Income Inequality, Poverty, and Discrimination

Provide a discussion on "Poverty and Depression related to women".


 Income Inequality, Poverty, and Discrimination are the grave issues of almost all countries around the world and even United States cannot be considered different on the ground. There are evidences that suggest that income disparities are evident in the country. The year 2011 saw almost 46.2 million Americans under poverty. The income inequality can be measured by looking at the percentage of households in the categories based on income. 
The other method is to divide the various elements such as individuals or households into five groups. The data on income inequality suggests that almost 20 percent gather 51.1 percent of the overall income generated by the country. On the other hand, the bottom 20 percent of the population gets only 3.2 percent of the total income. The Lorenze curve and Gini ratio depicts the presence of income inequality. The Lorentz curve shows downward shift from the Perfect equality curve. On the other hand, the Gini ratio shows the value 0.477 fir the data of 2011. The higher Gini ratio states high degree of inequality. 
The income inequality can be caused due to various reasons such as ability to handle the new tasks in changing scenario, level of education and skills, discrimination at the time of hiring, preferences of the people regarding the work type and time and the risks they want to take for their livelihood. 
Few other kinds of obstacles are unequal distribution of wealth, controlling the labour through few hands, luck (being or not being at the right place at the right time) of individual and the lack of connections. The income inequality has seen rise in trend since 1975 and the causes of such trend can be advocated by the lack of skilled workers, change in demographic, immigration, and decline in unionism, and increasing competition due to international trade. 
Poverty has been defined as the condition where individual or family lack the means to satisfy their physiological needs. The minimum threshold for the year 2015 was $12,331 for individual and 15,871 for two people (, 2016). 
Discrimination is defined as the practices that relates to treating people as lower in any form – color or gender – that impacts the livelihood factors such as hiring, occupational access, education and training, promotion, wage rate, or working conditions. Discrimination Coefficient determines the level of discrimination in monetary terms. For instance, if a white is getting $10 and an African American is receiving $8, then, the discrimination coefficient will be $2.

Problem Analysis

The problem that has been taken for discussion is Poverty and Depression related to women. Poverty is considered as almost permanent companion of depression. Researchers Belle, Longfellow, and Maksoky had noted in their research that mothers with small children are most affected and depressed class at the time of poverty induced due to depression. 
Moreover, a study in the year 2001 stated that above one-fourth of the mothers were found depressed (Siefert et al, 2000). Another study conducted by Coiro (2001) identified that almost 40% of the women diagnosed for clinical depression. These mothers were African-American, with less income earners and single mothers. Coiro (2001) asserts that despite women of low income being more affected by depression, they rarely get any type of medical assistance.
Few of the studies (Brown et al, 1975; Mathiesen et al, 1999; Stansfeld et al, 1998) states that unnecessary responsibilities, poor housing facilities, and conditions that severe leads to the stressful conditions. Moreover, poverty prevents individuals from fulfilling the external roles related to society. They even fail to maintain the moral standards (Edin and Lein, 1997). 
A study conducted by Edin and Lein (1997) asserted that in spite of desire to work to improve the life standard, the poor women rarely went for the job and the reason behind such denial is the concern of care for their children. Women who generally involve in working and try to earn some livelihood, often have to leave their children to streets for upbringing and depend on country hospitals for any medical care. 
The authors have also realised that most of such women form mutual aid network, which they use to take care each other’s children and support in the time adversity. Brown and Moran (1997) stated that the women who are single faced financial hardship because they perceive only limited domains to earn and grow and, therefore, fail to gather enough bucks for livelihood. 
Belle (1982) identified that on one hand where the creating a self-help social network can help relieve stress, on the other hand, the same social network can result into the increased stress level. The most common reason for such increase in stress can be the increased level of responsibilities, or contagious stress level that disperses throughout the group (Wilkins, 1974). Belle asserted that the costs the single mothers incur after joining the network increases significantly which outweigh the help they are receiving from such group or network.  
Galaif et al (1999) identified that if women unknowingly involve in the social networks that are indulged in negative activities such as drug-uses and drinking then it impacts the life and costs. Therefore, instead of improvement, such networks disrupt the growth on the contrary.
It has been identified that if single women are not socially connected then they rarely find someone who can support them in the tough times. This results into the strong links in the increase of poverty and similar surge in depression (Wolf, 1987). However, if the resources are low, then the women with little income involve in thoughts related to problem solving quite often (Banyard, 1995). 
The study states that single women with children are the most impacted group due to the increase in poverty. The increase in poverty results in increase in stress level. Even the support from social groups does not seem fruitful, and sometimes it leads to disastrous results if the groups are wrongly motivated or indulged in wrong activities.

