Monday, September 6, 2010

Women's Economic Equality 2010: NEW REPORTS

Press Release for Immediate Release
For Immediate Release Contact: Ariane Hegewisch, 202-785-0109
Young Women Now Less Likely to Work in
Same Jobs as Men
Wage Gap Continues Due to Occupational Segregation
WASHINGTON, DC - A new briefing paper from the Institute for Women's Policy Research charts occupational segregation since the early 1970s. Women continue to enter some high paying male-dominated professions, for example, rising from 4.0 percent to 32.2 percent of lawyers between 1972 and 2009, yet overall progress has stalled since 1996, according to one common measure, the Index of Dissimilarity. Slowing progress, women continue to dominate professions traditionally done by women, which typically pay less, accounting for over 95 percent of all kindergarten teachers, librarians, dental assistants and registered nurses in 2009. A few occupations have witnessed a sharp reversal in desegregation, with women's share falling from over one-third to less than 21 percent of computer programmers since the late 1980s, and women's share of civil engineering declining from 13 percent in 2005 to just over 7 percent in 2009. Most troubling, young women experience more segregation today than they did a decade ago; since 2002, their Index has worsened by 6 percent, erasing nearly one-fifth of the improvement since 1968.
IWPR's Briefing Paper "Separate and Not Equal? Gender Segregation in the Labor Market and the Gender Wage Gap" analyzes data from the Current Population Survey on women's share of occupations from 1972 to 2009. Based on 2009 earnings data, it examines the relationship between median earnings and the gender composition of occupations, differentiating between occupations that are predominantly male, have a relatively even gender balance, and are predominantly female -- for low-skilled, medium-skilled and high-skilled fields.
"It is very likely that the stalled progress in integrating the labor market is contributing to the failure of the wage gap to close," says Heidi Hartmann, President of the Institute for Women's Policy Research.
Working in traditional female occupations can come at a steep price. Women are now proportionately more likely than men to have some years of post-secondary education. Yet, whether an occupation requires college level education or medium-level skills or is low-skilled, typically occupations that are predominantly held by women have lower median earnings than occupations with a more even gender balance or occupations predominantly held by men. There are important exceptions, particularly among medium-skilled occupations: dental hygienists, an occupation almost exclusively held by women, have higher weekly median earnings ($956) than occupations almost exclusively held by men such as electricians ($856) or carpenters ($665). Yet, while over 80 percent of dental hygienists have at least an associate degree, only one in five electricians, and even fewer carpenters, have similar levels of education. To achieve similar earnings, women have to acquire more formal education than do men.
"All workers are likely to do better if they have at least some post-secondary school qualifications. Yet while it is still possible without college to earn a decent wage in some male-dominated occupations, the same is not true in female-dominated occupations," says Ariane Hegewisch, a Study Director at the Institute for Women's Policy Research. "Almost as important as getting a qualification, however, is the field in which you qualify. A speech language pathologist--an occupation that is predominantly female--on average makes $1,153 per week, compared with a pharmacist--an occupation nearly half female--who receives median earnings of $1,841, a difference of close to $700 for a week of full-time work."
The difference in median earnings is not as big in absolute dollar terms for workers in low-skilled occupations. Yet working in a female-dominated, low-skilled occupation (the Bureau of Labor Statisticsidentifies nursing and psychiatric aides, maids and housekeepers and cleaners, and personal and home care aides as the largest occupations in this group) is much more likely to result in earnings close to the poverty threshold than working in low-skilled male dominated occupations (such as truck drivers, laborers and ground maintenance workers). Median weekly earnings in low-skilled, male-dominated occupations were $553 in 2009, compared with $408 in female-dominated occupations.
"Policy makers need to pay attention to the stalled progress in gender desegregation," says Robert Drago, Research Director for the Institute for Women's Policy Research. "Occupational segregation carries costs for the economy and employers by exacerbating skill shortages and causing reduced productivity. It also costs working families. Particularly in low-skilled jobs, working in an occupation predominantly held by women instead of one held by men, may be the difference between earning a poverty wage and earning a family supporting wage."
IWPR's research on occupational segregation and earnings is supported by the Ford Foundation and theRockefeller Foundation.
The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies. The Institute works with policymakers, scholars, and public interest groupsto design, execute, and disseminate research that illuminates economic and social policy issuesaffecting women and their families, and to build a network of individuals and organizations that conduct and use women-oriented policy research. IWPR's work is supported by foundation grants, government grants and contracts, donations from individuals, and contributions from organizations and corporations. IWPR is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the women's studies andpublic policy programs at The George Washington University.

