Statement of Sara K. Gould, President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women, On the Unfolding Economic Crisis and Its Disproportionate Impact on Nation's Most Vulnerable Women and Families

Sep 18, 2008, 01:00 ET from Ms. Foundation for Women

    NEW YORK, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amidst the emphasis on
 solving the economic crisis facing Wall Street, the crisis crippling women
 and their families on Main Street continues unabated and unrecognized. The
 Ms. Foundation for Women's CEO and President Sara K. Gould is drawing
 attention to how the plummeting economy further threatens millions of women
 whose lives already hang in the balance.
     "Even at the beginning of the economic downturn, more women than men,
 and more African Americans and Latinos than whites, were caught in the
 sub-prime mortgage trap. Now that the crisis has escalated, we must expect
 that the negative repercussions for women -- especially women of color --
 will escalate as well," notes Ms. Gould, an expert in women's economic
 development who has decades of experience spearheading solutions to ensure
 women's economic security.
     "Women in the U.S. are playing with the economic deck stacked against
 them," Ms. Gould states. "Taking into account longstanding pay inequities,
 insidious barriers to employment, record levels of inflation and
 ever-increasing childcare expenses, women and their families are struggling
 to keep up and get by. For women who confront the additional barriers of
 race and class, the obstacles are much greater and the economic straits
 even worse.
     "The current instability roiling Wall Street's markets will lead to an
 increasingly dire economic situation for women. This is especially true for
 low-income women, women of color, single mothers and others who have long
 experienced the disproportionate impact of flawed economic policies."
     Women faced challenges to their economic security long before the
 recent turmoil in the stock markets.
-- The gender-wage ratio has not improved since 2001. Women are still paid only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. The disparity is even greater for women of color: African-American women make 62 cents and Latinas make only 53 cents for every dollar of male earnings. (I) -- Women comprise the majority of low-wage workers: Women accounted for 68.2% of minimum-wage and below-minimum-wage workers in 2007.(II) -- Most poor Americans are women and children, with women comprising a full 39%, children, 35%; and men, 26%.(III) -- Accounting for 37% of families in poverty, the poverty rate for single female-headed households is higher than any other demographic group.(IV) The current economic downturn will impact low-income women and their families the hardest, and drive even more into poverty.
-- Already, the sub-prime mortgage crisis is taking a higher toll on women -- especially women of color. 32% of women hold sub-prime mortgages vs. 24% of men; and African American and Latino homeowners were 30% more likely to have received sub-prime loans.(V) -- Poverty rates increase during economic downturns. With the increasing costs of even basic necessities of food, transportation and energy, the number of poor families is growing.(VI) -- Once a family has fallen into it, poverty is difficult to escape. An estimated 60% of families that are in the bottom fifth of income remain there a decade later.(VII) Ms. Gould continues, "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." About Sara K. Gould: Ms. Gould is available for interviews and appearances on request. Ms. Gould is a national authority on women's economic development and economic security, and a groundbreaking innovator in philanthropy. Ms. Gould was just named to the NonProfit Times Top 50 Power and Influence List for her visionary leadership in advancing women's economic security, in particular her founding of the Collaborative Fund for Women's Economic Development, a pioneering grant-making initiative which leveraged over $10 million in the field of women's microenterprise development in the United States. About the Ms. Foundation for Women: Founded in 1973, the Ms. Foundation for Women is the first and leading women's fund and the foundation engaged across the United States to build women's collective power to ignite change. It provides strategic grantmaking and capacity-building support to over 150 grassroots and national advocacy organizations working to bring about policy and culture change across the broad areas of economic justice, women's health, ending violence and building democracy. In August 2008, Raise the Floor: Wages and Policies that Work, a book published and co-authored by the Ms. Foundation in 2001, was named to Bill Moyers Journal's "Become a More Engaged Citizen" Book List. It outlines a number of policies designed to increase economic security for low-income women and low-wage workers that have gained traction during this election cycle. For more information or to arrange an interview with Sara K. Gould, please contact Erin Smith, Senior Publicist of the Ms. Foundation for Women at 212.709.4426 (office), 512.203.6206 (mobile), or (I) "The Gender Wage Gap: 2007" Institute for Women's Policy Research, August 2008. (II)"Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2007" Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 24 2008. (III) "Living in Poverty: Vulnerable Women and Children." Headwaters Group for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. July 2008. p. IV (IV) "Current Population Survey, 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement." U.S. Census Bureau. http// (V) Economic Policy Institute, State of Working America Press Release, August 28, 2008. (VI) Economic Policy Institute, State of Working America Press Release, August 28, 2008. (VII) Economic Policy Institute, State of Working America Press Release, August 28, 2008. Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Sara Gould

SOURCE Ms. Foundation for Women