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Problem Impact and Solution

The problem stated in the above section might impact few of my known people. These people are single mother with young children. However, one of the methods they have adopted is they keep their kids at day care while they stay on the job. The private day care helps these women in handling their child for certain sum. There are few women who cannot afford such private facilities and, therefore, leave their children to neighbours when they leave for the job. 
The impact of such hardship will be severe on the people known to me if they are placed into the similar situations. The mental as well as physical strain will increase significantly if there is no one to support their children. However, there are few prevention efforts that can be taken by the government and people themselves to ward off such conditions. The usual ones have already been mentioned in the initial paragraph of this section. However, they are not sufficient and particularly if there is lack of connection and high income source. 
There can be certain public policies from the government to reduce the impact of such hardship on the economic as well as discriminatory front. Moving ahead with such policies might be overwhelming for implementers. The first thing that has to be ensured is that the women are getting the benefits right into their hands. The benefits may include food stamps, training for jobs, care for children, and various others.
The research conducted Edin and Lein (1997) stated that few of the changes in welfare policies have reduced the benefits for women. A study conducted by HRMP (1988) identified that due to the reform in the policies, women were forced to take jobs at minimum wage and leave colleges without completing the education.
The plausible solution for such condition can be increment in the minimum wage and policies should be implemented that ensures that employers pay enough wages to the women to sustain decent lifestyle. Moreover, unions should be considered and policies should be formed accordingly. 
If the government focuses on forming support community at local levels and also efforts from the religious organizations – that are considered more powerful in terms connecting their voices to the cause – can impact the decisions of providing fair wages and various other types of economic justice to the women.
The government can focus on proper redistribution of taxes to reduce the distance between the affluent classes and the poor. Policies that help the rich amass unnecessary wealth must be abolished at any cost as it is severely impacting the poor class, and particularly the single mothers. 
However, the war between the decisions related to economic uplifting of the country and political needs rarely coincides with each other, and, therefore, it is required that government must realize such differences and work in the favour of the common people. Lack of support might impact the proper discourse of the whole economy and benefits reaching the needy people.


BELLE, DEBORAH, CYNTHIA LONGFELLOW, and VIVIAN PARKER MAKOSKY. "Stress, depression and the mother-child relationship: Report of a field study." International Journal of Sociology of the Family (1982): 251-263.
Brown, George W., and Patricia M. Moran. "Single mothers, poverty and depression." Psychological medicine 27.01 (1997): 21-33.
Brown, George W., Maire Ni Bhrolchain, and Tirril Harris. "Social class and psychiatric disturbance among women in an urban population." Sociology 9.2 (1975): 225-254.
Coiro, Mary Jo. "Depressive symptoms among women receiving welfare." Women & health 32.1-2 (2001): 1-23.
Edin, Kathryn, and Laura Lein. Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low-Wage Work: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low-Wage Work. Russell Sage Foundation, 1997.
Galaif, Elisha R., Adeline M. Nyamathi, and Judith A. Stein. "Psychosocial predictors of current drug use, drug problems, and physical drug dependence in homeless women." Addictive Behaviors 24.6 (1999): 801-814.
Mathiesen, K. S., K. Tambs, and O. S. Dalgard. "The influence of social class, strain and social support on symptoms of anxiety and depression in mothers of toddlers." Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology 34.2 (1999): 61-72.
Siefert, Kristine, et al. "Food insufficiency and the physical and mental health of low-income women." Women & health 32.1-2 (2001): 159-177.
Stansfeld, Stephen A., J. Head, and M. G. Marmot. "Explaining social class differences in depression and well-being." Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology 33.1 (1997): 1-9.
Wilkins, Walter L. Social Stress and Illness in Industrial Society. No. NMNRU-72-56. 
Wolf, Barbara Helen. The impact of socio-environmental stress on the mental health of low-income mothers. Diss. Harvard Graduate School of Education, 1983.

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