Shengwei Sun

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About Shengwei Sun

Shengwei Sun is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and works on research related to job quality, labor market inequalities, and the care economy. At IWPR, Shengwei authored a series of policy briefs on how young women and young parents have been faring in the pandemic recession with an intersectional lens. She also co-authored a brief on the effectiveness of state-level pay transparency laws in the U.S. Her work has been cited by the New York Times, Forbes, and BBC, among others. Prior to joining IWPR, Shengwei was a postdoctoral fellow at the Washington University in St. Louis where she studied pay secrecy practices in the contemporary workplace and taught undergraduate statistics. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her academic research has investigated the consequences of economic downturns for young adults in both work and family arenas; who can access the “good” jobs in the growing care work sector; and changing dynamics of gender inequality in China.

Unequal Present, Unfair Future: Young Black, Latina, and LGBTQ Women Face Greater Economic Challenges during the Pandemic

New IWPR survey data show young women’s experience of economic hardship during the COVID-19 crisis varied across racial/ethnic groups and gender and sexual identities—with some struggling more than others. To achieve an equitable recovery, policies should level the playing field by supporting young women who have been hit hardest.

An Impossible Juggling Act: Young Parents during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic upended life for countless families and brought heightened attention to the plight of working parents. Mothers with young and school-aged children have borne the brunt of the care crisis in the United States, as schools and daycare centers across the country closed. Compared to fathers, mothers have been more likely to exit the labor force prematurely, become unemployed, and reduce their work hours during the pandemic (Heggeness 2020; Landivar et al. 2020).

By |2021-12-03T12:28:51-04:00August 19, 2021|Briefing Paper, Publications|0 Comments

Young Women Workers Still Struggling a Decade After the Great Recession: Lessons for the Pandemic Recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a “she-cession,” with women experiencing a disproportionate share of job losses (Institute for Women’s Policy Research 2021). Young women ages 16 to 24 years old suffered the largest percentage decline in employment compared to young men and prime-age workers, mainly due to their concentration in service sectors and occupations that had been hit the hardest by the pandemic recession (Sun 2021). The outsized effects of the COVID-19 pandemic recession on young women reflect pre-existing inequalities in the labor market. Achieving an equitable economic recovery requires understanding how the U.S. labor market has been transformed in the past decade and beyond—to the detriment of workers.

Out of Work, Taking on Care: Young Women Face Mounting Challenges in the “She-Cession”

Longstanding inequities in access to quality jobs and affordable care, along with uneven caregiving responsibilities, create unique challenges for young women of color during this prolonged pandemic recession.    Young women (aged 16 to 24) were more likely to lose their job than young men and workers of other age groups in the initial months of the pandemic recession, largely due to their concentration in industries and occupations that have been hit the hardest by the economic downturn.

On the Books, Off the Record: Examining the Effectiveness of Pay Secrecy Laws in the U.S.

The Equal Pay Act, passed over a half century ago, prohibits sex-based wage discrimination (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 2020). But the gender pay gap remains substantial: full-time, year-round women workers earn 18 percent less than their male counterparts (Hegewisch and Mariano 2020). A lack of knowledge about who makes what within organizations contributes to this continuing disparity.

Beyond “Leaning In”: New Study on Pay Secrecy Points to the Limits of Existing Anti-Secrecy Laws in Addressing Gender Disparity 

In 1979, Lilly Ledbetter started working for Goodyear Tire and [...]

By |2021-02-05T14:08:06-04:00February 1, 2021|In the Lead|0 Comments

Build(ing) the Future: Bold Policies for a Gender-Equitable Recovery

This report, Build(ing) the Future: Bold Policies for a Gender-Equitable Recovery, provides a framework for shared prosperity and equitable economic recovery. It examines the impact of the economic crisis and recession on working women, their families, and communities.

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