Poverty

Women are more likely to be poor than men, both in the United States and across the globe. Female-headed households are more liable to live in poverty. Families headed by single women in the US are more than twice as likely as other families to be poor. The poverty divide is even more dramatic for people of color: in the US, African-American (26.5 percent) and Latina women (23.6 percent) register much higher poverty rates than white women (11.6 percent). Evidence-based, research-driven policies and programs that recognize the diverse realities of poverty and attack its root causes are critical for producing change.

DIVERSITY WRIT LARGE: A Response to So-Called “Post-Racial” America

March 11, 2009 posted by Delores M. Walters* The disproportionate effects of the seized-up economy on citizens of color whether in housing, employment or educational opportunity soundly refutes the idea that “we can put to rest the myth of racism as a barrier to achievement in this splendid country” as the Wall Street Journal claimed one day after Obama’s election. Others take a more moderate stance: “For all our huge progress, we are not “post-racial,” whatever that means. The world doesn’t change in a day, and the racial frictions that emerged in both the Democratic primary campaign and the general election didn’t end on Nov. 4. As Obama himself said in his great speech on race, liberals couldn’t “purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap” simply by voting for him. Perhaps wealth accumulation is the most convincing indicator of racial disparity in America. As Dalton Conley points out, the net worth of African American families is only one-eighth that of White families which is not due to differences in education, earnings or savings rates, but due to the legacy of racial discrimination. Other groups, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, for example, exhibit wealth accumulation rates that mirror the statistics for Blacks, while Cubans mirror those for Whites.


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ECONOMIC STIMULUS FORUM: Round-Up

March 2, 2009 posted by admin 

Photo Cred: Matt Collins via Society and PoliticsIt is undeniable that we are facing tough economic times.  In January, the unemployment rate registered 7.6% with 11.6 million people lacking jobs.  An additional 7.8 million people are deemed underemployed, that is, working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs.  And prospects are dimming. According to the Economic Policy Institute , finding a job today is twice as hard as it was when the recession started a year ago.  With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA], however, there is some room for hope. Many of our network members are doing excellent work on the stimulus plan.  The Ms. Foundation held a conference call to discuss the legislative package and how to secure more jobs for women.  The National Women’s Law Center is analyzing the stimulus process and how it affects women and families. Check out their latest breakdown.   In examining the bill, we were particularly struck with provisions regarding small businesses, healthcare, education and, especially, job creation.  Naturally, we had some questions, for example, what other areas are critical for stimulating growth and supporting women and girls, their families and communities? To find the answers, we turned to our experts:


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Who Cares?

March 2, 2009 posted by admin The 53rd Commission on the Status of Women meetings start today at UN Headquarters in New York and will run until the 13th of March.  This year, the theme of the CSW is “The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS.” During this year’s events, I will have the privilege of working with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development’s (UNRISD) Gender and Development Programme. The Gender and Development Programme at UNRISD has been working on the Political and Social Economy of Care as one of its main research themes for several years now. [One of my favorite gender and development researchers, Maxine Molyneux, wrote the first paper in the series, titled Mothers at the Service of the State.]  As part of the project, UNRISD led gender experts from around the world in an exploration of care issues, with research conducted in eight countries drawn from four different regions.  Within its comparative approach, the project focused on the gender composition and dynamics of the multiple institutions of care – households and families, states, markets, and the not-for-profit sector – and their effects on poverty and social rights of citizenship.


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ECONOMIC STIMULUS FORUM: A Great Start-- But Low-Income Women and Families Need Economic Security

February 25, 2009 posted by admin From Legal Momentum’s perspective, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will do a great deal of good for women and families in the crisis. While we applaud a number of provisions in the bill, we are very concerned that yet more must be done to guarantee that women, and low-income women in particular, have access to good jobs on the one hand, and on the other, that our national safety net is strong enough to protect those who find themselves out of work and out of resources. In terms of jobs, women can take some comfort in ARRA’s provisions to shore up jobs in the traditionally women-dominated fields of health care, child care and education. However, many of the women employed in these industries are barely scraping by in low-wage jobs as home health care and child care providers. While these jobs offer a paycheck, they do not translate into economic security. Like the millions of other women who comprise the majority of the nation’s low-wage workforce, these women need access to jobs that will raise them out of poverty and offer a path to stability and prosperity.


