Re:Gender works to end gender inequity and discrimination against girls and women by exposing root causes and advancing research-informed action. Working with multiple sectors and disciplines, we are shaping a world that demands fairness across difference.
The debate over this proposed legislation reveals serious flaws in reasoning about the impact of public efforts to promote fair pay. Recent academic research suggests that many women are underpaid for the same reason that many chief executives may be overpaid — because the labor market doesn’t work according to the standard textbook model based on impersonal forces of supply and demand.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would have required employers to give a “business” reason for paying men and women different wages for equal work. It would also have prohibited retaliation against employees who revealed wage information.
Criticisms of the proposed legislation took several forms. A common claim was that it would do more harm than good, because pay discrimination is not the most important cause of gender disparities. Conservatives are not the only ones who insist that women are paid less primarily because they choose to devote more time to family responsibilities than men do. The New York Times columnist Eduardo Porter recently articulated a similar argument.
But pay discrimination and choices to take time out of paid employment are complementary rather than competing explanations of gender differences in pay. Women who are paid less — or who anticipate fewer opportunities for promotion — than their male counterparts are more likely to drop out of paid employment. Their choices represent, in part, a response to discrimination.
If a woman does drop out for a while, an employer who pays her less is off the hook. Case law shows that a lower level of experience on the job is typically considered a bona fide “business” reason for paying someone less. In herdiscerning analysis of the impact of the Equal Pay Act passed in 1963, a University of Maryland law professor, Deborah Thompson Eisenberg, points out that the Paycheck Fairness Act would have simply codified majority interpretations of that law.
A new working paper by Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland for the Peterson Institute for International Economics suggests that Kim Jong-un's early economic policy moves in the economic sphere “were focused on re-enforcing controls.”
Most surprising of all this, writes my colleague Jane Perlez, is “how Mr. Kim has thumbed his nose at China, whose economic largess keeps the government afloat.” When a senior Chinese diplomat went to North Korea and warned Mr. Kim against a ballistic missile test, Jane says, “the new leader went ahead anyway.”
Mr. Kim, not yet 30, seems to have deftly consolidated his hold on state power since his father’s death in December. He appears fully in command of the political, military and diplomatic levers.
And some of his regime’s first policy moves in the economic sphere “were focused on re-enforcing controls” from the central government, according to a new paper by Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland for the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
They suggest that the regime could impose a return to a more centrally planned economy, as we have seen before. Such a trend, which might well include a crackdown on the private, shadow-economy markets that are predominantly run by women, “could have the effect of once again marginalizing North Korea’s women.”
Mr. Haggard and Mr. Noland report that disproportionate numbers of women are now being laid off from jobs at North Korea’s state-owned enterprises because “working for the state is considered more politically advanced ‘man’s work.’ ”
As a result, women have moved into the markets, which are closed to men and operate quasi-legally in North Korea’s grudgingly hybrid economy. The regime views these markets — and the women who run them — with “an ambivalent if not actively hostile posture,” Mr. Haggard and Mr. Noland write.
“In other settings, this newfound freedom might be empowering,” they say, but the women traders have frequent run-ins with the police and, therefore, the North’s harsh penal system. Corruption is rife. Bribing police officers and state officials is common. “In short, the increasingly male-dominated state preys on the increasingly female-dominated market.”
The Progressive States Network maps states' health care protection laws, including access to birth control.
From the PSN blog:
Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have separately adopted at least one of the consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act as state law. No matter what the Supreme Court decides about the federal law, consumers in those 48 states continue to have at least some protection from the abusive practices of health insurance companies. These protections include:
Prohibiting plans from dropping patients after they get sick;
Requiring plans to cover preventive care with no co-pays;
Prohibiting plans from refusing to cover children with preexisting conditions;
Requiring plans to allow young adults to buy coverage through their parent’s plan;
Prohibiting plans from imposing annual or lifetime dollar limits on coverage;
Allowing patients to choose their primary care doctor or their child’s pediatrician;
Prohibiting plans from refusing to cover emergency care without prior approval from the plan;
Requiring plans to cover contraception on the same basis that it covers men’s reproductive health care; and
Requiring plans to give women direct access to ob/gyn preventive care without a referral.
