The relationship between an individual’s sex and poverty has been widely examined through a range of contrasting, and complimentary perspectives. A number of common themes emerge from existing research, including, but not limited to:
- The gendered pay gap;
- disproportionate impact of welfare reform upon women;
- significant under-representation of females in the labour market.
This section will explore these issues in further depth; however, they should be viewed in conjunction with:
- Accessing the Labour Market, Financial Services, Poverty, Participation and Engagement, Welfare Reform.
Key Facts and Figures: Glasgow, Scotland and the UK
The risk of child poverty for single parent families has been widely researched as a concerning issue throughout Glasgow, Scotland and the UK.
Save the Children suggest that around 90% of the 163,000 single parents in Scotland are women. Within this, 41% of single parent households live in relative poverty.
Research has demonstrated the following contributing factors to poverty, and subsequently, child poverty, in single parent households:
- Difficulties in accessing the labour market (in positions which are accommodating to their needs as single parents).
- Below inflation pay increases.
- Welfare reforms (including housing benefit changes)
- Childcare costs.
- Increased costs of living.
- The reduction of earning disregard (the amount parents can earn before benefits are removed).
- The current taper rate (the rate at which benefits are reduced, as earnings increase).
The Gendered Pay Gap
Research highlights that in Scotland, in 2013, a 17.3% gap in the mean weekly pay (full-time), existed between men (£625.10) and women (£516.80).
This is replicated within mean hourly pay (full-time). In which, a 13.3% gap exists. With men earning £16.27 per hour and women earning £14.11.
On average, women working full time in Scotland earn £108.30 less than men.
These issues demonstrate a gendered element to child poverty. Women appear to be earning less, have reduced options within the labour market, are disproportionately effected by welfare reform and are over-represented as single parents.
The knock on effect on children who have single, female parents is clear – they face increased risks of child poverty in comparison to two parent households and single male parents.
Poverty Rates by Sex
Overall there is little difference in the relative poverty rates (before housing costs) for adult men (14%) and adult women (13%).
However, in 2011/12, 21% of single women with children lived in poverty, compared to 17% of single men with children.
Furthermore, in 2011/12, 18% of female single pensioners without children lived in poverty, compared with 17% of males.
Glasgow has the second highest rate of births to mothers under the age of 24 within Scotland, 28%. This is slightly behind Dundee (35%), slightly more than the national average (25%), Aberdeen (23%) and significantly higher than Edinburgh, 18%.
Although these figures don’t differentiate between single mothers, or mothers within a relationship, previous discussions surrounding age and earnings, coupled with the gendered pay gap, suggest young mothers face heightened risks of poverty.