Poverty remains gendered. In the United States, women are 35% more likely than men to live in poverty and twice as likely to work in low-wage occupations.
Women of color, immigrant women, and working mothers are especially likely to work low-wage jobs essential to our economy but typically overlooked. At only $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum wage is not nearly enough for working families to meet basic needs such as housing, food, and healthcare, and the tipped minimum wage is even worse. As a result, tipped workers, 2/3 of whom are women, are twice as likely to live in poverty. And, since more than 2/3 of minimum wage workers are women, the minimum wage is truly a women’s issue—and one that directly impacts children. Low-wage and immigrant women are especially susceptible to wage-theft, including minimum wage violations, withholding of wages, denial of overtime or benefits, off-the-clock work, and stealing of tips.
All workers deserve to earn a wage that allows them to work and support themselves and their families. To move women out of poverty, we must enact a living wage alongside stronger safeguards against wage-theft. The tipped minimum wage must go: all industries must be required to pay at least the minimum wage.