Category Archives: Working Women

The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap

Source: American Association of University Women (AAUW), Spring 2016

From the abstract:
You’ve probably heard that men are paid more than women are paid over their lifetimes. But what does that mean? Are women paid less because they choose lower-paying jobs? Is it because more women work part time than men do? Or is it because women have more caregiving responsibilities?

AAUW’s The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap succinctly addresses these issues by going beyond the widely reported 79 percent statistic. The report explains the pay gap in the United States; how it affects women of all ages, races, and education levels; and what you can do to close it.
The Gender Pay Gap by State and Congressional District
The gender pay gap exists in almost every congressional district according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. Not only do some districts in the 114th Congress lag especially far behind, but some states also have large disparities between districts. How do your state and district stack up?

Interactive training improves workplace climate, knowledge, and support towards domestic violence

Source: Nancy Glass, Ginger C. Hanson, Naima Laharnar, W. Kent Anger and Nancy Perrin, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, May 16, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background: As Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) affects the workplace, a supportive workplace climate is important. The study evaluated the effectiveness of an “IPV and the Workplace” training on workplace climate towards IPV.
Methods: IPV training was provided to 14 intervention counties and 13 control counties (receiving training 6 months delayed). Measures included workplace climate surveys, IPV knowledge test, and workplace observations.
Results: (i) Training significantly improved supervisor knowledge on IPV and received positive evaluations, (ii) training improved workplace climate towards IPV significantly which was maintained over time, and (iii) after the training, supervisors provided more IPV information to employees and more IPV postings were available in the workplace.
Conclusions: The study provides evidence to support on-site interactive, computer based training as a means for improved workplace safety. IPV and the Workplace training effectively increased knowledge and positively changed workplace climate.

Barriers and Bias: The Status of Women in Leadership

Source: American Association of University Women (AAUW), 2016

From the press release:
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) today released Barriers and Bias: The Status of Women in Leadership, new research documenting why women are still woefully underrepresented in top leadership positions. The report demonstrates how that gender leadership gap limits both women and our society and details real solutions for lawmakers, industry leaders, and everyday Americans. …
Barriers and Bias offers an in-depth and expansive set of findings and recommendations for policy makers, industry leaders, and individuals:

  • For policy makers, the report outlines ways to promote equity and diversity at the local and national levels and demonstrates why closing the gender leadership gap is good for both the country and lawmakers’ constituents at home.
  • For businesses, the report details both the bottom-line and cultural implications of losing opportunities to the gender leadership gap, while offering a set of recommendations that range from blind résumé reviews and flexible schedules to evidence-based diversity training.
  • For individuals, the report shows how closing the gender leadership gap supports a healthier work-life balance and illustrates the effects of the leadership gap on women from diverse backgrounds.
  • The report is being released in coordination with AAUW’s new Implicit Association Test about women’s leadership. The test was developed in collaboration with Harvard University’s Project Implicit so that everyday Americans and leaders alike can measure their own biases about gender and leadership — biases people may not know they have.

    The bad news? AAUW’s initial findings reveal that, on average, most people have a negative bias toward women in leadership. The good news? Barriers and Bias provides real steps to confront those biases — and the barriers standing in the way of women leaders and society as a whole.
    Fact Sheet

    Patterns of child care subsidy use and stability of subsidized care arrangements: Evidence from Illinois and New York

    Source: Alejandra Ros Pilarz, Amy Claessens, Julia Gelatt, Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 65, June 2016
    (subscription required)

    From the abstract:
    Given the prevalence of short child care subsidy spells and program churning documented in prior studies, researchers and policymakers have been concerned about the implications of discontinuity in subsidy receipt for the stability of children’s care arrangements. Yet little research has studied the stability of subsidized arrangements or how subsidy discontinuity relates to changes in subsidized providers. Using child care subsidy program administrative records from a cohort of children in four diverse sites across Illinois and New York states, this study examines patterns of subsidy use and stability of subsidized care arrangements, as well as the relationship between the two. Results suggest that the length of states’ eligibility periods is related to the duration of subsidy spells; however, significant variation in patterns of subsidy use within states suggests that local level factors are also important. Results show that subsidy discontinuity is related to children experiencing more total changes in subsidized providers. Focusing on provider changes across spells, we also find that the timing of subsidy exits, the length of gaps in subsidy receipt, and within spell provider instability are each related to whether or not children re-enter the program with a different subsidized provider after a break in subsidy receipt. We discuss these findings’ implications for understanding how new program requirements established in the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant may matter for subsidy continuity and care stability.

