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Showing posts with label women. Show all posts
Showing posts with label women. Show all posts

16 June 2017

International Women’s Media Foundation creates award to honor Gwen Ifill


The loss of Gwen Ifill is one of those pieces of knowledge that causes me to stop breathing when I remember it. At a time when we need hard-hitting journalism, there is a gaping hole in our media without her. The folks at the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) feel the same way as they just announced a new award in Ifill's name:
Ifill was a bright light in the news industry, an incredible role model and mentor for young journalists – especially women journalists of color – and a friend of the IWMF. The Award will be given annually to an outstanding woman journalist of color whose work carries forward Ifill’s legacy.

In addition to the award, the IWMF will develop a corresponding program focused on mentorship and network building. It will be open to both journalism students and women journalists of color working in the news media.

Candidates for the award will be evaluated on criteria including their record of outstanding achievement in journalism, and the extent to which they represent the values Ifill embodied, including in the areas of mentorship, leadership, and commitment to diversity in journalism.
Ifill left us with a rich legacy and inherent in that legacy is a challenge to keep moving and doing better. Hopefully this award and program will fulfill both that challenge.

30 April 2017

100 Days after the Women's March

While everyone is obsessed with how much damage the Fake Tanned One has done in 100 days, I'm more interested in what WE have done in the 100 days since the Women's March.

panoramic photo of the Chicago Women's March and skyline

Let's recall that 250,000 women, men, and children descended on Grant Park on one of the most beautiful days Chicago has seen in January. This so exceeded expectations that the march part of the March was officially cancelled, but you know when you have a quarter million people show up somewhere and they move, it's kinda a march.

I've been to a lot of marches and few compare to the optimism this one had. I know it was too happy for a protest and all the marches had issues, but the turn out was a great way to kick off four years of resistance. And the diversity of those in attendance made me hopeful that no matter how bad things would be getting, we would fight every fight and maybe even win a few. 

Crowd in front of Chicago skyline. People holding signs and banner reading "Power to the People"

I think in 100 days feminists have put on quite a resistance.

I truly believe that the March and the turnout at the March helped people who normally don't get engaged in politics empower themselves to act. How?
  • Protesting at airports: After signing the executive order Muslim travel ban thousands of people ran to their airport to protest the detaining of people. Countless lawyers joined the rush to offer pro bono services to reunite families. The immediate backlash was supported by court decisions that ended the ban. 
  • Community organizing: Barely a week goes by without me seeing a notice about a community action team starting. Most are focused on finding ways to educate undocumented people about their rights. Some are largely on fighting hate by putting up signs. All are about talking to neighbors and creating space where we know each other and have each others back.
  • Defending Obamacare: While I know Obamacare is far from perfect, the loss of Obamacare without a real replacement would be devastating to millions of people. While a lot of attention was placed on the far right Freedom Caucus, I was inspired by Senator Warren's perspective that we protested, called, wrote, and showed up at town halls and congressional offices enough that the moderate Republicans did not dare to support the repeal. I wish I could find that interview from public radio. 
  • Gorsuch: Yes, he is on the Supreme Court where President Obama's nominee should be sitting, but our outrage gave the Senate Democrats to actually do something. Our outrage was enough to force the Republicans to move to the nuclear option and kill the filibuster. They had to change the rules to get what they wanted. There is more than just a moral victory in there. 
  • Women Will Run: Thousands of women who never considered running for office before or who had been putting it off are getting off the bench and into the game. I personally know two women who won elected office in the last 100 days and one more who is planning for a run soon. If the 2016 election did anything is possibly kill the idea that one needs to be well prepared to run for office. No more "I need more experience!" excuses ladies. 
  • Democrats Must Support Body Autonomy: When the DNC launched a unity tour with Tom Perez and Bernie Sanders hitting the road, they hit a speed bump when it came to vocally supporting reproductive justice. Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards, NARAL's Ilyse Hogue and their supporters hit back furiously. 
  • We're Still Marching: Even before the Women's March was over pundits were wondering if it would be a one off thing. It wasn't. In the days after the march we had other national marches announced such as a Tax Day March, March for Science, Climate March, Pride March, and so on. Chicago has been participating, as have I, in Resist Trump Tuesdays. These are far smaller protests, but they were great at maintaining a conversation about funding the EPA, working to protect Obamacare, and supporting public education. There's even a march from Chicago to Springfield, the Illinois state capital, beginning on May 15th.  
I try to keep these things in mind as we pass our 100 days mark. As we get deeper into the long four years of the current administration, as we anxiously await the next episode of "The Handmaid's Tale" (OMG, so creepy and gooood!), and as we hear the drum beats of war come out of the mouths of our so-called leaders...see, I got myself depressed right there. But we are strong, we will not win every fight, but gawd damnit, I know we will win this war. It is said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice...and we will bend it with the weight of our fight.

