Category Archives: Working Women

Ending Sex and Race Discrimination in the Workplace: Legal Interventions That Push the Envelope

Source: Ariane Hegewisch, Cynthia Deitch and Evelyn Murphy, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2011

Race and sex discrimination in employment, covering recruitment, pay and compensation, training and promotion, was made illegal by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Successful employment discrimination lawsuits may result in individual relief, such as monetary compensation for individual victims of discrimination and injunctive relief, such as changes to the employer’s human resource management policies and practices aimed at creating a workplace free of discrimination for all workers. Very few employment discrimination lawsuits, however, actually result in injunctive relief. Those that include injunctive relief most commonly are court-supervised pre-trial settlements called consent decrees.

This report draws on the IWPR/WAGE Consent Decree Database to analyze the injunctive relief awarded in 502 sex and/or race discrimination settlements that became effective between 2000 and 2008. We find that some consent decrees provide innovative and far-reaching remedies to counter previous sources of inequality, whereas others require little more than posting notices and conducting diversity awareness training. The Database includes a sample of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) consent decrees, and all publicly accessible U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and privately litigated class-action consent decrees. In addition, the report examines detailed case studies to show how injunctive relief was negotiated and implemented in particularly innovative consent decrees.

Job Patterns for Minorities and Women in State and Local Government (EEO-4)

Source: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2011

As part of its mandate under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires periodic reports from public and private employers, and unions and labor organizations which indicate the composition for their work forces by sex and by race/ethnic category.

EEOC collects labor force data from state and local governments with 100 or more employees within 50 U.S. states and District of Columbia. The reporting agencies provide information on their employment totals, employees’ job category and salary by sex and race/ethnic groups as of June 30 of the survey year. Since 1993 the EEO4 survey is conducted biennially in every odd-numbered year.

The confidentiality provision which governs release of these data (section 709 (e) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972) prohibits release of individual identifiable information. However data in aggregated format for major geographic areas and by government types and functions for state and local governments are available as shown below.

* 2009 Tables
* 2007 Tables
* 2005 Tables

Women at Work

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Spotlight on Statistics, March 2011

Until things slowly changed during the last century, women’s participation in the labor force was limited by traditional cultural, educational, and legal practices. Women’s work outside of home and marriage was restricted to a handful of occupations such as domestic service, factory work, farm work, and teaching. Over the past several decades, the women’s labor force in the United States and throughout the world has experienced many changes. Women’s labor force participation rates are significantly higher today than they were in the 1970s. Throughout that period, women have increasingly attained higher levels of education and experienced an increase in their earnings as a proportion of men’s earnings. In addition to highlighting the past, present, and future of women in the workforce, this Spotlight presents BLS data on the types of activities that women spend their time doing during an average week, how they choose to spend their hard-earned money, and the nature of fatal injuries in the workplace.

Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being

Source: Office of Management and Budget and the Economics and Statistics Administration within the Department of Commerce, March 2011

From the summary:
This report, prepared for the White House Council on Women and Girls, presents selected indicators of women’s social and economic well-being currently and over time. The report is intended for a general audience, with the hope that it will be useful to policymakers, policy analysts, journalists, policy advocates, and all those interested in women’s issues.

The indicators have been grouped into five areas of interest:
• People, Families, and Income.
• Education.
• Employment.
• Health.
• Crime and Violence.

The demographic landscape of the United States has changed considerably in recent decades. Life expectancy has increased significantly. Changing roles of women have reshaped patterns in marriage and divorce, childbearing, living arrangements, and aspirations for education and career development. Immigration has increased. These trends have in turn affected the age, sex, racial and ethnic composition of the population. All these trends both affect–and are affected by–economic growth and technological change. A comprehensive sorting out of the causes and effects of these many demographic changes is beyond the scope of this report. However, it is clear that these complex and multidimensional phenomena affect women and men differently.
Demographic changes have resulted in an aging population with a larger female share. Until about 1950, the population was majority male. Now, nearly 51 percent of the population is female, with four million more females than males. The long-term trends that resulted in a female majority in the population were driven in part by midcentury reductions in immigration (particularly by men) coupled with life expectancy increases for women that outpaced those of men. The gender imbalance is even larger at age 65 and older, where women have a 57 percent population share.

Health Care Refusals: Undermining Quality Care for Women

Source: National Health Law Program, 2010

From the press release:
Medical care for women is severely undermined by the growing refusal to provide treatment for ideological or religious reasons. In some cases, this denial of medical care endangers women’s lives. The report, “Health Care Refusals: Undermining Quality Care for Women,” released today by the National Health Law Program (NHeLP), documents to what extent these denials conflict with professionally developed, accepted medical standards of care, and analyzes the medical and health consequences to patients.

Women and Men in the Public Sector

Source: Jeff Hayes, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, February 2011

The figure and tables below show workers in the public sector by gender. The first table shows that public sector employment has mostly shrunk since 2008, particularly among women. The only growth in public sector employment is at the federal level–and only among men.

Failing its Families

Source: Human Rights Watch, 2011

From the abstract:
This report is based on interviews with 64 parents across the country. It documents the health and financial impact on American workers of having little or no paid family leave after childbirth or adoption, employer reticence to offer breastfeeding support or flexible schedules, and workplace discrimination against new parents, especially mothers. Parents said that having scarce or no paid leave contributed to delaying babies’ immunizations, postpartum depression and other health problems, and caused mothers to give up breastfeeding early. Many who took unpaid leave went into debt and some were forced to seek public assistance. Some women said employer bias against working mothers derailed their careers. Same-sex parents were often denied even unpaid leave.
See also:
Press release

Out of the Smoke and the Flame: The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and its Legacy

Source: New Labor Forum, Vol. 20 no. 1, Winter 2011

March of this year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. For an amnesiac culture like our own, this is one of those rare moments that endure in the public memory – our readers hardly have to be reminded of it. So we are instead publishing four articles that commemorate that tragedy by examining its various legacies.

Articles include:
– Why No Fire This Time?: From the Mass Strike to no Strike
By Stephen Pimpare
Exploring the limits of resistance since the days of the Triangle Fire.

– From the Triangle Fire to the BP Explosion: A Short History of the Century-Long Movement for Safety and Health
By Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner
Is the glass half empty or half full?

– Feminism and the Labor Movement: A Century of Collaboration and Conflict
By Eileen Boris and Annelise Orleck
Is the feminization of the labor movement an indicator of its decline or a harbinger of its renewal?

Women in the labor force, 1970-2009

Source: United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 05, 2011

In 2009, 59.2 percent of women were in the labor force: of 122 million women in the United States, 72 million were classified as either employed or unemployed. The percentage of women in the labor force has been relatively stable over the past several years.
See also:
Women in the Labor Force: A Databook (2010 Edition)

Addressing Gender Issues Among Staff in Community Corrections

Source: Kelli D. Stevens, Corrections Today, Vol. 72 no. 5, October 2010

Gender-responsiveness research in the criminal justice field has increased during the past decade as professionals learn more about differences between male and female offenders: their unique pathways to crime, their varying needs and gender-specific strategies to reduce crime. Gender responsiveness is also relevant to female professionals in community corrections because organizations need to recognize and address the needs of women in the workplace. While community corrections organizations are actively addressing the needs of female offenders, they are still struggling to meet the needs of female professionals working in the field.