Women & Girl Heads of Household

Women and girl heads of household are significantly poorer than their male counterparts. Of families headed by single mothers, 28.7 percent – 4 million of them – live in poverty compared with 13 percent – or 670,000 – of those headed by men. Poverty rates for households headed by single women of color (African American and Latina) rises to 40 percent. Average household income for women-headed households was $22,592 –- just over half the average for all households ($43,130). The difference in household income between married and single parents is significant –- only 5.9 percent of families headed by married parents live in poverty.

Legal Momentum Challenges Food Assistance Termination for Legal Immigrants

Immigrant women are more likely to confront poverty, violence and exploitation than any other demographic in America.  While apparently gender-neutral, our national immigration policies often place women at a disadvantage, compromising their personal and economic security.

Legal Momentum, represented by Kaye Scholer LLP, has filed an amicus curiae brief in the state of Washington, in support of a plaintiff with legal immigrant status who was battered by her spouse and struggled to find independence due to the termination of government funded food assistance for immigrants. Battered women, like the plaintiff, are be forced to stay in or return to abusive relationships due to lack of financial support. Learn more about the Immigrant Women Program.

New Report: U.S. has Highest Rate of Single Mother Poverty

Women in America are still 35% percent more likely than men to be poor in America, with single mothers at highest risk. Legal Momentum has brought a gender lens to the work of national anti-poverty groups, with the goal of keeping women and children, who compose the overwhelming majority of poor Americans, at the center of policy and social safety net progress targeting the alleviation of poverty.

Findings from a Legal Momentum study prove that the rates of impoverished single mothers in the United States is exceptionally higher than the rate of single mothers in the 15 other high income countries with similar economic standards. The U.S. ranked at 49%, Denmark (8%), Sweden (10%), and Finland (11%). Read the full report here.

Supporting Families and Reducing Poverty

By Melissa Stevenson*

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Women's Employment During the Recovery

In 2010, women represented 46.7 percent of the United States labor force, a slightly larger share than at the start of the recession in 2007. Overall 71.9 million women were employed or looking for work, representing 58.6 percent of all women aged 16 and over. 

As the overall workforce has become more diverse, so have working women. Among women in the labor force, 13.1 percent are black, 4.7 percent are Asian and 12.8 percent are of Hispanic ethnicity. Along all racial groups, men are more likely to be employed than are women, however black women are almost as likely as black men to be employed — a fact that reflects the lower likelihood of black men working compared to other men. The gender gap is widest among Hispanics — as Hispanic men are more likely than other men to be employed, while Hispanic women are less likely than other women to be employed.


At Rope's End: Single Women Mothers, Wealth and Assets in the U.S.

At Rope's End, a co-authored report by Mariko Chang, PhD author of Short-Changed: Why Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It and C. Nicole Mason, Executive Director of the Women of Color Policy Network at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service explores the economic security and vulnerability of single mothers through the lens of wealth and asset accumulation as opposed to income and employment.


Looking to Women in America for Solutions

*By Kate Meyer

Last week Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Preeta Bansal, General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, hosted a White House Webchat to highlight findings from the recently released report Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being. Here at NCRW we were thrilled to see Jarrett and Bansal advocating for the same policies and programs that are on our agenda.

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The Dressmaker of Khair Khana - Author Series Event


Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Fellow and Women and Foreign Policy Program Deputy Director,
Council on Foreign Relations

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