As the economy came toppling down on us last year, one of the first things to get sidelined was workplace flexibility and policies supporting greater work-life balance. Some say that with the economy struggling to recover, now is not the time to talk about so-called perks like telecommuting or flexible hours. But the White House and its top officials couldn’t disagree more.
Ever since my sophomore year of college, when I took “Social, Class, and Power,” I’ve had the refrain “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer” stuck in my head. Today’s report released by the Center for American Progress and Center for WorkLife Law at Hastings College of Law gave me the facts behind this refrain.
Since 1979, the median annual income of the bottom third of American families has decreased by 29% while the top third experienced a 7% increase in their median income. The middle third’s median annual income decreased 13%.
Londa Schiebinger’s study shows academic scientists spend about 19 hours a week on basic household chores. If universities offered a benefit to pay someone else to do that work, scientists would have more time to spend on the jobs they’re trained for, she says.
Mothers looking for employment are less likely to be hired, are offered lower salaries and are perceived as being less committed to a job than fathers or women without children, according to a recent study of gender inequality in the workplace. What’s more, the pay gap between mothers and childless women is actually bigger than the pay gap between women and men.
April 28, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-BairdI post this today, in honor of Fair Pay Day, with a sense of both frustration and hope. I’m frustrated that three decades have gone by after the passage of the Equal Pay Act and we still don’t have pay equity. I’m frustrated that what progress we’ve made has been achingly slow and small. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, the wage gap has closed by less than half of one cent per year since the Equal Pay Act of 1963. At the current rate of progress, it will take 50 years to close the wage gap. This is simply intolerable. It is unacceptable that after decades of feminist lobbying, women continue to earn only 78 cents for every man’s dollar. In some occupations, the gap is even wider. Among finance and insurance occupations, women earn 55.2 cents on the dollar and the wage gap among physician surgeons is 63.5%. Even as I write this, I’m struck by Michael Kimmel’s recent comment at a panel I attended , questioning why we discuss women’s wages as a function of men’s wages. Why not make male privilege and the gendered dynamics of the economy more visible by reversing the equation? Men make $1.28 for every woman’s dollar. Despite this frustration, however, I remain optimistic. This optimism springs from an unlikely source: the economic downturn.
April 3, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird The Families and Work Institute recently released a fascinating report on the changing gender dynamics in the home and workplace. What they found is quite exciting:
April 1, 2009 posted by Deborah SiegelDeborah Siegel is the author of Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild, creator of the group blog Girl w/Pen and a long-time friend of the Council. The following was originally posted on Recession Wire as Deborah's latest installment of her weekly column, Love in the Time of Layoff. Those who read this column know that I’ve been writing very personally about how the downturn has affected my relationship. In all honesty, I’m starting to fear that by focusing on what’s happening inside relationships, we may be losing sight of larger contexts—what could and should be happening in the structures that govern our lives. The personal is political, after all! Whoever invented the notion that a wife who earns less than her husband has a career that is, by definition, “expendable”? The ubiquity of this sentence—“she has an expendable career”—was brought home to me once again when I read Diane Clehane’s “Recession Marriage Wars” in yesterday’s Daily Beast. Clehane poignantly shares her frustration that for her, and for many working mothers she knows, “The recession means wives are under pressure from their husbands who tell them a sitter is now a luxury they can’t afford.” These are working mothers, mind you—women who have defined themselves by their careers for most of their lives and who know that being a good mom and having a great career are not mutually exclusive. As someone with big hopes of starting a family, and as a feminist, I’m thinking government-funded or employer-subsidized childcare is sounding like a pretty darn good idea right about now.