Research News Roundup – June 2017


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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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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Building Family-Friendly Campuses: Strategies to Promote College Success Among Student Parents

Building Family-Friendly Campuses: Strategies to Promote College Success Among Student Parents

By Melanie Kruvelis

This post is the third in a new series by Higher Education Today, Beyond the Margins: Meeting the Needs of Underserved Students.

For parents, receiving a college degree is one of the best investments they can make to improve the financial security, social mobility, and overall well-being of their family. Research has repeatedly shown, for example, that college graduates have higher lifetime earnings than their peers with just a high school diploma, and are more likely to report experiencing better health than those with lower educational attainment. Yet for the 4.8 million college students raising children, navigating higher education—a space primarily designed with young, non-parenting adults in mind—can be uniquely challenging.

Today, more than a quarter of all undergraduate college students are raising children, and about 44 percent are doing so without the support of a partner. The majority of single parents in college—80 percent—are women. Women of color are particularly likely to be single parents while in college: Nearly 40 percent of Black women and more than a quarter of American Indian/Alaska Native women in higher education are raising a child without the support of a partner (in comparison to 19 percent of Hispanic women and 14 percent of white women).

While the share of parents enrolled in college has been steadily growing—according to the most recent data, the proportion of students with dependent children has increased 30 percent from 2004-12—the share of parenting students who complete college remains low. The most recent data show that about half of all college students earn a degree or certificate within six years of enrolling, while only a third of student parents complete school, with the rate even lower for single parents (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Share of Students Who Attained a Degree or Certificate Within Six Years of Enrollment, by Parent and Marital Status, 2003-09

Though the reasons for leaving college without a degree vary, the heightened financial and time pressures faced by student parents can pose significant challenges to graduating. Compared with their non-parenting peers, student parents are nearly twice as likely to live in poverty, and are much less likely to have the resources to pay for college than their dependent peers. Compounding the financial pressure, student parents must also find affordable child care, which is often a significant expense. According to the Care Index, the average cost of center-based care in the United States—about $9,589 annually—is outpacing the average cost of in-state tuition at $9,410. Meanwhile, the share of campuses with childcare centers continues to decline, despite the growing need.

As colleges work to improve attainment rates and address economic, racial/ethnic and gender inequality on their campuses, institutions should take steps to better understand and support their diverse student population, including students with families of their own. Ensuring that student data can be disaggregated by parental and marital status, for instance, can help administrators better understand the needs and experiences of students who are balancing school and parenting. Institutional leaders can work to protect funding for student parent supports, such as Pell Grants and the federal Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, which is the only source of federal funding available to facilitate low-income college students’ access to child care.

And institutions can employ strategies to make campuses more family-friendly, ranging from improving students’ access to childcare on- and off-campus, to stocking administrative offices with toys. A few examples of interventions that support parenting students’ college success include:

Connecting Student Parents with Financial Support and Education: The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Life Impact Program provides participating low-income student parents with a $5,000 renewable scholarship. Life Impact Scholars are also connected with a life coach who helps students navigate on- and off-campus resources, such as child care, transportation supports, and career development programs.

At Norwalk Community College in Connecticut, parenting students can enroll in the Family Economic Security Program, which provides financial coaching, in addition to achievement coaching, peer support, and educational programs, to learners who have experienced interruptions in their college pursuit.

Targeting Academic Support to Student Parents’ Needs: Endicott College’s Keys to Degrees program provides tailored tutoring to participating student parents until they can maintain a 3.0 GPA. Keys to Degrees staff also coach students on how to talk to professors about balancing school with family responsibilities, help them secure internships related to their degree and ensure their graduation within four years.

At the University of California, San Diego, student parents can apply for priority enrollment so they can secure the courses they need to graduate while also creating a schedule that allows them to balance their school, family and work responsibilities more easily.

