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 National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) collected data concerning hate violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected people, from 17 antiviolence programs in 15 states across the country including: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin.
-27 murders of LGBTQ and HIV-affected people documented; the second highest yearly total ever recorded;
-Among those reporting, transgender people and people of color faced the most severe hate violence;
-Reports of violent crime increased 13% for LGBTQ and HIV-affected people
NATIONAL—The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), in a national audio press conference today, released its report Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2010. NCAVP collected data concerning hate violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected people, from 17 antiviolence programs in 15 states across the country including: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin.
-In 2010, NCAVP documented 27 anti-LGBTQ murders, the second highest yearly total ever recorded by the coalition. This is a 23% increase from the 22 people murdered in 2009.
-70% of the 27 reported hate murder victims in 2010 were LGBTQ and HIV-affected people of color, which represented 44% of total survivors and victims. This reflects a disproportionate targeting of people of color for severe and deadly violence. As well, people of color were less likely to receive medical attention when they needed it and less likely to receive appropriate responses from the police.
-Transgender women made up 44% of the 27 reported hate murders in 2010, while representing only 11% of total survivors and victims. As well, transgender people were more likely to have injuries as a result of attacks and less likely to receive medical care.
-NCAVP documented a 13% increase in hate violence incidents from 2009 to 2010, as well as a much greater increase in the severity of violence.
The report’s specific recommendations include calling for the following changes:
-Fund critically needed research and data collection on hate violence against LGBTQ and HIVaffected communities, their access to services, and violence prevention initiatives.
-Gather data about sexual orientation and gender identitiy in all federal, state and local government forms. Create new public and private funding streams and target the use of existing funds to increase access to anti-violence services for LGBTQ and HIV-affected individuals, particularly for those disproportionately affected by hate violence—i.e. transgender people and people of color.
-Create programs and campaigns to reduce anti-LGBTQ hate violence. Prioritize the leadership of those most impacted by severe hate violence within these programs.
-Stop the culture of hate through policymakers and public figures denouncing anti-LGBTQ violence.
A study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly finds that common coping strategies such as using incense or lighting a candle may not help African-American women let go of racial stress. In fact, some of these coping strategies employed by African-American women may actually increase their stress instead of alleviating it.
T. M. Greer. Coping Strategies as Moderators of the Relation Between Individual Race-Related Stress and Mental Health Symptoms for African American Women.Psychology of Women Quarterly, 2011; 35 (2): 215 DOI:10.1177/0361684311399388
The purpose of this investigation was to examine coping strategies as moderators of the relationship between individual race-related stress and mental health symptoms among a sample of 128 African American women. Coping strategies refer to efforts used to resolve problems and those used to manage, endure, or alleviate distress. Culture-specific strategies were examined in the current study (i.e., efforts that are commonly used by members of a cultural group). Culture-specific efforts were hypothesized to influence the severity of psychological symptoms associated with individual race-related stress, such that frequent use of culture-specific efforts would lessen the strength of the relationship between race-related stress and psychological symptoms. Moderated hierarchical regression analyses revealed that high use of ritual-centered strategies to address race-related stress was related to severe anxiety and interpersonal sensitivity. No moderating effect of coping strategies was found for depression, obsessive-compulsion, and somatization symptoms. The findings suggest that African American women may inadvertently utilize coping efforts that serve to increase the severity of psychological symptoms related to individual race-related stress. Mental health professionals should explore underlying emotions related to coping efforts utilized to address race-related stress among African American women.
Researchers at the University of Toronto suggest that racism may affect some female minority groups more deeply than sexism. In the study, participants of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Taiwanese and Japanese descent were assigned one of three hypothetical situations: Sixty participants were assigned to write about a past experience of rejection because of racism, sexism or their personalities. The women assigned to contemplate racism were more likely than those assigned to contemplate sexism to believe that they had been rejected by others because of "something about them" or because of "who they are."
Racism may affect some female minority groups more deeply than sexism, University of Toronto researchers suggest.
Lead author and doctoral student Jessica Remedios, psychologist Alison Chasteen and recent honors bachelor of science graduate Jeffrey Paek say in one study Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Taiwanese and Japanese descent were assigned one of three hypothetical situations.
