Tavis Smiley is to moderate a national conversation on women and children in poverty.

Poverty in America officially has a new face: women. More than half of the 46.2 million Americans living in poverty are women, and 29 percent of adult women are more likely to be poor than adult men. From 2009 to 2010, more than 1 million additional children also fell into poverty, and the numbers continue to rise.

This month, broadcaster Tavis Smiley will convene a diverse all-woman panel of thought leaders, opinion makers, and influencers to examine the growing numbers of women and children falling into poverty.

The nationally televised discussion, “Made Visible: Women, Children & Poverty in America,” will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 18, 2012, at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square, New York, NY. The event, sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers and NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, is free and open to the public. Doors open at 2:30 p.m., and advance registration is required at www.tavistalks.com/womenandchildren.

“To be fully human, we cannot allow mothers and children to live in poverty amidst the backdrop of America’s corporate prosperity,” said Smiley.

During the LIVE television taping, panelists will discuss the financial, social, and economic disparities women face, and how solutions to these issues must be a public policy priority during this election season. Additionally, the panelists will make recommendations for national action to move women and children out of poverty.

“Poverty is not destiny. But it is a fact and we must honestly address it,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. “We know that poverty has a tremendous impact on a child’s ability to learn and grow in the classroom.”

Invited and confirmed panelists include: Nely Galan, founder, The Adelante Movement; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, economist and president, Bennett College; Suze Orman, America’s leading authority on personal finance; Susan Sarandon, Award-winning actress and human rights activist; Hilda Solis, 25th United States Secretary of Labor; Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers; Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize–winning writer and co-author of Half the Sky with New York Times columnist Nicolas Kristoff.

C-SPAN has been invited to broadcast the discussion LIVE and the conversation will rebroadcast for three nights on Tavis Smiley on PBS beginning Wednesday, March 28 through Friday, March 30. Additionally, the dialogue will continue during The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International (PRI).

“What will it take for America to put her women and children first?” asks Smiley. “The future of our democracy, in part, depends on how seriously we take this challenge.”

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