The following column, written by National Diaper Bank Network CEO Joanne Goldblum, originally appeared January 25, 2016 on The Huffington Post Impact.
Millions of Americans and supporters around the world joined in Women’s Marches held on Saturday. We felt so much love, so much energy, so much cathartic relief, knowing our voices are vital in shaping the futures we want to see. And now the question is: What should we do with this momentum, what future should we demand?
I believe we can unify the diverse multitudes of women, and men, by recognizing and attacking poverty as a women’s issue. Here’s why:
- One in eight American women live in poverty. For African-American and Hispanic women the rates are much higher – more than 20 percent.
- Another way of looking at it is that women are 35 percent more likely to be poor in America than men.
- Women earn about 80 cents for every dollar that men do – again for women of color the inequality is even worse.
- Women are more likely to work in jobs paying minimum wage, or employed in work where employers can legally pay less than minimum wage because of tips.
- Women are more likely to do unpaid work, which can affect career success. American women spend an average of four hours a day doing things like housework and child and elder care.
Women’s poverty and child poverty are linked. Children comprise the poorest single group in the United States – one in five grow up living in poverty – and the risk of poverty doubles for children who live in female-headed households.
Clearly, women’s poverty is a huge and entrenched problem. That does not mean that we cannot make change. Here are four suggestions to get us started.