The WNY Women's Foundation has released a new report on the barriers girls and women face. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the report features stories from women both young and old.
“Every woman and girl will find herself in this report, some way, somehow. There are pieces that will stand out to all of us,” said Kristen Luppino-Gholston, director of Community Initiates and Investments at the WNY Women's Foundation.
The Pathways To Progress, Volume 2 report offers the lifespan of a woman to demonstrate barriers females face at different times of the lives.
“So we look at a young girl, an adolescent girl, a young adult, an adult woman and a woman of experience and each of those women is named in the report,” noted Luppino-Gholston.
Luppino-Gholston tells WBFO the report "sets a framework" to education the community and issues and to take action to change the negative barriers.
“We have issues of gender overlaid and compounded by issues of race and issues of socioeconomic status and class, poverty, education, income, trauma – all of these things intersect over the lives of women,” remarked Luppino-Gholston.
The latest data was collected over a year in Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties. It also used online "data hub" material. The report points to the importance of early childhood education.
“85% of the brain's core structure is developed by age four. The startling fact that I learned or uncovered in this process is that only 9% of public investment in education and development are dedicated to that age,” Luppino-Gholston explained.
For adult woman the wage gap becomes a major issue as they age into retirement.
“In Western New York, for every 100 men 85 years old, there are 212 women – 82% chance of outliving her financial assets in retirement. We have more older women and they have less money going into retirement. They're living longer and outliving and outliving their financial assets and this is a major problem,” described Luppino-Gholston.
New York State Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who also chairs the New York State Women's Caucus, has pledged to present the findings to the entire caucus.