The recent controversy over contraception and health insurance has focused on who should pay for the pill. But there is a wealth of economic evidence about the value of the pill – to taxpayers as well as to women in general.
Indeed, as the economist Betsey Stevenson has noted, a number of studies have shown that by allowing women to delay marriage and childbearing, the pill has also helped them invest in their skills and education, join the work force in greater numbers, move into higher-status and better-paying professions and make more money over all.
One of the most influential and frequently cited studies of the impact the pill has had on women’s lives comes from Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz. The two Harvard economists argue that the pill gave women “far greater certainty regarding the pregnancy consequences of sex.” That “lowered the costs of engaging in long-term career investments,” freeing women to finish high school or go to college, for instance, rather than settling down.
A study by Martha J. Bailey, Brad Hershbein and Amalia R. Miller helps assign a dollar value to those tectonic shifts. For instance, they show that young women who won access to the pill in the 1960s ended up earning an 8 percent premium on their hourly wages by age 50.
Frustrated that her previous efforts to get more women into the top echelons of European business have not yielded stronger results, Viviane Reding, the senior justice official in the European Union, was to announce a new effort Monday that could result in legislation requiring that women occupy up to 60 percent of the seats on corporate boards.
France and other countries with legally binding quotas have made the most progress in placing women in top business positions, Ms. Reding said during an interview Friday in advance of her announcement. E.U.-wide rules were now needed, she said.
“Personally, I don’t like quotas,” Ms. Reding said. “But I like what the quotas do. Quotas open the way to equality and they break through the glass ceiling.” Countries that have quotas “bring the results,” she said.
But to each new insult, joke and legislative attack, I say "bring it on." Each one is feeding the huge countervailing wave of take-back, push-back energy and at this point--despite everything I have just said--I am actually feeling surprisingly optimistic about the fall elections.
I am not talking about the presidential race, but the all important battle for congressional seats and shooing away from power the anti-women bloc.
Data crunched by Deborah Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., suggests this year will be a second "year of the woman," Walsh said at January's launch in the nation's capital of the Political Parity Project, a coalition of 51 women's organizations dedicated to doubling the number of women at the highest levels of U.S. government.
"This presidential election year is the first time in a generation, that women have an opportunity to gain a large number of congressional seats," Walsh said.
At the same gathering, Siobhan Bennett, president of the Women's Campaign Fund, likened this election year at the same gathering to the 1848 meeting at Seneca Falls, N.Y., that was the beginning of the women's suffrage movement.
Walsh cited three factors: Voter turnout is higher in presidential election years--weakening the power of the far right; retirements and redistricting have left open seats in at least 37 congressional districts and women typically fare better when they are not facing an incumbent; and more than 50 of the women running for these seats stand a better-than-even chance to win.
Women, Business and the Law is a World Bank report that presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women's prospects as entrepreneurs and employees, in part drawing on laws contained in the Gender Law Library. Both resources can inform research and policy discussions on how to improve women's economic opportunities and outcomes.
Kathy Krendl, President of Otterbein University, argues that today's woman is not only faced with many barriers -- fewer educational opportunities, lower wage prospects, higher unemployment numbers -- but is also faced with a tangible lack of resources.
There is a direct correlation between educational attainment and poverty. Despite women losing 83.8 percent of the public positions eliminated between July 2009 and January 2011, The National Women's Law Center found the hardest hit demographic remains women without a high school diploma. Roughly 15 percent of all women without a high school diploma are unemployed, according to the Department of Labor. The unemployment rate of women who hold a bachelor's degree is 4.7 percent. We must do a better job of informing women about the benefits of an education and providing them access to achieve their academic goals.
Such unexamined prejudice also contributes to the fact that women and girls are now the majority of individuals living in poverty in every state, including the District of Columbia. More than ever before, women and their families are showing up at local food pantries and struggling to make ends meet. We must confront the reality of 850,000 women and girls across this state who experience regular food insecurity and are unsure when -- and whether -- there will be a next meal.
The recession further undermined many efforts to develop women’s leadership, particularly in the corporate world, where diversity initiatives were often seen as an optional luxury whose budgets were the first to be slashed when financial cutbacks were imposed. “With the economic downturn, it has become okay not to focus on practices and invest in programs that support women,” says Linda Basch, president of the National Council for Research on Women.
Data from the Graduate Management Admissions Council indicates that more women are working towards MBAs than ever before.
According to the GMAC, women accounted for 41 percent of the close to 259,000 people who took the Graduate Management Admission Test in 2011, which is a requirement for most MBA programs. The number of exams taken by women was 106,800, marking the sixth consecutive year of growth for women test-takers. This was also the third year in a row that over 100,000 women took the exam.
In the United States, women took nearly 46,000 exams -- the largest number out of any country in the world. The greatest percentage of women who took the GMAT, however, was in China, where 64 percent, or about 33,000, of those who sat for the test were women.
Nevertheless, the GMAC research also found that female MBAs who graduated from 2000 to 2011 and are working full-time earned just 81 percent of what their male counterparts did.
Women last year accounted for 41 percent of the 258,192 people taking the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, which is a requirement for most MBA programs. That represents the sixth consecutive year of growth in women taking the test, the Graduate Management Admissions Council said this week. The number of men taking the exam fell for a third year in a row to 151,392.
In the United States, 39 percent of test takers were women, but in east Asia, women led the way. In China 64 percent of test takers were women. Overall about 117,000 test takers were Americans, compared with about 58,000 who were from east and southwast Asia.
In the United States “we’re not seeing the women in business schools that would be expected,” given that women now make up half the U.S. workforce, said Michelle Sparkman Renz, director of research for the council. It’s unclear why more women aren’t flocking to U.S. business schools, but clearly the corporate world has yet to embrace women in management.
The outcry over Rush Limbaugh calling birth control activist Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute,” seems to have worked. Several days after his attempt to slut-shame the Georgetown University law student, Limbaugh issued a rare apology on his website, saying "in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize."
The outcry over Rush Limbaugh calling birth control activist Sandra Fluke a “slut”and a “prostitute,” seems to have worked. Several days after his attempt to slut-shame the Georgetown University law student, Limbaugh issued a rare apology on his website, saying "in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize."