Research News Roundup – May 2017

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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.


To view more of IWPR’s research, visit IWPR.org

Women’s Health Matters to the U.S. Economy

Access to affordable health care is a topic on everyone’s minds. For women, the stakes are high as the national conversation on the United States healthcare system and its future continues to wind its way through Congress. Not only is this National Women’s Health Week, but the month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. We already know how important the status of women’s health and well-being are to families and to the economy – we just need to remind our policymakers and toughen our stance with facts.

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Women are the co- or sole breadwinners in half of American families with children. We’ve seen improvements in women’s mortality rates from chronic diseases, but we’ve lost ground on worsening suicide rates and mental health.

Poor health can pose obstacles to financial stability, educational attainment, and employment, while good health allows women to thrive. Women’s status related to health and wellness also varies considerably by race and ethnicity. Black women are more than twice as likely to die from heart disease, and nearly three times as likely to die from breast cancer, as Asian/Pacific Islander women, the group with the lowest rates. White women have the highest lung cancer mortality rate and are three times more likely to die from lung cancer than Hispanic women, the group with the lowest rate.

Paid family and medical leave programs, which can help women take time to recover from pregnancy or serious illness, offer economic, social, and health benefits to workers, families, employers, and society. IWPR’s research has found that a paid leave policy could be offered nationwide at modest cost.

Given the current political climate and debate over the ACA (Affordable Care Act) and proposed revision, AHCA (American Health Care Act), it’s important to remember that approximately 5 million women of childbearing age (19 to 44 years old) gained coverage from 2010 to 2015 and more than 90 percent of American women and girls now have health insurance.

In order for women and our economy to thrive, we need unassailable facts and solutions. To do this, IWPR needs your support.

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 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.

Access to Child Care Can Improve Student Parent Graduation Rates

Access to Child Care Can Improve Student Parent Graduation Rates

By Barbara Gault and Lindsey Reichlin Cruse

Few studies systematically explore the link between access to child care and college completion among student parents. Existing research and program data, however, suggest that child care plays an important role in helping student parents stay in school and acquire the degree or credential that may open the door to better paying jobs.

Here is what we know about child care access and student parent success in college:

Students who used the on-campus child care center at Monroe Community College in New York were nearly three times as likely to graduate or transfer to a four-year college than student parents who did not use the center.

In 2013, the Office of Institutional Research at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY, studied outcomes among its student parent population, finding that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of the students who used campus child care returned to school the following fall, compared with just half (51 percent) of student parents who did not use the center, excluding those who graduated. Students who used the center were also nearly three times more likely to graduate or transfer to a four-year college within three years of enrollment (41 percent of students using campus child care, compared with 15 percent who did not use the center).

Student parents receiving child care support from federally-funded CCAMPIS programs appear to graduate at much higher rates than student parents overall, according to data from several campus programs.

The Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) provides funding, on a competitive basis, to some institutions to provide child care access to low-income student parents. The program serves roughly 90 campuses, and outcome data for CCAMPIS students, while limited and without comparison groups, suggest an association between participating in a CCAMPIS program and improved college success, with substantially higher graduation rates than seen among student parents overall.

For example, among 77 students who participated in the University of Wisconsin-Madison CCAMPIS program from 2005-2011, 83 percent graduated. CCAMPIS participant graduation rates were nearly identical to the 2010 rate among all undergraduate students (85 percent), which is notable: in the United States overall, nonparents are more than twice as likely as parents to graduate (68 percent, compared with 33 percent).

women with child at office

More than 2 in 5 women community college students who live with young children say they are likely or very likely to withdraw from college to care for dependents.

Data from the 2016 Community College Survey of Student Engagement show that, among students living with young children, nearly three-quarters of women (71 percent) and half of men reported spending over 20 hours a week caring for dependents. These care demands are likely to lead student parents to drop out: 43 percent of women and 37 percent of men living with children say they are likely or very likely to withdraw from college to care for dependents. Previous research suggests that time spent working beyond 20 hours per week substantially decreases college completion rates. While it has not previously been studied, time spent caring for children is likely to have a similar effect, especially when combined with work. (Three states—Arizona, Kentucky, and Washington— require student parents to work at least 20 hours per week to be eligible for Child Care and Development Block Grant Act (CCDBG) child care subsidies.)

