Out of Time Mom

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Economic Disparity of Women

I just finished my essay for my Financial Social Work Counselor certification.(421 words, ha, I’m not writing more than I had to!)  I thought I’d share it with you since it was a lot of hard work (not that much) and it has some information that might be relevant to you Mommies out there. This is definitely not Monday Funday stuff, but I hope you’ll learn something new.


Femonomics is the study of women and the discrimination toward them in economics. The topic was of particular interest to me as a woman. I have experienced the economic disparity personally in my early career in a male dominated field, and currently in a female dominated career that is paid less, (and maybe even less valued in society) than most male dominated fields. While researching this, I found that there was a huge economic disparity between childless women and mothers.

Mothers are discriminated against 100% of the time compared to childless women according to a study done by StanfordUniversity.  (http://www.stanford.edu/group/gender/cgi-bin/wordpressblog/2009/11/motherhood-penalty-remains-a-pervasive-problem-in-the-workplace/ , 2009) In the study, they submitted over 600 faux resumes to businesses which varied only by references to being a mother. The childless women were called back two times more often than the women whose resumes referred to being a mother. They are terming this effect, “The Motherhood Penalty.”  This motherhood penalty may be the reason that single mothers have the highest rate of living in poverty according to a study done by the National Poverty center. According to the study, (http://www.npc.umich.edu/poverty/ ) in 2010, 31.6% of households headed by single women lived in poverty. This was even higher for Black or Hispanic women.

According to the Financial Social Work manual, women make up the majority of elderly living in poverty. Very elderly women are even more likely to live in poverty. Nearly two times as many elderly women live in poverty as men states American Progress. (http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/07/elderly_poverty.html) Almost three times more very elderly women live in poverty compared to their male counterparts. Women are out of the job market for periods of time due to childbirth, thus have lower wage earnings to base social security on. The economic disparity is most evident at the elderly demographic than what the current generation of working women may face.

Financial Social workers need to address those differences with the women they work with. It would also be important when working with couples, to insure that the work that women do in the home and child rearing is valued at the same level as working outside of the home. Helping women create career goals to maximize their income would also be important in decreasing the gender inequality. As parents, we also need to encourage our girls to pursue careers outside of the stereotypical female careers. Once girls realize their value in fields such as science, math, or engineering, the income disparity should decrease and hopefully so will societal attitudes about the value of women.

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