IWPR’s Top 10 Research Findings of 2017

For IWPR, this year emphasized, at a basic level, the importance of facts and how easily inaccurate information can lead to harmful policies. We are grateful for our partners, supporters, social media followers, and others who have helped share our research and have used it to spark change for women and their families.

Below are our Top 10 findings from the year and a sampling of the impact of our research so far. The work continues in 2018!

1. The economic, social, health, and political status of Black women varies widely by U.S. state.

In June, IWPR and the National Domestic Workers Alliance released The Status of Black Women in the United States, one of the most comprehensive reports on Black women in every state, which builds on IWPR’s signature Status of Women in the States series to explore how Black women are faring across six different topic areas.

  • Findings from the report were discussed by eight Black women leaders during a groundbreaking panel moderated by Alicia Garza, Special Projects Director at NDWA and co-founder of Black Lives Matter, on June 7, 2017, at the policy research forum, “From Persistence to Power: Facts, Truth & Equity for Women,” hosted by IWPR, Wellesley Centers for Women, and the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College. Watch the recording of the panel here.
  • Read NDWA’s Alicia Garza’s commentary in Cosmopolitan, “Black Women Are Working Hard. It’s Time to Work Hard for Them Too.” plus other coverage of the report in The Washington Post, Refinery 29, Mic, the Cut, the AtlanticColorlines, Blavity, Slate, Rewire and the New Republic.

2. Number of single mothers in college doubled over a decade—and they are disproportionately more likely to attend for-profit colleges than non-parent peers.

The number of single mothers in college more than doubled in the 12 school years between 1999 and 2012, to reach nearly 2.1 million students—or 11 percent of all undergraduates. Nearly two in five Black women (37 percent) and over one-quarter of American Indian/Alaska Native women (27 percent) are raising a child on their own while in college, more than twice the rate of White women (14 percent).

3. Gender Wage Gap Narrows for First Time in a Decade, but Women Won’t See Equal Pay for 43 More Years

New annual earnings data were released in September, showing the first statistically significant narrowing of the gender wage gap since 2007.

  • Fortune, The Washington Post, Vox, and Mic cited IWPR’s analysis in their coverage of the new wage gap data. IWPR updated its useful wage gap primer, “5 Ways to Win an Argument about the Wage Gap.”
  • Is the wage gap due to “women’s choices” or is it actually due to policy choices? IWPR’s Ariane Hegewisch and Emma Williams-Baron explore the social science evidence in a new article for the Saint Louis University Public Law Review.
  • IWPR’s analysis of unemployment rates among Millennial women garnered attention in Teen Vogue and Mic, while Heidi Hartmann was interviewed for the Sunday New York Times on women’s stagnating labor force participation rate.

4. Child care is critical to keeping women in the labor force and in school—and the Trump Administration’s child care proposals fall far short of what’s needed.

  • In the Fall issue of Dissent, IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann and Gina Chirillo analyze proposals on child care from the Trump Administration and Congressional Democrats, review research from around the world on the benefits of child care, and outline what a child care agenda for the progressive movement in the United States would look like. Hartmann and Chirillo conclude that, “as in many other countries with our wealth, we can and must humanize our economic system by building in time and resources for caring for our families.”
  • In May, the Trump Administration released their budget proposal, which eliminated funding for CCAMPIS, the only federal program that helps low-income student parents access child care. IWPR experts raised awareness about the critical importance of the CCAMPIS program in The Washington Post, The Hechinger Report, and on social media, including a tweet chat with Young Invincibles. Marketplace radio listed the threat to CCAMPIS as one of the “3 things you may have missed in Trump’s budget.” In September, a White House official told Refinery29, “We are working on ways to preserve the program.”

5. Health care costs, job instability, and reduced educational attainment compound the negative effects of violence.

In August, IWPR released a fact sheet that summarizes findings from research literature on the economic consequences and costs of intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual assault, and stalking.

6. Receiving transportation assistance, child care, and other supportive services may improve the chances of completing workforce development programs and finding a job.

  • IWPR’s reports on the impact of supportive services on job training success included results from a nationwide survey of 1,887 current or former job training participants, the largest survey to explore the relationship between supportive services and program and employment outcomes and the first to examine which services participants need most. The findings from the Job Training Success series were featured in IndustryWeek, The Atlantic CityLab, and Next City.
  • Watch the recording or read the social media conversation from the panel event, “Supportive Services in Workforce Development Programs: Policies and Practices to Promote Job Training Success,” held in Washington, DC, on February 28 to culminate the release of the Job Training Success report series.

