chapter  11
2 Pages

Economic Status

Writing in the 1920s Virginia Woolf (1989) provided her own answer to the question of why women are poorer than men: they were having children. A woman with children lacked the conditions to be a writermoney and privacy. When Woolf wrote these thoughts, she stood apart from her contemporaries by considering the economic status of women as a group separate from their husbands, fathers, and brothers. By the late 1970s, evidence showed that more and more women were classified as poor, defined as receiving income in an amount below government’s set limits.1 Women are not found in disproportionate numbers just among the poor; a comparison of men and women according to any indicator of economic status reveals a consistent pattern of inequality. Women earn less than men for the same work; their share of the national income is less. Income is stratified by both race and gender, with black women at the bottom. In any group or class, women’s job status is lower than men’s. If married, they earn less than their husbands. If single and the head of a family, the have a family income that is lower than comparable families headed by men.