Women's Issues - Overview

Women's Issues - Overview:


  • Abortion and reproductive rights
    Reproductive rights—having the ability to decide whether and when to have children—are important to women’s socioeconomic well-being and overall health. Research suggests that being able to make decisions about one’s own reproductive life and the timing of one’s entry into parenthood is associated with greater relationship stability and satisfaction (National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy 2008), more work experience among women (Buckles 2008), and increased wages and average career earnings (Miller 2011). In recent years, policies affecting women’s reproductive rights in the United States have substantially changed at both the federal and state levels.

  • Domestic Violence
    Domestic (or intimate partner) violence is a pattern of behavior in which one person seeks to isolate, dominate, and control the other through psychological, sexual, and/or physical abuse (Breiding et al. 2014). According to analysis of the 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), nearly one in three women (31.5 percent) experiences physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in her lifetime. A smaller, but still substantial, share experience partner stalking (9.2 percent), rape (8.8 percent), or other sexual violence by an intimate partner (15.8 percent; Figure 7.1).1 In addition, nearly half of all women experience, at some point in their lifetimes, psychological aggression from an intimate partner. This aggression—which is arguably the most harmful component of intimate partner violence (Stark 2012b)—includes both expressive aggression, such as name calling, and attempts to monitor, threaten, or control their partner’s behavior (Figure 7.1).

  • Equal pay
    Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, and their earnings are essential to the economic security of families across the nation. Yet, gender equality at work remains elusive. Women who work full-time, year-round still earn only 78 cents on the dollar compared with men, and during the last decade little improvement has been made in closing the gender wage gap (DeNavas-Walt and Proctor 2014). The glass ceiling persists, and occupational segregation—the concentration of women in some jobs and men in others—remains a stubborn feature of the U.S. labor market (Hegewisch et al. 2010).

  • Gender Equality
    Access to quality education and training, health care services, and business networks can help women to thrive in the workforce and achieve economic success. Yet even with access to these resources, many women struggle to achieve equal financial security and independence. Women are as likely as men to complete a college degree and are more likely than men to have health insurance, but face higher poverty rates than men and are much less likely to own businesses (IWPR 2015aIWPR 2015b).

  • Paid family leave

    Women make up almost half of the workforce. Few families have someone who can stay at home to take care of health emergencies, pick children up from school and supervise homework, or take an elderly parent to a doctor’s appointment. In half of all families with children, women are the primary or co-breadwinner (IWPR 2015a). Low-income families are particularly likely to have all parents in the labor force (Boushey 2014).

    Yet, as mothers’ labor force participation has dramatically increased in the past decades (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014) and the number of women and men aged 50 and older who provide care for a parent has tripled during the last 15 years (MetLife 2011), the development of an infrastructure to support workers with family caregiving responsibilities has been largely neglected. Many workers lack access to even the most basic supports such as earned sick days and job-protected paid parental leave. Quality child care is also out of reach for many families because it is not affordable. Women are the large majority of family caregivers,3 and in the absence of reliable family supports, too many women are forced to make difficult decisions between keeping their jobs and caring for their family members.

  • Sexual Violence and Rape.
    Sexual violence and rape are alarmingly common and pose a serious threat to women’s health and well-being. One study analyzing data from the 2011 NISVS found that in the United States, 19.3 percent of women are raped at some time in their lives, and 43.9 percent experience sexual violence other than rape (Breiding et al. 2014). Often, the perpetrator is someone the victim knows: almost half of the female rape victims surveyed (46.7 percent) said they had at least one perpetrator who was an acquaintance, and a similar proportion (45.4 percent) said they had least one perpetrator who was an intimate partner (Breiding et al. 2014).

Source: Statusofwomendata.org