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Cartoon: She's so fined

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 27/07/2021 - 9:50pm in

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Olympics, Sports, Women

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“Menstruation Vacations” Are Adapting Work for Women’s Health

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 19/07/2021 - 6:00pm in

Right now, about five percent of the world population have their period. It is one of the most familiar biological phenomena, experienced every few weeks by billions of women. And yet, it is often a taboo topic. Which is why, when 30-year-old Kristel de Groot, the Dutch founder of the California food supplement startup Your Super, had to give an important three-hour presentation in front of a boardroom, she didn’t dare to speak openly about the fact that she was having trouble focusing because of period pain.

“I thought, I am sitting in front of all these men — and at the C-suite level it’s almost always men — and I am not 100 percent, but I can’t say that out loud,” she recalls.

The experience was a turning point. 

In June 2020, de Groot introduced 12 annual “Moon Days” for her full-time female employees, which they can use in addition to regular sick days during their period. “I call it a ‘do-what-you-can day’ — stay at home, take it easy, cancel all your appointments, or come in and work as usual,” de Groot says. “It’s to create empathy around the issue, and also encourages the team to listen to their bodies.”

Kristel de Groot and Michael Kuech

What their bodies are often saying is: I need a break. Some 20 to 40 percent of women report experiencing period pain, mood swings and fatigue. Up to 80 percent say they have at least once experienced problems that prevented them from working fully. 

Before de Groot implemented Moon Days, she asked her employees in a survey about their experience. Some 65 percent of the 110 employees at Your Super are women, and about half of them reported being impacted by their menstrual cycle. “Some said, oh, I just pop a pain killer. Others say they have low energy and can’t focus. Some don’t have any difficulties.”

The certified health coach started Your Super, a Certified B Corporation which produces food supplements, with her German husband, Michael Kuech. They met while training to become professional tennis players at Valdosta State University in Georgia. But after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 24 and underwent chemotherapy, they focused on rebuilding his immunity through healthy food and supplements. “Because of our story, awareness of your body’s needs is kind of built into our company mission,” de Groot explains. 

When de Groot first introduced Moon Days, reactions were mixed. “There was some consternation. ‘Oh, we’re talking about this?’ It’s not just men who don’t want to talk about it. Many women don’t want to talk about it either.” But after a year, her employees have embraced Moon Days as routine, like sick or vacation days. On average, female employees take 21.5 hours of Moon Day time in a year. Several male employees argued they needed Moon Days, too. “No, you don’t!” de Groot told them. “Then I explained to them about hormone cycles and how they affect women, and they became very quiet very quickly.”

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Could this well-intentioned initiative backfire by perpetuating stereotypes about menstruation-related mood swings, the basis of so many outdated jokes about women and PMS? “I think it can be taken both ways,” de Groot answers. “Periods are actually the start of the creation of life. That is something to be celebrated, not something bad or dirty. We all wouldn’t be here if women didn’t have their periods.” Employees who need to take a Moon Day can simply (and discreetly, if they wish) inform their HR manager, no questions asked. “I sometimes talk about it openly, though, and [tell the office] that I am taking my Moon Day,” de Groot says. “It’s part of being a leader: Let me talk about it — how is this for you?”

De Groot, who is Dutch and originally started the company in Berlin in 2015 before moving its headquarters to Venice, California, has noticed cultural differences, too. “We had some press in Europe but in the U.S., there are certain publications who don’t want to mention menstruation.” Now that the Moon Day policy has been in place for a year, she notices that it opens up conversations around the topic. “Women started to share about their periods, about PMS — that was really encouraging to see. Women can support each other. Even if you don’t talk about it, at least women shouldn’t feel ashamed of it. Not talking about it sometimes comes with shame, and there is really no reason for that.”

Her initiative fits with the bigger picture of adapting workplaces to women’s needs. Several companies in Great Britain are pioneering menopause-friendly workplaces. And the pandemic has increased the need to address period poverty because many girls and women, especially among members of marginalized communities, have trouble accessing period products. De Groot acknowledges that her efforts happen “within my little bubble. On other continents — for instance, in Africa — once kids get their period, they stop going to school.” She donates to organizations that help women and children in Asia and Africa, but still sees a need to advance the conversation around menstruation in the West, too.

