A study by a national working women’s group finds the low-paid workers are often single mothers and displaced homemakers — women who went to work, or back to work, after a divorce or the death or disability of their husband.
Deb Holst heads a regional chapter of the national “Women Work” organization. They haven’t been in the workforce for a number of years so education and training is what they need most. Single mothers also face a number of barriers as well – training, childcare, housing, and transportation, to name a few.
Holst says the national report was titled “Chutes and Ladders,” to symbolize how women find themselves in a downward slide in their struggle to get a footing in the workforce. Holst says more education, training and social support are needed to help keep women and their families out of poverty.
She says the women who wind up single mothers or displaced homemakers have less education then men in the workforce, and tend to be the parent who’s stayed home with young children. Men are out working and in the workforce longer, but a woman who’d dropped out for ten years or so to care for kids is starting all over again and at a lower wage.
The full report is titled “Chutes and Ladders: The Search for Equality for Women in the Workforce.” Iowa leads the nation in the number of families with young children in which both the father and mother work fulltime. The report finds 57-thousand displaced homemakers in Iowa, and nearly twice that many single mothers in the state.
The study says the “work and family landscape” has changed dramatically during the past 50 years. In 1960, 70-percent of families with children had one parent home full time. Today, the report says, it’s the opposite, with 70-percent of families headed by two working parents or a working single parent. In 2003, there were 20.9 million single mothers and displaced homemakers in the United States