7. Instituting a national paid family and medical leave policy would provide vital benefits at an affordable cost.

  • Who would benefit from a national paid leave policy? How much would it cost? Using data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Census Bureau, IWPR and IMPAQ International produced a series of analyses finding that a national paid leave policy would especially 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. IWPR’s two recent one-pagers on costs and benefits summarize what the research says.
  • Read more on IWPR’s paid leave research and expertise in recent pieces from Vox, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

8. Equal pay would cut the poverty rate for children with a working mother by half and add $513 billion in wage and salary income to the U.S. economy.

  • On Equal Pay Day, IWPR partnered with org’s #20PercentCounts campaign to provide new data on the impact of equal pay on poverty and the economy.
  • Find new state analysis on the impact of equal pay on poverty and state economies and updated projections for when women in each state will receive equal pay if current trends continue (women in Wyoming will be waiting until the 22nd century).
  • In January, in advance of the presidential inauguration, IWPR President Heidi Hartmann penned an op-ed with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in TIME, “Pay Women More If You Want a Stronger Economy.”

9. Stalking victims face economic barriers to safety: some of the groups most likely to experience stalking also have among the lowest levels of financial resources available to address the issue.

  • A blog post from IWPR’s Sarah Gonzalez Bocinski and Alona Del Rosario, “Supporting Survivors in Business and Entrepreneurship,” highlights the importance of developing trauma-informed business development programs. These programs are increasingly exploring entrepreneurship as a pathway to economic security and independence for survivors.
  • Visit IWPR’s YouTube page to view recent webinars from IWPR’s Economic Security for Survivors project, focusing on promoting job training success and entrepreneurship among survivors.

10. Women, particularly low-income women and women of color, have the greatest stake in effective and humane disaster recovery.

  • IWPR’s in-depth work on women in the Post-Katrina Gulf Coast informed coverage of the devastating hurricanes this summer (Newsweek: “Hurricanes like Irma increase risk for sexual assault”).
  • IWPR President Heidi Hartmann co-authored an op-ed with Geanine Wester of the Florida Red Cross and EmpowHER of the Palm Beaches in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (“Post-hurricane recovery efforts must include women’s voices”) that urged those involved in hurricane recovery efforts to include women in decision-making.

 

 

IWPR Research News Roundup – December 2017

RESEARCH MAKING THE NEWS

Women are better in tech than men, says a report

By Erin Carson |  | 11.17.17

A report from the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution measured men’s and women’s digital scores, and found that women had stronger skills than men do. The Brookings report, called “Digitalization and the American Workforce,” looked at “information about the knowledge, skills, tools and technology; education and training; work context; and work activities required” for high tech jobs, and it gave women a digital score of 48 versus 45 for men.

Citing: Digitalization and the American Workforce by Mark Muro, Jacob Whiton, and Siddharth Kulmaki, at The Brookings Institution, November 2017

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Women start-ups hampered by bias among male investors: study

By Emily Velasco |  | 11.16.2017

A new study is highlighting one possible reason women aren’t making more headway in Silicon Valley: men prefer to invest in companies run by other men. With men making up 90 percent of venture capitalists, that preference is a bottleneck that keeps women out of the ranks of tech entrepreneurs. […] Because female-led start-ups face tougher funding prospects than male-led start-ups, fewer women enter the tech entrepreneur pipeline that ultimately feeds the ranks of venture capitalists.

Citing: Are Early Stage Investors Biased Against Women? By Michael Ewens and Richard R. Townsend at California Institute of Technology and University of California, San Diego, October 2017

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What we now know about who struggles with student debt

By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel |  | 11.16.2017

Older African Americans and college students with children disproportionately bear the burden of education debt, according to a pair of reports released this week that researchers say show the need for more nuanced solutions from higher education. Americans over age 50 collectively hold $247 billion in outstanding federal education loans, an amount that has grown threefold since 2003, policy analysts at the Urban Institute found. The impact of that debt differs depending on whether borrowers took out the loan for themselves or for family members, according to a report released Thursday by the think tank.

Citing: The Complexity of Education Debt Among Older Americans, by Kristin Blagg and Victoria Lee at The Urban Institute, November 2017

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Violence Against Transgender People Is on the Rise, Advocates Say

By Maggie Astor |  | 11.9.2017

The Human Rights Campaign has documented the killings of 25 transgender people in the United States so far in 2017, compared with 23 last year and 21 in 2015. Other organizations, like Glaad and the Transgender Law Center, have slightly different tallies, but the trend holds. Transgender people have been killed this year in Chicago and in Waxahachie, Tex.; in the Ozarks of Missouri and on the sidewalks of Manhattan. They have been shot, stabbed, burned and, in at least one case, pushed into a river. On average, one to two have been killed somewhere in the United States every week.