What is keeping you resisting and persisting?


This post is made possible by support from Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
All opinions are my own.



17 March 2017

Pence's War on Women to be rewarded with "Working for Women" Award

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Independent Women's Forum (IWF) is hosting Women Making History, an exclusive event on Wednesday, March 22nd, at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, DC.

Vice President Mike Pence will be honored with the inaugural IWF Working for Women Award. The award recognizes an individual who values free markets, works to create a more dynamic and innovative work world, and celebrates the valuable contributions women make to society.
Yup...you read that snip of a press release right. The man who help cause an HIV outbreak in Indiana is getting an away for working for women. I'm surprised this press release didn't mention his possible influence in sending a hate group to the 61st annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. "The Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) is a think tank that has been labelled as a “hate group” for their international anti-LGBTQI advocacy work and violent rhetoric by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organisation which specialises in protection of civil rights." 

https://act.weareultraviolet.org/sign/trump-vp-pence/
 
I know that IWF is not a progressive feminist organization. They value the free market over feminism. But it still irks me that Pence is getting an award touting him as a champion for women when he is otherwise. He is so bad for women that many of us refuse to consider impeachment for Trump!

So Happy Freaking Women's History Month! At the rate this administration is going, it could be our last before we're all sent back to the kitchen.

06 October 2016

FLASH GIVEAWAY - Together Conference TONIGHT

Together, an event for women is coming to Chicago at the Rosemont Theatre - TODAY - Thursday 10/6. Created by Jennifer Rudolph Walsh (head of WME’s literary division and the woman behind Arianna Huffington, Sheryl Sandberg and Oprah’s book tours), Together will feature real women sharing their true and vulnerable stories. The amazing women at the helm of Together’s Chicago event include Glennon Doyle Melton, Seane Corn, Valarie Kaur, Chicago native Dr. Jacqui Lewis, and special celebrity guest Sophia Bush.

While most conferences limit space and come with a substantial price tag, Together is inviting thousands of women to attend, with tickets starting as low as $25. Together wants women in Chicago from all generations and backgrounds to come experience this joyous night of storytelling, laughter and community.

BUT....If you can get out to Rosemont TODAY and want to bring a girlfriend or sister, I have TEN pairs of tickets to giveaway by 4 PM.

Just comment with your email address and they are yours!

05 October 2016

Review: Insecure

http://www.hbo.com/insecure

 
Issa Rae gained wide recognition through an honest look at life in her YouTube series, “The Misadventures of AWKWARD Black Girl.” This weekend Rae’s HBO series Insecure debuts and you really shouldn't miss it.

Insecure introduces us to Issa Dee as a late-20s single woman in a dead-end relationship and possibly dead-end job. But it is the awkwardness of Issa’s human interactions that are the star of the show. From her half-assed way of breaking up with her utterly unromantic boyfriend to her spectacular fail at a new guy, Issa is living up to the show’s name. Issa's bestie, Molly, who appears to have it all together, doesn't. It's their friendship that will carry this show through the exploration of being modern-day Black women.

The scene that best exhibits the brilliance of Insecure's writing team and the promise of the show is when Issa and her coworkers are brainstorming at the nonprofit. Despite being a nonprofit that works with youth of color Issa is the only visibly person of color on the staff. And the rest of the staff’s view of what will help youth of color will seem all too real for those of us who have been "the only" in a room. I truly believe that if this scene offends you, you have some issues to address. If you get this scene and laugh, you get it. You get why the white savior complex is a real issue and that good intentions are not good enough. You get why it is wrong to serve a population yet have almost no one from that population on your staff.

A photo posted by Veronica (@veronicaeye) on


I was lucky enough to attend the Chicago premiere showing. This means that I got to hear hoots and hollers when the best scenes occurred. This show is funny has hell, people. If you have HBO or HBO Go, make time to watch.

Insecure premieres
Saturday, October 9th
10:30 PM Eastern



The half-hour comedy series Insecure, starring Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis and Lisa Joyce, looks at the friendship, experiences and tribulations of two black women. Created and executive produced by Issa Rae, this eight-episode series is also executive produced by Prentice Penny, Melina Matsoukas, Michael Rotenberg, Dave Beck, Jonathan Berry, and Larry Wilmore as a consultant.



Disclaimer: I was invited by HBO to attend the premiere. Outside of apps and a free beer, I received no compensation for this review.

22 November 2015

Searching for signs of womenfolk at the museum

Two #365FeministSelfie friends were in town this weekend. Today I went with them to the Field Museum. The Field holds a special place in my heart because I worked there during college in the Fishes division. But today we spent most of our time in the anthropology exhibits learning about Africa and the Americas.

