FAST FACT: The rich get richer…

January 25, 2010 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird

Ever since my sophomore year of college, when I took “Social, Class, and Power,” I’ve had the refrain “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer” stuck in my head. Today’s report released by the Center for American Progress and Center for WorkLife Law at Hastings College of Law gave me the facts behind this refrain.

Since 1979, the median annual income of the bottom third of American families has decreased by 29% while the top third experienced a 7% increase in their median income. The middle third’s median annual income decreased 13%.

This widening income gap has a profound effect on women and their families. For instance, work-life conflicts are portrayed differently for high women than for low income women. The media loves to depict high income professional women’s work-life conflict as an “opt out revolution” at the same it characterizes the same struggle for low income women as a question of when to cut off welfare. In the meantime, middle income women are completely left out of the picture. As the report’s authors, Joan Williams and Heather Boushey, write,

while families across the spectrum face work-family conflict, they experience it differently, and the politics of resolving these work-life conflicts are defined by these differences. While these differences are very real, they mask the fact that no matter where Americans stand on the income spectrum, they need short-term and extended paid leave and new workplace flexibility rules, as well as high-quality, affordable childcare and freedom from discrimination based on family responsibilities.

To read the report, The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict: The Poor, the Professionals, and the Missing Middle, click here.

Also, Fem 2.0 is hosting a blog radio series called "Work/Life in our Communities." They've got an amazing line-up of guest hosts and speakers. Check it out!


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