The 1.7 million members of the Class of 2011 witnessed, within the four-year span of their college careers, one of the greatest bull markets in United States history and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Last spring, they shed their caps and gowns and joined a kind of B.A. bread line. Unemployment among recent liberal-arts graduates, at 9.4 percent, was higher than the national average, and student-loan debt, at an average of nearly $25,000, had reached record levels. Worse still, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was reporting that only 5 of the 20 jobs projected to grow fastest over the coming decade would require a bachelor’s degree. Though the statistics still show that a college degree correlates with both higher income and lower unemployment in the long run, diplomas didn’t seem very valuable when they were handed out last May.
Graduating seniors at schools like Drew University in Madison, N.J., have felt the stresses of the job market acutely. For all its merits — including a much-admired theater department and a prestigious Wall Street internship program — Drew ranks 94th among 178 private liberal-arts colleges on U.S. News & World Report’s annual list. The middle of the collegiate pack is not where you want to be when you’re competing for a diminishing number of entry-level jobs.
Members of Drew’s Class of ’11 are typical of their peers nationally in that their success in the job market seems to have less to do with their G.P.A.’s or their persistence and more to do with their family connections, fields of study, networking skills and luck. How else to account for the unemployed Phi Beta Kappa waiting by a silent phone? Or the anthropology major who is forgoing grad school to become a dog groomer? Or the English major who can’t earn enough money to make the monthly payment on her $128,000 student loan? (Drew is unusually expensive; tuition plus room and board run more than $50,000 a year.) Equals on campus, the 309 members of Drew’s Class of ’11 are already being divided into the 99 percent and the 1 percent. Seven months after graduation, The Times Magazine spoke with 226 of them about their rough journey into the real world.
In most of the United States, a woman 17 years or older who needs Plan B, an emergency contraceptive that can prevent pregnancy up to 72 hours after intercourse, can walk up to a pharmacy counter and request it without a prescription.
But for Native American women served by the Indian Health Service, obtaining Plan B might require a drive of hundreds of miles, a wait beyond the pill's window of effectiveness, and a price beyond what the IHS would charge.
Researchers who calculated cancer death rates in 24 of the largest U.S. cities found that in 13 of them, black women were significantly more likely to die of breast cancer than white women.
That's despite the evidence that white women are more likely than blacks to get breast cancer in the first place.
"It's unfortunate that this disparity exists and we all need to work hard to overcome it," said Marc Hurlbert, one of the researchers on the new study from the Avon Foundation for Women, which funded the report.
"The good news is it's a solvable problem, because some cites are doing better than others," he said.
Of the cities where black women were more likely to die of breast cancer, that disparity ranged from a 24 percent higher risk of death in New York to more than twice the risk of death in Memphis between 2005 and 2007.
WEDO is proud to present a new publication in partnership with IUCN, which takes a fresh look at some of the aforementioned issues facing gender and forests, and considers how gender is being addressed both on the ground and in policy discussions on climate change.
The publication includes case studies from around the world, demonstrating the wealth of learning and experience that is resulting from increased awareness and integration of gender issues within forestry work. It also examines current issues and progress at the international and global levels, and forecasts future challenges and developments. Click here to download a copy.
The Center for Women Policy Studies is very pleased to share with you the Briefing Paper from our sisters at the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA) and the AIDS Legal Network (ALN), South Africa.
In our previous piece in this series, we looked at the relative absence of women from environmental restoration sectors like transportation and engineering. You might have come away wondering why the gender ratios are so skewed in fields such as construction, where there are approximately 32 male Louisianans working for every one female.
As in other parts of the country, the disparities in Louisiana’s labor profile were historically rooted in low levels of educational access for women and traditional social norms about female employment. In a 2004 report, Dr. Beth Willinger, who then served as the Executive Director of the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women at Tulane University, noted that:
“The fact that fewer Louisiana women attain a high school education than women nationally has consequences for employment and earnings. While men with a high school education can obtain relatively high-paying jobs with fringe benefits, for example in construction and transportation; women with a high school education tend to obtain jobs in the service industry, or as sales clerks and receptionists that pay the minimum wage, offer little security and few health or retirement benefits.”
Over the past 14 years, the number of women-owned businesses has grown at a rate that exceeds the national average—one and a half times the national average to be exact. The release of the latest business statistics in December 2010 by the U.S. Census Bureau allows for an updated analysis of trends. This new investigation reveals a slowdown in this growth of the number of women-owned businesses as well as a lag in employment and revenue growth—but not where you might think. New statistics on firm size, sales, revenue and employment trends can help inform future business planning, public policy development and entrepreneurial support activities. The State of Women-Owned Businesses Report also highlights some of the issues preventing women-owned businesses from reaching their full potential.
As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments over the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s sweeping and controversial health care reform law, the White House hosted a roundtable discussion on the law’s impact on women and families. WebMD and 10 female-focused websites and bloggers were invited to join the discussion with Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy-Ann DeParle and Deputy Assistant to the President for Health Policy, Jeanne Lambrew.
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010 and is rolling out over the course of four years. Its biggest impact, extending health insurance to approximately 30 million people, doesn’t kick in until 2014.
DeParle said that the biggest criticism of the law that contains the most misinformation is “that it does nothing to control costs.” As an example, she said that Medicare spending per beneficiary is about the lowest it has ever been. Lambrew added that the White House plans to release information Thursday indicating that premium growth has slowed for health insurance.
Another criticism DeParle addressed was the individual mandate, the part of the law that requires everyone to purchase health insurance. The mandate’s legality will be debated during next week’s Supreme Court hearings. “A lot of people think that the so-called individual mandate is a huge new imposition on their liberty based on what they’ve heard from some, when, in fact, for many, most, I suppose, Americans, nothing is going to change,” DeParle said. “They’ll just check a box that says ‘Yes, I have insurance.’” The government will help cover the cost of insurance for those who can’t afford it.
In every presidential election since 1964, more women have voted than men. In the last few presidential elections, voter turnout rates for women have equaled or exceeded voter rates for men in nearly every age group; in fact, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, in 2008 nearly 10 million more women than men cast their ballots in the presidential race.
Exit polls from Super Tuesday voting showed that one fifth of the those who voted in Ohio were working women; in Virginia, married women made up a third of the electorate. In Oklahoma, more than half of voters were female.
Many women consider themselves independent voters. In the 2010 elections, the Pew Research Center found that among female independent likely voters, the GOP held a 43 percent to 40 percent edge over Democrats. There's an opportunity here for the GOP: If Republicans want to continue picking up as many seats as they did in 2010, they need to focus on winning the independent women's vote, too, not just die-hard Republicans.
Through our research we have found that women are continuously charged more for health coverage simply because they are women, and individual market health plans often exclude coverage for services that only women need, like maternity coverage. The report provides an in-depth analysis of these inequalities and explains how the Affordable Care Act explicitly removes these discriminations by 2014.