Cuts in education and educational programs would cause particular job losses for women
Picture By Cybrarian77 on Flickr under Creative Commons 2.0

(WOMENSENEWS)—If $85 billion in automatic cuts to the national budget hit on Friday under so-called sequestration, women will pay a heavy price, according to a sampling of analyses. 

The cuts will extend job losses among public sector employees, where women in 2012 made up 57 percent of the cuts, according to the National Women’s Law Center.
Cuts in education and educational programs would mean particular job losses for women, who, according to a White House document, make up about 78 percent of pre-K- to 12 teachers.

In a regional review of what would get chopped by the educational cleaver, the Washington Post reported Feb. 25 that Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., cumulatively would lose $29 million in elementary and high school funding, putting at risk 390 teacher and teacher-aide jobs.

Cuts to the Department of Agriculture would eliminate rental assistance for 10,000 very low-income rural people, most of whom are single women, elderly, or disabled, according to Mother Jones.

Mother Jones reports that some 600,000 women and children will lose nutritional assistance and education currently provided by Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC program.

Sequestration would take a toll on assistance programs for victims of domestic violence. In a report Sunday, the White House said that “Pennsylvania could lose up to $271,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 1,000 fewer victims being served,” reported the New York Times.

Mother Jones also reported than more than 3.8 million people getting long-term unemployment benefits would see their monthly payments reduced by as much as 9.4 percent, and would lose an average of $400 in benefits over their period of joblessness.

Women can be expected to take a heavy hit there because, according to the White House, 2.6 million American women are currently receiving unemployment benefits and 2.8 million women have been unemployed longer for than six months.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will conduct 424 000 fewer HIV tests, the Business Insider reported Feb. 25. Women are about 25 percent of those living with HIV infection in the United States, according to the Office on Women’s Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Global Health Technologies Coalition outlined damaging cuts to health research in a report released Feb. 26. It said the cuts would also short-circuit programs funded by the CDC such as “a new microbicide that could give women the power to protect themselves from contracting HIV with or without their partners’ cooperation.”


Medicaid and Food Stamps— two programs upon which women disproportionately depend –are exempt from the automatic cuts, and cuts in Medicare payments cannot exceed 2 percent. 

Although Social Security benefits would not be cut, the White House said that the automatic budget cuts would force the agency to curtail service to the public, worsening the backlog of disability claims. 


Hajer Naili is a New York-based reporter for Women’s eNews. She has worked for several radio stations and publications in France and North Africa and specializes in Middle East and North Africa. Follow her on Twitter @H_NAILI