Category Archives: Working Women

Maternity Leave in the United States: Paid Parental Leave is still Not Standard, even among the Best U.S. Employers

Source: Vicky Lovell, Elizabeth O’Neill, and Skylar Olsen, Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), Fact Sheet, IWPR #A131 August 2007

From the press release:
WASHINGTON – A new fact sheet released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reports that nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of the best employers for working mothers provide four or fewer weeks of paid maternity leave, and half (52 percent) provide six weeks or less. Nearly half of the best companies fail to provide any paid leave for paternity or adoption. While more than one-quarter of the best companies (28 percent) provide nine or more weeks of paid maternity leave, many of the winners’ paid parental leave policies fall far short of families’ needs. IWPR’s analysis is based on data provided by Working Mother Media, publisher of Working Mother, regarding the 2006 list of Working Mother 100 Best Companies.

The Best and Worst State Economies for Women

Source: Heidi Hartmann, Olga Sorokina, and Erica Williams, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, IPWR Briefing Paper R334, December 2006

Women have made dramatic economic progress throughout the United States, especially since the 1960s. Yet, women have fared much better in some states than in others, and in no state do women fare as well economically as men. On several indicators, women have experienced important gains in the nearly two decades that the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has been tracking these data. For example, women are more likely than men to be employed in managerial or professional jobs and to have health insurance coverage. At the same time, women still earn less, are less likely to have a Bachelor’s or professional degree, or to own a business, and are more likely to live in poverty than men across the states. With median annual earnings of $31,800, women employed full-time, year-round in the United States still earn only 77.0 percent of what men earn. Of all civilian women aged 16 and older, only 59.2 percent are in the labor force, compared with 71.8 percent of men.

Women at Work: A Progress Report

Source: W. Michael Cox and Richard Alm, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Economic Letter, Vol. 2 no. 5, May 2007

Recent decades have seen a revolution in women’s work, marked by gains in labor force participation, college study, occupations and entrepreneurship. A commitment to education and work suggests U.S. women will continue to fare better at work, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll match recent decades’ rate of progress.

The growth of their labor force participation has leveled off in recent years, suggesting the surge of women into the job market has run its course. Women’s share of business ownership has risen only modestly. With a large portion of today’s women already seeking higher education, further increases in the share of college graduates will come only slowly. Women approach or have achieved parity in many professions.

The past 50 years’ experience suggests, however, that U.S. women will respond to incentives and opportunities. They’ve shown a desire to channel their efforts into sectors and occupations that are likely to grow. It’s a good formula for further progress in the workplace.