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: March 3, 2014
- 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.
- In the News: OPINION: WOMEN DON'T NEED ANY MORE BIG LIES - In "The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock," I explore many Big Lies, one of which is that women can delay motherhood until we're ready and if we're not able to get pregnant naturally, then science will make it happen for us.
- In the News: Hillary and Chelsea Clinton meet with United Nations chief on women’s equality - Former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, met Tuesday at the United Nations with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss worldwide women's equality. The U.N. chief told reporters that Clinton would play "a very important role" in next year's 20th anniversary celebration of the historic 1995 U.N. conference on women in Beijing, where as first lady she famously declared that "women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights."
- In the News: The State of the Union Only Tells Half the Story on Women - Professional white women make 77 cents on the dollar. The last time I checked, that’s actually not the majority of women in this country.
- In the News: Can One State Wipe Out Sexism At Work In One Fell Swoop? - Minnesota state lawmakers unveiled the “Women’s Economic Security Act of 2014,” a legislative package “designed to break down barriers to economic progress facing women – and all Minnesotans,” according to the release. Among the pieces of the package are paid sick leave, a raise in the minimum wage to $9.50, and expanding access to high-quality, affordable childcare.
- AAUW Blog: Are Young Women Carrying the Mantle of Feminism?
- In the News: NYC female firefighters trying to boost numbers - As a New York City firefighter, Sarinya Srisakul didn't work with another woman for five years, and when she did, she took pictures because it was so rare.
- In the News: Education Is the Key to a Better Quality of Life for Women
This is especially true for women, particularly the millions of them who are living on the brink of poverty -- one illness, one home repair or one lost paycheck away from economic ruin.
- In the News: DoJ Report: Guards Commit Half of All Sexual Assaults - Allegations of rape and sexual assault involving prison inmates are increasing, and nearly half of those assaults are committed against prisoners by correctional officers, according to a new report issued by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics.
- In the News: The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink - Executive Summary
- In the News: 'Redefining Girly': Book calls out teachers, doctors for gender stereotyping - It's not that the color pink or princess stories are bad, says Melissa Atkins Wardy, author of the new book "Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween," and cofounder of The Brave Girls Alliance, a gender equality think tank and advocacy group, it's that "pink culture" stereotypes limit the choices girls have.
- In the News: Closing the Gender Wage Gap Would Cut Women's Poverty Rate in Half - The report notes that one in three women in the country either live in poverty or are 'teetering on its brink,' coming to 42 million in total who struggle financially.
- In the News: BEYONCE: GENDER EQUALITY IS A MYTH - When Beyonce tells people to "bow down," they listen.
- In the News: Hillary Clinton: Clock ‘turning back’ for women in U.S. - Hillary Clinton warns in a new book that the “clock is turning back” on women across America and offers a passionate argument for prioritizing the advancement of women and girls.
- OpEd: When the state interferes in a family drama - His father-in-law, Ernest Machado, told the New York Times the state has made his daughter “a host for a fetus.” Indeed. In seeking to protect a life not yet viable outside the womb, it has reduced its mother to a thing, and robbed her family of its right to say a dignified and proper farewell.
- In the News: Women at the Pulpit - Pastor Susie Elliott discovered early on that simply being ordained would not guarantee a woman a spot at the pulpit. Often women were “benched” while the men led the congregation. Determined to level the playing field, she founded Mother/Daughters of Zion, a group that champions women as pastors and supports their efforts to become leaders in their own churches.
- In the News: Physicians and the (Woman's) Body Politic - For two decades, legislatures have been encroaching on the realm of medicine. Heedless of medical ethics or evidence-based standards of care, they have been declaring medical “facts,” specifying or forbidding medical procedures, and dictating to doctors what they must say to their patients. Roe v. Wade was not only about a woman's right to abortion. It was also about the right to her physician's medical judgment and best care, unconstrained by partisan strategies. It is not only women's bodies that are being held hostage to politics; it is also the hearts, minds, and professional pride of their physicians.
- In the News: Japan: The worst developed country for working mothers? - Japanese women are more likely to have a university degree than men, and the number of women in employment has been rising steadily for 10 years - but, for a range of reasons, a woman who has had children still has a hard time getting a good job.