Making Child Care Accessible and Affordable: At the University of Michigan, low-income student parents may access a child care subsidy through the school’s Financial Aid Office, which they can use for licensed child care in the community.

Parenting students attending Lane Community College in Oregon are offered no-cost assistance finding child care through an on-campus child care resource and referral center.

Building Peer Community: At the University of Alabama, the Undergraduate and Graduate Parent Support programs developed online forums so that student parents can connect on issues related to balancing schoolwork with family responsibilities.

Student parents at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities can attend group lunches for parenting students, coordinated by the university’s Student Parent HELP Center.

Establishing a Family-Friendly Campus Environment: At Niagara County Community College in New York, the Mapping Opportunities for Moms program equips administrative and counseling offices with toys, signaling to students and college staff that families are welcome on campus, in addition to providing single mothers with a range of supports to help them attain a degree or certificate.

The Family Resource Center at Los Angeles Valley Community College has created a space on campus for the college’s parenting students, where they host play groups, as well as baby clothes exchanges, book exchanges, in addition to other two-generation services for parents and their children.

These are a few examples from a menu of options institutions may consider when developing family-friendly programming, and can be mixed, matched, and molded to fit the particular needs and capacity of institutions. While the approaches vary, what these supports have in common is the ability to help stabilize low-income student parents so they have both the time and economic security to focus on attaining a degree. By advocating for student parent supports, developing a greater understanding of student parents’ needs and implementing targeted interventions, colleges can build a more welcoming, productive environment that helps parents complete school and launch careers that provide economic security for their families.

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IWPR stands with Pride!

IWPR stands with PRIDE!

Pride month is celebrated across the United States every June. It is a time when we honor the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had on the country.

On June 26, 2015, when the Supreme Court of the United States recognized the right of same-sex partners to legally marry, the ruling not only meant increased access to benefits for same-sex couples and their children, it brought with it the hope of future gains through legal precedent for equal treatment under the law.

IWPR data show that we need for faster progress to ensure that LGBTQ+ individuals enjoy equal rights and opportunities in employment and earnings, and access to basic benefits to promote health and safety.

Some research done by IWPR regarding these inequalities faced by LGBTQ+ individuals includes:

Status of Women in the States
As of 2014, 29 states – mostly Midwestern, Mountain, and Southern states – still lacked statewide protections against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • Despite their strong participation in the labor force, many women living with a same-sex partner experience economic insecurity
  • About 1 in 3 (34 percent) of LGBTQ+ women did not have enough money for food between 2011 and 2012, compared with 20 percent of non-LGBTQ+ women
  • Lesbian and bisexual women aged 18 and older are more likely than heterosexual women to report having psychological distress – LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to experience mood and anxiety disorders, depression, and suicidal ideation and attempts

Status of Women in the South
In addition to employment discrimination, LGBTQ+ people still face legal barriers to equality as many states do not protect LGBTQ+ people from being evicted or denied a home loan and denied health coverage on the basis of their identities

  • Some states are attempting to pass laws specifically prohibiting second-parent adoption for same-sex couples
  • Women aged 25 and older living with a same-sex partner in the South are much more likely than women overall to have a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Southern women in same-sex households have higher rates of labor force participation relative to heterosexual women who are married to men or single

Status of Black Women in the United States

  • Research suggests that Black LGBTQ+ individuals, especially those who are victims of violence, experience heightened discrimination from law enforcement
  • Once in prison, LGBTQ+ women of color report high levels of discrimination and assault within prisons. Forty percent of girls in juvenile detention describe themselves as lesbian, bisexual, gender questioning/gender non-conforming, or transgender

Facts matter. That is why the Institute for Women’s Policy Research works to produce high quality research on women and families around the country and around the world, we give you the facts.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research conducts and communicates research to inspire public dialogue, shape policy, and improve the lives and opportunities of women of diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences.

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What the Research Says: Job Training

What the Research Says: Job Training

The Trump Administration declared this to be Workforce Development Week, focusing on job training programs, apprenticeships, and improving America’s economy.

