Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) joined with women's advocates from across Connecticut today to kick off the "Women, Did You Know?" initiative. The program, which will educate and engage women in a dialogue on the financial pressures they face daily, is occurring in conjunction with the Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and other women's advocacy groups. Throughout her time in Congress, DeLauro has been an advocate for addressing the unique pressures women face, such as the wage gap and higher health care costs. "The Women, Did You Know? Initiative is the outgrowth of discussions we held earlier this spring about the unique financial pressures and challenges women face." said DeLauro. "Even as our state has been recognized as a leader in women's equity -- we were recently named the best state for women in America by the online site iVillage -- it is clear that, here in Connecticut and around the country more can and should be done to mitigate these pressures. So we felt it was important to provide women and men in our state with more information about these financial challenges, and about the current attempts in Congress and elsewhere to address them."
Designed to both inform and engage women on the economic issues that impact them most, the initiative will be mainly driven by social media, allowing people the flexibility to interact on their own schedules. It will also encourage them to not only reach out to policy makers, but more importantly to engage their own communities and networks in this dialogue.
"Using social media to disseminate important facts about the status of women is critical," said Teresa Younger, executive director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. "This growing broad-based, non-partisan and grassroots way of reaching people will make for a more engaged citizenry. And in allowing more women to learn about issues that may -- or may not -- be on their radar, it helps bring a statewide focus to conditions that erode women's economic security."
According to the National Women's Law Center, during the current recovery, women have gained just 22.5 percent of the more than 2.5 million net jobs added to the economy, despite holding about 30 percent of the jobs lost during the recession. WISER (Women's Institute For A Secure Retirement)reports that two-thirds of women over 65 have no pension other than Social Security, and the fact that so many elderly women rely on Social Security as their only source of income is a significant reason why women represent nearly 70 percent of the elderly poor. Women's retirement insecurity is also rooted in pay inequities over a lifetime. Today, women earn only 77 cents on average for every dollar earned by men, and the National Partnership for Women and Families has found that the gender wage gap has improved at a rate of less than half a cent per year since 1963.
"Women have made great progress, but there is still so much that can be done to put them on an equal level with men in terms of economic security. But first we have to recognize the magnitude of the problem." said DeLauro. "That is what this initiative is all about."
"Women, Did You Know?" can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WomenDidYouKnow and on Twitter @WomenDidYouKnow.