By: Ann Brown
Sure women have made great strides in the workforce. But it hasn’t been enough to keep millions of women from being on the edge of poverty and economic ruin. According to a new report co-authored by NBC News special anchor Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress, an estimated 42 million women — and 28 million dependent children — are burdened with financial hardship.
“Women make up close to two-thirds of minimum-wage workers in the country — and upwards of 70 percent of those low-wage workers receive no paid sick days whatsoever, according to the report,” reports NBC.
“These are people who are trying to survive on minimum wage, which is not a living wage,” Shriver said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “The number one thing that would make the most difference to them is getting sick days,” she added.
The numbers are even more troubling when looking at single mothers. Some 40 percent of all U.S. households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the only or primary source of income — with the average incomes of full-time female workers still just 77 percent of the average earnings of their male colleagues.
Among the chief findings among women who earn low-income:
-75 percent wish they had spent more time and energy to education and career, versus 58 percent of the general population.
-73 percent wish they had made better financial decisions over the course of their lives while 65 percent of the total survey group felt the same.
-And about one-third of low-income mothers wish they had postponed having children — or had fewer of them.
“The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink” doesn’t only talk about the problems, it features various potential remedies — from prospective policy initiatives to community programs.
And women can’t change things alone. “Men are totally a part of this conversation, in terms of how they raise their daughters, in terms of how they support their wives and their partners,” she said.
“Leave out the women, and you don’t have a full and robust economy. Lead with the women, and you do,” Shriver wrote in the report. “It’s that simple, and Americans know it.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Beyoncé and other women also contributed their thoughts. Beyonce’s thoughts on gender equality have gotten a good amount of attention..
“We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life,” she wrote. “And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.”
Since women make up 54 percent of voters, “women are at the center of our country,” and Democrats and Republicans need to work together, Shriver said.