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Last year, Tavis Smiley and Cornel West declared a “war on poverty” that involved an 18-city bus tour designed put the issue higher on America’s agenda, and plenty of criticism for those in power — including the president.

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Now, during Women’s History Month, Smiley plans to convene an all-female panel of thought leaders, opinion makers and “influencers” to examine why so many of the country’s women and children are poor, and what can be done about it. “I figure if you can’t get a conversation off the ground in Women’s History Month about not women’s history, but the future of women in America, then there’s not going to be much history for women to celebrate in the future,” Smiley told The Root in a recent interview.

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The conversation, “Made Visible: Women, Children & Poverty in America,” will be held Sunday, March 18, at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts and will air on C-SPAN. Economist Julianne Malveaux and personal-finance expert Suze Orman are slated to discuss the financial, social and economic disparities that women face, and how solutions to these issues must be a public-policy priority during this election season.

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