Great Recession, state budget crisis especially tough on women, says report
February 1, 2012
• New study highlights higher poverty, lower employment, and less support
• ‘California's women have faced an imperfect storm’
The Great Recession plus California's ongoing budget crisis have fallen especially hard on the state's women, especially single mothers, according to a study by the California Budget Project in partnership with the Women's Foundation of California.
The study says that recent budget shortfalls have led to deep cuts to key support for California families as well as to programs that help women, especially low-income women, to prepare for and find employment.
In recent years, state lawmakers have cut spending on the CalWORKs Program, child care and preschool, Medi-Cal, in-home care, and postsecondary education.
Further, the report finds that these cuts have come during an economic downturn that has taken a major toll on California's women and their families. Single women supporting families were particularly hard-hit, it says. This group as a whole experienced a sharp decrease in employment, higher incidence of poverty, and -- among those who were employed -- the largest decline in the average workweek in at least two decades.
"California's women have faced an imperfect storm," says Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project. "On the one hand, the struggling economy means that their job prospects are discouraging, especially for single women with children. On the other hand, the state's budget crisis has tattered the safety net that women and their families depend on and has limited pathways to opportunity."
Judy Patrick, president and CEO of the Women's Foundation of California, says state lawmakers have targeted cuts to the very programs that break the cycle of poverty.
"For example, the cuts to state childcare and preschool programs make it almost impossible for mothers to keep their jobs or rejoin the workforce. These short-sighted measures are forcing more women into poverty and reducing the chances for women to contribute to California's economic recovery," Ms. Patrick says.