By Seltzer and Soguel
Saturday, November 3, 2007
The Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity initiative has been launched by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore and the Eos Foundation in Boston to move the issue of poverty to the forefront of the presidential race and to ensure that the next administration continues to focus on it in 2009 and beyond.
Women comprise 56 percent of those living below the poverty line in the United States, a trend which intensifies for older women and women of color. Women also head over half of poor households, according to census data.
"At this important time, reducing poverty should be moved from the back burner of policy discussions," said Douglas Nelson of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The spotlight initiative has launched a nonpartisan Web site to compare the candidates' positions and statements on poverty issues. A poll found that 54 percent of voters don't think that "political candidates have spent an adequate amount of time discussing hunger and poverty issues."
"The new polling confirms that it's not just advocacy organizations and foundations that are focusing on these issues, but individual voters as well," said Andrea Silbert of the Eos Foundation. "Voters are clearly frustrated with government progress and want practical, innovative, bipartisan solutions that involve governments, nonprofits and the private sector."
Spotlight on Poverty:
Imaging Ourselves, International Museum of Women:
National Women's Law Center, "When Girls Don't Graduate We All Fail":
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Women are dropping out of high school at nearly the same rate as men and are suffering worse socioeconomic consequences than their male peers, an Oct. 30 report from the Washington-based National Women's Law Center found. One in four female teens will not graduate high school within four years. In 2004, 37 percent of Hispanic, 40 percent of black, and 50 percent of American Indian or Alaskan Native female students did not graduate within four years.
"The high school dropout crisis has received significant recent attention but almost exclusively as a problem for boys. It is generally overlooked that girls are also failing to graduate at alarmingly high rates," said Marcia D. Greenberger, National Women's Law Center co-president.
Female high school dropouts earn 63 cents for every $1 earned by male high school dropouts. The nationwide wage gap is highest among high school dropouts.
The law center's recommendations include supporting pregnant and parenting students, ensuring that girls have equal access to after-school activities and combating sexual harassment and discrimination.
Mal Johnson, a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists, died Oct. 28. "She was an exceptional trailblazer, whose tenacity and talent made the NABJ and the world better," the groups' vice president of broadcast, Kathy Times, said.
Johnson was the first woman to work for Cox Broadcasting in Washington, D.C., and covered five presidencies over 27 years as their White House correspondent. Throughout her career, she helped advance the presence of both women and people of color in journalism and was well-known for her courage in advocacy and her fighting spirit.
Her long-time friend, Paul Brock, recalled Johnson's final words to Maynard Institute columnist Richard Prince: "If anyone cries or starts to feel sorry for me, I'll come back and kick their ass."
Sarah Seltzer is the editorial intern at Women's eNews, Dominique Soguel is Arabic editor and Allison Stevens is Washington bureau chief.
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