11 May 2011

Letter to the New York Times: Unemployment Crisis Especially Bad for Women

Week after week, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman continues to sound the alarm about the crisis of unemployment in our country, and the utter unwillingness of Washington to do anything about it. Recently, we submitted the following letter to the editor in support of his position, noting that the lack of attention to job creation has particularly negative consequences for women:

To the Editor:

Re: “The Intimidated Fed” (Op-Ed article, April 28):

Whether it is by obsessively zeroing in on inflation or the deficit, we agree with Paul Krugman that the Federal Reserve and other policymakers are dangerously skirting the real issue facing our nation -- unemployment. This is of particular concern to women who are faring far worse than one year ago, according to a new poll by the Ms Foundation for Women. Indeed, what was once termed a "mancession" is now a "womancession." In a key indicator of distress, a staggering 77 percent of low-income women report living paycheck-to-paycheck -- a 17-point jump from 2010. Meanwhile, women are bearing the brunt of cuts to public-sector jobs. Men’s employment has improved, but women’s has not. And women suffer most from cuts to social services.

Real Americans -- both women and men -- are hurting. And current government policy flies in the face of what people say they really need. Our poll found that a significant majority -- and especially women -- want the government to focus on creating jobs, even if it means increasing the deficit in the short term. In the abstract people may support deficit reduction, but they don’t want cuts at the expense of children and families.

Our political leaders must quickly reprioritize, stop the reckless gutting of the budget, and create jobs that will enable women, in particular, to recover. If women cannot move forward, then our economy cannot move forward. And with the precarious state we are in today, wasting one more minute is something none of us can afford.

Anika Rahman
President and Chief Executive
Ms. Foundation for Women
Brooklyn, April 29, 2011

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