Current funding levels of job training programs leave administrators with limited resources to provide supportive services to program participants. The Trump Administration’s proposed budget would cut job training funding even further.

Job Training + Supportive Services = Greater Likelihood of Success

Supportive services are a critical feature of programs that help underserved populations succeed in the job market. That’s the basic conclusion of IWPR’s recent Job Training Success Project. The five-report series demonstrates the importance of providing trainees services such as case management, transportation assistance, child care, and emergency cash, among others. Supports are associated with improved training and employment outcomes even when controlling for factors such as gender, race, age, marital status, education, number of dependent children, and immigrant status, among other factors.

>>Read the new one-pager on findings from IWPR’s Job Training Success Project.

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Job Training Participants Say Supports Are “Incredibly Important” in Achieving Workforce Success

IWPR’s nationwide online survey 1,900 job training program participants, conducted in 2016, was the largest survey exploring the relationship between supportive services and program and employment outcomes and the first to examine which services participants need most. Many survey respondents reported that receiving supportive services was vital to their ability to complete job training.  As one trainee said, “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.”

>>Read the new one-pager on findings from the national survey.

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IWPR is a national partner of the National Center for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship and Employment. For more information on the Center’s work to expand access to apprenticeships and non-traditional careers for women, visit

Research News Roundup – May 2017

Research Making the News

No need to punish poor or raise taxes to get people off welfare

By Chris Tomlinson|  | 5.23.17

“The adult poverty rate in Texas could be slashed from 10 percent to 4.9 percent if women were paid the same as men, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The poverty rate among single Texas mothers would drop from 31.4 percent to 19.5 percent. ‘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,’ researcher Jessica Milli concluded. ‘If women in the United States received equal pay with comparable men … the U.S. economy would have added $512.6 billion in wage and salary income.'”

Citing: The Economic Impact of Equal Pay by State by Jessica Milli, Institute for Women’s Policy Research

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New Study: Women Don’t Want to Get Married Just Because Men Make More Money

Amanda Marcotte | | 5.17.17

“…Women in larger numbers may have begun choosing single motherhood out of perceived economic necessity, believing that their male partners weren’t steady enough to marry. But although the idea of single motherhood has become more normalized, women haven’t necessarily been more eager to marry, even if men are starting to make better money.”

Citing: Male Earnings, Marriageable Men, and Nonmarital Fertility: Evidence from the Fracking Boom by Melissa S. Kearney and Riley Wilson, National Bureau of Economic Research

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The Gender Pay Gap Is Largely Because of Motherhood

By Claire Cain Miller | | 5.13.17

“When men and women finish school and start working, they’re paid pretty much equally. But a gender pay gap soon appears, and it grows significantly over the next two decades. So what changes? The answer can be found by looking at when the pay gap widens most sharply. It’s the late 20s to mid-30s, according to two new studies — in other words, when many women have children. Unmarried women without children continue to earn closer to what men do.”

Citing: The Dynamics of Gender Earnings Differentials: Evidence from Establishment Data by Erling Barth, Sari Pekkala Kerr, and Claudia Olivetti, National Bureau of Economic Research

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Black Girls Are Twice as Likely to Be Suspended, In Every State

By Lauren Camera | | 5.9.17

“Black girls are more than twice as likely to be suspended from school as white girls – in every state – and it’s not because of more frequent or serious misbehavior. That’s one of the major findings included in a new report from the National Women’s Law Center, which examined a slate of issues that disproportionately impact girls of color. Its researchers placed the bulk of the blame on racist and sexist stereotypes that educators and school officials sometimes harbor about black girls, as well as a web of social circumstances, including their overrepresentation in schools with limited resources that hampers their access to experienced teachers and counselors.”