De Groot remembers her grandmother who had to stop working when she married because she was no longer allowed to work as a teacher. “Back then, this was normal,” de Groot says. “When we look at the opportunities we have now, it’s an example of how things change over time.” However, she is convinced that more progress is needed. “The workplace was actually built by men and hasn’t ever really changed,” she says. “The best companies do is offer free tampons. But this is not enough. So I thought, this has to change.”

The post “Menstruation Vacations” Are Adapting Work for Women’s Health appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

Who Received PPP Loans by Fintech Lenders?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 15/07/2021 - 6:04am in

Jessica Battisto, Nathan Godin, Claire Kramer Mills, and Asani Sarkar

Who Received PPP Loans by Fintech Lenders?

Small businesses not only account for 47 percent of U.S employment but also provide a pathway to success for minorities and women. During the coronavirus pandemic, these small businesses—especially those owned by minorities—were hard hit as consumers reduced spending disproportionately on services that require in-person physical interaction, such as hotels and restaurants. In response, the U.S. government launched the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to provide guaranteed and potentially forgivable small business loans. In this post, we examine financial technology (fintech) lenders participating in the PPP and find that, while disbursing only a small share of total loan amounts, they provide important support to minority business owners, who have in the past been underserved by the traditional banking industry.

Small Business Experience during the Pandemic

The previous post showed that declines and recoveries in small business revenues differed along demographic lines. Survey evidence shows that the number of active business owners dropped by 22 percent from February to April 2020, with Black and LatinX owners suffering most. Industries with a higher concentration of female, Black, LatinX, and immigrant businesses were among the hardest hit. More recent evidence shows that these trends continued until later in 2020 with almost 80 percent of small business firms reporting drops in income with stark disparities by business owners’ race.

Bank and Fintech Lenders in the Paycheck Protection Program

The PPP is administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), with funds allocated in three rounds or waves. A total of $659 billion in funding was authorized in the first two waves between April 3 (the PPP launch date) and August 8, 2020. In 2020, the PPP provided 5.2 million loans worth more than $525 billion. The current (that is, third) round began in January 2021 with an additional $284 billion in funding authorized, all of which was exhausted by May 4.

Eligibility is broad-based, and different from other SBA lending programs since applicants only have to document their payroll and other expenses and do not have to meet the “credit elsewhere” test. However, they can apply for and receive loans only through eligible financial institutions. Since lenders bear no credit risk when providing loans guaranteed by the U.S. government, differences between lenders in loan disbursements primarily reflect their ability to process applications and their approval decisions.

Initially, loans were mostly distributed by banks, which allowed for rapid delivery but also increased the chance that loans might go to existing bank customers rather than the hardest-hit borrowers. In an important change, the SBA authorized more nonbank lenders to accept applications toward the end of the first wave. Of particular interest are fintech lenders, defined as nonbank lenders that operate online such as Kabbage, Square, Lending Club, OnDeck, and PayPal Working Capital. Recently, fintech companies have become important lenders to small businesses, especially in places where banks have pulled out. Compared to banks, fintech lenders may be more efficient in processing applications (as was shown for mortgages), and more likely to lend to underserved businesses that are unable to borrow from banks.

Who Applied for PPP Loans and from Which Lenders?

Which lenders did borrowers seek out for PPP loans? To examine this question, we use data from the Federal Reserve’s 2020 Small Business Credit Survey, which included 9,693 small employer respondents (firms with 1-499 employees) nationwide and was carried out in September and October 2020. Some firms reported in the survey that they did not apply for PPP loans, mainly because they felt unqualified for the loan or loan forgiveness. Of applicants, 87 percent applied to either a large bank (one with more than $10 billion in deposits) or a small bank, while just 8 percent applied to fintech companies. By comparison, in the previous five years, 44 percent of firms with between one and 499 employees had used a large or small bank and 20 percent had used fintech companies.

