Unmarried? It’ll Cost You: CAP Report On Unmarried Women

March 23, 2010

I recently started contributing to the newly launched blog over at Ms. Magazine. This is my first post, which looks at a new study out from the Center for American Progress. Bottom line: being unmarried puts a significant number of American women at an economic disadvantage, but Congress is looking at legislation that may help address this.

new report from the Center for American Progress gives stark details on what it means for single or unmarried women in our economy today that our classic definition of “family” hasn’t changed in decades. Although they make up just under half of U.S. women, unmarried women represent 60 percent of women without health insurance, 63 percent of unemployed women, and 75 percent of women in poverty. They are less employed, make less money, and perhaps most significantly, face additional discrimination and financial burdens because of the pervasive assumption that every family has a male “breadwinner.”

As Msreported this Fall,  government policies such as Social Security, designed decades ago, were crafted to support so-called “family men” who worked 40-hour weeks at the same job for their whole career. Health insurance, car insurance, retirement plans–nearly all are still defined by one’s marital status. Thus single women face higher costs for all of these things simply because they are single. This continues even though, in a radical shift from the 1960s, nearly half of American women are now unmarried.

The report finds hope, however, in several pieces of legislation currently in Congress that would address the needs of unmarried women.

Click here to read the rest at Ms.

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