Citing: Stopping School Pushout for Girls of Color, by Adaku Onyeka-Crawford, Kayla Patrick, and Neena Chaudhry, National Women’s Law Center

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New Research Reports

Flouting the Facts: State Abortion Restrictions Flying in the Face of Science

By Rachel Benson Gold and Elizabeth Nash | Guttmacher Institute | May 2017

Most states require abortion facilities and other health care facilities to meet standards designed to ensure patient safety. However, some states have imposed specific standards for abortion providers that do little or nothing to improve safety, but significantly limit access to abortion. Those standards include measures that impose excessive physical plant requirements or require providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals; other restrictions ban the use of telemedicine for medication abortion and limit the provision of abortion to licensed physicians.

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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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Parental Work Hours and Childhood Obesity: Evidence Using Instrumental Variables Related to Sibling School Eligibility

By Charles Courtemanche, Rusty Tchernis, and Xilin Zhou | Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group, University of Chicago | May 2017

This study exploits plausibly exogenous variation from the youngest sibling’s school eligibility to estimate the effects of parental work on the weight outcomes of older children. Data come from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth linked to the Child and Young Adult Supplement. The researchers first show that mothers’ work hours increase gradually as the age of the youngest child rises, whereas mothers’ spouses’ work hours exhibit a discontinuous jump at kindergarten eligibility. Leveraging these insights, they develop an instrumental variables model that shows that parents’ work hours lead to larger increases in children’s BMI z-scores and probabilities of being overweight and obese than those identified in previous studies. They find no evidence that the impacts of maternal and paternal work are different. Subsample analyses find that the effects are concentrated among advantaged households, as measured by an index involving education, race, and mother’s marital status.

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The Gender Gap in Financial Outcomes: The Impact of Medical Payments

By Diana Farrell and Fiona Greig | JP Morgan Chase & Co. Institute | May 2017

The financial resilience of families is a critical factor in the overall health of the US economy. Americans across the income spectrum experience high levels of income and spending volatility, and health emergencies are among the most common economic hardships. One in six families makes an extraordinary medical payment in any given year. Families’ financial outcomes worsen as a result of the extraordinary medical payment and do not fully recover even a year after. This is especially true for women. The gender gap in financial outcomes widens after an extraordinary medical payment.

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Women and Giving: The Impact of Generation and Gender on Philanthropy

By Fidelity Charitable | May 2017

Women today play a central role in philanthropy, leading charitable giving within their families, using their time and skills to advance causes within their communities, and embodying the purpose and heart that underpin philanthropic goals. Women’s influence in and approach to giving has evolved over the last 40 years, reflecting the societal changes that have altered gender roles. While older women are entering retirement after decades of taking on expanding roles for women, including a greater say in household giving  decisions, their daughters—the beneficiaries of greater opportunity—are using those expanded roles to help  lead philanthropy in new directions. This report from Fidelity Charitable highlights this evolution in giving, spotlighting the differences between generations of women who give and further examining the similarities among all women, and how their philanthropic journeys are distinctive from men’s.

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The Haves and Have Nots of Paid Family Leave: Unequal Policies from the Nation’s Largest Employers

By PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States | May 2017

In the United States today, paid family leave is an elite benefit: 94 percent of low-income working people have no access to paid family leave. Millions of Americans don’t get even a single day of paid time for caregiving. One in four new moms in the U.S. is back at work just ten days after childbirth. While public discourse often focuses on income inequality, there is another critical way families experience inequality: the inability to be with their babies and families for the most important moments of their lives.

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What the Research Says: President Trump’s 2018 Budget

What the Research Says: President Trump’s 2018 Budget

The Trump Administration released their 2018 budget on Tuesday. Among many other proposed cuts to health, public assistance, and education programs, the budget eliminates funding for two often overlooked programs—Child Care Access Means Parents In School (CCAMPIS) and the Legal Services Corporation—which would disproportionately affect women. IWPR analyzes how in the below pieces.

