The recession has affected more women than men in California, according to a report made by the California Budget Project this month.
The CBP’s report claims that women, particularly single mothers and women in college, have continued to struggle more than men even during the state’s economic recovery. The report also found the reason for these hardships is due to the state’s cuts, particularly the cuts to Medi-cal, welfare and public colleges.
“Women haven’t shared equally from the recovery; women have not been gaining employment; a lot of that has to do with the budget cuts,” said Jean Ross, executive director of the CBP. “Single mothers have particularly had it hard because of the cuts to the child care programs. For women in school or looking for job, it has been particularly hard for them because some women will want to attain jobs in teaching and child development. The cuts in school and the cuts in child care have definitely made this hard for women.”
The CBP also reported that constant cuts to the UC and CSU school systems, which cause tuition hikes, has made it difficult for women to enroll in classes and stay in school. As a result the number of women applying as first-time freshmen to UCs and getting accepted has dropped from 78.2 percent to 71.9 percent between 2007 and 2010.
As the employment market slowly recovers, working-age men with jobs have held steady at 62.6 percent in November 2011. Women in contrast have made little improvement; the decline of working women has fallen from 50.7 percent in November 2010 to 49.5 percent in November 2011, according to the CBP report.
Stacia Shorts-Baguio, a recent CSUN graduate with a degree in communications, has felt frustration having been in search for a job and not receiving any results.
“I think it’s hard for women in general. I was in the workforce for 15 years in retail. When I had my daughter, I decided to take a break and go back to school,” Shorts-Baguio said. “Society doesn’t really value this. I have years of executive experience, and it’s discouraging that all of my hard work isn’t getting noticed.”
Mothers have also been struggling due to the cuts in child care programs, such as Cal WORKS, Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, according to the CBP. Many women are making too much to receive these services, but they are still having difficulty making ends meet, especially for single mothers, the CBP reports.
An average working single mother earned only $16.74 per hour at a full-time, full-year job. The CBP estimates that a single parent should make $31.68 an hour in order to afford a standard living.
The number of single-parent families living in poverty has increased. The number of married-couple families with children has seen rises in poverty, but not compared to the single-parent families, according to the CBP.
The inflation-adjusted income for the typical single-mother family dropped 8.7 percent between 2006 and 2010, the report states.
Evelyn Reyes, single mother and former CSUN student, said that she has been affected harshly by the recession and has experienced changes to her income resulting in changes to services she is applicable for.
“My salary went down, and as a result, I had to start filing my taxes differently so I can make ends meet,” Reyes said. “I supposedly make too much to qualify for Medi-Cal, so I had to have to get health care from my job, having it get taken it out of my paycheck including the money that got taken away because of a 10-percent cut to my salary.”
Reyes is a mother of a 5-year-old boy and had to leave CSUN in 2007 when her son was born. It has been difficult for her to go back to school because of the increases in tuition and the cuts to her salary.
“We hope that by reporting these numbers, California will take these women more into consideration and know whether to make these cuts,” said CBP Executive Director Jean Ross, when asked whether reporting these numbers will help bring change to women in California affected by the recession.