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CCWI Marks Women’s History Month

In an effort to highlight March as Women’s History Month, the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues will hold a series of special orders throughout the month. On March 7, Caucus Co-Chairs Judy Biggert (R-IL) and Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA) were joined by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) to discuss the importance of education.

Rep. Biggert focused her remarks on the need to improve school access for disadvantaged students, particularly homeless children. Saying that a federal study found that 84 percent of parents or guardians of homeless children are female, Rep. Biggert noted, “The average homeless family is composed of a single mother in her twenties and two children under the age of 6. Single mothers are vulnerable to homelessness because of the high cost of housing for families, the high cost of child care and lack of housing assistance.” She added: “We must work together as women, as leaders in our community and as public servants, to find answers to the destructive cycles caused by homelessness and poverty.”

Rep. Biggert has introduced a bill (H.R. 623) that would provide grants to states to ensure that homeless children are guaranteed access to public education.

Highlighting the importance of math and science education, Rep. Lynn Woolsey said, “Females make up slightly more than 50 percent of this country’s population. Yet, less than 30 percent of America’s scientists are women. In addition, the National Science Foundation reports that the jobs facing today’s workers will require higher skill levels in science, math, and technology more than ever before.”

Rep. Woolsey will be reintroducing a bill, Getting Our Girls Ready for the 21st Century Act, which is designed to improve girls’ access to math, science, and technology education.

Rep. Millender-McDonald discussed the issues of teacher recruitment, retention and professional development. “Next to mother, a teacher is probably one of the most influential persons in a child’s life,” she stated, adding: “We need to ensure that all of the Nation’s children are taught by well-prepared and well-qualified teachers who have access to ongoing professional development and lifelong learning opportunities.”

Next week, the Women’s Caucus will focus on women’s health.

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