NewsRoundup

The Roundup will be brought to you in July and August by the new Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN), an international membership organization for interdisciplinary work and family academics. The WFRN welcomes the participation of policy makers and practitioners as it seeks to promote knowledge and understanding of work and family issues among the community of global stakeholders. The Roundup is a compilation of the latest news articles, reports and other materials related to workplace flexibility delivered to your inbox on Monday and Thursday. In the fall, the WFRN will launch its new website which will include a News Feed among other features. We hope that you will get involved as a member and by posting the latest news. Questions?

July 1, 2011

Articles

For women’s career equality: parent-friendly work, Equal Rights Amendment

Frances McCall Rosenbluth • Christian Science Monitor • June 30, 2011

“Few graduating seniors from Ivy Leagues are having babies, but more women than men stay away from careers with punishing hours that undermine family time. Many women don’t even apply for jobs that seem incompatible with a normal family life. In the 2007 Harvard study, over half of the gender wage gap vanished when controlling for the reality that more men than women chose careers in finance and IT where career success requires around-the-clock time commitment.  Solutions to the family problem include subsidized and accessible childcare, family-friendly working arrangements, and incentives for fathers to take parenting as seriously as women.”

Americans’ Preference for Smaller Families Edges Higher

Lydia Saad • Gallup • June 30, 2011

“American’s long-standing preference for small families has edged slightly higher in recent years, with 58% of U.S. adults now saying that having no more than two children is the ideal for a family. […] Gallup first measured Americans’ preferred family size in 1936, at which time close to two-thirds (64%) thought three or more children was ideal. This view stretched to 77% at the end of World War II and remained near 70% for an additional two decades. […] Societal changes regarding the role of women may also have played a part in advancing Americans’ preference for small families.”

Nutter vetoes paid-sick-time bill

Troy Graham and Jane M. Von Bergen • Philadelphia Inquirer • June 29, 2011

“As expected, Mayor Nutter vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have required many businesses to allow their employees to accrue paid sick time.  Because City Council does not meet again until Sept. 8, the bill’s sponsors have the summer to lobby for the 12 votes necessary to overturn the mayor - but that could be a daunting task. The bill passed this month with the minimum of nine votes amid the horse-trading of several contentious tax-increase proposals.”

Making Work Better for Everyone

Paul Osterman • New America Foundation • June 27, 2011

“America confronts a jobs crisis and that crisis has two faces. The first is obvious and greets us every morning when we read the newspapers or talk with our friends and neighbors. There is simply not enough work to go around. The second jobs crisis is more subtle but no less serious. Far too many jobs fall below the standard that most Americans would consider decent work.”

“Unlike the many cultures that rank filial duty above other virtues, Americans value independence. The self-supporting man (or woman) cannot be asking his mommy to do the laundry for him and going after the same Pop-Tart stash he raided at age 10. But lately it seems we might have to adjust that list of priorities. Recent census data show that the number of Americans ages 25 to 34 living with their parents has jumped to about 5.5 million—a figure that accounts for roughly 13 percent of that age range.”

Events

Understanding the Scheduling Challenges Facing Low-Wage Workers

• New America Foundation • July 7, 2011

“During this roundtable discussion, the authors of a recent report, ‘Flexible Workplace Solutions for Low-Wage Hourly Workers: A Framework for a National Conversation,’ will present new findings that help illuminate the scheduling challenges facing low-wage hourly workers and employer and policy solutions to these challenges. National experts on low-wage work and flexible work arrangements will react to these findings from the perspective of both workers and businesses, as well as reflect on next steps for employer practice and policy.

Blogs

Men Now Have More ‘Work-Life Conflict’ Than Women, Study Says

Jennifer Ludden • NPR - The Two-Way • June 30, 2011

“Though it may come as a surprise to stressed-out working moms, a new report says American men now experience more work-life conflict than women. The Families and Work Institute tries to explain why in a study, The New Male Mystique, that takes its cue from Betty Friedan.”