One reason that borrowers might turn to banks is because they have an existing relationship. While that connection may facilitate loan approval and encourage banks to look out for the survival of applicant firms, it may also prevent loans from reaching the hardest-hit borrowers. Indeed, as the chart below shows, 95 percent of large bank applicants and 83 percent of small bank applicants had a prior relationship with their PPP lenders. (Borrowers may have relationships with multiple lenders). These borrowers had more employees, higher credit scores, and were more likely to have white owners. In contrast, just one in three small employers that applied to a fintech lender had worked with that lender before. These borrowers had fewer employees, lower credit scores, greater difficulty in accessing PPP credit, and were more likely to be Black-owned and to have reduced their workforce. Thus, our results suggest that PPP applicants self-select among lenders, with underserved borrowers gravitating towards fintech companies.

Who Received PPP Loans by Fintech Lenders?

Nearly half of all small employer firms sought out PPP funds from a large bank, with little difference in application rates by race and ethnicity (see chart below). However, there are clear differences in the racial profile of applicants to small banks and fintech lenders. Fewer Black and Hispanic owners applied to small banks than did white and Asian owners. In contrast, about one in four Black-owned firms applied to fintech lenders, more than twice the rate of white-, Asian-, and Hispanic-owned firms.

Who Received PPP Loans by Fintech Lenders?

Who Got Approved for PPP Loans and from Which Lenders?

Did fintech lenders provide credit to firms with Black owners by approving their applications at a high rate? The chart below shows that fintech lenders approved a sizeable majority of their applicants, even though most of their applicants had no existing relationship with them. Moreover, fintech lenders approved the highest percentage of applications from Black-owned small employers as compared to firms owned by persons of other races and ethnicities. PPP approval rates were highest at banks, likely reflecting the fact that most of their applicants had existing banking relationships, consistent with prior research.

Who Received PPP Loans by Fintech Lenders?

How Much PPP Credit Did Fintech Lenders Provide?

The pattern of PPP loan applications and approvals is reflected in banks’ and fintech lenders’ shares of PPP loan amounts (see chart below). During Wave 1, the fintech share of loan amounts (number of loans) was less than 2 percent (4 percent) as compared to 96 percent (91 percent) for banks, in part reflecting delayed authorizations from the SBA. The smaller share of fintech lenders in the loan amounts implies smaller fintech loan sizes, a topic we explore further in part three of this series. Smaller banks had a greater share by the number of loans than large banks, consistent with anecdotal evidence that large banks initially lacked the capacity to process applications, providing small banks an opportunity to gain market share.

As more fintech lenders were approved as PPP lenders, their share of lending increased to more than 10 percent of loan amounts and 20 percent by number of loans in Wave 2. While large banks maintained their shares from Wave 1 to Wave 2, those of small banks plunged by nearly half. One possible explanation is that fintech lenders appealed to small bank customers by providing a more efficient approval process which outweighed the benefits of having a prior banking relationship. By comparison, large bank customers appear to have continued to value their banking relationships.

Who Received PPP Loans by Fintech Lenders?

Inequality in Credit Access

Although fintech lenders had a small share of PPP loan volumes, they likely served borrowers who would not have received loans otherwise. Applicants who approached fintech lenders for PPP loans were more likely to lack banking relationships, be minority owned, and have fewer employees. Moreover, a higher share of applications by Black-owned businesses were approved by fintech lenders as compared to firms with white, Asian, or Hispanic owners. Since Black owners were approved for loans by fintech lenders at a higher rate even before the pandemic, our results suggest that historical factors that prevent Black owners from receiving bank credit continued to operate with the PPP.

In the next post, we examine the implications of unequal credit access: whether smaller firms received the amount of PPP credit that they requested, and whether loans went to the hardest-hit areas and mitigated job losses.

Chart data

Jessica BattistoJessica Battisto is a senior research analyst in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Outreach and Education Group.

Nathan GodinNathan Godin is a senior research analyst in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Claire Kramer MillsClaire Kramer Mills is an assistant vice president and director of community development analysis in the Bank’s Outreach and Education Group.

