New IWPR Briefing Paper Shows High Rates of Unemployment and Economic Uncertainty for Women who Maintain Families in Pennsylvania

A new Briefing Paper, The Female Face of Poverty and Economic Insecurity: The Impact of the Recession in Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh MSA, produced by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania found that more than four out of ten families headed by single mothers in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), and more than one in three in Pennsylvania, live in poverty. Single mothers have been impacted especially hard by the recession: the rate of unemployment for women who maintain households in Pennsylvania has more than doubled between 2007 and 2009, rising from 5.0 percent to 11.1 percent, over twice the rate for married men.
While employment is not a guaranteed route out of poverty for single mothers, it is a beginning. On average, women in Pittsburgh MSA earn only 74.6 percent what men earn, and this ratio worsens for women of color (64.2 percent for African American women and 65.6 percent for Latina women). The gender wage gap in both Pittsburgh MSA and Pennsylvania is worse than the national gender wage gap (77.1). Poverty, unemployment, lack of affordable and accessible child care, and the gender wage gap put female-headed households with children at a severe economic disadvantage.
The Briefing Paper provides recommendations that would increase economic security for working families in Pennsylvania without requiring high levels of new investment from the state. Increasing investments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into job opportunities especially for women who head households while also training employers on equal employment opportunity law enforcement to protect women’s rights on the job are federal solutions that would not place a significant burden on the state. Additionally, expanding family-friendly workplaces by incorporating paid sick and family leave and better access to child care will help ensure that women gain access to higher paying, more flexible jobs that allow women to meet their family responsibilities while providing a stable income. The Female Face of Poverty report asserts that removing barriers to economic security faced by women will help to alleviate poverty in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania as a whole, and provide a better economic future for women and families.
Read more here: www.iwpr.org/pdf/R345FemaleFacePA.pdf
View the report online: www.iwpr.org/pdf/R345PApoverty.pdf
Watch the video from the press conference: http://cmsmedia.state.pa.us/treasury/archives/021810/archive.asp

Lack of Paid Sick Days Allowed H1N1 to Spread in the Workplace

A new Briefing Paper entitled Sick at Work: Infected Employees in the Workplace During the H1N1 Pandemic, released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, finds that while almost 26 million employed Americans age 18 and over may have been infected with the H1N1 flu in 2009, nearly 8 million employees took no time off work while infected. Relying on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on rates of illness and work attendance during the months of September through November, 2009, the study suggests that an alarming number of employees attended work while sick. The findings suggest that a lack of paid sick days–especially in the private sector, where two in five workers lack paid sick days–increased the spread of H1N1 spread in the workplace.
The report can be found here: http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/B284sickatwork.pdf

New IWPR Briefing Paper Finds Women’s Unemployment, Economic Insecurity, and Poverty at Historic Highs in the Recession

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research released a comprehensive, 67-page Briefing Paper, entitled Women and Men’s Employment and Unemployment in the Great Recession. Based on analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, the Briefing Paper finds many families are relying on women’s earnings when men are unemployed and that unemployed men and women are experiencing an average of 29 weeks of unemployment before finding a new job.
The Briefing Paper, authored by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Ashley English, and Jeffrey Hayes, Ph.D., researchers at IWPR, is available on the IWPR website here: www.iwpr.org/pdf/C373womeninrecession.pdf.

Big Gender Wage Gap Found After Federally Funded Training

A new Briefing Paper, The Workforce Investment Act and Women’s Progress: Does WIA Funded Training Reinforce Sex Segregation in the Labor Market and the Gender Wage Gap?, released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, shows that federally funded training may reinforce sex segregation and the gender wage gap.
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is likely to come up for reauthorization this Congress. The Briefing Paper finds, based on data from the WIASRD Data Book, that:
• Women on average earn $1500 to $2000 less per quarter than men after federally funded career counseling or training. After completing services, women earn 79.5 percent of what men earn among adult participants and 74.1 percent of what men can earn among dislocated workers.
• The wage gap is not due to less training: on average women received more weeks of WIA-funded training than men.
• Fewer than 3 percent of WIA exiters received training for non-traditional occupations, occupations where the opposite sex accounts for at least 75 percent of workers.
WIA includes ‘self-sufficiency’ as a stated objective of training services. Unless greater attention is paid to the causes of the gender earnings gap after WIA services, that goal will remain elusive for many women and their families.
Click here to view the Briefing Paper.