22 September 2008

Women's Leadership Critical in Building a Successful, Just Response to Economic Crisis

Last week, Ms. Foundation CEO and President Sara K. Gould again reiterated the importance of women's leadership in the face of the market crisis and its potentially devastating aftershocks for middle and working class America.

Her entire statement was published by the Miami Herald -- read it here on our blog.

Ms. Gould concluded by saying that, "Across the U.S., women are too well-acquainted with poverty and economic insecurity. Because they know these challenges personally, however, they are often best positioned to develop the most effective strategies to address them.

“Women must be better represented at policy tables; their perspectives and leadership are crucial to bring about long-term economic stability and well-being—for women, families and communities. So as we hold key members of the public and private sector accountable for our country’s worsening economic disaster, let’s turn to women driving change at local, state and national levels for economic-justice solutions.”

Ms. Foundation for Women grantees are already pioneering strategies for addressing poverty and economic hardship in their communities and promoting grassroots and national policy alternatives that would improve economic security for low-income women and families. Here are just a few examples of how women leaders are advancing innovative strategies and solutions:

  • In Rhode Island, Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE) is tackling the mortgage crisis' effect on low-income women and women of color in Providence, promoting people-centered development in the face of gentrification and displacement, and advocating for women’s budget and tax justice.

  • The Multistate Working Families Consortium is a network of state coalitions working for policies that value families by enabling workers to balance their jobs with their responsibilities as parents and caregivers. They have set paid sick leave, job-protected and affordable family and medical leave for all workers, and the right of workers to have greater control of their schedules, as priorities for federal action in 2009. Just this past spring, their members helped pass paid leave legislation in New Jersey.

  • Avery Institute for Social Change promotes community-driven solutions for ending health disparities while stimulating a grassroots movement for national health care reform. They’re currently working to galvanize the women's healthcare movement to support universal healthcare so that no one is forced to choose between paying their rent or paying for their child's visit to the doctor.

  • Domestic Workers United, an organization of caregivers, nannies, housekeepers and other in-home workers, is advocating for the NY Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights. The legislation would establish fair labor standards for domestic workers in NY State, including a living wage, health care and basic benefits. It would guarantee domestic workers basic labor protections which they’re currently denied, address widespread issues of abuse and exploitation to which they’re often subject, and pave the way for true economic security for those entrusted with the security of their employers’ children, families and homes.

  • Childspace, based in Philadelphia, works to improve the quality of jobs for historically low-wage childcare workers, and thus improve the quality of care for the children they serve. Through advocacy programs spearheaded by childcare providers themselves, they are calling for low-income workers' access to health insurance, higher state subsidies to support professional development and facility-improvement, and better management of the Pennsylvania's childcare subsidy program.

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