Friday, June 19, 2015
Nearly a century after gaining national suffrage rights, American women represent a majority of voters, yet women represent less than a quarter of state legislators, a fifth of members of Congress, and an eighth of governors.
A careful examination of the trends at the local and state level reveals that unequal representation is even worse than it looks. My group Representation 2020 seeks parity for women in elected office—meaning that at any given moment a woman would be just as likely as a man to hold elected office—in our lifetimes. Yet, as to be reported in our State of Women’s Representation 2015-2016 report, women in fact are not on the road to achieving that goal.
A report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research suggested achieving parity would take several generations. But it’s too simplistic to map out trends from the past 20 years in anticipation of steady growth to parity. In the real world, representation of women typically stalls or regresses once it surpasses about a third of seats in a state. Unless both major parties show equal readiness to move to parity—and at this point, the Republican Party shows no such trend—the bottom line is stark: Absent new intervention by our political parties and our lawmakers, we simply won’t achieve gender parity nationally nor in most states. Not in our lifetime. Not in our children’s lifetime. Not ever.
Monday, June 15, 2015
When it comes to gender equity, the technology ecosystem, which prides itself on being a meritocracy in so many other respects, is failing badly.
How else can we explain that women held 34% of software and computing jobs in 1990, but only 27% in 2011? Or that, according to the “Women Entrepreneurs 2014” report from Babson College, the “total number of women partners in venture capital firms declined significantly since 1999 from 10% to 6%.” Or that, as the Babson report also observed, in the three years from 2011 to 2013, “companies with no women on the executive team received almost 90% of the total investments in semiconductors, computers and peripherals/electronics and instrumentation, and media and entertainment.”
So, what is to be done? Five proposals, with the first one being:
- Push companies to publish data about gender diversity
Pushing companies to collect and publicize data on the proportion of women in tech and leadership capacities adds an element of public accountability, and provides an important frame of reference to assess progress. Understanding the state of gender (and other forms of) diversity on a company-specific basis can catalyze greater awareness of diversity in hiring and promotions. And, year-over-year comparisons provide a way to measure progress both within a single company and more broadly.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
The beleaguered British biologist Sir Tim Hunt has revealed that he was forced to resign from his post at University College London (UCL) without being given a chance to explain his controversial remarks about women in science. “I have been hung out to dry,” he told the Observer in an exclusive interview. “I have been stripped of all the things I was doing in science. I have no further influence.”
Hunt, who won the Nobel prize in 2001 for his work on cell biology, was the focus of widespread controversy last week after suggesting at a conference in Seoul that women in science were disruptive and prone to crying. He has since apologised for his remarks, which were supposed to be ironic and jocular, he said.
However, as a result of the furore, Hunt was told by UCL that he would have to resign his honorary post at the college. “At no point did they ask me for an explanation for what I said or to put it in context,” he told the Observer. “They just said I had to go. There has been an enormous rush to judgment in dealing with me.”
And for the discussion at the NYT, see here.
Friday, June 5, 2015
Staff Sgt. Loeri Harrison could receive the paperwork any day now, forms certifying that after an exemplary eight-year Army career, she is no longer fit for duty and must leave Fort Bragg because she is transgender.
Early this year, Senior Airman Logan Ireland feared he might face a similar fate when he disclosed to his commanders during a recent deployment in Afghanistan that he transitioned from female to male. Yet, his supervisors have been supportive, allowing him to wear male uniforms and adhere to male grooming standards even though Air Force records continue to label him as female.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter should take on what they refused to do. The current policies leave transgender troops vulnerable to discrimination that the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission describe as a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Medical and military experts who have studied the policies have concluded that there is no rationale for disqualifying transgender troops from serving on medical grounds.
Saturday, May 30, 2015
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) would let pregnant workers continue to do their jobs and support their families by requiring employers to make the same sorts of accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions that they do for disabilities.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015
From the NYT:
When they become parents, many couples want to share child-care responsibilities equally, says Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, a professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University. But in a recent study, she found that moms shoulder much more of the additional work when a baby is born — and, perhaps more surprising, that parents aren’t necessarily aware of the discrepancy.
Along with her co-authors Jill Yavorsky and Claire Kamp Dush, Dr. Schoppe-Sullivan analyzed data on how 182 straight, dual-income couples spent their time before and after they had a child.
