Campus & Community

Radcliffe fellows look at ‘ordinary heroines’

2 min read

Seven years ago Tina Rodriguez left Mexico for San Francisco so she could care for her newborn nephew while her sister returned to work. She is now married with two U.S.-born children, and has been waiting nearly five years in legal limbo since submitting her green card application – to which she is entitled as the spouse of a legal permanent resident. “Even though you live life here in a gilded cage, it’s still a prison,” she says. “My heart wants to be in my own country, but reason tells me that here I can work. But at what cost?”

Radcliffe fellows Deborah Belle, Kathleen Coll, and Lisa Dodson are documenting the struggles of millions of women who, like Rodriguez, have not benefited from the nationwide economic growth of recent years. Those American women who are able to work full-time earn an average of 74 cents for each dollar earned by men, and the gender discrepancy is most pronounced among low-income workers. Within this society of economic inequality, millions of women struggle to rear children on low wages and with few paths toward career advancement.

In a panel discussion at the Cronkhite Graduate Center (6 Ash St.) on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 4 p.m., the public policy fellows will consider how these “ordinary heroines” hold down their jobs, care for their families, and pursue their dreams in low-income America. The fellows will present observations from their qualitative research projects in psychology, anthropology, and sociology.

The Radcliffe Public Policy Center seeks to foster new ways of understanding economic, social, and political issues. The center’s research is primarily focused around the themes of “work and the economy,” and “science, society and gender.”