Woah, Baby! Pregnancy Discrimination Update

business babyRegular readers of this blog will know that we have written pretty extensively on Women in the Workplace and Pregnancy (First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes Flex-Time and a Baby Carriage, The Maternal Profiling Debate Continues, to name a few). In 2008 we wrote about a new study that focused on trends in Pregnancy Discrimination. 10 years later we are still having problems. Continue reading

Women First, in the First State: But Is It Enough?

As we have been reporting for years, the Delaware General Assembly is highly active on employment issues. Some initiatives are successful, some are not, but the trend continues.  In recent years, however, the General Assembly has had a more targeted focus:  women’s issues.  Below, we outline the recent history of legislation on issues impacting women in the workplace, and whether they reflect the right focus. Continue reading

Employment Law Alliance Releases Results of #MeToo Survey

#metooThe Employment Law Alliance recently conducted a survey gaging the effect of the #MeToo Movement and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. As part of the Employment Law Alliance, Young Conaway was one of 382 firms from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico who all helped to contribute information regarding these topics. Their survey yielded the following results: Continue reading

Leading Occupations of Women

The Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau released its list of the 20 Leading Occupations of Employed Women.  The data supports stereotypes such as “nursing is a woman’s job” and “all secretaries are female.”  There were some jobs, though, that I was surprised to learn are largely held by women, including customer-service representatives and accountants and auditors.  Here are the other 18 jobs and the percentage of each held by women, according to the DOL:

 

Secretaries and administrative assistants 

96.8       

Registered nurses

92.0      

Elementary and middle school teachers

81.9      

Cashiers

74.4

Nursing, psychiatric, and home-health aides

88.5

Retail salespersons

51.9

First-line supervisors/managers  of retail sales workers

44.1

Waiters and waitresses

71.6

Maids and housekeeping cleaners

89.8      

Customer service representatives

67.9

Childcare workers

95.1

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

92.3

Receptionists and information clerks

91.5

First-line supervisors/managers of office and admin support

71.3

Managers, all others

34.1

Accountants and auditors

61.8

Teacher assistants

91.6

Cooks

41.5

Office clerks, general

82.0

Personal and home care aides

85.2

See the original:

20 Leading Occupations of Employed Women Fact Sheet  at the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau website.

Should Women Shun Work-Life Balance Benefits?

Glass-ceiling research shows women continue to be harmed by gender stereotypes.  Managers continue to discriminate against female subordinates because they incorrectly perceive women as having greater conflicts between their family responsibilities and their work responsibilities than men, reports The Academy of Management Journal. Somewhat surprisingly, both male and female managers harbor this misperception.

The study, entitled “Bosses’ Perceptions of Family-Work Conflict and Women’s Promotability: Glass Ceiling Affects,” was conducted by members of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Department of Managerial Studies. Lead author Jenny Hoobler commented that she expected that “[w]hat we’re talking about … is one of the subtle, entrenched forms of discrimination that make up the glass ceiling.”

clip_image002

The study cautions women about using company-sponsored programs such as on-site child care, flex time or paid parental leave, which are designed to assist employees with work-life balance. The problem is that managers may view use of such benefits as confirmation of women’s greater susceptibility to work-family conflicts, and then view such women as less committed to the company and less promotable than their male counterparts who do not make use of such benefits.

The authors recommend that to reduce the potential that gender stereotyping will affect workplace decisions, companies should educate managers about their own possible biases and should be aware of and guard against allowing “biased perceptions of caregiving roles” to affect promotion decisions.

The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything

Maria Shriver is doing more than violating her state’s ban on cell phone use while driving these days. Perhaps her ambitious project is in part what compels her need to multi-task in the car (but please invest in a hands-free device, Maria, so the press can focus on your other admirable pursuits!).

As reported on Sloan’s Work and Family Network Blog, this week you will likely hear quite a bit in the media about a report being published by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress called A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything. The goal of this undertaking has been to provide an in-depth look at the status of women in America from a number of different perspectives and across a wide range of sectors – healthcare, higher education, law, public service, policy, etc.male female red blue

The report notes that while women constitute 57% of new college graduates, and while women have made great strides in the workplace, they still contribute twice the number of hours to dependent care and domestic tasks as men do. This disconnect means that—like it or not—employers will need to take steps to allow accommodate work-family issues to allow women (and other caregivers) to succeed in the workplace. It’s not just altruism that mandates this, it’s the employer’s bottom line.

Although there is proposed legislation to address some of the concerns (including paid sick leave), currently such measures are left largely to the employer. Although the report is ambitious and contains admirable goals, now is a tough time to pursue them. As we’ve discussed here before, the current attitude (although misguided) among many employers is that employees are lucky to have jobs and the last thing they feel compelled to discuss is “work-life” issues that may allow their employees to better juggle their demands outside of work. Nevertheless, as women continue to grow in number and rank in the workplace, this issue is here to stay.

Women as Breadwinners

Unemployment is painful for anyone who wants to work but is unable to locate a suitable position.  With the increases in unemployment finally starting to lessen, the aftermath of layoffs has come into focus.  The manufacturing and construction industries were two of the hardest hit by the recession, suffering higher job losses than other industries.  Because these two industries employ disproportionately large numbers of males, men have suffered an equally disproportionate number of job losses. 

Since December 2007, men were at the receiving end of more than 74% of cuts.  Women, on the other hand, hold nearly 50% of payroll jobs, making them less vulnerable to financially motivated layoffs.  In June 2009, a record 1.4 million men left the labor force, as compared to a near-record 1.2 million women. 

The highest unemployment rate for men since the Great Depression was 10.1% in 1982.  In June, that number reached 10%. Post-Great Depression, the record for women was in 1982, 9.3%. Currently, it’s 7.6% today.

clip_image002

What is less easy to quantify is the impact this shift has had on workplace and home-life dynamics.  As more and more women find themselves in a position of the sole wage earner, societal attitudes inevitably will be affected in some way, even if it’s not immediately noticeable.

Becky Beaupre Gillespie, of Good Enough Is the New Perfect, wrote a very insightful post detailing the struggle she and her husband have experienced in navigating their roles since he was let go from his job with a national law firm.  Her journey is surely one that many working women are experiencing across the country.  How it will impact the gender roles is yet to be seen.