The paper "Family and Poverty" is a wonderful example of an assignment on sociology.
Discuss the reasons behind the high poverty rate among single-mother families in America
According to the US Bureau of Census 2010, poverty in households headed by women compared to that headed by men was 31.1% and 15.8% consecutively (the United States. Dept. of the Treasury. Bureau of Statistics). These statistics indicate a high level of disparity between the two households. Several reasons are given for this disparity including education, wages, patriarchy among other reasons discussed below.
In the United States, women are usually paid less than men even in the same job category and when they have the same qualifications. Statistics indicate that women earn only an average of 77% of what the men earn considering the education qualifications and hours of work put in are equals. This discrimination and disparity lead to an increase in the poverty gap between men and women-headed households. In the census of 2008, statistics indicated that women aged between 25-32 years and who had a Bachelor’s degree earned 14% less than men with a Bachelor’s degree (Webster 24).
More than 43% of the 29.6 million women who are employed in the United States are employed in low-paying and low-status jobs. Majority of them are employed as secretaries, receptionists, nurses, waitresses, teachers among others (Cawthorne 13). This, therefore, means that they have little earnings. The single women in this category will, therefore, suffer more than single men and especially when it comes to fulfilling the basic needs of the family and also providing luxuries.
As a result of the gender roles women are assigned by society, women carry out unpaid work which occupies most of their time compared to men. Their work is usually reproductive and community which is not paid for while men conduct productive roles which have pay. This means that the productive work women carry out at the end of the day is little compared to that of men and compared also to the unpaid work they carry out. There will be unequal financial supply in those two households due to the socialization and hence poverty sets in more in the female-headed households than in male-headed households.
Gender-based violence in the workplace is another reason that increases the poverty disparity of male and female-headed households. Sexual harassment and sexual exploitation are leading to gender-based violence examples. This is directed towards female employees and especially the single mothers by their male bosses and colleagues. Failure to comply or cooperate leads to dire consequences.
Statistics indicate that around 8 million women report cases of sexual harassment or exploitation in the workplace and the majority of them are single parents (Goldsmith Et al 143). This leads most of them to either quit their work or reduce performance-wise (performance determines the pay on receives hence low performance less pay).