Asani SarkarAsani Sarkar is an assistant vice president in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

How to cite this post:

Jessica Battisto, Nathan Godin, Claire Kramer Mills, and Asani Sarkar, “Who Received PPP Loans by Fintech Lenders?,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics, May 27, 2021, https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2021/05/who-received-ppp-l....

Additional Posts in the Series

COVID-19 and Small Businesses: Uneven Patterns by Race and Income

Who Benefited from PPP Loans by Fintech Lenders?

Related Reading

Economic Inequality series

Press Briefing

Who Received PPP Loans by Fintech Lenders?

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.

Three Philosophers Awarded AAUW Fellowships

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 08/07/2021 - 11:01pm in

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award, Women

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) recently announced the winners of its 2021-2022 fellowships, and three philosophers are among them.

They are:


Caitlyn Creasy, Teresa Kouri Kissel, and Claire Lockard

All three are recipients of the AAUW’s “American Fellowships,” which provide $6,000 – $30,000 to “support women scholars who are pursuing full-time study to complete dissertations, conducting postdoctoral research full time, or preparing research for publication.”

[Note: the original version of this post mistakenly listed only two of the three philosophers who won AAUW fellowships.]

Laming, Porter And Joyce To Advise The PM On How To Relate To Women

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 06/07/2021 - 8:15am in

Following news of a collapse in polling amongst female voters, Australia’s Prime Minister Scotty from marketing has moved quickly to appoint a panel of Andrew Laming, Christian Porter and Barnaby Joyce to advise him on how to relate to women.

”I was a bit surprised that the Ladies of the Nation aren’t my biggest fans,” said the PM. ”In fact it took Jen and the Girls a couple of hours to explain to me why the ladies might be a tad disappointed.”

”However, I have now taken some steps to improve my polling with the Ladies.”

When asked why he chose Laming, Porter and Joyce to advise on Women given their recent histories, the PM said: ”One thing I think we can all agree upon is that Women know them.”

”Laming is constant contact with women that he is looking to sue for defamation. Christian has got the whole country talking about his alleged exploits.”

”As for Barnaby, well, he is constantly looking to touch any female that he encounters.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a meeting with my lack of brains trust. We have a guest speaker today, George Christensen will be zooming in to talk about Women’s ping pong.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

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Karen Davis on the Woman Challenging a Spa over Biological Male in Women’s Area

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 29/06/2021 - 7:20pm in

This is going to be another controversial post, as it’s about women’s right to protest against the inclusion of biological men in women’s spaces on the grounds that they are transwomen, and identify as female. Davis is a Black American feminist, a teacher and musician with a degree in psychology and an absolutely razor sharp mind. She is one of the many voices criticising trans activism and transwomen on the Net, and does so not with prejudice, but with facts, statistics and logic.

Now to make it clear, I do not hate transpeople. I am sure there are some wonderful transmen and -women around, and I recognise that some people genuinely identify as members of the opposite sex and treatment and transitioning has worked for them. I do not wish to see anyone, including transpeople, bullied, abused, denied jobs, assaulted or otherwise persecuted simply for being what they are. As the author of Harry Potter, J.K Rowling said, they should be able to dress how they want, sleep with whoever will have them and live the best life they can. But their rights should not supersede women’s rights to safe, single sex spaces.

This is essentially a practical, real-life enactment of the Staniland Question. Helen Staniland is a Welsh lady, and one of Graham Linehan’s interlocutors with Canadian Arty Morty on his The Mess We’re In YouTube channel. She used to go around asking people if they would be happy, if their mother or daughter went to a women only space, like sports changing rooms, and saw a penis. Of course, most severely normal people privately wouldn’t, and say so privately to her. But the trans rights activists demand complete acceptance as women, and scream and holler prejudice and ‘transphobia’ if this supposed right is questioned. But the TRAs really don’t have an answer to her question, and so have been reduced to misrepresenting her as some kind of pervert or prurient woman obsessed with male genitals.