About half way through our visit I realized I wasn't seeing many pieces showcasing women's contributions to the human journey.  There were a fair number of amazing baby carriers from tribes across the Americas. This one to the right even has a built in baby mobile! Good gawd, parenting hasn't really change much, has it? Have baby, put on back/in crib, get back to work. Distract baby, get back to work.

But please revisit the top photo and pay attention to the last line.

"But because few anthropologist have studied Tuareg women, we don't know the cloth's other meanings." 

Holy truth, Batgirl!

I'm going to ask a few anthropology professors if that statement is still true. But it really struck us as pretty awesome that the exhibit was honest with the shortcomings of the science at that point.

People often ask me why it matters so much to have women in science. And yes, men could research women's lives, but looking at the what we know of women via science, anthropology, etc, we see that when we have more women in the field, we end up knowing more about women. Maybe we still don't know much about the Tuareg women and if that's the truth then someone just got themselves a fab dissertation topic. You're welcome!  


I am trying to raise $1,000 for Bitch Media by December 31st. Please consider supporting this almost-20-year-old independent feminist media organization by:
  1. Simply donating $10 or $100.Whatever you can give will help!
  2. Join me in the B-Hive by being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month.

21 December 2014

Guest Post: Roxane Gay on Today’s Feminism: “Better is Not Good Enough”

Nearly three hundred bad feminists gathered at the Chicago Temple on December 10 to hear New York Times best-selling author Roxane Gay discuss issues around feminism, inequality, and the struggles that 21st century women still face at an event hosted by Women Employed. Gay’s commentary and criticisms on Wednesday were in line with those found in her recent book Bad Feminist—incisive and insightful, covering a broad range of topics with her signature quick-witted sense of humor. Some highlights from the evening:
On the wage gap: “Women have compromised enough! 77 cents is a compromise. Pay me a dollar, you asshole!”
On burning out in social services and activism: “Self-care is a priority. You must decide how much self care you need. If you burn out, then you’re not doing anything. If you’re not here, you can’t do any good in the world.”
On not always having an opinion: “Sometimes it’s Tuesday and I’m thinking about macaroni and cheese.” 
On privilege: “Saying that you have privilege does not mean that you do not have suffering.”
On intersectional feminism: “Feminism is so much more complicated than just gender. If good feminism is only about middle class white women, then I don’t want to be a part of that feminism.”
As Gay points out, there are̶—or at least there should be—as many different kinds of feminism as there are different kinds of people. A problem emerges, however, when one type of feminism comes to stand in for all types of feminism—when one approach or perspective claims to authoritatively represent all perspectives. Broadly speaking, mainstream feminist movements have left behind women of color, low-income women, and LGBTQA women. As Gay writes, feminism is certainly flawed, but it is flawed because it is a movement powered by people who are also inherently flawed.  At its best, feminism has the potential to offer a way to navigate our shifting cultural climate and to help women find their voices, which is what we find in Gay’s work.
Bad Feminist is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year. Gay’s writing is accessible and her tone approachable, yet her criticisms are articulate and pointed, as she never waters down the complexity of her arguments. In fact, one of Gay’s greatest strengths as an author and speaker is her ability to personally connect with her audience, allowing her to present highly sophisticated and nuanced social critiques without alienating anyone through the use of jargon-laden language, as may be the case with fellow academics (Gay is a professor at Purdue University). After all, what good is critical cultural commentary if someone needs a PhD to understand and respond to it? We need clear and discerning voices like Roxane Gay’s to serve as models and encourage us all to look much more critically at the world around us. Furthermore, the breadth of issues that Gay addresses in Bad Feminist speaks to the landscape of today’s feminism—complex, rapidly developing, contested, and above all, still necessary. 
Sure, things have improved for some women, but they have not improved enough, particularly not for women who are not highly educated, straight, middle-class, able-bodied, documented, and white. When women hold less than 20% of seats in Congress, when popular music boasts lyrics like “I know you want it,” when 1 in 5 women are raped or sexually assaulted in college, when there were over a thousand bills proposed in 2011 that intended to limit women’s ability to access an abortion (200 of which passed), when white women earn 77 cents, black women 64 cents, and Latina women 53 cents to every man’s dollar, how can anyone really say that feminism is irrelevant? At this point, we should not be questioning the relevance of feminism, but rather, we should be rolling up our sleeves and asking, “Where do we even start?”
And this is no easy question. During the question and answer at Women Employed’s event, an audience member asked Roxane how to know when to pick your battles. After all, the problems are complex and numerous, and most of us only have a finite amount of time, energy, and resources that we can dedicate to the causes we believe in. Gay’s advice was simple, but powerful: 
Use your voice where it will do the most good.
You can’t do everything, but you can do something. No matter where you live, what you do for a living, or how much time or money you have, there is a unique way that you can contribute to social change. Do you have a bit of financial flexibility? Make a donation to a women’s nonprofit (such as Women Employed). Do you have expertise in your field? Mentor younger women or donate your time and knowledge by serving on a council or board. Even more importantly: do you have a voice? Speak up, and do so as often as you can. Do you have ears? Listen to others who have experiences and perspectives different from your own. If nothing else, be proactive and stay informed about what’s going on. Sure, things are better than they were a generation or two ago, but as Gay aptly puts it, “Better is not good enough, and it’s a shame that we would settle for so little.”
Here’s the truth: all feminists are bad feminists. We’re imperfect, and our feminisms are imperfect. As individuals, we each have limited perspectives. We contradict ourselves. We make mistakes. We’re human. But does that mean we abandon feminist causes? Definitely not, because then we’re really in trouble. We do the best we can with what we know, we get challenged when someone disagrees, we pay attention and remain open to new perspectives, and then when we know better, we do better. We may all be bad feminists, but it’s up to bad feminists to keep fighting the good fight.
Rachel Clark studies Women’s and Gender Studies at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. In December, she had the opportunity to intern with Women Employed, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that advocates for increased educational and employment opportunities for working women. She aspires to one day be a professional feminist. 

