“A Woman’s Nation”

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Maria Shriver
Maria Shriver

Watch out for a joint effort by Maria Shriver and NBC Universal titled “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything.” It will kick off on October 18th with an appearance by Shriver on Meet the Press. The report is modeled on a study undertaken almost 50 years ago during the administration of John F. Kennedy, Ms. Shriver’s uncle, and led by Eleanor Roosevelt. Other partners include the Center for American Progress, Time magazine, Hewlett-Packard, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.

Lauren Zalaznick, the president of NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment networks, said that NBC would also release results of a complementary study about the consumer behavior of women, which she said would include “eye-opening information” about women’s buying power and its impact on “advertising and the marketplace.”

NBC News is planning to include coverage related to the study over a full week of its evening newscast and three mornings on the “Today” show. Other outlets owned by NBC Universal also will be involved, including the cable channels CNBC and MSNBC, the Spanish-language channel Telemundo and the Web site iVillage.

I just read in the comments on Feministing that 80% of working women are clustered into 20 occupations (out of 420 listed by the Department of Labor), “mostly service industry, mostly low-wage, low-benefits, and low-opportunities for advancement.” So if this study purports to say that women are beginning to play a larger role in the American economy because of the numbers of women working, the impact may not be as great as it seems from just looking at the statistcs. Besides, it’s hard to get accurate numbers about how many women work outside of the home, because the numbers fluctuate so much as women move in and out of the workplace during their child-rearing years.  However, it is now true that more than half of the overall workforce are now women.

This report intends to show how our country’s basic institutions have not yet caught up with this phenomenon. “Over the past generation, a seismic change has occurred in the family role and work life of American women,” Center for American Progress  Senior Economist Heather Boushey said. “Most married-couple families now have two earners, and, compared to a generation ago, many more families today are headed by a single working parent. But our institutions and culture have not fully adapted to this reality. ‘A Woman’s Nation’ will take a hard look at this.”

For a recent Department of Labor report, go here.

For New York Times articles about Maria Shriver, go here.

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

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