Category Archives: Working Women

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
(subscription required)

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.

Profiling the U.S. Sick Leave Landscape: Presenteeism among Females

Source: Philip Susser and Nicolas R. Ziebarth, Health Services Research, Early View, March 7, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Objective: To profile the sick leave landscape in the United States.

Principal Findings: Sixty-five percent of full-time employees have sick pay coverage. Coverage rates are below 20 percent for employees with hourly wages below $10, part-time employees, and employees in the hospitality and leisure industry.

Conclusion: Each week, up to 3 million U.S. employees go to work sick. Females, low-income earners, and those aged 25 to 34 years have a significantly elevated risk of presenteeism behavior.

A Plan is Emerging to Fight “Rape on the Night Shift”

Source: Christina Jewett, Frontline and Reveal, March 9, 2016

Female janitors working alone at night have been particularly vulnerable to sexual assault and reluctant to report it. Now, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said at a rally outside the Capitol today, it’s time for change. Gonzalez, a San Diego Democrat, announced at the rally that her office is working on a bill that would increase protections for female janitors. Gonzalez said she was moved to tears by the documentary “Rape on the Night Shift,” a collaboration between Reveal, the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, KQED, FRONTLINE and Univision. It inspired her to improve conditions for women who are subject to abuse while cleaning buildings alone at night….. The investigation found rampant sexual violence against female janitors who work alone at night in empty offices and businesses. Janitors across the country said one simple solution would be having them work together in teams….

Race to the Bottom: How Low-Road Subcontracting Affects Working Conditions in California’s Property Services Industry

Source: Sara Hinkley, Annette Bernhardt and Sarah Thomason, University of California – Berkeley, Center for Labor Research and Education, March 8, 2016

From the press release:
The increased subcontracting of work for janitors and security guards in California over the past 30 years has led to lower wages, fewer benefits, higher rates of part-time work, inferior working conditions and illegal labor practices for those employees, according to a study released today by UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education.

The report, “Race to the Bottom: How Low-Road Subcontracting Affects Working Conditions in California’s Property Services Industry,” says the share of janitors in California hired by contractors more than doubled from 1980 to 2014, and the share of subcontracted security guards rose by 50 percent as office buildings, retailers, high-tech companies, residential developments and other industries moved to cut costs by outsourcing cleanup as well as security. ….
….The report — the first to cover these services over a 30-year period — includes these key findings about janitorial and security service jobs in California:
– From 2012 to 2014 contracted janitors earned 20 percent less than non-contracted janitors ($10.31 an hour compared to $12.85 an hour), and contracted security workers made 18 percent less than their non-contracted counterparts ($11.91 an hour compared to $14.48 an hour).
– Some 45 percent of contracted janitors and 32 percent of contracted security guards had no health insurance coverage in 2012-2014.
– Fifty-three percent of contracted janitors and 36 percent of contracted security guards live with families that fall below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and 48 percent of workers in both categories have at least one family member receiving public assistance. Annual costs to California taxpayers averaged $228 million between 2009 and 2014.
– Seventy-five percent of contracted janitors were born outside of the United States; Latinos make up 82 percent of the contracted janitorial workforce compared to 37 percent of the overall workforce. Meanwhile, black security guards account for 23 percent of contracted employees in that field, but just 6 percent of the overall workforce.
– Women hold 45 percent of the janitorial jobs; women janitors are at risk of sexual harassment and violence in what are often isolated workplaces…..

The Socialist Roots of International Women’s Day

Source: Lindsay Beyerstein, In These Times, Working In These Times blog, March 8, 2016

Today, as the world marks the 99th annual International Women’s Day, it’s clear that the occasion enjoys an aura of mainstream respectability. IWD is an official holiday in 15 countries. But the radical roots of the IWD have been largely forgotten…. International Women’s Day was born during a time of great social upheaval, as women and workers began to organize and assert their rights, often in concert. In 1908, 15,000 women marched in New York to demand shorter hours, better working conditions, and the right to vote. The famous slogan “Bread and Roses” made its debut at this protest. It was a poetic answer to a basic question: What are we fighting for? Bread represents survival and roses represent quality of life and human dignity. The slogan has been associated with the overlap between women’s rights and workers’ rights ever since…..