In this case, Karen Davis looks at a video of an angry woman, unseen, who challenges the staff at a spa because she has seen a naked, biological male in the women’s changing area. She saw a penis. And the staff are unsympathetic, at one point replying to her statement ‘It was a dick!’ with ‘Yes, and you’re being one.’ But this is a real problem with women’s right to their own, single-sex spaces allowing them to feel safe and comfortable.

The transgender individual didn’t have to use the women’s area. The spa contained men’s, women’s and coed spaces. If that person understandably didn’t want to use the men’s, then he could have used the coed, mixed space instead. But his demand to be seen as a woman overrode women’s desire and need not to have a biological male in their space.

Davis is also against transwomen being accepted as women, even if they have transitioned. It’s not a view I fully support, but I can appreciate her reasons for holding such a view. Especially as the medical literature shows that transexuals and transvestites have a higher incidence of other fetishes, including paedophilia and exhibitionism. There have been instances where transwomen, who have undergone gender reassignment, have committed acts of gross exhibitionism in women’s space, such as toilets, for example, and then posted it on the Net.

While Davis is particularly ferocious in her opposition to trans rights and denies that transwomen can ever be women, she and Helen Staniland have a point.

Biological men should have no place in women only spaces, like toilets and changing rooms. To allow them in contradicts the very reason we have them – to protect women from embarrassment and potential sexual harassment.

And women have every right to complain.

Get There Fast or Safe? A Crowdsourced Map Gives You the Option

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 29/06/2021 - 6:00pm in

In 2015, when writer Geetanjali Krishna’s then teenaged son started traveling for soccer practice to different venues around New Delhi, she installed a safety app called My Safetipin on his phone and on hers.

Sometimes she let him cycle, or even walk on his own if the app assigned the neighborhood he was visiting or moving through a high “safety score.” If not, he would carpool with friends.

Then, a few years ago when she moved to a new neighborhood, she noticed that a portion of it was poorly lit and avoided by women walking in the evening. Krishna didn’t feel safe walking in the dark there either. She took the matter up with her locality’s Residents’ Welfare Association, and soon several streetlights were installed. Lighting, she realized, was central to her sense of safety.

“Ever since I used the My Safetipin app, I have become very conscious of lighting in public spaces,” she says.

Krishna is one of thousands of users literally putting safety on the map in countries from India to Indonesia to the United States.

My Safetipin — named after the simple everyday item often carried by women in India for self protection — collects and analyzes crowdsourced data to assign “safety scores” to streets and neighborhoods around the world. My Safetipin users download the app and rate areas they live in or visit based on several factors, ranging from how well the streets are lit to whether it’s a crowded neighborhood. Based on all the users’ data, the area receives a safety score on a scale of one to ten.

From there, My Safetipin acts like an alternative to Google Maps with users entering a destination to receive a recommended route. In this case, however — unlike Google Maps, which recommends the shortest and the fastest route — the app will recommend the safest route.

Anyone who downloads the My Safetipin app can rate a street or neighborhood. Upon logging in with a private username and selecting a location, a question appears on the screen: “How safe do you feel here?” 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Safetipin (@mysafetipin)

Then users can do a “safety audit” based on nine parameters. The “people” parameter, for instance, allows users to choose from “deserted,” “few people,” “some crowd,” or “crowded”; the “gender usage” parameter (presence of women and children) offers a range from “not diverse” to “diverse.” An option to upload pictures and specify an incident that occurred in a particular street or neighborhood allows users to further specify why they don’t feel safe.

Once, Krishna hadn’t checked the safety score of a neighborhood in Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village where she was meeting friends. When they came out to the parking lot around midnight, they noticed a group of men drinking around their car. “When I went on the app, I saw that the neighborhood had a poor safety score. I, too, gave it a bad rating,” she says.

Social entrepreneur Kalpana Viswanath co-founded the Gurgaon-based company that owns the My Safetipin app, which is backed by several organizations including The Asia Foundation, on the heels of the historic 2012 Nirbhaya rape case in New Delhi.

