Why Women are Poor and Jobless

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The Atlantic wonders why the poor don’t go to work, and shows overwhelmingly that women don’t work for home or family reasons versus any other reason. “Are women staying home because they prefer to be mothers, or because they can’t find jobs that pay enough to make working a financially viable choice, once the cost of family care is factored in?” asks columnist Jordan Weissmann.

This is not a question. Overwhelmingly, we know it’s the latter. In 2011, the average cost for center-based infant care exceeded $10,000 a year in nineteen states and DC. That’s the average. Quality child care is exceedingly difficult to find – the New Republic calls American day care hell – and of course, more expensive.

One new mom I know plans to rent out her rowhouse condo and move back in with her parents. The father isn’t in the picture, but I can’t imagine it would be any different if he was. “Day care is around $1900 a month around here and a nanny is more,” she told me. Child care is only the beginning, however. The total cost of raising a child born in 2012 is an estimated $241,080, and that’s before you send little Jane to college. It’s no wonder that children are now a sign of status.

Got doldrums and dread? Here’s what to do:

  1. Get behind affordable child care.
  2. Women should stop acting like they can do it all. It takes a village.
  3. Everyone else, remember that too; act accordingly.

Women are poor and jobless because they are forced to make crappy decisions. Men too. Let’s stop that.

the notebook is a bunch of short items on my current obsessions.