New Report Shows How Employers Benefit from Tackling Child Care, in the United States and Beyond

In October at the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) released a new report, Tackling Child Care: The Business Case for Employer-Supported Child Care, researched and co-authored by IWPR. Panelists, including Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, and Ram Kumar Gupta, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment in India, noted that the inclusion of child care on the agenda of the Annual Meetings, attended by finance ministers, business leaders, and other senior government officials, reflects considerable progress toward equality for women.

IWPR’s report pulls together employer-based case studies from nine countries to show how employers support their employees’ needs for child care, and how such supports contribute to employers’ bottom line. Nearly one in 10 people in the world are younger than five; their parents—particularly their mothers, given the unequal division of family responsibilities— need access to affordable, quality child care. Yet, in many parts of the world, including the United States, affordable and quality child care and early childhood education are hard to find. Too often, women must choose between leaving their children in suboptimal care in order to work and provide for their families, or staying home to care for their children on their own. Lack of child care is costly to employers, too, who may lose experienced workers—which worsens skills shortages—and experience reduced worker productivity because of parents missing work due to child care problems or simply being too worried about their children to focus fully on work.

Employers who provide child care supports can benefit from improved recruitment and retention, lower absences, higher productivity and motivation, and enhanced reputation. IWPR’s report shows that there are many ways in which employers can support child care and identifies resources to help employers design and implement a child care strategy that is right for their business.

Message from the President

As we enter the second year of the Donald Trump administration, IWPR is working tirelessly to provide the indepth analysis and rigorous research we have done for three decades.

IWPR has had several notable releases this Fall. In a time when sexual assault and harassment is in the forefront of the national dialogue, IWPR’s Economic Security for Survivors project continues to produce much needed work around the economic costs to survivors. In August, IWPR released The Economic Cost of Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking, which provided an overview of the economic costs and causes of intimate partner violence (see page 4 for more about ESS). In September, IWPR released The Economic Drivers and Consequences of Sex Trafficking in the United States, which detailed the causes of sex trafficking and how it negatively affects survivors. Abuse can impose significant expenses on survivors, including physical and mental health care costs, lost wages, safety planning, and relocation costs.

In partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), IWPR released Tackling Child Care: The Business Case for Employer-Supported Childcare (see page 1). In domestic policy, former staff member Gina Chirillo and I published an article in Dissent calling for a more robust child care platform (see page 6).

With funding from the ECMC Foundation, IWPR released a new briefing paper, Single Mothers in College: Growing Enrollment, Financial Challenges, and the Benefits of Attainment, and a quick figure, Single Mothers Overrepresented at For-Profit Colleges, as a part of a larger project on the costs and benefits of increasing educational attainment among single mothers (see page 3). As the budget debate heats up in Congress, IWPR is working to lift up issues that are often overlooked. The federal Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program (CCAMPIS) helps student parents pay for child care, but the Trump Administration’s proposed budget jeopardizes continued funding for this important program (see page 3). IWPR’s recent ‘one pager’ discusses challenges facing community college student parents and the importance of federal grants in supporting student parent success (see page 8). The work has been cited in Slate, MarketWatch, Hechinger Report, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, The Washington Post, Pacific Standard, and Marketplace radio.

These issues are key as we look forward to the 2018 midterm elections. From child care to sexual violence, candidates are highlighting issues we have worked on for years and drawing national attention to critical topics of importance to women all across the country. Now more than ever, it is essential to support IWPR’s research during a time when policies that protect women are being stripped away or weakened. We will continue to provide rigorous research and analysis to keep you informed and inspired. IWPR remains steadfast in fighting for the importance of facts in a fact-challenged era. Please consider adding us to your charitable giving list if you have not done so already. The tenuous policy landscape around the country—especially in Washington— has increased demand for our work enormously.

— Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., President and Founder of IWPR

In Higher Education Debates, IWPR Lifts Up Needs of Student Parents

A growing share of college students today are working adults, many of whom have families of their own. IWPR’s research shows that 26 percent of undergraduate college students are parents, and 43 percent of these student parents are single mothers. With funding from the ECMC Foundation, IWPR released a new briefing paper, Single Mothers in College: Growing Enrollment, Financial Challenges, and the Benefits of Attainment, and a quick figure, Single Mothers Overrepresented at For-Profit Colleges, as a part of a larger project on the costs and benefits of increasing educational attainment among single mothers.

IWPR’s research found that, while the number of single mothers in college has doubled over a decade, the availability of on-campus child care—a key support that can help student parents complete their degrees— has declined. In May, the Trump Administration released their budget proposal, which eliminated funding for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant program, the only federal program that helps support campus-based child care programs for low-income student parents. IWPR experts and partners raised awareness about the critical importance of CCAMPIS in The Washington Post, Pacific Standard, and Marketplace radio. In response to an in-depth look at the impact of the program, a White House official told Refinery29 in September, “We are working on ways to preserve the program.”

