Film study | English homework help

The term “feminization of poverty” came into use in the late 1970s as an expression encapsulating the phenomenon of women’s increasing presence among the ranks of the poor. U.S. sociologist Diana Pearce coined the phrase in 1978. This concept results not only from lack of income, but also from deprivation of capabilities (access to education and so forth) and gender biases present on both a societal and governmental level. Women reflect occupational segregation; they tend to gravitate toward lower-paying majors and professional fields, like education and humanities, rather than higher-paying, male-dominated fields, like engineering and the hard sciences. As a result, women are often paid less than men, and these discrepancies last a lifetime. Also, if a couple divorces, the man’s income level tends to rise, while the woman’s tends to go down. Moreover, women tend to live longer than men and often outlive any accumulated wealth. As you can see, the reasons for the feminization of poverty are numerous.

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Refer to The Feminization of Poverty: Past and Future: http://apps.olin.wustl.edu/macarthur/working%20papers/wp-mclanahan3.htm

In viewing the film, in what ways does Erin Brockovich exhibit the characteristics of the feminization of poverty? Share evidence of this from the film scenes.

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