Sixty participants were assigned to write about a past experience of rejection because of racism, sexism or their personalities.
The women assigned to contemplate racism were more likely than those assigned to contemplate sexism to believe that they had been rejected by others because of "something about them" or because of "who they are."
"This suggests that to these women, racism feels like a personal rejection whereas sexism feels more like the result of others' ignorance," Remedios says in a statement. "We found that Asian women take racism more personally and find it more depressing than sexism."
The findings are published in Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.
Research exploring the perspectives of stigmatized people has examined general processes related to experiencing prejudice. Past work, however, has invoked the assumption that prejudices against different group memberships are experienced in a similar manner. Across three studies we directly compare experiences of racism and sexism among female minorities and show, in contrast, that people respond to different forms of prejudice in distinct ways. In Study 1 we examined the attributions invoked by Asian women to explain prejudice and discovered that participants made stronger internal attributions to explain racism than sexism. In Study 2 we investigated emotional reactions to prejudice and found that Asian women report experiencing more depression following a race-based rejection than a gender-based rejection. In Study 3 we observed that Asian women reported perceiving more racism than sexism in their environments. Implications for advancing theories of prejudice experiences are discussed.
GAO was asked to address the extent to which (1) the Department of Defense (DOD) conducts oversight of the military services' investigative organizations and (2) the services provide resources for investigations and adjudications of alleged sexual assault incidents. Under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005, the DOD Inspector General's Office is required to develop policy and oversee sexual assault investigations and related training for the DOD criminal investigative organizations. However, the Inspector General's Office has not performed these responsibilities, primarily because it believes it has other, higher priorities. For example, GAO found no evidence of Inspector General oversight at the service level for any of the 2,594 sexual assault investigations that DOD reported the services completed in fiscal year 2010. Without a policy and plan for conducting oversight, the Inspector General's Office will remain limited in its ability to help ensure consistency and accountability, and that training is being conducted in the most effective manner.
The crime of sexual assault has serious consequences for both the aggrieved and the accused. The severity of these consequences underscores the importance of impartially administering justice in order to promote accountability and confidence that such allegations are taken seriously. GAO was asked to address the extent to which (1) the Department of Defense (DOD) conducts oversight of the military services' investigative organizations and (2) the services provide resources for investigations and adjudications of alleged sexual assault incidents. GAO also identified an issue relating to the military's criminal code during this review. GAO analyzed relevant DOD and service policies and procedures; reviewed applicable laws, including provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice; and interviewed senior DOD and service officials, including a total of 48 judge advocates and DOD civilian lawyers, at the headquarters level and at five selected military installations.
Pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) developed a policy on sexual assault prevention and response. In June 2006, OSD published DOD Instruction 6495.02, which specifies that the DOD Inspector General's Office shall develop policy and oversee sexual assault investigations and related training for the DOD criminal investigative organizations. However, the Inspector General's Office has not performed these responsibilities, primarily because it believes it has other, higher priorities. For example, GAO found no evidence of Inspector General oversight at the service level for any of the 2,594 sexual assault investigations that DOD reported the services completed in fiscal year 2010. Without a policy and plan for conducting oversight, the Inspector General's Office will remain limited in its ability to help ensure consistency and accountability, and that training is being conducted in the most effective manner. Consistent with the Secretary of Defense's priorities for sexual assault prevention and response, each service provides various resources to support investigations and adjudications of alleged sexual assault incidents. Specifically, each service has provided personnel who advise and assist on investigations and adjudications of sexual assault incidents. Each service's investigative and legal organizations also received funding, above their operating budgets, for efforts to enhance investigations and adjudications of sexual assault. For example, in fiscal year 2009, Army investigators received $4.4 million to redesign training on sexual assault investigations. However, the services' investigative and legal organizations are not fully capitalizing on opportunities to leverage each other's expertise and limited resources. For example, the Secretary of Defense, as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process, recommended that the services' investigative organizations co-locate to achieve operational synergies. However, the services currently have no plan for using opportunities such as the co-location--a move that has cost over $426 million and reportedly saved about $53 million for infrastructure support from fiscal years 2006 through 2011--to better leverage expertise and limited resources. Judge advocates also collaborate on some initiatives, but do not have a plan for leveraging resources either. Without a plan, the services cannot help ensure that resources are sustained and efficiencies are maximized. GAO met with judge advocates who consistently expressed concerns, similar to those noted in a 2009 Defense Task Force report, that a 2007 amendment to Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice complicates sexual assault prosecutions and may be causing unwarranted acquittals. Specifically, judge advocates stated that there is a lack of clarity with regard to the meaning of certain terms in the amended article, which makes it more difficult to prosecute these cases. Further, recent opinions issued by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces addressed constitutional issues that may arise related to the burden of proof in certain situations. For fiscal year 2012, DOD proposed revisions to Congress intended to remedy some of these issues. GAO is recommending that DOD develop policy and provide oversight for sexual assault investigations and related training, and for the services to develop a plan to better leverage expertise and limited resources. DOD and the Inspector General concurred with the recommendations, although the Inspector General disagreed with the characterization of its performance. GAO believes its findings are accurate, as addressed more fully in the report.
