Why are women more often living in poverty?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an Op-Ed feature called ‘Woman-to-Woman’ in which conservative Shaunti Feldhahn debates various issues with liberal Diane Glass. Both are reasonably good writers and both manage to encapsulate the general differences between the political polarities. The current edition of their on-going argument concerns poverty among women. To read the whole thing, click the title.


for ajc.com

A complex socio-economic issue like this often requires multiple answers, but here the answers are far more social than economic. And most reasons can be boiled down to one: The breakdown of the family.

I know that answer might make some folks (like perhaps Diane) want to tear their hair out, but many of the main poverty factors also are the main reasons why more women than men are poor. The simple truth is that skyrocketing rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births combine to hit women harder than men. Childless women are not as affected by these factors — but statistically most women will have children, and far more women than men end up as the primary caretaker….(cont)


AJC columnist

It’s true that women are forced to carry the burdens of raising a family and, with a high American divorce rate, the majority of women in America who earn less than men have the extra burden of raising a family.

Yet, if Shaunti’s right — if female poverty is the result of disintegrating family bonds — why is it that women earn 50 cents on the male dollar worldwide?

Women are burdened with family obligations and the added costs of raising children from divorced households. Her solution, however, asks us to close the barn door after the animals have already escaped. Divorce may have its problems, but it also has its solutions. It offers women the freedom to leave unfulfilling or abusive relationships, giving women greater autonomy and choices. So now we should give that up? Let’s move forward, not backwards. (cont)


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