Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Invisibility of Women and Growing Poverty
By: Guest Blogger, Arianna Samuel, Research Intern
Up from 13.9 percent in 2009 to 14.5 percent in 2010, the poverty rate among women is the highest it has been in 17 years. Somehow the mainstream media has failed to mention the disproportionate representation of women in these figures. They have not, however, been forgotten.
The feminization of poverty can be attributed to a number of odds stacked against women in the current economic climate. It is undoubted—the recession impacted everyone—however, it is largely the jobs in woman-dominated sectors such as education and other public sector jobs that are unlikely to be restored anytime soon. Throughout the post-recession time period of June 2009 through May 2011, while the unemployment rate for men decreased, the overall rate for women increased to 8.5 percent; women lost 218,000 jobs while men gained 768,000.
The role of microenterprise in both the lives of women and the economy is, increasingly significant. Not only is microenterprise in part in the business of creating jobs, it is also geared to provide women the opportunity to fulfill family-oriented responsibilities and work enough to become financially fit. For single mothers, a population who has one of the highest numbers of individuals living under the poverty line at 41 percent, microenterprise truly could be an answer. It is not an immediate answer—as some self-confidence, networks, and financial and business skills are necessary in order for microentrepreneurship to be successful—but, fortunately there are microenterprise organizations like Women’s Initiative to help women cultivate these skills, giving them both a boost out of poverty and a hand into financial stability.