Research has shown that women, when given the capital and opportunity, make unique, positive contributions to development outcomes ranging from agricultural productivity to poverty reduction. It comes as little surprise, then, that agricultural research, development, and extension systems are generally more successful when scientists, researchers, and extension agents pay attention to gender issues. However, women continue to be underrepresented and underserved, and their contributions remain mostly untapped in national and international agricultural research. Worldwide, gender roles are culturally defined in all aspects of farming, from control of resources to production and marketing, and these definitions constrain and marginalize women. Even within the agricultural research community, most scientists and extension agents are male.
The jobs numbers that came out on Friday looked so much better than what we’re used to—or at least didn’t suck quite as hard as usual—that there was some victory dancing in the blogosphere. And there are certainly some positive signs. But a premature victory for women once again reared its head.
The fears of a mancession have returned in a new shape, as David Leonhardt wondered if we’re about to move out of the “hecovery” period—in which men made job gains while women lost them—to a “shecovery.” He points out that over the past two months, the number of employed men only rose by 83,000, while women were up 192,000 jobs.
There may be a problem with this data. A large part of the jump that Leonhardt saw in women’s employment is because the BLS, as it sometimes does, updated its population estimates, “finding” more women workers than had been previously accounted for. Yet it didn’t add those women evenly across the year. As Mike Konczal notes, “December showed women gaining 584,000 jobs as a result of statistical population adjustments that, in reality, should have been smoothed across a longer time frame.” The jump in women’s jobs is mostly artificial.
Still, the picture is starting to look better for women. Just as recently as August women were losing jobs, while men were getting back to work. Now women are starting to join in the economy’s very slow job creation: according to the National Women’s Law Center, they gained about one-third of the roughly 200,000 jobs added in January and February.
Analysis by the National Women’s Law Center of jobs data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that women gained 86,000 jobs in February – 38 percent of the jobs added last month. However, women have gained less than 12 percent of the nearly 2.2 million net jobs added since the start of the recovery in June 2009. The 7.7 percent unemployment rate for adult women in February 2012 is still slightly higher than their 7.6 percent unemployment rate at the start of the recovery.
“Today’s jobs data show that women are starting to share in the recovery, but they still have a long way to go,” said Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security at the National Women’s Law Center. “Since women’s unemployment rate hasn’t improved since the start of this recovery, policy makers’ top priority should be to help create and preserve jobs for women as well as men.”
During the recession, the unemployment rate for adult men increased more than for adult women; at the start of the recovery in June 2009, adult men’s unemployment rate stood at 9.9 percent, while adult women’s was 7.6 percent. During the recovery, however, the unemployment rate for adult men dropped by 2.2 percentage points, to 7.7 percent in February 2012. Adult women’s unemployment increased by 0.1 percentage point since the start of the recovery, to 7.7 percent in February 2012. The 7.7 percent unemployment rates for adult men and women were unchanged since January 2012, which marked the first time those rates were equal since the start of the recession in December 2007, when they were 4.4 percent.
The long-term unemployment rate – the percentage of unemployed workers looking for jobs for 27 weeks or more – rose slightly for adult women last month to 44.0 percent; the long-term unemployment rate for adult men dropped slightly to 40.1 percent. The long-term unemployment rates for both adult women and men are substantially higher than at the start of the recovery.
Representative Jeff Fortenberry, who has introduced legislation on the issue, acknowledged hesitation by some fellow Republicans to take on the incendiary issue. But he said a delay could give Republicans time to recast the issue as a question of religious freedom rather than women's rights.
"We'll keep trying to appropriately frame the debate about this core American principle," Fortenberry said.
Representative Pete Sessions, who heads the House Republican campaign committee, said party leaders are not backing off. "We're not hesitant to do anything," Sessions said. "The successful rain dance has a lot to do with timing."
House Republicans have taken a cautious approach after the Senate, mostly on party lines, rejected a measure that would have allowed employers with moral objections to opt out of birth control coverage and other services.
According to IWPR analysis of the March employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,job growth improved in February with 227,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. In February women gained 86,000 jobs (almost 40 percent, above their share for the past year) and men gained 141,000. The gap between women’s and men’s employment in February is 1.9 million.
The unemployment rates remained largely steady from January to February declining for women aged 16 and older (to 8.2 percent from 8.3 percent) and unchanged for men (8.3 percent). Women’s employment growth was aided by strong growth in health care (49,000 jobs added overall) and food service and drinking places (40,800 jobs added overall).
On March 14, 2011 we first published a list of thirty pieces of Republican legislation “that Republicans are using to destroy America” and called it “The Dirty Thirty.” That original list has been updated several times and grown significantly although the list is incomplete, given there have been a thousand bills alone restricting a woman’s right to abortion. If most of the laws directed toward Women’s Reproductive Rights seem petty and punitive, well…they are. In fact, the goal of Republican legislation seems increasingly to be this: to punish the rest of us for not being like them.
There are over 20 new items on the newest list, including several 2011 items previously excluded, and also new pieces of 2012 legislation. An effort has also been made to provide updated news on the fate of various pieces of legislation and a new category, “Doomsday Legislation”, has been added thanks to continued Republican insanity.
Every five years, the U.S. Census completes an extensive Survey of Business Owners (SBO) that examines businesses by the gender of the business owner. This is the only comprehensive, regularly collected source of information on the economic and demographic characteristics of businesses across the country by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status. The SBO is authorized by Title 13 of the United States Code and responses are mandatory. The data on women-owned businesses provided by the Census is the main source of demographic information used by the NWBC.
The 2007 data was fully released in June 2011, so the NWBC commissioned a private research company to study this data in-depth. The data was analyzed by different characteristics to further expand the current understanding of women-owned businesses and to search for any interesting or unique findings that bear further study.
While American women still earn about 77 cents for every dollar men earn and continue to work hard to close the salary gap, women in other parts of the world earn a mere 30 to 40 percent of what men do.
These are the women who never made it to a classroom, who often forgo already scarce food for themselves to feed other family members, who are unable to start their own businesses and who are likely to die in childbirth or from a preventable disease due to lack of basic health care.
The ability of families worldwide to pull themselves out of poverty -- through education, health and food security -- disproportionately rests on the shoulders of women.
Just ask Barbara Ayisa of Ghana. In her village of Affumkrom, she spends her day growing onions and maize, while taking care of her children. Her husband provides some economic support, but is engaged in other activities, leaving Barbara to manage the household. She benefitted from assistance that teaches her how to store her maize until she can sell it at the best price, earning the most she can for her family.
A study released by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation shows that "user entrepreneurs" have founded more than 46 percent of innovative startups that have lasted five years or more, even though this group creates only 10.7 percent of U.S. startups overall.
According to a new study from the Federal Reserve, due to be published shortly, between 1993 and 2006, there was a decline in the workforce of 0.1 percent a year on average in the number of college-educated women, with similarly educated spouses.