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  • Steven Robinson
    Steven Robinson

    Single Women Are Empowering the Economy

    In a society where its traditional concept of the nuclear family is slowly being reinvented, more and more women are choosing to stay single. According to the latest stats from the U.S. Census Bureau, single mothers make up more than 40 percent of all women-headed households, an increase of almost 20 percent in just the last decade. With more women choosing to go solo, the impact on the economy is already beginning to be felt--and it's only going to get bigger.

    The rise in the number of single women affects us all. It could mean more entrepreneurial companies as more women become financially responsible for themselves, more female leaders and more pressure on employers to offer better wages and benefits so that women can stay in the workforce and access economic stability. The shift definitely has the potential to reshape not only our economy but also the way society looks at the role women play in it.

    For one, the trend towards single women is causing the gender wage gap to shrink. Women now make up almost half of the work force and that presents employers with a new incentive to pay them what they’re worth. This could help close loopholes and address long-term implications that are still present in the pay gap caused by years of sexism. There is also a ripple effect in terms of lifestyle modifications such as how much one spends on food, clothing, housing, services and even leisure activities. For example, when women are solely responsible for their incomes, they are more likely to invest in buying experiences over things – a trend geared towards experiences, not acquisition.

    At the same time, single mothers are often faced with unique challenges that can limit their ability to advance their career or build wealth. High rent, childcare and medical issues that could come with health care cuts pose considerable problems. Additionally, current gaps in public policy can make it harder for single mothers to stay employed, especially if they need flexible hours, are worried about getting fired or don’t have access to paid leave.

    This makes it all the more important for society to ensure fair access to jobs, adequate workforce development plans, salary and labor laws that protect the rights of individuals and reasonable regulations that allow for people to take advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities and technologies such as digital currency, investments and crowd funding.

    These changes should pay off for single mothers and their children in the long run. However, there’s no timeline—or guarantee—of when the broken gender norms that surround single women will catch up with the financial reality of their situations. Until then, individuals, societies and organizations must work together to create a society where everyone can thrive.

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