September 15, 2010
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The Center for American Progress, in conjunction with A Woman’s Nation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and TIME magazine, conducted a landmark study in the summer of 2009 into public attitudes about women, society, and the workplace. Women are approaching the historic milestone of constituting half of the workforce, and the study sought to determine how Americans felt about a range of changes in the nature of modern family life and work.
The study found striking consistency in men and women’s attitudes about many formerly contentious issues of gender relations and the working status of women. The study overall found strong majorities of men and women agreeing that the rise of women in the workforce is a positive development for society—a belief that crossed partisan, ideological, racial and ethnic, and even generational lines.
The survey of 3,413 adults, conducted by Abt SRBI, included an oversample of Latinos, allowing us to dive somewhat deeper into the beliefs of this important and growing group, and to compare their attitudes with those of the population at large. This survey was not designed as a comprehensive examination of Latino attitudes and subgroups, but the results provide interesting and useful attitudinal trends that will be worth pursuing in more detail in future studies.
It is important to note upfront that Latino attitudes were basically in line with those of other groups on nearly every indicator in the survey. Some minor differences did emerge in terms of the intensity of these beliefs and the degree of consensus about an issue. But, as was found with the overall population, Latinos accept and welcome the rising status of women in American life and report many of the same needs as others in terms of balancing work and family life.
Some of the more interesting findings that emerged from our analysis include:
We asked Americans to evaluate the fact that women today constitute about one-half of all workers compared to 40 years ago when women made up one-third of all workers. More than three-quarters of Americans (77 percent) overall viewed this development positively, with less than one-fifth (19 percent) viewing this change negatively. Positive views about the rise of women in the economy cut across nearly every demographic and ideological group. But Latinos were among the most favorable groups in the survey, with 87 percent of Latino women and 82 percent of Latino men viewing this change positively—7 to 10 points higher than men and women overall (Figure 1).
Latinos express a strong desire for better and more fulfilling job opportunities in life. The rank ordering of life goals is roughly similar between Latinos and the overall population, but larger percentages of Latino men and women rate “having a fulfilling job” as a very important life goal (Figure 2).
When asked to rank order a series of three possible life outcomes for their daughters, Latino men and women were also far more likely to rank “an interesting career” first in their list of desires for their daughters compared to the population at large. Forty-two percent of Latino women and 32 percent of Latino men ranked an interesting career as the top goal for their daughters compared to 23 percent of women and 17 percent of men overall (Figure 3). Latino men and women were consequently far less likely to rank “a happy marriage and children” as the top life goals for their daughters. Majorities of men and women overall ranked marriage and children first on the list compared to only 35 percent of Latino women and 44 percent of Latino men (Figure 3).
Fifty-five percent of Latino men and women agree that it is better for a family if the father works outside the home and the mother takes care of children, a trend fairly consistent with the population at large. But Latino men, and Latino women in particular, express far less concern than the overall population about the negative consequences of children growing up in a household without a stay-at-home parent. Less than half of Latino women (49 percent) say the demise of the percentage of children growing up with a parent at home is a negative development for society compared to 61 percent of women overall (Figure 4).
Latino men, perhaps reflecting the overall status of Latinos in the workforce, are twice as likely as men overall to say that it is very important to them for their romantic partners to provide financial support—32 percent versus 15 percent, respectively. Forty-one percent of Latino women report similar sentiments compared to 30 percent of women overall (Figure 5).
When asked to identify who is mostly responsible for taking care of their children, 13 percent of men overall report that they themselves are mostly responsible for child care. The self-reported figure among Latino men is 32 percent—more than double the overall number. Interestingly, Latino women and women overall are much more consistent with one another in terms of self-reported behavior about child rearing. It is debatable whether this reflects actual or perceived differences on the home front, but the perception among Latino men about their role in child care clearly extends to the workplace, as well. Thirty-six percent of men overall reported having difficulty getting time off from work to care for kids compared to 51 percent of Latino men (Figure 6). And both Latino men and women report much higher rates of having difficulty taking time off to care for an elderly parent compared to the population at large.
Larger percentages of Latino men and women, compared to men and women overall, agree that the contemporary women’s movement considers the needs of men and families in addition to those of women. Three quarters of Latino men agree with this notion compared to less than 6 in 10 men overall. More Latino men and women also agree— by roughly a 10-point margin when compared to the overall population—that there would be fewer problems in the world if women had a more equal position in government and business (Figure 7).
