White House reports U.S. women still paid less, more likely to live in poverty

By Elaine Moy*

A recent White House report is being billed as the government's "most comprehensive report on the state of women in 50 years."

Findings, based on figures for 2009, include:

  • Men still amke more money on average than women;
  • Women are more likely than men to live in poverty;
  • Most college-educated women marry around age 30, high school-educated women marry around age 26;
  • 62% of women are married, compared with 72% in 1970;
  • 46% of women between 25-29 didn't have children in 2008 compared with 31% in 1976;
  • 87% of women 19 and older are high school graduates, slighter more than men;
  • 28% of both men and women have at least a college degree;
  • Women ages 25-34 are more likely to have a college degree than men of the same age, and more women tan men go to graduite school;
  • Men are still paid more on average than women doing the same or similar work, regardless of educational level;
  • Women earn about 75 cents for every $1 earned by a man in comparable jobs.

Some questions to ponder:

  • How do these findings impact your local church? Your annual conference staff?
  • Does your congregation offer Bible studies or adult classes on faith and financial management, addressing gender injustice, and understanding how the economy works?
  • Are adult Sunday school or class leaders women, men or both? Are men and women assigned to teach topics based on their gender alone? For which topics?
  • Who teaches Sunday school for children, youth and adults? Who sits on your finance commitee? Who are your trustees? Who gets asked to take notes in teh commitee meetings?
  • Do you pay your church staff members a living wage?
  • Do members of your Cabinet counsel congregations on receiving a new pastor, so that wages and compensation are consisten and fair, regardless of the pasto's marital status and/or gender?

*Information provided by the Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2011.

-Elaine Moy of Chicago is assistant general secretary for finance and administration for the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women.