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New federal report on women highlights disparities in quality of life for Latinas

LatinaLista — March is officially Women’s History Month where for 31 days the nation will celebrate how far women have come. Yet, while more women are working outside the home, more are holding managerial positions and more have obtained college degrees, it’s also true that there still exists income and economic disparities between the genders more acute than ever and women are still the targets of violence in and outside the home.


But what is the true picture of how women are really doing in the U.S.? How are Latinas doing in the U.S.?

There hasn’t been a comprehensive federal report on women since 1963, when the Commission on the Status of Women, established by President Kennedy and chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, produced a report on the conditions of women.

Now, 48 years later, someone got the bright idea (not meant sarcastically) that it’s about time to take another in-depth look at women.

Today, the White House released a new report entitled Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being. The report is a statistical portrait showing how women, broken down by ethnicity in most cases, are faring in the United States today and how their lives have changed over time.

The report focuses on five critical areas: people, families and income; education; employment; health; and crime and violence. The White House has also set up an accompanying website to the report which will be updated throughout the month of March.

Some of the report’s findings include:

The percent of uninsured Hispanic women was much higher than that of non-Hispanic White or non-Hispanic Black women.

Females comprised 70 percent of victims killed by an intimate partner in 2007 and the proportion has remained mostly unchanged since 1993.

Women who live alone have the lowest median income of any type of household, including households with only a male who lives alone. Similarly, households headed by women with other relatives but no spouse also have lower income levels than households headed by men with other relatives but no spouse. Married-couple households have higher levels of household income relative to their non-married counterparts.

Lower shares of Black (10 percent), Hispanic (7 percent), Asian (11 percent),
and American Indian and Alaskan Native (8 percent) women are 65 and older, compared to 16 percent of White women.

Black and Hispanic females are more likely to be poor than non-Hispanic White females. In 2009, slightly more than one-quarter of both Black females (28 percent) and Hispanic females (27 percent) had family incomes below the poverty line, compared to 11 percent of White, non-Hispanic females.

Obesity among Black and Hispanic women is significantly higher than among White women In 2009, 11 percent of non-Hispanic White women reported being in fair or poor health, compared to 18 percent of Hispanic women and 21 percent of Black women.

It is clear just from this cursory scan of the report that there is no new news. Women, as a whole, still haven’t come as far as we all would like to think. Latinas and blacks are faring much worse than they should be given this is the 21st Century.

Much work needs to be done that can only be accomplished through guidance and information that comes from programs that address the needs of women. Programs that are bound to be targeted by budget axes by Congress and state and local legislators across the country.

However, there are some government officials who have high hopes in these tight economic times for what can be accomplished because of this new report.

“At a time when the Government is striving to do more with less, it is more important than ever to ensure we are investing in what works,” said Jacob Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget. “By consolidating our data so that we can learn more about how services and programs are impacting lives, we can target our resources to deliver the best results for women, families, and all Americans.”

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