Eight politically-diverse states have passed all ten of these consumer protections. This ranged from solidly progressive states (Connecticut, Hawaii, and Vermont), states with split party control (Iowa, New York, North Carolina, andOregon) and a state that is under conservative control (Maine).
Twelve equally diverse states have passed between five and nine of the consumer protections. From states under conservative control (Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah, and Virginia) to solidly progressive states (California, Delaware,Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington), and states under split party control (Colorado, Minnesota, and New Jersey).
Thirty-eight states have passed between one and four consumer protections Only two states have failed to pass any of these consumer protections: Alaska and Wyoming.
Some of these market reforms were adopted by states prior to the Affordable Care Act, which was modeled in part after successful state policies. In addition to remedying these ten problematic health insurance industry practices, the federal health care reform law expands coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans, makes health insurance and health care more affordable, and improves the quality of our care.
Human rights groups had called on the International Olympic Committee to bar Saudi Arabia from competing in London, citing its failure ever to send a woman athlete to a Games and its ban on sports in girls' state schools.
Powerful Muslim clerics in the ultra-conservative state have repeatedly spoken out against the participation of girls and women in sports.
In Saudi Arabia women hold a lower legal status to men, are banned from driving and need a male guardian's permission to work, travel or open a bank account.
Under King Abdullah, however, the government has pushed for them to have better education and work opportunities and allowed them to vote in future municipal elections, the only public polls held in the kingdom.
"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is looking forward to its complete participation in the London 2012 Olympic Games through the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, which will oversee the participation of women athletes who can qualify for the games," said a statement published on the embassy website.
What does birth control have anything to do with reducing global emissions?
Everything, women around the world would say, because they know how closely linked reproductive health is to issues ranging from poverty and food security to climate change and beyond. This message was precisely what female leaders brought to the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, but not many were listening, least of all the Vatican.
“The only way to respond to increasing human numbers and dwindling resources is through the empowerment of women,” said Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway and former director-general of the World Health Organisation.
“It is through giving women access to education, knowledge, to paid income, independence and of course access to reproductive health services, reproductive rights, access to family planning,” she elaborated, adding that no other way existed to change the current “pattern of human consumption”.
Female leaders have long been trying to tell the world that sustainable development is not just about deforestation, climate change and carbon emissions. Equally as important to sustainable development are gender equality and human rights, which include sexual and reproductive rights.
But the reality is that globally, 215 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using effective methods of contraception. More than two and five pregnancies are unplanned, and approximately 287,000 girls and women die each year from pregnancy-related causes. The world has a ways to go to ensure that women have access to full reproductive rights and health.
A provision in the 2010 health care law requiring contraceptive coverage for women without copays has gotten most of the press.
But much more is at stake for women if the Supreme Court overturns the health care law. Starting in 2014, the law bars insurance practices such as charging women higher premiums than men, or denying coverage for pre-existing conditions that could include pregnancy, a Caesarean-section birth or a sexual or a domestic violence assault.
EIGHTEEN MONTHS INTO my job as the first woman director of policy planning at the State Department, a foreign-policy dream job that traces its origins back to George Kennan, I found myself in New York, at the United Nations’ annual assemblage of every foreign minister and head of state in the world. On a Wednesday evening, President and Mrs. Obama hosted a glamorous reception at the American Museum of Natural History. I sipped champagne, greeted foreign dignitaries, and mingled. But I could not stop thinking about my 14-year-old son, who had started eighth grade three weeks earlier and was already resuming what had become his pattern of skipping homework, disrupting classes, failing math, and tuning out any adult who tried to reach him. Over the summer, we had barely spoken to each other—or, more accurately, he had barely spoken to me. And the previous spring I had received several urgent phone calls—invariably on the day of an important meeting—that required me to take the first train from Washington, D.C., where I worked, back to Princeton, New Jersey, where he lived. My husband, who has always done everything possible to support my career, took care of him and his 12-year-old brother during the week; outside of those midweek emergencies, I came home only on weekends.
