Good afternoon We have heard enough already today to agree that women’s retirement issues demand immediate attention and creative solutions. As it is now, many women, some of whom we know personally, are at risk for living their final years in poverty. I am grateful for this opportunity to present commission for women as ready “Allies for Spreading the Word About Women’s Retirement Issues.”
There approximately 200 commissions for women throughout the United States, All are governmental entities established by state, county or city authorities. Most have advisory and/or advocacy responsibilities for advancing issues affecting the quality of life of women.
Most Commissions are members of the National Association of Commissions for Women- an umbrella organization. NACW is a bi-partisan membership organization that serves as a national voice for commissions on issues of mutual concern. NACW and its member commissions succeed in their work because of effective partnerships with other women’s organizations, businesses, non-profits and government leaders
I am here today to put forth Commissions for Women as important allies, uniquely positioned to support the Blueprint on Women’s Retirement Issues. As governmental entities many commissions are already engaged in helping shape public policy In communities throughout the nation, commissions are already engaged in creating and supporting programs to educate and inform the decisions of women and girls Thirdly, the networks are already in place and the issue of improving the economic status of women is already on the agenda.
As I see it the challenge before us are these:
As mentioned previously, Commissions for Women are already actively engaged in a number of relevant public policy issues including. Those of you who work on Capitol Hill are no doubt familiar with some or all of these.
As we contemplate the path forward allow me to recommend 3 STEPS
Regarding advocacy New and different voices are needed… so husbands and sons speak-up on behalf of the women in your life. Connect the issues, Commissions do this particularly well. Help others to understand that no money often means no health care thus, no medicine , no food , and inadequate housing…the basic necessities of life. Help spread the word about programs that are producing results and endorse policy designed to keep women from living in poverty Help deliver the message to women and girls that they can and they should speak in their own words about their financial realities And for those of us here…Make a personal commitment to work for change
1) We must educate…business and policy leaders in a way that paints a very clear picture of the realities of their actions or inactions. 2) We must educate … organizations that deliver financial products and services on the value of reaching out to non-traditional segments of the population despite their complexities 3) We must educate women…helping them to clearly understand that their action today regarding their money determine their financial future. Considering the fact that a majority of the low wage jobs are held by women this is particularly difficult yet extremely important. 4) And lastly… we must educate girls to learn from the past and challenge the future relative to education, careers, savings and investments.
Recommended partnerships on the path forward…
The Delaware Commission for Women has and will continue to support and promote these initiatives. It is our mission to provide leadership, advocacy and resources on issues of economic empowerment, civil rights, women health, violence prevention and women’s recognition. Staff and commissioners work diligently on connecting the issues and maximizing strategic alliances in an effort to improve the status of women and the future for girls in Delaware.
I want to take a minute before I close to personally thank Cindy Hounsell her staff and sponsors First for the vision for developing a Blueprint for Women’s Retirement, and Second for assembling a group of “ all the right people ” to make it a reality. Together… Thank you
COMMISSIONS FOR WOMEN: Allies Spreading the Word about
COMMISSIONS FOR WOMEN: Allies Spreading the Word about Women’s Retirement Issues WISER Symposium Washington, D.C. Romona S. Fullman, Esq. Director Delaware Commission for Women Thursday, December 7, 2006
Commissions For Women <ul><li>200 Commissions for Women throughout the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Commissions are governmental entities established by state, county or city authorities. </li></ul><ul><li>Most have advisory and/or advocacy responsibilities for advancing issues affecting the quality of life and full and equitable participation of women in all sectors of society. </li></ul>
National Association of Commissions for Women (NACW) <ul><li>NACW is a non-partisan membership organization of state, county and local commissions. </li></ul><ul><li>NACW serves as a national voice for commissions for women on issues of mutual concern . </li></ul><ul><li>NACW has provided leadership and guidance on a myriad of public policy issues for over 30 years and provides a venue for the exchange of ideas, resources and best practices . </li></ul><ul><li>NACW partners with other women’s organizations, businesses, non-profits and government leaders to serve the needs of women. </li></ul>