- In the News: Capitalism, Ecology and the Official Invisibility of Women - When the costs to society of environmental degradation and women's unpaid and under-compensated labor are factored in, capitalism provides no profits.
- In the News: Your Terrifying Retirement Future: Why Millions Risk Sliding Into Poverty As They Age - Low wages, low or no savings, and low Social Security benefits. The future is not bright, especially for women and minorities.
- In the News: Women Are Swelling the Ranks of People Living in Extreme Poverty in America - Poor women are often ignored or regarded with contempt in the U.S.
- In the News: Real Story of Female Breadwinners Has Multi-Layers - While the media and research have recently focused on deconstructing female breadwinners, the reality is that their stories are more complex, says Liz O'Donnell in this excerpt from "Mogul, Mom, and Maid: The Balancing Art of the Modern Woman."
- In the News: Female Conductors Search for Equality at Highest Level - Female conductors no longer attract open-mouthed attention among music lovers or the news media when they appear, yet they remain far from being fairly represented. According to the League of American Orchestras, of the 103 ensembles with the biggest budgets, 12 have female conductors; just one of the top-tier 22 is led by a woman.
- In the News: The War on Women: The Newly Invisible and Undeserving Poor in America - The US Congress is fighting over how much to cut food assistance to needy families. Everyone knows that women and their children are the poorest people in America, but strangely, the faces of women have disappeared from the debate and have been absorbed into abstract "needy families."
- In the News: Measuring Other Outcomes - Focusing on a set of factors that are shown to correlate with “a great life,” the survey of 30,000 graduates annually will provide data on how alumni of groups of colleges (public or private institutions in certain states, for instance, or athletic conferences) are faring and how they compare to national averages. The final product will be a benchmark for student success against which any campus can measure its own graduates.
- In the News: Women Still Largely Absent From Corporate Boards - On Tuesday, new research examining Fortune 500 Companies found women represent 17 percent of corporate board positions and only 15 percent of senior executive positions. Despite major accomplishments, such as Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer topping Fortune’s 40 under 40, General Motors naming Mary Barra as the first female CEO of the Big Three automakers, and studies showing women serving on boards is linked to higher average returns on equity and growth, women continue to remain largely absent from corporate senior decision making roles.
- In the News: Crimes Against Women Grossly Underestimated, Report Says - Violence committed against women by men is vastly under-reported in many countries, a large new study finds. Researchers analyzed data from more than 93,600 women in 24 countries who survived sexual or physical violence, often called gender-based violence. Only 7 percent of the survivors reported the incidents to legal, medical or social support services, and only 37 percent informed family, friends or neighbors.
- In the News: Two-Thirds of Seniors Need Help With Some Part of Daily Living - Study finds they rely on other people or special devices to complete routine tasks - Two-thirds of people over the age of 65 need help completing the tasks of daily living, either from special devices such as canes, scooters and bathroom grab bars or from another person, new research shows.
- In the News: Companies with women in leadership roles perform better, UC Davis study finds - Female business executives are making some headway in breaking down the corporate glass ceiling, according to the latest annual UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders, but the male-to-female ratio in the board room is still lopsided in favor of men. Women now represent 10.9% of the highest paying executive and board positions in California’s top 400 public companies, a 1% increase over last year.
- In the News: Analysis: Tech start-ups show little imagination on board gender diversity - The number of women on the boards of startup companies remains low because of factors including fewer women in the industry and the dominance of men in venture capital firms, who often take board seats, Sarah McBride and Poornima Gupta write. A Reuters survey found that 6 of the 10 top venture-backed startups do not have any female directors.
- AAUW Blog: How a Woman Became the CEO of General Motors in 3 (Not-So-Easy) Steps
- In the News: New G.M. Chief Is Company Woman, Born to It - Mary T. Barra, 51, completed a remarkable personal odyssey when she was named as the next chief executive of G.M. — and the first woman to ascend to the top job at a major auto company.