Federal Grants Help Student Parents Succeed, But Trump Budget Threatens Their Elimination

Young woman graduating

Jobs with family-sustaining wages increasingly demand workers with at least a community college degree or certificate. But obtaining that all-important credential can be particularly difficult for the 2.1 million community college students—most of whom are women—with dependent children. All too often student parents confront a complicated mix of low incomes, high student debt, and costly child-related expenditures. Affordable, high-quality child care can make the difference for these students and their families. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration’s proposed budget jeopardizes student parent support programs with long records of success at both two- and four- year institutions.

>>Read the new one-pager, “Federal Grants Help Student Parents Succeed, But Trump Budget Threatens Their Elimination”

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Cuts to Legal Services Corporation Would Disproportionately Harm Survivors of Domestic Violence

woman and darkness

President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, released Tuesday, provides key insights into the new Administration’s policy priorities, and if passed, would shift funding away from services that help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The proposed budget would cut all federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), a program that helps low-income people access much needed legal aid. Domestic violence survivors, particularly survivors of color, often lack financial resources to pay for legal support, and need legal aid services to achieve safety and economic independence.


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Cuts to Legal Services Corporation Would Disproportionately Harm Survivors of Domestic Violence

Cuts to Legal Services Corporation Would Disproportionately Harm Survivors of Domestic Violence

President Trump’s 2018 budget released Tuesday provides key insights into the new Administration’s policy priorities, which, if passed, would shift funding away from services that help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The proposed budget cuts all federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), a program that helps low-income people access much needed legal aid. Domestic violence survivors disproportionally benefit from legal aid services. According to program data, 70 percent of LSC clients are women, and family cases—domestic abuse, divorce/separation/annulment, and child custody issues—are the largest number of cases supported by LSC attorneys.

Economic insecurity is often a key barrier for survivors trying to leave abusive relationships. Research finds that an estimated three in four survivors (74 percent) stay with an abuser for economic reasons, and one study of 103 domestic violence survivors found that nearly all (99 percent) experienced economic abuse—including tactics such as generating credit card debt or sabotaging employment—that limit their options and make them financially dependent on the abuser. On average, victims lose over 7 days of paid work per year. In addition to lost wages, many victims lose their jobs as a result of abuse.  Results of small research studies done in Wisconsin, Chicago, and Maine find rates of job loss due to violence ranging from 30 to 60 percent.  Survivors often face high costs for medical care and treatment — one regional study finds that health care costs for women who experience physical abuse are 42 percent higher than for other women.  The many individual costs of violence create economic insecurity that compromises safety, independence, and access to justice.

For survivors who cannot afford legal fees, legal aid services may be one of the few resources to safely separate and protect their children from an abusive partner. Victims who work with an attorney are more likely to be granted an order of protection than those who represent themselves – 83 percent versus 32 percent, according to one study in Maryland. Orders of protection help ensure physical safety and can include protections that allow survivors to safely remain at work, school, or in their homes. Abusive partners often contest divorce cases, which can exacerbate violence and harm to children, and may seek custody of children to further coerce and control their partners. Experienced legal representation is essential for survivors’ safety, justice, and support. Unfortunately, survivors’ options for affordable and accessible legal help beyond LCS are also shrinking, making this resource even more essential. The National Network to End Domestic Violence 2016 Domestic Violence Counts census found that legal representation by an attorney was the second most sought-after—but unmet—request, and that only 12 percent of programs nationally were able to provide this service.

Policymakers can work to promote safety and justice for survivors by helping them cover costs faced when leaving an abuser and to support opportunities to build their long-term economic stability and independence. Research suggests that survivors need greater access to affordable or free legal services, not less. Cuts to legal services would limit the resources available to help survivors navigate the justice system to ensure their safety and promote greater economic security for themselves and their families. As it stands, the proposed budget from the Trump Administration would make it even more cost prohibitive to leave an abuser.

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