On March 1, the budget cuts made by Congress supposedly necessary for fiscal stability will go into effect. The sequester would deprive women of crucial social services and government assistance in a time where women are especially in need of them: women make up about 60% of the minimum-wage workforce, and 37.2% of female-headed households with children were living in poverty. Sequester cuts will only exacerbate a poor quality of life for these women.
Here are the top 3 ways the sequester will harm women.
1. Cuts to nutrition programs vital for women:
Photo Credit: Karen Apricot
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) gives pregnant women and women with children assistance in accessing food and health care. The WIC is essential to low-income women, not just because of the benefits it provides, but also because of the education it provides for those receiving it. WIC provides information about adequate nutrition for young children. The sequester cuts over 600,000 women and children from this program, who have no recourse when seeking food or health assistance in their communities.
2. No child care for 10,000 children:
Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force
Programs like subsidized childcare and Head Start are vital to allowing women economic stability, giving them the chance to work and provide for their families. The sequester cuts will get rid of funding for programs like Head Start and keep 10,000 children, and their mothers, from access to childcare that makes a critical difference in early development.
3. Less preventative care for women and less access to health care:
Photo Credit: Klaus D. Peter
Preventative health care, and tests that catch chronic diseases before they can develop fully, are crucial to adequate health for women. The sequester would mean 31,000 fewer cancer screenings for women, especially for those low-income women who are un- or under-insured.
The sequester's detrimental impact is not limited to women: all groups in America who have limited access to social services and economic stability will suffer as a result of sequester. It's no coincidence that these groups tend to be people of color, women, and people with disabilities: those already economically disenfranchised.
See you March 1: let's hope that that Congress can find a way to make a plan that will not bring upon undue burden to those already in economic crisis, including women, when solving this continued budget fiasco.