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Women’s poverty and the recession

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Townson, Monica
Publication Date: 
1 Sep 2009

Excerpts from the press release:

Among the study’s findings:

- Women raising children on their own are almost five times more likely to be poor than two-parent families with children.
- The poverty rate of older women on their own is almost 13 times higher than seniors living in families.
- Women who work full-time, year round earn only 71 cents for every dollar earned by men.
- About 40% of employed women work in precarious jobs that are generally poorly paid with little or no job security and no benefits such as pensions.
- Only 39% of unemployed women compared with 45% of unemployed men are receiving EI benefits.
- Women account for 60% of minimum wage workers, but minimum wages in all provinces are less than $10 an hour.

The study is critical of recent federal government policies that have helped contribute to women’s poverty.

“Since coming to power in 2006, the Harper government has seriously undermined progress towards reducing women’s poverty in Canada,” Townson says. “Among a long list of policies, Harper has restricted pay equity, refuses to fix EI to prevent more unemployed women from falling into poverty, and cut funding for early learning and child care.”

Provincially, the study notes new poverty reduction strategies are underway but, to date, they fail to address the pressing problem of women’s poverty.