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THE GLOBAL TRACK: India--Land of Malls and Ragpickers

February 11, 2009 posted by Shyama Venkateswar

 
 

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="298" caption="Photograph: Deshakalyan Chowdhury"]Photograph: Deshakalyan Chowdhury[/caption]

I was recently in Calcutta, India, my place of birth, home to where my mother, a sibling, old friends, and sweet memories still reside. This is my other “home” where I try to get to every year to renew and regenerate myself, and recharge from the stresses of a running a two working parents’ nuclear household in frenetic New York City. My trip last month came after a two year gap; I felt the familiar overwhelming desire to be there, to be a part of the sights and sounds of an India that were at once familiar and yet distant to me. Having left almost 23 years ago to move to the US, I have a unique insider-outsider vantage point. I was born and brought up there; I know things instinctively – all the cultural puzzles, contradictions, nuances of language, wordplay and verbal cues, body language, subtle things - that only a native-born can ever know. But, having been away long enough, and trained in and working in a field where critical inquiry is required, I can no longer accept without questioning the status and daily conditions of millions of people living in absolute poverty, what Collier refers to as The Bottom Billion. Even as India’s economy grows steadily at about 8% a year, there are entire communities of people, some 300 million of them, who live under a $1 a day without regular access to food, water, housing, livelihoods, reproductive healthcare or education. Malnutrition in children under five is at a staggering 45%.

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Gender Equality as an Investment Concept

January 23, 2009 posted by Shyama Venkateswar, Kyla Bender-Baird, and Lisa Rast The room was filled to capacity at Demos’ latest panel for their Women’s Leadership Initiative.  Women (and a few men) from all sectors joined together to discuss gender equality as an investment concept.  Anne Black from Goldman Sachs discussed their 10,000 Women initiative.  The driving idea behind this timely initiative is that investing in women’s business skills is the fastest way to grow GDP.  Joe Keefe from Pax World Mutual Fund, which recently took over Pax’s Women’s Equity Fund, argued that gender equality should be framed as an investment imperative, not a moral one. In fact, gender equality helps to grow the bottom line.  Finally, Ritu Sharma, co-founder of Women Thrive Worldwide, demonstrated the importance of building crucial infrastructure to aid women across the globe, who otherwise spend much of their day gathering water and fuel, and caregiving.


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FAST FACTS: Disturbing Poverty Disparities

January 23, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird A few weeks ago, I received a newsletter from the Institute on Community Integration .  The entire issue focused on employment and women with disabilities.  Given the Council's dedication to women and economic security, my interest was instantly peaked.  Check out these stats:


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NEW YEAR'S FORUM: Elizabeth Holtzman Demands We Not Forget About Women

January 9, 2009 posted by admin New years, new administrations, change itself generally elicits a feeling of optimism in me--and I can’t repress that sense now.  Here are my hopes and concerns. I feel glad to see President Bush and his team go: they wreaked such damage on our country and the world--and undermined our deepest values by riding roughshod over the constitution, thumbing their nose at the rule of law and torturing people.  I hope that the country will take proper steps to hold them accountable for their actions even after they are out of office.  The past Administration was also hostile to women, particularly to our right to birth control and choice, treating us as though we were children incapable of making critical decisions for our lives.  Relieved that is over, but am still troubled by the efforts of too many to continue to control what in the end are deeply personal decisions for women, decisions that define our humanity. I hope that these efforts diminish in the years ahead. Americans face a ruined economy, and I am deeply afraid that women and children will be the biggest victims.  With the safety net of welfare gone, what will happen to the poorest of the poor?  Welfare was a concept that President Roosevelt adopted as one way to deal with the devastation of the Great Depression; while deeply flawed, it still reflected a national commitment to poor women and their children.  I hope that in these dire economic times we don’t lose sight of the needs of this vulnerable group.


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NEW YEAR'S FORUM: Racialicious’ Latoya Peterson Calls for Honesty in the New Year

January 6, 2009 posted by admin Our New Year's Resolution as a nation is a simple one.  We should resolve to be honest with ourselves.


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NEW YEAR'S FORUM: A Conversation with Kavita

January 6, 2009 posted by  Linda Basch As we start off with our New Year’s Resolutions for the nation, I begin with an inspiring conversation I recently had with Kavita Ramdas, President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women. We were musing about the future, particularly with regard to women’s human rights at this optimistic moment for the country, with a new administration about to take charge in Washington. But as Kavita pointed out, as we begin to look forward, we also need to be self reflective as a nation. We need to develop a sense of collective responsibility. A number of problems have grown up over the past several years that we can’t sweep away, that we must address as a country and hold ourselves accountable for. I couldn’t agree more. I love conversations that are as wide-ranging as this one was.  We covered a lot of ground.  Some highlights:  As someone who works on global women's rights, Kavita hopes that the new administration will place a high priority on advancing women's rights worldwide. This can only be achieved by the US decreasing its emphasis on militarism and violence as the primary means to resolve conflict and re-focusing its efforts away from the so called "war on terror" towards efforts to eradicate global poverty, inequality, and injustice. Yet, she insisted, that much of the US's ability to achieve such results globally will depend on the choices it makes inside its own borders. So, I asked Kavita what she would like to see in terms of change right here at home….


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