Nearly 3 in 5 mothers in Mississippi who had paused or dropped out of school said that having more stable and affordable child care would have helped them stay in college.

IWPR’s survey of 544 women community college students in Mississippi—31 percent of whom were raising dependent children—found that the lack of access to affordable child care threatened their college progress. Among mothers who had taken time off from school or dropped out, nearly three in five (59 percent) reported that having more stable or affordable child care would have helped them stay in college. Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents with children under age 11 said they could not get the quality child care they wanted because it was too expensive—a sentiment that was particularly strong among younger, lower-income, and African-American parents.

“Family commitments” are a top reason that students who leave college would find it difficult to return.

In a 2009 Public Agenda survey of 614 adults (ages 22 -30) who had done at least some college course work, two-thirds said that providing child care would help other students like them complete college successfully, as did over three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents who had not completed their postsecondary education program. In addition, “family commitments” was the second most common reason that returning to college would be difficult for those who had left without graduating.

Creative strategies to increase child care access would contribute to increasing college attendance and completion.

While it stands to reason that better access to child care would encourage parents to return to college and help them stay enrolled, we need more evidence on the strategies that allow states, colleges, and communities to provide these supports affordably and effectively. Parenting responsibilities are emerging as a much bigger factor in students’ ability to access and complete college than anyone might have thought—and better child care access would contribute to increasing college attendance and completion.


To view more of IWPR’s research, visit IWPR.org

Supporting Survivors in Business and Entrepreneurship

Supporting Survivors in Business and Entrepreneurship

By Sarah Gonzalez Bocinski and Alona Del Rosario

Women-Owned Businesses in the United States

In United States in 2012, 35.8 percent of businesses were women-owned compared with 53.7 percent that were men-owned, the remaining 10.5 percent or jointly or publicly owned. While the proportion of businesses owned by women has steadily increased, the proportion of women-owned businesses has remained stagnant at four percent. Approximately 90 percent (89.5 percent) of women-owned businesses are sole proprietorships, with women of color having even higher rates of ownership of non-employer firms.

Economic Empowerment Spotlight

A 2016 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor survey found women-owned firms that generate an income reported average annual earnings of $63,590. While only a fraction of women business owners report earnings, those earnings exceed the 2015 median annual income for full-time working women of $39,900. Further, women who are established business owners report higher levels of well-being than women who are not entrepreneurs.

Many women-owned businesses are concentrated in industries that tend to employ more women than men. For example, 61 percent of health care and education firms are women-owned, but women own only 35 percent of businesses in professional, scientific, and technical services; 32 percent in finance, insurance, and real estate; 25 percent in manufacturing; and 14 percent in transportation and warehousing, all traditionally male-dominated industries.

Women’s entrepreneurship also varies greatly from state to state. The District of Columbia, Maryland, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Georgia have the highest shares of women-owned businesses, while South Dakota, Idaho, Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota have the lowest. For more information on women’s business ownership in your state go to IWPR’s Status of Women in the States website.

Obstacles for Women Entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs may encounter significant obstacles to developing successful businesses. Research indicates that women have less access than men to business counseling and training, fewer opportunities to build networks and work with mentors, and less access to capital. Historically marginalized and underserved populations face the additional challenges of racial discrimination and stereotyping in the labor market.

Women’s entrepreneurship has grown in recent years. From 1987 to 2013, women-led small businesses grew from 4.1 to 8.6 million in the United States according to a 2014 Majority Report of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. While women-owned businesses have been growing quickly, women of color, Black and Latina women in particular, represent the fastest growing segments of the small business community. Since 1997, the number and share of firms owned by women of color has nearly doubled, from 17 percent of women-owned firms in 1997 to 32 percent in 2014, with African American women-owned businesses having increased by an estimated 296 percent.