Press Release for Immediate Release
For Immediate Release Contact: Dr. Jane Henrici, 202-785-5100
Public Assistance Not Reaching Poor Women During Recession
Tremendous variation across the states

WASHINGTON, DC - 15.5 million women are living in poverty but, as a Briefing Paper released today by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) shows, the number of women receiving public assistance is much smaller. Further, the distribution of supports varies a great deal depending on the region and the state, so that poor women in some parts of the country are much less likely to get help than in others.

"Women in Poverty During the Great Recession," an IWPR Briefing Paper analyzing the most recentAmerican Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau, finds that in every state a large number of adult women who live in poverty are not receiving help through benefit programs. Focusing onfood stamps, heath coverage, and cash assistance, IWPR finds that the rates of adult women in poverty during the recession who are not receiving assistance vary among different public programs and across the states and regions.

Although 10.6 million adult women in poverty have either public or private health insurance, another 4.9 million are not covered. For nutrition support, 5.9 million women in poverty use food stamps, but 9.6 million do not. Meanwhile, fewer than 750,000 poor adult women with children receive cash aid through TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) while 5.4 million do not.

The largest observed gap relates to the TANF program: 88 percent of impoverished women with dependent children are going without that support. Across the states, the percent of women who do not have cash assistance through TANF ranges from the best, at only 60 percent in the District of Columbia, to the worst, at 96 percent in Louisiana.

Health coverage and food stamps reach more women in poverty than TANF, but still leave many uncovered: nationwide, nearly one-third of women in poverty are without either public or private health coverage and 62 percent of poor women do not receive food stamps. The variation across the states is much greater in health coverage than in nutrition support. In Massachusetts, the best state, only 8 percent of poor women are without health insurance, while in Texas, the worst state, 50 percent of poor women have no health coverage. For food stamp benefits, 44 percent of poor women lack that support inMaine, the best state, while 77 percent go without that assistance in California, the worst state.

"Especially during an economic downturn, the social safety net needs to be stronger to help prevent families in poverty from sinking even further," states Dr. Jane Henrici, IWPR Study Director. "During these hard economic times, public assistance programs should support poor women and their families, but too many are not receiving any kind of help at all."

View the Policy Brief here.

The report was prepared with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and theRockefeller Foundation.

The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialogue, and strengthen families, communities, and societies. The Institute works with policymakers, scholars, and public interest groupsto de sign, execute, and disseminate research that illuminates economic and social policy issuesaffecting women and their families, and to build a network of individuals and organizations that conduct and use women-oriented policy research. IWPR's work is supported by foundation grants, government grants and contracts, donations from individuals, and contributions from organizations and corporations. IWPR is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the women's studies andpublic policy programs at The George Washington University.

Human Rights Report Highlights Discrimination, Inequality in U.S.

by James Parks, Sep 3, 2010
The land of the free is not so free if you are poor, a person of color or an immigrant, says a new report. As a result, the U.S. government must aggressively work to eliminate discrimination and disparities throughout society and in the workplace and to ensure that international human rights standards are enforced inside its borders.

The report, compiled by the U.S. Human Rights Network, a coalition of human rights, academic and civil society groups, is part of the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of human rights around the world. This is the first time the U.S. government has participated in the review, which occurs every four years. As part of the review, the U.S. government will have to defend its human rights record before a U.N. panel in November 2010.