    • Length of states’ eligibility periods appears to be related to subsidy continuity.
    • Substantial within state variation in subsidy continuity was also observed.
    • Subsidy discontinuity was associated with changes in subsidized care arrangements.
    • Subsidy trajectories were related to changing subsidized providers between spells.

    Child care assistance and nonstandard work schedules

    Source: Angela Rachidi, Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 65, June 2016
    (subscription required)

    From the abstract:
    Child care is a necessary work support for many American families, but can be prohibitively expensive for those with low incomes. The federal government provides assistance through direct child care subsidies, but only a fraction of eligible families are in receipt. One factor that may limit access to child care assistance is work schedule. Research suggests that mothers with nonstandard work schedules use relative care more and day care centers less than those with standard work schedules. Research also shows that child care subsidies are disproportionately used for day care centers. This suggests that mothers who work nonstandard schedules may be less likely to receive child care assistance, but little empirical work addresses this question directly. Using data from a cohort of urban, unmarried mothers, this study explores the direct and indirect relationship between work schedule and receipt of child care assistance. The findings suggest that nonstandard work schedules reduce the odds of receiving child care assistance; a relationship mediated entirely by less day care center use among nonstandard schedule workers. The results imply that more flexible child care assistance is needed to meet the needs of these workers, possibly provided outside of the direct-subsidy system.

    • Nonstandard hour workers were less likely to receive child care assistance.
    • This relationship was entirely mediated by less use of day care centers.
    • The current direct-subsidy system may be ill-suited to nonstandard hour workers.
    • Alternatives should offer a flexible child care benefit for nonstandard schedule workers.

    Something to Talk About: Information Exchange Under Employment Law

    Source: Joni Hersch, Jennifer Bennett Shinall, Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 16-27, April 14, 2016

    From the abstract:
    To avoid the appearance of sex discrimination that would violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, both Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance and a common misunderstanding of the law have resulted in little or no information about family status being provided in pre-employment interviews. To investigate whether concealing family information actually improves women’s employment prospects, we conduct an original experimental study fielded on more than 3,000 subjects. Our study provides the first ever evidence that concealing personal information lowers female applicants’ hiring prospects. Subjects overwhelmingly preferred to hire candidates who provided information, regardless of content. Any explanation improved employment prospects relative to no explanation for an otherwise identical job candidate. Our results are consistent with the behavioral economics theory of ambiguity aversion, which finds that individuals prefer known risks over unknown risks. These findings have broader implications regarding permissible pre-employment questions, as they suggest that restrictions on questions about matters such as criminal history and credit history, both of which are currently targeted by legislatures and by the EEOC for prohibition, may likewise have adverse effects on the classes of workers such restrictions are intended to protect. Finally, our findings suggest that the interactive process model of reasonable accommodation, embodied in the enforcement guidance for the Americans with Disabilities Act, may provide a better model for accommodation of work-family balance.
    Press release

    Women should own up about gaps on resume
    Source: Amy Wolf, Futurity, May 20, 2016

    Mothers in College Have Declining Access to On-Campus Child Care

    Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Quick Facts, IPWR #Q049, May 2016

    From the abstract:
    As Mother’s Day approaches, the 3.4 million mothers in college are performing a complicated balancing act. According to new IWPR analysis, availability of on-campus child care continued to decline in 2014, with just half of public four-year institutions providing on-campus child care services, down from a high of 55 percent in 2003-05 (Figure 1). At community colleges, where the largest share of parents are enrolled, only 45 percent report having an on-campus center, down from over half (53 percent) in 2003-04 (Figure 1). Given the importance of a higher education to a family’s economic security and their children’s future success, ensuring that student mothers have access to affordable, quality care must be a priority for educational institutions, higher education advocates, and policymakers.