Latinos express some of the highest levels of support for changes to governmental and business policies to better equip people to handle the burdens of modern life—from increased workplace flexibility to paid family and medical leave to increased child care support (Figure 8).
More extensive research would be needed to fully understand the range of opinions among Latino subgroups, but we can say with some confidence that Latinos express consensus and common perspectives—among themselves and in relation to the overall population—about the expanded role of women in society and the economy. Both Latino men and women welcome the increased participation of women in business and public life, particularly among parents thinking about the future careers of their own daughters. And they understand the need for greater cooperation and stronger public policies to help negotiate the difficulties of modern family life.
Download this memo (pdf)John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira are both Senior Fellows at American Progress
June 28, 2010
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SOURCE: http://www.physorg.com/news191174706.htmlApril 22, 2010
(PhysOrg.com) -- Women who receive postsecondary career and technical education are still being short-changed in their career earnings when compared with male counterparts, according to a study released online today by the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR). Researchers with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) at Iowa State University found that women who completed community college associate degrees earn far less in business, marketing and information technology (IT) careers than men who did not complete their degrees.
The six-year longitudinal study of nearly 1,800 Iowa community college students investigated the relationship between student characteristics -- gender, race/ethnicity, program of study and degree completion -- and their earnings outcomes in the business, marketing and IT fields.
"The interesting thing to me was that even when women complete associate degrees, their earnings are still much less than male students who do not complete degrees. That at least suggests a gender disparity may still exist," said lead author Jonathan Compton, a former ELPS doctoral research associate who is now a research analyst in Iowa State's records and registration department.
Disparity may be artificially inflatedCompton acknowledges that the gender disparity may be artificially inflated because the earnings figures do not consider part-time vs. full-time employment and previous literature has reported that a higher percentage of women turn to part-time employment while raising young children.
The results of this study are based on research led by Frankie Santos Laanan, an ELPS associate professor; and Soko Starobin, an ELPS assistant professor. Since 2004, the Office of Community College Research and Policy in ELPS has collaborated with the Iowa Department of Education, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation to develop the methodology to examine the economic benefits of Iowa's community college students who enrolled in career and technical education.
The new Iowa State study is one of 12 published in JESPAR highlighting research on youth in poverty for "Pathways to Postsecondary Success," a five-year study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that aims to advance research and provide tools to improve educational opportunities for poor youth not on track to earn a higher education credential.Among the study's business sample, women with associate degrees made $27,377 on average in 2007 -- five years after graduation -- while men without a degree earned $37,745. Among marketing students, women with an associate degree earned an average of $28,211, while men with no degree earned $35,354.
In IT careers, women who earned associate degrees made 52.1 percent more in 2007 than they did in 2003 -- compared with a 41.5 increase for men with degrees. Yet men without degrees still earned an average of $39,888 in 2007, while women with associate degrees earned just $35,103. And in the first year after graduating with an associate degree, women earned an average of $23,076 -- nearly $7,000 less than men without degrees.
"I think with IT, it's a very complicated career cluster because of certification," said Laanan, who is a leading researcher on community college outcomes. "And one of the limitations of the study is we don't have course level data. We know they [subjects] complete certificates and degrees. Certificates mean something in an IT field. But it's possible in some career clusters that students may need a specific class or course in that area, and not the certificate or degree."
The study uses Iowa Department of Education data for information on student enrollment, student characteristics and degree completion in 2001-02. Iowa Workforce Development unemployment insurance wage data provided information on quarterly wages following departure from community college. Students who transferred or continued enrollment in four-year institutions were removed from the sample. The three career clusters were strategically chosen because they are popular among community college students nationally.
No statistically significant racial disparity
The study's results did not show statistically significant differences in average earnings when comparing race. The researchers suggest that may be a result of having such a small number of ethnic minorities in the Iowa sample.
They were also surprised to learn that few students actually complete degrees in these career areas -- with just under 22 percent earning associate degrees in the study's sample.
"I think community college students are very pragmatic," Compton said.
"They get enough courses to get a job and they're satisfied that now
it's time to go, saying, 'I've got this job opportunity and now I need
to go off to work.' They may not be thinking about the associate degree
over the long-term."
The study further confirms that low income students -- those who were recipients of PELL grants -- show large increases in wages when participating in career and technical education programs.
"The PELL aspect is important for this study because it's a proxy for the economically disadvantaged," Laanan said. "In terms of how community colleges serve disadvantaged populations as measured by economics, these findings support that role and how they contribute to human capital development, as reflected by earnings."
ELPS researchers are working on a future study assessing earnings in other career clusters.