Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New Fact Sheet on Women in Poverty Underscores the Need To Extend COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance
Press Release

RELEASE: New Fact Sheet on Women in Poverty Underscores the Need To Extend COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance

Washington, D.C. — Days after temporary COVID-19-related unemployment insurance expired, the Center for American Progress released a new fact sheet detailing critical information about American women in poverty. The resource presents data on women in poverty, explains why women experience higher rates of poverty, and presents policy solutions to ensure lasting economic security for women and their families. Key statistics from the fact sheet include:

  • Women have higher rates of poverty than men among across nearly all races and ethnicities—led by the nearly 1 in 4 American Indian or Alaska Native women living in poverty.
  • Women of color are disproportionately represented among women in poverty. While nonwhite women make up about 40 percent of the population, they make up nearly 60 percent of women in poverty.
  • Unmarried women and women with children have higher rates of poverty—with almost 1 in 4 unmarried mothers with children living in poverty.
  • Beginning at age 5, the poverty rate is higher among women than men over the course of their lifetimes—with the greatest disparities occurring during young adulthood and 75 and older.
  • The disparity in poverty rates among women with disabilities is more than double (22.9 percent) the rate among nondisabled men (9.5 percent) and women (11.4 percent).
  • LGBTQ women experience higher rates of poverty than cisgender straight women and men.

In addition to renewing the now-lapsed COVID-19 emergency unemployment insurance benefit, the fact sheet highlights the following targeted policy proposals, among others, to narrow gender disparities in poverty:

  • Closing the gender and racial wealth gap by strengthening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to rein in predatory lending; canceling student loan debt; making college debt free; and supporting and analyzing reparations as a viable strategy. These efforts should be coupled with investments in programs that promote wealth building such as improved access to banking and homeownership, among others.
  • Improving women’s financial security by raising the minimum wage and eliminating the subminimum wages for tipped and disabled workers; closing the gender wage gap by cracking down on pay discrimination; fortifying and enhancing Social Security; reforming Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); adjusting or eliminating asset limits; and expanding access to unemployment insurance.
  • Ensuring access to work-family policies such as paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, flexible scheduling, and quality, affordable child care, among others.
  • Protecting women’s physical health by expanding Medicaid and reauthorizing and expanding the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
  • Strengthening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to improve women and families’ food security.

Please click here to read: “The Basic Facts About Women in Poverty” by Robin Bleiweis, Diana Boesch, and Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at