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.
A study finds that being overweight can adversly impact a woman's salary or chances of employment, though it does not have the same effect on men.
Using data collected in Iceland, one new study examined the association between excess weight and employment. The study found a slightly negative correlation between weight and the employment rate of women, and a slightly positive correlation for men. The results were published in the March issue of the journal Elsevier's Economics and Human Biology.
Iceland was selected because it has the greatest level of gender equality in terms of health, education, business opportunities and political participation, according to a World Economic Forum study of 134 countries.
Most studies of the relationship between body weight – as well as its corollary, beauty – and labor-market outcomes have indicated that it is a function of a gender bias, the negative relationship between excess weight or obesity and labor-market outcomes being greater for women than for men. Iceland offers an exceptional opportunity to examine this hypothesis, given that it scores relatively well on an index of gender equality comprising economic, political, educational, labor-market, and health-based criteria. Equipped with an advanced level of educational attainment, on average, women are well represented in Iceland's labor force. When it comes to women's presence in the political sphere, Iceland is out of the ordinary as well; that Icelanders were the first in the world to elect a woman to be president may suggest a relatively gender-blind assessment in the labor market. In the current study, survey data collected by Gallup Iceland in 2002 are used to examine the relationship between weight and employment within this political and social setting. Point estimates indicate that, despite apparently lesser gender discrimination in Iceland than elsewhere, the bias against excess weight and obesity remains gender-based, showing a slightly negative relationship between weight and the employment rate of women, whereas a slightly positive relationship was found for men.
This American Express OPEN publication bridges the gap between the quinquennial Survey of Business Owners conducted by the U. S. Census Bureau. The report offers an up-to-date accounting of the state of women-owned businesses in the United States in 2011. Using data from the three most recent business census surveys (1997, 2002, and 2007)—the most recent of which was just published in December 2010—this report provides estimates of the number, employment and revenues of women-owned firms as of 2011. Data are reported at the national level in total, and by industry, revenue and employment size class. Trends at the state level are also reported.
Highlights from the Executive Summary:
As of 2011, it is estimated that there are over 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.7 million people.
Between 1997 and 2011, when the number of businesses in the United States increased by 34%, the number of women-owned firms increased by 50%—a rate 1½ times the national average.
Despite the fact that the number of womenowned firms continue to grow at a rate exceeding the national average, and account for 29% of all enterprises, women-owned firms only employ 6% of the country’s workforce and contribute just under 4% of business revenues . Further, the employment and sales growth of women-owned enterprises between 1997 and 2011 (8% and 53%, respectively) lags the national average (17% and 71%).
A study presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association finds that women deployed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are emerging as a group especially vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder.
From the Los Angeles Times article:
In the study, presented this week, researchers studied 922 National Guard members -- including 91 women -- under mandatory deployment to Iraq in 2008. The guard members were screened using mental-health measures before deployment and three months after deployment. The study found that women were much more likely than men to meet the criteria for PTSD after returning home -- 18.7% of women had PTSD compared with 8.7% of men. There were no significant differences between men and women in their level of combat exposure.
A human rights commission report estimates that 10,000 women are victims of human trafficking in Mexico City, but there were only 40 investigations of the crime and three convictions in the city in 2010.
In January through March of 2010, SPLC researchers interviewed approximately 150 women who were either currently undocumented or have spent time in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants. The women all have worked in the U.S. food industry in Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, New York or North Carolina. A few have now obtained legal status. Researchers also interviewed a number of advocates who work with immigrant women and farmworkers. The interviews were conducted almost exclusively in Spanish, and recordings were transcribed and translated into English.
From the report summary:
Facts About Immigrant Women Working in the U.S. Food Industry
Undocumented women are among the most vulnerable workers in our society today. They fill the lowest paying jobs in our economy and provided the backbreaking labor that helps bring food to our tables. Yet they are routinely cheated out of wages and subjected to an array of other abuses in the workplace. They are generally powerless to enforce their rights or protect themselves. The following are facts from the SPLC report Injustice on Our Plates.
There are an estimated 4.1 million undocumented women in the U.S. today. In addition, 4 million U.S.-born children — citizens by birthright — live in a household with at least one undocumented parent.
Undocumented women typically earn minimum wage or less, get no sick or vacation days, and receive no health insurance.
Legalizing undocumented workers would raise the U.S. gross domestic product by $1.5 trillion over a decade. On the other hand, if the government were to deport all 10.8 million undocumented immigrants living on U.S. soil, our economy would decline by $2.6 trillion over a decade, not including the massive cost of such an endeavor.
Each year, undocumented immigrants contribute as much as $1.5 billion to the Medicare system and $7 billion to the Social Security system, even though they will never be able to collect benefits upon retirement.
There are an estimated 3 million migrant and seasonal farmworkers employed in the United States.4 The federal government estimates that 60 percent of farmworkers are undocumented immigrants; farmworker advocates say the percentage is far higher.