Viswanath wanted to put “data in the hands of women so that they are empowered to make decisions,” but emphasizes that this alone is not enough. “Technology is only an enabler to bring about change. Technology is not the solution,” she says, noting that the change needed to eradicate violence against women must happen at the policy, law, behavioral and educational levels.

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In some cases, Safetipin is prompting that change. The Delhi government, for instance, fixed streetlights in more than 5,000 dark spots identified in Safetipin data, according to a study by Safetipin, and reformulated the patrol routes of the Delhi Police. In Bogota, Colombia, the city government upgraded lighting and surveillance to improve the safety of women travelling on a 230-kilometer bike path.

Still, a lot of the work keeping users safe rests on the shoulders of those working behind the scenes. According to Safetipin associate Shreya V. Basu, a back-end team of analysts goes through every picture and data point from the crowd-sourced inputs to assign safety scores. Volunteers and partner NGOs also contribute safety assessments, and Safetipin filters in data from other apps they own, like Safetipin Nite, which captures images from the dashboards of users’ vehicles.

They also have to protect against tampering. If several nefarious users deliberately mark an unsafe neighborhood as safe, for example, analysts will immediately discern the discrepancies and send teams to assess and monitor the flagged street or neighborhood. So far, according to Basu, no such tampering has been detected. 

The demands of these processes point to the potential difficulty of scaling up the system. Raj Bhagat, a geoanalytics expert with the World Resources Institute in India, says that while he believes Safetipin has done a commendable job, he is skeptical of its benefits to individual users.

“Safetipin will need to have billions of users” to function with the accuracy of programs like Google Maps, he says. This number is a distant future for the app that, while currently operational in 71 cities across 16 countries, has just over 100,000 users, 58 percent of which are based in India, followed by the United States, the United Kingdom and South Africa, according to Basu.

Bhagat adds that “the app could be catering mostly to upper-middle and upper-class women who have access to smartphones and availability of time to report incidents, leaving a whole section of economically weak women out of its user base.” Basu says that while this digital divide is always a challenge with app-based solutions, the company works directly with low-income neighborhoods and communities to collect data through qualitative methods and bridge this gap. 

Still, people like Krishna remain loyal. Her daughter graduated from high school just before the Covid-19 pandemic. She is in college now, but hasn’t had a chance to go out since March last year. 

“I have asked my daughter and all of her friends to download the My Safetipin app once things open up,” she says.

The post Get There Fast or Safe? A Crowdsourced Map Gives You the Option appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

ScoMo Defends Barnaby’s Reputation With Women: ”He’s Impregnated 2 Of Them”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 25/06/2021 - 8:28am in

Prime Minister ScoMo has hit the media trail to defend his deputy (for now) Barnaby Joyce’s reputation with Women, telling all who will listen that Barnaby is great with Women, as he’s fathered 4 and impregnated 2.

”I know a lot of people are questioning how Barnaby can work with women and why we are putting him on a taskforce charged with the advancement of women,” said the PM. ”To those people I say, I reject the premise of your doubting.”

”How can Barnaby be no good with women, he’s knocked up 2 of them, that we know of.”

When asked what someone would have to do to be sacked from his cabinet, the Prime Minister said: ”I uphold the strongest set of standards with my cabinet this side of the banking industry.”

”No one in my Government has been convicted of anything, sure there have been a few allegations.”

”But let he who has not been alleged against cast the first stone.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to join my colleague Andrew Laming at his photography course. Apparently tonight we’re going to learn how to photograph fish, he’s been going on all day about gropers and snappers.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

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Women’s Labor Force Participation Was Rising to Record Highs—Until the Pandemic Hit

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 17/06/2021 - 12:35am in

Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz

LSE_2021_womensLFP_deitz_460

Women’s labor force participation grew precipitously in the latter half of the 20th century, but by around the year 2000, that progress had stalled. In fact, the labor force participation rate for prime-age women (those aged 25 to 54) fell four percentage points between 2000 and 2015, breaking a decades-long trend. However, as the labor market gained traction in the aftermath of the Great Recession, more women were drawn into the labor force. In less than five years, between 2015 and early 2020, women’s labor force participation had recovered nearly all of the ground lost over the prior fifteen years. Then the pandemic hit, erasing these gains. In recent months, as the economy has begun to heal, women’s labor force participation has increased again, but there is much ground to be made up, especially for Black and Hispanic women. A strong labor market with rising wages, as was the case in the years leading up to the pandemic, will be instrumental in bringing more women back into the labor force.

