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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a writer and educator specializing in counseling and a married mother of three.