Gather Round to hear and learn about bodily freedom in red and blue States in 2023.
Dobbs killed Roe but the midterms taught us never to give up.
We must remain active, constructive and work together to forge new strategies to protect our rights.
Join us and find out how we can continue this fight on January 20, 2023 at 17h CET (11h EST) to listen to Ms. Magazine writer and Reproductive Rights expert Carrie Baker, who will update us as to the state of the union on these essential issues: medication abortion, lawsuits in progress, red state prohibitions, the Women's Health Protection Act and other ways to assure reproductive health in the United States.WHENJanuary 20, 2023 at 11:00amWHERERSVP for Zoom link
Ann Hesse published Women's Community Engagement Update in Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative 2022-11-05 05:18:11 -0400
From the White House
On Tuesday, November 1st the White House hosted a Women's Economic Impact Briefing. Below you will find action items, talking points, fact sheets, and other resources to help amplify the impact of the programs highlighted in your community.
Economic Progress by the Numbers
- The unemployment rate now matches its lowest level in 50 years at 3.5%, down from 6.4% when Biden took office. The economy has created 10 million jobs since the President took office, including almost 700,000 manufacturing jobs. 17 states are below 3% unemployment.
- America has now more than recovered all of the jobs lost during the pandemic and more, as a result of actions from the President and Congress like the American Rescue Plan and the unprecedented vaccination effort.
- When the President took office, over 18 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits, today that’s down by more than 90%, the lowest number in decades.
- We’re seeing the best economy for American workers in decades, with people getting higher wages, better benefits, and better jobs across the board.
- We are also seeing progress in the fight against global inflation. Inflation has been basically flat over the past three months, and real wages have gone up.
- We have more work to do. But the good news is gas prices have declined by an average of $1.20 per gallon over the past few months, now at a national average of $3.82 per gallon, with the most common price at gas stations being $3.39.
- The American people are getting some relief from high prices, and the Inflation Reduction Act that the President signed will also help bring prices down from prescription drugs to energy costs.
Additional Economic Impact
- The American Rescue Plan (ARP) ensured schools could reopen safely and helped over 200,000 child care providers serving as many as 9.5 million children to keep their doors open through a historic stabilization program.
- The Administration also expanded the 2021 Child Tax Credit, which contributed to the largest one-year drop in U.S. child poverty on record, including historic cuts in poverty rates for Black, Hispanic, and AAPI children.
- This expanded CTC reached an estimated 40 million families with 65 million children—roughly 90 percent of all children in the U.S.
- Thanks to that Rescue Plan, families saved an average of $2,400 last year in health insurance premiums. And the Inflation Reduction Act ensures those savings will continue through 2025.
- In August, President Biden announced student debt relief of up to $20,000 to borrowers who were Pell Grant recipients in college and up to $10,000 to all other borrowers. If you’re a federal student loan borrower who earned less than $125,000 as an individual or $250,000 as a household in 2020 or 2021, you’re eligible for this relief. And it’s a really big deal for women, who hold two-thirds of all student debt in the U.S.
- More than 40 million Americans could benefit from debt relief, and about 20 million could see their student debt completely eliminated;
- And nearly 90% of this relief will go to those making less than $75,000 per year.
- American Rescue Plan
- American Rescue Plan Funds Provided a Critical Lifeline to 200,000 Child Care Providers
- BY THE NUMBERS: The Inflation Reduction Act
- FACT SHEET: The Inflation Reduction Act Supports Workers and Families
- FACT SHEET: CHIPS and Science Act Will Lower Costs, Create Jobs, Strengthen Supply Chains, and Counter China
- Bipartisan Infrastructure Law State Fact Sheets
- Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Maps of Progress
- Child Tax Credit
- Student Debt Relief
- Healthcare Enrollment
- Affordable Connectivity Program
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness
- CHIPS.Gov | NIST
- Home | Internet for All
- $1B Build Back Better Regional Challenge | U.S. Economic Development Administration (eda.gov)
American Rescue Plan Funds Provided a Critical Lifeline to 200,000 Child Care Providers – Helping Millions of Families to Work
On October 21st, the White House announced that the American Rescue Plan – through its historic $24 billion Child Care Stabilization Program – has already provided vital aid to help more than 200,000 child care providers keep their doors open to as many as 9.5 million children, helping their parents work. Stabilization funds have already assisted providers employing more than 1 million child care workers.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also released a state-by-state analysis of the American Rescue Plan’s (ARP) Child Care Stabilization program that details for the first time the number of child care providers that have already been helped in each state.
Want to share this graphic? Just right-click on it and choose "copy" - paste it into messenger or email and pass it on!
Thanks to all of you who joined us in person in Paris and online for our very special anniversary conference.
For those of you who missed it, we have placed a recording of the entire event on our GWC YouTube channel.
On a sweltering Saturday afternoon, we convened our GWC 30th Anniversary conference and were grateful for the fantastic facilities and air-conditioned hospitality provided by Professor Susan Perry and the University of Paris.
In our first segment, “Where We Began,” we enjoyed hearing from the founders of our caucus, Connie Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, and watching video clips from the early days and our transition into a global feminist force. We learned that it was the great Bella Abzug who put out that original call to action, and we’re grateful to Connie and Sheila for stepping up and answering her call to form a women’s caucus for Democrats Abroad!
Connie Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier
In our second segment, “Where We Are Now,” we heard several truly jaw-dropping presentations that laid out the dire state of women’s rights, but also learned that there are indeed bright spots on the horizon. We heard about good people with fantastic ideas, pushing forward despite the backlash. And we learned about ways we can help.
A highlight for all of us was listening to the speeches made by some of our brilliant younger leaders in the third segment, “What Challenges Lie Ahead?” Their remarks prompted vigorous discussion on the themes of climate, the will to change, and the future of feminism.
Our program concluded with a segment entitled “Women Will Make the Difference in 2022,” with DA-famous election forecaster, John McQueen, giving us a sneak preview of what to expect in the fall.
My own personal takeaways from this inspiring event were threefold:
- When you hear those words “someone oughta,” it’s important to realize that “someone” can be you!
- All is not lost! Whether it’s reproductive rights, climate collapse or democracy itself, if we don’t lose our nerve, and we put in the effort right now, we can turn the tide.
- After what seemed like an eternity of zooming, doing an in-person meeting was well worth the extra effort and the risk. There is an indescribable and totally unpredictable synergy that happens when like-minded activists rub elbows, sip coffee and bounce ideas off each other in a shared space of sisterhood.
I invite you now to watch (or re-watch) the conference video and enjoy discovering your own highlights and takeaways. Our team is also busy putting together a photo album of the event that we'll share soon.
In wrapping up, I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to our volunteers, on and off-camera, who worked together to make this conference a success. In addition to our fabulous conference speakers (more about them in our program notes), I’d like to express my gratitude to two key “off-camera” GWC volunteers, Jamie McAffee, GWC comms co-director, who created our wonderful videos and graphics, and Karen Frankenstein, DA Caucus Coordinator, who masterfully managed our tech. Special thanks also to Owen Franken who photographed the entire event for us.
On this note, I’d like to remind everyone that all our teams are desperately in need of volunteers. If you’re not sure where you would fit in best, our wonderful volunteer coordinator, Christina Skovsgaard can help you find your niche.
And one final reminder for us all: Our most vital role as feminist activists lies simply in voting. You can follow this link to votefromabroad.org and check up on your voter registration status now!
And, if after living through all the trauma and turmoil of recent years, any of you still don’t believe that your single overseas vote is crucial to the outcome of the midterm elections in the fall, then I’d like you to think about this: If your vote is so unimportant, why are our opponents trying so hard to take it away from you?
Thanks again to all of you who attended our conference, both in person and online. I come away from this extraordinary meeting of feminist activists feeling more invigorated and optimistic than ever. I hope you feel the same.
With gratitude and hope in my heart,
Chair, DA Global Women’s Caucus
GLOBAL WOMEN'S CAUCUS 30TH ANNIVERSARY
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO CELEBRATEThis summer, the GWC is celebrating 30 years of hard work and success. If your time zone permits, we invite you and your local Women’s Caucus to also tune in to our satellite celebration in Paris on June 18th from 2-5:30 pm CET (RSVP here).
