Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Colorado and Montana Talk Politics

There've been a number of recent articles about women serving in the state legislatures and in leadership positions in state government in Colorado and Montana.

Using data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) (info also available from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers), Colorado ranks first in the nation, with women serving as 40% of its state legislators after the 2008 election. This is in spite of a decline in the number of Republican women serving - the Democratic women made up for it. They now outnumber Democratic men in the Senate and are half of the D's in the House. (Ohio has seen a similar trend with its Republican women - see our graph).

Montana is reporting on the record number of women serving in leadership roles in their state legislature. One Montana news source notes:
  • "There are a record number of women serving in leadership roles this time, including the top three Democrats in the Senate, along with three out of five Democratic leaders in the House. And it's not just Democrats. Every Republican woman in the House of Representatives is either heading a committee, serving as a committee co-chair or in some kind of leadership position."
How do we fare in Ohio? The good news (I guess) is that we're no longer in the bottom 10 states for the percentage of seats held by women - based on NCSL data from after the past election, Ohio now ranks 34th (from high to low) among the 50 states.
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Friday, January 23, 2009

In My Inbox - January 23, 2009


UNICEF has issued their 2009 edition of The
State of the World's Children report. This year's focus is on maternal and newborn health, but the report covers a wide range of indicators, including nutrition, HIV/AIDS infection rates, literacy levels (male and female and by age group), even national economic indicators like GDP.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has issued the 2008 edition of Women in the Labor Force: A Databook. The databook includes information on women's labor force activities, current and historical, including labor force participation rate, education rates, and earnings. The information is drawn from the Current Population Survey, a national monthly survey. A couple of interesting observations: women have gone from being 15.7% of the multiple jobholders in the U.S. to 50.1%. Also, interestingly, 28.9% of men, age 25 and older, report having access to flexible schedule options, compared to 26.7% of women (full-time, wage and salary).
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Friday, January 16, 2009

The Numbers Tell the Story

Last year, Avivah Wittenberg-Cox and Alison Maitland published the book, Why Women Mean Business: Understanding the Emergence of Our Next Economic Revolution. The book's argument is simple - women are consumers, employees and leaders - in substantial numbers. They make up one-half of the population, and businesses that are serious about success should be serious about the economic vitality of women.

Wittenberg-Cox recently launched a website and blog, Womenomics, to provide a forum for an ongoing discussion of the topics covered in the book. The site is a terrific resource, but it was this article that caught my attention today: Want Gender Balance? Appoint a Woman CEO! It's the grid that introduces the article, the one that compares the number of female board members and executive officers in the Fortune 500 companies headed by women with 12 companies led by what are considered to be "progressive" men - it really drives home the point that a female CEO is likely to have an impact on the number of women serving on the organization's board.
Bottom line:
  • the 12 companies they selected with "progressive men" as CEOs had an average of 2 women on their boards and 1.5 women among their executive team.
  • for the 12 companies with female CEOs, there were an average of 3.5 women on their boards and 3.3 women among the executive team.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Teen Birth Rates Rise Nationally, in Ohio

The Center for Disease Control released its most recent update of the National Vital Statistics Reports on January 7, reporting increased birth rates for women in nearly all age groups from 2005 to 2006. Of particular concern is the increase in the birth rate for teens aged 15-19 years by 3%, the first increase in the rate since 1991 (41.9 births per 1000 teenagers 15-19 years of age), although the 2006 rate was still below the 1991 rate of 61.8 births per 1000.

Ohio was one of 26 states reporting what are considered to be statistically significant increases. In Ohio, the birth rate increased from 38.9 to 40 births per 1000 teenagers 15-19 years of age (the 1991 rate was 60.5).
(Note that these numbers are birth rate, not pregnancy rate. Pregnancy rates include live births, induced abortions and fetal losses according to the report.)

Other numbers of note for Ohio:
  • average age of mother at first birth: 24.7 (the lowest age is Mississippi at 22.6 and the highest is Massachusetts at 27.7)
  • percentage of mothers with first trimester prenatal care: 72.9% (76.3% for white women, 58.6% for African-American mothers)
  • percentage of mothers with late-term or no prenatal care: 6.3% (5% for white women, 11.6% for African-American mothers)
  • rate of cesarean delivery: 29.3% of all live births (lowest: Utah at 21.5% and Idaho at 22.8%; highest: New Jersey at 37.4% and Florida at 36.1%)
  • rate of vaginal births after cesarean delivery: 12.1 (number of vaginal births per 100 live births by mothers with previous cesarean delivery)
  • percentage of preterm births (less than 37 weeks of gestation: 13.3% (18.7% for African-American mothers)
  • percentage of low birthweight (less than 5 lbs. 8 oz.) births: 8.8% (14.5% for African-American mothers)
  • percentage of very low birthweight (less than 3 lbs. 4 oz.) births: 1.6% (3.3% for African-American mothers)

Link for report: National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 57, Num. 7 (1/7/09)
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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Barriers to Advancement for African American Women

The Executive Leadership Council recently released the results of a study completed by Harris Interactive related to the need for and barriers to increasing the number of minorities in senior roles in business. The 150 executives interviewed for the study generally agreed that having diversity within the ranks of the senior leadership in companies was critical to encouraging innovative thinking and appealing to a diverse client base. They also identified specific barriers that appear to hinder the advancement of minority women in particular. These barriers were:
  • weaker or less strategic networks
  • inaccurate perceptions about the abilities of minority women
  • issues related to work/life balance
For more information on the study: BWER Harris Interactive Executive Summary
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