Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A new study reveals that women are not equal to men in the workplace -Western NY

EMPLOYMENT: 50/50 lacking in gender shares of burden, benefits

Published: January 23, 2010 11:56 pm

Staff Reports
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

By the numbers, the women of Western New York cannot be called “equal” to men.

According to a new study by the University at Buffalo Regional Institute, from the time they’re teen-agers, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, women are tugged down a few rungs on the socioeconomic ladder.

Women are half the work force but comprise well less than half the leadership in workplaces: 4 percent in banking, 4 percent in computer companies, 5 percent in engineering, 10 percent in insurance, 11 percent in general contracting, 13 percent in law firms, and 14 percent of the 99 largest companies generally.

At work, women are over-represented in low-paying, gender-traditional occupations such as personal care and health care support — and represented barely or not at all in skilled trades such as carpentry and electrical work.

Three of the top 10 jobs for women generate median salaries of less than $30,000, while all of the top jobs for men generate more.

Even when they’re working in the same fields, women make less money than men. The wage gap ranges from about $9,000 less for office jobs to nearly $20,000 less in management.

Statistically, gender gaps start forming by the time girls go to middle school and follow women all the way to their twilight years.

Since women are half or more of the population, and also are the primary or sole caregivers to children, the costs to society can safely be described as staggering.

Also among UBRI’s findings in Western New York:

• About one in 11 girls ages 15 to 19 is afflicted with chlamydia or gonorrhea, triple the state average rate of these sexually transmitted diseases.

• In Erie and Niagara counties alone, in 2007, about 2,200 teenage girls became pregnant. National statistics indicate about 60 percent of girls who become mothers before they’re 18 won’t finish high school.

• Sixty-six percent of impoverished families are headed up by women. The women number about 17,000; and their 32,000 children are statistically less likely to succeed in grade school and beyond. One of the greatest challenges for single working moms is landing affordable, certified day care. In Erie County, the average cost is about $10,000 per child, per year; in Niagara County it’s about $8,000 per year.

• Between mid-2008 and mid-2009, 13 women from Erie and Niagara counties were murdered by their intimate partner. Intimate partner violence was inflicted on 5,400 women, costing an estimated $78 million in lost wages and productivity, medical costs, police and ambulance services, mental health and social services and property damage. Nationally, it’s believed one in every four women is abused, physically, sexually, emotionally or financially, by an intimate partner.

• Women are more than half of all working professionals but don’t advance toward the top of their fields at the same rate. About 36 percent are managers and 24 percent are top executives in both the public and private sectors. Women are twice as likely as men to work part-time due to family obligations; and Western New York employers have a mixed record of offering work-family “supports” such as flextime, compressed workweeks and health insurance for part-timers.

• Women live longer than men and thus are more susceptible to the physical, mental and financial issues of aging. Notably, Western New York has an oversupply of nursing home beds and, at the same time, shortages of assisted living and adult day care slots. Nursing home care costs about $100,000 per person, per year.




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