Thursday, February 24, 2011

Learn to Earn: Financial Independence for Women

Feb 22: I ended the first day of the CSW parallel NGO events at a 4:00 pm session in the main hall of the Salvation Army. The session was entitled “How Women Learn to Earn from Rural Panama to the schools of Oakland California, to the factories of Korea” and was moderated by Dr. Murase from the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women. I was excited to hear about the panelists from all these unique places, as well as a panelist of Haitian origin. The first two presenters, from Panama were positively influenced by Secretary Clinton’s “Pathways to Prosperity” Mentor/Mentee program. Yaribeth, a biologist and mentee of the program, spoke passionately in her native Spanish about her ecological business Nativaes, which has engaged 70 rural women in sustainable agricultural work. Tamara Apollon’s work with a network of Haitian women farmers helped them gain FDA approval. On November 1st, the very first transport of organic produce imported from Haiti arrived at JFK, which the modest number of us in attendance applauded heavily. The last three presenters all focused on low-income communities in California. Lee’s work with EBALD helped families purchase homes using subsidies such as the IDA program and Calderon mentioned San Francisco’s initiative of starting a savings account for every single kindergarten to instill the value of saving early. Sookja Kim, who worked for Korea’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (can you imagine the US having a ministry like this?) focuses her policy on the work/life balance of women. With a divorce rate of 50%, the financial independence of women is a critical concern. With 6 presenters who shared a lot about their work, there was no time for a small group discussion. However, I pose a question for you: What happens to the work/life balance with low-income single mothers? What are the issues affecting them that may be different than low-income families with two parents?


Adriana Fabrega (Panama; Discover the World Marketing, Director)
Yaribeth De leon de Deago (Panama; Nativaes, GM)Tamara Apollon (Haiti/Belgium/USA;
Sookja Kim (Korea/San Franciso; Family Policy Division of the Korean Government, Director),
Tamara Apollon (Haiti, Belgium, USA)
Lynette Jung Lee (Oakland; East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, Executive Director)
Olivia Calderon (San Francisco; New America, Legislative Director)


Emily M. Murase, PH.D (San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, Executive Director)

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