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Declining Employment For Women And Deep Budget Cuts Block Pathways To Economic Recovery For Women -- And California

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, the Women's Foundation of California, in partnership with the California Budget Project, will hold a briefing in Sacramento to release a report that shows that almost four years since the official end of the Great Recession, California's women have not shared equally in the state's emerging recovery.  

A Fair Chance: Why California Should Invest in Economic Opportunity for Women and Their Families, notes that employment among the state's women has declined in the past two years, even as it has increased among men. In addition, the last five years of budget cuts has weakened the services and support that not only tide women and families over during transitional times, but also help them to gain skills and contribute to the workforce.

In addition to a drop in employment for women, during the same time budget cuts have resulted in 

  • A significant decline – from five years to just two years – in the amount of time a parent can receive CalWORKs cash assistance and participate in the full array of welfare-to-work activities.
  • Reductions to the CalWORKs grant, which mean that families now lose cash assistance well before their incomes reach the federal poverty line.
  • A decrease by one-third in funding for the childcare budget. This $900 million decrease in annual funding has resulted in a loss of 110,000 childcare slots.
  • A steep decline in women's enrollment in California's community colleges, which provide education that leads to employment or a four-year degree.

The result is that poverty in California is higher than it's ever been, with nearly one in four children now living in poverty.

" California needs to do better in fostering opportunities for women, and particularly low-income women, to participate in the economic recovery as it continues to gain momentum," said Chris Hoene, executive director of the California Budget Project. "State policies can and should play a key role in supporting women's pathways to good careers and a secure economic future."

This is a story of lost opportunity – for women, children and the state of California. 

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