A recent study, “The Impact of Light Skin on Prison Time for Black Female Offenders,” by Jill Viglione, Lance Hannon, and Robert DeFina of Villanova University assesses how perceived skin tone is related to the maximum prison sentence and time served for a sample of over 12,158 black women imprisoned in North Carolina between 1995 and 2009.
There is a long history of social science research on the importance of race for determining life outcomes. However, there are relatively few social science studies on the importance of skin tone within racial groups. Some recent research has documented the quantifiable advantages associated with having a lighter skin shade, particularly in terms of occupational attainment and earnings among blacks. A handful of studies focusing on black men have also suggested that when authorities perceive offenders as having a lighter skin shade it translates into more lenient criminal justice outcomes. The present analysis extends this line of inquiry by examining how perceived skin tone (assessed by correctional officers) is related to maximum prison sentence and actual time served for over 12,000 black women imprisoned in North Carolina between 1995 and 2009. Controlling for several factors, the results indicated that black women deemed to have a lighter skin tone received more lenient prison sentences and served less time behind bars.
A recent study, “The Impact of Light Skin on Prison Time for Black Female Offenders,” by Jill Viglione, Lance Hannon, and Robert DeFina of Villanova University assesses how perceived skin tone is related to the maximum prison sentence and time served for a sample of over 12,158 black women imprisoned in North Carolina between 1995 and 2009. The authors controlled for factors such as prior record, conviction date, prison misconduct, and being thin, as well as whether the woman was convicted of homicide or robbery since these crimes usually carry lengthy prison sentences. With regard to prison sentences, their results indicated that women deemed to have light skin are sentenced to approximately 12% less time behind bars than their darker skinned counterparts. The results also show that having light skin reduces the actual time served by approximately 11%.
The authors conclude by urging people to understand that it is not sufficient to understand racial discrimination in terms of relative advantages of whites compared to non-whites. Among blacks, characteristics associated with whiteness appear to also have a significant impact on important life outcomes.
Pregnancy at Work: A National Survey, published by the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme (CPP) and the Equality Authority, presents the findings of Ireland’s first nationally representative survey of women’s experiences at work during and after pregnancy. The majority of mothers with young children and women of childbearing age are now in the workforce and their experience at work during and after pregnancy have become increasingly relevant over time.
The HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme (CPP) and the Equality Authority today released ‘Pregnancy at Work: A National Survey’ - a major new research report which presents the findings of Ireland’s first nationally representative survey of women’s experiences at work during and after pregnancy. The majority of mothers with young children and women of childbearing age are now in the workforce and their experience at work during and after pregnancy have become increasingly relevant over time.
The survey sample of 2,300 women was randomly selected from the Department of Social Protection’s universal child benefit register and comprised of women whose youngest child was born between July 2007 and June 2009. The research report was prepared by Dr Helen Russell, Dr Dorothy Watson and Dr Joanne Banks of the ESRI.
Areas surveyed include treatment by employers during pregnancy, health and safety, crisis pregnancy, maternity leave, parental leave and return to work. For the very first time, this survey provides compelling evidence that work-related reasons are a contributory factor in crisis pregnancy experience.