Citing: Violence Against the Transgender Community in 2017, by The Human Rights Campaign, October 2017

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On #LatinaEqualPayDay, Advocates Are Pushing for Change

By Lyanne Alfaro |  | 11.2.2017

When it comes to median annual earnings, Latinas make 54 cents compared to a dollar earned by non-Latino white men, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). This means Latinas would have to work 10 more months in a year to reach the same level of pay. Women make almost half of the workforce, and only earn 80 cents to every dollar a man makes. But while non-Latina white women could close that gap by 2059, it would take Latinas until 2233 to reach parity.

Citing: Women’s Median Earnings as a Percent of Men’s 1985-2016 (Full-time, Year-Round Workers) with Projections for Pay Equity, by Race/Ethnicity, by Institute for Women’s Policy Research, November 2017

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NEW RESEARCH REPORTS

Becoming Visible: Race, Economic Security, and Political Voice in Jackson, Mississippi

By Rachel Black and Aleta Sprague, with Aisha Nyandoro | New America | November 2017

This report attempts to reveal how policies created through racial exclusion and oppression are maintained behind a veneer of race-neutrality, and to reject reform efforts that tinker at the margins of this system. In doing so, what we are calling for is nothing less than a new approach to making social policy based on our oldest beliefs about democracy and opportunity that truly affirms the equal humanity and dignity of all people.

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Working with men to support women’s empowerment  

Women for Women International | November 2017

Women’s equality is everyone’s business. All members of society suffer from patriarchal attitudes and have a role to play in promoting gender equality – these are not just “women’s issues.” The emerging literature suggests that there are three main reasons for engaging with men for women’s equality: Men hold important positions of power and influence over societies. Engaging with them as ‘gatekeepers’ can promote more efficient normative change via their influence. Men can become allies who understand the benefits of promoting gender equality and work in partnership with women. Men can also be co-beneficiaries, as patriarchal attitudes reinforce stringent masculine norms that dictate how men should behave and limit the roles a man can play in his family and community.

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Persistent Gaps: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2017

By Karen Schulman and Helen Blank | National Women’s Law Center |November 2017

The average annual cost for full-time care ranges from nearly $3,000 to over $17,000, depending on the age of the child, the type of care, and where the family costs can strain families’ budgets, force parents to use lower-cost care even if they would prefer other options for their children, or prevent parents from working because they cannot a ord care. Child care assistance can enable families to overcome these challenges by helping families pay for child care.

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Trends in College Pricing 2017

By Jaclyn Bergeron and Edward Lu | College Board | October 2017

Both the published tuition and fee prices of colleges and universities and the net prices students pay after subtracting grant aid and tax credits and deductions continued to rise between 2016-17 and 2017-18, even after adjusting for inflation. Average net prices in 2017-18 remain lower at public two-year and private nonprofit four-year institutions than they were in 2007-08 (in 2017 dollars). But each year since 2011-12, net prices have risen in these sectors, as well as at public four-year institutions, as the growth in grant aid slowed relative to the growth in tuition and fees.

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What We’re Reading Today (12/8)

Each morning, IWPR’s @landewatson compiles articles on gender, race, economics, and other policy issues IWPR staff want to know about. See below for what we’re reading today. (Note: articles included do not necessarily reflect the views of IWPR’s staff.)


DOMESTIC POLICY

The Wall Street Journal

Mine the Gap: More Women Embrace Mining Careers

Rachel Pannett, December 8

 

The New York Times

Job Growth Signals Robust Economy, With Gain of 228,000

Ben Casselman, December 8

 

The Washington Post

Exactly how male-dominated are central banks? Here are the numbers.

Cristina Bodea and Tara Iseneker, December 8

 

The Washington Post

The U.S. economy is creating millionaires at an astonishing pace. But what’s it doing for everyone else?

Christopher Ingraham, December 7

 

Moneyish

All-male panels are going extinct and this is a big reason why

Katerina Ang, December 8

 

The Washington Post

Bill would let silenced victims of workplace harassment take their claims to court

Drew Harwell, December 6

 

OPINION

The Washington Post

This woman was a silence breaker on harassment. And she was fired for it, she says.

Petula Dvorak, December 7

 

The New York Times

How Harvard’s Hypocrisy Could Hurt Your Union

Vail Kohnert-Yount and Jared Odessky, December 7

 

The Washington Post

A Welcome College Diversity Push

David Leonhardt, December 7