A new study released by the Center for Women and Work (CWW) at the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University describes how home-based workers have fared three years after unionization and only four years after they gained the right to organize.
Senator Barbara Milkulski is holding a press conference later today to press the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act she recently introduced. But didn’t President Obama already kill the gender wage gap? Not quite. While Obama has long been touting the first bill he signed once in office, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, it only provides a woman more time to file a claim of discrimination. The Paycheck Fairness Act would go further by ensuring employees can discuss their salaries with each other—since it’s hard to root out pay discrimination if you don’t know how you stack up against everyone else.
Lilly Ledbetter certainly helps women who want to bring lawsuits against their employers by giving them more time to do so. In that way, Obama’s first act did recognize the problem of pay discrimination. But it’s a baby step forward in the march toward equal pay.
The numbers since its signing bear that out. According to Bloomberg, the number of pay discrimination complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission actually fell from 2,268 when Obama signed the Act in 2009 to 2,191 last year. Meanwhile, the pay gap has widened from 77.8 in 2007 to 77.4 percent in 2010.
So what will it take to make the wage gap disappear? Why wouldn’t clearing the way for lawsuits get us there? Part of the answer is that Ledbetter only nibbled at the edges of an enormous, systemic problem. As I’vepreviously written, the causes of the gap range from a too-low minimum wage to decreased unionization levels. These kinds of issues won’t budge on a large scale even if women are emboldened to sue for equal pay.
Like many tipped workers, Dunder has trouble making ends meet because of an obscure federal provision called the tip credit, which has established a sub-minimum wage for tipped workers at $2.15 per hour, or $4,333 a year for a full-time worker. Forty-five states have established slightly higher sub-minimum wages. For example, Michigan pays $2.65 an hour.
The federal full minimum wage is $7.25 per hour or about $15,000 a year for a 40-hour work week.
Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC-United), a New York-based national nonprofit restaurant worker organization, wants to raise and index the federal minimum wage for tipped workers to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.
They say the hike is needed to provide a livable income. Tipped workers, the group says, are more likely to fall into poverty than those who receive minimum wage. Servers rely on food stamps at nearly double the rate of the general population.
The long-term unemployed now make up over 40 percent of all unemployed workers, and 3.3 percent of the labor force. In the past six decades, the previous highs for these figures were 26 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively, in June 1983.
Instead of helping these folks weather the storm and find ways to re-enter the workforce, our nation is moving in the opposite direction. In fact, this past Sunday, 230,000 people who have been looking for work for over a year lost their unemployment benefits. More than 400,000 people have now lost unemployment insurance (UI) since the beginning of the year as twenty-five high-unemployment states have ended their Extended Benefits (EB) program.
What makes the denial of this lifeline all the more absurd is the reason for it. As Hannah Shaw, research associate at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), writes, “Benefits have ended not because economic conditions have improved, but because they have not significantly deteriorated in the past three years.”
It’s all about an obscure rule called “the three-year lookback.”
Under federal guidelines, for a state to offer additional weeks of benefits it must have an unemployment rate of at least 6.5 percent, and—according to the lookback rule—the rate must be “at least 10 percent higher than it was any of the three prior years.”
Like their sisters all over the developing world, women farmers work hard to grow food for themselves and their families, and for sale. They plant and tend, fertilize and weed, harvest and process -- in short, do all it takes to produce a crop. But they don't get much in return. Their yields are low and, even if some crops are sold, the women may not see any income since men who take the crop to market may not feel obliged to share it.
When international development projects come around to try to change these conditions, they don't always reach out to women farmers. They assume that the women are not the "real" farmers because they don't own land or go to market, or because they have other household responsibilities such as fetching water and caring for children.
However, studies done in many developing countries show that women undertake a variety of farm work along with their household chores. Despite this reality, women are left out of projects that offer new technologies, improved fertilizers or training in practices that could help them produce more. Other studies show that when women have the same access as men to such farming resources, women could produce more, earn more and live better lives.
Fortunately, there is growing support for women farmers like those I met in Tanzania. It comes from the highest levels in global agreements like the G8 L'Aquila Food Security Initiative -- which committed $20 billion over three years for sustainable agriculture development -- and policies such as the United States Agency for International Development's Feed the Future initiative.
hree out of four women report they are somewhat, very or extremely stressed. Among those who are extremely stressed, 82 percent said they are uncomfortable with their financial situation. In addition, 58 percent of women report having gained weight in the past 10 years. That number jumps to 68 percent among women identifying themselves as extremely stressed.
The survey focused on the tie between health, stress and financial issues. In support of National Women's Health Week, May 13-19, Aviva USA and Mayo Clinic encourage all Americans to establish habits to improve their overall health and well-being.
Although the majority of American women say they have gained weight in the past 10 years and feel stressed, nearly four out of five women consider themselves to be in good to excellent health. So why should these women worry?
In honor of National Nurses Week, WISER is pleased to release the final report from our Nurses’ Investor Education Project, a multi-year financial education initiative aiming to improve nurses’ financial security using educational tools, resources and peer-to-peer training and workshops.
This report examines the valuable role women play as caregivers to both their children and to their aging parents. It looks at the impact of widowhood, and the difference in life expectancy between men and women and how that affects a growing number of older women --espeically those over age 86-- who are living below the poverty line. And it examines the special role that Social Security plays in meeting the income security needs of women from communities of color.
by Carroll Estes, Terry O'Neill, Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. (May 2012)
According to IWPR analysis of the May employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth continued in April with 115,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. In April, women gained 84,000 jobs (nearly three-quarters of jobs added) and men gained 31,000.
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (May 2012)
Single motherhood is very common. Around half of today’s mothers will spend at least some time as the sole custodial parent. At any one time, almost one quarter of mothers are single mothers. Read more about single mothers in this report, including on employment, income, and poverty.