If our Future depends on our Children, Today we MUST FOCUS ON WOMEN
More to do: The Road to Equality for Women in the United States
Wednesday, March 7, 2013, 1-2pm
Presentation from Deborah Jacobs, Vice President, Advocacy and Policy
This free webinar will discuss the Ms. Foundation’s recently released, More to do: The Road to Equality for Women in the United States, report and will suggest policy recommendations that address the root causes of inequality.
Specifically, our work, and this report, addresses these vital concerns:
+Women are marginalized in the economy, consistently relegated to the lowest-paying sectors that are further stratified by race;
+Control over women’s bodies, particularly women of color and poor women,
is being legislated primarily by white men, with a dangerous narrowing of health options for all women; and
+Violence still tops the list of concerns for women at every age, with an increasingly evident pattern that begins with the earliest histories of sexual abuse as children.
Our mission is critical, not just for women but for everyone with a stake in our nation’s future. More to Do: The Road to Equality for Women in the United States proposes a benchmark for the status of women today and a guide to critical policy changes that can help women overcome the challenges that impact us all.
ON ECONOMIC DISPARITY:
The United States is a “woman’s nation.” Of the current population of 311 million, 50.7 percent are women. In some cohorts of the population, women further outnumber men: This begins in the 25–29 age range and continues
later in life. For example, the 22.7 million women aged 65 and over significantly outnumber their 16.8 million male peers. However, this dominant presence in society has not often translated into women’s political or economic power.
Wage disparities and industry segregation persist at a time when women’s earnings are indispensable to families. Of married couples with children, more than 1.5 million (or 6.7 percent) relied exclusively on women’s earnings at some point in 2009. Among two-earner families, almost 60 percent relied on both parents’ earnings in 2009. Of families headed by single mothers, 28.7 percent — 4 million of them — lived in poverty compared with 13 percent — or 670,000 — of those headed by men. And the difference in household income between married and single parents is significant — only 5.9% of families headed by married parents live in poverty.
I bolded this last sentence because I think the perception of many is that women with children need to get married and that will solve the problem! I think this is the main reason we don’t see more progress in Social Issues. The situation is so much more complex.
Child care is also a significant barrier for working families. In the United States, in contrast to other developed countries, 90 percent of child care costs are assumed by parents, with few, very low-income families qualifying for subsidies. In 2010, across the United States, average center-based child care fees for an infant exceeded the average amount families spent on food, and, in nearly half the states, exceeded the average amount for rent. Fees for families with two children exceeded the average annual rent or mortgage payments in 18 states; in 35 states and the District of Columbia, infant care was more than public college tuition. In 2008, the average cost of full-day care for an infant was equal to 41 percent of the median income for single mothers, an astounding figure but not surprising given that nearly 43 percent of single women with families are classified as poor.
Quality child care is important for all children and can contribute to healthier futures for low-income children. Research links early care and education to children’s development in low-income families, including their status upon entry
in school and early school progress, with effects continuing through adolescence and early adulthood. Recognizing — and treating — access to care, including child care, as a collective societal responsibility would be transformative.
The perception of child care as “women’s work” predominates, leading to the devaluation of this work and providers’ socioeconomic contributions. Child care providers are among the lowest paid and most vulnerable workers in our economy, whether employed at a center-based facility or self-employed in a home, and experience high turnover rates and lack of career advancement. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 20 of 821 occupations reported by the agency have lower average wages than child care workers. The realities are daunting: One-third of child care workers are self-employed and work out of their home, and therefore, lack access to unemployment compensation, health insurance, retirement and other benefits. Few of those employed by others are granted sick days or paid leave. Although unionization has made some inroads, in-home child care providers are isolated from professional communities and support and often cut off from opportunities for advancement, such as training on child development, health and safety or small business management skills. And many child care workers must find arrangements for their own young children — and face the same barriers to affordable care.
ON REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE:
Yet, in the United States, reproductive health care — and health care, in general — is seen as a commodity and privilege, rather than a public good or right. Little wonder, then, that our nation’s extraordinarily high expenditures on health care do not result in commensurate health gains; indeed, U.S. women lag behind their developing-country counterparts in terms of maternal mortality, life expectancy and gender equality (a ranking that includes health and survival demographics). Gender inequality — along with racial and ethnic disparities — has also been recognized as one of the key drivers of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Not coincidentally, our low international ranking on health is matched by the highest rate of child poverty among affluent nations.
…….And since a woman’s ability to control her health and reproductive choices has a very real impact on her family’s long-term financial stability, access to health care is a matter of economic justice. For instance, in families with a new baby, 12.9 percent become poor in the month the child was born; this figure increases to 24.6 percent for female-headed households.
I could copy and paste the remainder of this section. It is all worth reading.
The Number One: Victims of Rape: Children
Adult rape is generally taken seriously, as a grave and significant crime. Yet, many people aren’t aware that children are victims of rape at a much higher rate than adults. Nearly 70 percent of reported sexual assaults overall are
perpetrated against children aged 17 and younger, and of these, 86 percent of the victims are female. In 2000, sexual assault among youth aged 12 to 17 was 2.3 times higher than for adults. Adult retrospective studies show that one in four women and one in six men were sexually abused before the age of 18, meaning that more than 42 million adult survivors live in the United States today. And this figure does not account for the upward of 90 percent of child sexual abuse cases that go unreported.
Further study of the problem is needed. For instance, while child sexual abuse occurs in all communities at every socioeconomic level, children from low-income households are three times as likely to be identified as victims of child sexual abuse than children from higher income brackets. However, the discrepancy in these statistics may be due to the frequency of contact with law-enforcement and child-welfare agencies by poor communities and communities of color. …
As prevalent as child sexual abuse is, often it is only the first violation a girl endures over her lifetime; gender-based violence unfortunately tarnishes many women’s experience in the United States. Women are significantly more likely
than men to experience intimate partner violence and rape, and one in six women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Every two minutes, someone in the United States (aged 12 and older) is sexually assaulted — a figure that excludes the vast number of victims who never report this terrible crime, whether out of a sense of shame, fear or helplessness, or based on a distrust of the criminal justice system.
Girls in the juvenile justice system are also vulnerable to sexual violence. The 2006 National Report of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reported that there were 2,881 allegations of youth-on-youth (59 percent) and staff-on-youth (41 percent) acts of sexual violence in juvenile facilities in 2004. Of those allegations, girls accounted for 32 percent of the victims of substantiated incidents of staff sexual misconduct. In a bitter irony, the prevalent risk factor for girls ending up in the juvenile justice system to begin with is having experienced sexual abuse.
The world we want An America that protects women and girls from child sexual abuse, rape & assault.
After each section are a list of recommendations for action. At the very end is a listing of the best and worst 5 states in the US for women.