- In the News: Wall Street Mothers, Stay-Home Fathers - The number of women in finance with stay-at-home spouses has climbed nearly tenfold since 1980, according to an analysis of census data, and some of the most successful women in the field are among them. In an industry still dominated by men with only a smattering of women in its highest ranks, these bankers make up a small but rapidly expanding group, benefiting from what they call a direct link between their ability to achieve and their husbands’ willingness to handle domestic duties. But the solution that turns out to work so well for these women is an inaccessible option for many others, since it requires one spouse to give up a career and the other to earn enough money to support the family. Rather than changing the culture of the banks, which promote policies on flexible hours and work life balance, these women say that to succeed they must give in to its sometimes brutal terms, from 4:45 a.m. wake-ups onward through days of ceaseless competition.
- In the News: How American Politics Constantly Neglects Black Women - A new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) entitled, “The State of African-American Women in the United States” highlights that the intersection of racial and gender disparities meets at the experience of black women. Despite this, in the last presidential election, they had the highest voter participation rate of any comparable group in the country.
- In the News: AARP, others want state to add $26 million to caregiver assistance - New York ranks 48th among all states in providing support for its legions of caregivers, according to AARP. The estimated value of the care they provide out of love, duty or necessity is estimated at $32 billion each year.
- AAUW OpEd: Much is at stake in challenges to ACA contraceptive coverage
- In the News: Michelle Obama 'Leans in', Just Not in the Direction Some Privileged Feminists Want Her to Politico bashed the first lady recently, but her fights for children and low-income communities are the kind of activism we need.
- In the News: The Real Feminist Nightmare - The real feminist nightmare is when women are undermined because they are mothers-particularly because more than 80 percent of women in our nation have children by the time they're 44 years old.
- In the News: How Can We Jump-Start the Struggle for Gender Equality? - In fact, the movement toward equality stopped. The labor force hit 46 percent female in 1994, and it hasn't changed much since. Women's full-time annual earnings were 76 percent of men's in 2001, and 77 percent in 2011. Although women do earn a majority of academic degrees, their specialties pay less, so that earnings even for women with doctorate degrees working full time are 77 percent of men's. Attitudinal changes also stalled.
- In the News: Generation Zero—Why Millennials, And All of Us, Need Family-Friendly Laws - If university graduates cannot imagine how to balance work and family, just think how strenuous the process must be for their low-income counterparts living paycheck to paycheck. Given that the United States is one of only a handful of countries in the entire world that does not offer paid maternity leave, it’s not surprising that American workers are simply opting out of parenting all together. Inflexible jobs with poor work/family policies are simply the norm.
- In the News: Five Facts to Remember on the Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - On the International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women, the United Nations' annual effort to raise awareness about the women around the world who fall victim to gender-based violence. It's the beginning of a 16-day period of activism, culminating with Human Rights Day on December 10th - an attempt to make the point that addressing violence against women is an inextricable part of ensuring basic human rights for everyone around the world.
- In the News: The Changing American Family - American households have never been more diverse, and the notion of the typical family is being rapidly redefined. HREF="http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/273-40/20607-why-wont-congress-pass-the-international-violence-against-women-act">Why Won't Congress Pass the International Violence Against Women Act? - Violence against women takes many forms, including rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, and acid attacks, to name just a few. It's a global human rights crisis that exacerbates instability and insecurity around the world.
- In the News: The Major Life Regrets of a Stay-at-Home Mom - Consider this a warning to new mothers: Fourteen years ago, I "opted out" to focus on my family. Now I'm broke.
- In the News: Custody Battle Raises Questions About the Rights of Women - "Especially with current political pressures to recognize separate legal rights for fetuses, there will be increasing calls on the courts to fault a pregnant woman for moving, to restrain women from living their lives because they're pregnant," said Sarah E. Burns, the head of the Reproductive Justice Clinic at the New York University law school.
- In the News: Work, Women and Caregiving - Trying to hold onto a job while caring for a family member is a tough juggling act. Caregivers sometimes have to arrive late or leave early, cut back to part-time work, and decline travel or promotions. For women, these competing responsibilities may prove particularly perilous, a study recently published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology suggests. Women who are caregivers are also significantly less likely to be in the labor force, compared to women who are not caregivers. Yet for men, caregiving has no impact on employment status.
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