Category Archives: Working Women

Gender Differences in the Salaries of Physician Researchers

Source: Reshma Jagsi, DPhil; Kent A. Griffith, Abigail Stewart, Dana Sambuco, Rochelle DeCastro, Peter A. Ubel, Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 307 no. 22, June 13, 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
..It is unclear whether male and female physician researchers who perform similar work are currently paid equally. The objective was to determine whether salaries differ by gender in a relatively homogeneous cohort of physician researchers and, if so, to determine if these differences are explained by differences in specialization, productivity, or other factors….Male gender was associated with higher salary…even after adjustment in the final model for specialty, academic rank, leadership positions, publications, and research time. Peters-Belson analysis… indicated that the expected mean salary for women, if they retained their other measured characteristics but their gender was male, would be $12,194 higher than observed…..Gender differences in salary exist in this select, homogeneous cohort of mid-career academic physicians, even after adjustment for differences in specialty, institutional characteristics, academic productivity, academic rank, work hours, and other factors….

Pregnancy in the workplace

Source: H. M. Salihu, J. Myers and E. M. August, Occupational Medicine, Volume 62 Issue 2, March 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Women constitute a large percentage of the workforce in industrialized countries. As a result, addressing pregnancy-related health issues in the workplace is important in order to formulate appropriate strategies to promote and protect maternal and infant health….Pregnancy discrimination was found to be prevalent and represented a large portion of claims brought against employers by women. The relationship between environmental risks and exposures at work with foetal outcomes was inconclusive. In general, standard working conditions presented little hazard to infant health; however, pregnancy could significantly impact a mother’s psychosocial well-being in the workplace. Core recommendations to improve maternal and infant health outcomes and improve workplace conditions for women include: (i) shifting organizational culture to support women in pregnancy; (ii) conducting early screening of occupational risk during the preconception period and (iii) monitoring manual labour conditions, including workplace environment and job duties.

Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents

Source: National Partnership for Women & Families, Second Edition, May 2012

From the summary:
Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents is a comprehensive look at federal and state laws that provide the kind of support working parents need to stay healthy and protect their economic security when a new child arrives. From access to paid leave to paid sick days to workplace rights for nursing mothers and more, we assessed the laws and graded each state based on the extent to which it has policies that support new parents (beyond the minimal standards set by federal law). The findings are surprising.

– Only two states — California and Connecticut — show real leadership, receiving grades of “A-” for having done the most to support working parents.
– An astounding18 states don’t have a single law that supports new parents beyond what federal law requires.
– Most states are doing something, but not enough, for new parents.
– And not a single state has done all it could to provide paid leave and other supportive policies.

…What makes the grades in Expecting Better especially striking is that we know from past research, including two recent studies from Rutgers’ Center for Women and Work, that these policies have significant benefits. Paid leave and paid sick days, for example, promote the health and economic security of families, reduce reliance on public assistance, and benefit businesses through improved worker loyalty and reduced turnover. These policies are wise public investments that help working families and save the government and businesses money. They are truly win-win.

Women and Obamacare: What's at Stake for Women if the Supreme Court Strikes Down the Affordable Care Act?

Source: Jessica Arons, Center for American Progress, May 2, 2012

From the press release:
Today the Center for American Progress released a new report examining the ways in which a Supreme Court ruling that strikes down the Affordable Care Act would not only undo decades of precedent but would also have a devastating effect on the health and well-being of our nation’s women.

Obamacare, as the health reform law is more commonly known, holds the promise of ensuring coverage of preventive and essential services for women, eliminating gender discrimination by health insurance companies, and making health insurance more available and affordable for women and their families.

Affirmative Action and the Occupational Advancement of Minorities and Women During 1973-2003

Source: Fidan Ana Kurtulus, Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Volume 51 Issue 2, April 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The share of minorities and women comprising high-paying skilled occupations such as management, professional, and technical occupations has been increasing since the 1960s, while the proportion of white men in such occupations has been declining. What has been the contribution of affirmative action to the occupational advancement of minorities and women from low-wage unskilled occupations into high-wage skilled ones in U.S. firms? I examine this by comparing the occupational position of minorities and women at firms holding federal contracts, and thereby mandated to implement affirmative action, and noncontracting firms, over the course of 31 years during 1973-2003. I use a new longitudinal dataset of over 100,000 large private-sector firms across all industries and regions uniquely suited for the exploration of this question obtained from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. My key findings show that the share of minorities and women in high-paying skilled occupations grew more at federal contractors subject to affirmative action obligation than at noncontracting firms during the three decades under study, but these advances took place primarily during the pre- and early Reagan years and during the decade following the Glass Ceiling Act of 1991.

