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Nashville, Tenn. (May 14, 2019) – Over 40% of female-headed families in Tennessee live in poverty. Despite some initial steps to address this problem, the 2019 legislative session has concluded without key protections for Tennessee’s working women and their families. A new policy brief released today by ThinkTennessee and A Better Balance highlights the key economic barriers women in Tennessee face and outlines policy proposals to remove those barriers and strengthen the state’s economy.

“This policy brief highlights what we’ve always known—women in Tennessee, especially women of color and mothers, face significant, systemic barriers that prevent them from achieving economic security,” said Elizabeth Gedmark, Director of the Southern Office and Senior Staff Attorney at A Better Balance. “We hear from women every day who are forced to choose between earning a paycheck and caring for themselves and their loved ones.”

One of these women is a Nashville pharmacist who was forced to take unpaid leave to recover from giving birth to her daughter. Without access to paid family and medical leave, she and her family struggled to make ends meet. Stories like this are all too common in Tennessee. “Nearly half of the families in our state depend on a female breadwinner,” said Shanna Singh Hughey, President of ThinkTennessee. “Pro-family policies that make it easier for Tennessee women to join and stay in the workforce boost economic growth and make our state a better place to live, work and raise a family.”

For more information and to read the full policy brief, please click here.

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