Friday, August 8, 2008

Women Lose More Jobs in Recessions

The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee recently released a report confirming that women are more vulnerable to job loss during recession. Unlike the economic downturns of the 1980s and 1990s, the 2001 recession was particularly detrimental to women because they not only lost more jobs than men but also did not see their employment rates recover to their pre-recession peak. Since women bring home more than one-third of family income and single mothers are often the sole breadwinners, women’s unemployment also has harsh implications for the economic security of families and communities. Greater job losses for women translate into reduced government revenue and cuts in spending on programs and services that benefit women and their families.

Girls Can Do Math

A new study published in Science magazine has debunked the myth that boys are better than girls in mathematics. Janet S. Hyde of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her colleagues compared the standardized test scores of more than seven million girls and boys from second through eleventh grade and found no difference in their performances. Studies twenty years ago showed that although girls and boys performed equally well on math in elementary school, girls fell behind in high school. The researchers attributed the advance to increasing numbers of girls taking advanced math classes such as Calculus.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Study Suggests Strategies for Hiring Women in Sciences

A recent study tracking the career paths of more than 3,000 male and female applicants for jobs in science, mathematics and engineering fields found that women were less likely to apply and more likely to decline job offers than men. The study, conducted by sociologists Christy M. Glass of Utah State University and Krista Lynn Minnotte of the University of North Dakota, suggested strategies for recruiting more women into science and technology jobs. Although they determined that employers were willing to hire women, there was a lack of understanding of where and how to market jobs to female candidates. Recommendations ranged from advertising job postings in publications specifically geared towards women in the sciences to including at least one woman on search committees.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bush Abortion Proposal Sets Conditions on Federal Aid

In an effort to strengthen the capacity of health care providers to deny abortion services, the Bush administration recently proposed the introduction of a new rule that would require hospitals, clinics, researchers and medical schools to sign “written certifications” that they do not discriminate against hospitals and other institutions that have policies against providing abortion. Such certification would be a prerequisite to receiving funds under any program run by the Department of Health and Human Services. It would also be required of state and local governments, forbidden to discriminate, in areas like grant-making, against hospitals and other institutions that have policies against providing abortion. The administration stated the proposal is necessary to ensure that federal money does not “support morally coercive or discriminatory practices or policies in violation of federal law.”

Monday, June 30, 2008

Women Leaving Science Careers

The Center for Work-Life Policy has found that more than half of women who choose careers in science, engineering, and technology drop out. The study identifies five major causes—hostile “macho” work environments, severe isolation, lack of career path guidance and orientation, systems of reward that emphasize risk-taking, and extreme work pressures—and proposes fourteen new initiatives to address these challenges. The paper “Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology,” is published by the Harvard Business Review.

Monday, June 23, 2008

High-Ranking Women Lose Jobs on Wall Street

Recent instability in the financial services sector has had a negative impact on women in corporate leadership. One of the highest-ranking women on Wall Street, Lehman Brothers chief financial officer Erin Callan, was recently removed from her post after the company suffered a $2.8 billion loss in the second quarter. The change came just months after Morgan Stanley forced the retirement of co-president Zoe Cruz. While no one should be allowed to remain in a job just to fill a quota, experts say that the expectations for women executives are higher and that women have to be “twice as credentialed” to even be considered for top jobs. Although women make up 46% of the workforce, only 15.4% of them hold Fortune 500 senior officer positions. “There’s so few women [that] when one of them gets fired [from an executive position], the percentage drops 10 percent,” said Gail Evans, former CNN executive vice president.

UN Security Council Declares Rape a Weapon of War

The UN Security Council passed a resolution last week classifying rape as a weapon of war. The resolution was unanimous and describes rape as "a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instill fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group.” In the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone, approximately forty women are raped each day, sometimes by the peacekeepers who are supposed to be protecting them. In addition to harming the health and safety of women, sexual violence also destroys the economic and social stability of war-torn nations.