26 March 2013

Latino and Women Farmers and Ranchers Have Until May 1st to File A Claim


Earlier this month Latino USA reported that "in 2000, about 1400 Latino ranchers and farmers sued the US Department of Agriculture for denying them loans based on their ethnicity." Women, like Rosemary Love, were discriminated against on the basis of sex.

While the USDA has announced a claim process, Latino and women farmers are not a class action, thus they must file a claim in order to obtain financial compensation in the form of cash or loan forgiveness. 

Details as to how to file a claim can be found on the . The DEADLINE has been extended to May 1, 2013. 

05 March 2013

Dawn Clark Netsch Dies at 86

The grand dame of Illinois politics has died. Dawn Clark Netsch was 86. I had the honor of meeting her on several occasions, usually at fundraisers and luncheons, and each time I would introduce myself to her, she was always gracious. Sometimes I wouldn't say anything, just stand back and watch her as she greeted fans, old friends in her friendly way. For me, she still has one of the best political ads ever -- the straight shooter. Sadly, I couldn't find it in a quick YouTube search, so let me describe it. When she ran for Governor of Illinois in 1994, she ended an ad with her playing pool and making a great shot while someone said "Dawn Clark Netsch, a straight shooter." You can see her holding a cue stick in the photo as she claimed victory after the Democratic primary.  Somehow I'm sure the ad will find its way to the internets today.

I did find that the Chicago History Museum has a 9-part oral history series on her.



She was an inspiration and while I didn't know her personally, I feel a great loss today. Especially as I am headed to a fancy luncheon where a lot of Chicago's power women will be in attendance. It's an event where the chances would had been high Dawn would have appeared. In a state filled with politicians who have broken so many promises and fallen from their pedestals, Dawn would always get a standing ovation anytime she was pointed out in a crowd.

Thanks, Dawn Clark Netsch. May we all serve as graciously as you did.

11 October 2011

Women, War and Peace

This year's Nobel Peace Prize was award to the three women above for their non-violent revolutionary ways. I could not contain my glee on Friday when I heard the news. I was clicking all over the internet for stories on them. The piece at Democracy Now! shouldn't be missed.

Tonight PBS starts a five-part series, Women, War and Peace, that will explore the issues these women deal with on a daily basis. I think only Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee are actually featured in the series, but the issues faced by women in the Arab world will be featured.

The series airs weekly, so set the DVR so you don't miss it!

And congrats again to these fabulous women! 

21 July 2011

Birth Control Blog Carnival: The Pill's Role in Radicalizing Me at 12

I've told part of this story before in different venues and mentioned it here as well, but let me tell it again.

I think I was about twelve when I asked my mom why we don't go to Church (my family is Catholic) and she replied to me quite simply that it was because the Pope would not let her take the pill. Now, I already knew what birth control was because my mom left her pack on plain sight. Her statement about the Pope not only jump started my critique of the Church, but also began my education on how my body, women's bodies, are "controversial" and always a topic of debate.

out to try to shame women into "cleaning up their vaginal area" by trying to sell us on the idea that women's vaginas have been the source of history. "Over the ages and throughout the world, men have fought for it..." says the ad. While the campaign and the ad are chock full of racism, misogyny and bad taste, they are right on one thing. Throughout the ages men have fought over our vaginas...and our whole reproductive system.

