|By Tim Grant, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette|
An increasing number of women find themselves responsible for providing for their families due to divorce, the death of a spouse, single parenthood and same-sex relationships. The role comes with the added burden of calling the shots when it comes to planning the family's financial future.
"Women approach decision-making differently than men," said
"For those women faced with dealing with financial issues around their families for the first time, it adds pressure, no doubt," Ms. Sackler said. "But women have been taking on this responsibility in increased numbers for at least the last 50 years."
U.S. Census data also indicates the number of households led by women are rising. The 2010 Census counted 15.3 million female heads of household with no husband present, while the 2000 census showed 12.9 million. In the
"Families come these days in many different flavors that look differently from Ozzie and Harriet," said
"We know divorce or widowhood can throw them into a financial crisis," she said. "Then other things start to happen. Adult children move back home and aging parents who are not financially sound could move back in with some women or they may have to help them pay for rent."
The study found 67 percent of women who are head of their households say their family situation creates a new level of the need to be financially aware and independent; and 59 percent said their unique family structure has made them become more active and involved in financial planning.
That can mean different things to different families.
Same-sex couples don't enjoy many of the benefits heterosexual couples are entitled to when they share property, such as rights of inheritance or the ability to make medical decisions for their partners. Same-sex couples will likely have even greater pressure to stay on top of legal matters and be financially aware.
Single women, meanwhile, face serious challenges when it comes to economic security and poverty.
The rates were even higher for African American, Hispanic and Native American female-headed families with children.
"It's really disturbing that in this country we have so many families headed by women living in poverty," said
She believes changes need to be made to corporate and public policies to address the growing issue.
"It's the result of unequal pay for women, workplaces that don't allow women to combine their work and family responsibilities with polices like paid leave and even sick time," Ms. Entmacher said. "Also, public policy doesn't provide adequate support for basics like child care."
Child care is a necessity for single mothers to be able to earn a living, yet Ms. Entmacher said only 1 in 6 children eligible for child care assistance receives it because the program is underfunded by the federal and state governments.
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|Source:||McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|