The County Voice

Recession and Budget Cuts Double Whammy on Golden State’s Women

Today, the Women’s Foundation of California and the California Budget Project released a joint paper, Falling Behind: The Impact of the Great Recession and the Budget Crisis on California’s Women and Their Families. Major takeaways from the report include:

  • Single mothers were hardest hit by the recession and recent budget cuts contributed to sharp increases in poverty. The employment rate for California’s single mothers dropped by 10.4 percent from 2007 to 2010.
  • Older women (over age 65) also experienced an increase in poverty.
  • Both groups of women bore the brunt of repeated budget cuts – to Medi-Cal, to child care, to income supports (SSI/SSP, CalWORKs grants).
  • Budget cuts have reduced access to higher education for women seeking to gain skills needed to obtain higher wage jobs. Between 2007-08 and 2010-11, enrollment in community colleges declined by 129,612 students with 81.6 percent of this decline being women. Jean Ross, Executive Director of the California Budget Project, speculated that reductions in evening class offerings and career technical classes might explain the precipitous drop in enrollment among women at community colleges.

The report provides significant food-for-thought for state and local policy makers heading in to another year of difficult budget cuts – particularly with the proposals for CalWORKs, child care and Medi-Cal proposed by Governor Brown.

The report also served as testimony to a joint hearing of the Legislature this afternoon of Senate Human Services Committee, Assembly Budget Subcomittee No. 1 on health and human services, and the legislative Women’s Caucus. The Women’s Foundation of California will be using the report to begin organizing grassroots and local dialogue and to engage policy makers about the pending budget cuts.

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