Category Archives: Working Women

Improving Pay Equity Would Mean Great Gains for Women

Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Press release, 2008

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research has found that improving pay equity between women and men would create substantial economic gains for women and their families. IWPR finds that in 2008 dollars the typical woman worker would gain $5,710–an economy-wide gain of a staggering $319 billion–if equal pay were the norm. Over a 35-year working life, the typical woman would gain $210,000.
See also:
Equal Pay for Working Families: National and State Data on the Pay Gap and its Costs, 1999

Gender in Job Negotiations: A Two-Level Game

Source: Hannah Riley Bowles, and Kathleen L. McGinn, Harvard Business School NOM Working Paper No. 08-095, May, 13 2008

From the abstract:
We propose a two-level-game perspective on gender in job negotiations. At Level 1, candidates negotiate with the employers. At Level 2, candidates negotiate with domestic partners. In order to illuminate the interplay between these two levels, we review literature from two separate bodies of literature. Research in psychology and organizational behavior on candidate-employer negotiations sheds light on the effects of gender on Level 1 negotiations. Research from economics and sociology on intra-household bargaining elucidates how negotiations over the allocation of domestic labor at Level 2 influence labor force participation at Level 1. In conclusion, we integrate practical implications from these two bodies of literature to propose a set of prescriptive suggestions for candidates to approach job negotiations as a two-level game and to minimize disadvantageous effects of gender on job negotiation outcomes.

Making the Grade on Women’s Health: A National and State-by-State Report Card 2007

Source: National Women’s Law Center, 2008

From the summary:
Making the Grade on Women’s Health: A National and State-by-State Report Card is the first-ever report card to assess the overall health of women at the national and state levels. The Report Card is designed to promote the health and well-being of women in the United States by providing the most comprehensive assessment to date of women’s health.
See also:
Key Findings

Immigrant Labor, Child-Care Services, and the Work-Fertility Trade-Off in the United States

Source: Delia Furtado, Heinrich Hock, IZA Discussion Paper No. 3506, May 2008

The negative correlation between female employment and fertility in industrialized nations has weakened since the 1960s, particularly in the United States. We suggest that the continuing influx of low-skilled immigrants has led to a substantial reduction in the trade-off between work and childrearing facing American women. The evidence we present indicates that low-skilled immigration has driven down wages in the US child-care sector. More affordable child-care has, in turn, increased the fertility of college graduate native females. Although childbearing is generally associated with temporary exit from the labor force, immigrant-led declines in the price of child-care has reduced the extent of role incompatibility between fertility and work.

Preschoolers Enrolled and Mothers at Work? The Effects of Universal Pre-Kindergarten

Source: Maria Fitzpatrick, US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies, Paper no. CES-WP-08-04, March 01, 2008

Three states (Georgia, Oklahoma and Florida) recently introduced Universal Pre- Kindergarten (Universal Pre-K) programs offering free preschool to all age-eligible children, and policy makers in many other states are promoting similar policies. How do such policies affect the participation of children in preschool programs (or do they merely substitute for preschool offered by the market)? Does the implicit child care subsidy afforded by Universal Pre-K change maternal labor supply? I present a model that includes preferences for child quality and shows the directions of change in preschool enrollment and maternal labor supply in response to Universal Pre-K programs are theoretically ambiguous. Using restricted-access data from the Census, together with year and birthday based eligibility cutoffs, I employ a regression discontinuity framework to estimate the effects of Universal Pre-K availability. Universal Pre-K availability increases preschool enrollment by 12 to 15 percent, with the largest effect on children of women with less than a Bachelor’s Degree. Universal Pre-K availability has little effect on the labor supply of most women. However, women residing in rural areas in Georgia increase their children’s preschool enrollment and their own employment by 22 and 20 percent, respectively, when Universal Pre-K is available.

Low-Wage Women Workers: A Profile

Source: Stephanie Luce and Eve Weinbaum, New Labor Forum, Vol. 17, Issue 2, Summer 2008

The labor movement’s future success depends on its ability to organize increasing numbers of workers of color and women workers who are concentrated in low-wage jobs. Scholars and activists have focused on questions of how to organize these workers, how to promote women’s activism and develop leadership, and how to diversify union staff and leaders to better represent the workers they are organizing. If organizing low-wage women workers is essential, then we need a better understanding of who these women workers are, and what they are doing. Who makes up this low-wage workforce? Where do they work? How do we define low wages? What has worked to raise wages and improve working conditions for these women–job training, career mobility, organizing? And what are unions doing to address the needs of this group of workers?

The Social Costs of Career Success for Women

Source: Leslie E. Tower
Review of Public Personnel Administration
Vol. 28, No. 2, 144-165 (2008)

Women in the workforce, especially those in professional and management positions, are doubly burdened by social traditions that expect workers to meet masculine standards at the office while maintaining their feminine role of nurturer at home. This article studies the social costs of female career progression using a survey of 1,600 respondents from different levels of the public sector. The results show that working women have an increased incidence of being single or divorced, married working women tend to have more housework responsibilities, and working women have fewer children or are childless. The article concludes that government and business organizations need to pay serious attention to this hidden problem of social costs that affect women and men disproportionately.

Paid Maternity Leave Still On The Wishlist For Many U.S. Mothers

Source: Heidi Shierholz and Emily Garr, Economic Policy Institute, Snapshot, May 7, 2008

This Mother’s Day, we reflect on the critical but often overlooked issue of maternity leave. In a selection of 19 countries with comparable per capita income, the United States provides the fewest maternity leave benefits in both length of leave and paid time off (see chart). This is considered separate from any disability insurance for which one may qualify. In fact, the United States falls two weeks short of the International Labor Organization’s basic minimum standard of at least 14 weeks general leave. It is also the only country not to guarantee some amount of leave with income.

From Work to Retirement: Tracking Changes in Women’s Poverty Status

Source: Sunhwa Lee, Lois Shaw, AARP Policy & Research, Pub ID: 2008-03, February 2008

From press release:
Women are nearly twice as likely to be poor as men as they reach pre-retirement and retirement ages, according to a new report by AARP’s Public Policy Institute (PPI). The study, titled “From Work To Retirement: Tracking Changes in Women’s Poverty Status,” found that variables such as marital status, labor force participation, and health status affect the risk of poverty for women as they age.

Women’s longer life expectancies play a large role in determining their lifetime financial security. They are more likely to lose a spouse – nearly 40 percent of women 65 and older were unmarried and living alone compared to only 16 percent of men – and they are also more likely to encounter health related problems.
In Brief