The report on human rights conditions in the United States highlights the nation’s significant shortcomings in complying with international human rights standards and makes recommendations on how the United States can better meet those standards.

For example, the report points out that the U.S. labor laws fail to protect low-wage workers such asdomestic workers, agricultural workers and independent contractors, who most often are people of color, immigrants or women. According to the report, the nation’s laws also limit freedom of association of workers by excluding large groups from the right to form a union. It calls for expanding and strengthening the right to collective bargaining, either by passing the Employee Free Choice Actor other legislation.

More than 200 nongovernmental organizations and hundreds of advocates across the country have endorsed the report, which took nearly a year to research and produce. The AFL-CIO and affiliated unions participated in several field hearings on human rights across the country that gathered information for the report.

The report addresses a wide range of issues, including education, equality and non-discrimination, capital punishment, treatment of people with disabilities, poverty and access to health care.

Anti-workers have denounced the report. But University of Pennsylvania Law School associate professor Sarah Paoletti, senior coordinator for the Human Rights Network’s UPR Project, says:
Refusing to acknowledge that the U.S. can make any improvements in its human rights policies and practices misses a critical opportunity for the U.S. to demonstrate the need for governments to hold themselves accountable to their constituents at home. Enhancing human rights at home will only strengthen the nation’s standing and influence abroad, and we should embrace the challenge.
To read the U.S. Human Rights Network report, click here. For more information on the UPR process, click here.

90 Years After the Vote, U.S. Women Still Seek Economic Citizenship

by Tula Connell, Aug 26, 2010
Women won the right to vote 90 years ago today. As historian Christine Stansell points out, the seemingly “no-brainer” move to ensure women have the same political citizenship rights as men was contested in this country until 1984, when Mississippi became the last state to ratify the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.

That’s 1984—19 years after the Voting Rights Act and 13 years after 18-year-olds got the right to vote.

Working women today still are fighting for complete citizenship—economic citizenship. The Joint Economic Committee yesterday released a report on economic advances by women over the past quarter century and found that despite a quarter-century of progress,
challenges remain. Certain industries remain heavily gender-segregated. In addition, millions of women are struggling to juggle work outside the home with family care-giving responsibilities.
Sometime this year, the percentage of women in the U.S. workforce became equal to that of men. Yet, as economists point out, the recent decrease in the pay gap between men and women is a reflection of the loss of pay for men, not an increase for women. Women still only make 78 cents for every dollar a man is paid. Further,
wives’ earnings play an increasingly important role in the families’ incomes. In 1983, wives’ incomes comprised just 29 percent of total family income. By 2008, wives’ incomes comprised 36 percent of total family income.
The report also finds women accounted for 45 percent of all union members in 2008, the most recent year for which figures are available, up from 34 percent in 1984.
The growing importance of women in the labor movement is likely due to the expansion of female-concentrated sectors such as health care, education, and the service sector combined with the contraction of male-concentrated sectors such as manufacturing.
The pay gap is a lot less for women in unions. But lack of pay equity take a huge chunk out of women’s standards of living as well as their families. Lawmakers finally took action this year and passed the Fair Pay Act. The Senate needs to follow suit. The male-dominated Congress needs to acknowledge that America’s women lack complete economic citizenship.


Interactive Map: Women Provide for Their Families

April 20, 2010

Unmarried Women of Color’s Unrealized Potential
August 9, 2010 Single Women’s Economic Insecurity Poses Challenges by Liz Weiss

The Other Half
July 30, 2010 Unmarried Women, Economic Well-Being, and the Great Recession by Liz Weiss, Page Gardner

Unmarried Women Continue to See High Unemployment in April
May 10, 2010 New data released last week by the Labor Department shows the continuing consequences of the Great Recession for unmarried women. This group continues to experience high and extended unemployment as well... by Heather Boushey, Liz Weiss

Local Jobs Act Supports Jobs Needed by Women and Families
As our country continues to suffer the fallout from a deep economic recession, Americans need jobs now more than ever. Projections of a slow labor market recovery underscore the public’s desire for the government to create jobs as revealed in recent polls.

