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.
New research by Joel E. Cohen and colleagues in Norway found that, at least among a population of Norwegian women, childbearing impeded education more than education impeded childbearing. The surprising findings are reported online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
From the press release:
In almost every country, women with more education have fewer children. But does education reduce childbearing, or does childbearing get in the way of education, or both? New research by Joel E. Cohen and colleagues in Norway found that, at least among a population of Norwegian women, childbearing impeded education more than education impeded childbearing. The surprising findings are reported online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Cohen and his co-authors, Øystein Kravdal and Nico Keilman from the University of Oslo, followed all the women born in Norway in 1964 through the end of their childbearing, using year-by-year data on education, enrollment and reproduction.
The researchers expected to find that women around 40 years old with more education bear fewer children mainly because education reduces childbearing. However, they found the opposite: women who have children early seem not to go on to higher education, much more than higher education reduces childbearing.
Cohen and his colleagues offer several possible policy implications based on their findings. For example, should women be discouraged from bearing children at an early age? The authors suggest that policy makers could recognize that early childbearing may be a result of decisions made by well-informed individuals. On the other hand, if society places a large value on education that is inadequately taken into account through individuals' decision making, policies could be adopted that discourage people from having children at an early age.
In addition, if women underestimate how much childbearing interferes with further education — along with potentially adverse consequences for their long-term quality of life — then a case could be made that it would be a good idea to create more awareness about the educational consequences of early childbearing.
Finally, a policy could be implemented that offset the effect of childbearing on education by, for example, lowering the cost of child care for students who are mothers. Such a policy, the authors say, could in principle make more women interested in having a child early; however, it would increase the educational levels for those who would have a child (whether wanted or not) while they are still young, with potentially beneficial effects also on others' well-being.
In most societies, women at age 39 with higher levels of education have fewer children. To understand this association, we investigated the effects of childbearing on educational attainment and the effects of education on fertility in the 1964 birth cohort of Norwegian women. Using detailed annual data from ages 17 to 39, we estimated the probabilities of an additional birth, a change in educational level, and enrollment in the coming year, conditional on fertility history, educational level, and enrollment history at the beginning of each year. A simple model reproduced a declining gradient of children ever born with increasing educational level at age 39. When a counterfactual simulation assumed no effects of childbearing on educational progression or enrollment (without changing the estimated effects of education on childbearing), the simulated number of children ever born decreased very little with increasing completed educational level, contrary to data. However, when another counterfactual simulation assumed no effects of current educational level and enrollment on childbearing (without changing the estimated effects of childbearing on education), the simulated number of children ever born decreased with increasing completed educational level nearly as much as the decrease in the data. In summary, in these Norwegian data, childbearing impeded education much more than education impeded childbearing. These results suggest that women with advanced degrees have lower completed fertility on the average principally because women who have one or more children early are more likely to leave or not enter long educational tracks and never attain a high educational level.
EurekAlert / Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
The Talk About it survey questioned over 1500 Australian women enrolled in college on their experiences of sexual assault and harassment, their perceptions of safety, the availability of information and services and their experiences of how well incidences were dealt with once reported.
From the report summary:
The survey was developed in response to a need for national data on the issue following on from a series of incidents at residential halls and colleges in NSW and the ACT. Initial findings showed that 1 in 10 of the respondents had experiences sexual assault while at university and that more than 60% of women felt unsafe whilst on campus at night. These are on top of the national figures of 1 in 3 experiencing some form of physical violence during their adult life and 1 in 5 experiencing sexual violence.
The “Safe Universities Blueprint” forms part of the survey’s final report. It is a framework for tackling the issues outlined in the results of the survey. The recommendations were adapted from Australian best-practice, international initiatives and from suggestions from the youth, women’s and tertiary education sectors. In this way, NUS has been able to develop a consensus document that recognizes the various needs and experiences of everyone involved. The recommendations are aimed at both universities and students. This two-tiered approach acknowledges the roles and responsibilities of both groups in tackling such a pervasive and wide-spread issue.
A Chicago Tribune survey of six schools in Illinois and Indiana found that police investigated 171 reported sex crimes since fall 2005, with 12 resulting in arrests and four in convictions. Only one of the convictions stemmed from a student-on-student attack, the most common type of assault.
From the article:
The rate of arrests and convictions is far below the average for rapes reported nationally.
The trend leaves untold number of college women feeling betrayed and vulnerable, believing that their allegations are not taken seriously. The Tribune's findings also raise fresh questions about the way college administrators and law enforcement officials handle the allegations, even as the Obama administration calls attention to the issue with a series of initiatives and investigations aimed at better protecting students from sex crimes.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) analyzed grant applications to determine whether there is a correlation between the sex of the applicants and the award of NIH grant funding. The study determined that success and funding rates for men and women were not significantly different in most award programs and that, in programs where participation was lower for women than men, the disparity was primarily related to a lower percentage of women applicants compared with men, rather than decreased success rates or funding rates.
