Research News Roundup – June 2017

RESEARCH MAKING THE NEWS 

Black Women: Supporting Their Families—With Few Resources

By Gillian B. White|  | 6.12.17

“That heavy reliance on the work of black women helps explain why black women work more than women of other racial groups and are earning higher levels of education than they have historically. But despite their efforts to push for racial and gender equality throughout history, black women still get a raw deal economically, more than just about any other group, according to findings from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the National Domestic Workers Alliance..”

The Status of Black Women in the United States, by Asha DuMonthier, Chandra Childers, and Jessica Milli, Institute for Women’s Policy Research

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New study says older women in Hawaii more likely to live in poverty than older men

Anthony Pignataro || 6.14.17

“Many of the economic challenges that older women experience stem from inequities that women face earlier in life, including a persistent wage gap, the high cost of child care and a shortage of affordable housing,” said Dr. Colette Browne, the Richard S. and T. Rose Takasaki Endowed Professor in Social Policy at the School of Social Work and author of the report’s recommendations in a June 14 UH press release. “This builds up over the course of a lifetime and limits women’s ability to lay the foundation for economic security in retirement, especially for the many older single women living without a spouse.”

Citing: The Economic Security of Older Women and Men in Hawai’i, by Emma Williams-Baron, Julie Anderson, Cynthia Hess, and Jessica Milli, Institute for Women’s Policy Research

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Poverty really is the result of a state of mind — among rich people

By Joan Maya Mazelis |  | 6.20.17

“The poverty line is currently $24,600 per year for a family of four, and $16,240 for a family of two. The minimum wage pays just $7.25 per hour, or $15,080 for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, if the worker never misses a day of work. In other words, the minimum wage only puts a family of one above the poverty line. There are only 12 counties in the entire United States where a worker making minimum wage can afford the rent on a one-bedroom apartment, and zero counties where a full-time minimum wage worker can pay the rent on a two-bedroom apartment.”

Citing: Out of Reach 2017: The High Cost of Housing, by Andrew Aurand, Dan Emmanuel, Diane Yentel, Ellen Errico, and Marjorie Pang, National Low Income Housing Coalition

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ILO: Reducing gender gaps would benefit women, society, and the economy

By Jessica Combes || 6.15.17

“In 2014, G20 leaders made a commitment to reduce the gap in participation rates between men and women by 25 per cent by the year 2025. The ILO report estimates that if this goal was [realized] at the global level, it has the potential to add $5.8 trillion dollars to the global economy, and this could also unlock large potential tax revenues.”

Citing: World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends for Women 2017, by Steven Tobin, Stefan Kühn, Richard Horne and Sheena Yoon, International Labour Organization

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Women Hold Two-Thirds of Nation’s Student Loan Debt

By Jaya Saxena | | 6.13.17

“Race also affects how student debt is paid. An analysis of expected family contributions to college tuition shows that white men benefit the most from family wealth, over $10,000, while black women can expect to get just $3,447 from their families to help pay for college. That means black women tend to take out the most loans. “The typical white family has 16 times the accrued wealth of the typical black family in the United States,” says the report. “It is unsurprising, therefore, that students and families of different races and ethnicities have very different levels of resources to contribute to the costs of postsecondary education.””

Citing: Deeper in Debt: Women and Student Loans, by Kevin Miller, Raina Nelson, and Sarah Dice, American Association of University Women

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States with more black people have less generous welfare benefits, study says

By Tracy Jan | | 6.6.17

“Today, for every 100 poor families in America, just 24 families receive cash assistance, compared with 64 in 1996. Only a quarter of TANF [(Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)] money now goes toward cash payments, down from 71 percent in 1997. Instead, states increased their TANF spending on promoting work activities, providing child care and preschool education, and offering other services not limited to low-income families.”

Citing: Why Does Cash Welfare Depend on Where You Live? How and Why State TANF Programs Vary, by Heather Hahn, Laudan Y. Aron, Cary Lou, Eleanor Pratt, Adaeze Okoli, Urban Institute

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RESEARCH MAKING THE NEWS 

Representation Matters: Women in the U.S. Congress

By Kelly Dittmar, Kira Sanbonmatsu, Susan J. Carroll, Debbie Walsh, and Catherine Wineinger | Center for American Women and Politics and Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New JerseyPolitical Parity | June 2017

A century after the first woman to win election to the U.S. Congress, Jeannette Rankin, took her seat in the House of Representatives, women remain underrepresented in the nation’s legislature with women constituting just 19.4% of members of Congress in 2017—below the worldwide average for national governing bodies. Moreover, the importance of having women serving in Congress is still not fully appreciated or understood. […]. What we find in our research—based on interviews with 83 of the 108 women who served as Senators, Representatives, and Delegates—is that the women on both sides of the aisle in the 114th Congress very much believe that their presence and their voices mattered, and they provided considerable evidence of achievements despite the overall environment of gridlock and party polarization in which they operated. Our interviews revealed that a shared work style, common experiences as women, and personal relationships forged in single-sex spaces within Congress enable women to work together across party lines. Women of color—who constituted a record number of members in the 114th Congress—emphasized the significance of their presence in Congress and the imperative of including the perspectives of women of color and minority communities more generally in the policymaking process.