The GWC has also been hard at work to create and collect everything you need to host your celebration, plan your community-building event, learn about the history of women in democracy, and so much more. Click on the photos below to find all of these amazing resources.
- Interactive Timeline (coming soon)
- DA Global Women's Caucus 30th Anniversary Conference Video
Ann Hesse published Women's History Month Social Media Toolkit in Social Media 2022-05-26 01:57:33 -0400
Our social media toolkit is for everyone! The Global Women’s Caucus has created free graphics, Facebook covers, and more to help you spread the word about Women’s History Month. Post on social media and tag us @WomensCaucusAbroad on Facebook or @dawomenscaucus on Instagram and @dawomenscaucus on Twitter. Show off your Democratic pride online by sharing our graphics with friends and family. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more exciting content!
HASHTAGS: #ShallNotBeDenied #womeninhistory #womenshistorymonth #history #womenshistory #womeninculture #changingwomenslives #extraordinarywomen #womenempowerment #women #todayinwomenshistory #todayinglobalwomenshistory #gwh #feminism #womensrights #womeninspiringwomen #strongwomen #feminist #globalwomenshistory #breakthebias #IWD2022
Hashtags: @womenscaucusabroad @dawomenscaucus #ShallNotBeDenied #womeninhistory #womenshistorymonth #history #womenshistory #womeninculture #changingwomenslives #extraordinarywomen #womenempowerment #women #todayinwomenshistory #todayinglobalwomenshistory #gwh #feminism #womensrights #womeninspiringwomen #strongwomen #feminist #globalwomenshistory #breakthebias #IWD2022
Do you know your feminist history? Take our quiz and learn how recent battles for equality were won! @DAWomensCaucus @WomensCaucusAbroad #WHM2022 #womenshistorymonth #history #womenshistory #womensrights
Answers: 1. B 2. C 3. A 4. B 5. B 6. A
Many say ‘the future is female,’ and today we honor the women who have and are making the world a better place for our daughters #womenshistorymonth #womensupportingwomen #extraordinarywomen #womenempowerment #womensinspiringwomen
Women’s rights are a continual battle, and much of the progression is fairly new. There is still today no protection for equality in the U.S. Constitution. This Women’s History Month, let’s not take our rights for granted, and continue the fight for equality for all! #womenshistorymonth #shallnotbedenied #feminism #womensrights #womensupportingwomen #feminist #dagwc
Women’s History Trivia Quiz
Take the quiz and share your scores with us. #learningwomenshistory. Make sure you share the quiz!
Women’s History My Country2:
Guide and Agenda here
Have Women’s Caucus or other interested members facilitate a conversation comparing the history of women’s movements and the state of women’s rights in the U.S. versus the country where you live.
Break the Bias:
Guide and Presentation here
March 8th, 2022, International Women’s Day theme is “Break the Bias.” We have a power point presentation and guide to help you or your group approach this topic.
Ann Hesse published Call Your Senator on Abortion Rights in Bans Off Our Bodies 2022-05-26 01:57:00 -0400
Call Your Senators
Please call or write you Senators and let them know how you feel about their vote on the Women's Health Reproductive Act. red or blue or purple or gold.
TO CALL YOUR SENATORS: https://5calls.org/
TO WRITE YOUR SENATORS: https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm
SAMPLE Short PHONE CALL script / SAMPLE SHORT LETTER
Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I'm a US voter from [CITY, ZIP].
Dear Senator [NAME]:
SELF INTRO I am a US voter from [CITY, ZIP], calling/writing about [SENATOR’s NAME] recent vote on the Women's Health Protection Act (S. 1975), which would protect access to abortion.
WHY I am writing about your recent vote in support of / opposition to the WHPA
I am writing about your absence / assentation to the vote on the WFPA
IF THEY VOTED AGAINST
I am appalled by / I find it incomprehensible that you may attempt to limit Women’s access to medical services, esp in the case of rape, incest, and medical dangers to the mothers which are issues all of us care about
Refute the GOP TALKING POINTS – see below
IF THEY VOTED FOR
Thank you for supporting the bill that would protect access to abortion.
Add some ADDITIONAL INFO
the recent bans and limitations on abortion show the GOP will stop at nothing to control women’s bodies. Since 2011, nearly 500 laws restricting and banning abortion have passed across the country, causing significant challenges to those seeking care. We need a federal safeguard to protect everyone's right to access abortion, no matter where they live.
What we need next is ….
Add something you care about
FINAL HOOK/ FOLLOWUP
Voters will remember that you voted FOR / AGAINST women’s right’s / women’s healthcare on election day in 2022 / 2024 …
Sincerely / Thank you.
IF LEAVING A MESSAGE: Please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied.
RE: Three main GOP talking points
Focus on these - using similar language to debunk their premises. This is just to get you started
You can still be polite direct and strong. Key terms highlighted:
Republican talking point #1
- “Be the compassionate, consensus-builder on abortion policy. ... While people have many different views on abortion policy, Americans are compassionate people who want to welcome every new baby into the world,” it says. =>
Republican talking point #2
- "Joe Biden and the Democrats have extreme and radical views on abortion that are outside of the mainstream of most Americans."
Republican talking point #3
- "Forcefully refute Democrat lies regarding GOP positions on abortion and women's health care," it adds, saying Republicans do not want to take away contraception, mammograms, and female health care or throw doctors and women in jail.
POSSIBLE WAYS TO ADDRESS THESE:
- While it is true that Americans hold different views, few Americans are absolutist.
- I understand the complexity of the decision to have children or not ... add info about incest, mother's health.
- 2/3 of American believe women should have abortion access.
- In reality less than 10% actually believe it should be illegal in almost all cases.
- 27 cities in the US are already “abortion deserts"
- 27 states have cities that qualify as “abortion deserts”— people have to travel 100 miles or more to reach an abortion clinic. There are “abortion deserts” in every region of the country except the Northeast. Six states (Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, and West Virginia) have only one abortion facility.
- More counties are now without full access to birth control than 10 years ago
- 19 million women already live in contraceptive deserts
There is precedent for GOP attempting to limit access to birth control:
- In March 2012, the Senate narrowly defeated a proposal, known as the Blunt Amendment, intended to allow all U.S. employers to deny contraception coverage to employees as part of the businesses’ health plans.
- “Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) ... refused to rule out the possibility that his state would ban certain forms of contraception, sidestepping questions about what would happen next if Roe v. Wade is overturned.”
- The GOP is starting to “blur the lines between birth control and abortion in the hopes of making it harder for American women to get both birth control and abortions. And nowhere is this clearer than in the Missouri statehouse.”
Dos and some Don’ts for organizing your own #BansOffOurBodies Event
- If you're hitting the streets, be sure to check here first: Guidance for DA Marches
- Encourage everyone who attends to join DA and the GWC
- Make sure voter registration is part of your event.
- Non-DA, non-American groups are welcome to join in the celebration, but must understand/be comfortable with our goal
- Take lots of photos and videos! Share photos, video clips etc. of your event with us and on your channels!
- We'd love to hear from you about your plans! Get in touch with us on Slack to let us know what you're doing!
Do not march or organize a public event without getting the required permits/permissions; if you need help with this, please ask!
- Assure that the local police and/or authorities are notified for security reasons
- If you are marching/organizing with other groups, assure that their goals are consistent with ours
- Make sure that we are not involved in national or local political groups; DA does not comment on foreign affairs or foreign political issues
If you give interviews, please review the talking points in the toolkit
- Try to avoid using anti-choice messaging and framing. This is about OUR civil rights, OUR autonomy, and OUR right to control our own bodies. It is not about “life,” “babies,” “religion,” or other distractions
- Remember not to endorse Democrat candidates for the primaries. We can only officially endorse candidates that have won their primaries.
