Task Force on Women in Poverty

Task Force Report – 1967

A. We start with a concern for the plight of women who now live in poverty. The most serious victims of sex-discrimination in this country are the women at the bottom, including those who, unsupported, head a great percentage of families in poverty; those women who work at low-paying, marginal jobs, or who cannot find work; and the seriously increasing number of high school dropouts who are girls. No adequate attention is being given to these women by any of the existing poverty programs.

B. N.O.W. will work to insure that all federal poverty-related programs, including the Job Corps and the MDTA, shall be administered without discrimination on the basis of sex and shall provide serious training for disadvantaged girls and women, as well as boys and men, in order that they may take a rewarding and productive role in society. We will fight the current practice of ignoring women and girls in such government programs; of providing them with training, under the M.D.T.A. of only the beauty care or unskilled clerical sort that is not geared to the future or even to the hope of adequate pay.

C. Our concern with these problems leaves us to seek broader and more meaningful expansion of economic opportunities. There cannot be significant opportunities for women (especially those “at the bottom of the heap”) unless there is room for them to move into. We cannot simply ask that women enter fierce competition for scarce opportunities, setting one group against another. The poverty program has brought to light serious inadequacies and the patchwork quality of some of the present approaches to job training, job creation, education for potential jobs, the lack of regional and city planning, the failure to identify and utilize the already existing experiences of women as well as men for whom the program is intended. Furthermore, full employment is essential to any decent plan for economic development that will meet the needs of all women. This fact is especially true for women in poverty. We see the need for job innovation at every level of employment in which women are concentrated. Already existing skills of women (home nursing, teachers aides, day care and recreation work, foster parents, etc.) can be utilized to meet unmet needs in the areas of education and many other social services, including rewarding employment.

Submitted by: Dr. Anna Arnold Hedgeman, Chairman

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