Happy New Year 2017!
I had the great fortune of spending the holidays surrounded by females who I love, admire, and look to with awe. From my six-year-old granddaughter who is curious about everything and encourages me to see the world in a new light through her eyes. To my dearly beloved eighty-year-old adopted mother-figure who has wisdom and love that she imparts to me freely.
Being with these women and having deep, honest conversations – I found myself thinking – this is how healthy women thrive in difficult times. And in the coming days ahead, this is going to be crucial for all women. We will have to put aside our differences to care for one another. Women supporting women.
With the promises of adjustments to the 2017 federal budget and programs (medical, Medicaid, food, housing, tax benefits, education, among many) new changes are coming our way as Americans.
But no one will feel it as deeply as women in need. The programs being cut and downsized directly affect a women’s ability to care for herself and her family.
This goes beyond political party. It is greater than that. No matter red or blue, when these benefits go away, politics be damned, women must unite. And it is that which we must focus on, the needs of women as our sisters.
Let’s start with wages. Historically and it continues today, women make less than men. Forbes.com (1) reported women only earn 80-90% doing the same job men do. Women are heading into this changing economy at a lower advantage.
The states that will be hit the hardest by the cuts to programs such as federal aid, food, and housing will be southern states. Benefitspro.com(2) documents in 2016 Mississippi, Arkansas, and West Virginia as the poorest states in the nation. Surrounding southern states fill out the top ten.
To give you an idea of how women are affected by the economy of the three top states:
- Mississippi -“highest women’s poverty rate in the nation at 23.1%; almost 1 in 3 of children live in poverty, and nearly 65% of families in poverty are headed by single mothers”(3)
- Arkansas -20% of women live in poverty(4)
- West Virginia – 22% of women live in poverty(5). 16% of the state relies on SNAP (food program)
Women being the wonderfully complex humans we are, come with special needs that require additional financial responsibilities. More cost to be female with fewer wages earned.
Our bodies dictate regular pap smears, mammograms and medical care, monthly menstrual products, and birth control. Whatever a woman’s marital status, when she is pregnant and has a child/ren, the primary caretaking falls to her.
The site census.gov reported on April 20, 2016, that of 3.9 million births in the past 12 months, 35.8% of those were to unmarried women.
On the HHS.gov website statistics for the Affordable Care Act, “An estimated 55 million women are also benefiting from preventive services coverage with no out-of-pocket costs. And health insurers can no longer discriminate based on gender, being a woman is no longer a preexisting condition.”
We must stay aware of the government’s decisions that affect women and our lives. As men decide the future of our country and what is best for women, we must hold them accountable. And as these decisions take hold, women must support the women among us who are hurting.
Today I am thankful
- Busy day and happy to get home with all my tasks accomplished.
- I am feeling positive about the new year.
- I am missing my babies. Loving into the universe to each of you.
We will need each other in the days to come. We will need to help each other. If you see a woman in need, help her. It could be as easy as opening a door when she has her arms filled with a child, giving her your smile when she is without one. If you can, buy the woman behind you a cup of coffee, make her day. Whatever, whenever pay-it-forward.
affectionately yours, Laura