Ann Hesse published Bans Off Our Bodies Sample Press Release in Bans Off Our Bodies 2022-05-26 01:56:23 -0400
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
+XX XXX XXXXXXXX
DEMOCRATS ABROAD GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION - #BANSOFFOURBODIES
–DEMOCRATS ABROAD [CHAPTER/COUNTRY] IS MOBILIZING FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS–
Location, MMMM dddd, 2022 – Democrats Abroad, the official Democratic Party arm for the millions of US citizens living outside the US and the world’s largest organization of US citizens living abroad is organizing a Global Day of Action in support of the #BansOffOurBodies Day of Action in the U.S. Led by the Global Women’s Caucus, Democrats Abroad members are gathering all over the globe to stand up for reproductive rights. We represent the will of the majority of US voters: safe abortions, for anyone who wants or needs one.
Democrats Abroad Global Women’s Caucus released this statement for the Global Day of Action: “We are here to show our support for women and for anyone who needs one to have an abortion. We are here to say that we will never give up autonomy over our own bodies. We also know this is about much more than controlling women. It’s about rolling back generations of progress for already marginalized communities. But we won’t give up these rights, and we won’t stop advocating as allies. We will keep showing up.”
[Insert a quote from your own chapter/own Country Women's Caucus leader]
Nothing short of our democracy is at stake, and Democrats Abroad will keep organizing to protect and expand it.
Democrats Abroad is the official organization of the Democratic Party for United States citizens living permanently or temporarily abroad. The organization is given state-level recognition by the Democratic National Committee, with eight positions on the Democratic National Committee, and sends a voting delegation to the Democratic National Convention to select our presidential candidate. For more information, visit http://www.democratsabroad.org.
Microsoft Word version here.
Global Women's Caucus Bans Off Our Bodies Toolkit
Reproductive Rights groups across the US mobilized on May 14, 2022, to stand up against the leaked Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Make no mistake, this decision takes aim at more than just our right to choose - it affects ALL of our civil rights. The Global Women’s Caucus also organized a complementary global Day of Action around the world to show our support, and to demand action NOW to protect our rights. We want you to show up where you live to show our solidarity with our allies mobilizing in the U.S., and to tell the Senate to save Roe. We're not done fighting!
This toolkit has everything you need to get started. If you have questions, get in touch with your GWC contact!
- Planning Your Demonstration/Rally/Meetup
- Social Media Content and Visual Assets
- Sample Invite Language/Email to members - customize for your needs!
- Sample Press Release and Microsoft Word version
- Statement and Talking Points from the GWC
- Suggested Calls to Action
- Helpful Links for Your Day of Action
Reaching Your Elected Representatives
Did your Senator vote yes or no on the Women’s Health Protection Act?
Here is a script to thank them or offer your critique!
Planning Your Demonstration/Rally/Meetup
- Choose your location and format (follow all relevant laws and Covid restrictions!)
- Designate a contact person or persons for the event, so that members and relevant authorities know who to go to for help
- Gather at your US Embassy/Consulate, at a city landmark, at a public square
- Small groups or individuals post photos of themselves at landmark locations with signs
- If you need to apply for a permit or notify local authorities, do this ASAP! See our further general guidance here
- Get in touch with local contacts and organizations to boost your turnout and reach!
- Get your event posted on your DA website ASAP! and please remember to also ask the Helpdesk to crosspost your event to the Global Women’s Caucus events page so that we can help promote it!
- Check out the DA Berlin event here: https://www.democratsabroad.org/tsesa/berlin_rally_for_reproductive_justice_bansoffourbodies
- Post your event on your social media channels ASAP! If you’re hosting an event on Facebook, ask the GWC to be a co-host (@WomensCaucusAbroad)
- Check out the DA Norway Event here: https://fb.me/e/6PYsTXgTF
- Make sure you have your U.S. overseas voter registration information ready! www.votefromabroad.org is invaluable!
- Share pictures and videos from your event on your social media channels.
- Tag US officials and our partner reproductive rights groups!
Need to plan an online event?
- Plan your own virtual event in your time zone
- Organize a Tweetstorm for members to contact their Senators
- Find all 100 Senators Twitter handles here: https://twitter.com/All100Senators/following
- Make a GOTV video for the GWC Reproductive Justice team https://www.democratsabroad.org/american_women_need_your_help_now
- Rally your members to sign up for DA phonebanking training together and then get started! There are calls to make from now until Election Day!
Social Media Content and Visual Assets
- Here is a folder of content, photos and posters that we will continue to add to
- The small but mighty GWC comms team has generously offered to customize online posters for your city/country/chapter. Contact Jamie via our Slack (https://democratsabroadslack.slack.com/team/U02NVHQE541) to get yours.
- Please be patient! We are all busy on multiple things at once
- Share things far and wide on your platforms - don’t wait!
- Hashtags #BansOffOurBodies #GWCGlobalDayofAction #DAGlobalDayofAction #AbortionIsHealthcare #AlliesAbroad
Sample Invite Language/Email to Members - Customize for your needs!
BANS OFF OUR BODIES EVENT! DATE, 2022
According to a leaked draft opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to completely overturn Roe v. Wade (which guarantees the Constitutional right to abortion). This is the nightmare scenario we hoped wouldn't come, but we’re mobilizing now, ahead of the Court's final decision. We MUST show up and demand action to protect our rights.
Join Democrats Abroad and [fill in your country or chapter] and show your support for all the communities on the frontline of reproductive rights in the US, and for ALL of our civil rights that are at risk.
[insert details for your local event here]
Are you registered to vote in 2022? Have you requested your ballot for 2022? We can’t wait.
We will see you there!
Sample Press Release* - customize for your needs!
*if appropriate, consider inviting media to your event
Statement and Talking points from the Global Women's Caucus
You can use this for media, for reading at your event, for posting on social media - however you see fit!
“We’re turning our rage into action by showing up today. That many of us saw this coming does not make the blow less painful or severe. We are here to show our support for women and for anyone who needs one to have an abortion. We are here to say that we will never give up autonomy over our own bodies.
But we know this is about much more than controlling women. It’s about rolling back generations of progress. All of the hard-won victories of the past decades for basic civil rights and freedoms, for laws to protect marginalized populations from bigotry, racism, homophobia, and sexual harassment are at risk. But we won’t give up these rights, and we won’t stop advocating as allies for the most marginalized communities. We will keep showing up.
We’re fighting back. 2022 is also a decisive election year. We have the next 6 months to get started. Together, we must elect both federal and state legislatures that will represent the will of the majority: safe abortions without restrictions for anyone who wants or needs it. And a commitment to expanding and protecting rights for all of us. It’s not enough to vote - we have to hold leaders accountable and we have to keep moving forward, together.”
- Try to avoid using anti-choice messaging and framing. This is about OUR civil rights, OUR autonomy, and OUR right to control our own bodies. It is not about “life,” “babies,” “religion” or other distractions
- Republicans do hold a lot of power right now, thanks to their skillful application of voter suppression, fear and disinformation. However, we have an overwhelming number of votes - abroad and at home. They know that the majority of people in the US (and voters!) reject their patriarchal white supremacist doctrine and this Supreme Court opinion
- We are outraged. We are afraid. We will not go back. We, Democrats Abroad, are standing up for reproductive justice, healthcare, and choice. Join us!
- We're rallying in solidarity with organizations across the U.S. to declare #BansOffOurBodies
- Abortion is healthcare, abortion is a human right. Join us to take a stand, advocate in solidarity with women and birthing people, for bodily autonomy, for choice, and share your story
What Can People Do Right Now?
- US citizens living abroad can make sure they are registered to vote and have requested their ballots for 2022. Democrats Abroad and VoteFromAbroad.org have resources for everyone
- On May 11, the U.S. Senate failed to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act in its second vote in 2022. Contact your Senator and tell them how you feel about their vote. It has already passed the House, it is waiting for the Senate to enshrine the right to abortion without unnecessary restrictions into federal law.