Just this week the
Institute of Medicine recommended that birth control should be free on all insurance plans since so many women use it at one point in their lives. NPR points to the "divisive politics of birth control" as to why it's taken this long for the government to say we should include birth control in the health care reform. Really, NPR? Birth control should be a gimme, a no brainer. But no, there are people in this country, in this world, who want to control when a woman can or cannot get pregnant.

The war for vaginas, Summer's Eve, is about control of vaginas, not some romantic fantasy you are trying to sell with your deodorizing towelettes.

Which is one reason (the other is that I take my pill as I'm about to walk out the door each morning) my almost-8yo (!!) daughter knows about birth control. She knows that some women take medicine in order not to get pregnant. I have told her since she was born (yes, I talked like this to my infant) that her body is hers. I'd rub her belly and get all squee about how all her tiny eggs are already there, just waiting. I've told her that she can have babies or not when she's older...way older. No pressure from old mom on the baby front. And yes, remind me I said that if I ever get all "But I wanna grandbaby!" on her.

It amazes me how much time women spend trying to NOT get pregnant. I've been menstruating for twenty five years and out of which, only three months have I wanted to get pregnant. I know, my eggs are efficient suckers. That means for 99% of my reproductive years, I've been avoiding the actual reproduction. And I'm sure I have another 5-10 years (maybe even more as I am Latina and all) left to go. I've been fortunate enough to be able to either pay for my pills or be supplied with "samples" over those years.

So let's hear it for birth control! GOOOOO BIRTH CONTROL! Thanks for helping me plan my family, my life and my career. Hopefully one day the kid will ask me, "Really? You actually had to pay for birth control? REALLY?!" 

This post is part of the (#bcbc). Click over to read other posts. 

11 July 2011

Other things I've written...but not here

Woohoo! It's another post about stuff I've written for other blogs.

First up is a piece I did for Gapers Block last month on the Chicago Bandits and the grand opening of their stadium:
Opening night for the Chicago Bandits, Chicago's professional softball team, was a pitchers' duel between Bandit Monica Abbott and the USSSA Pride's Danielle Lawrie. After a picture perfect first inning, an errant throw by Abbott in the second led to the Pride getting on base. Thankfully she was saved by a clinic-worthy cutoff throw to home to keep the game scoreless. The duel resumed and continued until the bottom of the seventh, when the Bandits skillfully moved Megan Wiggins, who led off the inning, around the bases, capped off with Caitlin Lever's shot to right field to bring Wiggins home. The crowd erupted in a roar to signal the end of the game. [read the rest at Gapers Block]

Second is a bit of an op-ed I write for Gapers Block about the Chicago Red Stars shortened home season:
Women's professional sports has a long history of ups and downs. Women's professional soccer reached its peak in 2000 by riding the wave of Mia Hamm fever and the USA team winning the World Cup in sports bra-baring style. But then the fans did not show up and the Women's United Soccer Association folded in 2003. In 2009, the Women's Professional Soccer League opened shop with a Chicago franchise, the Chicago Red Stars, and played at the beautiful Toyota Park in Bridgeview. They fielded all-star players like Illinoisan Ella Masar and Brazil's Cristiane.[read the rest at Gapers Block]

And no, Andrew hasn't totally roped me into being on staff at Gapers Block. But I am joining their softball team.

Lastly, I wrote a ranty lil piece for Chicagonista on women and unions. I'm sure that one will "haunt" me in the future. But ya know what? I stand by that piece. And hopefully my future self will too.
Late last week, the Mayor said that the city workers union had to come up with contract concessions by July 1st or risk hundreds of layoffs. The current contract was signed by former Mayor Daley and built upon the idea that furlough days would continue and Mayor Emanuel does not want to continue them. And that means real money needs to be cut and by last Friday.

So why am I saying that this is a way on the working women of Chicago?

Think about it. Who are the bulk of Chicago teachers? Women. Women make up 60% of local employees*. When we get to state employees, it is 50.7% of workers, which makes Governor Quinn’s refusal to pay raises important to this state’s women…and as we know, when women are shortchanged, families are shortchanged. [read the whole piece at Chicagonista]
 I'm scheduled for a piece at Girl w/Pen soon, so head over there too.

20 June 2011

Walmart low prices are at the expense of women's paychecks

I have to be honest, I really didn't expect the Supreme Court to toss the Wal-Mart class action. I don't know what I was thinking, but when I read that the USSC sided with Wal-Mart I yelped...and not a good one.

The issue that the class action hinged on? Commonality. Apparently because the majority did not think that all the 1.5 million women of Wal-Mart had a common experience, the case can't be a class action suit. I wonder where they leaves other large class action suits? But what really got my goat is the implication that Wal-Mart is so large that it can't be held responsible for what a few "bad" managers do in respect to women employees. Really? Wal-Mart is too large to sue for sex discrimination? Oh hell no!

