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Springfield nonprofit receives $420K to study barriers to women's economic security

Donna Haghighat (left) is CEO of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts.
Kelley Bryant / The Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts
Donna Haghighat (left) is CEO of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts.

The Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts has received $420,000 from the Baker administration to study barriers blocking women from economic stability — especially throughout the pandemic.

The Women's Fund is surveying 200 women from diverse backgrounds on how they pay for items their families need, and what support systems they have in place.

Kelley Bryant, a research manager overseeing the project, is hoping to address a national trend of women who are a part of what's known as the "sandwich generation."

"They're taking care of both children or other dependents, as well as parents maybe who have recently moved in with them," Bryant said. "So there's certainly lots of factors that are intersecting into the ways that women are computing their own economic security and their families."

The UMass Donahue Institute is creating the survey while Springfield non-profits will reach out to respondents.

Bryant said she hopes the results will help bring about change in "child care or unpaid caregiving, as well as food security and mental health, and support surrounding job training, job preparation, educational opportunities and any policies and practices that can be better revised by this type of data."

Nirvani Williams covers socioeconomic disparities for New England Public Media, joining the news team in June 2021 through Report for America.
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