About Women in Poverty


The Junior League of Seattle is committed to helping women in poverty in Seattle. Poverty limits resources, options, and the ways to care for oneself and family– making it harder for women and families to thrive.

In King County, a family consisting of one parent and one preschooler needs to earn $56,964 annually to cover basic needs. Enhancing skills and improving access to jobs that pay self-sufficient wages and have career potential all result in women receiving better wages.

Through efforts like LBDI, we as an organization are able to provide critical education on this issue and raise money to effect change.

Below are recent statistics regarding women and poverty in our community:

  • In Washington, more than 274,000 family households are headed by women. About 26 percent of those families, or 71,272 family households, have incomes that fall below the poverty level.
  • Approximately 25.7 percent of those working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in Washington are women.
  • Single mothers pay half (49 percent) of their income for infant care and more than a third (37 percent) of their income for young child care. Student loan debt is higher for women students than for men regardless of degree type attained.
  • Over the course of a year, a woman working full time in King County earns an estimated $16,000 less annually than a man, according to the 2015 “Status of Women in Washington” report produced by Washington nonprofit Women’s Funding Alliance (WFA). Over the course of a 40-year career, that adds up to $544,000 less. The report shows that women of color are even more severely affected.
  • The Institute for Women’s Policy Research concludes that at the current rate of progress, the gender wage gap in Washington state won’t close until 2071. This means a girl who is 10 years old today will be close to retirement age before she’ll be paid the same wage as her male counterpart.
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