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Category: What We're Reading
October 9, 2015

How CA's Fair Pay Act Will Help Women

From Vauhini Vara at The New Yorker, here’s a look into the existing research on the pay gap between men and women, and what California’s Fair Pay Act—signed by governor Jerry Brown on October 6—will do to address that gap.

In California, the Fair Pay Act puts in place some provisions similar to [the proposed federal Paycheck Fairness Act]; it also bars employers from setting wages for any of its employees at rates lower than those paid to employees of the opposite sex for similar work—not only for equal work—and applies to people who work at different offices for the same employer.

August 28, 2015

Project Vote: Online Voter Registration in the States

As Pennsylvania becomes the 23rd state to allow online voter registration (OVR) our friends at Project Vote have prepared an updated list, not only of those states that currently offer OVR, but states where OVR is approved, but not yet implemented.

From ProjectVote.org:

Over the past several years, online registration has made steady progress in reforming voter registration in the states. At this writing, 29 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation or made administrative changes to enable individuals to register to vote completely electronically.

August 27, 2015

Stanford: Reaching the "Invisible" Americans

At least 11 percent of adult American citizens are “unlisted” and do not appear on voter registration lists or consumer data lists, according to a new study (PDF) by the Stanford University political science department. The study reports that about 20 percent of African Americans and Hispanics are unlisted, compared to just 8 percent of whites. “A sizable proportion of the U.S. citizen population does not appear on these lists, making them invisible to list-based campaigns and research,” the study finds.

The consequence? The absence of these unlisted voters leads to a whiter, older, more conservative electorate that does not reflect the true America. “We find that if unregistered and unlisted people voted at comparable rates to registered people with the same level of interest in politics, both the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections would have been won by Democrats,” authors Simon Jackman and Bradley Spahn write. “The unlisted earn less income and are less likely to have health insurance or own their own home than the listed population [and] have markedly lower levels of political engagement.”

For the past decade, the Voter Participation Center has been dedicated to identifying and registering members of the Rising American Electorate—many of the same “unlisted” Americans identified in the survey. While we have been successful in helping more than 2.6 million Americans register to vote, the study makes clear that we need to continue to embrace novel techniques to reach these “invisible” Americans. 

VPC has been a pioneer in the use of sophisticated research and tools to increase the participation of unmarried women and other historically underrepresented groups. We will continue to locate these unlisted Americans, using address-based outreach to people whom we cannot individually target and other unique tools, to make sure that no one is left standing on the sidelines of our democracy.

To read the full study, please click here (PDF).

August 12, 2015

IWPR/MomsRising Report: New overtime pay rules help single mothers, African-American and Hispanic women most

A new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and MomsRising.org finds that of women workers who aren’t eligible for overtime pay under the current rules, nearly half of single mothers (44 percent), African-American women (46 percent) and Hispanic women (48 percent) will gain a chance to earn overtime pay with the new overtime salary threshold rules proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor.

July 9, 2015

IWPR Report: The Status of Women in the States

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research has issued their annual report on The Status of Women in the States, and yet again, it’s bad news: there continue to be massive gender disparities in income, poverty rates, education, and overall opportunity, to the detriment of women in the United States. In fact, according to 2015’s report, we’re moving backward as a country; the status of women has worsened in 29 states over the past decade.

But despite the fact that we know the news isn’t going to be good, we always look forward to the IWPR’s report, because they always find great ways to make the data come alive—with things like interactive maps, great charts, and shareables that really bring home the grim story they’re telling.

One thing that struck us was this section on poverty by household type—and the sobering statistic that 43.1% of all households headed by an unmarried woman with children have income below the poverty line. That troubling number is one of the reasons we think it’s so important for unmarried women (and the Rising American Electorate as a whole) to become more politically involved and active—because we need a country that works for all of us.

We hope you’ll take the time to check out the data for yourself.