By the members of the UCW Coordinating Council

We would like to propose a project for the 1999-2000 academic year to collect stories from UST women who are struggling or have struggled financially along with data about pay equity, causes of poverty, societal trends, etc. Ultimately, we would like to make visible those who often remain invisible, those “just getting by,” and to ask the difficult question, “What role does UST play in perpetuating these women’s situations?”

Our plan is to bring together women’s stories and statistics into a format we can share with the larger UST community in order to bring into clearer focus what glowing news reports and swelling stock market trends tend to blur. At this point we are asking for volunteers who are willing to tell their stories, as well as volunteers to help with the project, which we envision to be at least a yearlong process.

If you are willing to step forward to tell your story or would like to recommend a woman you think might be willing, or if you simply want to be involved in this project, please contact Dr. Britain Scott, Psychology Department, (651) 962-5039, or bascott@stthomas.edu. We will protect the identity of individuals who agree to tell their stories. No names need be used; we are interested in seeing what patterns, if any, emerge from various sources, not in exposing participants to scrutiny or engaging in unregulated finger-pointing.

We are in the middle of an unprecedented economic upswing in our country. Low inflation, low unemployment, low interest rates — things seem good according to many economists, some of whom are hard pressed to account theoretically for this period of financial good fortune. Yet all is clearly not well. The gap between the wealthy and the “working poor” is larger than ever, and pay inequities still exist, putting women and minority groups at a disadvantage.

The underlying causes for the current economic situation, with its positive and negative ramifications, are complex. How one sees it, perhaps, depends on one’s perspective. The Coordinating Council of the University Committee on Women would like to offer the university community a closer look at the perspectives of UST women who face economic struggles even in a time of relative prosperity.

We are excited about the possibilities such a project might open up here in our community, possibilities for equity and open communication and civil discourse. We hope many of you respond with interest to this proposal.