Category Archives: Working Women

Women in the Workplace 2017

Source: McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org, 2017

Women in the Workplace 2017 is a comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America. This research is part of a long-term partnership between LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company to give organizations the information they need to promote women’s leadership and foster gender equality.

This year 222 companies employing more than 12 million people shared their pipeline data and completed a survey of HR practices. In addition, more than 70,000 employees completed a survey designed to explore their experiences regarding gender, opportunity, career, and work-life issues. To our knowledge, this makes Women in the Workplace the largest study of its kind.

Key findings:

  • The bar for gender equality is too low
  • Nearly 50 percent of men think women are well represented in leadership in companies where only one in ten senior leaders is a woman. A much smaller but still significant number of women agree: a third think women are well represented when they see one in ten in leadership.

  • Women hit the glass ceiling early
  • At the first critical step up to manager, women are 18 percent less likely to be promoted than their male peers. This gender disparity has a dramatic effect on the representation of women: if entry-level women were promoted at the same rate as their male peers, the number of women at the SVP and C-suite levels would more than double.

  • Men are more likely to say they get what they want without having to ask
  • Women of all races and ethnicities negotiate for raises and promotions at rates comparable to their male counterparts. However, men are more likely to say they have not asked for a raise because they are already well compensated or a promotion because they are already in the right role.

  • Women get less of the support that advances careers
  • Women are less likely to receive advice from managers and senior leaders on how to advance, and employees who do are more likely to say they’ve been promoted in the last two years. Similarly, women are less likely to interact regularly with senior leaders, yet employees who do are more likely to aspire to be top executives.

  • Women are less optimistic they can reach the top
  • Women are less likely than men to aspire to be a top executive, and those who do are significantly less likely than men to think they’ll become one. However, when you look at ambition by race and ethnicity, both women and men of color are more interested in becoming a top executive than white women and men.

  • Men are less committed to gender diversity efforts
  • Men are less likely to say gender diversity is a top personal priority and point to concern over de-emphasizing individual performance as the primary reason. Some men even feel that gender diversity efforts disadvantage them: 15 percent of men think their gender will make it harder for them to advance.

  • Many women still work a double shift
  • On average, 54 percent of women do all or most of the household work, compared to 22 percent of men. This gap grows when couples have children. Women with a partner and children are 5.5 times more likely than their male counterparts to do all or most of the household work. Even when women are primary breadwinners, they do more work at home.

    The Haves & Have Nots of Paid Family Leave

    Source: PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States, May 2017

    In the United States today, paid family leave is an elite benefit: 94% of low-income working people have no access to paid family leave. Millions of Americans don’t get even a single day of paid time for caregiving. 1 in 4 new moms in the U.S. is back at work just ten days after childbirth. While public discourse often focuses on income inequality, there is another critical way families experience inequality: the inability to be with their babies and families for the most important moments of their lives.

    Over the last year, a slate of the largest employers in the United States have announced paid family leave policies: Starbucks, Yum! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut), and others. While the media has largely heralded these announcements as a boon for working families, most of these benefits are only accessible for people who work in white-collar corporate jobs, leaving out the hourly employees who comprise the vast majority of a company’s workforce. In fact, overall access to paid family leave in the United States has actually declined over the last decade. We’ve conducted independent research to uncover the paid family leave policies at the largest employers in the country to understand who has access to family leave, who doesn’t, and what that says about the need for change in both corporate and public policy.

    Many of the companies that employ the most people have policies that provide significantly more paid family leave to corporate employees, while offering little — or nothing at all — to hourly/field/part-time workers…..

    Related:
    Left Out: How Corporate America’s parental leave policies discriminate against dads, LGBTQ+ and adoptive parents
    Source: PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States, June 2017

    In America, Parental Leave Is Still A Class Issue
    Source: Lea Rose Emery, Brides, September 12, 2017

    ….Unfortunately, Starbucks is correct when they argue that they provide better benefits than some. Walmart, Kroger, Nike, and Marriott are just some of the corporations offering no paid leave at all. Yum! Brands, owner of chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, employs hundreds of thousands of US workers, and none of the staff working the restaurants get any paid leave. Yet birth mothers working in the headquarters get 16 weeks. At Amazon, it’s 20 weeks for full-time birth mothers and nothing for those in the warehouse. While all parents deserve adequate paid leave (a guarantee in so many other countries), there is something especially perverse about a company recognizing the need for its corporate employees while denying it to its lower paid staff—people who are much more likely to have trouble affording child care to being with.

    The worst part? It doesn’t have to be this way. It is possible to treat your retail and corporate employees equally, to give part-time workers the same benefits of those working full-time while still flourishing. Wells Fargo and Nordstrom give all new mothers at least 12 weeks of paid leave, though they do give less to fathers and adoptive parents. Bank of America and Ikea give all new parents 16 weeks. These are huge companies with huge profits. If they can do it, why can’t others?….

    Young Women Are Losing Ground in U.S. Race for Equal Pay

    Source: Jeanna Smialek, Bloomberg, August 22, 2017

    Women between 25 and 34 years old are slipping when it comes to pay equality with men, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show. In that age group, of mostly millennials, women made just under 89 cents on a man’s dollar in 2016, down from a high of 92 cents in 2011. That means the gender gap in median weekly earnings is the widest in seven years.

    Young women’s experience stands in contrast to that of their older counterparts, who are starting from a lower level but continue to creep toward equality. The dip is surprising, given that millennial women are increasingly highly-educated relative to their male peers. Part of the explanation could be that in recent years, a big chunk of gender-wage parity had come because men’s wages weren’t doing well…..

    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.