As the evening wore on, I ran into a colleague who held a senior position in the White House. She has two sons exactly my sons’ ages, but she had chosen to move them from California to D.C. when she got her job, which meant her husband commuted back to California regularly. I told her how difficult I was finding it to be away from my son when he clearly needed me. Then I said, “When this is over, I’m going to write an op-ed titled ‘Women Can’t Have It All.’”
She was horrified. “You can’t write that,” she said. “You, of all people.” What she meant was that such a statement, coming from a high-profile career woman—a role model—would be a terrible signal to younger generations of women. By the end of the evening, she had talked me out of it, but for the remainder of my stint in Washington, I was increasingly aware that the feminist beliefs on which I had built my entire career were shifting under my feet. I had always assumed that if I could get a foreign-policy job in the State Department or the White House while my party was in power, I would stay the course as long as I had the opportunity to do work I loved. But in January 2011, when my two-year public-service leave from Princeton University was up, I hurried home as fast as I could.
A first-of-a-kind study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders finds damaging eating disorders are common among women 50 and older — and 62% of those surveyed say their weight or shape has a negative impact on their lives.
A first-of-a-kind study looking at older women finds damaging eating disorders are common — and 62% of those surveyed say their weight or shape has a negative impact on their lives.
Historically, eating disorder research has focused on teens and young women, but the study out Thursday in the International Journal of Eating Disorders shows 13% of women ages 50 and older struggle with the problem — some for the first time in their lives. Eating disorders are more common in women than men and include purging, binge eating, excessive dieting and excessive exercising.
The researchers surveyed 1,849 women online from across the nation in attempt to find out how older women feel about their bodies and to estimate the prevalence of eating disorders. There are 53 million women in the USA older than age 50, the authors write, noting previous studies have reported a lower risk for eating disorders as women mature.
"The disorders have serious physical as well as emotional consequences," says lead author Cindy Bulik, director of the eating disorders program at the University of North Carolina. "Part of my goal is to make this an issue all doctors need to be aware of regardless of a women's age. Many think eating disorders end at age 25. They exist at every age, we're finding."
"We’d love to have a gender lens, but we’d have nothing to invest in.” I rocked back on my heels, absorbing this statement from the head of the Africa division of a large social investment fund.
Yet he is not alone. Two years ago, when I first talked with the head of a domestic fund investing in women entrepreneurs, she said, “Jackie I don’t have a gender lens.” Her concern was that a “gender lens” made her appear soft, not return-focused.
For the last two years, I’ve led Women Effect Investments, a field building initiative for gender lens investing. In the process I’ve discovered multiple challenges talking about gender in the investment world. It surfaces concerns about quotas and quality, culture and stereotypes. It is seen as soft, unnecessarily feminist, or limiting. I see a huge opportunity in transcending these concerns. Given women’s centrality worldwide to economic development, health, education, and a strong civil society, investing with a gender lens illuminates opportunities and highlights risks. Take, for instance, the need for electricity in maternity clinics or the challenges that emerge when loan officers are all men. If more investment vehicles employed a gender lens, we could accelerate change for everyone.
To clarify what I by lens—I mean the point(s) of view by which we can analyze investments. There are at least three different lenses that highlight investment opportunities, and they can and often do overlap.
A new paper by researchers at Texas Christian University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas at San Antonio and Arizona State University examine the "lipstick effect" and find that the more insecure the economy, the more money women spend on beauty products.
Although consumer spending typically declines in economic recessions, some observers have noted that recessions appear to increase women‘s spending on beauty products—the so-called lipstick effect. Using both historical spending data and rigorous experiments, we examine how and why economic recessions influence women‟s consumer behavior. Findings revealed that recessionary cues – whether naturally occurring or experimentally primed – decreased desire for most products (e.g., electronics, household items). However, these cues consistently increased women‘s desire for products that increase attractiveness to mates —the first experimental demonstration of the lipstick effect. Additional studies show that this effect is driven by women‘s desire to attract mates with resources and depends on the perceived mate attraction function served by these products. In addition to showing how and why economic recessions influence women‘s desire for beauty products, this research provides novel insights into women‘s mating psychology, consumer behavior, and the relationship between the two.