Poverty Awareness Month and the “Aging, Women and Poverty In California” White Paper
At the California Women’s Law Center, we recognize that age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigrant status, disability, or a combination of these, greatly impact a woman’s economic security. We have prioritized the women and families who find themselves in need of shelter, food, health care and support. And we are working to address the causes of poverty through legislation, policy advocacy and education.

January is Poverty Awareness Month. Presently, forty-six million Americans live in poverty and while both men and women are affected by poverty, women disproportionately suffer from its effects. The greater proportion of women in poverty is linked to many factors, including a lack of access to education and resources, gender violence, and unequal rights. This inequity affects not only women, but their children and families, and their community as a whole.

In 2015, a family of four was considered to be living in poverty if their yearly income was less than $24,250. More than one in eight women are living in poverty and more than one in three single-mother families are poor. Women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs and unemployment rates remain high for many groups of women, especially women of color.

CWLC has prioritized the specific and devastating effects of poverty on California’s aging population, and particularly its impact on our state’s aging women. In June 2016, CWLC joined the California Commission on Aging and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls to present a ground-breaking forum titled Aging, Women and Poverty In California. The forum brought together policy leaders and experts from around the state to discuss the looming crisis facing California’s older women. Speakers at the forum tackled issues including retirement, elder justice, housing, food insecurity, health care access, and many other pressing matters older Americans face.

CWLC is proud to share the policy brief covering the matters discussed at the forum last June. The brief, titled “Aging, Women and Poverty In California: we must do more,” summarizes our current crisis and makes specific recommendations to consider so that we can better serve California’s aging women. Our policy paper can be accessed online here.

We sincerely hope you will read this paper and share its important message with your colleagues. Please let us know if you are interested in participating in our ongoing work in this area or if you have a particular interest in a matter relating to aging, women or poverty in California.