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"The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything" is a new report from Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress that takes a look at how the role of women has changed over the past generation. The report was edited by CAP Senior Economist Heather Boushey and Ann O’Leary, CAP Senior Fellow and executive director for the University of California-Berkeley Center for Health, Economic, and Family Security.

Women today have more economic power than ever in our nation’s history. In 1967, women were only one-third of the workforce, and today they are half of all workers. They are the co-breadwinners in nearly 60 percent of families, and the primary breadwinners in nearly 40 percent of homes. The "working woman" has become a rule, rather than the exception—and more and more, it is a necessity. The recession has been roughest on male-dominated industries such as construction and manufacturing, making female incomes more important.

But despite the changing American woman and family, women still earn 23 cents less than men for every dollar earned in our economy, and this doesn’t just hurt women—it hurts families. Not only are women working, they still carry the burden for child care and elder care, among other family responsibilities. In order to accommodate this changing role, women need equal pay, flexible schedules, comprehensive child care polices, medical leave, and much more.

"The Shriver Report" also recognizes how working women affect a variety of other institutions, and it identifies the strides that still need to be made.

For instance, the report lauds the growing number of women with advanced and professional degrees, but it also points out the lack of women receiving degrees that will lead to the highest-paying jobs such as science and engineering.  Colleges and universities need more parity between the genders, and the report provides recommendations to achieve this, for example by increasing colleges’ compliance with Title IX.

And even though women are regularly called upon to volunteer in church activities, they are rarely welcomed as leaders in faith institutions. Religious institutions are also trying to balance their belief in the spiritual superiority of the traditional family with the needs of their nontraditional congregations.

Women’s role in society has changed since the days of June Cleaver, and "The Shriver Report" is laying the groundwork for navigating this new era. If we are to move forward successfully, we need to rethink our assumptions about women and family, and adjust our policies accordingly.

Originally posted to American Progress on Mon Oct 19, 2009 at 09:15 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I just heard that John Podesta is going (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radarlady, Kimball Cross

    to be on Air America with Norman Goldman, filling in for Ed, this afternoon to talk about this report. They didn't specify what time.

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix

    by on board 47 on Mon Oct 19, 2009 at 09:30:44 AM PDT

    •  He, Valerie Jarrett, and Shriver were on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radarlady, Kimball Cross

      Meet the Press yesterday.  Of course, David Gregory made the report all about him but I thought it was good that Podesta talked about his mother working in the 1950s, which gets somewhat at the myth of June Cleaver for a lot of families.

      Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way. Booker T. Washington

      by conlakappa on Mon Oct 19, 2009 at 09:32:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Women should be able to handle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shirl In Idaho

    science and engineering degrees.

    For instance, the report lauds the growing number of women with advanced and professional degrees, but it also points out the lack of women receiving degrees that will lead to the highest-paying jobs such as science and engineering.  

    Science and engineering can't possibly be any more demanding than advanced degrees in law and medicine, in which women have proved they can excel.

    i can't watch [Obama] speak on tv for more than 5 minutes or else what he's saying starts to make sense to me. It's very scary.

    by Kimball Cross on Mon Oct 19, 2009 at 09:47:47 AM PDT

    •  It is not so much the degrees (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diana in NoVa, Kimball Cross

      It is the pervasive disdain within the Universities directed at females in their curriculum and the reluctance of such job opportunities being offered to women.

      I have no link to support this, only my association with women who have science degrees and their continuing struggles to be hired into such positions.

      I have an absolutely brilliant friend, Dr. N. who spent her working years in academia. She was a professor of Wildlife Biology, a Professor Emeritus.  She fought her way through everything in her schooling and the politics of University.  It was endless right up to the day she retired 6 years ago.

      She worked diligently in her field both in teaching and research.  Respect was grudging and sparse from her fellow scientists even though she made some amazing research breakthroughs.  It was all of her working life a very hostile work environment.


      *the blogger formerly known as shirlstars

      by Shirl In Idaho on Mon Oct 19, 2009 at 10:14:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Female physics student of 40 years ago (3+ / 0-)

        The man I used to work for told me a shocking story.  He and a very bright young woman were lab partners in a physics course.  One day the professor gave an exam.  The young woman made a perfect score, but when she handed in her paper, the professor marked it "zero" and tore it up.  "Women don't belong in physics," he barked.

        What a bastard!  I hope he got his karmic reward.  (For him I would pick terminal syphilis.)  

        It was Germaine Greer who remarked, "Most women have no idea how much men hate them," and I've often reflected on the truth of that remark.

        Equal "rites" for ALL Americans!

        by Diana in NoVa on Mon Oct 19, 2009 at 10:30:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Once again, Bible-lovers aren't reading the Bible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shirl In Idaho, Sarea

    And even though women are regularly called upon to volunteer in church activities, they are rarely welcomed as leaders in faith institutions.

    Some years back, the new minister at a local church fired a woman who'd been teaching Sunday school at the church for decades.

    His reason? The Bible says that women should not be put in a position of authority.

    The only passage in the Bible I ever hear quoted as a justification for this is Paul's saying that women should not speak out in church. Paul was writing letters, not formal church doctrine. For all we know, he might have gotten ticked off at some women who were gossiping while he preached.

    Meanwhile, the Bible-quoters totally ignore the story of Deborah, in Judges. Deborah was a prophetess (and therefore the equivalent of Samuel or Jeremiah) and "a judge over Israel." According to the Bible, she sat daily under a tree and the Israelites came to her to hear her prophesies and have her judge their disputes. When the Israelites were threatened by the army of a conquering king, it was Deborah who decided the plan of battle, and told the head of the Hebrew host, Barak, when and where he should fight.

    Sounds like a woman exercising authority over men to me, but again, she's conveniently ignored by all those who think God wants all women kept barefoot, pregnant and powerless.

  •  Elizabeth Warren for President!!! (0+ / 0-)

    Every time I see her speak I think "Now THAT's a lady that could get votes from both sides of the aisle."

    So grateful for this report!  I'm looking forward to watching Shriver et al from MTP yesterday, once I have some time this afternoon...

    "None are more enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Goethe

    by Sarea on Mon Oct 19, 2009 at 10:47:52 AM PDT

  •  Maria, don't yak on cell phones while driving! (0+ / 0-)

    Please set an example for everyone.

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