Category Archives: Working Women

Realizing Health Reform’s Potential: Women and the Affordable Care Act of 2010

Source: Sara R. Collins, Sheila D. Rustgi, and Michelle M. Doty, Commonwealth Fund, Volume 93, July 30, 2010

From the summary:
This issue brief analyzes how, over the next decade, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is likely to stabilize and reverse women’s growing exposure to health care costs. Up to 15 million women who now are uninsured could gain subsidized coverage under the law. In addition, 14.5 million insured women will benefit from provisions that improve coverage or reduce premiums. Women who have coverage through the individual insurance market and are charged higher premiums than men, who have been unable to secure coverage for the cost of pregnancy, or who have a preexisting health condition excluded from their benefits will ultimately find themselves on a level playing field with men, enjoying a full range of comprehensive benefits.

Representation of Women Faculty at Public Research Universities: Do Unions Matter?

Source: Ann Mari May, Elizabeth A. Moorhouse, and Jennifer A. Petersen, Industrial & Labor Relations Review, Vol. 63, No. 4, July 2010
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The authors investigate the impact of unionization on the representation of women faculty at public Carnegie Doctoral/Research-Extensive institutions in the United States from 1993-94 through 2004-05. Using institutional-level data from the American Association of University Professors and controlling for institutional characteristics that influence the gender composition of faculty, the authors find that significant differences exist in the proportion of women faculty in total and by rank in unionized versus non-unionized settings. Specifically, unionized public research universities have a higher proportion of women faculty overall and more women at the ranks of associate and full professor than do non-unionized schools. The authors suggest that this issue is better understood using a segmented labor market approach since previous studies conducted on the subject may have obscured differences by rank. This study reflects the historical priorities of the faculty union in formalizing tenure and promotion procedures, especially important for women faculty.

Women in Law Enforcement, 1987-2008

Source: Lynn Langton, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Crime Data Brief, NCJ 230521, June 2012

During the 1990s and 2000s, the percent of sworn law enforcement officers who were women increased only slightly in federal, state, and local agencies.

By 2007 nearly 4,000 state police, 19,400 sheriffs’, and 55,300 local police officers were women. In 2008, across 62 reporting federal law enforcement agencies there were about 90,000 sworn officers, of whom approximately 18,200 (20%) were women. These 2007 and 2008 numbers suggest a combined total of almost 100,000 female sworn officers nationwide in federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

Stepping Up, Stepping Back: Women Activists ‘Talk Union’ Across Generations

Source: Berger-Marks Foundation, 2010

In March 2010, the Berger-Marks Foundation invited 30 women activists to New Orleans for a candid conversation across generations about how unions can attract young workers, especially women, and support them in key leadership roles.

Out of frank discussions over two days comes this report, “Stepping Up, Stepping Back: Women Activists ‘Talk Union’ Across Generations” by Linda Foley, Foundation president. In it, problems are faced openly and solutions are suggested. Its content comes from work done in small groups, which separated into three age clusters, and plenary sessions. As Foundation trustees, we took notes as silent observers. We hope that unions will find this report useful and that it will contribute to academic research on intergenerational activism
See also:
Summary
Bibliography

Women’s Lower Wages Worsen Their Circumstances in a Difficult Economy

Source: National Women’s Law Center, April 2010

American women who work full-time, year-round are paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. This gap in earnings translates into $10,622 less per year in female median earnings, leaving women and their families shortchanged. The wage gap is even more substantial when race and gender are considered together, with African-American women making only 61 cents, and Latinas only 52 cents, for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. Although enforcement of the Equal Pay Act as well as other civil rights laws has helped to narrow the wage gap over time, it is critical for women and their families that the significant disparities in pay that remain be addressed.

Families Can’t Afford the Gender Wage Gap

Source: Heather Boushey, Jessica Arons, Lauren Smith, Center for American Progress, April 20, 2010

From the summary:
The gender pay gap has taken on added importance as men have been more likely than women to lose jobs during the Great Recession. This loss of a man’s paycheck means that millions of families now rely on a woman’s job to make ends meet. The persistent gender pay gap is adding insult to injury for families already hit hard by unemployment.

