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Feminist News


December-22-10

Women Control $4 Trillion in Annual Household Spending (3rd in Series)

Last week, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee (JEC) released Invest in Women, Invest in America: A Comprehensive Review of Women in the US Economy, a study on women's key role in the US economy, including women's spending power.

Women, according to the JEC report, control 73 percent of spending within their households, which is equivalent to approximately $4 trillion in yearly discretionary spending. Furthermore, women are more likely than men to control daily expenditures in more than half of middle and upper-class households.

Women's income is crucial to their families and growing in importance. In 2008, 38.1 percent of working women earned equal to or more than their husbands, which represents an increase from 1967, when only 18.7 percent of women earned salaries greater than or equal to their husbands. In families in which both spouses work, the woman's salary accounts for 36 percent of the household income, an increase from 26.6 percent in 1970.

Single women now represent 51 percent of all women (2005 Census data), and women served as the sole breadwinner in one third of families in 2009. Single women are more financially vulnerable and have a significantly lower median net worth, $32,850, compared to all households, $93,001.

Representative Maloney clarified, "The bottom line is that our economy is harmed when women's skills are not fully utilized. As we dig out from the worst recession in decades, now more than ever, we need to tap women's talent, know-how, and purchasing power to usher in a new era of growth and prosperity."

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), and Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority, joined Maloney in releasing the report at the Capitol last Friday.

Media Resources: Feminist Majority 12/21/10; Invest in Women, Invest in America: A Comprehensive Review of Women in the US Economy 12/17/10; Joint Economic Committee Press Release 12/17/10; Consumer Action 12/2/08; New York Times 1/26/07