    Task Segregation as a Mechanism for Within-job Inequality: Women and Men of the Transportation Security Administration

    Source: Curtis K. Chan, Michel Anteby, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 61 no. 2, June 2016
    (subscription required)

    From the abstract:
    In this article, we examine a case of task segregation—when a group of workers is disproportionately allocated, relative to other groups, to spend more time on specific tasks in a given job—and argue that such segregation is a potential mechanism for generating within-job inequality in the quality of a job. When performing those tasks is undesirable, this allocation has unfavorable implications for that group’s experienced job quality. We articulate the processes by which task segregation can lead to workplace inequality in job quality through an inductive, interview-based case study of airport security-screening workers in a unit of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at a large urban airport. Female workers were disproportionately allocated to the pat-down task, the manual screening of travelers for prohibited items. Our findings suggest that this segregation led to overall poorer job quality outcomes for women. Task segregation overexposed female workers to processes of physical exertion, emotional labor, and relational strain, giving rise to work intensity, emotional exhaustion, and lack of coping resources. Task segregation also seemed to disproportionately expose female workers to managerial sanctions for taking recuperative time off and a narrowing of their skill set that may have contributed to worse promotion chances, pay, satisfaction, and turnover rates for women. We conclude with a theoretical model of how task segregation can act as a mechanism for generating within-job inequality in job quality.

    Zika Virus: The Challenge for Women

    Source: Jennifer Kates, Josh Michaud and Allison Valentine, Kaiser Family Foundation, Updated: April 15, 2016

    The recent and rapid spread of Zika virus, a mosquito-transmitted infection, into the Americas is the latest in a series of emerging infectious diseases that pose new threats to human health. Active Zika transmission is now reported in over 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as several other territories, and the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts it could affect 4 million people across the Americas this year alone. On February 1 following an emergency meeting of experts, WHO declared that clusters of birth defects associated with Zika infection during pregnancy constitute a “public health emergency of international concern” requiring a stepped up, coordinated global response. In April the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed this link.

    Even before the association between Zika infection and births defects was confirmed, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the CDC and other health authorities had issued guidance to pregnant women and those seeking to become pregnant to consider delaying travel to Zika-affected areas, and for those living in countries with widespread Zika transmission to avoid exposure to mosquito bites. In some countries public health authorities have gone even further, recommending that women postpone becoming pregnant for a period of time; most notably, the Minister of Health of El Salvador, a country which is experiencing a rise in suspected Zika cases, has recommended delaying pregnancy until 2018.

    Such calls to postpone pregnancy raise serious issues, because many women across the region have limited access to contraceptives and other reproductive health services, experience high rates of sexual violence, and face other reproductive health decision-making barriers that can result in unintended pregnancies. In fact, some of the Zika-affected countries have among the strictest abortion laws in the world, potentially presenting women who have an unintended pregnancy with a dangerous catch-22. The United States government may have an important role to play in addressing health access and rights for women in Zika-affected countries, both through its direct health and development assets as well as its diplomatic engagement and public health expertise. To understand more about where these issues are likely to be more acute, we examine available country-level data on access to contraception, abortion policies, and the US government’s foreign assistance and global health presence in Zika-affected countries.

    Women’s Health Insurance Coverage

    Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Fact Sheet, January 2016

    From the summary:
    Health insurance coverage is a critical factor in making health care affordable and accessible to women. Among the 97.5 million women ages 19 to 64 residing in the U.S., most had some form of coverage in 2014. However, gaps in private sector and publicly-funded programs left almost one in eight women uninsured. One of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) primary goals was to expand access to insurance coverage to reduce the number of uninsured. The law requires that nearly everyone carry health insurance, and expands access to coverage through a combination of Medicaid expansions, private insurance reforms, and premium tax credits. This factsheet reviews major sources of coverage for women residing in the U.S. in 2014, the first full year of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) major coverage expansion, and discusses the likely changes and impact of the law on women’s coverage in future years.