Putting the Power of Research to Work for Women and Girls
Women have made great strides in equality and social justice over the years. We live in a country where women have legal protections against discrimination – in the workplace, in the housing and credit markets, and in accessing education. Sadly, there are still segments of our culture that see nothing wrong with harassing and discriminating against women and girls, where women have less opportunity and status than men, where society’s customs disadvantage women.
To continue to advance, it is vital to have the facts, to know where the actual problems are, and where to push for long-lasting change. That is why it is so important to have recent and accurate research both locally and nationally.
The Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona is dedicated to being be a valuable source of information on women’s topics for organizations and individuals.
The Impact of the Recession and State Budget Decisions on Arizona's Women and Children
According to a new research report released by the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona and the Arizona Foundation for Women, policies that support child care and higher education are among the most effective ways to help low-income working families achieve economic self-sufficiency.
The research, conducted by the Grand Canyon Institute, includes data through 2013, which was utilized to analyze state-funded and administered programs that impact low-income families. Funding for specific programs suffered from substantial cuts.
Child care subsidies: 36% decrease & program frozen
Community colleges: 58% decrease in state funding
Universities: 39% decrease in state funding
An exception to this downward trend is a 25% increase in the number of qualifying Arizonans enrolled in AHCCCS in the last six years. As more low income individuals will have quality health care, this is expected to generally improve health outcomes, decrease infant and child mortality rates, and reduce health care costs.
“The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Arizona 2012″ provides a detailed county-by-county breakdown of the income families of 70 different configurations need to make ends meet in all 15 Arizona counties. It also documents the degree to which public supports, such as childcare assistance and KidsCare, enable families to meet their basic needs while moving towards self-sufficiency; and the report has comparative data from 2002.
The report also reveals that financial hardship in Arizona is more widespread and severe than the federal government’s official poverty rate statistics would suggest. Many workers in Arizona have earnings that fall far short of what’s needed to meet basic family needs, even if their income is well above the official federal poverty guidelines. This is due to shortcomings in the federal guidelines, which adjust for family size but not for other key factors including where a family lives or the age of their children. The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Arizona offers a more realistic measurement of the income needed to meet basic needs.
“We tend to see people below the poverty line as needing help and those above it as not requiring assistance,” said Diana Pearce, Ph.D., author of the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Arizona 2012 and director of the Center for Women’s Welfare at the University of Washington School of Social Work. “In reality, with flat wages and increasing costs, more and more families are struggling to survive. Even though they are working hard, they still can’t make ends meet.”
“Arizona policy makers are now developing long-term plans for moving our state from recession toward a path to economic prosperity,” said WFSA Executive Director Laura Penny. “One of the most important measures of their success will be the degree to which individuals and families become economically self-sufficient. The new report documents the income required to accomplish this in a way that has proven to be remarkably accurate and comprehensive. This essential information also will play an essential role in helping Arizona families make real progress toward achieving economic security.”
Previous Reports on the Status of Women in Southern Arizona
Status of Women Report
One of the major projects we’ve undertaken is an analysis of the Status of Women in Southern Arizona. Looking at the three counties we serve – Cochise, Pima, and Santa Cruz – the research examines how women are doing in the areas of education, economic prosperity and health, among other indicators.
We put this data into context and distribute the information as widely as possible. This report allows us to work with the community for years to come to prioritize the issues and develop action plans to address them.
Realizing that knowledge and understanding are key in addressing the needs of women, numerous organizations conduct research programs. The information they provide is crucial for working for equality and justice at the state, national and international levels.
To have your organization’s findings listed here, please contact CEO Dawne Bell