$$$- CentsThe statistics are that many women are either facing poverty, or they are already there .  It seems with the state of our economic crisis in the United States, past and current;  that most women are already managing multi-roles.

Some women are working more than one job, managing their family which may exist with a husband and may not and sometimes their parents. They are producing to the max already, but still cannot rise above the poverty level, or should we say the level of not living paycheck to paycheck.  Financial assistance is needed in many families across the Nation where families are suffering; especially women who are the primary bread winners.

This is associated with the level of education, gender and locality in certain jobs, or fields of employment which contributes to most women in poverty.  For instance a woman who has a clerical job is not going to have the financial security that an upper management person will have.  In some instances; the clerical job will pay only minimum wage in some states, and especially rural area.  Depending upon the locality; the clerical job may pay more if there is a business degree held.  Also, within large corporation, within the city the salary will be higher than the poverty level.

This exist not only with regard to women in poverty;  women are often still not always paid what their male counterpart makes.  If you have ever held a job in a large corporation; it is known that gender does play a role in an individual’s salary. Historically, it is certain that some companies believe that men with education or experience not only lead in any field, they are strong in communication skills, and hold more clout with clients.  Of course women will argue the point, and rightfully so.   If you were to go into a lot of businesses and investigate salaries; you would find that most men; unless they are trainees have a salary above their female associates.

Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform

If you are over 50 and keep up with the AARP articles; you find that some women who have lost their jobs within the past few years; have even acknowledged having facial surgery to look younger to interview for the job.  This of course goes with women’s discrimination; not just poverty.

Going into a recruiting office once; the agent let it slip that the clients were looking for those less than 40 years of age.  She stated that after 40; it was harder to place women in most professional fields. Oh, my….that leaves a lot of women out, doesn’t it?  This is another subject entirely.

With a little investigation into Women in Poverty; this is what we see. These income figures and number of members in the  households; are the statics of what is considered poverty level by the U. S. Department of Human Services.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty  Guidelines, 2013
Persons in Family/Household Annual Income: 48 Contiguous States and D.C. Annual Income: Alaska Annual Income: Hawaii
1 $11,490 $14,350 $13,230
2  15,510  19,380  17,850
3  19,530  24,410  22,470
4  23,550  29,440  27,090
5  27,570  34,470  31,710
6  31,590  39,500  36,330
7  35,610  44,530  40,950
8  39,630  49,560  45,570
>8 persons Add $4,020 for each       additional person Add $5,030 for each      additional person Add $4,620 for each additional person
Source: Federal Register, Vol. 78, January 24, 2013, pp. 5182-5183.     Available at federalregister.gov.  Notes: Separate guidelines for Alaska and Hawaii reflect the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) administrative  practice beginning in the late 1960s. The poverty guidelines are designated by the year in which  they are issued and are updated to account for the last calendar year’s increase in prices  as measured by the Consumer Price Index

The Institute for Research on Poverty indicates that these figures are a guideline used by the states, and federal government to set eligibility requirements for certain programs available to the people who are truly in need of assistance. Looking back, in 2011, there was reported that 46 million Americans lived within or below poverty.  It is stated that 17.7 million of this percentage amounted to women aged 18 and older with 14.6 percent being adult women.  Is there anything any clearer that women are suffering from poverty?

After reading the Shriver Report by Marie Shriver; it is even more evident that our nation’s statics prove more women are suffering than men.  Shiver reports that on the average, women are two-thirds of minimum-wage workers in the United States; which goes back to gender, but especially in the areas of the nation where there is not as much opportunity.  Women are suffering in the need to be able to have a few dollars left over after the bills are paid and groceries are bought.

Faces of Poverty: Portraits of Women and Children on Welfare

For some American Women; this is not the case. It come down to experience, education, where a person lives,  and the opportunities available.   Location does play a part in the numbers because the rural areas of America do not provide adequate jobs even for those who have experience or education, unless they teach, are a nurse, or an attorney etc..  Living in the larger cities of America provides more opportunity, but then each individual must take the opportunities that are available; work hard and progress on their own.

As the Shriver Report acknowledged; not all women have to deal with everyday financial hardships or the state of being in poverty.  They do not live on food stamps, receive welfare, worry if their car needs repair, or if they will be able to pay the rent.  Those who have better opportunities, education, locality, and/or experiences should be more thankful and at least lend a voice to help those who do.

Too often women are limited in their ability to gain additional education, work that extra job or change jobs; to better themselves.  They are single moms who must be at home at a certain hour, prepare dinner and help with their children’s education. With this in mind they sometimes stay at a job that is not only less satisfying, but one that does not generate sufficient income to manage their role as sole provider.  This seems unfair but is part of the equation for women in poverty.


Linda Todd

P. S.   Many women are facing challenges that the fortunate few do not have.  They are raising families by themselves with no one to depend upon but themselves.  All women have a lot in common and one very important things is “compassion.”


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