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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.

The next stage of Femisphere will focus on increasing women’s access to:

  • Educational and workforce development programs that offer transportation and child care assistance;
  • Higher quality child care within neighborhoods where most low-income moms and kids live;
  • More “non-traditional hour” child care to serve growing sectors of service, restaurant, and retail employees;
  • Paid family and medical leave to strengthen the economic security of all families;
  • Protection of women’s healthcare, workplace, and social equity rights; and,
  • The training of young girls to become our next generation of elected leaders.

Current funding partners include the Buhl Foundation, the Opportunity Fund, which has made a multi-year commitment to the program, and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, which has granted $1,000,000.

Read the latest Femisphere Press Release for more details on the next stage of Femisphere.

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.

 

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