- Donate to abortion funds working on the front lines, every day, to ensure people who need abortions can access them no matter what
- Organize your families, friends, neighbors, coworkers, classmates - anyone you can. Remind them that this is about more than abortion, and that we need all of our allies to get involved, vote, and demand our elected officias enact the policies we elected them to
- Share your story. If you need support, help, or inspiration, check out:
Suggested Calls to Action
Make a GOTV video for the GWC Reproductive Justice Team https://www.democratsabroad.org/american_women_need_your_help_now
Donate to an abortion fund - they are working on the front lines, every day, to ensure people who need abortions can access them no matter what
Helpful links for the Day of Action
Ann Hesse published Women's History Month Event in a Box in Living Library 2022-05-26 01:56:00 -0400
Objective: Have Women’s Caucus or other interested members facilitate a conversation comparing the history of women’s movements and the state of women’s rights in the U.S. versus the country where you live.
GWC will provide basic background information for the United States. All you need to do is some very simple google searching to find matching facts for your country.
Sample Event Announcement
Join us for a special Women’s History Month Pub Quiz
(Your country) vs. The United States: The Race for Women’s Rights
Who won what rights when and where?
We’ll have questions, you provide your best-guess answers! Discuss the ways the struggle for the rights of women vary from the U.S. to the country where you currently live.
March_______ @_________ BYOB
Prior to Meeting Preparation: Choose 1 - 3 moderators to do a quick search on the facts for your country to match the U.S. information provided. This information should facilitate a conversation to compare countries, and add to a broader analysis.
For example -
Question #1 Many women in the U.S. won the right to vote in 1920 (however, depending on state of residence, many women were not permitted to vote until long after that - with the Civil Rights Act of 1965).
When did women in Finland win the right to vote? Answer: 1906
Possible follow-up question by moderator:
Why do you think Finland was ahead of the U.S. in giving this right to women? (Finland was, by the way, the first country to give all men and women both the right to vote and the eligibility to run for office. It was also the first country in Europe to give women the right to vote!)
Meeting Format: meeting vs. webinar - allow for one hour but length depends upon the engagement/participation of the audience in conversation.
- Introduce moderator and additional facilitators (ideally these will be the people who did the country research) (2 min.)
- Have participants introduce themselves and share a quick thought about what they see as the significance of Women’s History Month. (5 - 10 min)
Explain Format for Quiz (2-3 min.)
- “We have some information on important events for women in the United States and we’re going to ask a question about (fill in your country) and a corresponding event.”
- “If you know the answer, or want to guess, go ahead and enter it in the chat box. We’ll give it a minute or two and then we can confirm the answer and have a brief conversation about the occasion or the relative timing or about current issues which relate.”
- “Once we’ve gone through 8 questions, we can 1) identify any history stars in the group and 2) have a broader conversation about women’s history and the issues we’ve discussed.”
- “So, pretty simple - but, we really encourage you to guess and to share your thoughts as we go along. We want to make this a discussion, not just a little quiz. Also - please don’t google for the answers - not that you would, of course!”
- Moderators rotate, taking turns, asking questions, and reminding people to type their answers or guess.
- As people type responses, the moderator can read them, comment on how close the responses are, etc.
- If there hasn’t been a “correct” answer, the moderator should share the answer and throw out a follow-up question to the participants - (does that surprise anyone? Why do you think it took both countries so long? etc.)
- Once all of the questions have been asked and answered, the main moderator will open up the general conversation by asking people which information was most surprising or what other contrasts between the two countries (in terms of women’s rights) they find the most interesting - or perhaps what policies they would most like to see transferred from one country to another.
Conclusion: Thank everyone for participating, and encourage them to become members of the Women's Caucus.
Question #2 The Married Women's Property Act was enacted in New York State on April 7, 1848 It gave women the right to own property. It took until 1900 for the rest of the country to catch up. Previously, vestiges of the English common law rules often applied and, for example, a husband controlled his wife’s property, wages, ability to sign a contract, and even custody of children was given to men. The decisions about custody of children, specifically, began a steady shift toward mother’s after England’s Parliament, in 1873, passed the “Tender Years Doctrine”
Question #3 As a private institution in 1831, Mississippi College became the first coeducational college in the United States to grant a degree to a woman. In December 1831 it granted degrees to two women, Alice Robinson and Catherine Hall. It wasn’t until 1972 that Title IX was passed as part of the Educational Amendments of 1972 that the country finally prohibited sex-based discrimination in any school or other educational program that receives federal money. While most famously known for its enormous impact on women’s sports, Title IX actually had far broader positive impact as well.
When were women in xxxxxx protected from sex-based discrimination in education?
Question #4 In the United States, women were not guaranteed the right to own a bank account (or credit card, mortgage or business loan) until Ruth Bader Ginsberg argued and won Reed V. Reed which extended the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to women. When were these rights guaranteed in ?
Question #5 In the United States, birth control was not prohibited, for the most part,until the 1873 Comstock Act. In 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut finally allowed the use of birth control by married couples. Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972_ expanded the right to use birth control to all Americans. When were citizens of XXXX allowed to use birth control?
Question #6 By 1916, the U.S. led the world in number of divorces. In populous New York State, where adultery was the easiest grounds for divorce, attorneys would provide a divorce package of a prostitute and a photographer. Women in many states were not allowed to obtain a divorce until in 1937, with the Matrimonial Causes Act of that year.
This act, following almost three decades of political pressure, allowed women to petition for divorce on the same terms of men for the first time. The law, however, retained the requirement for adultery, cruelty or desertion to be demonstrated. The courts also made minimal financial provision, up to around 1/3 of the assets, and this was often dependent upon who was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Indeed, in one case maintenance payments to an adulterous wife were justified only because the judge feared that in the absence of financial support she would become a prostitute. As a side note: Attorneys and judges of that time seemed to often have prostitution on their minds.
Question #7 The Civil Rights Act of 1964 recognized every human being as equal. Title VII of this act specifically prohibits discrimination by employers based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin.This law mandates that employers cannot treat people differently based on those categories during hiring, while employed and through the exit process. With this act, women cannot legally be discriminated against simply because of their gender. When did women in xxx gain this protection from discrimination.
Question #8 Until passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, women could be fired from their jobs simply for being pregnant. This provided many businesses with a way to avoid paying healthcare costs or dealing with the costs or effort to hire temporary replacements. In some cases, the “concern” had simply to do with appearances.
When was this right protected for women in XXXX?
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Harriet Tubman was born between 1820 and 1822, and died in 1913. She was a courageous and committed abolitionist and played a critical role in facilitating the escape of innumerable slaves. Herself, the victim of severe abuse while being enslaved, Tubman was a life-long fighter for the rights of African-Americans and women. Her portrait was originally scheduled to appear on the US $20 bill beginning in 2020, the first African-American to be chosen for that honor. The honor, however, was “postponed” by Donald Trump.
Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin (August 31, 1842 – March 13, 1924) was editor of the Woman's Era, the first national newspaper published by African American women with an intended African American audience in mind. She was an active abolitionist and, with her husband, recruited black soldiers for the Union Army. Working in many women’s organizations with both black and white women, Ruffin formed the American Women’s Suffrage Association in Boston with Julia Ward Howe and Lucy Stone and and led “The First National Conference of the Colored Women of America.”
Kaya Thomas (1995-) is an American computer scientist, app developer, and writer. Notable for her contributions to the iOS app, Calm, she also developed the app, We Read Too, which houses a collection of children’s books by authors of color.
Maggie Kuhn (August 3, 1905 – April 22, 1995) was an American activist. She founded the Gray Panthers movement, after she was forced to retire from her job at 65, the mandatory age of retirement at the time. The Gray Panthers aided in nursing home reform and fighting ageism, claiming that "old people and women constitute America's biggest untapped and undervalued human energy source." Kuhn was a champion for human rights, social and economic justice, global peace, integration, and for a collective understanding of mental health issues. Alongside her activism, she cared for her mother, who had a disability, and her brother who suffered from mental illness.
Charlotte Louise Bridges Forten Grimké (August 17, 1837 – July 23, 1914) was a poet, and educator raised in Philadelphia by an abolitionist family. She educated freedmen during the Civil War in South Carolina, and was the first African American hired by the Eppes Grammar School in Salem to teach white students in a public school. She was a founding member of the Colored Women’s League and the National Association of Colored Women.