Unique Allies <ul><li>As governmental entities, many commissions for women help shape public policy based on research, and effective relationships with women and policy makers. </li></ul><ul><li>In communities throughout the nation, commissions have created and supported initiatives to educate and inform the decisions of women and girls. </li></ul><ul><li>Through existing nationwide networks , commissions are natural allies for promoting and improving economic security for women. </li></ul>
The Challenge <ul><li>Changing attitudes and perceptions that tolerate pay inequities and related economic injustices and unjustifiable disparities. </li></ul><ul><li>Changing attitudes and perceptions about the relevancy of the subject to all women (not just educated, professional or paraprofessional women—all women) </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying public and private sector leaders who “get it” and are willing to demonstrate their commitment on all levels. </li></ul><ul><li>Empowering all women and girls with the knowledge and resources to make informed financial decisions. </li></ul>
6 Policy Issues <ul><li>Pay Equity (The Fair Pay Act, The Paycheck Fairness Act) </li></ul><ul><li>Minimum Wage / Livable Wages </li></ul><ul><li>Retirement benefits , especially in jobs and industries predominated by women </li></ul><ul><li>Paid Family & Medical Leave (paid) </li></ul><ul><li>Affirmative Action </li></ul><ul><li>Accelerating Business Profits to Women-Owned Businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Education & Training </li></ul>
Advocacy <ul><li>New voices… husbands, sons, grandsons, and nephews need to speak to the realities facing their mothers, grandmothers, sisters and family friends. </li></ul><ul><li>Connect the issues- …personal finances issues affect health, access to care, food, shelter…the basic necessities of a quality of life. </li></ul><ul><li>Support current programs and policy initiatives designed to keep women from living the devastating realities of poverty in their later years of life. </li></ul><ul><li>Empower women and girls of all backgrounds to be articulate about their needs and concerns. </li></ul><ul><li>Make a personal commitment to join others in brainstorming and implementing solutions. </li></ul>
Education <ul><li>Business and policy leaders need a clearer picture of the realities and consequences of their actions or inactions. </li></ul><ul><li>Because we need to reach all women companies providing resources and services must better understand the realities and complexities of this very diverse segment of the population and be willing to meet them where they are. </li></ul><ul><li>Women must understand that their actions and decisions today directly affect the quality of tomorrow. </li></ul><ul><li>Girls must learn from the past and challenge the future…seizing and creating opportunities for economic equity and security. </li></ul>
Partnerships <ul><li>Business with Business - developing exemplary policies, practices and programs that help workers prepare for their financial future. </li></ul><ul><li>Financial Organizations with Women’s Organizations – delivering innovative tools and implementing effective strategies and programs to reach women everywhere regarding their financial future. </li></ul><ul><li>Government with Women’s Organizations and organizations primarily serving women – working as collaborators on laws and public policies affecting the economic security of women, especially those approaching retirement. </li></ul>
In Delaware… <ul><li>State Treasurer Jack Markell has been a leader in promoting financial literacy and skills for women and children. </li></ul>www.state.de.us /treasure/
3 Noteworthy Initiatives <ul><li>The Delaware Money School , financially supported by , offers more than 500 free personal finance classes annually on a wide range of topics including retirement, divorce financial planning and long term care. Most for free. </li></ul><ul><li>Purse to Portfolios - a unique conference designed to give women the necessary tools to attain financial confidence and expertise. More than 1500 attended the October 21 st conference </li></ul><ul><li>Financial Literacy Conference and Special Reading List for Children - provides a half-day session that includes entrepreneurship and the list contains more than 50 age-specific recommended readings for children. </li></ul>
Delaware Commission for Women <ul><li>Provides leadership , advocacy and resources on issues of economic empowerment , civil rights , women’s health , violence prevention and women’s recognition </li></ul>
Opportunity <ul><li>Together we have the opportunity, through the effective use our collective power, expertise and resources, to shape and improve the quality of life for women who might otherwise live their retirement years in poverty. </li></ul><ul><li>What reason is acceptable for not doing all that we can? </li></ul><ul><li>THANK YOU </li></ul>