Suit Alleges KPMG “Mommy-Tracked” Women

Rachel Emma Silverman • Wall Street Journal - The Juggle • June 30, 2011

“To me, the most intriguing part of the suit alleges that the firm discriminated against mothers by essentially shuttling them to a lower-profile ‘mommy track.’  The lawsuit claims that female employees at the firm felt pressured to move to a flexible work schedule after having children because of a stereotype that they are less effective employees and less committed to their carers, Accounting Today reported.”

How Flexibility Can Boost Employee Productivity

Ellen Ernst Kossek and Kelly Hannum • Forbes - Center for Creative Leadership • June 29, 2011

“If you’ve squeezed all the productivity gains you can out of your workforce or the people around you are stressed out or disengaged, we’ve got some advice: Be more flexible about how, when and where your employees work.  This isn’t a plug for formal telecommuting or flextime programs. It’s an argument for adapting work in ways that allow for the greatest productivity by taking into account individual differences.”

How to End ‘Momism’: Free Day Care and Less Work!

Daniel Indiviglio • Atlantic - Business • June 29, 2011

“The very heart of capitalism is the idea that hard work pays off. The incentive for working harder than the next guy (or gal) is the opportunity to make more money and advance your career faster. If you lose that core idea, I’m not sure what the U.S. economy becomes, but whatever it is, it isn’t capitalist.  As Leonhardt quips, even men would like to ‘sign up’ for a job where they could work less and make just as much progress in their careers. And that’s precisely the problem. The incentive shifts: people won’t work as hard, so productivity would fall, but they would expect more. You don’t need to be an economist to see that this situation won’t work. If productivity declines, so will economic output. Salaries and economic growth would fall.”

Workplace Flexibility Breeds Contentment on all Sides

Janet Walsh • Huffington Post • June 29, 2011

“With the mismatch between positive results from flexible work arrangements and actual practices, there will be a lot to talk about in New York this week. Employers participating in the dialogue should take the evidence of positive results to heart, and officials should move the flexibility discussion to the next level: examining how laws and policies that promote flexibility at work can help businesses, workers, and the economy.”

David Leonhardt on ‘Momism’

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz • Atlantic • June 28, 2011

“Scanning the list of Fortune 500 CEOs, it’s clear that only 15 are women. When a woman does make it to the top—and stay there—the chances are high that she has no children.  Leonhardt has a name for this problem: ‘momism.’ And in this video, he proposes a solution.”

Feminism As A Negative Shock To American Education

Matthew Yglesias • ThinkProgress - Yglesias • June 28, 2011

“Prior to 1970 or so, overwhelming social and politician coercion was brought to bear on women to overwhelmingly focus their time on childrearing and to severely limit the range of occupations they could enter. One of those occupations was, of course, teaching. This all constituted a giant implicit subsidy to the school system. In some countries, such as Sweden and Finland, the feminist turn was accompanied by big-time family leave policies, big investments in preschool, and substantial structural reforms to K-12 education. But America just kind of welcomed women to the world of competitive labor markets and left it at that.”

Global News

Italian firm’s women-only job cull inflames gender controversy

John Hooper • Guardian • June 30, 2011

“An engineering firm in northern Italy has sparked controversy after making almost half its workforce redundant – and selecting only women.  A union official quoted the company as having reported to the small businesses association: ‘We are firing the women so they can stay at home and look after the children. In any case, what they bring in is a second income.’”

Women Nudged Out of German Workforce

Katrin Benhold • New York Times • June 28, 2011

“Despite a battery of government measures — some introduced in the past year or so — and ever more passionate debate about gender roles, only about 14 percent of German mothers with one child resume full-time work, and only 6 percent of those with two. All 30 DAX companies are run by men. Nationwide, a single woman presides on a supervisory board: Simone Bagel-Trah at Henkel.  Eighteen months after the International Herald Tribune launched a series on the state of women in the 21st century with a look at Germany, the country has emerged as a test case for the push-and-pull of economics and tradition.”