Longitudinal analysis showed that men with previous experience as NIH grantees had higher application and funding rates than women at similar career points. On average, women received larger R01 awards, which are the "gold standard" of NIH funding, than men, but men had more R01 awards than women at all points in their careers.
Purpose: The authors provide an analysis of sex differences in National Institutes of Health (NIH) award programs to inform potential initiatives for promoting diversity in the research workforce.
Method: In 2010, the authors retrieved data for NIH extramural grants in the electronic Research Administration Information for Management, Planning, and Coordination II database and used statistical analysis to determine any sex differences in securing NIH funding, as well as subsequent success of researchers who had already received independent NIH support.
Results: Success and funding rates for men and women were not significantly different in most award programs. Furthermore, in programs where participation was lower for women than men, the disparity was primarily related to a lower percentage of women applicants compared with men, rather than decreased success rates or funding rates. However, for subsequent grants, both application and funding rates were generally higher for men than for women.
Conclusions: Cross-sectional analysis showed that women and men were generally equally successful at all career stages, but longitudinal analysis showed that men with previous experience as NIH grantees had higher application and funding rates than women at similar career points. On average, although women received larger R01 awards than men, men had more R01 awards than women at all points in their careers. Therefore, while greater participation of women in NIH programs is under way, further action will be required to eradicate remaining sex differences.
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.
According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), African-Americans earn only 1 percent of Ph.D.’s in physics. This blog post discusses a May 2011 NSF workshop focused on collaboration in the sciences with the express purpose of increasing the participation of under represented minorities in the STEM fields. Of note is a Master's-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program partnership between Fisk, a historically black university (HBU) and Vanderbilt.
The New York Times discovered that many American universities are using deceptive tactics to appear more to be offering women's sports to more participants than they actually are. This includes offering spots to women who do not actually compete or reporting male players who practice with the team as female players.
From the article:
As women have grown to 57 percent of American colleges’ enrollment, athletic programs have increasingly struggled to field a proportional number of female athletes. And instead of pouring money into new women’s teams or trimming the rosters of prized football teams, many colleges are turning to a sleight of hand known as roster management. According to a review of public records from more than 20 colleges and universities by The New York Times, and an analysis of federal participation statistics from all 345 institutions in N.C.A.A. Division I — the highest level of college sports — many are padding women’s team rosters with underqualified, even unwitting, athletes. They are counting male practice players as women. And they are trimming the rosters of men’s teams.
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
Brown University alumnae/i continue to take the theater world by storm, capturing some of theater's most prestigious prizes. No issue – from race to gender roles to religion – is off-limits. How do they do it?
Lynn Nottage, recipient of the 2007 MacArthur Genius Grant and 2009 Pulitzer Prize, whose plays include Ruined, Intimate Apparel, and Crumbs from the Table of Joy and OBIE winner Adam Bock, author of the plays The Receptionist, The Thugs, and A Small Fire among others, join us for a no holds barred conversation about how they write to inspire, provoke, and engage theater audiences around the world. Moderated by Eng-Beng Lim, Assistant Professor of Theatre arts and Performance Studies, Brown University.
Saturday, May 28, 2011, 11 a.m.
List Auditorium, Brown Universitiy, 64 College Street, Providence, RI
The article “Gender and College Recruiting,” which was first published in the April 2011 issue of the NACE Journal, reports that the average starting salary for a Class of 2010 new female college graduate with a bachelor’s degree was $36,451: 17 percent less than the $44,159 her male counterpart averaged. The article finds that the discrepancy cannot simply be explained as the result of males choosing majors that lead to higher-paying jobs because even when salary is adjusted by major, men come out ahead in most cases. Engineering is the notable exception.
From the press release:
Female new college graduates earn less than their male counterparts, according to a report issued by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
In “Gender and College Recruiting,” appearing in the April 2011 issue of the NACE Journal, Ed Koc, NACE director of research, reports that the average starting salary to a Class of 2010 new female college graduate at the bachelor’s degree level was $36,451—17 percent less than the $44,159 her male counterpart averaged.
Interestingly, being a rarity isn’t a guarantee of a higher salary. In fact, women earning degrees in computer science are also scarce—accounting for approximately 18 percent of the degrees conferred—but averaged $52,531, while men earned $56,227.
In addition, the data indicate a relationship between lower pay and fields that are predominantly female; even when they dominate a field, women tend to earn less than men holding the same degree. In education, for example, where they account for nearly 80 percent of graduates, women averaged $29,092, while men averaged $39,849.