And, the results:
They found big differences between the couples’ estimates of how they spent their time and the evidence provided by the time diaries. Men and women both thought they spent about 30 more hours per week on paid work, housework, and child care combined after they had a child than they had before. But according to the time diaries, women actually spent about 21 hours more. Men added just 12.5 hours.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Grumblings that Hollywood is a man’s world have percolated for decades and are borne out in grim figures: Women directed only 4 percent of top-grossing films over the last dozen years. Now this apparent truism is being challenged as a violation of civil rights.
On Tuesday the American Civil Liberties Union asked state and federal agencies to investigate the hiring practices of major Hollywood studios, networks and talent agencies for what the organization described as rampant and intentional gender discrimination in recruiting and hiring female directors.
“Women directors aren’t working on an even playing field and aren’t getting a fair opportunity to succeed,” said Melissa Goodman, director of the L.G.B.T., Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at the A.C.L.U. of Southern California. “Gender discrimination is illegal. And, really, Hollywood doesn’t get this free pass when it comes to civil rights and gender discrimination.”
Monday, May 11, 2015
Hillary Clinton, who wants to become the first woman ever to win the presidency of the United States, gave an address recently at the Women in the World Summitthat touched on the gap in pay between men and women in the United States.
It’s "hard to believe that so many women are still paid less for men than the same work, with even wider gaps for women of color. If you doubt what I say, look to the World Economic Forum, hardly a hotbed of feminist thought," Clinton said at the April 23, 2015, summit. "Their rankings show that the United States is 65th out of 142 nations and other territories on equal pay. Imagine that. We should be No. 1."
But is it true?
We found a more complex picture than Clinton’s comments showed. One study that surveyed executives supported her point, but another study of wage data actually undermined it.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
ABA Commission on Women, A Current Glance at Women in the Law (July 2014).
- 34% of the legal profession
- 44.8% of associates
- 17% of equity partners
- 20% of all partners
- 4% of managing partners at BigLaw
- 16% of general counsels
- 47% of law students
- 46% of law review leaders
- 20% of law deans
- 45.7% of associate deans
- 66% of assistant deans
- 24% of the federal judiciary
- 27% of the state judiciary
- and women lawyers make 78.9% of what men make
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Imagine an elite professional services firm with a high-performing, workaholic culture. Everyone is expected to turn on a dime to serve a client, travel at a moment’s notice, and be available pretty much every evening and weekend. It can make for a grueling work life, but at the highest levels of accounting, law, investment banking and consulting firms, it is just the way things are.
Except for one dirty little secret: Some of the people ostensibly turning in those 80- or 90-hour workweeks, particularly men, may just be faking it.
Monday, May 4, 2015
From the WSJ:
Men and women have different experiences when it comes to Wall Street careers. And those differences fascinate Lily Fang.
Dr. Fang, an associate professor of finance on the Singapore campus of the business school Insead, has spent the past five years or so delving into how gender affects the career-development paths of stock-research analysts on Wall Street. What she and co-author Sterling Huang of Singapore Management University found was that the networking and personal connections that male analysts rely on so heavily to get ahead are much less useful for women in similar jobs.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Sixth Circuit Holds Employees Cannot be Fired as Retaliation for Complaining to Sexually Harassing Boss
Employees who tell their bosses to stop sexually harassing them are engaging in protected activity and are protected from retaliation, a federal appeals court has ruled.
The decision upheld a $1.5 million award to four employees at New Breed Logistics in Memphis who say they were fired after complaining to the harassing warehouse supervisor. Three of the employees were women who say they were harassed and a fourth was a man who complained on their behalf.
The company had argued it shouldn’t be liable because there was no evidence that company higher-ups were aware of the supervisor’s conduct.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
But here’s the dot that few have connected: The retirement savings crisis is also a women’s crisis.
That’s because women retire with two-thirds the savings of men, live six to eight years longer and have higher medical costs. Plus, 80 percent of women are single in their final years.
And it may be getting worse: Women’s labor-force participation is dropping, which suggests we’re moving in the wrong direction, considering that retirement savings tend to be driven by lifetime wages.
By looking at this issue through the gender lens, the solutions take on a decidedly different character. They become less about an inevitable, looming wealth transfer and more about increasing the economic engagement of women. And thus the focus of the national discussions about advancing women in the workplace, the focus moves from we-should-do-this-because-it’s-the-fair-thing-to-do to we-should-do-this-because-it-helps-solve-a-ridiculously-large-problem.