Then in the majority decision, Scalia says that he believed that any manager would want the best person for the job, man or woman.

Really? This clearly shows that Scalia has no idea what happens in the real world and hasn't had to cold apply for a job since high school. A real, cold, apply for a job. Not a "My uncle Bob called his fraternity brother Skip and he wants to  meet you" interview. This from someone who should have recused himself due to his son being connected to the case. And conservatives complain about "the Chicago way" just getting to DC in Obama's backpack. HA!

Rep. Pelosi used this moment to restate why the Congress needs to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act: 
"Today’s ruling underscores the need to act boldly and strongly on behalf of women’s rights: we must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work," Pelosi continued. "It is a matter of fundamental fairness in our nation, and we must work — in the courts and in Congress — to correct this injustice throughout our country."
Which, by the way, WAS passed under Speaker Pelosi, but Sen. Reid and Sen. Durbin FAILED to whip the Democrats into line in order for it to pass. And I'll add that it was also President Obama's failure to make it a real priority.

Yes, I am PISSED OFF!

If you are pissed off, tell your Congressperson to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. There are also rallies on Tuesday, check if your city has one!

What we need to remember is:
  • This was NOT a decision on the merits of the case. Merely on the ability for the women of WalMart to sue as a class action;
  • This means that the individual women will need to make a decision if they will go this alone. After ten years, the word is that most of them will continue on;
  • There is also some thought that perhaps instead of one big class, there will be a lot of smaller classes (managers, floor workers, executives, etc). We'll have to wait and see. 
Until then, I'm thankful I can keep my hard money out of Walmart's aisles.

19 May 2011

Book Review:: Wheels of Change by Sue Macy

Do you remember the freedom you felt once you were old enough to get a two-wheeled bike and allowed to zoom around your neighborhood? Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy recalls when women first got their own set of wheels and set off unescorted into the world.

And that whole unescorted thing really ticked off conservatives at the time. As Macy notes in chapter 2, The Devil's Advance Agent, in the late 1800s women and men dated while being chaperoned by adults, sually in the home of the young woman. With the advent of the bicycle and society's approval for women to jump on board with this new fad, the reach of chaperones was cut. Thus begins the spiral to fogged up car windows on a Friday night. One has to remember that this was at the same time most physical activity, especially sporting activities, was seen as bad for women's bodies and especially their reproductive systems.

One also must remember that in the late 1800s women were wearing HUGE dresses. How is a lady supposed to ride a bicycle? Macy shows photos of bicycles that were designed for side-saddle as well as with contraptions so that dresses wouldn't get caught in the wheels or gears. Then the young women of the late 1800s rediscovered Amelia Bloomers invention - Lady Pants!  - or bloomers.

This is a fun trip through the joint history of the bicycle and women's rights. From wheels to bloomers to votes for women, it's all interconnected. You'll be amazed at how similar the conversations we are having today about women's rights sound a lot like the ones in the late 1800s about women riding bicycles.

This a National Geographic book for kids. But don't let that stop those without kids from not buying this book from IndieBound or Powells.

Disclaimers: A publicist offered me a copy for review for women's history month. Obviously, I'm late writing this baby up.

* Book links are affiliate links. If you buy your book here I could make a very small amount of money that goes towards this blog.

17 May 2011

FUNDRAISER: Support The Race for Space!


Chicago Women's Health Center (CWHC) seeks community support to match a $35,000 challenge grant from the Topfer Family Foundation by June 30 to move into a larger space by the end of the year.

CWHC was founded in 1975 to specifically and thoughtfully address the barriers to gynecological health care for women, with special attention to the experiences of those often marginalized by systems of power including the economically disadvantaged, LGBTQ communities and people of color.

With an increasing need for quality, affordable health care, the organization sees moving to a larger location as an opportunity to better respond to Chicago?s health care needs. The goal of transitioning to a larger space has been in place since late 2008 when the organization launched its $150,000 capital campaign. Considering the tough economic climate for non-profits, the matching grant comes at a fortuitous time for the grassroots organization.

CWHC is in the final phase of The Race for Space! 

CWHC must raise $35,000 by June 30th before Topfer Family Foundation matches them. Through this matching grant, your gift can go even further.

DONATE TODAY!

04 May 2011

URGENT: Call your IL State Senate on Wednesday!

Yes, another plea for my Illinois readers to please call your elected official! This is super urgent folks!

The Illinois Senate  voted on SB 1619 (Comprehensive Sex Ed). Unfortunately, we fell one short with a vote of 29 YES – 26 NO – 1 PRESENT.


The good news is that one of the YES votes was not at the capitol today. Therefore, the sponsor Senator Steans requested that SB 1619 be put on the Order of Postponed Consideration which allows bills that only fall a few votes short to have another chance for a vote.