Fannie Lou Hamer (October 6, 1917 – March 14, 1977) was co-founder and vice-chair of the Freedom Democratic Party, which she represented at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. She was a voting and women’s rights champion and advocate in getting women of all races into government positions. She organized Mississippi’s Freedom Summer, working with SNCC and was co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus. Hamer was a victim of forced sterilization when she received a hysterectomy by a white doctor without her consent. The third annual women’s march on January 19, 2019, was dedicated to Hamer's life and legacy.
Adelina Otero-Warren, the first Hispanic woman to run for U.S. Congress and the first female superintendent of public schools in Santa Fe, was a leader in New Mexico’s women's suffrage movement.
Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858 – 1964) Born into slavery, Cooper was an author, activist, educator, sociologist, one of the most prominent African-American scholars in United States history. She received her PhD in history from the Sorbonne in 1924, as just the fourth African-American woman to earn a doctoral degree, and Master’s at Oberlin College. Her book, A Voice from the South, is widely considered one of the first commentaries on black feminism.
Angelina Weld Grimké (1880 – 1958) rose to prominence during the Harlem Renaissance. As a journalist, teacher, playwright, and poet, “Race” became a major theme in her life due to the fact that her mother was white and her father was half-white. Considered a "woman of color" by society at the time, she often conveyed these themes in her work, and was one of the first American women of color to have a play publicly performed.
Rachel Carson (1907-1964) A marine biologist and nature writer, Rachel Carson catalyzed the global environmental movement with her 1962 book Silent Spring. Outlining the dangers of chemical pesticides, the book led to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides and sparked the movement that ultimately led to the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825 – 1911) was an abolitionist, suffragist, poet, teacher, public speaker, writer, and one of the first African American women to be published in the United States. Working as a seamstress and then teacher, Harper aided in the getting refugee slaves to Canada via the Underground Railroad. In 1853, she started political activism with public speaking after joining the American Anti-Slavery Society. In an emotional speech before the National Women’s Rights Convention, Harper advocated for equality, inserting Black suffragist sentiment within the woman's suffrage movement.
Barbara Charline Jordan (1936 – 1996) was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction, and the first Southern African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. An attorney, teacher and activist legislator, she was perhaps best known for her opening comments at the Nixon/Watergate hearings, and keynote address at the 1976 Democratic Convention, as the first African-American and first woman to do so.
Stacey Yvonne Abrams (1973 - ) served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017. In 2018, Abrams lost a Gubernatorial race, in which she was the first African-American and female major party nominee, due to acts of voter suppression. Abrams is a staunch supporter and activist for voter rights, and is credited with turning the red state of Georgia blue during the 2020 general presidential election and for winning two senate seats in the 2021 Georgia state runoff election.
Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (1875 – 1955) the daughter of slaves, was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, and civil rights activist. She founded the National Council for Negro Women and was appointed as a national adviser to president Franklin D. Roosevelt, with whom she worked to create the Federal Council on Negro Affairs. Bethune was the sole African-American woman officially a part of the US delegation that created the United Nations charter and was one of the few women in the world to serve as a college president at that time.
Amelia Isadora Platts Boynton Robinson (1911 – 2015) was a leader of the civil rights movement, partaking in the 1965 marches from Selma to Montgomery where she worked with Martin Luther King. As a young girl Boynton campaigned for Suffrage and, in 1934, registered to vote in Alabama where there was an established disenfranchising constitution. As the first female African American to run for office in Alabama, she also became the first woman to run as a Democrat. Boynton was a guest of honor at the ceremony when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.
Dolores Huerta (1930-) Co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association, Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta is one of the most influential labor activists of the 20th century and a leader of the Chicano civil rights movement.
Daisy Bates (1914 – 1999) was an American civil rights activist, publisher, journalist, and lecturer who played a leading role in the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957. As co-publishers of the Arkansas State Press, she and her husband were leaders in developing a voice for what would be the civil rights movement. In 1954, after Arkansas refused to enroll black students in schools despite the Brown v. Board of Education decision, she and her husband editorialized about the need for reform and urged immediate action. Her leadership in the NAACP, advocacy and dedication led her to become the organizer and mentor of the students known as “The Little Rock Nine”.
Ruby Hurley (1909 – 1980) was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and administrator for the NAACP. She was part of the committee which has set up a performance by the brilliant opera singer Marian Anderson after she was blocked from performing at Constitution Hall by the DAR. The committee pulled off an event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial which was attended by more than 75,000 people. She subsequently worked for the NAACP organizing youth and college students, set up offices, aided in the investigations of the murders of George W. Lee and Emmett Till.
Dorothea Dix (1802-1887) was an early 19th century activist who drastically changed the medical field during her lifetime. She championed for both the mentally ill and indigenous populations. By doing this work, she openly challenged 19th century notions of reform and illness. Additionally, Dix helped recruit nurses for the Union army during the Civil War. As a result, she transformed the field of nursing.
Grace Hopper (1906-1992) “At a very young age Grace Murray Hopper showed an interest in engineering. As a child, she would often take apart household goods and put them back together. Little did her family know, her curiosity would eventually gain her recognition from the highest office in the land.”
Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) “was an Austrian-American actress and inventor who pioneered the technology that would one day form the basis for today’s WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth communication systems. As a natural beauty seen widely on the big screen in films like Samson and Delilah and White Cargo, society has long ignored her inventive genius.”
Alice Paul (1885-1977) “A vocal leader of the twentieth century women’s suffrage movement, Alice Paul advocated for and helped secure passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, granting women the right to vote. Paul next authored the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923, which has yet to be adopted.”
Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) “In the early 20th century, at a time when matters surrounding family planning or women’s healthcare were not spoken in public, Margaret Sanger founded the birth control movement and became an outspoken and life-long advocate for women’s reproductive rights. In her later life, Sanger spearheaded the effort that resulted in the modern birth control pill by 1960.”
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (1913 – 2005) is best known for her pivotal role in the providing the impetus to launch the Montgomery bus boycott. 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to give up her seat in the “colored section” of a bus for a white passenger when the “whites-only section” was full. Parks was the perfect person to work with the NAACP to challenge charges of civil disobedience. Her case became bogged down in the state courts, but an alternative case was eventually successful. Parks continued to work with Martin Luther King, Edgar Nixon and others, was active with The Black Panthers and worked in defense of political prisoners.
Jo Ann Gibson Robinson (April 17, 1912 – August 29, 1992) was an activist during the Civil Rights Movement and educator in Montgomery, Alabama. She earned multiple graduate degrees and taught at the college level. After joining the Women’s Political Council her suggestion of a boycott against bus segregation was rebuffed by the other members. In 1950 she became head of the organization and after Rosa Parks was arrested, Robinson, along with Ralph Abernathy, and other members of the WPC and, a couple of her students printed up 52,000 flyers, passed them out and the boycott campaign began.
Audre Geraldine Lorde also known by the pseudonyms of Gamba Adisa or Rey Domini (1934-1992) Is an essayist and poetess American , militant feminist, lesbian, and civil rights activist. As a poet, she is known for her technical mastery and emotional expression, as well as for her poems expressing the anger and outrage at the civil and social discrimination she observes throughout her life. Her poems and prose focus on issues of civil rights, feminism and the exploration of black female identity. She is one of the literary figures of the Black Arts Movement and was a New York Poet Laureate.
Brilliant Alice Augusta Ball was born on July 24, 1892, in Seattle, Washington. She was one of four children. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in pharmaceutical chemistry. Two years later, she earned a second degree in pharmacy. With her pharmacy instructor, she published a 10-page article in the prestigious Journal of the American Chemical Society titled, "Benzoylations in Ether Solution." This kind of accomplishment was very rare for not only African American women, but women of any race. She moved to Hawaii to work on her master’s degree in chemistry.
