Falling Behind: Groundbreaking Report Discusses the Impact of the Great Recession and the Budget Crisis on California’s Women and Their Families


Panelists included Moderator Dr. Nancy Leffert, Supervisor Janet Wolf, Kathy M. Gallagher, Fran Forman, and Martha Harmon.

In a public briefing and conversation made possible through a collaboration of foundations and funding partners, including the Women’s Foundation of California and the Santa Barbara Foundation, several nonprofit and community members gathered Monday night to hear the results of the report Falling Behind: The Impact of the Great Recession and the Budget Crisis on California’s Women and their Families. This report specifically addresses the difficulties women, especially low-income women, and their families are having making ends meet in the current economic climate.

The evening began with a welcome from Judy Patrick, president and CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California. Judy shared some of the key findings from the report, most importantly how the recession has rippled out through the economy, taking a significant toll on California’s women and their families. Data has shown that this downturn is the first in recent history in which women have experienced substantial job loss. Single women supporting families were particularly hard hit, with reduced employment opportunities. Those who remained employed saw the largest decline in their average work week in at least two decades.

An illuminating panel discussion unpacked many of the issues raised within the report, with Fran Forman, executive director of Community Action Commission; Kathy M. Gallagher, director of the Department of Social Services for Santa Barbara County; Martha Harmon, senior vice president of community investments for the Santa Barbara Foundation; Janet Wolf, second district supervisor for Santa Barbara County; and Moderator, Dr. Nancy Leffert, president of Antioch University, Santa Barbara sharing specific impact and relevancy through the work they are each doing everyday. While all panelists remained optimistic for the future and felt many bright spots were on the horizon, Judy Patrick reinforced the need for advocacy, encouraging all to be involved and to use their voice to inspire necessary and needed change.

Click here to download this groundbreaking report.

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