Category Archives: Working Women

Effects of Welfare Reform on Women’s Voting Participation

Source: Dhaval Dave, Hope Corman, Nancy Reichman, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. w22052, March 2016
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From the abstract:
Voting is an important form of civic participation in democratic societies but a fundamental right that many citizens do not exercise. This study investigates the effects of welfare reform in the U.S. in the 1990s on voting of low income women. Using the November Current Population Surveys with the added Voting and Registration Supplement for the years 1990 through 2004 and exploiting changes in welfare policy across states and over time, we estimate the causal effects of welfare reform on women’s voting registration and voting participation during the period during which welfare reform unfolded. We find robust evidence that welfare reform increased the likelihood of voting by about 4 percentage points, which translates to about a 10% increase relative to the baseline mean. The effects were largely confined to Presidential elections, were stronger in Democratic than Republican states, were stronger in states with stronger work incentive policies, and appeared to operate through employment, education, and income.

The power of parity: Advancing women’s equality in the United States

Source: Kweilin Ellingrud, Anu Madgavkar, James Manyika, Jonathan Woetzel, Vivian Riefberg, Mekala Krishnan, and Mili Seoni, McKinsey Global Institute, April 2016

From the summary:
The United States could add up to $4.3 trillion in annual GDP in 2025 if women attain full gender equality. In a new report, The power of parity: Advancing women’s equality in the United States, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) finds that every US state and city can add at least 5 percent to their GDP in that period by advancing the economic potential of women. Half of US states have the potential to add more than 10 percent, and the country’s 50 largest cities can increase GDP by 6 to 13 percent.

While the barriers hindering women from fully participating in the labor market make it unlikely that they will attain full gender equality within a decade, the report finds that in a best-in-class scenario—in which each US state matches the state with the fastest rate of improvement toward gender parity in work over the past decade—some $2.1 trillion of incremental GDP could be added in 2025. That is 10 percent higher than in a business-as-usual scenario…..

The Lifetime Wage Gap, State by State

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), 2016

Based on today’s wage gap, women would lose $430,480 over the course of a 40-year career. For Latinas the career losses mount to $1,007,080, and for African American women the losses are $877,480. If we don’t act to close the wage gap, a woman just starting out today stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of her career, undercutting her ability to provide for herself and her family, as well as her retirement security.

This “lifetime wage gap” exists across the country: in every state, women’s career losses based on today’s wage gap would amount to about one-quarter of a million dollars or more — and in seven states women’s career losses would amount to more than half a million dollars.

The situation is even worse for women of color. Compared to the earnings of white, non-Hispanic men, the lifetime wage gap would amount to more than $1 million for Asian American women in one state, for African American women in six states, for Native American women in 13 states, and for Latinas in 23 states.

Want to see where your state ranks? Click on a state below to see its lifetime wage gap for women overall, African American women, Latinas, Asian American women, and Native American women.

Penalized or Protected? Gender and the Consequences of Nonstandard and Mismatched Employment Histories

Source: David S. Pedulla, American Sociological Review, Vol. 81 no. 2, April 2016
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From the abstract:
Millions of workers are employed in positions that deviate from the full-time, standard employment relationship or work in jobs that are mismatched with their skills, education, or experience. Yet, little is known about how employers evaluate workers who have experienced these employment arrangements, limiting our knowledge about how part-time work, temporary agency employment, and skills underutilization affect workers’ labor market opportunities. Drawing on original field and survey experiment data, I examine three questions: (1) What are the consequences of having a nonstandard or mismatched employment history for workers’ labor market opportunities? (2) Are the effects of nonstandard or mismatched employment histories different for men and women? and (3) What are the mechanisms linking nonstandard or mismatched employment histories to labor market outcomes? The field experiment shows that skills underutilization is as scarring for workers as a year of unemployment, but that there are limited penalties for workers with histories of temporary agency employment. Additionally, although men are penalized for part-time employment histories, women face no penalty for part-time work. The survey experiment reveals that employers’ perceptions of workers’ competence and commitment mediate these effects. These findings shed light on the consequences of changing employment relations for the distribution of labor market opportunities in the “new economy.”

Pathways to Equity

Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), 2016

Half of the gender wage gap is due to women working in different occupations and sectors than men. Improving women’s access to good middle-skill jobs can help close the wage gap and improve women’s economic security. The Pathways to Equity Initiative shows job changes that can improve women’s economic standing and meet employers’ demands for skilled workers.

Find a Target Job

Pathways to Equity: Narrowing the Wage Gap by Improving Women’s Access to Good Middle-Skill Jobs
Source: Ariane Hegewisch, Marc Bendick Jr., Barbara Gault, Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), IWPR #C43, ISBN #: 978-1-933161-99-0, 2016

From the summary:
This report addresses women’s access to well-paid, growing, middle-skill jobs (jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree). It documents sex segregation in middle-skill jobs, and discusses how gender integration of good jobs could both reduce skill-shortages and improve women’s economic security. The report focuses on middle-skilled “target” occupations in manufacturing, information technology, and transportation, distribution, and logistics that have high projected job openings and that typically employ few women. Using an innovative methodology based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net database, Marc Bendick, Ph.D., of Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants, Inc, joined IWPR researchers Ariane Hegewisch, Barbara Gault, Ph.D., and Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. to identify lower paid predominantly female occupations that share many of the characteristics of the “target” occupations and can serve as “on-ramp” occupations to good middle-skill jobs for women seeking to improve their earnings, and employers looking to fill the vacancies. The report is part of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s Pathways to Equity: Women and Good Jobs initiative, funded by a grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation as part of its of its $250 million, five-year New Skills at Work initiative.

