Carol Burnett, is with the Mississippi Low Income Childcare Initiative, and helps working mothers on the Coast obtain affordable childcare. But, she says the needs are so much greater, especially for single parents. Burnett says, 80 percent of women work in low-wage service and support jobs.
"And frequently jobs that don't come with any benefits, including no paid family leave. Frequently women don't even get maternity leave." said Burnett.
Burnett says, Mississippi women on average earn less than men at every level of educational attainment, throughout every industry, except construction. Julie Kuklinski is Director of Women in Construction, an eight week training program in Biloxi. She says many students are single mothers, who earn $18 to $20 per hour, after they complete the program.
"When we see our graduates, they're out in the field doing the work and they're happy and their proud. They have cars. They have apartments. They have houses and that's what really makes the difference for their families." said Kuklinski.
Burnett and Kuklinski are members of a coalition made up of women's advocacy groups, called The Mississippi Women's Economic Security Initiative. They are hosting "Town Talks" statewide to hear what women need to improve their access to affordable housing, better educational opportunities, quality childcare and healthcare. Carol Burnett explains.
"This coalition is an effort to try to put our agenda together, so that we can come up with some policy changes in the state that are going to improve women's well-being economically." said Burnett.
The first session is Saturday, May 30th, at the Metrocenter Mall in Jackson. The results will be released at their summit in October.