Poverty

The Food Assistance Program: A Critical Safety Net for America’s Poor

A recent New York Times editorial states that under the Obama administration the homeless population has remained steady. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which provided $840 billion as stimulus monies included a $1.5 billion program that providing housing, rental assistance and temporary aid to people who had suddenly become homeless. But the editorial also notes, while conditions might be improving for homeless individuals, things are bleak for families with children. The National Women’s Law Center reported findings that in 2010, over 40 percent of single-mother families were poor; African-American and Hispanic single-mothers families living in poverty were 48 percent and 50 percent respectively.


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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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Ms. Foundation Promotes Reproductive Justice

January 28, 2010 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird


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FAST FACT: How the Safety Net is Failing Americans

January 12, 2010 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird


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FAST FACT: Women and Poverty in the Nation's Capital

December 9, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird

The DC Women's Agenda, a program of Wider Opportunities for Women, recently released a gender analysis of the 2008 American Community Survey. They found that women remain in poverty even while working. Here are some of the stats they shared:

  • Women are eight times more likely to live in poverty than men in D.C.
  • Approximately 22% of women-headed households, working full or part time, live in poverty
  • Gender income disparities persist as men who worked full-time had an 8.5% increase in salary from 2007 to 2008 while their female counterparts had only a 2.3% increase.

To read the full report, click here.


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Women and Money Matters

May 22, 2009 posted by admin


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FAST FACT: For Young Black Girls in NYC, Safety is of Prime Concern

April 24, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird 60% of young black girls in New York City surveyed by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research indicated they worry about their personal safety.  89% attributed their concern to frequent fights at school. Despite this and other harsh realities, the study reveals the strength and resilience girls embody.  Produced by IWPR and The Black Women for Black Girls Giving Circle, Black Girls in New York City: Untold Strength and Resilience documents the lives of girls living in New York City.  The report discusses the daily challenges girls face as well as their modes of survival.  To read the whole report, click here.


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The Impact of the Global Recession

April 17, 2009 posted by Shyama Venkateswar The Gender Policy Group at Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs organized a lively panel discussion on “Gender, Jobs and This Recession” on Monday, April 13, 2009. I was invited to speak on the panel along with Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Melinda Wolfe, Subha Barry and Heidi Brown. Here are the main points that I addressed: The current economic crisis is unprecedented in terms of its global reach and impact; here’s what the current economic crisis looks like within the United States.

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that current unemployment stands at 13.2 million.
  • 5.1 million jobs have been lost since December 2007.
  • The subprime lending crisis has particularly hit hard women and people of color because of predatory lending practices. NCRW’s research has shown that African American and Latina women borrowers are most likely to receive sub-prime loans at every income level. Women are 32% more likely than men to receive subprime mortgages.
  • In the financial sector, men’s unemployment in Feb was 6.9% while for women it was 6.6%
  • There have been increased reports of women who were secondary breadwinners in their households having to now become primary wage earner because of layoffs.

At the international level, the picture remains pretty grim as well:


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Economic Facts Demonstrate the Fallacy of Our So-Called “Post-Race” Society

March 30, 2009 posted by admin Last week, the Insight Center for Community Development convened 75 assets-building experts of color from around the nation for the Color of Wealth 2009 Policy Summit . During the Summit, experts met with members of Congress and policy staff to discuss the gap between people of color and whites in economic security and mobility. While most people are familiar with the stat that people of color are three times more likely to receive a sub-prime mortgage loan than white borrowers, even when qualified for a prime loan,  the picture is actually much more stark. As Meizhu Lui, director of the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative at Insight, discusses in her recent Washington Post op-ed, white families are five times more likely to have bank account than families of color.  Furthermore, the racial wealth gap is actually widening. Says Lui,

“The gap between the wealth of white Americans and African Americans has grown. According to the Fed, for every dollar of wealth held by the typical white family, the African American family has only one dime. In 2004, it had 12 cents.  This is not just a gap.  It’s a deepening canyon. The overhyped political term ‘post-racial society’ becomes patently absurd when looking at these economic numbers.”

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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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