Women are half the population in Texas and hold a significant stake in the Texas workforce, including 63 percent of mothers working. Yet Texas women continue to lag face challenges when it comes to key indicators of economic security, including income, health insurance, college loan debt and housing stability
These are the findings of Texas Women’s Foundation’s Economic Issues for Women in Texas 2020 report, which highlights the four critical building blocks for a woman and her family to achieve economic security: education, child care, health insurance and housing. The report examines the economic status of Texas women through a lens of gender, race and ethnicity, and identifies opportunities for change and policy recommendations.
The report examines both policies and practices at the state level, while identifying areas where innovation and investment can help strengthen women and their families,” explained Roslyn Dawson Thompson, president and CEO of Texas Women’s Foundation. “We encourage our Army of Advocates across Texas to use the study – and its platform of specific recommendations and potential actions – with lawmakers, as well as business and community leaders – to help shape policies and practices that impact women and girls. We hope the research creates a shared understanding and motivates a shared commitment to drive solutions that support women and their families, and a build a stronger Texas for us all.”
Dena L. Jackson, COO of Texas Women’s Foundation added, “While this data is from before COVID-19 changed all of our lives, the building blocks are in the headlines every day as stumbling blocks for women, families and our economy seeking to recover.”
Women are the face of poverty in Texas:
That means nearly one in six Texas women and girls lack sufficient financial resources to care for themselves and their families, resulting in over 2.3 million women in Texas earning less than the poverty threshold.
The majority of the state’s most vulnerable are Hispanic and Black women:
While Texas women experience poverty at higher rates than men, two in 10 Hispanic or Black women experience poverty, a rate twice that of White women. Single-mother-led households are almost two times more likely to experience poverty than single-father-led households.
The impact of the gender wage gap is significant:
Almost 60 percent of Texas women are breadwinners or co-breadwinners for their households—but in Texas, the gender wage gap has not budged over the past decade. For every hour that Texas women work, they earn $2.83 less than their male counterpart, based on median hourly wages—with even larger gaps for Black and Hispanic women. Among full-time workers in Texas, women earn $10,136 less per year than men on average.
EDUCATION: A PATHWAY TO ECONOMIC SECURITY
Educational achievement is increasing most among Hispanic women:
Although historically facing many obstacles resulting in lower college enrollment and completion, Hispanic women are closing the gap and are now the fastest growing group among women enrolling in and completing Texas public college educations.
CHILD CARE: A CRITICAL WORK SUPPORT FOR WOMEN
Subsidies and child care deserts are realities:
About 2.5 million working women in Texas have children, and access to child care is a critical work support Texas women need. Over a million Texas children could qualify for subsidized child care through the Texas Workforce Commission, but fewer than 10 percent of eligible children receive it due to lack of funds and lack of child care providers who accept subsidies. Lastly, 48 percent of Texans live in a child care “desert” including 55 percent of Hispanic families and 63 percent of rural families.
HEALTH INSURANCE: A FINANCIAL SHIELD FOR WOMEN
Texas women are uninsured:
Texas women are twice as likely to be uninsured compared with other women across the country. That means over 1.9 million adult Texaswomen live without the financial shield of health insurance coverage. Women of color are the least likely to have health insurance, with over 1 in 4 Hispanic women uninsured, as compared to 1 in 10 White women.
HOUSING: THE ANCHOR FOR ECONOMIC SECURITY:
Texas women carry a heavy housing burden:
More than 30 percent of families led by women are burdened by the cost of housing in Texas, meaning they spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing. Over 40 percent of families led by Black women spend more than a third of their income on housing.
Policy recommendations and business practices are spelled out in the study for each of the four building blocks.
To access the full report, visit www.txwfecoissues.org.
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