Supporting Entrepreneurial Survivors

Like many women entrepreneurs, survivors of sexual and domestic violence often face many misconceptions about their strength, ability, and resilience. When it comes to the day-to-day reality of living with and/or managing a relationship with an abusive partner, however, many advocates suggest that survivors employ the same skills exhibited by the most successful CEOs–calculated risk taking, thoughtful action, tough-mindedness, the ability to read people, problem solving, and determination.

Survivors may face additional obstacles to starting a business as a result of years of economic abuse. Abusive tactics that damage credit, deplete resources, and prevent completing education and training put survivors at a disadvantage by limiting their personal and social capital. These challenges can be exacerbated by additional obstacles, such as the immediate and long-term effects of trauma, legal issues, and ongoing threats of violence.

Growing interest in entrepreneurship as a pathway to economic security and independence has led some domestic violence programs to develop trauma-informed business development programs that provide an array of supports such as small grants or loans, training and education, business planning, networking and mentorship, while providing supportive counseling and advocacy. Alternatively, some programs may build partnerships with business development agencies can help provide survivors with guidance and support. Whatever the approach, being mindful of survivors’ safety needs, addressing impacts of abuse and trauma, and taking steps to mitigate the risks, must be priorities.


This project was supported by Grant No. 2014-TA-AX-K433 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

Equal Pay Day: What You Need to Know about the Gender Wage Gap in 2017

Equal Pay Day: What You Need to Know about the Gender Wage Gap in 2017

Equal Pay Day 2017 is Tuesday, April 4, marking how far into the year that women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. Women make up almost half of the workforce, are the sole or co-breadwinner in half of American families with children, and are graduating from college at higher rates than men. Yet, on average, women continue to earn considerably less than men. In 2015, women working full-time, year-round made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent.

Why?

Women, on average, earn less than men in nearly every single occupation for which there is sufficient earnings data for both men and women to calculate an earnings ratio. In middle-skill occupations, workers in jobs mainly done by women earn only 66 percent of workers in jobs mainly done by men. Outright discrimination in pay, hiring, or promotions continues to be a significant feature for women in the workplace.

According to IWPR’s research, if change continues at the same slow pace as it has for the past fifty years, it will take 42 years—or until 2059—for women to finally reach pay parity. For women of color, the rate of change is even slower:

  • Hispanic women will have to wait until 2248
  • Black women will wait until 2124for equal pay

wage gap projection by race

IWPR’s Status of Women in the States project tracks the gender wage gap across states, by race/ethnicity and by age. In 13 states, progress on closing the gender wage gap is so slow that a woman born in 2017 will not see equal pay during her working life. If current trends continue, women living in North Dakota, Utah, Louisiana, and Wyoming will not see equal pay until the next century.

Reasons for the gender wage gap are multi-faceted. IWPR’s research shows that, jobs predominantly done by women pay less on average than jobs predominantly done by men, even despite similar skill requirements. 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.

Women have made tremendous strides during the last few decades by moving into jobs and occupations previously done almost exclusively by men, yet during the last two decades there has been very little further progress in the gender integration of work. In some industries and occupations, like construction, there has been no progress in forty years. This persistent occupational segregation is a primary contributor to the lack of significant progress in closing the wage gap.

Persistent pay inequality can have far-reaching economic consequences. According to an analysis of federal data, equal pay would cut poverty among working women and their families by more than half.

Have you ever found yourself discussing equal pay with a wage gap skeptic? Find more research-backed, fact-based information from IWPR:

  • The 80% wage gap statistic is not misleading. Indeed, it is actually a moderate estimate of gender pay inequality. Read and share IWPR’s fact sheet, “Five Ways to Win an Argument about the Gender Wage Gap.”
  • Women tend to work in female-dominated fields, while men tend to work in higher paying male-dominated fields. Why do we value jobs traditionally done by women so much less than those traditionally done by men when they often require comparable skill and effort? Read the Q&A with IWPR Program Director on Employment & Earnings Ariane Hegewisch.
  • Why should we take the gender wage gap seriously? If women were simply paid the same as men who are the same age, had the same level of education, worked the same number of hours, and had the same urban or rural status, poverty among working women would fall by more than half, according to a new analysis IWPR prepared for the Lean In Foundation’s 20 Percent Counts campaign. Learn more at leanin.org/equalpay.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit IWPR.org