March IWPR Research News Roundup

March IWPR Research News Roundup

RESEARCH MAKING THE NEWS


Here’s How Long It Will Take for Each State to Give Women Equal Pay

By Annalyn Kurtz| | 3.22.17

“Florida may be the first state to close the gender wage gap. Women in Wyoming, however, may have to wait until year 2153 until they make as much as their male counterparts. That’s according to projections released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research on Wednesday. Julie Anderson, a senior research associate with IWPR, used Census data to measure how wages for full-time, year-round working men and women have changed in each state since 1959. Then she used these historical trends to predict how much longer it will take to close the pay gap between the sexes. The answer, to say the least, is depressing.”

Citing: Projected Year the Wage Gap Will Close by State by Julie Anderson, Jessica Milli, and Melanie Kruvelis, Institute for Women’s Policy Research

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The Pay Gap Could Vanish For All Women – Sometime in the 23rd Century

By Jon Swartz and Charisse Jones | | 3.13.17

“Despite strides in the 1980s and 1990s, the pay gap between the sexes hasn’t budged in more than a decade. That’s even with growing research and outcry that’s prompted some companies to review — and vow to fix — broad discrepancies in their own workforces. The numbers are glaring: Women make up half the U.S. college-educated workforce but those with full-time jobs were on average paid 80 cents for every dollar earned by men in nearly every occupation for which there was sufficient earnings data in 2015, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The gap is especially pronounced when comparing median weekly earnings and far deeper for women of color.”

Citing: The Gender Wage Gap 2016: Earnings Differences by Race and Ethnicity by Ariane Hegewisch and Emma Williams-Baron, Institute for Women’s Policy Research

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New Research Identifies a ‘Sea of Despair’ Among White, Working-Class Americans

By Joel Achenbach and Dan Keating| | 3.23.17

“Sickness and early death in the white working class could be rooted in poor job prospects for less-educated young people as they first enter the labor market, a situation that compounds over time through family dysfunction, social isolation, addiction, obesity and other pathologies, according to a study published Thursday by two prominent economists.”

Citing: Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century by Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Princeton University

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Women in Cybersecurity Face an Uphill Battle. Mentorship Could Help.

By Jonathan Vanian |  | 3.14.17

“Overall, the analysis paints a grim picture of how women are represented in the cybersecurity field, as females account for just 11 percent of all cybersecurity professionals, earn less than their male counterparts across the board, and generally feel under-appreciated by their employers. The disparity remains at the executive level too, the research shows, with men being nine times more likely to be in a managerial position, and four times more likely to be in executive management.”

Citing: The 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study: Women in Cybersecurity, by International Information System Security Certification Consortium, The Center for Cyber Safety and Education, and the Executive Women’s Forum

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Women in Finance are Punished Much More than Men for Violating the Rules

By Oliver Staley |  | 3.14.17

“By now, it’s well established that women are paid less than men, and receive fewer opportunities for advancement. Now, a study shows there’s also a gender gap when it comes to discipline. Male financial advisors are three times more likely to be involved in misconduct than women, but women are 50% more likely to lose their jobs as a result, according to a new paper by business professors at Stanford and the universities of Chicago and Minnesota. Women, who are less likely to be repeat offenders, also have a harder time finding new jobs after they’re fired.”

Citing: When Harry Fired Sally: The Double Standard in Punishing Misconduct, by Mark Egan, University of Minnesota; Gregor Matvos, University of Chicago; Amit Seru, Stanford University

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Trump’s Child Care Plan Is Gift to the Rich, Report Says

By Heather Long |  | 2.28.17

“The heart of Trump’s [child care] plan is to significantly expand the tax deduction that families can take for child care expenses for kids under 13. Anyone making less than $250,000 ($500,000 if married) could deduct the average cost of child care in their state. (The average would be based on the age of their child, since it usually costs more to care for infants and toddlers). That sounds great, but families have to pay income taxes to Uncle Sam in order to take advantage of the deduction. Many working class families pay nothing in federal income taxes because they earn too little in income to owe anything.”

Citing: Who Benefits from President Trump’s Child Care Proposals?, Lily L. Batchelder, Elaine Maag, Chye-Ching Huang, and Emily Horton, Tax Policy Center

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NEW RESEARCH REPORTS


Does Quebec’s Subsidized Child Care Policy Give Boys and Girls an Equal Start?

