Sandra Brown Basso, Coordinator, Executive Department
Areas of Expertise:
Projects & Campaigns
Women and Poverty: The poverty rate for adult women has been substantially higher than for adult men in every year since official poverty measurement began. Legal Momentum is proposing policy solutions that will alleviate women and children’s poverty.
Women face violence at home, on the street, and in the workplace. Notwithstanding one of Legal Momentum’s signature achievements – passage of the Violence Against Women Act—supportive services, rights and protective measures for victims remain inadequate.
Nearly 50 years after sex discrimination in employment was prohibited, women continue to be paid less, face sexual harassment, and confront barriers to hiring and promotion. These challenges are severe for women in “non-traditional” jobs. Legal Momentum works to protect the workplace rights of women, especially vulnerable populations.
Legal Momentum has expertise and resources across a wide range of areas related to discrimination, gender equity, and gender bias. Ranging from sexual and reproductive rights and teen dating violence to gender bias in the courts, Legal Momentum continues to champion the rights of women and girls and to work to eradicate harmful stereotypes and policies shaped by bias while promoting policies and practices that reflect the realities of women’s lives, and advancing their rights under the law.
Women continue to hold jobs with lower salaries and fewer benefits. They face barriers to employment in job sectors from which they have long been excluded. Job training programs for both adults and students too often reinforce these trends, failing to provide women and girls with competitive skills and a path into non-traditional, well-compensated jobs.
Legal Momentum, represented by Kaye Scholer LLP, has filed an amicus curiae brief in the state of Washington, in support of a plaintiff with legal immigrant status who was battered by her spouse and struggled to find independence due to the termination of government funded food assistance for immigrants. Battered women, like the plaintiff, are be forced to stay in or return to abusive relationships due to lack of financial support. Learn more about the Immigrant Women Program.
Findings from a Legal Momentum study prove that the rates of impoverished single mothers in the United States is exceptionally higher than the rate of single mothers in the 15 other high income countries with similar economic standards. The U.S. ranked at 49%, Denmark (8%), Sweden (10%), and Finland (11%). Read the full report here.
"The "immigration enforcement above all else" model has a particularly brutal impact on immigrant women.
Legislation must address plight of Immigrant Women and Families
New York (December 15, 2009) - Legal Momentum applauds the introduction of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP) by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D.-Ill.), chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus task force on immigration.
Leading poverty experts propose bold plan to rescue families and repair nation’s emergency measures
Washington, DC (December 7, 2009) -Eleven of the nation’s leading experts on poverty have proposed a $400 billion emergency relief plan to create and save jobs for millions of Americans while also offering adequate resources to vital safety net programs. The national study, Battered by the Storm: How Safety Net is Failing Americans and How to Fix It, concludes that the economic crisis is still on the rise for millions of Americans, while at the same time the social safety net is failing to support many of them. It offers one of the boldest, most comprehensive plans to combat poverty and unemployment — beginning now.
"To end the joblessness epidemic in this country, we need a massive jolt of public jobs, of aid to states and cities, and of finance for vital safety net programs," says John Cavanagh, Director of the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies.
- Levels of long-term unemployment, underemployment and discouraged workers are reaching historic levels;
- The percentage of poor children receiving temporary assistance under TANF (the main federal “welfare” program) has fallen from 62% in 1995 to 22% in 2008;
- TANF benefits are far from sufficient to support the families that depend on them: 2008 assistance payments averaged only 29% of the money needed to bring families up to the official poverty line;
- Even while labor force participation of mothers has increased, the supply of affordable child care has lagged behind, creating a significant barrier to employment for many, especially single mothers; and
- Roughly 57% of unemployed people are receiving unemployment compensation; for those receiving benefits, amounts are less than half of wages, and many are losing work-related health benefits.
- $40 billion public jobs program to create one million new jobs;
- $270 billion to cover state and local deficits, which could sustain vital funding for critical safety net programs and could save the jobs of millions of workers;
- Just over $100 billion for the expansion of programs that provide income or income equivalents to help people weather the storm: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), unemployment insurance, and food stamps; and
- New policies to address the housing foreclosure crisis.