Imagine a world where women are put at the center of development. Where every workforce initiative has a child care center and every school has an engineering program for girls. Where a single parent never has to decide between leaving her sick child home alone or losing her job. Where all women have access to comprehensive healthcare and reproductive services and transportation is no longer an obstacle to economic self-sufficiency. Where paid maternity leave is a reality and fiscal cliffs are not. If you could imagine a world where women, families, and communities thrive, what you would be envisioning is a Femisphere.
What would it look like if Pittsburgh were a Femisphere—where women can access all the resources and services they and their families need to thrive. Seventy-seven percent of households living in poverty in the Pittsburgh area are headed by single mothers with young children. Women of color here earn less than 70 cents on the dollar compared to their white male counterparts. And, while women make up over half of the population, they comprise less than one-fifth of corporate board seats.
The Women and Girls Foundation, in partnership with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, has produced an in-depth report to explore the obstacles preventing more moms and kids from becoming economically secure. Below is some of the striking data we have gathered. We invite you – funders, elected officials, and community members – to focus poverty-reduction efforts on single female heads of households with children as the key to rebuilding and creating thriving communities. Together we can create a world where the entire community prospers, as women and their families thrive.