Election Day is nearly upon us – a fact you’ve probably been reminded of more than once today in the political campaign ads flooding your television. With all of the clamor around polls and projections, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s truly at stake. But the 2010 midterm elections will have a real effect on whether women and families will get the support they need in these difficult times. In the coming months, Congress is poised to make decisions on a host of critical issues. Here are three important reasons to vote next Tuesday.
- Social Security is important to all Americans, but women especially depend on Social Security’s guaranteed, lifetime benefits. Because women are paid less than men and are more likely to take time out of the labor force for caregiving, they reach retirement with fewer savings and smaller pensions than men – but have to stretch these resources over a longer lifespan. More women than men are Social Security beneficiaries, and for a majority of women 65 and older, Social Security provides half or more of their income. By voting, women can make sure our leaders in Washington pursue policies that protect and strengthen the Social Security system.
- Millions of single mothers struggle to provide for their families on their own. The typical single mother working full-time, year-round, earns $28,000, compared to $40,000 for the typical worker. In 2009, over 38% of single mother families were poor, and the percentage of African-American and Hispanic single mother families living in poverty was even higher (44% and 46%, respectively). In August 2010, the unemployment rate among women who head families was 13.4%—the highest in over 25 years. By voting, women can make sure our leaders in Washington support single moms so they can make ends meet for themselves and their families.
- The economy is still struggling to recover from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. By some measures, the recession is actually worsening for women; between August 2009 and August 2010, women lost 224,000 jobs while men gained 453,000. With over 6 million Americans unemployed for six months or more, and five job seekers for every job opening, the next Congress will have to decide whether to invest in job creation and extended unemployment insurance for workers struggling to find jobs.
Women have the power to elect leaders who will prioritize investments that can help women and their families through hard times, expand opportunity, and strengthen the economy. Cast your vote on November 2nd and make your voice heard.