In 1915, Alice Ball became the first graduate of African American heritage, the first African American and the first woman chemistry professor at the University of Hawaii's chemistry department. She revolutionized the use of chaulmoogra by successfully isolated the ethyl esters from the oil to make an injectable form to treat leprosy. Chaulmoogra had been used in the treatment of leprosy for hundreds of years, but only with moderate effect, and could have negative effects when applied to the skin. Her technique allowed the oil from the seed of the chaulmoogra tree to be injected and absorbed in the blood. Her newly-developed technique became the primary treatment for leprosy up until the onset of antibiotics, ca. 1940. It is reported that in some primitive areas, her treatment is still used. At that time, many lepers were sent to Hawaii to be isolated from the main population. Her treatment allowed hundreds of people with leprosy to return home. She became ill before publishing her work. She returned to Seattle just before her death on Dec. 31, 1916. Her exact cause of death is uncertain. It was speculated that she died of chlorine poisoning, due to exposure that occurred while teaching in the laboratory. Her original death certificate was altered, the cause of death was changed to tuberculosis.
Author Dean, chemist and president of the university, continued her work but never gave her credit for her breakthrough. Dean published her findings; but for years they were known as the Dean Method. In 1970, historians uncovered the truth. The University of Hawaii did not recognize her work for nearly 90 years. In 2000, the university finally honored Ball by dedicating a plaque to her on the school's lone chaulmoogra tree. On the same day, the former Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, Mazie Hirono, declared February 29, Alice Ball Day, which is now celebrated.
One cannot help but wonder what other marvelous work she could have accomplished had she lived longer than 24 years.
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Anne Brown's father was a physician and the child of a slave; her mother was Irish, Cherokee, and Black. She was born August 9, 1912, it was reported she had perfect singing pitch by her first birthday. At 16, she entered Juilliard as the first African American vocalist. In 1933, as a graduate student at Juilliard, she heard Gershwin was planning to write an African American Opera, so she wrote him a letter. Gershwin and Anne started collaborating and the part of Bess became a significant role in his opera. Anne is attributed with creating much of that role. She started each session by singing Summertime.
In 1936, when the opera was to be performed at the National Theater in DC, Blacks were not able to buy tickets. She told Gershwin, "I will not sing at the National. If my mother, my father, my friends, if Black people cannot come hear me sing, then count me out.” “I remember Gershwin saying to me, 'You're not going to sing?' And I said to him, 'I can't sing!'" Anne confided that, due to her demands, the rules were changed. When the curtain came down on the final performance of Porgy and Bess, segregation was reinstated.
Brown toured Europe as a concert artist from 1942 to 1948. She did so also out of frustration from not being able to secure serious roles, due to continued racial prejudice. She felt her career chances were limited because of her skin color, even though she had a very light complexion. She stated: “Though there is no place on earth without prejudice. In fact, a French journalist wrote an article during one of my tours, asking: 'Why does she say she is colored? She's as white as any singer. It's just a trick to get people interested. Can you imagine? Of course, I was advertised as a Negro soprano. What is a Negro soprano?”
She also stated that she felt her ability to find work was easier abroad. She settled in Norway, bringing a daughter from a previous marriage with her. She married Norwegian ski jumper, Thorleif Schjelderup, a medalist at the 1948 Winter Olympics. They had a daughter together. Anne worked at the Norwegian Opera, but due to asthma, she eventually started coaching voice.
In 1998, Anne Brown received the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America from the Peabody Institute. She had been tentatively admitted 70 years earlier, but was denied entrance when they saw her skin color. She was also made an honorary citizen of Baltimore in 1999. In 2000, she was awarded Norway's Council of Cultures Honorary Award. She died March 13, 2009, age 96.
This charming video of Anne was made a few years before her death: Gershwin & Bess: A Dialogue with Anne Brown (excerpt)
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Claudette Colvin (Born September 5, 1939) is a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement. On March 2, 1955, she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus I Montgomery Alabama. She relied on the city's buses to get to and from school, because her parents did not own a car. Colvin was a member of the NAACP Youth Council, and had been actively learning about the Civil Rights Movement in school. The bus was full, and Colvin was asked to give up her seat for a white person; she refused, stating she paid the same as everyone else. The police were called, and she was arrested and physically removed from the bus. Colvin said, "Young people think Rosa Parks just sat down on a bus and ended segregation, but that wasn't the case at all.” Claudette Colvin was the fifteen-year-old that inspired and motivated Parks.
Fred Gray, Claudette Colvin's attorney, had a plan after the incident with Colvin. Someone else needed to be arrested, so Gray could take a stand. And according to their lawyer, Fred Gray, Parks was waiting to be asked to get off the bus. Rosa was an acquaintance and was an adult. She was advised to resist, if and when, she was asked to move or vacate the bus. Colvin was among the four plaintiffs included in the federal court case filed by civil rights attorney, Fred Gray, on February 1, 1956, as Browder v. Gayle. She testified before the three-judge panel that heard the case in the United States District Court. On June 13, 1956, the judges determined that the state and local laws requiring bus segregation in Alabama were unconstitutional.
According to Gray, Colvin was the truly, extremely brave one since she was so young, and had no back-up at the time when she refused to cooperate. She moved to New York, since she had difficulty finding employment in Montgomery. Similarly, Parks moved to Detroit. Claudette Colvin worked as a nurse’s aide in a retirement home for 36 years. In my opinion, that is a character of a persistent caring person. She had two sons.
It could be said, she was the spark that ignited the Montgomery bus boycott movement; she rarely told her story once she moved to New York City. She has stated, "I feel very, very proud of what I did," “I do feel like what I did was a spark and it caught on. I'm not disappointed. Let the people know Rosa Parks was the right person for the boycott.”
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Elizabeth Van Lew was born on October 12, 1818, in Richmond, Virginia. She was educated in a Quaker school in Philadelphia, which solidified her view against slavery. She was an abolitionist and philanthropist, who built and operated an extensive spy ring for the United States, during the Civil War. After her father’s death, she freed the slaves her father owned and kept many of them as paid employees. Elizabeth used her entire cash inheritance of $10,000 to purchase and free some of their former slaves' relatives. Elizabeth's brother was a regular visitor to Richmond's slave market, where, when a family was about to be split up, he would purchase them all, bring them home, and issue papers of manumission.
Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, she, along with her mother, cared for wounded and captured soldiers, providing food, medicine and books. These activities were frowned upon by the Confederate. She harbored and aided escaped soldiers, hiding some in her large home. Prisoners passed on information that she shared with the Union commanders. She aided civilians on both sides. Her feminine skills, including female charity, and at times, odd behavior aided her in not being exposed. Her status as a wealthy woman from a prominent family also helped. She is credited with gaining "the greater portion of intelligence in 1864-65.” Upon meeting Grant after the war, he stated, "You have sent me the most valuable information received from Richmond during the war." He appointed her postmaster in Richmond. Just as victory was in sight, she raised the giant (18 ft x 9 ft) flag over her home. It was the first United States flag to fly in the city, since Virginia had seceded.
After the war, it was understood she was a spy. She had used her entire large fortune to assist in intelligence activities. She found herself deserted and without funds after trying in vain to receive a pension from the federal government. However, she received funds from the grandson of Paul Revere, Union Col. Paul Joseph Revere, whom she had aided, along with other Bostonians. But, she remained a social outcast in her local community for the remainder of her life.
She died on Sept 25, 1900, age 81. She was buried in a vertical position facing North, as she had wished. Elizabeth Van Lew was inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame in 1993. Several books & films & TV series were made about her life.
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WOMEN & REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE
Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States
A Historical Overview
By: Monica Cardenas
Unmarried women in the United States have been legally permitted to use birth control for less than 50 years. Let that sink in.
Women’s rights have enjoyed new attention in the past few years, thanks to the #MeToo movement, the popularity of the television show Mrs. America (including rockstar portrayal of Gloria Steinem), the passing of heroic equal rights advocate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and, in a strange way, the election of Donald Trump and his series of conservative Supreme Court Justices. But for all the obvious reasons women deserve equal treatment under the law, the fight for abortion rights and even unrestricted access to reproductive health care continues. (I wonder, do men need permission from the U.S. government to choose to disengage from a pregnancy he helped create?) READ MORE
In 1970, a group of women in the Boston area self-published "Women and Their Bodies,” a 193-page booklet that dared to address sexuality and reproductive health, including abortion.
