Getting Me Cheap: How Low-Wage Work Traps Women and Girls in Poverty

New Pr. Nov. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9781620977422. $27.99. SOC SCI
Firsthand stories from people experiencing poverty in the U.S. are coveted by teachers, researchers, and readers, but these narratives can be difficult to come by. This volume by Freeman (sociology, Univ. of Hartford) and Dodson (emerita, sociology, Boston Coll.; The Moral Underground) helps fill that gap by focusing on how low wages and the lack of public services affect women workers, especially women of color. Readers will hear from women who work in childcare, eldercare, and restaurant jobs, roles that were labeled “essential” in 2020 but that offer few benefits, no advancement opportunities, and regularly expose workers to harassment and exploitation. Most of these women are trying to support families on their low incomes and find few avenues available to improve their situations. The authors’ commentary and careful organization help weave the stories together and explain how expectations placed on women and girls often leave them feeling trapped in a lifelong cycle of poverty. The stories shared in this volume speak for themselves, spotlighting the frustrations, needs, and hopes of the women featured.
VERDICT Readers will leave with a better understanding of the complexity of the lives of women working in low-wage jobs and what needs to change to provide them with the support they need.
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