Women breadwinners who head families on their own have been at particular risk. In 2009, their unemployment rate averaged 11.5% compared to 9.3% for the population overall. The rates for women of color have been particularly high, 14.9% among African American women who maintain families and 11.9% among Latinas maintaining families. As both married and unmarried women supply an increasing share of household income, it is important to pass legislation that helps them retain and secure jobs.

As state and local governments in fiscal crisis plan new rounds of layoffs and furloughs of teachers, public safety, health and other service providers, the Local Jobs for America Act (H.R. 4812 and S. 3500) fills a widening gap. Women are both providers and consumers of these services. And women are likely to gain employment under this legislation since they comprise nearly two-thirds of state, local and nonprofit workers.

The Local Jobs for America Act will:

 Provide $100 billion over two years to create or save 750,000 jobs providing local services. The jobs are to be ones that restore local jobs terminated within the last five years, retain employees that would have been let go due to fiscal problems, or fill needed services provided by community-based organizations.

 Save 300,000 education jobs with a $23 billion investment this year. Women are 81% of elementary school and 56% of secondary school teachers according to the BLS.

 Provide 50,000 on-the-job training slots to help local businesses create employment opportunities and provide workers will new skills.

 Target communities with high employment needs, focusing on individuals who have experienced longer-term unemployment and/or are veterans.

 Allow up to 5% of nonprofit funding for community jobs to be used for supportive services such as child care and transportation assistance.

Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) works nationally and in its home community of Washington, DC to achieve economic independence and equality of opportunity for women and their families at all stages of life. For over 45 years, WOW has been a leader in the areas of nontraditional employment, job training and education, welfare to work and workforce development policy. Since 1995, WOW has been devoted to the self-sufficiency of women and their families through the national Family Economic Security (FES) Project and the Elder Economic Security Initiative.

For more information contact Susan Rees, Director of National Programs and Policy, 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW Suite 930 Washington, DC 20036 202.464.1596 Fax 202.464-1660

Women and the Economy 2010: 25 Years of Progress But Challenges Remain
This new report issued by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee provides a comprehensive overview of women’s economic progress over the last twenty-five years and highlights the additional work left to be done. Also place this link in “Publications” under “Reports” after the 2007-2015 WB Strategic Plan.

OFCCP in the "City that Works"
OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu (L) with OFCCP Regional Director Sandra Zeigler (R)
Community based organizations throughout Illinois came to a public forum in Chicago on August 20, to hear Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Director Patricia Shiu share OFCCP's plans to support Secretary Solis' vision of "good jobs for everyone." Congressman Danny K. Davis and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky were also guest speakers at the event. Director Shiu stressed jobs, the importance of expanding outreach to workers' rights organizations, the current regulatory reform effort for veterans, individuals with disabilities and construction workers, and her work on the President's National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force. OFCCP's Regional Director Sandra Zeigler provided national and Illinois employment forecasts and regional enforcement accomplishments. The event was organized by Region V Secretary Representative Ken Bennett and the Midwest Region of the OFCCP.

Around DOL
August 19, 2010
OFCCP Compliance Officers Convene at DC Headquarters
Compliance Officer Nancy Moss.
Nancy Moss is a new OFCCP compliance officer in San Jose, Calif. district office.
Sixty-six regional personnel from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs convened in Washington D.C. August 9 - 20 for compliance officer training sessions. The event was born out of OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu's commitment to hire 200 new compliance officers for expanded enforcement activities and ensure all compliance officers received uniform, nationally certified training for the first time in more than a decade. Training courses ranged from discrimination theories and interviewing skills, to how to conduct a desk audit. Shiu told the attendees, "You will make sure everyone gets a fair shot at a job and that no one has to endure unlawful harassment of any kind.
Compliance Officer Nancy Moss.
Jennifer Yeh is a new OFCCP compliance officer from the Honolulu, Hawaii area office.

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