TASK FORCE ON WOMEN IN POVERTY
(Task Force Report-1967)
A. We start with a concern for the plight of women who now livein poverty.The most serious victims of sex-discrimination in thiscountry are the women at the bottom, including those who, unsupported,head a great percentage of families in poverty; those women whowork at low-paying, marginal jobs, or who cannot find work; andthe seriously increasing number of high school dropouts who aregirls. No adequate attention is being given to these women byany of the existing poverty programs.
B. N.O.W. will work to insure that all federal poverty-relatedprograms, including the Job Corps and the MDTA, shall be administeredwithout discrimination on the basis of sex and shall provide serioustraining for disadvantaged girls and women, as well as boys andmen, in order that they may take a rewarding and productive rolein society. We will fight the current practice of ignoring womenand girls in such government programs; of providing them withtraining, under the M.D.T.A. of only the beauty care or unskilledclerical sort that is not geared to the future or even to thehope of adequate pay.
C. Our concern with these problems leaves us to seek broader andmore meaningful expansion of economic opportunities. There cannotbe significant opportunities for women (especially those “atthe bottom of the heap”) unless there is room for them tomove into. We cannot simply ask that women enter fierce competitionfor scarce opportunities, setting one group against another. Thepoverty program has brought to light serious inadequacies andthe patchwork quality of some of the present approaches to jobtraining, job creation, education for potential jobs, the lackof regional and city planning, the failure to identify and utilizethe already existing experiences of women as well as men for whomthe program is intended. Furthermore, full employment is essentialto any decent plan for economic development that will meet theneeds of all women. `This fact is especially true for women inpoverty. We see the need for job innovation at every level ofemployment in which women are concentrated. Already existing skillsof women (home nursing, teachers aides, day care and recreationwork, foster parents, etc.) can be utilized to meet unmet needsin the areas of education and many other social services, includingrewarding employment.
Submitted by: Dr. Anna Arnold Hedgeman, Chairman