Women of color in college are especially likely to be single parents. Nearly two in five Black women (37 percent) and over one-quarter of American Indian/Alaska Native women (27 percent) are raising a child on their own while in college, compared with 14 percent of White women in college. Nearly one in five Hispanic and multiracial women college students (19 percent and 17 percent, respectively) are single mothers, while Asian/Pacific Islander women are the least In Higher Education Debates, IWPR Lifts Up Needs of Student Parents likely to be raising children while in college (7 percent).

IWPR also found that single mothers are three times more likely than their peers without children to enroll in for-profit colleges, which have higher tuition rates and graduate students with higher average debt than nonprofit schools. MarketWatch, Slate, and the popular podcast by WNYC, “Death, Sex & Money,” featured the troubling rise of single mothers at for-profits and the recent efforts of the Department of Education to roll back regulations on for-profit colleges.

In October, IWPR released its first state-level analysis of student parents in Washington State, where nearly one in four community and technical college students are raising children. Despite the need for access to affordable child care among student parents in the state, Washington is one of only three states in the country that require parenting students to work at least 20 hours a week while in school to receive child care subsidies through the publicly-funded Working Connections Child Care subsidy program. Nationally, three in four student parents (74 percent) who enroll part-time in two-year programs have no credential after six years.

Through its ongoing research and technical assistance, IWPR’s Student Parent Success Initiative continues to ensure that the needs of student parents are considered in key policy discussions.

New Resource Outlines Economic Costs of Violence Against Women

The Economic Security for Survivors (ESS) Project seeks to build, protect, and restore the economic security of survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking so that they may be safe and free of abuse. The ESS project works to identify barriers that threaten survivor economic security and safety and offers solutions based on data and evidence-based practices.

In August 2017, the team released a fact sheet The Economic Cost of Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking, which summarizes findings from research literature on the economic consequences and costs of violence against women. In addition to physical harm, survivors and victims often must contend with high medical expenses, lower wages from diminished educational attainment, lost wages from missed work and job loss, debt and poor credit, and costs associated with housing instability. As project director Sarah Gonzalez Bocinski told The Nation, the social costs of intimate partner violence “are not often recognized as serious threats to economic security and opportunity, but they absolutely do contribute to women’s economic inequality.”

In September, the team released a briefing paper entitled The Economic Drivers and Consequences of Sex Trafficking in the United States, a review of all available social science and policy research on the economic impact of sex trafficking. Research suggests that sex trafficking is widespread and increasing, and disproportionately affects women and girls; of reported cases, more than four out of five victims were female and about one-third were minors.

With funding from the Department of Labor, the ESS Team will add to the body of research on the economic costs of violence through a new project that will survey domestic violence service providers and practitioners to reveal a clearer picture of the economic costs of domestic violence.

Meet Our Fellows

Joo Yeoun Suh started at IWPR as the new postdoctoral research fellow in October 2017, having completed a three-year stint in a similar position at the Center for Time Use Research (CTUR) at the University of Oxford. Before that, she completed her Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research focuses on the measurement and valuation of unpaid family-provided care, including for children and the elderly. Across societies throughout the world, primary responsibility for care work continues to fall on women’s shoulders, underscoring the economic significance of gender. Much of her work has examined the quantitative dimensions of unpaid family care of children and adults using time-use data. This flows directly into ‘data advocacy’ that she, along with several leading lights in feminist economics, continue to push, namely our collective efforts to persuade the gatekeepers of national GDPs to recognize that care work constitutes significant economic activity that can and should be taken into account in measures of economic well-being. She can think of no place that is be more congenial to the scholarly and policy objectives of her research than IWPR. When she is not compiling and analyzing timeuse data-sets, she enjoys traveling, cooking, Pilates, and playing with dogs – and not necessarily in that order!

Erika Jauregui is the 2017-2018 MKC Fellow and provides research assistance to various projects, such as the Student Parent Success Initiative and Economic Security for Survivors (ESS). She is currently leading the Literature Review sub group for an ESS project. Erika obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Latina/o Studies with a minor in Race and Resistance Studies from San Francisco State University in May 2017. She applied for the fellowship because she believes that IWPR is the perfect environment where she can merge her academic, policy, and personal interests.

Prior to working at IWPR, Erika was a research assistant for Dr. Marla Ramirez, supporting her work examining the long-lasting effects of the “repatriation” of Mexican and Mexican American families from the U.S. during the early twentieth century. Erika also worked on the Community Engagement and Advocacy Team as a Parent Partner at Building Blocks for Kids Richmond Collaborative, an organization dedicated to supporting the healthy development and education of children in the Iron Triangle. Apart from her work at Building Blocks for Kids, Erika worked as a research assistant with Dr. Morgan G. Ames and Dr. Jenna Burrell at University of California, Berkeley, to understand the use of technology in underserved communities in her hometown of Richmond, California.