6 Ways the Illinois Budget Crisis Affects Women
If you live in Illinois, you know the state budget has been a point of conflict and crisis. After a full year without a budget, legislators finally passed a stop-gap solution to keep the government running for six more months. But this partial budget is only a partial victory. For the thousands of women being harmed by this stalemate, it’s not enough.
Here are 6 ways the Illinois state budget crisis affects women:
1. Women are losing their jobs
In social service agencies and non-profits, 70 percent of workers are women.Without funding, these organizations will have to lay off staff members or even worse, close their doors. This will leave thousands of women unemployed or at risk of being unemployed.
2. Women can’t afford child care
78 percent of families that depend on the state’s Child Care Assistance Program are female-headed households. Without this program mothers can’t work, and they can’t pursue their education, leaving them with smaller budgets and fewer opportunities to advance their skills.
3. Women’s food security is threatened
These same households are also more likely to rely on food and nutritional assistance through the SNAP program. When these vital resources are threatened or cut completely, it becomes more difficult for working mothers to provide nutritional food for their families.
4. Women are less safe and healthy
Many organizations funded by the state provide women with domestic violence support and counseling, trauma therapy, housing, and breast cancer screenings. Women who are in need of support to escape dangerous situations or to get their health screenings can no longer access these important resources.
5. Women’s education is at risk
54 percent of undergraduate students at Illinois public colleges and universities are women. The stop-gap budget allots 70 percent less funding to Illinois’ four year public universities than was requested last year. As long as the financial health of our state’s public universities is at risk, the futures of the women who rely on these universities for their education is also at risk.
6. Women’s financial aid has been cut
Nearly two-thirds of recipients of state Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant recipients are women. While the stop-gap budget covers MAP grants from 2016, they do not provide any funding for the upcoming 2016–2017 school year. Funding for those grants may not be decided until November, which means students who want to enroll for the fall semester don’t know if they’ll get the financial aid they need. This will force many of them to reconsider enrolling or re-enrolling.
This is terrible! So what can we do? Get active!
Speak up! Let our state leaders know that a partial budget is not enough for Illinois’ women and families. We need a fully-funded, year-long budget, and unless legislators and the governor hear from you (and keep hearing from you), it may not happen. Take action now!
Responsible Budget Coalition, “Budget Impasse Creating Barriers for Women and Families,” May 2016
Sujata, K., Huffington Post, “Women at Greatest Risk as Budget Crisis Continues,” June 9, 2016