Status of Women - Work-Life Balance Issues
Work-Life Balance Issues for Women & Their Families
"Because Equity is Still an Issue."
For more information: AAUW Fact Sheets and Position Papers on Affirmative Action, Athletics, Education, Managed Care Reform, Reproductive Rights, and Social Security Reform.
Updated: Aug. 15, 2014
- Mother Arrested For Leaving Her Kids In A Park While She Went To A Food Bank - Child care is increasingly expensive, and mothers in the U.S. can't get subsidized help for errands like going to a food bank. Day camps during the summer vacation are also usually out of reach financially. The time it takes to wait in line for a bag of food at a pantry varies greatly and can stretch as long as an hour or more. These arrests may be coming after a cultural shift around when and how children are thought to be capable of being left alone. Slate conducted an unscientific online survey and found that in the 1940s, most children were allowed to walk a mile to five miles from home alone in second or third grade, but by the 1990s parents only allowed middle schoolers to do so. Similarly, children in the 1940s and 50s were allowed to go to a playground alone in second or third grade, but by the 90s they had to wait until fourth or fifth grade.
- Undocumented Mothers in the US Are Often Vulnerable, Ignored and Misunderstood - The struggles of undocumented, immigrant mothers are often overlooked when it comes to the immigration debate or any discourse on motherhood, leading to persistent misconceptions. Challenges to raising a family as an undocumented woman include lack of employment and health care, high rates of domestic violence and psychological trauma.
- Gender equity revolution no longer stalled - For two and a half decades, from the 1970s to the mid-1990s, every year, a rapidly growing number of Americans began to think that women could bust out of their traditional homemaker roles, take on more public roles and work outside the home and their kids and family wouldn't suffer for it. More women joined the labor force every year. More got college and advanced degrees. The wage gap between men and women narrowed. And American support for egalitarian marriages rose.
- More Education for Wives No Longer Adds to Risk of Divo - A new study in American Sociological Review finds a reversal of a pattern of many decades in which women with more education than their husbands were more likely than others to end up divorced. Now such women are not at greater odds of divorce. Further, couples in which both spouses have equal educational levels are now less likely to get divorced than are those where the husband has more education. The study only looked at heterosexual couples. The lead author of the study was Christine R. Schwartz, associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
- You OK, Sis? Why Those Three Words Can Save a Woman's Life - Day in and day out people move through the world, hoping to get to their location safely. We walk down the street, wait for a train, and read books on the bus. But for many women, getting from point A to point B without being harassed just isn't an option. Recently, social worker and avid Twitter user Feminista Jones witnessed a young mother who was pushing a stroller being accosted on the street. Jones decided to ask her one simple question: "You OK, sis?"
- Cooper Bill Ensures Equality in Medical Research - U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) and U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (WY-1) today introduced a bipartisan bill that would require the inclusion and separate analysis of both male and female animals, tissues and cells in basic research conducted and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- From El Barrio to La Realidad, Women Lead Struggles to Transform the World - The women of El Barrio and the Zapatista women of La Realidad are two examples of how women in struggle all over the world are coming together to inspire and learn from each other, and how, in the process, women are transforming the world. The Movement for Justice in El Barrio is a community-based organization, led by immigrant women that works for dignity and social justice and against oppression, gentrification and displacement in El Barrio, New York.
- Selfie Project at Indian River reveals real beauty isn't edited - More than 20 Indian River Central High School students hung pictures exposing their least favorite qualities for their classmates to critique. The revealing series of selfies shows true beauty isn't defined by Barbie or edited photos, but by embracing what real women embody. "The idea was to break the myth of the ideal beauty," sophomore Josephine R. Compeau said. "We embraced our imperfections and we found they weren't imperfections at all."
- Why Men Don't See the Harassment Women Experience. Yes, All Women. - Among men, misogyny hides in plain sight, and not just because most men are oblivious to the problem or callous toward its impact. Men who objectify and threaten women often strategically obscure their actions from other men, taking care to harass women when other men aren't around. These are forms of male aggression that only women see. But even when men are afforded a front seat to harassment, they don't always have the correct vantage point for recognizing the subtlety of its operation.
- Dads who do housework have more ambitious daughters - A mother's stated views on gender equality were linked to her children's views. However, a father's share of housework made a difference even if both he and the girl's mother explicitly endorse gender equality, reported the study published in the journal Psychological Science.