The National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) published by the Department of Labor reports that about 22% of the farmworker population is female. Thus, there are an estimated 630,000 women engaged in farm work in the United States.
The average personal income of female crop workers is $11,250, compared to $16,250 for male crop workers.
A mere 8 percent of farmworkers report being covered by employer-provided health insurance, a rate that dropped to 5 percent for farmworkers who are employed seasonally and not year-round.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, farmworkers suffer from higher rates of toxic chemical injuries and skin disorders than any other workers in the country. The children of migrant farmworkers, also, have higher rates of pesticide exposure than the general public.
Each year, there are an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 cases of physician-diagnosed pesticide poisoning among U.S. farmworkers, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Farmworkers are not covered by workers’ compensation laws in many states. They are not entitled to overtime pay under federal law. On smaller farms and in short harvest seasons, they are not entitled to the federal minimum wage. They are excluded from many state health and safety laws.
Because of special exemptions for agriculture, children as young as 10 may work in the fields. Also, many states exempt farmworker children from compulsory education laws.
Almost a quarter of the workers who butcher and process meat, poultry and fish are undocumented.
At least half of the 250,000 laborers in 174 of the major U.S. chicken factories are Latino and more than half are women.
Working in a chicken factory is one of the most dangerous occupations in America. Line workers endure a frigid and wet work environment, without adequate bathroom breaks, while being exposed to numerous hazards handling chicken on hangers that whiz by a rate of hundreds per minute. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not enacted any regulation to limit the speed at which poultry and meat processing lines operate — despite the appallingly high rates of injury directly attributable to the line speed. In the decade ending in 2008, 100 poultry workers died in the U.S., and 300,000 were injured, many suffering the loss of a limb or debilitating repetitive motion injuries.
The U.S. Department of Labor surveyed 51 poultry processing plants and found 100% had violated labor laws by not paying employees for all hours worked. Also, one-third took impermissible deductions from workers’ pay.
Sexual Abuse On the Job
In a recent study of 150 women of Mexican descent working in the fields in California’s Central Valley, 80% said they had experienced sexual harassment. That compares to roughly half of all women in the U.S. workforce who say they have experienced at least one incident.
While investigating the sexual harassment of California farmworker women in the mid-1990s, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that “hundreds, if not thousands, of women had to have sex with supervisors to get or keep jobs and/or put up with a constant barrage of grabbing and touching and propositions for sex by supervisors.”
A 1989 article in Florida indicates that sexual harassment against farmworker women was so pervasive that women referred to the fields as the “green motel.” Similarly, the EEOC reports that women in California refer to the fields as “fil de calzon,” or the fields of panties, because sexual harassment is so widespread.
Due to the many obstacles that confront farmworker women — including fear, shame, lack of information about their rights, lack of available resources to help them, poverty, cultural and/or social pressures, language access and, for some, their status as undocumented immigrants — few farmworker women ever come forward to seek justice for the sexual harassment and assault that they have suffered.
In interviews for this report, virtually all women reported that sexual violence in the workplace is a serious problem.
The May 2011 report from the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board finds that women have made many advances in federal government employment but also still find many challenges in the progress toward equality.
From the Executive Summary:
There have been many changes in American society since [the 1992 report, A Question of Equity: Women and the Glass Ceiling in the Federal Government,], and those changes have been mirrored in the Federal Government. Over the past two decades, the Federal Government has made substantial progress in hiring and advancing women in the Federal workforce. More women are employed in positions in professional and administrative occupations, which offer the greatest opportunities for pay and advancement. Increases in the representation of women in the executive ranks have outpaced projections from MSPB’s 1992 study. Pay differences between women and men have been considerably reduced.
These tangible gains have been accompanied by substantial, if less visible, improvements in Federal workplaces and the work lives of Federal employees. Fewer women believe that they have been subjected to overt or subtle discrimination at work. MSPB’s analysis of General Schedule promotion rates supports a belief that the prevalence and force of stereotypical assumptions about the abilities and appropriate roles of women have greatly diminished. Although women and men can differ in career factors such as occupation, family responsibilities, geographic mobility, and interest in supervisory roles, women are about as likely as men to be promoted when factors such as occupation, experience, and education are held equal.
Contributors to this progress include changes in American society that have expanded the opportunities available to women and changes in the civilian labor force that have expanded the pool of highly-qualified women in many occupations. Within the Federal Government, those changes are reflected in diminishing differences between women and men in important characteristics such as education and experience. That trend, combined with a continued interest in career advancement among women in the Federal Government, bodes well for future gains in the representation of women at the highest levels of pay and responsibility, including the Senior Executive Service. Much credit is also due to agency efforts to recruit and advance women, to reduce the incidence of prohibited discrimination, to provide greater flexibility in work arrangements, and to focus on contributions and skills—rather than on indirect and unreliable indicators of performance and dedication such as time spent in the office or irrelevant factors such as marital status and family responsibilities—when evaluating and promoting employees.
