Category Archives: Working Women

Women’s Health Insurance Coverage

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Fact Sheet, January 2016

From the summary:
Health insurance coverage is a critical factor in making health care affordable and accessible to women. Among the 97.5 million women ages 19 to 64 residing in the U.S., most had some form of coverage in 2014. However, gaps in private sector and publicly-funded programs left almost one in eight women uninsured. One of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) primary goals was to expand access to insurance coverage to reduce the number of uninsured. The law requires that nearly everyone carry health insurance, and expands access to coverage through a combination of Medicaid expansions, private insurance reforms, and premium tax credits. This factsheet reviews major sources of coverage for women residing in the U.S. in 2014, the first full year of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) major coverage expansion, and discusses the likely changes and impact of the law on women’s coverage in future years.

Firm-Level Monopsony and the Gender Pay Gap

Source: Douglas A. Webber, Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Volume 55 Issue 2, April 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This study uses linked employer–employee data to estimate firm-by-gender specific labor supply elasticities. Using a dynamic model of labor supply, I find evidence that females face a greater degree of search frictions than males. However, the majority of the gender gap in labor supply elasticities is driven by across-firm sorting rather than within-firm differences. I find that males face a labor supply elasticity 0.15 points higher than females, which leads to 3.3 percent lower earnings for women. Sixty percent of the elasticity differential can be explained by marriage and child penalties faced by women but not men.

The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation 2015 and by Race and Ethnicity

Source: Ariane Hegewisch, Asha DuMonthier, Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), IWPR #C440, April 2016

From the abstract:
Women’s median earnings are lower than men’s in nearly all occupations, whether they work in occupations predominantly done by women, occupations predominantly done by men, or occupations with a more even mix of men and women. Data for both women’s and men’s median weekly earnings for full-time work are available for 119 occupations. Across occupations the gender earnings ratio of women’s median weekly earnings to men’s ranges from just 52.5 percent (women at the median making about half as much as men who are ‘securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents’ ) to 111.2 percent (women making more than men as ‘wholesale and retail buyers, except farm products’). There is only one occupation—‘bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks’–where women have the same median weekly earnings as men.

Labor Education’s Evolving Forms and Expanding Applicability

Source: Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 41 no. 1, March 2016

From the introduction:
Labor education programs exist across the country. Some are parts of certificate- or degree-granting programs, others are sponsored and presented by unions, and still others are ad hoc community initiatives to address specific crises or needs. Other worker-education efforts are finding new life through community groups and activist initiatives. Labor education is an important component of the labor movement. It creates memberships that are engaged with what their unions are doing and are knowledgeable about what the labor movement has done and is attempting to do. Labor education can nurture the union leaders of tomorrow and build membership ranks that can withstand ideological, financial, and political attacks on organized labor. It also can mobilize membership to achieve a range of social justice goals, not only bettering themselves but also improving the world around them.

At the 2015 United Association for Labor Education (UALE) Conference, three panels of papers addressed this topic. This special issue of Labor Studies Journal (LSJ) presents five papers from these panels—four articles as well as an additional Innovations piece that discusses how one educator used community theater to transform labor education. The authors represent a range of disciplines—labor studies, political science, sociology, labor education, and crime and justice studies—and come from both sides of the Canadian/U.S. border. As they discuss labor education in a range of contexts—union halls, colleges and universities, worker institutes, summer schools, and community theater—the writers in this special issue address critical questions in understanding where labor education has been, what challenges remain, and how labor education might evolve in the future. ….

Articles include:
Twenty-First-Century Workers’ Education in North America: The Defeat of the Left or a Revitalized Class Pedagogy?
Source: Corey Dolgon, Reuben Roth, Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 41 no. 1, March 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The main response (Mantsios 2015) to neoliberalism and the marginalization of labor studies in higher education has been the call for a “new” labor college—one that integrates “workforce development” and liberal arts, yet separates worker education from its working-class roots. This article interrogates the state of worker education and the impact of neoliberalism on various civic engagement efforts at colleges and universities. The authors argue for a critical reevaluation of workers’ education and labor studies programs, calling for organized workers to retake control of such projects to avoid the deradicalization of class politics now ascendant in neoliberal institutions.

Blue-Collar Classroom: From the Individual to the Collective
Source: Sharon Szymanski, Richard Wells, Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 41 no. 1, March 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article examines how a labor studies program, most of whose students come from unions in the building trades, wrestles with a deeply rooted perception about the relationship between an individual’s skill and her wages. Aspects of tradition and experience in the unionized building trades validate it, and public discourse today sees it as a basic economic truth. Other aspects of building trades’ tradition and experience, as well as current mobilizations by low-wage service workers, show that collective power determines wages and enables a conversation about the social wage that decouples individual skill from wage levels.

Twenty-First-Century Workers’ Education in North America: The Defeat of the Left or a Revitalized Class Pedagogy?
Source: Corey Dolgon, Reuben Roth, Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 41 no. 1, March 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The main response (Mantsios 2015) to neoliberalism and the marginalization of labor studies in higher education has been the call for a “new” labor college—one that integrates “workforce development” and liberal arts, yet separates worker education from its working-class roots. This article interrogates the state of worker education and the impact of neoliberalism on various civic engagement efforts at colleges and universities. The authors argue for a critical reevaluation of workers’ education and labor studies programs, calling for organized workers to retake control of such projects to avoid the deradicalization of class politics now ascendant in neoliberal institutions.

