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: April 24, 2015
- What's missing from executive education: women - There's been considerable discussion about whether women are adequately represented in traditional MBA programs, but executive programs, which are geared for people already very well-established in their careers, haven't faced the same scrutiny. How are women faring in that part of the B-school?
- Census Data Show More U.S. Women Do Not Have Children - About 47.6% of U.S. women ages 15 to 44 were childless in 2014, the highest percentage since the government began recording such data in 1976, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
- How Much Does Domestic Abuse Cost Its Survivors? - We won't ever know the unpaid debt that most domestic abusers owe, but no one needs to remind a battered partner how much domestic violence costs her, whether it be her job, her family, her physical and mental health. But what about the social consequences? A new study uses the dismal science to calculate the cost to the victim in terms of her future economic security, and finds that while state intervention may prove invaluable, the personal damage may be irrevocable.
- Google imports new CFO Ruth Porat from Wall Street - Google has lured away Morgan Stanley's chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, to be its CFO at a time when the Internet search leader and its Silicon Valley peers are under fire for hiring and promoting too few women. Google Inc. and other Silicon Valley heavyweights, including Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc., are trying to add more women to their payrolls. The push began during the past 10 months after the companies released data revealing that women only filled 15 to 20 percent of the tech jobs, which tend to pay the most.
- Women in New York State Prisons Don't Have Enough Sanitary Pads, Suffer Other Daily Indignities - Incarceration violates women's reproductive rights - to say nothing of their dignity and humanity - at every turn. These are among the findings of a report on the state of reproductive health care for women in New York State prisons released last week.
- Career Coach: Mentors matter, but women need sponsors in high places - It is clear that having a mentor is advantageous for anyone wanting to move up, and especially for women. Yet despite all of the mentoring that many women have received, they still have not moved up into positions as high as men have. One reason, according to a 2010 Harvard Business Review article by researchers Herminia Ibarra, Nancy Carter and Christine Silva is that women are often mentored by less senior leaders who may not be able to provide the sponsorship that women need to move up. By sponsorship we mean advocating or fighting to get them a job or promotion, mentioning their name for placement on an important committee or visible assignment or actively helping them advance.
- Debating US Foreign Policy: Where Are the Women?
But there's a dearth when it comes to women's voices in U.S. media coverage of foreign policy issues, according to the founders of a new organisation that aims to amplify women's voices in the media. "There is a disparity between the number of women [and men] we see commenting on foreign policy issues," said Foreign Policy Interrupted co-founder Elmira Bayrasli to a packed room of women (and a few men) Feb 4. at the Washington-based New America, a non-profit public policy institute and think tank.
- New campaign could turn technology into a women's human rights issue - The Global Fund for Women recently launched a worldwide online media campaign called IGNITE to make internet access and STEM education for women human rights issues. A report by the United Nations' Broadband Commission Working Group showed that 200 million more men have access to the internet than women -- 41% of men worldwide compared to 37% of women. Even in the developed world, where internet access is widespread, there is a gap: 80% of men and 74% of women.
- Study: Modern Contraceptive Use Could Prevent 15M Unintended Pregnancies in Certain Countries - Increased access to modern forms of contraception could have prevented 15 million unintended pregnancies in low- and middle-income countries over a seven-year period, according to a report by WHO epidemiologists published in Human Reproduction.
- Brains, Not Clothes - Many female professors complain that students evaluate them in sexist ways based in part on appearance, and data suggests that's true. But few administrators have spoken out against student bias in evaluations, and tend to treat it more as an inevitable if unfortunate part of the process. So a recent mass e-mail to students at Rutgers University School of Law at Camden from Adam Scales, vice dean, stands out.
- The unbelievable rise of single motherhood in America over the last 50 years - Few institutions in America have evolved over the last 50 years quite like motherhood. More women are having their children later in life. Or they're doing so in less traditional ways: before marriage, without marriage, or with unmarried partners. Single motherhood has grown so common in America that demographers now believe half of all children will live with a single mom at some point before the age of 18.
- Domestic Violence Drives Up New York Shelter Population as Housing Options Are Scarce - Victims of abuse are often left with no place to live and little means of support, and frequently end up homeless. In New York, this has helped drive the shelter population to a record high, with more than a quarter of all families in shelters citing abuse as the cause for their stay, city officials said. And, nationwide, many cities report a similar experience.
- A Quick Guide on the Human Rights of Women - The terms reproductive health, reproductive rights, and reproductive justice are often used as interchangeable phrases to talk about either contraception or abortion. But these terms are in fact three very different concepts. Reproductive health refers to preventive care, family planning, and disease management, while reproductive rights include the legal protections and public supports that allow women to control their fertility, give birth as they choose, and protect their health so that they can fully participate in society. Reproductive justice, a 20-year old term, refers to the structural and social issues that effect women's ability to fully benefit from the law or health services and that allow her to be the person, mother, caregiver, and breadwinner she wants to be.
- Ensuring Access to Family Planning Services for All - At some point in their lifetimes, 99 percent of sexually active women in the United States use contraception. However, women access family planning in a variety of locations, as well as pay for the services they receive in a multitude of ways. Although each and every woman in that 99 percent has family planning in common, their needs are all met differently. Policy and funding decisions must recognize these differences in order to support all women in the ways that work best for them. Improvements must be made to our current health care system so that all women can access and receive the contraceptive services they need. This issue brief discusses the importance of family planning and the benefits of making a societal investment in this much-needed health service.