The survey’s findings show that:
33% of women stated that their pregnancy was a crisis pregnancy
The economic down-turn is having a clear impact on reports of crisis pregnancy as almost 50% of the women who experienced a crisis pregnancy stated that financial concerns contributed to the crisis
27% of working women who experienced a crisis pregnancy stated that workplace factors such as ‘work plans’ or ‘work commitments’ or ‘concern about the reaction from employers or co-workers’ to the pregnancy had contributed to the crisis
There is a strong link between experiences of unfair treatment at work and crisis pregnancy: Women who experienced more than one form of unfair treatment were at an increased risk of experiencing a crisis pregnancy.
On the positive side, the availability of flexible working practices was associated with a reduced likelihood of crisis pregnancy for women in employment. Mothers who experienced lower levels of work-family conflict during pregnancy were less likely to report a crisis pregnancy.
The survey also provides the first nationally representative data on the extent to which women experience unfair treatment at work due to pregnancy in Ireland. Regarding women in employment:
Up to 30% reported experiencing unfair treatment even though 71%, reported that they had a supportive employer in the context of their pregnancy
5% of women employed during pregnancy reported that they were dismissed, made redundant or treated so badly that they had to leave their job.
Unfair treatment was more commonly reported by younger women, women expecting their second child, women working in the retail and wholesale sector, women working in organisations with few flexible work arrangements and in workplaces that didn’t have a formal equality policy. - Unfair treatment was less common among women working for small organizations and in workplaces that had a formal equality policy
The most common form of unfair treatment was being assigned unsuitable work or workloads (12%).
Unfavourable treatment was also experienced by some women returning to work after childbirth. Almost one quarter felt that their opportunities for promotion had decreased on returning to work while over one fifth of women felt that their opportunities for training had decreased.
The survey also investigates uptake of maternity and parental leave and finds evidence that strongly points to inequalities among women: Women with higher earnings potential, better levels of education and an employed partner are more likely to avail of the extended period of unpaid maternity leave and to receive top-up payments from the employer while on maternity leave. On the other hand among women with lower earnings potential, not only are they less likely to receive employer-provided top-up payments, but financial pressures result in a lower take-up of unpaid leave and an earlier return to work.
HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme and the Equality Authority (Ireland)
In a massive job discrimination lawsuit against mega-retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the Supreme Court ruled in the retailer's favor, saying the plaintiffs had not shown justification for sweeping class-action status that could have potentially involved hundreds of thousands of current and former female workers.
The Supreme Court put the brakes on a massive job discrimination lawsuit against mega-retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc., saying the plaintiffs had not shown justification for sweeping class-action status that could have potentially involved hundreds of thousands of current and former female workers.
The 5-4 ruling Monday -- which addressed the claims in the lawsuit only in terms of whether they supported such a huge a class action -- was a big victory for the nation's largest private employer, and the business community at large.
The high-profile case-- perhaps the most closely watched of the high court's term -- is among the most important dealing with corporate versus worker rights that the justices have ever heard, and could eventually affect nearly every private employer, large and small.
"On the facts of the case," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia for the majority, the plaintiffs had to show "significant proof that Wal-Mart operated under a general policy of discrimination. That is entirely absent here."
He added, "In a company of Wal-Mart's size and geographical scope, it is quite unbelievable that all managers would exercise their discretion in a common way without some common direction."
While this particular class action has effectively ended, the individual plaintiffs could band together and file a series of smaller lawsuits aimed at individual stores or supervisors.
Four more liberal justices agreed this particular class should not proceed to trial, but criticized the majority for not allowing the female workers to move ahead with their claims under a different legal approach.
The company said it was pleased with the court's decision.
At issue was whether as many as 1.6 million current and former female Wal-Mart employees could make a unified claim of systemic discrimination, which they say has occurred over the past decade, at least. The plaintiffs alleged women were paid less than, and were given fewer opportunities for promotion than, their male counterparts. They sought back pay and punitive damages against the world's largest retailer.
A divided 6-5 ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year had allowed the combined, multiparty litigation to move ahead to one trial, where a verdict against the company could result in tens of billions of dollars in damages.
The Supreme Court ruled only on whether the original lawsuit should be handled as a class action, instead of lower courts potentially being flooded with thousands of individual discrimination claims against the company. If the justices had ruled against Wal-Mart, permitting class-action status, it could have put severe pressure on the company to settle the claims out of court.