La Raza ran a story on Latinas and sex ed. 

We are making progress on SB 1619!

Please keep generating calls into state senators asking them to vote YES on SB 1619! Capitol switchboard is 217-782-2000. A list of senators is available here: http://www.ilga.gov/senate/default.asp

12 April 2011

URGENT: Call your IL State Representative on Wednesday!

HB 1958 - The Anti-Shackling of Pregnant Prisoners bill's amendment number 2 will be voted upon and we need this amendment to pass in order for the bill to continue to move forward.
Call state representatives and urge them to vote YES on HB 1958. http://www.ilga.gov/house/ Capitol switchboard 217-782-2000.

In 2000, Illinois became the first state in the nation to ban shackling pregnant women during labor, in legislation that passed unanimously. Corrections officials are violating the ban. Women charged with nonviolent crimes have been placed in leg irons, with their hands cuffed to chain belts, when brought to the hospital. They have been shackled by one wrist and the opposite ankle to their hospital beds, impeding labor. HB 1958 clarifies and strengthens the law to protect the lives and health of mothers and infants.
  • 81% of women in Illinois prisons are mothers.
  • 6% to 10% of women prisoners are pregnant while incarcerated.
  • About 67% of women prisoners in Illinois are convicted of nonviolent drug offenses, property crimes such as retail theft or forgery, and prostitution.
No pregnant women have escaped in the ten years since Illinois banned the use of shackles on pregnant women in labor, according to sworn testimony from the Superintendent of the Cook County Jail’s women’s division and information from state corrections officials.

House Bill 1958 fixes gaps in the 1999 legislation banning the shackling of women in labor. Amendment 2 reflects major compromises to balance the safety of pregnant women with correctional security needs.

1. It removes the changes to the Unified Code of Corrections. Advocates will work with the Illinois Department of Corrections in the coming year to address recent violations of the 1999 act and to extend the ban on belly chains and leg irons to women in pregnancy-related medical distress and pre-term labor.

2. It allows sheriffs to handcuff pregnant women in front during transport, unless the woman is in labor or pregnancy-related medical distress. This is a compromise to prevent the use of belly chains and leg irons on pregnant women while allowing sheriff departments with small staffs to use cuffs when transporting a group of pretrial detainees to court hearings.

3. It removes the reference to the Tort Immunity Act. The section referenced is:
Neither a local public entity nor a public employee is liable for injury proximately caused by the failure of the employee to furnish or obtain medical care for a prisoner in his custody; but this Section shall not apply where the employee, acting within the scope of his employment, knows from his observation of conditions that the prisoner is in need of immediate medical care and, through willful and wanton conduct, fails to take reasonable action to summon medical care. Nothing in this Section requires the periodic inspection of prisoners.

Its inclusion or exclusion should not change how the Act applies – inmates still may not sue for denial of medical care unless wanton and willful – and it prevents the redundant reference which the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association found objectionable.

4. A simple annual reporting requirement remains in place to track instances of restraints used under the extraordinary circumstances exception. This is vitally important for transparency. It will provide the necessary information to determine whether the new framework is effective and to point the way for any future fine-tuning.

5. At the urging of the Illinois Sheriffs Association, a simple provision mandating training of correctional staff on the law has been added.

The proposed legislation:
  • Protects the mother and fetus from chain belts and leg irons throughout pregnancy.
  • Provides clear definitions to guide corrections officials.
  • Provides exceptions for imminent risk of escape or harm, and for psychiatric restraints when medically necessary.
  • Provides a simple reporting requirement for government transparency.
  • Prevents trauma, violations of privacy and HIPPA violations by having officers posted outside the delivery room unless medical staff request their presence.
  • Benefits from the lessons learned by ten other states and the U.S. Marshals in banning the use of shackles on pregnant prisoners.
Nationwide, lawmakers are taking a stand against this dangerous practice. Eleven states and the federal marshals have recently banned shackling and nine more states have legislation pending at present.

Thanks to CLAIM for being a leader on this issue!

Call state representatives and urge them to vote YES on HB 1958. http://www.ilga.gov/house/ Capitol switchboard 217-782-2000.

20 January 2011

Tiffany Dufu is the new President of The White House Project

If you follow me on Flickr, you already knew this. I had no idea this information was embargoed until today. I swear! But hey, that's what happens when you invite people with digital cameras to an event, give them some awesome news and don't say "SHHHH!" Or maybe I was so freaking excited that Tiffany was going to be the next President of The White House Project that any shushing went over my head. Either way, CONGRATS TIFFANY!

Here's to passing of the baton. Thanks to Marie Wilson for her amazing years of leadership. I'm sure she won't be retiring to her porch, so let's keep an eye out for her next thing.

