ELECTION 2010: Economic Justice for Women is Integral to Economic Justice for All
By Kate Kahan*
Women’s economic security is critically important to the economic growth of our country. Women play a vital role in America’s changing workforce and improving their lives will benefit everyone.
The Center for Community Change (CCC) approaches our work with this understanding, and we see women’s economic security as a central component on our economic justice work. Policy priorities like equal pay, minimum wage standard, improving and expanding the safety net, access to health care and quality affordable child care are obviously central to the work around economic security for women in their family, and CCC will continue to work on such policies in the near term. As an organization focused on improving the lives of low-income folks and people of color, we are increasingly focused on establishing a federally funded job creation program because we hear that as a critical need in every community we work in.
Women, particularly women of color and single mothers, face higher rates of unemployment and greater barriers to obtaining high quality jobs. A direct job creation program would provide meaningful opportunities for employment that would benefit our communities and those jobs must have good wages, paid leave and paid sick days so that women are supported in their need to care for family members (as they often are the primary person to do so) and not worry they will be fired. Recent experiences with the TANF emergency fund, which put a quarter of a million people to work across the country, has not only been effective in creating meaningful jobs and providing employment through the Great Recession, but has also disproportionately benefitted women.
We will continue to fight to advance the economic security of women and communities of color through programs and policies attuned to their needs. A robust job creation program that provides opportunities for women and families to be lifted out of poverty and into economic security is a critical component.
*Kate Kahan is the Legislative Director at the Center for Community Change, a national social justice organization and has been an activist for women’s rights and economic justice for more than 16 years. Ms. Kahan has both personal and professional experience with poverty and has utilized that experience in her capacity as the executive director for a local economic justice organization based in Montana (WEEL) as well as in her role as Professional Staff for the Senate Finance Committee where she provided leadership and policy expertise to Senate Democrats on welfare, childcare, child welfare, unemployment insurance, and tribal issues. Ms. Kahan also has extensive experience working on work and family issues and directed the work and family program for the National Partnership for Women & Families prior to joining CCC. Ms. Kahan also has extensive experience surrounding voter mobilization and civic participation as well as encouraging and supporting women to run for office.
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