by Holly Mitchell and Natalie Lyons
The story of poverty in America is told by women and children. Nearly 70 percent of those who live on the economic fringes are young or female. Almost half of today's families rely on the mother's income. Yet so many women are shut out of jobs for one reason: They have a criminal conviction.
Time and again, women with a criminal history struggle to escape impoverished circumstances because they've been denied the chance to work. The stigma of a conviction, no matter how old or how minor, bars them from much-needed jobs. They pound the pavement, applying for any available job, only to be rejected by employers who treat their criminal background as the whole story.