By Michael J. Kottelenberg and Steven F. Lehrer | NBER | March 2017

Although an increasing body of research promotes the development of universal early education and care programs, little is known about the extent to which these programs affect gender gaps in academic achievement and other developmental outcomes. Analyzing the introduction of universal highly-subsidized child care in Quebec, we first demonstrate that there are no statistically significant gender differences in the average effect of access to universal child care on child outcomes. However, we find substantial heterogeneity in policy impacts on the variance of developmental and behavioral scores across genders. Additionally, our analysis reveals significant evidence of differential parenting practices by gender in response to the introduction of the policy. The analysis is suggestive that the availability of subsidized child care changed home environments disproportionately, and may be responsible for the growing gender gaps in behavioral outcomes observed after child care is subsidized.

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The State of American Wages 2016

By Elise Gould | Economic Policy Institute | March 2017

Rising wage inequality has been a defining feature of the American economy for nearly four decades. In 2016, with an improving economy, most workers at all income and educational levels finally began to see an increase in wages. But large gaps in equality by gender, race, and wage level remain, and some of these gaps are increasing.

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Hungry and Homeless in College: Results from a National Study of Basic Needs Insecurity in Higher Education

By Sara Goldrick-Rab, Jed Richardson, and Anthony Hernandez | Wisconsin HOPE Lab | March 2017

Food and housing insecurity among the nation’s community college students threatens their health and wellbeing, along with their academic achievements. Addressing these basic needs is critical to ensuring that more students not only start college, but also have the opportunity to complete degrees. This report presents findings from the largest survey ever conducted of basic needs insecurity among college students. In 2015, the Wisconsin HOPE Lab published the research report Hungry to Learn, a study based on a survey of approximately 4,000 students at ten community colleges in seven states. This study includes more than 33,000 students at 70 community colleges in 24 states. While this is not a nationally representative sample of students or colleges, it is far greater in size and diversity than prior samples, and provides information to shed new light on critical issues warranting further research.

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From Day One: An Agenda for Advancing Women Leaders in Africa

By Joyce Banda | Wilson Center | March 2017

All across the globe, leadership programs designed and led by civil society, governments, and the international community seek to imbue leadership skills in women and girls. The potential impact of these programs, however, is undermined by the extremely gendered political, cultural and social practices of society. Aspiring and existing women leaders face their own unique challenges, such as lacking appropriate training and financing, violence, and issues including media coverage and fake news. More than 60% of Africa’s population lives in rural areas where these challenges, especially to young girls, are the most pronounced. In order to ensure women in Africa have the same opportunities as men to become leaders, African leaders and the international community must address the unique challenges facing women and girls to become the leaders they were born to be.

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Investing in Workforce Program Innovation: A Formative Evaluation of Five Workforce Organizations’ Experiences during the Human Capital Innovation Fund Initiative

By Ranita Jain, Amanda Newman, and Marcela Montes | Aspen Institute | March 2017

In local labor markets across the country, workforce organizations are striving to help unemployed and under-employed individuals prepare for, connect to, and advance in employment. To support this work, the Capital One Foundation established its Human Capital Innovation Fund (HCIF), which between 2012 and 2016 invested in building the capacity of five workforce organizations to pursue new strategies. These organizations are DC Central Kitchen in Washington, DC, the Greater New Orleans Foundation in New Orleans, LA, and Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, The Door, and JobsFirstNYC in New York, NY. In this report, the researchers describe the five organizations’ experiences planning, implementing, and adapting new strategies. It offers insights into the complex work of developing and maintaining relationships that cross institutions.

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Towards a Better Future for Women and Work: Voices of Women and Men

By Douglas J. Besharov, Richard V. Burkhauser, Bouglas M. Call, et al. | Gallup and the International Labour Organization| February 2017

Gallup and the International Labour Organization surveyed the world’s women and men to better understand their perceptions about women and work. Universally, the study found that the top challenge that men and women identify for working women is maintaining the balance between work and family. But this is not the only challenge these women face — and struggles aren’t the same everywhere. Women in developed economies, for example, also frequently mention unequal pay, while women in developing economies are more likely to cite unfair treatment and abuse in the workplace.

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Honoring Women’s History Month With Facts That Matter

Honoring Women’s History Month With Facts That Matter

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Facts matter, that is why the Institute for Women’s Policy Research works to continually produce high quality research on women and families around the country and around the world – this is what we do, we give you the factsWomen’s History Month celebrates women’s contributions and raises awareness that for centuries women have been undervalued. That is why what we do is so important. We assist the trailblazers, be that your local representative, investigative reporter, your community organization or women’s group, or the hundreds of thousands of women who want to make their voices heard and show their struggles are real.

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A recent report released by IWPR with OXFAM discusses women in large, low-wage, growing, female-dominated occupations and discusses public policy choices that could increase pay, improve women’s lives, and address the undervaluation of women’s jobs, like child care.

