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“ I like
By Gregory Dale
AFRO Staf Writer
Before the nation’seconomic recession hit, TheaGoines, a single motherof two, didn’t have manynancial problems. But sinceits arrival, she has foundit increasingly difcult toprovide even the simplestthings for her children, suchas new clothes and shoes.“Though others have beenthrough worse, I have trulyfelt, and am still feeling theeffects of the recession,”Goines recently told the
. “In addition, I’vehad to make several cuts tolittle luxuries for me and mychildren and I’ve had to applyfor public assistance just tomake ends meet.”While Goines’ tribulationscan be echoed by manypeople across the country, anew report by the Center forAmerican Progress and theWomen’s Voices Women Voteorganization recently foundthat the economic recessionhas severely impacted thelives of unmarried women.According to the report, sincethe arrival of the recessionin 2007, all Americans haveexperienced unemployment,mortgage foreclosures andincreased food insecurity.However, unmarried womenhave it even worse, facingadverse disparities in income,wealth, debt, poverty,unemployment and more.“The Other Half:Unmarried Women, EconomicWell-Being and the GreatRecession” found that nearly47 percent of all womenin America are unmarried,divorced, separated, widowed,or never married. While thesewomen comprise nearlya quarter of the country’stotal adult population andare responsible for raising25 percent of all Americanchildren under 18, theycontinue to grapple withdisparities. In addition, theseproblems are rampant incommunities of color wherewomen are more likely to beunmarried.Goines, who has beenworking to provide for herchildren since her son’s birthin 2000, got laid off fromher job after the recession’sarrival. This forced her toaccept a temporary positionat a fraction of the salary shewas used to making. All of her earnings went back to herchildren and in turn, her billsstarted to pile up.“It’s a miracle that Ihave been able to maintain,”Goines said.Page Gardner, presidentof Women’s Voices Womenvote and co-author of thestudy, said understanding thetroubles faced by women suchas Goines and helping themovercome them is a nationalresponsibility.“Unmarried women playa vital and growing role inthe health of our economyand communities,” Gardnerrecently told reporters. “It iscritical that we understand thechallenges faced by unmarriedwomen and ensure they havea voice in the political andpolicy-making process.”Both CAP and theWVWV believe the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
(ARRA) curbed theimpact of the recession bysaving and creating new jobsand increasing social serviceprograms.In the wake of theARRA’s success, they believepolicymakers should focus oninitiatives that will increaseunmarried women’s wages,spending potential, reducetheir debt and increase theirwealth—even as they work toensure all Americans benetfrom economic recovery.“I honestly believe thatit’s a lack of knowledge thatis affecting the situation morethan anything,” Goines said,speaking of policymakers’unawareness of the disparitiesfaced by unmarried women.“[While] there are some whoabuse the system, most peopleare coming to get a leg up onthe situation they are facing,not a hand out.”
For more informationand to view the full report,visit: http://www.wvwv.org/ assets/2010/8/13/The-Other- Half-Report_2010.pdf.
Report Shows Recession’s Efects on Unmarried Women
The recession has let many single mothers deprived o income and fghting to make ends meet.
students. That distributionholds up whether the studentsattended public of private not-for-prot institutions.Black students are not onlygraduating less, but they areborrowing more money to getthrough college, according toa recent College Board reporttitled
Who Borrows the Most? Bachelor’s Degree Recipientswith High Levels of Student Debt
. That report found thatBlack bachelor’s degreestudents had cumulativetotal debts of $30,500 ormore at a rate of 27 percent,compared to 16 percent forWhite students, 14 percentfor Hispanic students, and 9percent for Asian students.The reason, says JulianneMalveaux, an economist,commentator and president of Bennett College for Womenin Greensboro, N.C., stemsfrom the socioeconomicstatus of many Black families.Complicating things further,she said, is the fact that familymembers sometimes expectthe college students in theirfamily to use their studentloans for paying bills orvarious emergencies.“Probably half of the thingsstudents come to see me abouthave to do with money,”Malveaux said in a recentphone interview with the
.Malveaux noted the averageBlack family has an incomeof $40,000 or less – tuition,room and board at Bennettis $24,000. “Obviously,there has to be some outsideresources for students tomatriculate,” Malveaux said.Lack of money is why it’simportant to be proactive,says Nicki Washington, aHoward University computerscience instructor, author of
Prepped for Success: What Every Parent Should Know About the College ApplicationProcess
.Among other things,Washington recommends thatstudents:• Start thinking aboutapplying for scholarshipsas early as freshman yearin high school. “A lot of parents tend to tell me youcan’t even apply until you’rea senior. But that’s too lateto think of these things,”Washington said, explainingthat it’s important to knowwhat winning a particularscholarship requires, such asextracurricular activities and acompetitive GPA.• Though they may notalways be readily available, tryto take Advanced Placementcourses in high school insteadof going the easy route. Thecourses better prepare studentsfor the rigors of college andoffer the opportunity to getcollege credit while in highschool, thereby saving moneyon their college education.The courses help students getadmitted to college and winscholarships, Washington says.“What they don’t realize is thatthese universities’ scholarshipcommittees ... have such alarge pool of applicants thatthey have to nd those smallthings that help a student standout.”• Create an account onFastWeb, a website thatenables students to search forscholarships, nancial aid andstudent loans for which theyare eligible. Though many of the scholarships may be formodest amounts, others canbe for tens of thousands of dollars.• Search for work-studyoptions on campus, oropportunities to workwithin the collegedepartment of the student’smajor. At the same time,be cautious about thepsychological effect of off-campus opportunitiesin your eld of study,especially those that paywell, because it couldlead a student to think:“I already have thecareer. Why do I need thedegree?” Students whodrop out of college becausethey are enjoying a degreeof pre-graduation careersuccess, Washington said,may lose their job and ndout the hard way that othercompanies won’t hire themwithout a degree.
“Black students are not only graduating less, but they areborrowing more money to get through college, according to a recent College Board report...” “Unmarried women play a vital and growing role in the health of our economy and communities.”