Still, progress toward full equality is not yet complete. Women remain less likely than men to be employed in high-paying occupations and supervisory positions. That reflects, in part, continuing occupational differences between women and men in the Federal workforce and the broader civilian labor force. Women have made great strides in entering occupations such as physician and attorney, but remain relatively scarce in fields such as law enforcement, information technology, and engineering—fields important to the current and future Federal workforce. Also, even within a given occupation, women often have lower salaries than men, and those salary differences cannot be fully explained by differences in measurable factors such as experience and education.
Agencies and stakeholders should also be aware that future progress may come less easily than past progress. First, occupational differences persist between women and men in both American society and Federal workplaces. Such occupational differences can complicate recruitment and create glass walls—barriers to movement across organizations, functions, or occupations—within the Federal workforce, resulting in different opportunities for women and men even if they are comparable in terms of educational attainment, years of experience, and performance. Second, agencies have increased their use of external hiring and upper-level hiring to fill positions in professional and administrative occupations. Women are increasingly successful in employment competitions of all types, reflecting diminishing differences in critical factors such as education, experience, and career interests. Nevertheless, for a variety of reasons, women are generally less likely to be hired when an agency fills a position through external (as opposed to internal) recruitment or fills a position at upperlevel instead of entry-level.
Also, sex-based discrimination and stereotypes have not yet completely disappeared. Even in the absence of overt discrimination, many employees continue to believe that women are subjected to unfounded assumptions about their abilities or dedication to work. However, most issues that are critical to the fair treatment and advancement of women are universal. For example, concerns about the role of favoritism in personnel decisions are widespread and shared equally by women and men. Other issues important to both women and men include the recruitment and selection of supervisors, career management (e.g., helping employees understand what is required to advance), and balancing demanding jobs with life/family responsibilities.
The Guttmacher Institute finds that the birth-associated costs of approximately two-thirds of unplanned pregnancies are picked up by taxpayers.
From the press release:
“The Public Costs of Births Resulting from Unintended Pregnancies: National and State-Level Estimates,” by Adam Sonfield and colleagues at the Guttmacher Institute, relied on state-level data from 2006 to estimate costs for each state, which were then added together to arrive at a national total. The study found that two-thirds of births resulting from unintended pregnancies—more than one million births—are publicly funded, and the proportion tops 80% in a couple of states. The cost of those births, and the potential gross saving from helping women to avert them, is estimated at $11.1 billion.
Researchers at the Brookings Institution estimate the publicly-funded costs of unintended pregnancies in the United States.
From the press release:
“Unintended Pregnancy and Taxpayer Spending,” by Emily Monea and Adam Thomas of the Brookings Institution, estimated the cost of unintended pregnancy by counting 2001 national estimates of the outcomes of publicly financed unintended pregnancies (births, abortions, miscarriages and need for infant medical care) and multiplying those counts by the average cost per outcome. The estimates of the cost to taxpayers of providing medical services to women who experience unintended pregnancies and to the infants who are born as a result of such pregnancies range between $9.6 and $12.6 billion per year, and average $11.3 billion. The estimates of the public savings that would result if these unintended pregnancies were prevented range from $4.7 billion to $6.2 billion per year, and average $5.6 billion.
Researchers at Georgetown University calculates the median salary for workers by their college major. Among the findings are major disparities between genders and races.
From the Selected Findings:
The full report also looks at a host of other factors, broken down by specific majors, that can affect potential earnings, including gender, race and ethnicity. In some cases, the findings are stark. Gender inequality, as expressed in pay differences, is rampant across virtually every major. For example, even in one of the highest-earning majors for women (Chemical Engineering), women still make $20,000 less per year than men. The report also highlights some glaring racial and ethnic earnings gaps. For instance, African-Americans who graduate with a Finance major earn an average of $47,000 per year, which is less than Hispanics ($56,000) and Asians ($56,000) — and much less than Whites($70,000).
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
Forcoming study by University of Guelph professor Sean Lyons, Carleton University professor Linda Schweitzer and Dalhousie University professor Ed Ng to be published Relations industrielles/Industrial Relations (RI/IR) finds that women enter the workforce with lower expectations of pay and promotions.
From the Press Release:
Women have lower career expectations than men, anticipating smaller paycheques and longer waits for promotions, according to a new study involving a University of Guelph researcher.
Comparing career expectations of Canadian university students, Prof. Sean Lyons discovered that women predict their starting salaries to be 14 per cent less than what men forecast. This gap in wage expectations widens over their careers, with women anticipating their earnings to be 18 per cent less than men's after five years on the job.
The study also found women expect to wait close to two months longer than men for their first step up the corporate ladder.