Category Archives: Working Women

Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform: An Essential Prescription for Women

Source: U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, August 6, 2009

From the press release:
Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Chair of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), along with Rep. Elijah Cummings and Rep. Jim Moran released a JEC new report entitled, “Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform: An Essential Prescription for Women.” The report reveals that during the recession, women are experiencing a double-whammy of lost health insurance as they lose their insurance due to either their own or their spouse’s job loss. In addition, the JEC report chronicles the vulnerability created by women’s dependence on their spouse’s employer-sponsored health insurance, the unique risk of un-insurance for younger and older women, and the spike in newly uninsured children of unemployed single mothers.

The Market Defense

Source: Sharon Rabin-Margalioth, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliyah – Radzyner School of Law, working draft, July 29, 2009

From the abstract:
Too often women encounter the argument that pay disparity is the outcome of market forces and not sex discrimination. Salary differentials are attributed to individual pay demands, bargaining effectiveness, external counteroffers and/or prior salaries. These are just a few examples of market justifications employers raise to explain why similar workers performing the same job are compensated differently.

This paper argues that, in most cases, market justifications for pay disparity in equal pay for equal work litigation should be rejected. The paper then takes on the more ambitious project of proposing an alternative model of gender discrimination, which is not restricted to causation.

Family-Friendly Workplaces: Do Unions Make a Difference?

Source: Jenifer MacGillvary with Netsy Firestein, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and
the Labor Project for Working Families, July 2009

This report analyzes the “union difference” in family-friendly workplace policies and finds that in areas such as paid family leave, paid sick days, family health insurance, and child-care benefits unionized workers receive more generous family-friendly benefits than their nonunionized counterparts.
See also:
Executive Summary
Press Release

Roadblocks to Health Care: Why the Current Health Care System Does Not Work for Women

Source: Meena Seshamani, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HealthReform.gov, 2009

From the press release:
The report shows how our current system is leaving millions of women without the affordable, quality care they need.

Roadblocks to Health Care reports:
– 21 million women and girls are uninsured.
– In the individual insurance market, women are often charged higher premiums than men during their reproductive years. Holding other factors constant, a 22 year-old woman can be charged one and a half times the premium of a 22 year-old man.
– In a recent national survey, more than half of women (52 percent) reported delaying or avoiding needed care because of cost, compared with 39 percent of men.

Job Patterns For Minorities And Women In Private Industry 2007

Source: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), March 23, 2009

As part of its mandate under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires periodic reports from public and private employers, and unions and labor organizations which indicate the composition of their work forces by sex and by race/ethnic category. Key among these reports is the EEO-1, which is collected annually from Private employers with 100 or more employees or federal contractors with 50 more employees. In 2007, over 67,800 employers with more than 61.3 million employees filed EEO-1 reports.
See also:
Data for 2007

Women at Risk: Why Many Women Are Forgoing Needed Health Care

Source: Sheila D. Rustgi, Michelle M. Doty, and Sara R. Collins, Commonwealth Fund, Issue Brief, May 2009

From the press release:
Women are more likely than men to feel the pinch of rising health costs and eroding health benefits, with about half (52%) of working-age women reporting problems accessing needed care because of costs, compared to 39 percent of men, a new Commonwealth Fund study finds. Women who are insured but have inadequate coverage are especially vulnerable: 69 percent of underinsured women have problems accessing care because of costs, compared to half (49%) of underinsured men.

The study, Women at Risk: Why Many Women Are Forgoing Needed Health Care, by Commonwealth Fund researchers Sheila Rustgi, Michelle Doty, and Sara Collins finds that overall, seven of 10 working-age women, or an estimated 64 million women, have no health insurance coverage or inadequate coverage, medical bill or debt problems, or problems accessing needed health care because of cost.
See also:
Overview

No Paid Leave for New Moms

Source: Elise Gould, Economic Policy Institute, Economic Snapshot, May 6, 2009

This Mother’s Day we reflect on the critical but often overlooked issue of maternity leave. Among peer countries with comparable per capita income (i.e., those in the G7), the United States provides the fewest mandated maternity leave benefits in both length of leave and amount of paid time off.

The PDA’s Causation Effect: Observations of an Unreasonable Woman

Source: Michelle A. Travis, Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, Forthcoming

From the abstract:
While many scholars rightfully have critiqued the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) as falling short of achieving the ultimate goal of equal employment opportunities for women, this Article reveals one of the PDA’s most important successes. By recognizing pregnant women as a given in the workplace, the PDA launched a quiet revolution in the way that judges make causal attributions for adverse employment outcomes. Specifically, the PDA provided judges with the conceptual tools that were needed to help shift causal attributions to an employer, rather than attributing a pregnant woman’s struggles in the workplace to her own decision to become a mother. Because our notions of responsibility follow our notions of causation, this shift in causal attribution enabled judges to more easily identify employers as legally responsible for the misfit between the conventional workplace and working women’s lives. While this causal attribution shift has been incomplete, it at least laid the foundation for ongoing conversations about how the law might achieve even deeper structural and organizational transformations in the workplace looking forward. By revealing the PDA’s causation transformation story, this Article seeks to shore up that foundation for future efforts at designing workplaces more fully around a caregiving worker norm.

The Gender Pay Gap

Source: American Association of University Women, April 22, 2009

From the press release:
To commemorate Equal Pay Day, April 28, 2009, AAUW has released a new state-by-state earnings comparison by gender that shows that the wage gap is stubbornly in place despite the overall positive effect a college degree has on women workers. Observing Equal Pay Day reminds the nation of the gross inequities facing women, who must work from January 2008 through April 2009 to earn what their male counterparts received in 2008 alone.
See also:
Map data explained
Map data table

Quick Facts – Recent Updates

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Women’s Bureau, April 2009

The Women’s Bureau was created by law in 1920 to formulate standards and policies to promote the welfare of wage-earning women, improve their working conditions, increase their efficiency, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment.

The following publications have recently been updated:
Women in Nursing
20 Leading Occupations of Employed Women 2008
Women in the Labor Force in 2008