The number of female heads of household has consistently risen over time. Just 10 years ago, the Center for American Progress put out a study noting a new trend in rising female heads of household. Now, that number has increased even more, making single mothers the primary source of income in 41% of homes, earning at least half of the income for the household. The increase in female heads of household has taken a steady increase from 1997 to 2017, when the Center for American progress put out another study. See below, the figure from the Center for American Progress details the increase of bread-winning mothers from 1967 to 2017.
While these numbers have been rising, it is important to note the economic state of these households which affect working women who are trying to support a family. Although the number of bread-winning women has steadily increased in the past 20 years, the work-family model remains systemically unsupported. Paired with that, full time working women still only make 81% of what full time working men make on average. This affects the state of the household and the home, creating a disparity for female heads of household.
This makes it harder for these households to support themselves on a day to day basis, let alone be able to take care of their home properly. Rebuilding Together has affiliates across the United States that work to provide healthy homes for those who need it the most, including female heads of household living in low-income homes.
The Center for American Progress also found that mothers in low income families are more likely than their high-income counterparts to be the breadwinners. This illustrates the point that women as heads of household are more likely to live in poverty, more likely to be working the minimum wage jobs, and having to take care of their families on their own. This disparity is socioeconomic and cultural, as our culture perpetuates a standard for women that does not include single working mothers and often overlooks the struggles that are inherent in this role.
Creating an environment that is safe and healthy for every home should be inherent, and easy to attain. And yet, single female head of households have to work twice as hard to provide for their families and often live in residences that need the most work done.
Rebuilding Together works to help the households and homeowners who need it most, and strives to make housing more equitable in the areas we serve. The work we do will always strive to meet the needs of the homeowner and help make their home healthier and safer. In 2019, 71% of the homes surveyed after being served by Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan were owned by women.
Today, we wanted to make this blog post and recognize National Women’s Day and the work that all women do to take care of themselves, their homes, families and communities. Every time work is done in the area of recognizing socioeconomic inequities for women, it is a reminder that we all can support women in different ways in our respective roles. Supporting organizations that prioritize the health of low-income families and keeping ourselves educated on the struggles of women are all great ways to stay engaged and connect with the communities across the US that are affected by these inequitable practices every day.