The public-sector jobs crisis: Women and African Americans hit hardest by job losses in state and local governments

Source: Algernon Austin, David Cooper and Mary Gable, Economic Policy Institute, Briefing Paper #339, May 2, 2012

From the summary:
This briefing paper begins by providing background on the public sector’s commitment to equal opportunity and affirmative action in employment, and then explores the degree to which women and African Americans are overrepresented in state and local government jobs. It next turns to a discussion of how state and local public-sector workers have significantly higher levels of education than their private-sector peers, yet are consistently underpaid relative to similar private-sector workers. Then, it compares racial- and gender-based wage disparities in the state and local public sectors and the private sector. The briefing paper next explains the disproportionate impact of state and local public-sector job cuts on women and African Americans, and concludes by contrasting the private sector’s slow jobs recovery with continued employment declines in the public sector.

Key findings include:
– Historically, the state and local public sectors have provided more equitable opportunities for women and people of color. As a result, women and African Americans constitute a disproportionately large share of the state and local public-sector workforce.
– Overall, the wage gap across genders is similar in the state and local public sectors and in the private sector. However, it is smaller for highly educated women employed in state and local government.
– State and local public-sector workers of color face smaller wage disparities across racial lines, and at some levels of education actually enjoy a wage premium over similarly educated white workers.
– The disproportionate share of women and African Americans working in state and local government has translated into higher rates of job loss for both groups in these sectors.
– Job losses in the state and local public sectors stand in contrast to the jobs recovery in the private sector.
See also:
Press release

Special Issue on Diversity

Source: Critical Sociology, Vol. 37 no. 5, September 2011
(subscription required)

From From Affirmative Action to Diversity: Erasing Inequality from Organizational Responsibility:
Over the last several decades, the term ‘diversity’ in the USA increasingly stands for American tolerance, equality, and respect for cultural differences. At the same time, the reality of racial, ethnic and gender inequalities within American institutions have been increasingly obscured in the name of diversity. Our authors make an important contribution to our understanding of the diversity ideology and issues of equity in the 21st century. Authors here explore the shifting stance toward inequality in the USA measured in work settings (Sharon Collins, David Embrick, and Marlese Durr and Adia Wingfield), in the dynamics of higher education (Ellen Berrey, Wendy Moore and Joyce Bell), and in white racial attitudes (Amir Marvasti and Karyn D. McKinney, Nancy Ditomaso). Exploring the issue of diversity as it relates to contemporary forms and maintenance of racial and gender inequalities the authors empirically illustrate the fact that the concept and practice of diversity does not necessarily translate into racial and gender equality. Independently, they show how diversity is constructed in American business and educational institutions and used in the everyday beliefs of mainstream Americans. As a collective, they expose diversity as an ideological counter-point to the race-based policy and practice of affirmative action in an era of color-blind racism. This issue examines the conundrum of diversity in the post-civil rights era….

Articles include:
The Assault on Workers’ Rights – David Fasenfest –
From Affirmative Action to Diversity: Erasing Inequality from Organizational Responsibility – Sharon M. Collins
Diversity in the Post Affirmative Action Labor Market: A Proxy for Racial Progress? – Sharon M. Collins
The Diversity Ideology in the Business World: A New Oppression for a New Age – David G. Embrick
Keep Your ‘N’ in Check: African American Women and the Interactive Effects of Etiquette and Emotional Labor – Marlese Durr and Adia M. Harvey Wingfield
Why Diversity Became Orthodox in Higher Education, and How it Changed the Meaning of Race on Campus – Ellen C. Berrey
Maneuvers of Whiteness: ‘Diversity’ as a Mechanism of Retrenchment in the Affirmative Action Discourse – Wendy Leo Moore and Joyce M. Bell
White Attitudes toward Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action – Nancy DiTomaso, Rochelle Parks-Yancy, and Corinne Post
Does Diversity Mean Assimilation? – Amir B. Marvasti and Karyn D. McKinney
Minority, Black and Non-Black People of Color: ‘New’ Color-Blind Racism and the US Small Business Administration’s Approach to Minority Business Lending in the Post-Civil Rights Era – Tamara K. Nopper
Roots of Civil Rights Politics in Northern Churches: Black Migration to Saginaw, Michigan 1915 to 1960 – Willie McKether

