What happens to the women that our system fails? All the women paid too little over their lifetimes to escape plunging into poverty? (Women are twice as likely to retire into poverty as men). Women who are forced out of their jobs once they become pregnant, then lose their medical insurance? Or those who flee their homes rather than be beaten or killed? How do such women survive?
Many hide in the shadows of cities and small towns throughout America, in abandoned buildings, cars or cardboard boxes, living in fear and anguish. The U.S. has the largest number of homeless women and children among industrialized nations in the world.
Homeless advocates say as many as one out of every four homeless women are on the streets because of violence committed against her, not only domestic abuse but also while serving in war. Among female veterans, homelessness is rising. On average they earn $10,000 less in civilian jobs than male vets, making it harder to afford a home. Less than five percent of the homeless shelters run by the veteran affairs department offer women separate housing from men.
The poverty of women and children brings down nations. Multiple studies have shown that what is good for women is good for the community at large. Economic analyses by the World Bank, United Nations and Goldman Sachs demonstrate a significant statistical correlation between gender equality and the level of development of countries.
Number of women currently living in poverty, or on the brink, in the U.S.: 42,000,000
Number of children dependent upon these women: 28,000,000
The Shriver Report
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
24-hour crisis line (866) 292-9688