Several of you sent me this from Yahoo.com’s headlines page — Economy Hitting Women Hardest, Say Experts (11/21/08). It’s a variation on the “Nuclear Holocaust Kills Billions–Women Hit Hardest” theme. If the Ms. Foundation for Women says women suffer the worst, it must be true.

I’m not an expert on poverty statistics, but I do have a few questions concerning the Ms. Foundation for Women’s assertion that of the “37 million Americans living in poverty, 27 million are women and children”:

1) If 60% of the “27 million women and children” living in poverty are children, then the numbers balance completely–women are no more likely to be in poverty than men. If the % is half, then the male-female poverty ratio is an unremarkable 5 to 4.

It is misleading to say that of the “37 million Americans living in poverty, 27 million are women and children” as a way to show that it’s mostly women who are suffering. You could probably just as truthfully say something along the lines of “of the 37 million Americans living in poverty, 27 million are men and children.”

2) The poverty numbers don’t account for the greater benefits available to poor women than poor men.

3) I doubt that men’s child support obligations are factored in when considering these poverty statistics. In fact, when women receive welfare, the state demands that poor men repay the government for the benefits provided poor women. I doubt that this is considered.

4) The people at the very bottom of society–the homeless and the imprisoned–are overwhelmingly male. That never gets mentioned, of course.

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