The New Breadwinners: 2010 Update

Source: Sarah Jane Glynn, Center for American Progress, April 16, 2012

From the summary:
In 2009 the Center for American Progress released “The New Breadwinners,” a chapter in The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything. The report describes how women’s movement out of the home and into the paid labor force has changed everything about how our families live and work today. While our lives have changed as a result of this dramatic transformation, the institutions surrounding us have not necessarily kept up. In “The New Breadwinners,” CAP Senior Economist Heather Boushey illustrated how women have made great strides and are now more likely to be economically responsible for themselves and their families, but there is a still a long way to go.

In this brief we update the numbers from “The New Breadwinners” to reflect the most recent data available based on family income, race, age, and motherhood, and show how the trends identified in the 2009 piece have only grown stronger in the ensuing years.

We find that there are more wives, and women generally, supporting their families economically now than ever before–and there could not be a more important time to ensure that working women receive the pay they deserve. The typical woman only earns an average of 77 cents to the male dollar. It is not difficult to imagine how many more women would be breadwinners–and how much better off our families would be–if the gender wage gap were closed.
See also:
Two-paycheck couples, working because they must
By E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post, April 18, 2012

Feminist Collective Bargaining Meets the Civil Service

Source: Fred Glass, CPER Journal, No. 205, March 2012
(subscription required)

AFSCME may have fallen behind at the outset of public worker organizing in California, but by the mid-1960s it was toiling hard to make up for lost time, organizing in schools, city and county employment, and in the University of California system.

In San Jose, the city’s civil service workers association, the Municipal Employees Federation, affiliated with AFSCME in 1972, forming AFSCME Local 101. It was here, in the city that Mayor Janet Gray Hayes never tired of describing as “the feminist capital of the world,” that the old civil service personnel administration methods of adjusting salaries and job descriptions ran into a three-way pileup with collective bargaining and the impact of feminism on workplace organizing.

Steering the women workers through the collision and out to the other side was a determined and visionary organizer, Maxine Jenkins. Her vehicle, or weapon: comparable worth, which was based on the revolutionary idea that male and female workers should be paid equally for work requiring comparable skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions.

Equal Pay Day

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, April 2012

When the Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President Kennedy in 1963, women were earning an average of 59 cents on the dollar compared to men. While women hold nearly half of today’s jobs, and their earnings account for a significant portion of the household income that sustains the financial well-being of their families, they are still experiencing a gap in pay compared to men’s wages for similar work. Today, women earn about 80 cents on the dollar compared to men — a gap that results in the loss of about $380,000 over a woman’s career. For African-American women and Latinas, the pay gap is even greater.

Each year, National Equal Pay Day reflects how far into the current year women must work to match what men earned in the previous year. On National Equal Pay Day, we rededicate ourselves to carrying forward the fight for true economic equality for all.

For more on National Equal Pay Day, including tools, resources and recently announced Apps, see below:

Read the Secretary’s statement on National Equal Pay Day
Read the Secretary’s Blog Post
A Guide to Women’s Equal Pay Rights
An Employer’s Guide to Equal Pay
Learn more about the Equal Pay App Challenge winners
Presidential Proclamation on Equal Pay Day
Highlights of Women’s Earnings by Region
Learn more about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the very first bill President Obama signed into law
Read the White House Equal Pay Task Force Accomplishments Report: Fighting for Fair Pay in the Workplace
The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap
Source: American Association of University Women (AAUW)
State-by-state wage gap data
Source: American Association of University Women (AAUW)