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.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY ACT FORUM: Moving Toward a Recovery That Works for All of Us

By Linda A. Meric*

As we mark the one-year ARRA anniversary, it’s time to look at strategies on the road to recovery.

ARRA investment can promote and fund an economic recovery that works for all of us. Or, stimulus investment can go to those who’ve always had more, reinforcing existing inequities, and leaving women, people of color, and low-income families further behind. Much of ARRA’s $819 billion funding is still to be spent, and we must ensure that the recovery helps those most in need.

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NCRW Summary: What the Federal Government Must Do to Tackle the Unemployment Crisis (Webinar 2010)

On January 28, 2010 six organizations came together for an on-line webinar to recommend what the federal government needs to do to tackle the unemployment crisis. The 8.1 million jobs lost since the beginning of the recession has created the largest “job hole” since the great depression, according to Lawrence Mishel, President of the Economic Policy Institute. He projected that by the end of 2010, unemployment will be at 10.5% and in two years will be no lower than 8.7%. At this rate, over 100,000 jobs a month must be created to fill the gap.

NWLC Fact Sheet: Making Unemployment Insurance Work for Women--The Unfinished Agenda (2010)

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided incentives to states to modernize their unemployment insurance (UI) programs and improve coverage for women. Many states responded – but many have yet to act, despite urgent need.

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IWPR Fact Sheet: Women and Unemployment Insurance: Outdated Rules Deny Benefits That Workers Need and Have earned (2008)

The Unemployment Insurance (UI) system is designed to provide temporary income assistance to workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own. Benefits are not equally available to the unemployed, however; women, low-wage, and part-time workers are less likely than men, higher-wage, and full-time workers to qualify for and receive UI benefits.


ARRA: Extending the Unemployment Insurance Safety Net to Victims of Domestic Violence (2009)

In response to ARRA many states changed their laws to expand access to unemployment insurance benefits to victims of domestic violence. Unfortunately, over 15 states have yet to take the opportunity to extend eligibility (in the ARRA or other contexts), thus denying many victims, already in precarious situations, an important source of financial stability as they try to
escape the violence in their lives.

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Southern Strategy Study

Ms. Foundation work in US South. Study for W.K. Kellogg Foundation Women's Philanthropy and Poverty Cluster.

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New Report Shows Safety Net Failing America’s Women, Workers and Families

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Legal Momentum

Leading poverty experts propose bold plan to rescue families and repair nation’s emergency measures

Washington, DC (December 7, 2009) -Eleven of the nation’s leading experts on poverty have proposed a $400 billion emergency relief plan to create and save jobs for millions of Americans while also offering adequate resources to vital safety net programs. The national study, Battered by the Storm: How Safety Net is Failing Americans and How to Fix It, concludes that the economic crisis is still on the rise for millions of Americans, while at the same time the social safety net is failing to support many of them. It offers one of the boldest, most comprehensive plans to combat poverty and unemployment — beginning now.

NCRW Fact Sheet: Immigrant Women--Access to Health Insurance, Healthcare and Public Services

Immigrant women face particular hardship in accessing basic health and other vital services due to a series of legal, social and cultural barriers that prevent them from exercising their civil rights. More efforts need to be focused at the local, state and national levels to ensure that their needs are recognized and addressed.

NCRW Fact Sheet: Access to Affordable Healthcare

Affordable and quality health insurance and care are fundamental for women and families to enable them to lead full and productive lives.


Gender Inequality, Growth and Global Ageing

Reducing gender inequality could play a key role in addressing the twin problems of
population ageing and pension sustainability. In countries where it is relatively easy
for women to work and have children, female employment and fertility both tend to be

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