Money

Looking to get a handle on the foreclosure crisis, the loan modification fiasco, and the robo-signing scandal? We put it all in a music video. If you enjoyed this, you may also be into our musical explainers of fracking, super PACs, redistricting and the Gregory Brothers' auto-tuned song about bankers. The video was produced by the folks at Explainer Music. Andrew Bean and David Holmes wrote the music and lyrics. Sharon Shattuck and Krishnan Vasudevan created the animation and design.

"On a superficial level, people might not make the connection between the current birth control controversy and women’s wages," writes Julie Smolinski for the AAUW blog. "But access to birth control and the ability to make reproductive choices has a great effect on our participation in the economy, our work life, and especially on our wages. In fact, a recent study proposes that access to birth control at a younger age is what has helped boost women’s earnings and narrow the gender pay gap."
PR Daily reports, "Some senior PR practitioners in Australia consider the public relations a 'pink ghetto' because of the prevalence of female workers, according to a new study from Sydney recruiting firm Salt & Shein. Overall, this is a bad thing for the industry, the study said." Women dominate the industry in the U.S. as well, but the term "pink ghetto gets criticism. "The term 'pink ghetto' is a familiar but tone-deaf phrase used to describe any profession in which women appear to dominate," PR Daily notes.
This month, one of Belgium’s women’s rights organizations, zij-kant, caused quite a stir with their annual “Equal Pay Day” message. Instead of merely high-lighting that women in Belgium, on average, earn 22 percent less than men, the organization launched a video starring porn actress Sasha Grey with the message “Porn is about the only way women can earn more than men; find a better alternative.” The campaign has not surprisingly garnered quite a lot of interest, ranging from outrage that Sasha Grey is supposedly presenting herself as a victim, to amusement with the video’s explicit content, to applause.
University of Virginia football player Joseph Williams and several fellow students have joined a hunger strike organized by the Living Wage Campaign to draw attention to the unfair hourly wage paid to some university employees. "At the intersection of sports and politics, the story is about race and class, but it’s also about gender, an angle largely neglected in media coverage of the strike," writes the NWLC. Indeed, "Williams specifically identified women and African Americans as most of the university employees affected by low wages."
Anne Szustek of The Fiscal Times spells out some of the top advertising myths about women shoppers: women do most of the cleaning and cooking, they don't buy cars and computers, they love pink, they care a lot more about their looks than men, and they are not competitive. As Szustek notes, "Most themes that drive marketing decisions have been used for years without regard to changes in contemporary society, and this has never been more true than with ads geared towards women."
Despite Foster Friess' suggestion that women just use an aspirin between the knees to fill their low-cost birth control needs, most women know that birth control can actually be extremely costly. Mother Jones offers a calculator so you can find out exactly how much your birth control method -- be it the pill, an IUD, injections, or another method -- will cost you over the course of your lifetime. You may or may not be surprised at the results.

"When it comes time to buy, women are more often the decision makers and motivators. Recently, women have gained ground in earning, spending, and influence on household spending," notes a new infographic from MarketingZeus.com. Among the statistics: U.S. women contribute $7 trillion in consumer and business spending, and 85 percent of purchases and purchase influences are made by women. However, 91 percent of women say they think advertisers do not understand them.

A new report from the National Partnership for Women & Families and a dozen other women's and worker's rights organizations finds that women hold the majority of U.S. service industry positions, yet make significantly less than their male peers. The NPWF discusses some of the findings: "As the report explains, the restaurant industry is the only industry that has a wage gap established by law, which results in significantly lower wages for women workers than for men. Non-tipped workers, such as cooks, are 52 percent male and they are paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour."
The NWLC shares some important information for individuals filing joint returns this tax season: "spouses filing a joint return are generally each liable for all of the tax owed on that return—but the law provides equitable relief when one of the spouses has no control over, or perhaps no knowledge of, how the household’s financial situation is reported." This rule especially affects women, who make up 90 percent of the people who request joint relief, and low-income individuals, who make up 65 percent of the pool.
Personal finance guru Suze Orman has come under fire for releasing a fee-laden pre-paid debit card, and her fanbase isn't happy. "How did this happen and what is the reality behind the perma-tanned façade that Americans have come to idolize?" AlterNet's Lynn Parramore writes, adding, "If Orman doesn't find a way to offer a mea culpa, at least some of her devotees will desert her shrine and find another idol. Orman can certainly retreat along a path strewn with golden coins, but if you're used to being a goddess, that's probably pretty lonely."
A new study from leasetrader.com found that women are better car buyers than men. The study found that women ask more thorough questions than men and "are much more concerned with safety and overall functionality of the vehicle whereas men focus more on engine performance and looks of the vehicle and only some minor safety features," KTAR reports.
A new study from the Rutgers Center for Women and Work and the National Partnership for Women & Families finds that paid family leave time is a win-win-win for working families, businesses, and the government. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the report found that women who take employer-provided paid family leave are far more likely to be working 9 to 12 months after the birth of their child, and are likely to make more money post-birth. Such women are also significantly less likely to receive public assistance and food stamps post-birth.
The best-paying U.S. city for women is San Jose, California, ForbesWoman reports. While women make just 70 to 80 cents to their male counterparts' dollar on average, women in San Jose earn an average of $67,052 per year, largely "because 43.7% have a bachelor’s degree or higher and are concentrated in management, business, science and arts occupations (48.4%) rather than service jobs (17.4%)." On the other end of the spectrum is McAllen, Texas, where the average woman makes just $31,287 annually.

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