Our newly analyzed state-by-state data demonstrate that mothers in every state and the District of Columbia are financially supporting their families–and many are their family’s primary breadwinner. Women’s earnings are critical to their families’ financial stability. Yet they continue to face a career wage gap that sets them back hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout their lives. Women face this gap regardless of their education, occupation, or where they live.
See also:
Interactive Map: The Persistent Career Wage Gap
Interactive Map: Women Provide for Their Families

The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation

Source: Ariane Hegewisch and Hannah Liepmann, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Fact Sheet, IWPR #C350a, April 2010

From the press release:
Whether they work in the same occupations as men or work in different occupations, women’s median earnings are lower than men’s, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). Using the most recent data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the study finds that there are only four occupations, out of the 108 occupations with enough men and women to estimate earnings for both groups, where women earn more than men. In the 104 others, women’s median earnings are less.

The occupation where women have the highest earnings compared to men is ‘dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers’ (the female/male earnings ratio is 111.1 percent, based on median weekly earnings in 2009 that were $400 for women, $360 for men), an occupation that ranks among the ten lowest paid occupations for men, with average earnings for both men and women well below median earnings for all workers.
See also:
The Gender Wage Gap: 2009
Source: Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Ariane Hegewisch, Hannah Liepmann, and Claudia Williams
Updated March 2010
Fact Sheet
Press Release

Is There a Woman’s Way of Organizing? Gender, Unions, and Effective Organizing

Source: Cornell University, 2010

From the summary:
As traditional industries decline, people are hiring into “informal and low-wage sectors” where turnover is high, legal protections are scarce, unions are rare, and workers tend to be immigrant women of color. Organizing such jobs is especially hard, because many people work in their homes or their employer’s home, with no central workplace, and worry about their status in the U.S. Researchers used ideas from other Berger-Marks reports as the jumping-off point for a series of focus groups and roundtable discussions in 2008 and 2009, where workers and organizers, most of them women, talked about how they mobilized diverse and fragmented workforces, and the experiences of women in unions. The Berger-Marks Foundation funded the project.

Violence Against Women Act: History and Federal Funding

Source: Garrine P. Laney, Congressional Research Service, RL30871, February 26, 2010

From the summary:
The Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (VAWA 2005) (P.L. 109-162) was enacted on January 5, 2006. Among other things, VAWA 2005 reauthorized existing VAWA programs and created many new programs. The act encourages collaboration among law enforcement, judicial personnel, and public and private service providers to victims of domestic and sexual violence; increases public awareness of domestic violence; addresses the special needs of victims of domestic and sexual violence, including the elderly, disabled, children, youth, and individuals of ethnic and racial communities; authorizes long-term and transitional housing for victims; makes some provisions gender-neutral; and requires studies and reports on the effectiveness of approaches used for certain grants in combating violence.

Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility

Source: Council of Economic Advisers, March 2010

From a summary:
Focuses on the economics of flexible workplace policies. The first section highlights the need for such policies, including that (1) women comprise almost 50% of the workforce, and in nearly 50% of households, all adults are working; (2) nearly 20% of workers served as the primary caregiver to someone over 50 during 2008; and (3) there is an increased percentage of workers pursuing advanced education while working full time. The second section of the report details the flexibility that currently exists in the workplace. Specifically, more than 50% of employers indicate that they allow employees to change their start or stop times, even if only occasionally. However, workers with lower skills have less access to flexible workplace practices than do higher-skilled workers. Phased transitions have also become more popular, with most employers offering some sort of gradual return-to-work programs after major life events, such as adoptions or childbirth. Although flexible scheduling and phased transitions appear to be at least somewhat common, remote working (such as telecommuting) is much less common, with only about 15% of workers reporting that they work from home once a week. The final section of the report details some of economic benefits of workplace flexibility. For example, flexible workplace policies can improve worker health and productivity and reduce turnover and absenteeism. However, the costs and benefits of workplace flexibility differ across organizations and industries.
See also:
White House Announces Forum on Workplace Flexibility
Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, Press release, March 23, 2010