The lawsuit alleged the company's "strong, centralized structure fosters or facilitates gender stereotyping and discrimination." The workers who brought the suit also said women make up more than 70 percent of Wal-Mart's hourly workforce but in the past decade made up less than one-third of its store management.
• “For men, increases in weight have positive linear effects of pay but at diminished returns at above-average levels of weight.”
• Gaining weight is more damaging to women’s earnings than to men. “For women, increases in weight have negative linear effects on pay, but the negative effects are stronger at below-average than at above-average weight levels.”
• “Whereas women are punished for any weight gain, very thin women receive the most severe punishment for their first few pounds of weight gain. This finding is consistent with research showing that the media’s depiction of an unrealistically think female ideal leads people to see this ideal as normative, expected, and central to female attractiveness.”
• “Very thin” women earned approximately $22,000 more than their average weight counterparts.
• “Thin” women earned a little over $7,000 more than their average weight counterparts.
• “Heavy” and “Very Heavy” women lost over $9,000 and almost $19,000, respectively, than their average weight counterparts.
When it comes to pay, do the thin win? The effect of weight on pay for men and women.
Judge, Timothy A.; Cable, Daniel M.
Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 96(1), Jan 2011, 95-112. doi: 10.1037/a0020860 [fee]
Cultivation theory suggests that society holds very different body standards for men versus women, and research indicates that the consequences of defying these social norms may not be linear. To test these notions in the employment context, we examined the relationship between weight and income and the degree to which the relationship varies by gender. For women, we theorized a negative weight–income relationship that is steepest at the thin end of the distribution. For men, we predicted a positive weight–income relationship until obesity, where it becomes negative. To test these hypotheses, we utilized 2 longitudinal studies, 1 German and 1 American. In Study 1, weight was measured over 2 time periods, and earnings were averaged over the subsequent 5 years. Study 2 was a multilevel study in which weight and earnings were within-individual variables observed over time, and gender was a between-individual variable. Results from the 2 studies generally support the hypotheses, even when examining within-individual changes in weight over time. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
Sociologists at Utah State University and Arizona State University write an opt-ed in The New York Times highlighting the findings of their study published in the journal Social Forces. The authors suggest that educators need to be aggressive in limiting bullying and looking for signs of depression in overweight girls and that expanding health education to include psychological as well as physical health could help.
From the article:
But obesity affects not only health but also economic outcomes: overweight people have less success in the job market and make less money over the course of their careers than slimmer people. The problem is particularly acute for overweight women, because they are significantly less likely to complete college.
We arrived at this conclusion after examining data from a project that tracks more than 10,000 people who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. From career entry to retirement, overweight men experienced no barriers to getting hired and promoted. But heavier women worked in jobs that had lower earnings and social status and required less education than their thinner female peers.
At first glance this difference might appear to reflect bias on the part of employers, and male supervisors in particular. After all, studies find that employers tend to view overweight workers as less capable, less hard-working and lacking in self-control.
But the real reason was that overweight women were less likely to earn college degrees — regardless of their ability, professional goals or socioeconomic status. In other words, it didn’t matter how talented or ambitious they were, or how well they had done in high school. Nor did it matter whether their parents were rich or poor, well educated or high school dropouts.
Our study, published last year in the journal Social Forces, was the first to show that decreased education was the key mechanism that reduced the career achievement of overweight women — an impact that persisted even among those who lost weight later in life. We found no similar gap in educational attainment for overweight men.
Why doesn’t body size affect men’s attainment as much as women’s? One explanation is that overweight girls are more stigmatized and isolated in high school compared with overweight boys. Other studies have shown that body size is one of the primary ways Americans judge female — but not male — attractiveness. We also know that the social stigma associated with obesity is strongest during adolescence. So perhaps teachers and peers judge overweight girls more harshly. In addition, evidence suggests that, relative to overweight girls, overweight boys are more active in extracurricular activities, like sports, which may lead to stronger friendships and social ties. (Of course our study followed a particular group from career entry to retirement, and more study is needed to determine whether overweight girls finishing high school today face the same barriers, though these social factors suggest they do.)
That overweight women continue to trail men — including overweight men — in educational attainment in America is remarkable, given that women in general are outpacing men in college completion and in earning advanced degrees.
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.