- Woman in New York street harassment video: 'My story is not unique' - Shoshana Roberts was catcalled more than 100 times in 10 hours in a video of the street harassment has been viewed more than 12 million times. Roberts said the video is an accurate depiction of what she faces daily. For instance, there was a time when her grandfather died "and someone told me that they liked the way I looked."
- Girl Scouts Debate Their Place in a Changing World - Membership in the Girl Scouts has fallen over the past decade to three million, from a 2003 high of close to four million in combined participation of adults and girls, and the number of Girl Scout councils across the country has fallen to 112 from 312, according to the organization. A 2011 overhaul of girl scouting programs abandoned the old badge system and adopted a set of three "Journeys." It also aligned badges and leadership opportunities with 21st-century ideas revolving around social issues, professional opportunities for women, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM curriculum.
- Why Single Sex Education Is Good For Girls - Women make up 50 percent of the population and account for 59 percent of the college-educated entry-level workforce. Today, we can look up to some of the most powerful women in the nation: three Supreme Court justices, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to name a few. But the numbers are not as high as they should be when it comes to female leadership. According to the Center for American Progress, women still only make up 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners and a mere 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs. In Massachusetts, The Boston Club released a report showing that nearly 14 percent of the 100 largest public companies have women as directors, which is below the national average of 17 percent.
- When Women Become Men at Wellesley - As women's colleges challenged the conventions of womanhood, they drew a disproportionate number of students who identified as lesbian or bisexual. Today a small but increasing number of students at those schools do not identify as women, raising the question of what it means to be a "women's college." Trans students are pushing their schools to play down the women-centric message.
- 10 Campus Women to Watch Out For - Meet the new AAUW Student Advisory Board.
- Two-generation gender equality study shows career benefits for men - Couples in a research experiment launched in the 1970s shared the responsibility for home, family and work equally. Now, 30 years later, a follow-up study by Swedish researchers at Örebro University shows that the couples' strive for equality was beneficial not only for the family life but also for the fathers' careers.
- Dads, not just moms, battle balancing work, family, exercise - Fathers experience the same exercise barriers as mothers: family responsibilities, guilt, lack of support, lack of time, scheduling constraints and work, a researcher has found. Although barriers for both parents are similar, working moms reported an additional hurdle. Mothers cited work and scheduling constraints as more of a barrier than fathers. Many active fathers found time to exercise during the workday, but mothers reported fear of being judged by co-workers for leaving to workout and lack of time to freshen up after a workout.
- Children and Career: Making it Work- While women have been achieving greater strides in the professional world, the unfortunate pay gap and gender discrimination statistics persist. According to a new study by Palo Alto Software, 52 percent of women reported feeling prejudiced against, compared with just 9 percent of men. What's more, the study reveals how parenthood impacts mothers much more than men professionally because their career peaks often happen parallel to childbirth. The career breaks impact a woman's wage significantly, increasing the gap between them and men.
- How should men respond when they witness sexual harassment? - And what happens when we say nothing? The offenders think they're in the right … and will continue on in the future. By the way, there are worse things than being considered a "white knight" and one of them is a misogynist.
- Intel pulls ads over sexism in video game drama - On Thursday, a major tech company stepped into the middle of a vicious two-month-long battle among video game fans, scholars, developers and journalists over the representation of women in games.
- The survey data included in the report reveals that "gender stereotypes and implicit - Biases are still a challenge in the education setting, much as they are in other settings." The report was commissioned by the NEA, the American Association of University Women, and the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement based at Tufts University's Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.
- Cornell names its first woman president - Elizabeth Garrett, provost of the University of Southern California, will be Cornell University's 13th president and its first woman to hold the post, the university's board of trustees.
- Ruth Rosen: "We Will Not Be Beaten" - It is not new laws, but the enforcement of them that needs to be addressed. Violence against sex workers by customers and undocumented workers by employers, for example, is widespread, but these women fear reporting violence because of their illegal status. Domestic violence is just the tip of the iceberg. It may take another century before violence against women seems as barbaric and unacceptable as slavery does today.
- Women Are Providing Twice As Much Caregiving As Men - The final count revealed that daughters average 12.3 hours of care per month, while sons provide only 5.3. Even after adjusting for confounding factors (like a sibling's geographical distance from a parent), daughters still gave 5.4 more hours than their male counterparts.
- Wages for Housework - Housework is a necessary labor for families, but it is largely unpaid, except when others are hired to do it. Families may pay others to cook, clean or take care of their children, but they don't pay themselves. This year, Italy considered a proposal in which the government, or in some cases the husband or partner, would pay wives for this thankless task. And a few years ago, India considered a similar bill. Should the family member who does most of the housekeeping be compensated?
- If a Senator Can't Report Sexual Harassment Without Backlash, Who Can? - Women have to walk a tricky tightrope of not wanting to seem too "sensitive," while at the same time standing up for themselves in the face of discrimination. Sen. Gillibrand's experience shows how difficult it can be for anyone to navigate the workplace without inviting negative consequences.
- 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.
Branch Homepage - Public Policy Issues to Watch