Race, Poverty, Gender, OH MY!


I recently started an internship at CAP and get to participate in some interesting dialogues and trainings.  One project that I was happy to be a part of was a teleconference discussing the intersections of race, gender, and poverty.  This is fascinating to me since I’m majoring in Social Work at PSU.  Here is a summary of what I heard.

Throughout the conference, emphasis was put on how gender and race have a huge impact on health and health outcomes.  One example came from a recent study that showed middle class women of color are more likely to isolate themselves than other groups.  Many people would think that is counter intuitive—if these women are middle class, shouldn’t they have the ability to access resources?   Well, these same women are living in a state of nondisclosure.  They work 9-5 (when most agencies are open for business) and have the means to support themselves with a job that , more than likely, would not be so great (many examples of workplace discrimination have been reported) if they found out these women were HIV+. Numerous studies have found that most workplaces treat HIV+ folks negatively.  The PTA and neighborhood associations may not be as understanding—even if they were, this group doesn’t perceive them as such, and that is what matters.  Without support and communication, what happens to this group of women?

For the women who are accessing services, a study found those that are most useful offer housing assistance, job acquisition and skills, and assistance acquiring medical services (Yay, CAP!).  What else are women doing to help in this struggle?  Many are participating in academic studies.  Besides the financial reimbursement offered in many of these studies, women are having their voices heard and creating connections.  This is invaluable to their community and to policy and academic leaders who are making decisions.

Another startling fact was the in-your-face graph of the unequal disbursement of wealth.  This translates to how much money is left over after the bills.  I know, I know: we’ve all heard this—but just look at the graph!  Crazy, no?

“Where are the Latina and African/Black women in this graph?” you ask—Well, Latina women have $120 and African/Black women have $100.  These groups didn’t even make it onto the graph!  I told you it was crazy.

This info is great and there is a lot more available at the Positive Women’s Network website (the lovely ladies sponsored this teleconference).

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