How the Other Half Fared: The Impact of the Great Recession on Women

The Great Recession was widely proclaimed to be a "mancession" because more than two out of three of the jobs lost during the downturn were jobs held by men. Yet the recession had a significant impact on women and their families as well. The Great Recession was the first in recent history in which women experienced substantial job loss. Women supporting families without the help of a spouse were hit particularly hard.

In 2009, California's unmarried women with children were nearly twice as likely as their married counterparts - both men and women - to be unemployed, and their average weekly hours of work declined more than at any point in the last twenty years, diminishing their total earnings. Married women, on the other hand, increasingly became the sole breadwinners for their families as their husbands lost their jobs. The number of California's married-couple families with children relying solely on the earnings of wives increased by 77.7 percent between 2006 and 2009.

Yet as more families depended on women's earnings alone to make ends meet, many faced reduced incomes. Additionally, women and their children lost access to health coverage as a result of their own spouse's job.  

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