Every year in March, the United States of America recognizes the vital role women have played and continue to play in our nation’s history by celebrating Women’s History Month.
In honor of this important commemoration, the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative will highlight vital information, facts, issues and key policy and advocacy needs relative to the women in our state during March 2017.
We will also recognize outstanding Mississippi women who are dynamic leaders, organizers, agitators and fighters in the struggle to empower our state’s women.
MLICCI believes the need to economically empower Mississippi’s women is so critical to our state’s future that nearly a year and a half ago our statewide organization launched a women’s economic security campaign called MS Women’s Economic Security Initiative (MWESI). Our initiative organizes Mississippi’s women and addressees issues at the intersection of race and gender to press for policy changes to improve women’s economic circumstances. Our policy goals include affordable child care, comprehensive and affordable women’s health care, pay equity, paid family leave, gender equity in job training and job referrals in the state’s workforce development system, more women entering nontraditional occupations leading to higher paying jobs, affordable higher education with child care support and protection from domestic violence and sexual assault.
To provide a backdrop on the importance of this initiative, it should be noted that Mississippi is the poorest state in the United States, with women and children disproportionately harmed by poverty.
More than one-quarter of women overall in Mississippi are below poverty, and more than 4 in 10 black women.
Women earn less than men in the state’s workforce in nearly every profession and at every educational level.
In Mississippi, women are clustered in low-wage jobs, making up half the workforce, yet nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage earners (https://nwlc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Women-and-the-Minimum-Wage-State-by-State-Tables.pdf).
Families headed by single mothers suffer the worst poverty.
If Mississippi is to progress and do better, it is clear that we must make the changes necessary to uplift and empower the state’s women first.
Happy Women’s History Month!