Participation Was Closing In on a Record High before the Pandemic Hit

Women’s labor force participation climbed steadily until around the year 2000, shown in the chart below for prime-age women, reaching a peak of 77.3 percent. Then, between 2000 and 2015, the labor force participation rate fell a steep four percentage points to 73.3 percent, slightly less than the corresponding decline for prime-age men during this period. This decline in women’s labor force participation has been well documented, with researchers attributing it to a combination of demand side factors, such as reduced job opportunities due to trade and technology, and supply side factors, such as demographic shifts and greater access to programs such as disability insurance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). What may be less well known—and certainly less studied—is that between 2015 and 2020, prime-age women’s labor force participation increased by 3.5 percentage points, nearly erasing the entire decline of the prior fifteen years. This increase was nearly three times greater than that seen for men.


Women’s Labor Force Participation Was Rising to Record Highs—Until the Pandemic Hit

What brought more women into the labor market? It is unlikely that many of the structural factors that contributed to the prior period’s decline—such as the displacement effects of trade and technology or demographic shifts—changed quickly enough to bring such a rapid change in trajectory. In fact, many of these economic forces continued to put downward pressure on labor force participation. Rather, a historically strong labor market with rising wages for a sustained period were a likely cause. After a period of sluggish growth and slack labor markets in the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession, real wages began picking up strongly in 2015, as shown in the chart below, which plots real average hourly earnings. This strong growth in wages suggests that labor markets tightened considerably during this period, pushing up wages and bringing more women (and men) into the labor market.


Women’s Labor Force Participation Was Rising to Record Highs—Until the Pandemic Hit

Then the pandemic hit. Women’s labor force participation fell by well over three percentage points in just two months, between February and April 2020, reversing nearly all of the gains made between 2015 and 2020. This sharp decline is partly attributable to an increase in childcare responsibilities due to in-person school and daycare closings during the pandemic, a responsibility that tends to fall disproportionately on women. Participation has since recovered as economic conditions have improved and schools have begun to reopen, though as of March, a year into the pandemic, the labor force participation rate for prime-age women remains almost two percentage points off its pre-pandemic level.

An Uneven Experience

These ups and downs in labor force participation have not occurred equally among all women, as the chart below shows. Black women saw a decline of around five percentage points between 2000 and 2015, compared to a decline of roughly three to four percentage points for Hispanic and white women. When participation began to increase again between 2015 and early 2020, both Black and white women came close to recovering all of the ground that was lost and were approaching record highs. Hispanic women—whose labor force participation tends to be relatively low—saw participation exceed its previous peak by a full percentage point by early 2020.


Women’s Labor Force Participation Was Rising to Record Highs—Until the Pandemic Hit

However, when the pandemic hit, Black and Hispanic women saw much more sizeable declines in participation than white women, 5.2 and 5.9 percentage points, respectively, compared to 3.3 percentage points. The sharper decline may be due at least in part to higher rates of COVID infections among these groups, school closings leaving students at home requiring care that occurred at higher rates in communities where people of color are in the majority, as well as these groups being less able to telecommute during the pandemic. And, as of March 2021, labor force participation rates for these two groups remains 3.2 and 3.1 percentage points below pre-pandemic peaks, compared to about 1.4 percentage points for white women. Thus, Black and Hispanic women have more than twice the ground to make up compared to white women.

Looking Ahead

Will women’s labor force participation reach the highs that were seen before the pandemic hit? As more people are vaccinated and the economy continues to recover, and, importantly, as in-person schools and daycare fully reopen, participation should continue to rise, possibly quite rapidly. As was the case before the pandemic, a strong labor market with rising wages for a sustained period will help set the stage for another comeback in women’s labor force participation, particularly if more flexible work arrangements brought on by adapting to work during the pandemic persist.

