Our Labor History Timeline

Jason Cheng

Throughout our history, the labor movement has accomplished a lot. If you get weekends off or overtime pay, thank the union members who fought for those rights. None of our movement’s achievements would have happened without the effort, organization and advocacy of our brothers and sisters. But injustice still runs amok. We must look to the past not only for inspiration, but for the tools we need to continue the fight. The roots of the problems we face today can be found in our past. So can the beginnings of the solutions we need for our future.

She discovered coronaviruses decades ago—but got little recognition

Jason Cheng

WHEN JUNE ALMEIDA peered into her electron microscope in 1964, she saw a round, grey dot covered in tiny spokes. She and her colleagues noted that the pegs formed a halo around the virus—much like the sun’s corona.

What she saw would become known as the coronavirus, and Almeida played a pivotal role in identifying it. That feat was all the more remarkable because the 34-year-old scientist never completed her formal education.

Ninety percent of Iceland’s women walked off the job in 1975, and the country came to a halt

Jason Cheng

When 90 percent of Icelandic women refused to work, and the country fell into chaos, they had succeeded.
On Friday, October 24, 1975, telephone lines went down; families scrounged for food; theaters cancelled performances; even the following day’s newspaper was half its average length. On an island with just 220,000 inhabitants, the country simply could not go on without the help of women.

One year after the strike, Iceland formed the Gender Equality Council and passed the Gender Equality Act against discrimination in the workplace. Four years after that, Finnbogadottir was elected president. She called Women’s Day Off a watershed moment for women’s emancipation, and she stood as one of its major symbols of progress. “The finger was pointed at me and I accepted the challenge,” she recalled.

The lending gap narrows for women business owners, but it’s still 31% less than for men

Jason Cheng

CNBC March 7, 2019 By Rohit Arora Key Points The number of women-owned businesses that applied for funding in 2018 increased by 13 percent, according to an annual study of 30,000 companies nationwide by Biz2Credit. The Biz2Credit research found that the average size loan for women-owned businesses was 31 percent less than for male-owned businesses. Nearly 1 in 5 loan …

When Women Don’t Speak

Jason Cheng

Here’s the short of it: even though both men and women reported loving their groups, because of the study’s findings, the program will not put a woman alone on a team of men again.

What happens when women are outnumbered? After years spent analyzing lab and real-life settings to determine what it takes for a woman to really be heard—to truly be perceived as competent and influential—these professors have found the same truth: for women, having a seat at the table does not mean having a voice.

Women leaders, a competitive edge in and after the crisis

Jason Cheng

This report provides a perspective on several levers that could raise the priority of gender diversity and increase the efforts to achieve it within organizations. The first one is to convince the skeptics of the benefits of having more women in top management: after all, there’s still a long way to go to persuade most executive boards and male business leaders of this. The second is to make gender diversity development a priority within organizations. The third lever is the most important for long-term effectiveness: implement appropriate programs. Based on our survey and our experience of companies that are highly committed to this issue, the success of gender diversity initiatives depends above all on deploying comprehensive programs that comprise a broad range of measures. It is not enough simply to provide more flexible working conditions or career management. Reaching a critical mass of women in the top management of organizations requires a critical mass of measures, if we want to create deep-seated and sustainable change.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Equality

Jason Cheng

The economic downturn caused by the current COVID-19 outbreak has substantial implications for gender equality, both during the downturn and the subsequent recovery. Compared to “regular” recessions, which affect men’s employment more severely than women’s employment, the employment drop related to social distancing measures has a large impact on sectors with high female employment shares. In addition, closures of schools and daycare centers have massively increased child care needs, which has a particularly large impact on working mothers. The effects of the crisis on working mothers are likely to be persistent, due to high returns to experience in the labor market. Beyond the immediate crisis, there are opposing forces which may ultimately promote gender equality in the labor market. First, businesses are rapidly adopting flexible work arrangements, which are likely to persist. Second, there are also many fathers who now have to take primary responsibility for child care, which may erode social norms that currently lead to a lopsided distribution of the division of labor in house work and child care.

Hollywood working moms and the brutal conflict between family and career

Jason Cheng

Nearly every mother in Hollywood has a horror story.

There was the time screenwriter and showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna was 8½ months pregnant and a studio executive joked, “I guess today would be a bad day to punch you in the stomach.” There was the time Nisha Ganatra, director of the upcoming Mindy Kaling film “Late Night,” went on a scouting trip to India when she was a new mom and found herself driving around the country in a van “with 15 dudes,” pumping breast milk in “a woodshed in the middle of a desert and an outhouse behind a restaurant.” There was the time a dream job offer fell through for Oscar-nominated “Mudbound” cinematographer Rachel Morrison because producers panicked that she’d be going back to work a few weeks after giving birth — something she was willing to do to help realize one of the most exciting scripts she had ever read. The experience, she says, “made me acutely aware of the prejudices in this industry, specifically in my line of work.”

Meet the Woman who Discovered a Whole New Type of Galaxy

Jason Cheng

Now a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory, Mutlu-Pakdil analyses data collected from telescopes to help unravel the mysteries of the universe—especially how galaxies form and change over time.

While Mutlu-Pakdil and her team continue to study the intriguing object, she hopes that her work and her story will inspire other immigrants and students, especially those from underrepresented communities.

Unequal depression for equal work? How the wage gap explains gendered disparities in mood disorders

Jason Cheng

Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are more prevalent among women than men. This disparity may be partially due to the effects of structural gender discrimination in the work force, which acts to perpetuate gender differences in opportunities and resources and may manifest as the gender wage gap. We sought to quantify and operationalize the wage gap in order to explain the gender disparity in depression and anxiety disorders, using data from a 2001–2002 US nationally representative survey of 22,581 working adults ages 30–65.