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Intermarriage in the U.S. 50 Years after Loving v. Virginia

By Gretchen Livingston and Anna Brown | Pew Research Center | May 2017

In 2015, 17 percent of all U.S. newlyweds had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, marking more than a fivefold increase since 1967, when 3% of newlyweds were intermarried, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. In that year, the U.S. Supreme Court in the Loving v. Virginia case ruled that marriage across racial lines was legal throughout the country. Until this ruling, interracial marriages were forbidden in many states. More broadly, one-in-ten married people in 2015 – not just those who recently married – had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. This translates into 11 million people who were intermarried.

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Paid Family and Medical Leave: An Issue Whose Time Has Come

By Aparna Mathur, Isabel Sawhill, Angela Rachidi, et al. | American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution | June 2017

Over the past year, the AEI-Brookings Paid Family Leave Working Group has developed recommendations for a federal paid leave policy. While the focus of our work and this report is on paid parental leave, we recognize the importance of families being able to take time for their own illness to look after relatives. We encourage more research and analysis of how a paid leave policy could be expanded to incorporate leave for these reasons. However, this report focuses only on paid parental leave at the time of the birth or adoption of a child. In the course of our work, we developed eight principles to guide policymaking in this area. They include preventing family hardship when a baby is born or adopted, maintaining long-term attachment to the labor force, supporting children’s healthy development, encouraging gender equity, minimizing costs to employers, ensuring access for the less advantaged, incorporating a shared contribution on the part of workers, and fully funding any new benefit. We also explored the design of a policy in more detail, looking at such elements as who should be eligible, the generosity of the benefit (wage replacement), job protection, and financing mechanisms.

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Our Aging, Caring Nation: Why a U.S. Paid Leave Plan Must Provide More Than Time to Care for New Children

By Julia Kortrey and Vicki Shabo| National Partnership for Women and Families | June 2017

This brief demonstrates that, although paid parental leave is critically important and must be included in any national paid leave plan, a policy that only covers parents caring for newborn or newly adopted children is insufficient. As the country’s population ages and people live and work longer, any national paid leave policy must reflect the well-established types of care included in the FMLA more than two decades ago. Only a comprehensive policy that recognizes the range of serious family and medical needs can meet the needs of America’s working people and the family members who rely on them.

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Building the Caring Economy: Workforce Investments to Expand Access to Affordable, High-Quality and Long-Term Care

By Nina Dastur, Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Laura Tatum, Peter Edelman, Kali Grant, and Casey Goldvale | Georgetown University Law, Center on Poverty and Inequality | May 2017

For many families, the struggle to get by is compounded by the demands and expense of providing care for young children, older family members, and/or family members with disabilities. Caregiving—with its attendant love and joy and often sacrifice—enhances our lives, but too often families in the United States find themselves on their own as they seek to meet these caregiving needs while balancing work and other obligations. This report proposes caregiving jobs investments to address two national needs: the pressing need for caregiving; and the equally pressing need for good jobs. With these aims, we offer proposals that promote the well-being of children, older adults, people with disabilities, and their families by creating and sustaining good jobs in the caregiving sector.

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Workforce of Today, Workforce of Tomorrow: The Business Case for High-Quality Childcare

By Katharine B. Stevens | The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce | June 2017

American  business  depends  on  a  strong  workforce,  now  and  in  the  future,  to  compete  and succeed globally. But America is facing an unprecedented workforce crisis: a large and growing shortage of skilled workers. According  to  a  2016  survey  by  the  Aberdeen  Group,  four out of  five  employers believe  that today’s labor pool lacks skills and abilities essential to business success.

Recent  strategies  to  address  the  skills  gap  have  focused  largely  focused  on  addressing its immediate  consequences. While this  is  critical  for  business  success today,  we  also need strategies  that  will  build  the  human  capital  of  tomorrow — to revitalize  our workforce  for generations to come. High-quality childcare, which enables adults to work while laying a foundation for children’s success in school and  beyond,  is  an  under-recognized but promising strategy for addressing America’s growing workforce crisis. Done right, childcare provides a powerful two-generation approach to building the skilled workforce on which our country’s continued prosperity depends.

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