- AAUW Blog: The Child Care Conundrum - Should working moms lean in, opt out, or something in between? When it comes to careers, motherhood is a condition that, rightly or wrongly, is blamed for lower earnings, slower advancement, and the absence of women from the workforce. At the crux of every discussion about the “mommy wars” or “having it all” is the overwhelming, expensive mess that is child care in the United States — and the many difficulties women who work outside the home face because of it.
- She The People: More stressed at home than at work? - A study shows both women and men are less stressed - and women are much happier - at work. The data clearly showed that both men and women are significantly less stressed out at work than they are at home. And the women they studied said they were happier at work. While the men said they felt happier at home. "We found a big gender difference," said Sarah Damaske, a sociologist and women's studies professor at Penn State and one of the report authors. "Women were much happier at work than at home. And men were only moderately happier at home than at work."
- Jill Abramson's Ouster Shows Women We Have to Be Better than Good - The fury of women journalists who identify with Abramson stems from what we know: that excellent performances are not enough. Women must be completely different from the men they replace (or who replace them), apparently - they must adapt to the power they are briefly allowed to hold without transgressing the gender roles they aren't allowed to escape. She broke the clubhouse rules. She never became that mythical female boss who is assertive but not aggressive, nurturing but not mothering, not so strong that it bothers the men, but never weak like a woman.
- As Jill Abramson exits the NY Times, a look at how women are faring in newsrooms - The departure of Jill Abramson marked an abrupt end to the reign of the first woman to run The New York Times, a role that made her a journalistic pioneer in her own right. Her dismissal comes during the same week as the retirement of Barbara Walters, who broke a glass ceiling at ABC in 1976 by becoming the first woman to sit at a network anchor desk. Both events have prompted a debate about the role of women in American journalism and how much—or how little—has changed over the years.
- Top editor at the New York Times is leaving - In a move that stunned the media world, the New York Times announced Wednesday that it was replacing executive editor Jill Abramson with her No. 2 in the newsroom, Dean Baquet. Abramson was the first female executive editor of The New York Times. Baquet is its first African American editor.
- How Much Are Moms Worth in 2014? - Salary.com's 14th Annual "Mom Salary" Survey Reveals How Much Money Mothers Should Be Paid - Go to our Mom Salary Wizard to customize your mom's salary and print out a check.
- Confidence gap still present among collegiate women - UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) conducts an annual survey asking incoming college freshman to self-rate their abilities compared to the average person their age. Linda Sax, UCLA higher education professor, says this survey showcases some long-standing trends. "In the over 40 years that we've been measuring student's self ratings, women tend to consistently rate themselves lower than men do on a wide range of self-ratings, she says.
- OpEd: The Media Has a Woman Problem - A new report by the Women's Media Center found that male reporters still accounted for 63 percent of bylines in the nation's top 10 papers and about the same proportion of newsroom staff. All but one of the individual winners of Pulitzer Prizes in journalism this year were male.
- Water Is Wide: Women, Climate Change and the Iowa River - Women, Land and Legacy is an organization working to reach women in agricultural areas throughout Iowa. It involves government, nonprofit and faith based organizations. Women involved in agriculture meet monthly to discuss general interests and concerns with farmland. It is a way for women to develop a local network with other women of agriculture.
- In the News: Grating Expectations - A new study, based on interviews with 35 female college leaders, shows how women are discouraged but can encourage other women.
- In the News: Bill would extend window for justice on abuse cases - Assemblywoman Margaret Markey is renewing her push for legislation that would give sexual assault victims more time to file criminal and civil complaints against their abusers. Markey's Child Victims Act (A.1771-a/ S.06367) would eliminate completely the statute of limitation on reporting criminal charges of sexual assault, erasing the current five year limitation on reporting an incident after a victim turns 18. The bill would also suspend the civil statute of limitations for one year in order to help expose older crimes and allow for possible identification of hidden abusers through the court discovery process.
