NCWU’s statement on the Economic Picture for #NCWomen

(from statement at Friday’s press conference with the NC NAACP on the upcoming (6/24) Moral Monday demonstration, which will in part focus on women’s issues, particularly economic issues).

From the imposition of more and more restrictions on women’s control over their bodies, to potential cuts in vital domestic and sexual violence victim assistance programs, to voting restrictions that will disproportionately affect women, we are alarmed at the proposals and legislation being produced this session. In terms of economic policies, we feel women have a lot to lose as the General Assembly debates tax reform, the budget and cuts to vital public services. Specifically, the economic picture for women in NC includes:

  • Nearly one in five women in NC live in poverty;
  • More than one in five women aged 18 to 64 lack health insurance;
  • Over 40% of working women in NC are the primary breadwinners for their families; yet
  • Women in NC still earn 83% of men’s earning for the same work:
  • Single women with children are more likely to live in poverty than any other type of family; in 2010, theirs was the lowest median income of any family type, at ~$20,000; and
  • Women make up more than 1/2 of the low-wage earners in the state, and more than 1/2 of the NC citizens facing long-term unemployment

Already at a disadvantage economically, we believe the current legislation that cut unemployment benefits, rejected Medicaid expansion, and eliminated the Earned Income Tax Credit so beneficial to low-income women raising families will cause women in the state to lose the economic gains they have made over the years. The failure to pass the Equal Pay Act, and the proposed tax reform and budget appear to make it more difficult for women to sufficiently provide for themselves and their families. With just over half the population of NC made up of women and girls, women still only make up less than a quarter of the General Assembly. As we look at policies that have the potential to effect women uniquely and/or directly, we need to bring women’s voices to these debates. We hope to bring those voices this Monday and beyond as we work toward women’s full participation in our society.