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Another report addresses the undervaluing of women’s jobs in manufacturing, information technology, and transportation where women are often trapped in lower paying, female dominated jobs. With more specific training, however, they can enter good middle-skilled jobs, often in the same work places, that require similar skills, but are male-dominated. Many of these occupations have high projected job openings. Placing women in these middle-skilled occupations can help women seeking to improve their earnings, and employers looking to fill the vacancies. You can learn more about these middle-skilled jobs by visiting our website and interactive jobs database www.womenandgoodjobs.org.

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Job training for occupations like those mentioned above can be hard for many women to complete due to the often limited availability of supportive services in the workforce development systemA new IWPR report series assesses the current knowledge about existing services and shows the importance of supportive services for low-income individuals. Common barriers to completing employment training (including lack of access to child care, transportation, and stable housing) are discussed, and solutions for improving access to these important supports are offered.

With your help we have been able to systematically disseminate compellingly presented studies that are are crucial to women’s progress.

  • Paid family leave helps women stay employed and strengthens their ability to increase their pay to help support their families.
  • Closing the gender wage gap could take another 45 years, until 2059, for men and women to reach parity if the pace of change in the annual earnings ratio continues at the same rate as it has since 1960—and longer for women of color. Our work explores solutions that raise women’s pay such as making overtime pay more available.
  • Our Student Parent Success Initiative focuses on supporting student parents in postsecondary education. The project involves research, tool-building, technical assistance, public education, and networking with advocates, policymakers, and practitioners invested in the success of student parents.

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This Women’s History Month, as we look forward, our desire to better the lives of women and families cannot continue without your help. Please consider making a donation to IWPR to help us achieve our mission to advance women’s status through social science research, policy analysis, and public education.

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Read our blog post, An Economy without Women? 5 Facts to Knowhighlighting what the economy might look like without women and the crucial role women play in the economy every day.

 

An Economy without Women? 5 Facts to Know

An Economy without Women? 5 Facts to Know

5 Facts about Women and the Economy in Advance of the ‘Day without Women’

On March 8th, International Women’s Day, organizers of the “Day Without Women” are set to participate in a general strike with the intention of minimizing economic activity by women. It’s uncertain as to how large the strike will be or who will participate.

Just how much do women contribute to the economy? Nearly 75 million women over the age of 18 work in the United States. Taken together, working adult women earn $2.8 trillion in a single year, not counting the value of their unpaid work at home.

Here are five other things you need to know about women and the economy in advance of International Women’s Day.

  1. Hispanic Women Will Wait 232 Years for Equal Pay, If Current Trends Continue.

IWPR analysis has found that women overall will not see equal pay until 2059, but projections by race and ethnicity find that women of color have much longer to wait until pay equity. The exceptionally slow pace of progress for Hispanic women is nearly two centuries behind when White women should expect to see equal pay with White men (2056). Black women are not projected see equal pay until 2124.

>> Read IWPR’s Resources on Pay Equity & Discrimination, including Five Ways to Win an Argument about the Gender Wage Gap, our fact sheet that clarifies the most common myths about gender wage gap statistics.

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  1. Equal pay would cut poverty by more than half for working women and grow the U.S. economy.

Persistent earnings inequality for working women translates into lower lifetime pay for women, less income for families, and higher rates of poverty across the United States. In each state in the country, women experience lower earnings and higher poverty rates than men. The economic impact of this persistent pay inequality is far-reaching: if women in the United States received equal pay with comparable men, poverty for working women would be reduced by half and the U.S. economy would have added $482 billion (equivalent to 2.8 percent of 2014 GDP) to its economy.

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  1. Job Segregation keeps 1 in 4 working women in traditional care, serving, and cleaning roles with lowest pay.

Undervalued and Underpaid in America, a recent study by IWPR and Oxfam America finds that workers in growing, low-wage, female-dominated jobs—who are disproportionately women of color—earn less than men working in similar jobs. For instance, maids and housekeepers, who earn $9.94 per hour, are 90 percent female, while janitors, who are mostly men, earn 22 percent more, at $12.13 per hour.

“Millions of women work in jobs that are seen as “women’s work” and are in fact done disproportionately by women, such as teaching young children, cleaning, serving and caring for elders — essential jobs that, despite requiring physical skill, emotional labor and often, postsecondary education, offer workers low wages and scant benefits.” – IWPR’s Barbara Gault and Oxfam America’s Mary Babic wrote in an op-ed on the findings for PBS NewsHour, “The Economy Undervalues Women’s Work and That Needs to Change.”

