IN-DEPTH: The working poor in Central Texas; women make 18 percent less than men

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Posted at 11:22 AM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 20:36:46-05

WACO, Texas — One Waco business owner understands being a minority and a single mother. Working three jobs just to make it.

"Another day in paradise," says Shammica Evans.

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Waffle Chic is a food trailer set up at 2223 Austin Ave.

"Everybody has their own twist on how they make chicken and Waffles," says Evans.

She has worked for years in the food industry.

"I love to feed people," said Evans.

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It's a secret recipe handed down.

For years though, poverty was also handed down from generation to generation.

"Being on government assistance was a tradition throughout our family," said Evans.

It wasn't because they choose not to work, but because of low wages.

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Evans was a single mother. She would work two or three jobs just to pay the rent.

Thanks to some help with a business start-up, she's now off government assistance.

Poverty and single moms

Single-parent families in the U.S. are at the highest levels in the US. There are 10 million households that identify as single-parent families.


Since 1965, single-parent rates gave tripled with 75 percent being single moms.

Single mothers are 5 times more likely to be poor than married couples.

History of women in the work place

Between the 1960s and 1980s, deep cultural changes were changing the role of women in the workplace.

Women's Strike for Peace and Equality, New York City, Aug. 26, 1970.

It seemed that Americans started to accept some of the basic goals of the Sixties.

  • Equal pay for equal work.
  • An end to domestic violence.
  • Women in managerial jobs.
  • An end to sexual harassment.
  • Sharing of responsibility for housework and childbearing.

In 1966, the National Organization for Women was formed.

Where are we at today?

Now, The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that men in the U.S. are paid 18 percent more than women.

A study also shows that women spent an average of 1.7 hours per day and men spent an average of 46 minutes per day, caring for and helping children in 2020.

Women spent 13 minutes per day more in 2020 compared with 2019, while men spent about the same amount of time doing it both years.

The average salary for a Texas man is just over $51,000. A Texas woman is over $40,000.

The gap becomes even bigger for women of color.

What's the solution?

Emily Mills is the founder of Jesus Said Love. The organization works with women who have been victims of sex trafficking. They also provide jobs to help the women get on their feet and provide for their families.

"These women deserve a community of support and livable wage jobs so I really want to see that that complicity go up," said Evans.

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Babies can come to work while mothers work their jobs.

"We have to make the workplace more child-friendly," said Mills.