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The Fight for Women’s Economic Security in Texas Continues

Without economic security, women face unnecessary hardship as they work to provide for the needs of their families.

The Dallas Women’s Foundation released its findings from its Economic Issues for Women in Texas 2017 report last week examining the economic status of women. With about 14 million women and girls in Texas, this research gives us insight to the economic barriers faced by over half of our state’s population. The report outlines these barriers through the four “critical building blocks” fundamental to achieving economic security for women: child care, education, health insurance, and housing. Without economic security, women face unnecessary and often unexpected hardship as they work to provide for the needs of their families. 

Child care is a critical work support for families.”

  • The lack of child care options compounded with no opportunity for paid leave, many moms have to choose between job security and caring for their families. Often bearing the majority of child care responsibilities, this limits women’s economic security at her job and can limit job opportunities all together.

  • Progressive lawmakers in Texas are fighting for economic security for all Texas families that comes with knowing they won’t lose their paychecks if they get sick or have a kid. 

 

Education is a pathway to economic security.”

  • Higher education provides greater opportunity for women, their families, and benefits the community around them. However, women have been found to leave school with more student debt and face a glaring pay gap once they enter the workforce.

  • Three Texas Democrats have filed bills this legislative session that would go a long way toward closing the pay gap for all Texas women. 

 

Health insurance is a financial shield against the unexpected.”

  • Working-age women face economic and educational barriers to health care with Hispanic women most often facing multiple barriers. They are largely affected by limited access to public health care programs forcing them to rely largely on employer-provided insurance, where the same barriers come into play. 

  • Women face constant attack on their reproductive health options threatening their freedom to make decisions about their bodies, their health, and their families. In this legislative session alone, GOP lawmakers have filed 18 bills attacking abortion access. 

  • Attacks on women’s reproductive rights have prompted a coalition response, Trust. Respect. Access., that aims to shift policy climate around abortion access, to educate the public, and to hold lawmakers accountable for political attacks on reproductive health care.

 

Housing is the anchor of economic security.”

  • High housing costs absorb significant portions of women’s income causing financial struggle to cover other basic needs of their families. This disproportionately affecting single women and women of color. Women are also at higher risk of eviction than men.

  • Families who rely on housing vouchers to assist with housing costs are predominantly female-led homes. The support provided by these vouchers allows these families to allocate their income to other needs their family has including food and health as well as allowing for increased job opportunities. But many landlords do not accept vouchers leaving many of these families with very limited renting options. 

  • State legislators can protect voucher users from housing discrimination, increase affordable housing options, and assist in providing legal services for families facing eviction.

While much progress has been made for women in Texas, there is still a fight ahead for achieving economic equality and security. As Texans, we can all join the fight by demanding our legislators pass legislation that supports all hardworking women and their families.