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.
It is undeniable that we are facing tough economic times. In January, the unemployment rate registered 7.6% with 11.6 million people lacking jobs. An additional 7.8 million people are deemed underemployed, that is, working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs. And prospects are dimming. According to the Economic Policy Institute , finding a job today is twice as hard as it was when the recession started a year ago. With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA], however, there is some room for hope. Many of our network members are doing excellent work on the stimulus plan. The Ms. Foundation held a conference call to discuss the legislative package and how to secure more jobs for women. The National Women’s Law Center is analyzing the stimulus process and how it affects women and families. Check out their latest breakdown. In examining the bill, we were particularly struck with provisions regarding small businesses, healthcare, education and, especially, job creation. Naturally, we had some questions, for example, what other areas are critical for stimulating growth and supporting women and girls, their families and communities? To find the answers, we turned to our experts:
March 3, 2009 posted by Deborah Siegel I’m sitting in a very crowded auditorium at 3 World Financial Center, home of American Express, and the sun is pouring in on one of the coldest days of the year. We’re about to be warmed by the annual panel that takes place the afternoon of the National Council for Research on Women’s evening-time gala, the Making a Difference for Women Awards. This year’s panel, “An Immodest Proposal: Advancing a New Era of Social Justice” (kudos on the title, NCRW!) features Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center Marcia Greenberger, Chancellor and President of Syracuse University Nancy Cantor, Accenture / Microsoft / PepsiCo Director Dina Dublon, and Columbia University law professor and Nation columnist Patricia Williams. The Takeaway co-host Adaora Udoji, whose voice I wake up to each morning, will be moderating. There is nothing modest about this crowd of female movers and shakers from corporate, academic, and nonprofit spheres. The NCRW staff—of which I used to be part—has clearly done an excellent job spreading word. It’s a dazzling lineup. Let the conversation begin! Adaora: First question is for Nancy. What can you tell us about advancing a new era of social justice in education? Nancy: The idea of the ivory tower as a monastic place is breaking down. What that means is we have no understanding of the groups we’re leaving behind. How do we level the playing field of education? If we don’t find ways to strengthen our connections to our communities, cities, rural areas, and bring in the population, we’re going to be stagnant. Adaora: Are we seeing that 50% female leadership in education yet? Nancy: No, not at all. What we are seeing at all levels is girls falling off the map as we go up. Adaora: Why is that?
February 25, 2009 posted by adminOverall, 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.
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
Sept 29, 2008 posted by Linda Basch WELCOME! Welcome to The REAL DEAL, the National Council for Research on Women's new blog on issues that matter to women. As I write this first post in the heat of election season and during a time of unprecedented financial turmoil, my thoughts go out to all who are feeling unnerved and confused. I'm thinking of those who risk losing their jobs, or who are uncertain about their businesses and have rents to pay and families to support, and of those who don't quite know where to turn for help. This is a time when we hope for a leadership that can explain and clarify what's at stake, reassure us of a real commitment, and give us some clear steps for going forward. And we at the Council are watching with an eagle's eye.