Black Lives Matter and Bridge Building Labor Education for a “New Jim Crow” Era
Source: Eric D. Larson, Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 41 no. 1, March 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article uses labor history and black history to highlight how labor education can be a crucial tool for unions to respond to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in a way that supports and respects its main demands. It suggests that unions are unlikely to answer the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organization’s (AFL-CIO) call for the labor movement to be “partners, allies, and fellow community members” of the BLM movement unless they recognize the structural nature of contemporary “colorblind racism” and confront the root causes of divergent attitudes about the fairness of the criminal justice system. Such causes include the long-standing associations of blackness with criminality and whiteness with innocence, which have long justified the punishment of black workers and the control of all U.S. workers. This article highlights the structural violence of mass incarceration, the spectacular violence of police murder, the symbolic violence of anti-black cultural production, and the sexual violence directed at black women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) blacks. Building on black feminist theory, it argues that labor education that foregrounds the interwoven histories of race and crime, and examines how racism works through class, gender, and other kinds of hierarchies, could serve to capacitate grassroots bridge-builders inside unions. The article suggests that the history of domestic work could be a particularly valuable way for labor educators to discuss the fundamental messages of the Movement for Black Lives.

Labor Education and Leadership Development for Union Women: Assessing the Past, Building for the Future
Source: Emily E. LB. Twarog, Jennifer Sherer, Brigid O’Farrell, Cheryl Coney, Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 41 no. 1, March 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
What roles should women’s labor education play in the twenty-first-century labor movement? This question sparked a series of research, collaboration, and long-range planning activities undertaken by the Union Women’s Labor Education Project starting in 2013. This article builds on work undertaken to date by the Union Women’s Labor Education Project (in collaboration with the Women’s Caucus of the United Association of Labor Educator [UALE] and the Berger-Marks Foundation), presenting a new analysis of relationships among women’s labor education, leadership development, and movement building, with a particular focus on regional UALE women’s summer schools as a case study.

Shift work may pose greater risk to women: study

Source: Safety+Health, April 20, 2016

Women are more likely than men to be affected by the adverse ramifications of shift work, a new study out of England suggests.

Researchers from the University of Surrey’s sleep center placed 16 men and 18 women on 28-hour days to desynchronize them from the brain’s typical 24-hour circadian clock. Participants then performed several tasks every three hours when they were awake.

The sleep cycle simulated the effect that shift work or jetlag may have on workers. Researchers found that the desynchronized circadian clock affected sleepiness, mood and effort, as well as working memory and temporal processing to a smaller degree. ….
Related:
Sex differences in the circadian regulation of sleep and waking cognition in humans
Source: Nayantara Santhi, Alpar S. Lazar, Patrick J. McCabe, June C. Lo, John A. Groeger, and Derk-Jan Dijk,Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Early Edition, published ahead of print April 18, 2016

Circadian rhythms affect our physiology and psychology, in health and disease. Most of our knowledge about the human circadian timing system is based on research in men. Some circadian characteristics, such as the intrinsic frequency of the circadian clock and the amplitude of the melatonin rhythm, have been shown to differ between men and women. Whether the circadian regulation of mental functions differs between men and women is unknown. Here we show that circadian rhythmicity in mental functions exhibits sex differences so that the night-time impairment in cognitive performance is greater in women than in men. These findings are significant in view of shift-work–related cognitive deficits and disturbances of mood, which are more prevalent in women.

Shortchanged in Retirement: Continuing Challenges to Women’s Financial Future

Source: Jennifer Erin Brown, Nari Rhee, Joelle Saad-Lessler, & Diane Oakley, National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), March 2016

From the summary:
A new analysis finds that women are far more likely than men to face financial hardship in retirement. Women are 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished at age 65 and older.

Shortchanged in Retirement, The Continuing Challenges to Women’s Financial Future, finds that across all age groups, women have substantially less income in retirement than men.

For women age 65 and older, the data indicate that their typical income is 25 percent lower than men. As men and women age, men’s income advantage widens to 44 percent by age 80 and older. Consequently, women were 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished at age 65 and older, while women age 75 to 79 were three times more likely to fall below the poverty level as compared to their males counterparts. The report also finds that in 2010, men received $17,856 in median retirement income from a pension, whereas women received $12,000—or 33 percent less.
Related:
Press release
PowerPoint presentation

Parenthood and the Gender Gap in Pay

Source: Nikolay Angelov, Per Johansson, Erica Lindahl, Journal of Labor Economics, Ahead of Print, April 13, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We compare the income and wage trajectories of women to those of their male partners before and after parenthood. Focusing on the within-couple gap allows us to control for both observed and unobserved attributes of the spouse and to estimate both short- and long-term effects of entering parenthood. We find that 15 years after the first child has been born, the male-female gender gaps in income and wages have increased by 32 and 10 percentage points, respectively. In line with a collective labor supply model, the magnitude of these effects depends on counterfactual relative incomes or wages within the family.

Gender Pay Inequality: Consequences for Women, Families and the Economy

Source: U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), April 2016

From the press release:
Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), today released a new report examining the gender pay gap and its long-term effects on women, their families and the economy. The report comes several days in advance of Equal Pay Day, which takes place this year on Tuesday, April 12th. The study includes the most up-to-date income data, broken down not only by gender, age and race, but also by state and congressional district….

The Gender Pay Gap Is Bad. The Gender Pay Gap for Women of Color Is Even Worse.

Source: Rebecca Leber, New Republic, April 14, 2015

Women, on average, earn 22 percent less than men, or 78 cents for every white man’s dollar. This fact is everywhere, especially on Tuesday, Equal Pay Day. The day itself is meant to symbolize this figure, as it takes women three-and-half extra months of work to earn what men make year-round. …. There is a problem with the 78 percent statistic, but not the one critics say. That figure obscures the fact that most women of color fare worse than white and Asian women. It is a national average, across all races, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compared to what a white man makes: Hispanic women earn 54 percent, followed by black women at 64 percent, and Native American at 65 percent. (The wage gap closes somewhat for women of color vs. men of the same race or ethnicity). ….