Although social and political efforts have been made to close the wage gap and in turn the wealth gap, recent Census data still indicates that women earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. For women of color the gap is even wider: Black women earn 69.5 percent, and Hispanic women 60.5 percent, compared to the earnings of their white male counterparts.
The wage story is just as unequal for single mothers: They make less than men, less than married women, and less than women without children. Adding race to the equation, single mothers of color are hit hardest by the wage gap. Studies show that single mothers of color are much more likely to live in poverty and face significant barriers to creating wealth. Lower wages can often prevent families from engaging in asset- and wealth-building mechanisms such as pension plans because of fewer job benefits and resources. Lower earnings can hinder families from investing and saving their money, a key strategy for building wealth. Additionally, wealth not only impacts economic security but long-term retirement security as well.
While it’s recognized that the racial wealth gap is widespread there is a critical need to understand the intersection of race and gender in accumulating wealth.
Even that 73 percent number is too rosy, because it only looks at a snapshot of mothers and men employed in a given year.
But mothers also spend more years out of the workforce than anyone else, usually to care for family. So the financial impact of mothers' employment patterns becomes clear only when we look across the years. The lifetime earnings of women are just 38 percent of the lifetime earnings of men.
Now that's a gap.
One of the reasons more women drop out of the workforce is because United States income tax policy is designed specifically to encourage them to drop out.
A significant gender pay gap still persists. That's why we cannot be passive as we acknowledge Equal Pay Day, which marks the day when a woman's earnings catch up to what her male peers earned in the previous year. To millennials, it's startling to see that women still earn just 77 cents to the dollar of what men earn. Women of color are hit especially hard: African-American and Hispanic women earn 70% and 61%, respectively, of what white men earn. Without any male income in their household, single women and lesbians may feel the pay gap effect all the more. This wage gap costs working women and their families more than $10,000 annually and jeopardizes women's retirement security.
This gap isn't just about women making different choices in their careers. Even after accounting for occupation, hours worked, education, age, race, ethnicity, marital status, number of children and more, a difference of 5% still persists in the earnings of male and female college graduates one year after graduation. After 10 years in the workplace, that gap more than doubles to 12%.
Today we are fortunate to have critical laws like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which overturned a 2007 Supreme Court decision that made it harder for women -- and all employees -- to pursue federal claims of pay discrimination. Although this important law restored fairness for workers who want to use federal law to challenge cases of discriminatory pay, it only addresses one piece of the larger puzzle. More needs to be done.
Women’s median earnings are lower than men’s in nearly all occupations, whether they work in occupations predominantly done by women, occupations predominantly done by men, or occupations with a more even mix of men and women.
by Ariane Hegewisch, Claudia Williams, Vanessa Harbin (April 2012)
About 1 in 4 babies are now born to unmarried couples, a rate that has nearly doubled since 2002, according to a recent report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The government has previously said that more than 40% of births are to unwed mothers, but the new report offers details showing that most such births occur in couples who aren’t married, but are living together.
“It’s thought that usually in births outside of marriage, one parent isn’t present. But many couples are cohabiting and these children do have two parents present,” says report author Gladys Martinez, a demographer in the CDC’s division of Vital Statistics.
The new data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics was based on in-person interviews with more than 22,000 men and women aged 15 to 44 during 2006 through 2010, as part of the National Survey of Family Growth. The researchers then compared the data to a similar 2002 survey.
Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen sparked a debate about stay-at-home mothers when, in an interview on CNN, she said that Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's wife Anne "has actually never worked a day in her life."
A fight for female voters in the presidential race got personal today, with Ann Romney, first lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama wading into a dispute over stay-at-home mothers.
In an interview on Fox News, Romney said raising five sons was a full-time job and her husband, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, considers it important.
“My career choice was to be a mother,” Romney said. “Other women make other choices. We have to respect women in all the choices they make.”
Michelle Obama urged Americans to respect the choices of all women.
“Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected,” Obama, a former corporate lawyer and mother of two daughters, wrote in a Twitter message today. Her husband echoed the sentiment, in an interview with an Iowa television station today, saying: “There is no tougher job than being a mom.”
They were responding to a comment last night by Hilary Rosen, a Democratic strategist unaffiliated with President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, who said Ann Romney wasn’t qualified to talk about women struggling in the economic downturn because she “hasn’t worked a day in her life.”
State by state factsheets from the National Women's Law Center.
At the time of the Equal Pay Act's passage in 1963, women working full time, year-round were paid merely 59 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. Enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and related civil rights laws has helped to narrow the wage gap, but significant disparities remain and must be addressed.
Facing a double-digit deficit among female voters, likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has accused the White House of waging an economic "war on women." Since Obama took office in January 2009, he's charged, an amazing 92 percent of all job losses have been among women.
He's absolutely right. In the last 26 months, U.S. payrolls have shrunk by 740,000 jobs and of those, 683,000 belonged to women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But Romney should be careful with his talking point. All those women who lost work? About two-thirds of them were laid off from government jobs. And a lot of them lived in states governed by Republicans.
The Romney campaign is counting job losses that occurred literally the day Obama took office, which is a bit like blaming the fire fighter for not traveling back in time to stop the fire.
According to IWPR analysis of the April employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth slowed in March with 120,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. In March women gained 38,000 jobs (about one-third of all jobs added) and men gained 82,000. Women’s employment growth was aided by strong growth in health care (26,000 jobs added overall) and food service and drinking places (36,900 jobs added overall). The gap between women’s and men’s employment in March is 1.9 million.
The unemployment rates remained largely steady from February to March, declining for women aged 16 and older (to 8.1 percent from 8.2 percent), and unchanged for men (8.3 percent). As of March 12.7 million workers remain unemployed.