Women to Woman: Women hit harder in tough timesby Andrea Sarvady on Jan. 06, 2009, under Family, Opinion
The single biggest issue facing women in 2009? Probably the same issue that most concerned women in 1929 – ain’t nostalgia grand?
This time around, our plummeting economy has affected a working world filled with women as well as men, and there wasn’t anyone during the holidays who wouldn’t have picked job security over a new Guitar Hero waiting for them under the tree. (Well, maybe Guitar Hero is a bad example – it rocks! But you get the idea.)
Tough times are everywhere, yet women enter this troubling financial cycle already behind the guys.
More than a quarter of all U.S. households are headed by a woman, and those families earn and save less than all other households.
In addition, single women have a median net worth that is about a third of the $93,000 national average, according to research published in December.
Given these added challenges, can women keep up with their bills? Maybe, but it’s their long-term health that seems to be falling by the wayside.
The American Psychological Association conducted a stress survey last summer that showed that more women than men (84 to 75 percent) expressed fears about the economy, with new physiological and emotional symptoms attending that worry – and that was before the stock market played its own swan song.
It gets worse: Moms are cutting back on health care – both for themselves and their families – just as the added stress makes them ripe for the No. 1 killer of women, heart disease.
Riding somewhat to the rescue is a solution right out of the Depression-era playbook: building jobs by building bridges and roads.
Yet as Linda Hirshman wrote recently in The New York Times, women make up only 9 percent of the work force in construction, and few are trained in alternative energy, another major public-works job source.
She points out that growth in education and child care jobs also promised by this administration would put many more women back on the payroll.
I understand the grumbling about turning into the Socialist States of America – really, I do. But desperate times call for inclusive measures.
I hope that when the new administration creates a plan of attack for Depression 2.0, they remember that women need jobs, too, for the very health of our nation. Wouldn’t that rock?
Andrea Sarvady (email@example.com) is a writer and educator specializing in counseling and a married mother of three.