Today’s News & Commentary—February 24, 2016
At the New York Times, Claire Cain Miller weighs in on another gender gap: the amount of time that men and women spend on paid and unpaid work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, women spend more time on unpaid work (such as cooking, cleaning, and childcare) than do their male counterparts. According to O.E.C.D. data, women worldwide spend an average of 4.5 hours a day on unpaid work — more than double the number of hours spent by men. Although richer countries tend to have a smaller “time gap” for unpaid work than do poorer countries, the gap nonetheless persists. In the United States, for example, women spend approximately 4 hours a day on unpaid work, compared to about 2.5 hours for men. As Miller points out, when women are responsible for more unpaid work, “it prevents them from doing other things.” O.E.C.D. data supports that claim: when the time women spend on unpaid labor decreases from 5 hours a day to 3 hours a day, their participation in the workforce increases 10 percent.
The Los Angeles Times reports that a recent alliance between labor unions and business groups has come under “serious strain.” The unions and business groups had been working together for months to defeat “the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative,” a ballot proposal that supporters say will curtail real estate overdevelopment and opponents argue would halt housing production. Last week, however, union leaders announced that they had independently submitted a competing measure — which the business groups now oppose. Whether the union’s proposal will fracture the labor-business alliance remains to be seen.
The Department of Labor has concluded that Fenox Venture Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, misclassified 56 employees as interns. According to the Wall Street Journal, the firm has agreed to pay $331,269 in back wages. Investigators discovered that the unpaid workers had displaced regular employees, performing work that included screening startups for potential investments, sending reports to Japanese investors, and recruiting potential employees.