Legal Momentum News Brief, September 2013

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September 23, 2013

New Report on Single Parenthood in the United States

Legal Momentum’s Senior Staff Attorney, Timothy Casey, has authored a brief report about single parenthood in the U.S., Single Parenthood in the United States–A Snapshot, which analyzes employment, gender, education, income, and more. The report reveals major gender disparities in employment and income. For example, in 2009, 4 in 10 employed single mothers worked in low-wage jobs. In 2011, median income for single-mother families was just over $25,000—almost $15,000 less than for single-father families. The poverty rate for children in single-parent households is more than triple the rate of those in two-parent families, demonstrating the need for a strong safety net. Child poverty is linked to higher incidences of poor health and school dropout.

Promoting Registered Apprenticeships As a Pathway to High-Paying Work

The National Urban League invited Legal Momentum’s Equality Works manager, Francoise Jacobsohn, to moderate a panel on promoting registered apprenticeships at its 2013 National Conference. The panel focused on the ways Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) can enable more people to become apprentices. Registered apprenticeships are an important path to lifelong careers in high-wage industries such as construction, manufacturing, information technology, energy, and telecommunications because they provide on-the-job learning. The need for new apprenticeships in high-wage occupations such as construction is increasing, but progress in ensuring that registered apprenticeships welcome all regardless of race or gender has been very slow, and there are still few women in the federally supervised apprenticeship system for the skilled construction trades. More information about women and apprenticeship can be found in Legal Momentum’s report, Still Excluded.

Legal Momentum Welcomes a New Ms. JD Fellow

Legal Momentum’s National Judicial Education Program (NJEP) welcomes its third Ms. JD Fellow, Reema Sultan from Hofstra University. The Ms JD program promotes mentoring and professional development for future female attorneys. Fellows are chosen based on their academic performance, leadership, and dedication to advancing the status of women in the profession. Mentors are selected from the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession’s Margaret Brent Award winners and commissioners. NJEP Director Lynn Hecht Schafran has mentored two previous fellows who are now embarked on legal careers in the public and private sector. More information about Ms. JD can be found here.

News From around the Nation

STEM: During a recent “women in space” panel, NASA associate administrator Lori Garver said that more women are needed in NASA. She pointed out that women should be encouraged to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, and the science community needs to demonstrate how these careers are valuable. Many of the panelists spoke of the late Sally Ride's influence on their own careers. Ms. Ride, the first U.S. female astronaut in space, was a strong advocate for including young women in STEM fields. Read more here.

Sexual assault in the military: Politico reports that the Pentagon has failed to track sexual predators despite calls from Congress to track cases and perpetrators. According to the Pentagon’s own reports, more than 90% of sex crimes in the ranks are committed by repeat offenders, who are aided by “positions of power, a weak reporting system, and the culture of moving… from base to base every two or three years.” Congress has mandated two critical databases: a criminal database that was completed in 2012—seven years past its deadline—and a system to track sexual assault cases, which is still not complete despite a 2010 deadline. Reasons for the Pentagon’s failure to meet Congressional requirements on time include a lack of cooperation among the four branches of the military and changing reporting requirements. Read more here.

Breastfeeding: New data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that as of 2010, as many as 77% of U.S. newborns were breastfed for at least some time (a sharp increase from only 35% in 2000), and 35% of mothers continue to breastfeed at six months. Breastfeeding provides health benefits for both mother and child. However, policy shortcomings such as budget cuts affecting hospitals that care for low-income Americans mean that gains in breastfeeding are lacking for these women and children. Read more here.