Friday, September 28, 2012

Aging and Voting with Grace

Written by Daniella Levine, Catalyst Miami President/CEO

I am in Dallas right now attending the annual meeting of OWL, the national organization that promotes the voice of midlife and older women. I joined OWL's board of directors when I turned 55, and now at 57, membership in OWL is helping to remind me that as I age, I am proud. While there are many new challenges that come with age, there is also a wisdom and serenity for which I am supremely grateful.

So, reading in today's OWL e-newsletter about the recent YWCA survey of women's concerns, I was struck by how these concerns resonate. Eighty percent of women, across all divides and regardless of political affiliation, agree on 80% of the issues.

Top concerns among women across the board include (quoting from OWL):

    • Disappearing middle class
    • Social Security and if it will be there when they retire
    • An unaffordable medical expense for themselves or family
    • Health insurance that is affordable and secure for their family.
    • The economic downturn continues to loom over women. Its consequences are writ large in their concerns:
    • 41% of women have been the primary breadwinner in the last four years.
    • Women report hardships ranging from postponing medical care to losing a job or falling behind in rent or mortgage payments. Most importantly, even women who have not personally experienced these difficulties express concern about these issues.

These are also the concerns of Catalyst Miami and our constituents. These are the motivators for our work. We seek to end poverty through civic engagement, connecting people to opportunities to make a difference.

I am so very proud of my affiliation with both OWL and Catalyst Miami, two organizations that focus on ways we can protect and promote the best of our democracy: civic participation AND economic opportunity. I urge you to consider these issues as we countdown to election 2012 in six short weeks. Who are the elected leaders to help us with these pressing concerns? What is the pathway to a more prosperous and engaged future?

Where the people lead, the leaders will follow. Most important: learn the issues, discuss them with friends and neighbors, and participate! Democracy is not a spectator sport and we at OWL and Catalyst are excited to provide tools and connections to help you to participate with wisdom and grace. You don't have to be 57, or a woman, to care about these issues. We are raising up civic leaders every day to show the way.

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