Fronteras: The Reality Of Women In The Texas Economy; TPR Reporter's Path To Citizenship | Texas Public Radio

Fronteras: The Reality Of Women In The Texas Economy; TPR Reporter's Path To Citizenship

Jul 3, 2020

  • Women in Texas have come a long way, but they’re still trailing behind men economically. Dena L. Jackson is the chief operating officer of the Texas Women’s Foundation, which issued a report that examines the economic status of women in the Lone Star State.

  • The experience of becoming a U.S. citizen is no quick and easy process. Add a global pandemic to the mix and it completely changes the typical pathway to citizenship, which some have been on for years looking forward to the day they take their oath.

Dena L. Jackson, chief operating officer of the Texas Women’s Foundation. TWF released its Economic Issues for Women in Texas 2020 report, examining the barriers women face in achieving financial security.
Credit Texas Women's Foundation

Women Of Color Disproportionately Represent Texas’ Poverty Population

Education, health care, housing, and child care are building blocks for Texas women in achieving financial security. 

The Texas Women’s Foundation’s “Economic Issues for Women in Texas 2020” report finds that Texas women, especially women of color, are not as economically secure as men.

“Women experience poverty at a rate about twice that of men,” said COO Dena Jackson. “And two in 10 Black or Hispanic women experience poverty, which is actually two times that of white women.”

Women in Texas are more diverse than ever and the population has grown exponentially over the past decade. Over 14 million women and girls now call Texas home and women of color make up a large portion of the population.

These demographics are reflected in the economic disparities noted in the report. Jackson said part of the TWF’s goal is to lobby for more opportunities and protections to help Texas women achieve economic security. A window of opportunity will soon open when the Texas legislature reconvenes in January 2021.

“We’re engaging a lot more people through our army of advocates to kind of get everybody engaged,” Jackson said optimistically. “Understand how you reach out to your legislator, city councilperson, or your school board member so that everybody gets their voice heard when we start seeing changes.”

Maria and her siblings at a celebratory dinner the night before her oath ceremony.
Credit María Méndez

A Socially Distant Path To Citizenship

Achieving citizenship status in the U.S. is no easy task. But when the experience unfolds during a global pandemic, the moment many hopeful soon-to-be Americans raise their right hands and take their Citizenship Oath is rushed through in a matter of minutes in a socially distanced ceremony.

Texas Public Radio’s Laredo-based border and business reporter, María Méndez, shared her own experience in her story originally published in Texas Monthly.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter @NormDog1 and Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter @terrazas_lauren.