Jaison R. AbelJaison R. Abel is an assistant vice president in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.

Richard DeitzRichard Deitz is an assistant vice president in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

How to cite this post:

Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz, “Women’s Labor Force Participation Was Rising to Record Highs—Until the Pandemic Hit,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics, May 10, 2021, https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2021/04/womens-labor-force....

Related Reading

Some Workers Have Been Hit Much Harder than Others by the Pandemic (February 2021)

Understanding the Racial and Income Gap in Commuting for Work Following COVID-19 (February 2021)

Black and White Differences in the Labor Market Recovery from COVID-19 (February 2021)

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.

This Country Turns Cocoa Into Electricity

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 16/06/2021 - 6:00pm in

Chocolate buzz

Ivory Coast gets most of its power from fossil fuels — and a lot of its money from chocolate. It is the world’s largest producer of cocoa, with more than six million people employed in the industry. Now the waste left over from processing all that chocolatey deliciousness is being used to propel the West African country’s transition to greener energy.

When processing cocoa beans, the shells, husks and liquid runoff are usually thrown away. To divert this waste from the landfill, Ivory Coast is preparing to open West Africa’s largest biomass plant, a clean energy generator that will run entirely on cocoa leftovers and put out 70 megawatts of power, preventing 4.5 million tons of emissions per year. “This plant alone will be able to meet the electricity needs of 1.7 million people,” said one executive involved in building it. The facility is scheduled to open in 2023.

In addition to electricity, the project will generate income for cocoa farmers at a time when a global oversupply of cocoa has reduced their profits. Farmers will receive dividends from the plant’s energy revenues, and the Ivorian government is developing a plan for a loan-disbursing cocoa farmer community cooperative linked to the plant. “Considering I am a widow — my husband died 18 years ago — extra income will also help me educate my four grandchildren,” said one cocoa farmer. “With more money, I can also save.”

Read more at BBC

Edible app

Dumpster diving is going digital. 

One-third of the food produced worldwide ends up in landfills, a massive amount of waste that accounts for up to 10 percent of global carbon emissions. Dumpster divers do their part to cut down on this, salvaging perfectly good food from the trash. But sifting through the garbage isn’t for everyone — for those that want to scavenge from home, Too Good To Go is an app that allows users to save food via smartphone. Through the app, bakeries, restaurants and supermarkets sell their excess food to local consumers in the form of affordable “surprise bags” that the user can later pick up for about five dollars. 

Too Good To Go builds on the efforts of companies that sell “ugly” produce like the Hungry Harvest and Imperfect Foods. It’s a formidable market — one recent study analyzed 170,000 posts on OLIO, an app that lets users give away food and other household items to their neighbors, and found that $1 million worth of food was diverted from garbage cans thanks to people giving it away.

“We know that we’re saving close to 200,000 meals every day now, but it’s just a drop in the ocean, really, so we need to do more, we need to go faster,” said Lucie Basch, co-founder of Too Good To Go. 

Read more at Next City

Crisis management

The new Fortune 500 list was unveiled last week, and it showed that, while there’s still a long way to go, women leaders continue to make inroads in corporate America’s boys’ club. 

According to the list, 41 of the country’s largest businesses are led by women — more than at any other time in the six decades that the list has been published. Two of them are black women, Roz Brewer and Thasunda Brown Duckett, chief executives of Walgreens and TIAA, respectively.

The banner year for women CEOs may have something to do with the atmosphere of crisis. According to The 19th, research has shown that in times of turbulence, women are often elevated into leadership roles — a phenomenon known as the “glass cliff.” 

Though women still only represent 8.2 percent of the names on the Forbes list, the incremental progress is a sign that “we’re going in the right direction,” said Fullick-Jagiela, co-director of the People’s United Center for Women. 

Read more at The 19th

The post This Country Turns Cocoa Into Electricity appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

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