Caregiving

Compared to men, women spend a disproportionate amount of time attending to the needs of children and adults under their care.. Because of caregiving demands, more than half of employed women caregivers have made special workplace arrangements, such as arriving late, leaving early or working fewer hours. Women represent 61 percent of all caregivers and 75 percent of caregivers who report feeling very strained emotionally, physically or financially by such responsibilities. Minor-aged women and girls also shoulder caregiving duties, usually unrecognized and uncompensated. Affordable, accessible, quality child care and elder care, as well as greater delegation of responsibilities to spouses and partners, are required to offset the overwhelming care loads within families and communities.

Love in the Time of Layoff: Her Expendable Career

April 1, 2009 posted by Deborah Siegel Deborah Siegel is the author of Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild, creator of the group blog Girl w/Pen and a long-time friend of the Council.  The following was originally posted on Recession Wire as Deborah's latest installment of her weekly column, Love in the Time of Layoff. Those who read this column know that I’ve been writing very personally about how the downturn has affected my relationship. In all honesty, I’m starting to fear that by focusing on what’s happening inside relationships, we may be losing sight of larger contexts—what could and should be happening in the structures that govern our lives. The personal is political, after all! Whoever invented the notion that a wife who earns less than her husband has a career that is, by definition, “expendable”? The ubiquity of this sentence—“she has an expendable career”—was brought home to me once again when I read Diane Clehane’s “Recession Marriage Wars” in yesterday’s Daily Beast. Clehane poignantly shares her frustration that for her, and for many working mothers she knows, “The recession means wives are under pressure from their husbands who tell them a sitter is now a luxury they can’t afford.” These are working mothers, mind you—women who have defined themselves by their careers for most of their lives and who know that being a good mom and having a great career are not mutually exclusive. As someone with big hopes of starting a family, and as a feminist, I’m thinking government-funded or employer-subsidized childcare is sounding like a pretty darn good idea right about now.


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FAST FACT: One-Third of New Yorkers Face Multiple Hardships

March 26, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird And that was BEFORE the recession hit! This week, I attended an amazing presentation by the Community Service Society and the New York Women’s Foundation, “Raising the Voice of Low-Income Women.” The Community Service Society (CSS) presented its 2009 findings for their annual Unheard Third Survey. According to CSS, "the Unheard Third tracks the concerns and hardships of New York City’s low-income residents and their views on what programs and policies would help them get ahead.”  What they found is quite distressing:

54% of low-income mothers in New York City faced 3 or more hardships in 2008.

Hardships include economic (losing a job), food (skipping meals), health (postponing necessary medical care), and housing (falling behind on rent or mortgage payments). Again, this is before the recession really took hold (CSS collected the data in summer 2008).  We can only speculate what next year’s Unheard Third Survey will find.  Between 2007 and 2008, CSS recorded a dramatic increase in hardships among working moms, especially economic and health hardships.


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FAST FACT: Don’t Forget About Health in the Economic Storm

March 12, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird This week is http://www.lgbthealth.net/awarenessweek09/ ">National LGBT Health Awareness week.  In honor of this important week, I wanted to share with you a stat I found from the Big Five Research: 50 percent of uninsured women have dependent children and half of them (54 percent) are employed. Even as much of our energy has been focused these past few months on the economy, I think it is vital we don’t forget about the importance of health!  Which is why the Council features both economic security and health as part of our Big Five Campaign.


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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: Center for American Progress’ Heather Boushey—Let’s Get People Back to Work!

February 27, 2009 posted by admin The best thing we can do for women and their families is to get people back to work. We’ve seen 3.6 million jobs disappear over the past year and millions more have seen their hours cut back. The recession is turning out to be deeper and more protracted than many had predicted even a few months ago. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was a down payment on creating jobs in the months to come and laying the foundation for long-term economic growth. The Council of Economic Advisors estimates that the recovery package will save or create 3.5 million jobs and that about four in ten of these jobs will go to women workers. In particular, the recovery package will help states avoid some cutbacks, which takes some women’s jobs out of jeopardy since women make up the majority of state and local government workers. But, most importantly, the recovery package will get the economy back on track, which benefits all kinds of families. The recession – so far – is leading to higher unemployment among men than women: as of December 2008, the latest data available by gender, men account for four out of every five jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007. This means that in millions of U.S. households, it is a woman who is supporting the family. This means that families will have to rely increasingly on women’s earnings, which are typically lower than men’s and are less likely to come with health insurance. Now is the time to insist that every woman earns a fair day’s pay. 


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ECONOMIC STIMULUS FORUM: The Bitter with the Sweet

February 25, 2009 posted by admin Overall, the economic stimulus plan that Congress passed and President Obama signed is a strong package.  We fervently hope it will provide the help that struggling families urgently need, and begin putting the nation on the road to lasting economy recovery.  We’ve never needed that more. There were victories, large and small, for those of us working for equal opportunity, 21st Century benefits, and quality, affordable health care.  The relief for working families and the expansion of unemployment benefits are significant, as is the lower threshold for the child tax credit and increased funding for child care. Not as well known, but extremely important, is the health information technology (HIT) provisions that we fought to maintain.  They withstood an attack from pharmaceutical manufacturers, health plans and drug store chains intent on putting profits ahead of privacy.  With protections against inappropriate disclosures of health information, electronic medical records can do a tremendous amount to reduce medical errors, coordinate and streamline care, and reduce costs.  This was a real step forward.


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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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GIRLS FORUM: Allison Kimmich Advises Obama to Connect Policy to Parenting

February 6, 2009 posted by admin Dear Barack and Michelle, I’m writing to you as the parents of beautiful girls, and as people who hold the future of this country in your hands for the next four years.  I know that you both take seriously your job as parents as well as the way you can shape public policy to improve your daughters’ lives.  Michelle has talked about supporting working parents and Barack has talked about fighting workplace discrimination so Sasha and Malia will not have to experience it as adults. George W.


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Stay-At-Home-Without-Options

January 21, 2009 posted by Linda Basch I want to draw your attention to a moving commentary by Deborah Siegel, “Masculine Mystique, Meet Feminine Mistake,” posted at the Women’s Media Center, in which she raises questions as to why the media seems to latch onto outmoded models of marriage roles, where men are the breadwinners and women are the caretakers of  home and family.  This raised in my mind another scenario we also are seeing today: the high cost of child care.  In this scenario, one or the other of the parenting couple opts to stay home to care for home and family.  Then, what happens when the working partner gets laid off?  As in Deborah’s case, though Deborah works fulltime, those families also fall into a tailspin


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NEXT GENERATION FORUM--Moving towards New Leadership and Opening New Possibilities

December 5, 2008 posted by admin

Kyla Bender-Baird: What are your wildest dreams for Michelle Obama's four years in the White House?  (What alternate title for her might you suggest instead of "First Lady"?  What would her ideal role be?)  


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