I’m Ba-aaack

Hey, Pulsies! I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long. Where to start with the excuses? I turned 40 – an unspecified number of years ago – and was stunned by my precipitous decline. Suddenly the skin on my legs loosened, like a pair of stretched out stockings, and started pooling around my ankles. Seriously. Then my knees, which had long crackled charmingly on staircases, expressed their general displeasure more volubly, eventually requiring surgery. Plus there were deaths in the family, suspensions and an expulsion (ADHD is a gift that just keeps giving!), and, let’s face it, “Dallas” reboots don’t watch themselves. Alls I’m saying is, I was really busy.

Now, let’s talk about wimmin. Specifically, the state of gyno-North Carolinians. We’re poorer, less insured, paid less, and underrepresented in the Legislature. WOOOT! Give it up for the ladies! There has been progress: teen pregnancy rates are down, infant mortality is down (though still higher than the nation as a whole), educational achievements are up, and there are more women in “managerial and professional occupations” than two decades ago. Overall, women in North Carolina are faring well. However, if you’re a single mother, especially a poor one, you’re not doing so hot. Thank God you have me to tell you that, you might have been too busy to notice on your own.

The persistent wage gap, the high cost of child care, and limited access to public programs that can help families in difficult economic times mean that many households in North Carolina, particularly those headed by single women with children, face serious economic uncertainty.”

In the Triangle such moms are likely to struggle to maintain jobs because of the shortage of affordable child care.

The average fees for year-round, full-time child care in North Carolina range from $6,227 (for a four-year-old in a family child care home) to $9,185 (for an infant in a child care center). By comparison, the average annual tuition and fees for a public four-year college in North Carolina are $5,685. In the Triangle area, 50,905 children qualify for child care subsidies because their parents earn too little to afford the fees, yet fewer than one in four eligible children receives any subsidized child care within any of the Triangle metropolitan area’s six counties. Child care subsidy payment rates for eligible children in each county are substantially below the market rates for child care in the state.”

Obviously, we need to send our babies and toddlers to college. We have plenty of those in the area.

Of course there’s public assistance available to the needy losers who qualify, but, wait! what? They’re so busy being lazy and entitled 47 percenters that they’re not getting it! From the state report: “In North Carolina, seven percent of families in poverty with young children receive Work First benefits. One in ten (eleven percent) of single mothers and two percent of single fathers with young children and incomes below the qualifying poverty threshold receive any cash assistance, a lower proportion than in the United States overall.” Why? Can someone tell us why this is?

Other Triangle tidbits:

[N]early three in ten women in the Triangle area—an estimated 153,500—have not completed high school or do not have educational qualifications beyond a high school diploma or the equivalent. Proportionately more men than women in The Triangle have such a low educational attainment (32 percent compared with 29 percent), but women with this level of education are less likely than men to have jobs with wages sufficient to sustain a family. … In this area, as in the state and nation as a whole, having a college education raises the level of earnings for both women and men, but does not reduce the gender gap in earnings. In the Triangle area, the difference in earnings between men and women is even larger when only those with a bachelor’s degree or higher are compared. College-educated women in The Triangle make only 68 cents for every dollar earned by a college-educated man.”

So maybe not quite the success story we were hoping for, am I right? Is this because of all the tech jobs around here? Why is the wage gap for highly educated women worse in the capital area than in the state as a whole? Why can’t we create a network of quality child-care to support working parents? I know I shouldn’t worry because the Republicans in the state legislature are all over women’s issues, but I just can’t help myself. Transvaginal ultrasounds just aren’t going to fix this, boys. Do you have anything else?

One Comment

  1. Rob Schofield

    October 15, 2012 at 8:02 am

    We’ve missed ya’, AV. Hope you’ll be causing trouble on a refular basis.

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