WOMEN & CLIMATE JUSTICE
Celebrating Women Environmentalists During Women's History Month
Women’s history month - environmental defenders
By: Naomi Ages
Greta Thunberg’s name is now synonymous with climate action. The teenaged Swedish activist is one of the faces of the global movement to demand a safe climate for people and the planet. But as Thunberg herself points out, she is far from the first, or the only, activist there is. She regularly “passes the mic” to make sure that activists from more marginalized communities have their say. She is one in a long line of women environmental defenders - so in honor of Women’s History Month, the Climate Action Team wanted to highlight a few of the women around the world who have been doing the hard, often dangerous work of environmental protection and seeking environmental justice. It is a privilege to be able to introduce:
Cáceras was a Honduran environmental activist, indigenous leader, and organizer. She was brutally murdered in her home in 2016, almost certainly for her longtime environmental activism, and in particular, the opposition she led against a hydroelectric dam on the sacred Gualcarque river (executives from the company were ruled to have ordered her killing). Cáceras was a Lenca (an indigenous group in Honduras) leader, and founded Copinh (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras) - Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, dedicated to fighting illegal logging and other corporate environmental degradation in traditional Lenca lands. Cáceras won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 and you can learn more about Berta Cáceras, and Copinh, which continues her important work, here.
Houska is a Couchiching First Nation activist and tribal attorney, who advised Bernie Sanders on Native American affairs. She has been on the front lines of environmental defense - at Standing Rock (against the Dakota Access Pipeline), and a longtime advocate to stop major banks from funding pipelines. Houska, like many Native American environmental advocates, is a fierce believer that we must use indigenous principles and knowledge for restoring ecosystems, and achieving environmental justice. In a recent lecture, she said “I chose fighting for Mother Earth because she IS everything. The land is the people; the people are the land.” Follow Houska’s Not Your Mascots organization here.
Nakate was the sole Fridays for Future protestor in Uganda for months, spurred to action by heat waves and crop failures. She, unfortunately, gained prominence when she was cropped out of a photo with other youth climate activists who were white, in Davos in January 2020. Nakate’s experience, in which climate activists of color are erased, and climate change’s disproportionate impacts on people of color are downplayed, is all too common. Nakate has gone on to found two climate action organizations in Uganda focused on renewable energy and amplifying African voices in the climate movement. She recently spoke to Angelina Jolie about climate change’s disproportionate impact on women and girls.
Nguy Thi Khanh
Khanh is another Goldman Environmental Prize winner, who founded one of the only environmental NGOs in Vietnam, which is no easy feat in a country where demonstrations are almost unheard of. Khanh is taking on the coal industry in Vietnam, raising awareness about air and water pollution and the effects of industrialization. She successfully helped convince the government to lower its coal use targets, and weathers harassment campaigns and threats of imprisonment. Khanh says she got inspired to environmental action even though she planned to become a diplomat due to ”...mostly the vulnerability of the affected communities of climate change. For me, that’s always in the frontline.” She does the work “because I want a better life for my children and the future generations. It is time to act!”
This small list is a somewhat meager glimpse into the thousands of women we could celebrate for the work they do in building a better future. Women disproportionately bear the brunt of climate change, and simultaneously lead the fight to confront the companies, organizations, and governments that have enabled the crisis. We honor their work this Women’s History Month, and hopefully, we are inspired to fight in our own ways!
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
America’s broken legal system, combined with cultural beliefs about family, pressures women to stay in violent, dangerous marriages.
GWC Violence Against Women - #1 Priority: Reauthorization Of The Violence Against Women Act
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a U.S. federal law, signed by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994. It was authored by then-Senator Joe Biden (DE), and co-authored by Representative Louise Slaughter (NY). It was passed in Congress (234/195 House, 61/38 Senate).
The law established a budget (initially $1.6 billion) to:
- Investigate violence against women crimes
- Prosecute perpetrators of such crimes
- Impose requirements for restitution to victims by perpetrators
- Provide reparations, if prosecutors opt not to prosecute a crime
Extensions of the Law were passed in 2000, 2005 and 2013. In each case, there were changes which met with varying degrees of opposition, generally from Republicans and organizations such as the NRA and other conservative groups.
Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is on President Biden’s 100-day agenda. Once it has been introduced, the Violence Against Women Action Team is poised to focus on efforts in support of reauthorization. We hope to see massive support from throughout the DA membership to help ensure this important legislative cornerstone is passed.
Key Issues/Changes in 2005
The 2005 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act redefined the term “under-served populations” to include individuals isolated because of their geographic location, racial and ethnic origins, disability, advanced age, and any other population deemed by the Attorney General or the Secretary of Health and Social Services to present significantly higher risk.
The 2005 reauthorization also modifies the Omnibus amendment from 1968 on crime prevention and street safety. This is to prohibit officials from requiring victims of sexual assault to undergo a polygraph examination as a precondition for an investigation or prosecution.
Key Issues in 2012
- Extending provisions of text to same-sex couples.
- Granting temporary visas for immigrant women who are victims of violence, and who arrived illegally in the U.S.
Another area of contention is the provision in the law giving Native American tribal authorities jurisdiction over sex crimes involving non-Native Americans on tribal lands. This provision is considered unconstitutional by Republicans, since a non-Native American is actually under the jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States, and enjoys the protections of the U.S. Constitution, protections that tribal courts do not necessarily enforce.
The renewed law extended federal protections to homosexuals, lesbians, transgender people, Native Americans, and immigrants.
What Happened In 2019
Violence Against Women Act reauthorization threatened.
Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized.
VAWA provided the impetus and provided resources which enabled the building of a coordinated community response to domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual assault and harassment. The courts, agencies of law enforcement, prosecutors, victim services, and private lawyers began together in unprecedented, coordinated efforts.
New laws against violence against women offer programs and services, including:
- Federal Rape Shield Law
- Community violence prevention programs
- Protections for victims evicted from their homes due to events related to domestic violence or criminal harassment
- Funding of victim support services, such as rape crisis centers and hotlines
- Programs to meet the needs of immigrant women and women of different races or ethnicities
- Programs and services for victims with disabilities
- Legal aid for victims of domestic violence
The following grant programs are primarily administered by the Office on Violence Against Women, United States Department of Justice, and have received funding from Congress: STOP Grants, Transitional Housing Grants, Grants to Encourage Arrest and Enforce Protection Orders, Civil Legal Assistance for Victims, Court Training and Improvement Grants, Engaging Men and Youth in Prevention, Research on Violence Against Native American Women, Safe Havens Project, National Tribal Sex Offender Registry, Stalker Reduction Database, Federal Victim Assistants, Sexual Assault Services Program, Violence on College Campuses Grants, Services for Rural Victims, Civil Legal Assistance for Victims, Elder Abuse Grant Program, Protections and Services for Disabled Victims, Combating Abuse in Public Housing, National Resource Center on Workplace Responses.
Official federal government groups created by President Barack Obama in connection with the Violence Against Women Act, include the White House Council on Women and Girls, and the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The goals of its two entities are to help improve and protect the well-being and safety of women and girls in the United States.
Coverage of Male Victims
Although the title of the law and the titles of its sections refer to victims of domestic violence as women, the text of the operative part is gender neutral and also covers male victims. However, individual organizations have failed to use the Violence Against Women Act to provide equal coverage for men. The law has been amended twice, in an attempt to remedy this situation. The 2005 reauthorization adds a non-exclusivity provision specifying that the title should not be interpreted as prohibiting male victims receiving services under the Bill. The 2013 reauthorization adds a provision of non-discrimination, which prohibits organizations receiving funding under the law to discriminate on the basis of sex. Jan Brown, Founder and Executive Director of Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women -- the domestic violence helpline for men and women -- argues that the law may not be enough to ensure equal access to services. On September 12, 2013, during an event marking the 19th anniversary of the bill, Vice President Joe Biden criticized Republicans, who slowed down the passage of the act's reauthorization as "that kind of Neanderthal crowd."
WOMEN & SEXUAL ASSAULT
- Somewhere in America, a woman is raped every 2 minutes.
- National surveys of adults suggest that between 9-32% of women, and 5-10% of men report that they were victims of sexual abuse and/or assault during their childhood.
