…..At the same time, Republicans in Congress repeatedly have called for elimination of the roughly $300 million federal grant program known as Title X that funds Planned Parenthood and other local family planning clinics.

And in May, a leaked Health and Human Services proposal revealed that the Trump administration intends to undo a provision in the federal health law that requires nearly all employers to include coverage of all forms of contraception in their employee health plans. If the proposal takes effect, it would make it easy for employers to opt out of coverage of contraception for religious or moral reasons…..

How a job acquires a gender (and less authority if it’s female)

Source: Sarah Thebaud, Laura Doering, The Conversation, July 23, 2017

….When men direct others, they’re often assumed to be assertive and competent. But when women direct others, they’re often disliked and labeled abrasive or bossy.

Our new study puts a twist on this narrative. Gender bias doesn’t merely disadvantage women, it also can disadvantage men. The reason? We don’t just stereotype men and women. We stereotype jobs. ….
Related:
The Effects of Gendered Occupational Roles on Men’s and Women’s Workplace Authority: Evidence from Microfinance
Laura Doering, Sarah Thébaud, American Sociological Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, June 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The gendering of occupational roles affects a variety of outcomes for workers and organizations. We examine how the gender of an initial role occupant influences the authority enjoyed by individuals who subsequently fill that role. We use data from a microfinance bank in Central America to examine how working initially with a male or female loan manager shapes borrowers’ compliance with future managers’ directives. First, we show that borrowers originally paired with female managers continue to be less compliant with subsequent managers, regardless of subsequent managers’ gender. Next, we demonstrate how compliance is shaped by the gender-typing of the role and the gender of the individual who fills that role. We find that men enjoy significantly greater compliance in male-typed roles, but male and female managers experience similar levels of compliance in female-typed roles. Further analyses reveal that these gendered patterns become especially pronounced after managers demonstrate their authority by disciplining borrowers. Overall, we show how quickly gendered expectations become inscribed into occupational roles, and we identify their lasting organizational consequences. More broadly, we suggest authority mechanisms that may contribute to the “stalled” gender revolution in the workplace.

The Motherhood Wage Penalty by Work Conditions: How Do Occupational Characteristics Hinder or Empower Mothers?

Source: Wei-hsin Yu, Janet Chen-Lan Kuo, American Sociological Review, OnlineFirst, Published July 3, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Mothers are shown to receive lower wages than childless women across industrial countries. Although research on mothers’ wage disadvantage has noted that the extent of this disadvantage is not universal among mothers, it has paid relatively little attention to how the structural characteristics of jobs moderate the price women pay for motherhood. Using data from 16 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth that began in 1997, we examine how the pay gap between mothers and non-mothers varies by occupational characteristics. Deriving hypotheses from three prominent explanations for the motherhood wage penalty—stressing work-family conflict and job performance, compensating differentials, and employer discrimination, respectively—we test whether this penalty changes with an occupation’s exposure to hazardous conditions, schedule regularity, required on-the-job training, competitiveness, level of autonomy, and emphasis on teamwork. Results from fixed-effects models show that the wage reduction for each child is less in occupations with greater autonomy and lower teamwork requirements. Moreover, mothers encounter a smaller penalty when their occupations impose less competitive pressure. On the whole, these findings are consistent with the model focusing on job strain and work-family conflict, adding evidence to the importance of improving job conditions to alleviate work-family conflict.

Wage Discrimination: Behind the Numbers

Source: Jocelyn Frye and Kaitlin Holmes, Center for American Progress, July 5, 2017

Equal pay is often framed in the public debate as being solely a women’s issue. But a close look at the data reveals that wage discrimination is a problem experienced by many different groups, including women, men, older workers, and workers with disabilities.

A review of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge filings data—both public and unpublished—helps paint a diverse and nuanced picture of wage discrimination claims. Having a clearer, more accurate understanding of wage discrimination is essential in identifying the breadth of the challenges facing workers and the most effective solutions in response to the needs of workers.

The majority of wage discrimination charges alleging discrimination based on gender are filed by women. But a portion of gender-based wage discrimination charges are also filed by men. A review of unpublished EEOC data from the past four fiscal years shows that men filed, on average, 15 percent of gender-based wage discrimination charges…..

White House Women Face Bigger Gender Pay Gap Than National Average

Source: Sofia Lotto Persio, Newsweek, July 3, 2017

Women working in U.S. President Donald Trump’s White House earn less than men on average, according to new data. 

The White House released salary information of its 377 staffers on June 30 in line with a Congressional rule dating back to 1995. The data revealed that the White House has a wider gender pay gap than the national average. The average gender pay gap in the U.S. in 2016 was 18.1 percent, meaning that for every dollar earned by a man, a woman earned 81.9 cents, according to data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

But the gender pay gap in the White House stands at 20 percent, CNN reported, with women earning 80 cents to every dollar earned by a man. The difference in pay does not neccessarily mean that women’s salaries are lower for doing the same job, but that there are less women in high-paid roles.

Paid Family Leave in the United States

Source: Sarah A. Donovan, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R44835, May 24, 2017

…. This report provides an overview of paid family leave in the United States, summarizes state-level family leave insurance programs, notes paid family leave policies in other advanced-economy countries, and notes recent federal proposals to increase access to paid family leave. ….