Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Well, this is something. Forbes now has a ranking of best places for working moms (full list) and Pittsburgh is #8. All I can really say is that whether local moms agree or disagree it's an amazing contrast with one of the more amazing quotes I have ever seen written in the vast wonkopedia of Pittsburgh self-analysis over the years:

(Pittsburgh) will, however, slowly decline unless new industries employing women and those engaged in the production of consumer goods are attracted to the area.

This is from a report written by a place called the Econometric Institute based in New York City and titled: "Long Range Outlook for the Pittsburgh Industrial Area", stamped February 12, 1947. It's just amazing given the vintage of that quote. It's a testament to how much Pittsburgh lagged at having women in the local labor force that even as far back as 1947, just a tad before women's labor force participation would approach that of men, that researchers could not help but notice that something was amiss locally.

I rarely do this, but seems a bit obligatory that I mention our work not long ago looking at some of the history of women in the Pittsburgh workforce. See: Gender Wage Disparity in the Pittsburgh Region: Analyzing Causes and Differences in the Gender Wage Gap.


Blogger joe said...

While we're referencing our day job work products here, consider this statistic from a forthcoming PA fact sheet by my organization, PHI:

"Over the period 2006 to 2016, demand for 56,000 new direct-care worker positions is expected in Pennsylvania (home health aides, personal and home care aides and nursing assistants). But at the same time, the number of women aged 25-54 projected to enter the Pennsylvania labor force is expected to decline by over 93,000."

We'll need about 6,000 more direct care positions in this region by 2016 to keep pace with rising disability rates associated with our aging population.

Lots of compelling charts here.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Burgher Jon said...

Chris, I don't think you have to worry about any of us being bored with your ucsur's publications. In fact I wouldn't mind at all if you worked more of their stuff in. Or at least updated us when new materials were published.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009 2:10:00 PM  
Blogger aothman said...

If you're going to be in the habit of posting Forbes ranking stories, I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on the "Forbes metric" of just thinking of a bunch of qualities to rank, adding up the scores, and producing a final rank.

It seems like if you have actual numbers - that the factors are quantitative, not qualitative - it's almost certainly better to use a function of the numbers themselves rather than just the ranks.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009 4:26:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

yeah, big question that gets to the heart of aggregation theory... a field that used to be a bigger research topic than it is these days. Ironic since we rank things more than ever before.

I don't post a lot of work stuff just because I feel a need to keep my hats separate. Comments here are just mine and I don't want to confuse anyone.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009 4:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would be amazing if we could lump all of these things together and come out with great ratings.

The reality is that the Gender Wage Disparity study is more accurate and reflective of the region than the region being attractive to Mom's.

If Mom has a propensity to accept doing the same work as a male for less pay, (many times a more educated Mom in relation to her male counterpart), because the region has better health care and parks is certainly skewed.

As the gender study indicated, in high suggestion, is that when we are looking for replacements to the hierarchy (management) we are looking, in Pittsburgh, for the "looks like the former administrator therefore we can accept" next leaders. That has been and remains historically white male.

Sorry, I don't buy into the skewed Forbes rating.

Thursday, August 06, 2009 2:08:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

OMG... you're not supposed to actually read reports like that. The title, maybe the executive summary, but never the full report.

Seriously... being in an odd position to interpret my own report.... Wherever we want to place Pittsburgh today as a place for working mothers, it must have been a truly horrific place just a few decades ago. I think I put in there a table from 1960 showing that women with children were literally half as likely to be working here compared to the rest of the nation. Thus for the women with children who were working, the infrastructure and support to facilitate that must have just not been here at all.. and that is beyond what a statistic like that says about what job/career opportunities were for women here.

So #8.. probably not. Looks like it weights in there cost of living and other things which are really just general metrics about the region as much as gender specific variables. But we really had to be coming up from what was probably the literal bottom. You really have to wonder how many professional women must have fled the region over the decades and what that would later mean as the region was forced to change when steel declined.

Thursday, August 06, 2009 8:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL...well aren't you glad someone actually took the time to review your work?

Having been born and raised here, I will agree that we (Pittsburgh) lagged behind the nation before Mom left the home to work. I will also agree that this left the next generation of women kind of floundering to find their way, with little support, help,and mentors as you suggested.

However it is no longer the woman plagued by ignorance who is holding her back, it is the rusty relic of the Iron man still attempting to cling to the Iron City mentality.

Thursday, August 06, 2009 9:35:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Makes me self conscious to think people read the details. I live in denial that anyone reads the blog here actually.

Iron Man. I take you are not referring to Tony Stark. If you were then is there a Pepper Pott’s allusion somewhere out there?

Friday, August 07, 2009 12:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL...cute analogy, but not referring to Tony Stark. Maybe I should have said Steely McBeam, wasn't he busted for drunk driving or something? That would better fit in with Iron City mentality. Just a thought.

Friday, August 07, 2009 2:20:00 PM  

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