- 22% of victims were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, and 32% were between the ages of 12 and 17.
- The majority of male and female rape victims knew their perpetrator.
- Of surveyed college women, about 90% of rape and sexual assault victims knew their attacker prior to the assault.
- 43% of lesbian and bisexual women, and 30% of gay and bisexual men, reported having experienced at least one form of sexual assault victimization during their lifetimes.
- 34% of Native American and Alaskan Native women reported experiencing an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime, compared with 19% of African American women, 18% of white women, and 7% of Asian American women.
- Among adults who are developmentally disabled, as many as 83% of the females and 32% of the males are the victims of sexual assault.
- Women with disabilities are raped and abused at a rate at least twice that of the general population of women.
- A 2007 study found that 5% (or 60,500) of the more than 1.3 million inmates held in federal and state prisons had been sexually abused in the previous year alone.
WOMEN & SEX TRAFFICKING
It is estimated that between 15,000 to 50,000 women and children are forced into sexual slavery in the United States every year, and the total number varies wildly as it is very difficult to research. One study from the Department of Health and Human Services, estimated the number at between 240,000 and 325,000, while a report from the University of Pennsylvania put it at between 100,000 and 300,000. Source: The Deliver Fund
WOMEN & THE LABOR MOVEMENT
“From the Industrial Revolution to the rise of mass production in the early 20th century, women transformed their relationship with the union movement. During the 19th century, women entered factories in large numbers, working fourteen hours a day, six days a week in dangerous jobs for low pay. In response to these conditions, young female textile workers organized America’s first industrial protests, strikes, and reform groups. Despite these efforts, women were generally excluded from the larger labor movement. Conforming to the societal view that a woman’s place was in the home, the labor movement advocated for a “family wage” high enough that a husband could independently support his family.
At the turn of the 20th century, the rising suffrage movement and the influence of progressives and socialists began to challenge traditional male beliefs of women’s role in society. Inspired by liberal ideas and working under unchanging conditions, tens of thousands of clothing workers organized the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Through unity with their male co-workers, shop floor organizing, strikes, and militancy, women demonstrated that they could secure union recognition, higher wages, and shorter work hours from their employers. For the first time, women became powerful allies in a common cause with their union brothers.
Source: University of Maryland Library - Breaking the Gender Barrier: A Woman’s Place is in her Union
... & PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION
“Women could be fired for being pregnant until 1978. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prohibited sexual discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s website. It stated that women who are pregnant or have been affected by pregnancy or childbirth must be treated the same for all employment-related purposes.
An employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because of her pregnancy as long as she is able to perform the major functions of the job, according to the EEOC.
Before that law passed, however, there were numerous Supreme Court cases that dealt with employment discrimination against pregnant women, according to an article from jurist.org. The enactment of the law was in response to two Supreme Court cases.”
WOMEN & HEALTH
“Medicine has always seen women first and foremost as reproductive bodies. Our reproductive organs were the greatest source of difference to men – and because they were different, they were mysterious and suspicious. But the fallout of this difference is that, for a long time, medicine assumed it was the only difference. Because women had reproductive organs, they should reproduce, and all else about them was deemed uninteresting.
In the early 20th century, the endocrine system, which produces hormones, was discovered. To medical minds, this represented another difference between men and women, overtaking the uterus as the primary perpetrator of all women’s ills. Still, medicine persisted with the belief that all other organs and functions would operate the same in men and women, so there was no need to study women. Conversely, researchers said that the menstrual cycle, and varied release of hormones throughout the cycle in rodents, introduced too many variables into a study; therefore females could not be studied.”
Source: The Guardian - The female problem: how male bias in medical trials ruined women's health
... & MENTAL HEALTH
“Hysteria is undoubtedly the first mental disorder attributable to women, accurately described in the second millennium BC, and, until Freud, considered an exclusively female disease. Over 4000 years of history, this disease was considered from two perspectives: scientific and demonological. It was cured with herbs, sex or sexual abstinence, punished and purified with fire for its association with sorcery and finally, clinically studied as a disease and treated with innovative therapies. However, even at the end of the 19th century, scientific innovation had still not reached some places, where the only known therapies were those proposed by Galen. During the 20th century several studies postulated the decline of hysteria amongst occidental patients (both women and men) and the escalating of this disorder in non-Western countries. The concept of hysterical neurosis is deleted with the 1980 DSM-III. The evolution of these diseases seems to be a factor linked with social “westernization”, and examining under what conditions the symptoms first became common in different societies became a priority for recent studies over risk factor.”
Source: NCBI Women & Hysteria in the History of Mental Health
WOMEN & POVERTY
“Since the late 1800s, settlement houses in America have allowed people of different backgrounds and socio-economic statuses to participate in activities and learn basic skills, with the support of others from their communities. American settlements, and the women who led them, were not just the result of the Progressive Era in U.S. history; they were a defining force in the Progressive reform agenda. In the process, America gained a multi-dimensional perspective on poverty, one that continues to inform settlement houses, community multi-service centers, neighborhood development, and other efforts to promote social welfare.”
Source: Social Welfare History Project
WOMEN & CHILDCARE
“Inspired by the American Kindergarten movement, Pauline Agassiz Shaw established a day nursery with an educational focus, in 1878 Boston. Many other centers followed Shaw's example, providing care for long hours with educational activities, comprehensive services, family education and training, and counseling; although most did not service the very young children. In the 1880's, Frances Willard attempted to meet this need by establishing the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Her day nurseries were offered free of charge to poor mothers, but were not open to all racial and ethnic groups, and never to children of unwed mothers. This discrimination left many mothers with no other option than to send their children to orphanages or in unsatisfactory arrangements in strangers homes. The 1890's ushered in the National Association of Colored Women, which established day nurseries serving urban African American families and children. The 1800's saw a number of experiments in childcare, enabling many women to avoid the depths of poverty by working outside of the home. Childcare was generally regarded as a last-resort measure, only to be utilized in the most dire of emergencies and circumstances.”
Source: Historical Foundations of Early Childhood Education
WOMEN & CHILD PROTECTION
“In the Progressive Era, when presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson identified themselves as reformers and social activists, (Jane) Addams was one of the most prominent reformers. She helped America address and focus on issues that were of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, local public health, and world peace. In her essay "Utilization of Women in City Government," Addams noted the connection between the workings of government and the household, stating that many departments of government, such as sanitation and the schooling of children, could be traced back to traditional women's roles in the private sphere. Thus, these were matters of which women would have more knowledge than men, so women needed the vote to best voice their opinions. She said that if women were to be responsible for cleaning up their communities and making them better places to live, they needed to be able to vote to do so effectively. Addams became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities.”
WOMEN & CONSUMER CULTURE/CONSUMER PROTECTION
“An explicit conception of consumer identity, an identity that was simultaneously bound up in notions of the feminine. Born at the same time, the "Organization Man" and "Mrs. Consumer" in many ways reprised the older dichotomy of manly producers and domestic women. American women had long been consumers in a sense: they bought, bartered, and used goods. Except on the far reaches of the frontier, few eighteenth-century households were entirely self-sufficient. During the Revolution, women's political role involved consumer boycotts of imported teas and cloth; expected to run a household well, they took an increasingly active role in purchasing decisions. “
Source: Journal for Multi-Media History
“The National Consumers League was chartered in 1899, by two of America’s leading social reformers, Jane Addams and Josephine Lowell. These two women were pioneers in achieving many social reforms in communities and workplaces across the country. Under the direction of its first general secretary, Florence Kelley, the National Consumers League exposed child labor and other scandalous working conditions. Kelley was to become one of the most influential and effective social reformers of the 20th century. During the early 1900s, she led the League in its efforts to:
- Protect in-home workers, often including whole families, from terrible exploitation by employers
- Promote the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906
- Write and champion state minimum wage laws for women
- Defend and, ultimately convince, the US Supreme Court to uphold a 10-hour work day law in the landmark Muller v. Oregon case of 1908
- Advocate for the creation of the United States Children’s Bureau and federal child labor restrictions”