Divorce impoverishes women

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    Women who separate from their partner or divorce their husband are exposed to a 20% risk of insecurity, compared to 8% for men. This is the conclusion of a recent survey carried out by the Observatory for the Economic Empowerment of Women.

    Within heterosexual couples, economic inequalities between men and women widen at the time of cohabitation and the arrival of children. But it is when a couple’s life ends that they manifest themselves most strongly. According to a note published in mid-March by the Observatory for the Economic Empowerment of Women (Women Foundation) entitled “The cost of divorce”, 20% of women fall into poverty at the time of divorce or separation. Among mothers, this percentage increases to 34%. It also hits women ages 60 and older hard, suffering an estimated 31% loss of income. But this economic weakening is not immediate: on the contrary, it is progressive. “Divorce or separation are often indicative of pre-existing mechanisms of precariousness. Marriage is very often a spiral of poverty for women,” underlines the note, written by Lucile Peytavin (historian and essayist) and Hélène Gherbi (founder of the investment platform for women Femca).

    The arrival of the first child is one of the main factors that contribute to women’s precariousness: it causes a drop in income of around 25% in the following five years. “For women with lower salaries, this gap can even reach 40%,” specifies the note from the Women Foundation, which is based on an estimate taken from an INSEE report published in 2019. However, starting a family does not it is the only option. factor that amplifies the economic vulnerability of women. The note clearly refers to “to the sexism that permeates our laws, our practices and our judicial institutions“Administrative sexism, illustrated in particular by the combination of social assistance benefits that women may obtain after a divorce, but which they then lose, for example, if they remarry.”If you have a very low income but your partner earns a good living, the State assumes that spousal solidarity applies: you may not receive help because your partner can take care of you. This creates a dynamic of dependency between women and men, since women earn less in three quarters of couples.“.

    The report also points out the insufficient system of granting financial assistance, commonly called “alimony”, paid to the parent who obtains sole custody of the child (most often the mother) and whose amount is calculated based on the alimony. non-custodial alimony. parental income and not based on the needs of the child. The average amount of this contribution amounts to 170 euros per month on average per child, an amount well below the child’s needs, which would amount to at least 625 euros per month, according to a study by French economist Antoine Math. “This inevitably imposes on the guardian parent the burden of having to compensate for this deficit as best he can, and places many single-parent families in situations of inextricable precariousness.“, deplore the authors of the note.

    To reduce these inequalities, the report concludes with a suggestion of policy measures that should be implemented, such as the creation of single parent status and taking this status into account for the allocation of social housing, the deconjugation of family benefits and the subsidy. of family maintenance or the creation of a scale for the calculation of compensatory benefits and the tax exemption of alimony.

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