Safety Nets

Women in the United States frequently lack basic services that are taken for granted in many other parts of the world. To be able to live in economic security, they require educational opportunities; paid sick leave; affordable, quality child care and elder care; as well as portable health care and adequate retirement benefits to protect them throughout their lives. While programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Food Stamps are available, they do not go far enough. More robust safety nets are needed to lift and keep women and their families out of poverty.

Supporting State Child Care Efforts with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds

This report highlights numerous examples of how American Recovery and Reinvestments Act funds have made an important difference for children and families by enabling access to child care assistance, as well as investments in the quality of care. Most notably, ARRA child care funds are helping to prevent families from losing the assistance they need, and expanding this important support to families who have been waiting for much-needed help.

Despite the ARRA funds, states are facing serious budget shortfalls and several have made cuts that negatively impact the availability, affordability, and quality of child care.  With ARRA funds expected to expire at the end of 2010, and a grim outlook for states’ budgets, child care still hangs in balance.

Member Organization: 

NCRW Fact Sheet: Welfare Reform and Education

The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 pushed many poor women into jobs but without sufficient training or educational opportunities to ensure adequate income and advancement. Policies and programs at the state level need to recognize the importance of linking education to reform laws. Investing in education can become an “anchor of stability” in a dynamic
economy, doubling earnings and buffering against job loss.

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Feminists in Solidarity with Domestic Workers

The Barnard Center for Research on Women produced this fantastic video of notable feminists supporting the important role domestic workers play.  Look for NCRW friends and family, including Nicole Mason, Liz Abzug, and Carol Jenkins, as they make special appearances. This video is not to be missed!

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Women and Social Security: Benefit Types and Eligibility

Spouse or family Social Security benefits are important for women because many women do not earn sufficient credits throughout their working career to be eligible for their own benefits due to caregiving for children or other family members. A recent analysis shows that 30 percent of women workers spent 4 or more years out of paid work during a 15-year period, compared with only 4 percent of men.  A larger percentage of women than men become eligible for Social Security benefits as spouses, caregivers of minor children, widows, surviving dependent parents, and so forth.


Strengthening the Middle Class: Ensuring Equal Pay for Women - Heather Boushey's Testimony Before Congress

To close the gender pay gap, we must address the root causes of women’s lower wages, which includes the segregation of men and women into different kinds of jobs and the inflexibility of the workplace to women’s greater responsibilities for family care. There could not be a more important time to address the issue of gender pay equity. Women are now half of all workers on U.S. payrolls and two-thirds of mothers are bringing home at least a quarter of their family’s earnings. This means the gender pay gap is not just a woman’s issue, it is a family issue that affects the millions of young, old, and middle-aged Americans who rely on a woman breadwinner or co-breadwinner in their family.


The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict: The Poor, the Professionals, and the Missing Middle

Work-family conflict is much higher in the United States than elsewhere in the developed world.  Not only do American families work longer hours; they do so with fewer laws to support working families. Only the United States lacks paid maternity-leave laws among the 30 industrialized democracies in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The only family leave available to Americans is unpaid, limited to three months, and covers only about half the labor force. Discrimination against workers
with family responsibilities, illegal throughout Europe,11 is forbidden only indirectly here.  Americans also lack paid sick days, limits on mandatory overtime, the right to request work-time flexibility without retaliation, and proportional wages for part-time work.


Women in the Down Economy: Impacts of the Recession and the Stimulus in Massachusetts

Women's and men's work (both in and out of the labor force) still differs, so we can expect that the economic crisis has had a distinct impact on women as well as their families. This policy brief discusses how the down economy has differentially impacted women and men in Massachusetts and the gendered implications of federal stimulus spending.


How are Women Faring in Massachusetts?

There has been a lot of talk about the gender dimensions of the Great Recession and subsequent recovery efforts--most notably the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But there has been little actual data.

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