Friday, April 24, 2015
From Bloomberg Business:
Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers offered to drop its bid for legal costs after defeating Ellen Pao’s gender bias claims if she forgoes an appeal.
The firm filed its $1 million reimbursement request a month after a jury soundly rejected the former Kleiner junior partner’s claims of discrimination and retaliation and demand for $16 million in damages.
“KPCB has offered to waive all legal costs due to the firm should Ellen Pao choose to bring this legal matter to a close,” Christina Lee, a spokeswoman for Kleiner, said in an e-mail. “We believe that women in technology would be best served by having all parties focus on making progress on the issues of gender diversity outside of continued litigation.”
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Statistical analysis from Fivethirtyeight.com about Equal Pay Day:
5:31 PMAPR 14, 2015 By ALLISON MCCANN
Tuesday, April 14, is the 19th annual Equal Pay Day. The day is a symbolic representation of the gender pay gap: The average woman would have had to work all last year and into April this year to earn as much as the average man did in 2014 alone. But speaking in averages isn’t always the best way to understand the wage gap. Factors such as race, education and workweek hours can drastically widen (and narrow) the difference between men’s and women’s pay.
For example, the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning nonprofit think tank, looked at the hourly wages for men and women across income percentiles and found that at every decile, men outearned women in 2014. The gap is largest at the 95th percentile, with women earning only 79 percent of what men earn in the same income level.1 The narrowing of the wage gap for low-income earners is largely due to the minimum wage, which is the same for men and women. But the lowest-wage occupations remain disproportionately female.
Happy Unequal Pay Day, ladies.
Monday, April 13, 2015
As Clinton takes another shot at becoming the country’s first female president, it is already clear that this time around, she plans to put women’s issues front and center in an attempt to appeal to female voters. Among the many Americans profiled in the video, the majority are women, from working mothers to expectant ones, signaling that Clinton plans to make issues of gender inequality, which she has been working on since stepping down as Secretary of State in 2013, key to her campaign.
Friday, April 3, 2015
The Justice Department filed suit on Monday against an Oklahoma university alleging the school discriminated against a transgender professor. “Rachel Tudor was hired as a tenure-track assistant professor in the English department at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2004, after applying as a man with a traditionally male name, according to the lawsuit filed Monday,” the Washington Post reports. “Then in 2007, Tudor told school officials that he would become a woman during that academic year, took the name Rachel, and began wearing women’s clothes and a traditionally female hairstyle.”
“The complaint said Tudor taught in the English department and was terminatedfrom the university in 2011 after the school denied her tenure,” Reuters reports. “A lawyer for Tudor said it was the first time the university had denied an English professor's application for tenure and promotion after a favorable tenure recommendation from a promotion committee and the department chair.” The DOJ suit alleges that someone in the university’s human resources department told Tudor that the school’s vice president for academic affairs had inquired about whether Tudor could be fired because her gender transition offended his religious beliefs.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University said in a statement: “The University is confident in its legal position and its adherence to all applicable employment laws."
Monday, March 30, 2015
Ellen Pao recently lost her high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit. The case was big news because it brought to public attention the glaring dearth of women in the tech industry, and whether such dearth might be caused by prejudice.
A NYT background story on the case. Some commentary by Fortune magazine. A discussion by CNET of Pao's post-verdict tweets. Some comments by Prof. Tracy Thomas and I in the Daily Princetonian (Pao had graduated from Princeton).
Monday, March 23, 2015
Feb. 24, 2015: Ellen Pao, center, with her attorney, Therese Lawless, left, leaves the Civic Center Courthouse during a lunch break in her trial. (AP)
SAN FRANCISCO – A California trial judge ruled Saturday that a woman suing a Silicon Valley venture capital firm in a high-profile gender bias case may seek punitive damages that could add tens of millions of dollars to the $16 million in lost wages and bonuses she is pursuing.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn denied a request by lawyers for Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to have Ellen Pao's demand for unspecified punitive damages thrown out. Pao, the interim CEO of the news and social networking site Reddit, claims she was passed over for a promotion at the firm because she is a woman and then fired in 2012 after she complained.
Kahn said there was enough evidence for the jury considering Pao's lawsuit to conclude that Kleiner Perkins acted with malice, oppression or fraud, which in California is the legal threshold for awarding damages that are designed to punish and deter particularly bad behavior.