>>Read: IWPR Program Director on Employment & Earnings Ariane Hegewisch answered some frequently asked questions on the wage gap for Oxfam America’s blog, “Why DO women earn less than men? And other vexing questions.” (A great resource for how to respond to common questions from a wage gap skeptic!)

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  1. Women account for only 1 in 3 workers in good, growing, middle-skill occupations.

Improving women’s access to good middle-skill jobs can help close the wage gap and improve women’s economic security, while also filling reported skills shortages. IWPR’s analysis of more than 400 occupations finds that many women work in jobs that already have a similar skill profile to better paying, male-dominated jobs in manufacturing, information technology, and transportation—jobs that employers report are facing skills shortages.

For example, library assistants—8 in 10 of whom are women—get paid almost $24,000 less per year than IT support specialists, nearly 3 in 4 of whom are men. Based on the analysis, these two occupations share many similar characteristics, and with some additional training and education, library assistants could become IT support specialists, improving their own earnings and filling growing demand for IT workers.

>>Read: IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann and JP Morgan Chase’s Chauncy Lennon delve into what the findings mean for closing the gender and skills gap in an op-ed for U.S. News & World Report.

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  1. A national paid leave policy could help young working mothers, a group least likely to have access to leave

A research series from IWPR and IMPAQ International finds that a national paid leave policy would benefit working women, younger workers, and workers of color and, depending on the policy alternative enacted, cost less than half of one percent of payroll. About half (50.5 percent) of young mothers are not eligible for unpaid, job-protected leave under FMLA. Yet, first-time mothers who utilized paid leave were 26 percent less likely to quit their jobs and were 18 percent more likely to work for the same employer after the birth of their first child.

Another IWPR report finds a growing body of research suggesting that paid family leave increases labor market attachment, economic security, and the health and welfare of families and children, and has the potential to help businesses thrive, reduce spending on public benefits programs, and promote economic growth and competitiveness. Paid leave is a win-win-win:  good for the employee, good for the employer, and good for the economy.

“As Congress and the new President search for a real fiscal stimulus with long-term payoffs, they should look no further than fighting for equal pay for women and investing in paid family leave and quality, affordable child care.” – IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York wrote in an op-ed for TIME, “Pay Women More If You Want a Stronger Economy.”

New Survey of Job Training Participants Indicates Supportive Services are Critical to Completing a Program

New Survey of Job Training Participants Indicates Supportive Services are Critical to Completing a Program

IWPR recently released findings from a survey of nearly 2,000 job training participants. Below are some insights from the participants captured in the survey. Read the full report, Supports that Matter in Workforce Development Programs: A National Client Survey on Access to Services at iwpr.org and read the press release with key findings, “Groundbreaking Survey Finds Access to Services Like Child Care and Transportation Can Impact Success in Job Training Programs.”

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Over half of participant respondents said their program helped them gain access to computers or other technology, and about half of respondents said their program helped them with peer support. Respondents had varied reasons for entering job training programs, one participant answered:

 “I decided to enroll in job training because I wanted a better experience for life. I also wanted to see myself as a successful woman, without depending on anybody.”

Another said:

“[I wanted to enroll in job training] to show my child that if I can do anything, she can do anything. Plus, I want to prove to myself [that] I can do it.”

But many respondents face challenges during job training that may affect their success in the program. The most common challenges reported were difficulty paying bills and transportation problems.

Those who received supportive services report having better completion rates and stronger intentions of completion. Some pointed to greater financial stability, as one respondent noted:

 “All the assistance I received from this program has been incredibly important in keeping me in my program. Without it, I have to make decisions like whether to pay for rent or food or pay for school fees.”

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Others noted the importance of additional resources like peer support. One respondent said:

“The support that [the program] has given me is far more than I can give back. They are very important to me because they have stood by me and pushed me to better myself and shown me that I can do much more than I could have ever thought.”

And another respondent explained:

“When you are down and out the support from the other members and instructors means the world to you. It did to me and I thank God every day that I had a chance to go to the program and get the emotional support from these wonderful women.”

By continuing to build and strengthen partnerships, organizations can improve access to supportive services among job training participants. Other possible strategies for ensuring that participants’ needs are met include striving to increase supports that represent participants’ greatest unmet needs, including the experiences and viewpoints of program leaders in making the case for increased public funding for supportive services, and encouraging the use of funds from underutilized sources such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment & Training for supportive services. If possible, programs should increase their support for child care through referrals or other means, and pilot new models for supporting the child care needs of mothers and fathers in training. Community colleges can work to develop partnerships with social service and other community-based organizations to strengthen their students’ access to supportive services.

To read the full report, visit iwpr.org.