- In the News: Eldercare: The Forgotten Feminist Issue - As writer Jane Glenn Haas pointed out, eldercare isn't sexy enough to be a feminist issue. It lacks the naughty allure of reproductive rights, the seductive appeal of body image. It doesn't even have a sassy Lean In-like catchphrase. But it should be a feminist issue, since the numbers show that women are most likely to shoulder the responsibility of looking after parents in their twilight years, and the most likely to live well into those twilight years. A lot of them have missed out on career and educational opportunities. A lot of them-like my mother and her friends-are doing this by the skin of their teeth, with scant to nonexistent resources. A lot of them will outlive their spouses (if they have them), exhaust their pensions (if they have them), and die alone.
- In the News: It's No Longer Legal to Sexually Harass Unpaid Interns in New York City - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law broadening the language of the city's existing human rights legislation to include unpaid workers, giving them the right to sue their employers. The measure says that, at least where harassment and discrimination are concerned, whether or not you receive wages has no bearing on whether you are "employed."
- In the News: Why so few women college presidents? - Women are significantly underrepresented among higher education presidents. Today, only 26% of the college presidents in the U.S. are women while more than 57% of the students in colleges and universities are women. Women have been in the majority among undergraduate students since 1980 and among graduate students since 1988. Women made up 10% of the college presidents in 1980 and 23% in 2006. They have increased their share of presidencies by 1 percentage point every two years; if they continue to increase their share of college presidencies at this rate, it will take 48 years to hold half of the college presidencies; that is a very, very long time.
- In the News: The Real Reason American Moms Are Staying Home - According to a new Pew study, more American moms are staying at home with the kids - but not out of choice. These moms aren't avoiding the workplace because they are wealthy and can afford to do so, but because they can't find a job in an economy which is no longer working for most of us. Even when they can find a job, many women can't afford to take it because of the exhorbitant cost of childcare in America, which currently averages around $12,000 per year according to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies.
- In the News: Number of Mothers in U.S. Who Stay at Home Rises - BOSTON - Likely driven in part by economic factors and changing demographics, the number of stay-at-home mothers in the United States has risen since 2000 after decades of decline, a report released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center shows. The researchers found that 29 percent of mothers with children younger than 18 - about 10.4 million women - stayed at home in 2012, compared with the historic low of 23 percent in 1999.
- In the News: Men on the Edge of Panic: Boomer Esiason, Mike Francesa and Toxic Masculinity - Joe Erhmann: "Comments like these put every man in a position to think about career and co workers opinions ahead of father/husband/partner roles. So even in companies with paternity leave, many new dads won't or feel like they can't take advantage of leave without a stigma being attached to them.
- In the News: Global Rankings Study Depicts an America in Warp Speed Decline - From access to healthcare and education, gender equality, attitudes toward immigrants and minorities, the U.S. looks like a second-rate nation. While the U.S. enjoys the second highest per capita GDP of $45,336, it ranks in an underperforming 16th place overall. It gets worse. The U.S. ranks 70th in health, 69th in ecosystem sustainability, 39th in basic education, 34th in access to water and sanitation and 31st in personal safety.
- In the News: Could A 'Barbie' Get Real? What A Healthy Fashion Doll Looks Like - Lamm has nearly half a million dollars to produce a Barbie-like doll with the proportions of a real teenager. He designed the doll using the of the average 19-year-old, given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Viseo: Childhood Gender Roles In Adult Life
- In the News: Exposed: Outrageous Gender Bias Rife in News Industry - According to the Women's Media Centre (WMC), male journalists dominate the U.S. news industry, receiving 63 percent of byline credits across almost all media sectors compared to just 37 percent for women.
- In the News: College degree gender gap widens with younger Gen Xers, study finds - At 27 years of age, 32 percent of women had received a bachelor’s degree, compared to 24 percent of men, and by the same age, some 70 percent of women had at least attended some college, compared to 61 percent of men.
- OpEd: No more backsliding: The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is a landmark international agreement that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world. It outlines a comprehensive framework that can guide governments toward eliminating discrimination and bring any country closer to achieving gender equality.
- In the News: Momentum Is Building for Museum on Women - Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee are co-sponsors of a bill authorizing exploration of a national women's history museum site.
- In the News: Jimmy Carter Issues 'Call To Action' Against Subjugation Of Women - In his new book, A Call To Action, Carter tackles a fundamental question of equality head-on: the subjugation of women in cultures around the world.
- In the News: America Ranks 98th in the World? The Shocking Dismal Number of Women in Elected Office - Why does the U.S. still have such low numbers compared with the rest of the world?
