2nd Annual MS Women’s Economic Security Summit pushed for removal of barriers impacting vulnerable women
The Mississippi Women’s Economic Security Initiative (MWESI) recently hosted its 2nd Annual Women’s Economic Security Policy Summit on Dec. 2, 2016 at the Hilton Garden Inn (former King Edward Hotel) in Jackson, MS. The event was held from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
The free summit was a state-wide gathering of advocacy leaders, community organizers, elected officials, state organizations and others working to create a policy agenda for Mississippi women and their families.
This year’s featured speaker was author and scholar Dr. Premilla Nadasen, a nationally recognized expert in issues involving women and gender, race, public policy and social movements.
The event was hosted by the Mississippi Women’s Economic Security Initiative (MWESI), a statewide women’s advocacy organization seeking to eliminate the barriers that keep women from moving out of poverty. MWESI is a project of the Biloxi-based Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative (MLICCI.)
Organizers said the event is critical to ongoing efforts to assist the nearly 50 percent of households in MS that are led by single women. Half of those women live in poverty. Women in Mississippi also make up half the state’s workforce, but hold 80% of minimum wage jobs. Women at every education level are paid less than men in almost every occupation, and 26% percent of African-American women with college degrees have trouble making ends meet.
Cassandra Welchlin, MWESI director, said although the organization began its work last year to improve the lives of Mississippi’s women, there is much more work to be done.
“We are continuing the critical work of addressing these problems by mobilizing women and those who support women across the state,” Welchlin said. “We need all our supportive organizations, community leaders, lawmakers and other policy advocates to stand with us in seeking real and impactful change on behalf of those who are some of the most vulnerable in our state.”
MLICCI Executive Director Carol Burnett said that in order to positively impact the quality of life for Mississippi’s vulnerable women, advocates are seeking to strategically address several needs, including affordable housing, reliable transportation, livable wage-paying jobs, affordable, quality child care and legal assistance.
“If anyone desires to see our state move forward they must first address the unmet needs of its women,” Burnett said. “We have to continue to break down these economic barriers so Mississippi’s women have a fair chance to be successful in life.”
During the event, organizers shared their women’s economic security policy agenda for the 2017 Mississippi legislative session. Panel discussions were also held on issues comprising the policy agenda.
Lunch was included.