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Archive for the ‘Gen X’ Category

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Equal Pay and the Single Woman

Posted by egehl on May 30, 2012

By Business and Professional Women’s Foundation friend Elisabeth Gehl

As a society, we are obsessed with anything to do with marriage: falling in love, glamorous weddings, gorgeous rings, stunning dresses, and happily ever after.  Consequently single women typically feel that their married counterparts always have a leg up in getting society’s focus and attention.  And while that may be true in many regards, it’s not the case when it comes to electing our political leaders.  Single women proved to be extremely influential in the last two election cycles, and will undoubtedly be again this November.  As a result, Congressional leaders are shifting their priorities this year to move legislation forward that impacts all women, but especially single women.

The number of single women in this country continues to grow and candidates are taking notice. There are 55 million single, divorced, separated or widowed women eligible to vote this year and they share the same unique needs as all women, but often with a further emphasis because most are taking care of themselves, and sometimes their families, alone.

The needs of single women and the issues facing them span the gamut from Generation Y just getting out of college with looming student loans, to the widow that is struggling every month to survive on her Social Security check.  Women now make up about half of all workers and among families with children one in four is headed by a single parent. Many single women feel very vulnerable in their ability to stay economically afloat, and especially need policies that can give them a foundation to succeed.  This is finally starting to resonate with legislators because these women represent an important constituency, and have the ability to determine the outcome of this year’s election.

In 2008, unmarried women were among Barack Obama’s most loyal supporters.  This group of women turned out in droves four years ago and delivered 70 percent of their votes to him.  Two years later during the 2010 mid-term election, the opposite happened when many of them stayed home, and as a result Democrats lost the House and had their Senate majority decreased.  Democrats want to prevent that from happening again with so much at stake for a wide array of women’s issues, including equal pay.

Determined to get single women re-energized and engaged in this year’s election, Senate leaders are reshaping their legislative agenda and advancing an equal pay bill this month, the Paycheck Fairness Act that will enhance women’s ability to win pay Equal Pay Daydiscrimination lawsuits. Specifically, the Paycheck Fairness Act would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act by improving remedies for pay discrimination, prohibiting employer retaliation, and facilitating class action suits in equal pay claims, among other strategies.

On average, single women have lower household income than married women therefore policies like the Paycheck Fairness Act that address pay disparities are of particular importance to this population.  As our economy continues to be on life support, single women are feeling economically marginalized and that their unique needs and challenges are not being adequately addressed.  Many consider paycheck fairness as one of their top economic issues because they know that to succeed financially they need to be on an equal level playing field with their male counterparts.

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Join us by sharing this and the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media.

HERvotes Blogs

Justice for Working Women, Jewish Women International

The Wage Gap: Collective Change Not Choice, National Council of Women’s Organizations

A Jewish Call for Equal Pay, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism

The Facts Behind the Call for Equal Pay, NOW

American Women and Families Deserve a Vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, National Partnership for Women and Families

HERvotes: Paycheck Equality: It’s Not a Suggestion, It’s the Law | CLUW

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Posted in Equal Pay, Gen X, Gen Y, HERvotes, Pay Equity | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Too Soon To Tell?

Posted by danielleac on August 4, 2011

By Danielle Corazza

After reading “Do Gen X Women Choose Work Over Kids?” I had to chuckle. Again, it seems these pundits are missing the mark by such a wide margin about women’s maternal decision make process. I don’t agree that Gen X women (roughly age 33-46) are choosing not to have children; they are instead choosing when to have children.  While I admit that my evidence is antidotal, it certainly seems to make sense to me and many of my friends.

In today’s world, where birth control, education, and advanced fertility procedures with high success rates are common knowledge and universally accessible, why would a woman begin her family before she’s had a chance to build a secure future for her potential family? There’s no rush.

If you look at the basic timeline, it all makes sense. High school graduation at 18, graduate school completion by 23 or so, internship and first job till 25, job of choice by 26, and ten years of enjoying the perks of success (read: paychecks that cover more than your basic bills!), and you’ve got a woman who  is roughly 35. Medical science says that exponential increases in birth defects due to a woman’s age do not begin till 42, while fertility peaks around 35, leaving a nice 5-7 year window for women to start their families making the statistics that the article quotes, that 53% of Gen X women are childless, true, because half of that small cohort hasn’t reached their optimum (as determine by them and not the pundits) childbearing age yet.

In addition, many Gen X women watched their mothers struggle, divided by opposing desires to work for financial gain and security, yet yearning for the choice to raise their own children. Given a different scenario and armed with the knowledge imparted by their mothers, Gen X women are doing both – waiting till they have earned enough career and financial stability to afford themselves the luxury of choice, then in some cases exiting the workforce to raise their children during their formative years (0-5), and re-entering the workforce at will.

This Generation is also faced by a very different reality than the Boomers, who commonly expected to work their 20 or 30 years and retire comfortably on their defined retirement plan after earning the gold watch. Gen X has lived through the disappearance of pensions and company retirements and are faced with the knowledge that they must work till their 401Ks can support them – for many, this means 40 plus years in the workforce. With careers of that length, a few years out may not have (and should not have) as negative an impact on careers as it once did.

All in all, I think the writer’s perspective that a woman must choose one or the other, kids or career, is far-reaching at best, although only time will tell – because Gen X still has many child-bearing years left!

Posted in Baby Boomers, Families, Feminism, Gen X | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »