Monday, August 23, 2010

Unmarried Women and the Great Recession

According to a report by the Center for American Progress, titled The Other Half: Unmarried Women, Economic Well-Being and the Great Recession, improving the economic well-being of unmarried women will improve the national economy overall. The report outlines the economic status of unmarried women, stating that unmarried women have significant debt, much lower median net wealth, and less economic security than married couples or unmarried men. This is not only because unmarried women rely solely on their own earnings, but because women, including unmarried women, face a number of inequities in the labor market including segregation into lower paying jobs and wage discrimination.

The report states that 47 percent of women today are unmarried, and that 25 percent of American children are being raised by unmarried women. The report evaluates the ways that policymakers can help support unmarried women and their families leading to the enhancement of the already vital contribution that unmarried women are making to the economy. Suggestions include:

  • Provide direct support to working single mothers by implementing an increase in funding for child care assistance.
  • Ensure workplace rules allow women to attend to their jobs as well as their families by establishing paid sick days, encouraging predictable and flexible workplace schedules, and ensuring that workers have access to paid family and medical leave.
  • Provide women with job training in high-wage, high-demand jobs — provisions such as those included in the Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs Act.
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