- In the News: How Playing with Barbies Can Stunt Girls’ Career Aspirations - New study suggests playing with Barbie "creates a limit on the sense of what’s possible for their future."
- In the News: Celebrating 23 Women Righting the Wrongs of Hunger and Poverty Around the World - In many countries, women are responsible for the majority of food production, but they are also more likely to suffer from hunger due to food shortages. For instance, Oxfam International data has found women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, but only earn 10 percent of the income.
- In the News: Six Ways America Is Like a Third-World Country - Our society lags behind the rest of the developed world in education, health care, violence and more
- In the News: Global Gender Pay Gap Map - This map highlights the percentage difference between men and women’s wages around the world. There is not a single country where women earn, on average, more than their male counterparts.
- In the News: Pols: NY public campaign financing vital to women - More than 160 women who are elected officials or hold other leadership posts have written to New York's top elected officials, all men, urging them to enact public campaign financing.
- In the News: The Gender Gap in Screen Time - This year's lead actors average 85 minutes on screen, but lead actresses average only 57 minutes. When you add in supporting categories, all competing actors averaged 59 minutes, while all competing actresses averaged 42 minutes. Last year's results were even more imbalanced: nominated male stars averaged 100 minutes on screen to the lead actresses' 49 minutes.
- In the News: Chemistry Without Women - Emily Carter, founding director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University; Laura Gagliardi, professor of chemistry at the University of Minnesota; and Anna Krylov, professor of chemistry at the University of Southern California, started the petition this month in response to a preliminary published program for the Beijing conference featuring 24 invitees, five chairs and honorary chairs – all of whom were men.
- In the News: Mars, Venus and the Handling of Money - Scores of recent studies show that we’re in the midst of a tectonic gender shift around money: It’s big, slow-moving and ultimately a game-changer. Women have money now, real money: They earn a combined $29 trillion worldwide, according to the Boston Consulting Group, about $3 trillion of that in the United States. And while men still earn more, women control nearly three-quarters of all purchasing decisions. Judging by other economic indicators, those numbers will only grow. Since 1982 women have earned 9.1 million more associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees than men.
- In the News: Great Britain: Cash-strapped older women are forced back to work - Older women taking on more jobs, study finds, but pay gap between the sexes is growing wider.
- In the News: AOL's CEO Proves Women and Children Make Easy Scapegoats in the Workplace - AOL CEO Tim Armstrong recently ignited a firestorm of criticism when he announced the company would be restructuring its retirement benefits. Armstrong explained that the financial burden of Obamacare and the deliveries of two "distressed babies," which cost the company $1 million each, had forced the company to reduce 401(k) matching contributions.
- In the News: Where women work, and don’t: A map of female labor force participation around the world - International Women's Day is coming up in a couple of weeks, so it's worth looking at an issue that's extremely important both for women's rights and welfare as well as for any country's overall economic health: female labor force participation.
- In the News: Hillary Clinton launches global data project on women and girls - Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has been weaving a theme of women’s empowerment throughout her public life as she ponders another presidential run in 2016, launched a new partnership to measure and analyze the advancement of women and girls around the world.
- In the News: Record Share of Wives 'Marry Down' Educationally - A record share of wives are "marrying down" educationally, and have more education than do their husbands, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center. Historically, husbands were more likely than wives to have a greater level of education. In 1960, 13.5 percent of husbands had a greater educational attainment than did their wives, while only 6.9 percent of wives had a greater attainment than did their husbands. In 2012, for the first time ever, wives were more likely than husbands to have the greater educational attainment, 20.7 percent to 19.9 percent.
- In the News: Where Risk and Resilience Meet: Elaine Enarson Talks Gender Disaster - Disasters disproportionately affect women, people of color, and the poor, posing both immediate dangers and long-term challenges. Pre-existing problems like gender-based violence, custody conflicts and insecure work or housing are exacerbated, while the resources and organizations that usually offer support become undermined in times of crisis.
- In the News: These Are the Best Unproduced Screenplays with Female Protagonists - The first Athena List – a feminist parallel to the Black List, which recognizes high quality scripts that have yet to become movies – premiered at the Athena Film Festival happening now in New York City. The Athena List recognizes four unproduced screenplays that feature a female protagonist lead, including one about AAUW’s bestie, Lilly Ledbetter.
Branch Homepage - Public Policy Issues to Watch