I’m still excited about the conversation at Daisy’s and Twisty’s. If you are lurking please chime in somewhere. I will approve almost any comment within reason. I am getting frustrated with so much focus on how we Feminists are different but….here is my ray of hope
From Daisy’s Post: Feminists on High Horses pt.1
We all make choices, and pay the price for those choices. As feminists, we need to talk about the numerous highly-charged, emotional reasons for these choices, while trying to understand why someone else made the opposite choice. There is not one righteous, no, not one.
I wonder how many non-mothers wind up being a primary caregiver for their elderly parents? I really think that the key is recognizing this unpaid work through a tax credit, social security, something for caregivers.
I wonder how many of the 100+ posters over at Twisty’s know about the organization MomsRising or even realize NOW has a Caregiving Platform called Mothers Matter, Caregivers Count (MCER)?
Another commenter linked to The Center for American Progress “The Straight Facts on Women in Poverty”. Here’s what I found:
Why Are More Women Living in Poverty?
Women face a much greater risk of poverty for a number of inter-related reasons, including:
Women are paid less than men, even when they have the same qualifications and work the same hours. Women who work full time earn only 77 percent of what men make—a 22 percent gap in average annual wages. Discrimination, not lack of training or education, is largely the cause of the wage gap. Even with the same qualifications, women earn less than men. In 2007, full time, year-round female workers aged 25 to 32 with a bachelor’s degree were paid 14 percent less than men.
Women are segregated into low paying occupations, and occupations dominated by women are low paid. Women are tracked into “pink-collar” jobs such as teaching, child care, nursing, cleaning, and waitressing, which typically pay less than jobs in industries that are male-dominated. In 2007, nearly half—43 percent—of the 29.6 million employed women in the United States were clustered in just 20 occupational categories, of which the average annual median earnings were $27,383.1
Women spend more time providing unpaid caregiving than men.
• Women are more likely than men to care for children and elderly or disabled family members. One study found that 69 percent of unpaid caregivers to older adults in the home are women. Because combining unpaid caregiving with paid work can be challenging, women are more likely to work part time or take time out of the workforce to care for family. Twenty-three percent of mothers are out of the workforce compared to just 1 percent of fathers.
Women are more likely to bear the costs of raising children.
• When parents are not living together, women are more likely to take on the economic costs of raising children. Eight in ten custodial parents are women, and custodial mothers are twice as likely to be poor as custodial fathers.
Pregnancy affects women’s work and educational opportunities more than men’s.
• The economic costs associated with pregnancy are more significant for women than for men. Unplanned and mistimed pregnancies in particular can result in the termination of education and keep women from getting and sustaining solid employment.
Domestic and sexual violence can push women into a cycle of poverty.
• Experiencing domestic or sexual violence can lead to job loss, poor health, and homelessness. It is estimated
that victims of intimate partner violence collectively lose almost 8 million days of
paid work each year because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former
husbands, boyfriends, or dates. Half of the cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness.
What can we do?
The poverty gap between men and women is not inevitable. The gender wage gap has narrowed over the past 30 years as women have gained greater access to education, the labor market, and better paid jobs.
Ending women’s poverty and providing better economic opportunities for all women will require specific policy actions to ensure that:
Women receive the pay they deserve and equal work conditions
Women have access to higher-paying jobs
Women in the workforce have affordable child and elder care, as well as access to quality flexible work and paid family leave
Women receive the support they need through expanded tax credits to help meet the costs of raising their families
Women receive the contraceptive services they need so that they can plan their families
Women receive the support and protection they need to leave violent situations while maintaining job and housing stability