Again, congrats to Tiffany!

From the press release:

The White House Project...announces the appointment of its second President, Tiffany Dufu, on Inauguration Day, 2011.

“I can think of no better time to transfer the reins of power of The White House Project to the next generation than today, our country’s official Inauguration Day,” says Marie Wilson. “Tiffany is an extraordinary leader whose competence and passion for our mission will take the work to an entirely new level. For a founder, there is nothing more satisfying than leaving a loved institution in such worthy hands.”


Ms. Dufu has furthered her life’s work of advancing women and girls at The White House Project for the last four years, most recently as Vice President of Development and Administration. Over the course of her 15-year career she has raised nearly $20 million for nonprofits, forging new partnerships, support and strategies.

Says Tiffany Dufu, “The White House Project was founded to advance women’s leadership in all sectors of society, up to, and including, the U.S. presidency. As an African-American woman of the next generation, I believe that this transfer of leadership across generational and racial lines is emblematic of our country’s journey, and reflective of The White House Project’s mission and results. My vision for my administration is to harness the power of the 11,000 women we’ve already trained to lead around the country – half of whom are women of color – and to leverage technology to train hundreds of thousands more."

About Tiffany Dufu

Ever since she accepted the Girl of the Year Award in eighth grade, Tiffany Dufu knew that she wanted to make a profound impact. Raised in the Pacific Northwest, the daughter of a homemaker and a minister, Ms. Dufu was an early feminist who challenged the perceptions of adults around her who often insisted “little girls can’t lead.” She knew that she needed not only to affect change, but also wanted to be public about it – so that other girls could be leaders, too.


As Associate Director of Development at the Seattle Girls’ School, a nonprofit education institution committed to giving all girls the power to be innovative, confident, critical thinkers, Ms. Dufu raised $2 million in just under a year. As Major Gifts Officer at Simmons College, she managed a portfolio of more than 150 donors, and worked in recruitment to create a more diverse student body. While in Boston, Ms. Dufu was featured in a Boston Globe article that, within 24 hours, became the most-forwarded article in BostonGlobe.com history. She leveraged the overwhelming response to encourage a productive dialogue in the city about race relations, and soon became a fellow in LeadBoston and a catalyst for the Commonwealth Compact project, working to make Greater Boston a desired destination for people of color and women.

As Vice President of The White House Project, Ms. Dufu has forged new partnerships, has strengthened the Corporate Council and has refined the organization’s strategy. Having now raised nearly $20 million toward the cause of women and girls, she has been featured in The New York Times, The Seattle Times and on NPR, and is a frequent speaker on nonprofit fundraising and women’s leadership. She currently serves on the board of Harlem4Kids, is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and holds a B.A. and M.A. in English and a Certificate in Fundraising Management from the University of Washington.

06 December 2010

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l'école Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women.

As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

Pretty much my whole career is about women in science & engineering. The murder of 14 young women who were studying to be engineers happened when I was still in high school, yet I still hear murmurs about women taking men's places in this or that. This act of terrorism was about privilege. The person who killed the women felt he was being overlooked because women were in the way. To think that some people still think that or make women feel like they are "in the way" or just there because they are women pisses me off like nothing else.

I've been busy with wrapping up my first semester in "The Great PhD Race," to write much or ask you all to remember to donate whatever you can ($10 or $100) to support the Chicago Abortion Fund. But I do hope that as you consider your end of the year giving, you will put CAF on that list. Thanks.

05 December 2010

Patti McGee skates her way into the Skateboard Hall of Fame

Patti McGee is the first woman to be inducted into the IASC Skateboard Hall of Fame! 
Growing up in Southern California, Patti McGee was an avid surfer who begged her mom to take her to the beach to surf the waves. When skateboarding made the scene, McGee found a whole new freedom- able to travel as she liked to find that “no hill was too steep, no parking lot too tall, no pavement safe, we couldn't get enough.”

As the first professional female skateboarder, McGee has had many great notable moments in her life. After becoming the “Women’s National Skateboard Champion” in 1964, McGee became the Demo Girl for Hobie Skateboards, where she travelled for nearly two years demonstrating the boards on a national level. From appearing on the cover of Life to going on The Johnny Carson Show, McGee has had no shortage of accomplishments.

“The first Betty” of skateboarding, McGee is still involved in the sport. She is a member of Skateboardmoms.com and helps her daughter, Haily Villa make the skate-inspired screen printed clothing line, “First Betty”. 
Considering that one of my best friends is a skateboard chick and I have a feeling she's going to pass that skill down to my daughter, getting this press release in my inbox was one of the best things I've read in the past month. Congrats Patti McGee! And here's to all the skater chicks, Bettys, grrls, whatever they call themselves.

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This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.
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