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Beyoncé, Eva Longoria, and Maria Shriver Call for Change in Report on Women in Poverty

by: Natalie San Luis

Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 11:00 AM CST

Women make up half of the workforce and more than half of the college and post-graduate degrees earned. But despite how far we've come, one-third of women are living in or on the brink of poverty—and that figure is significantly higher among women of color and trans women.

The consequences of these startling realities are revealed in The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Pushes Back From the Brink, a new study by journalist Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress.

The report includes essays and chapters by Beyoncé Carter-Knowles, Eva Longoria, LeBron James, Katherine Sebelius, Hillary Clinton, and other celebrities, academics, and journalists.

The four-part report dives into the social and political conditions that keep women in poverty and suggests solutions to ensure fair wages, benefits, economics opportunities, and social support.

The Shriver Report is available to download for free today.

Read more about the report after the jump.

Although two-thirds of primary or co-breadwinners are female, women are more likely than men to have minimum-wage job, receive no paid time off, and be denied promotions.

It's not coincidence—it's a structural problem. Women are not equally represented in local, state, or national policymaking. And because America is one of the only developed nations that doesn't mandate any paid paternity leave, companies are less likely to promote women who may choose to become pregnant.

In her essay "Gender Equality Is a Myth!," Beyoncé emphasizes that women alone are not responsible for lifting themselves out of poverty: Men must also participate in the struggle against economic injustice.

Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more-commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect. [...]  We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.

Eva Longoria points out that poverty does not affect all women equally in her chapter on "Empowering Latinas."

One in three of us drops out of high school, and 25 percent of Latinas live in poverty. Latina unemployment is high at 9 percent, and when they are in the workforce, Latinas earn less than 60 cents for every dollar a white man earns for the same job.

The report closes with a section on the importance of pushing back against economic inequality and how to do it. Perhaps the most important suggestion is to support lawmakers who support women. Vote for candidates who support equal pay for women and paid parental leave.

Natalie tweets from @nsanluis.

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Do not republish without express written permission.

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