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Resolutions & Amendments

26th International Convention - San Francisco, CA (1984)

Women and Poverty

Resolution No. 148
26th International Convention
June 18-22, 1984
San Francisco, CA


Full-time women workers earn only 60 cents for every $1 earned by full-time male workers, and the number of working women who are poor or near poor is large and growing. Most working women (six out of ten) earn less than $10,000 a year, and over 2.8 million (13 percent) who are fully employed earn $7,000 a year or less; and

The percentage of families maintained by women has increased by 43% since 1973. Although nearly one out of six families are headed by women, one-half of all poor families are headed by women. The median family income of families maintained by women is barely 50 percent of that of families maintained by men; and

Fifty-two percent of all adults and 59 percent of all persons 65 and over are women; yet, of all adults in poverty, 64 percent are women and of all poor elderly persons, 70 percent are women; and

Women and children now make up 94 percent of the AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) population and 75 percent of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients; and


The Reagan Administration budget cuts in social programs have had a devastating impact on women generally and especially on poor women. For example, budget cuts in AFDC benefits alone have totaled more than $3.6 billion over fiscal years 1982-1986 and hundreds of thousands of families have had their benefits reduced or terminated.

Food stamp eligibility has been tightened, removing nearly one million recipients from eligibility. However, as poverty spreads and deepens within our society, households enrolled in the program have increased from 6.8 million in 1980 to 7.2 million in 1982, with over one-half of these households headed by women; and


Medicaid, which provides financing for medical care to low income families and individuals, including one-third of all female headed households, has been targeted by the Reagan Administration to be cut by $1 billion in fiscal year 1985 and $6.7 billion by fiscal year 1989. Women constitute 65 percent of all Medicaid recipients.

The Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is slated to be cut to eliminate 450,000 participants in fiscal year 1985. WIC currently reaches only one third of the nine million potentially eligible participants, therefore, this program should be increased rather than decreased; and


Funding for the EEOC has been cut substantially and the Reagan Administration has made it clear through administrative policy changes that employers wishing to discriminate against women have little to fear from the Federal Government. The lack of enforcement of Title VII and the Equal Pay Act means that women being paid substandard wages in violation of federal anti-discrimination laws cannot depend on their government for redress; and


Women are now forced to deal with the unsupportable burdens of single-parent child rearing and caring, the systemic underpayment for their labor in the work place, and the reduction of governmental family support programs.


That AFSCME opposes the cuts in federal support for health and social services programs, and AFSCME opposes the mandatory workfare and other punitive eligibility restrictions on AFDC. AFSCME regards these policies not as misguided measures to attain economic recovery, but as deliberate social policy designed to perpetuate and worsen the feminization of poverty; and


That AFSCME councils and locals continue to work for pay equity to upgrade jobs traditionally held by women so they are equitably paid; and


That AFSCME urges councils, locals and women's committees to do everything they can to defeat Reagan in November and to voice their concerns about the impact of the Reagan Administration policies on the economic status of women.


Carol Dimmock, Delegate, Local 704
Dominic J. Badolato, Delegate, Local 1303
Council 4
Hartford, Connecticut