The Impact of Decoupling of Telework on Job Satisfaction in U.S. Federal Agencies – Does Gender Matter?

Source: Kwang Bin Bae, Dohyeong Kim, The American Review of Public Administration, Vol. 46 no. 3, May 2016
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From the abstract:
This study analyzes the effects of decoupling of telework on job satisfaction using the 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. The research divides telework programs for public employees by two criteria: (a) whether or not federal agencies have officially adopted the program, and (b) whether or not public employees actually participate in the program. We find that both organizational adoption and employee participation in telework have a positive relationship with job satisfaction, and these results support the social exchange theory. We also observe that the effects of decoupling of telework on job satisfaction are more significant for female public employees than for male public employees. The results imply that female employees have the lowest levels of job satisfaction when agencies officially adopt telework but employees cannot utilize the program. However, male employees have the lowest levels of job satisfaction when they are unable to utilize a nonexistent telework program.

Social Security: A Key Retirement Resource for Women

Source: Alison Shelton, AARP, Public Policy Institute, Fact Sheet, March 2016

Social Security is especially important for women ages 65 and older because they are less likely than are older men to have family income (including their own income) from pensions, savings, or other sources. Moreover, three key features of the Social Security program — progressivity of the benefit formula, guaranteed benefits for life, and inflation-adjusted benefits—are particularly beneficial for women.

Barriers For Women Today May Be Less Visible, But Not Less Real

Source: Tania Lombrozo, NPR, March 21, 2016

…. In fact, women do continue to be underrepresented in a variety of fields, including many in science and engineering. And the barriers they face are (still) very real. How, then, could anyone believe otherwise? It’s difficult to identify the sources of people’s beliefs and, in this case, they’re likely to be variable and complex. But here are a few reasons why the challenges faced by women today may be less apparent, if no less pervasive, than they were in the past. …..

A Dollar Short: What’s Holding Women Back from Equal Pay?

Source: Emily Liner, Third Way, March 18, 2016

– The 79 cents to the dollar figure cited as the gender pay ratio for full-time workers is real.
– Hourly wage data show a pay ratio of 85 cents, indicating that the pay gap cannot be fully explained by the fact that men tend to work more hours than women.
– The pay ratio worsens from 90 cents to 81 cents as women move from the early to middle stages of their careers.
– Occupations with more female workers pay less than those with more male workers, by a ratio of 83 cents to the dollar.
– Women still make less than men after accounting for differences in job type, job level, experience, education, hours worked, and location—which proves bias in the workplace also contributes to the gender pay gap.
– A single fix alone will not close the gap; rather, it will require targeted solutions to its various causes.

The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations
Source: Francine D. Blau, Lawrence M. Kahn, IZA Discussion Paper, IZA DP No. 9656, January 2016

Occupational Feminization and Pay: Assessing Causal Dynamics Using 1950–2000 U.S. Census Data
Source: Asaf Levanon, Paula England, Paul Allison, Social Forces, Vol. 88 no. 2, 2009
(subscription required)

Book Review: Making Technology Masculine: Men, Women, and Modern Machines in America, 1870-1945
Source: American Historical Review, Vol. 106 no. 1, February 2001

Equal Pay Equal Say: Our Voices – A Snapshot of Working Women Results from a National Survey of Nearly 25,000 Working Women

Source: American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), March 2016

From the summary:
Today, more and more women are the primary breadwinners and financial decision-makers in their households. Working women embrace these new roles as progress. It’s time for our public policies and workplaces to catch-up.

The AFL-CIO is uniquely positioned to lead on leveling the playing field for women. This is why it has committed to Equal Pay, Equal Say, an economic issue advocacy and political mobilization initiative for working women.

Women must have equal pay. Despite their financial leadership, women overall still earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. For women of color, the gap is even larger when compared to the average wages of white men. Only when women get a raise can working families thrive.

Women must have an equal say. Women make up nearly half of the American workforce and must have fair representation—in their workplaces, in their unions and in politics. Women need a greater say in the laws that impact their lives and demand equal pay for equal work, fair scheduling, paid sick leave, paid family leave and quality child care. Women must become the lawmakers who champion working families and set the nation’s economic policy.

About The National Survey of Working Women:
More than 6.8 million women in the United States are part of a union. Our mission at the AFL-CIO is to give each one a voice on the job, in the economy and throughout our democracy. In the fall of 2015, we launched a comprehensive survey to better understand the experiences and aspirations of working women to guide the AFL-CIO working women’s policy agenda and political action plans. Nearly 25,000 working women responded in just six weeks.

The National Survey of Working Women is more than just a job assessment. It zeroes in on how working women spend time at home, tackle financial challenges and engage in our communities. The results paint a clear picture of the economy and society working women are committed to building: where equal pay, paid leave and fair scheduling are the law of the land.

We received so much information about working women’s priorities, day-to-day experiences, challenges, aspirations and commitments that we decided to release our findings in a series of short reports over the next few months. The first issue brief presents a snapshot of our entire sample: the economic conditions working women face, key issues and what drives us to action. Later briefs will examine young women, mothers, women of color and other topics that provide a further window into our experiences.