Even though many countries consider themselves to be civilization nations, the fact remains that women today are still suffering because of discrimination, violence, exploitation, and poverty. Although there are some pockets of the world where women aren’t the focus of these issues, on a global perspective, then are simply more women than men who are poor.
The feminization of poverty is so bad in some areas of the world that there can be poor women who are apart of non-poor families.
Feminization Of Poverty
Why bring this issue up? Because despite liberation movements and conscious efforts to reduce wage gaps, the poverty of women is actually growing, not decreasing. Women in poverty have less access to education, job opportunities, or even training opportunities than men. The severity of their poverty is thus higher and women are more likely to be caring for children than men while living in poverty.
- About 1.5 billion people live in absolute poverty, which means they earn less than $2 per day in wages. 70% of this population is made up of women.
- Women perform two-thirds of the world’s work, produce half of the food that is eaten, but only earn 10% of the world’s total income.
- There are nearly 1 billion adults in the world today that are illiterate and two-thirds of them are women.
With all of our modern technology, social awareness, and desire to create equality, women are simply falling through the cracks all over the world today. 60% of the children who don’t attend school are girls. Women own just 1% of the world’s property and every minute that passes, a woman will die because of complications that are associated with their pregnancy or of childbirth. A third of women are abused and coerced into sex during their lifetime and all of this comes together to put women at a tremendous disadvantage. That’s why the feminization of poverty is such an important subject to discuss. If every woman can be empowered to accomplish great things and be given an equal opportunity to succeed, the world would be a much different place.
It’s Not Just In The Developing World
- In the United States, women are 20% more likely to be suffering from poverty than their male counterparts.
- Although only 20% of families have a woman as their head of household in industrialized countries, more than 50% of those families are living below the poverty line.
- Elderly women make up the greatest share of the poor who are women, with nearly 7 out of every 10 elderly women living in poverty.
- Minority women are at an even greater risk of suffering from poverty than their Caucasian counterparts.
- The United States has the highest poverty rates of women than any other industrialized nation, although poverty standards in the US have not been adjusted since their initial formulation which skews the records.
- Many women who are in poverty fall into a class known as the “working poor” as they work two or more jobs to support themselves.
- For every $1 a man is able to earn, a woman earns $0.76 for the exact same job responsibilities.
Takeaway: The impact of living in poverty helps to continue the negative cycles that women and their households are facing on a daily basis. This means living with acute and chronic health conditions that must remain untreated simply because they don’t have the means to afford the care of a doctor. Poor women are more vulnerable to abuse and violence, while are also more likely to suffer from health problems like depression, migraines, and even cancer. When you compare minority women to men, the problem is even greater because they only earn 50% of what men do. This means women have many limited choices from financial and social standpoints. If you then add affordable daycare into the equation, which can be almost impossible to find in some communities, the ability for women to be self-sustaining members of a capitalist society can be difficult at best.
Why Do Things Need To Change Right Now?
- Women make up 45% of the professional workforce, yet up to 70% of women are still living in daily poverty.
- Women are paid less and work longer hours in virtually every capitalist country in the world today.
- 30% of all working women make up nearly all of their family’s income and 60% of women earn about half or more of their family’s income.
- 40% of women are working evening, night, and weekend shifts in order to make ends meet and one-third of them work different shifts than their partners.
- For minority women all of these percentages are about 25% higher when they are directly compared as a target demographic.
- By helping women achieve a higher standard of living, all target demographics see increases in living standards.
- With the transition into a skilled working environment, more women are being forced to take their skills into lower paying jobs because they don’t have the training needed for added success.
Although the feminization of poverty is problematic, there are some areas where women are seeing higher levels of success than other target demographics. Women have been able to regain their positions within the workforce since the Great Recession of 2008-2009, but only 75% of men have been able to do so. In the same period, women’s wages have been static or increasing while some male wage demographics have been sharply declining. Men with just a high school diploma have seen their median earnings fall by 41% since 1970. The issue at hand is more of a wealth gap more than a wage gap because outside of the US, high and low wages are much smaller in comparison. By helping women succeed, everyone will succeed, and that means a better life for all.