Books Abroad, The Global Women’s Caucus feminist reading group, is thrilled to end the year with a French writer, Annie Ernaux, who has won the 2022 Nobel Prize for literature.
Her novels are often based on personal memories, but they have universal themes- such as rising out of poverty, incest, education, the status of women, and other potent issues which are as relevant today as when she started writing them in the 1970s. Her telling stories gives us insights and touch the reading public in an intimate manner.
Unfortunately, not many of her many books have been translated into English. But luckily (for us), her short novel ‘”l’événement’” (in French) or “Happening “ (in English) was published in 2000 and has been translated into English. Our group will discuss this book on Sunday, January 8th.
The “Happening” takes place before women had the right to abortion in France. The author learns while she was a student at 23 that she is pregnant. Stricken with shame for herself and her family, she tries and fails to self-abort.
Annie Ernaux wrote this story 40 years after the fact, sifting through her memories in her journal entries and drawing out her deepest feelings and thoughts recalled from the bits and pieces of her then 40-year-old experience in a world that has changed.
Critics have pondered the choice of Annie Ernaux for the Nobel Prize for literature since her books are short, barely fictional accounts of her life experiences -her latest book is about her taking a much younger lover- written in a simple style accessible by all, which sometimes stumps intellectual critics.
In addition to giving attention to her seemingly simplistic style and her life experiences, many are asking, “What makes a Nobel Prize in Literature?”
Join us on Sunday, January 8, 2023, at 10 am EST/4 pm CET for what promises to be, as usual, a great discussion. RSVP to receive the Zoom link.WHENJanuary 08, 2023 at 10:00amWHEREOnline
Carol Moore published Pro-choice Victories in the November 2022 Elections in Reproductive Justice 2022-11-22 10:03:36 -0500
Ballot measures There were wins for reproductive freedom in five states:
California – Proposition 1: “Amends California Constitution to expressly include an individual’s fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which includes the fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives. This amendment does not narrow or limit the existing rights to privacy and equal protection under the California Constitution.”
The Yeses won
Kentucky – Amendment 2: Would add to the Kentucky Constitution: “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
The Nos won
Michigan – Proposal 3: “This proposed constitutional amendment would:
- Establish new individual right to reproductive freedom, including right to make and carry out all decisions about pregnancy, such as prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion, miscarriage management, and infertility;
- Allow state to regulate abortion after fetal viability, but not prohibit if medically needed to protect a patient’s life or physical or mental health;
- Forbid state discrimination in enforcement of this right; prohibit prosecution of an individual, or a person helping a pregnant individual, for exercising rights established by this amendment;
- Invalidate state laws conflicting with this amendment.”
The Yeses won
Montana – Legislative Referendum 131: “An act adopting the born-alive infant protection act; providing that infants born alive, including infants born alive after an abortion, are legal persons; requiring health care providers to take necessary actions to preserve the life of a born-alive infant; providing a penalty; providing that the proposed act be submitted to the qualified electors of Montana; and providing an effective date.”
The Nos won
Vermont – Proposal 5: Would add to the Vermont Constitution: “That an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.”
The Yeses won
Governor seats that flipped from Republican to Democrat
Maryland: Wes Moore (Democrat) defeated Dan Cox
Moore’s stance on repro rights: “Wes recognizes that all Marylanders deserve the autonomy to make their own decisions about their reproductive healthcare. Wes and Aruna will fight to make access to reproductive care more affordable and accessible in every corner of our state…” (source)
Massachusetts: Maura Healey (Democrat) defeated Geoffrey Diehl (Republican)
Healey’s stance on repro rights: “With our reproductive rights under attack like never before, Maura will ensure patients and providers are protected here in Massachusetts…” (source)
Senate seat that flipped from Republican to Democrat
Pennsylvania: John Fetterman (Democrat) defeated Mehmet Oz (Republican)
Fetterman’s stance on repro rights: “A woman’s right to make her own health care decisions is sacred and non-negotiable. Period.” (source)
Some House seats that flipped from Republican to Democrat
Michigan’s 3rd District: Hillary Scholten (Democrat) defeated John Gibbs (Republican)
Scholten’s stance on repro rights: “Protecting reproductive health care choices is fundamentally a matter of privacy and freedom from government control. It is a kitchen table issue, a worker’s rights issue, a child welfare issue, and a healthcare worker protection issue.” (source)
New Mexico’s 2nd District: Gabriel Vasquez (Democrat) defeated Yvette Herrell (Republican)
Vasquez’s stance on repro rights: “Access to healthcare is a right and politicians in Congress and in state Legislatures shouldn’t stand between women and their healthcare. Gabe will oppose any attempt by Republicans in Congress to ban access to abortion, birth control, or to prevent women from having the right to choose.” (source)
North Carolina’s 13th District: Wiley Nickel (Democrat) defeated Bo Hines (Republican)
Nickel’s stance on repro rights: “I believe that politicians have no business getting in the middle of healthcare decisions, and that those decisions belong between a woman and her doctor. That’s why I helped lead the fight in North Carolina to stop Republican attacks on the right to choose, and why I’ll fight hard to protect that right in Congress.” (source)
Ohio’s 1st District: Greg Landsman (Democrat) defeated Steve Chabot (Republican)
Landsman’s stance on repro rights: “Greg will oppose any efforts to undermine the privacy between a woman and her doctor, and he supports the codification of the rights afforded by Roe v. Wade on the federal level.” (source)
Other important victories: Governor seat remains blue in these key states:
Michigan: Gretchen Whitmer (Democrat) defeated Tudor Dixon (Republican)
Whitmer’s stance on repro rights: “Gov. Whitmer is a champion for a woman’s right to choose, because she knows that the decision to start a family shouldn’t be made by a politician. She has taken proactive steps to protect the right to choose in Michigan and ensure Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban never goes back into effect.” (source)
Pennsylvania: Josh Shapiro (Democrat) defeated Douglas Mastriano (Republican)
Shapiro’s stance on repro rights: “Josh fought against the Trump Administration’s efforts to deny women access to no-cost contraception and essential health care services through Planned Parenthood.” (source)
Wisconsin: Tony Evers (Democrat) defeated Tim Michels (Republican)
Evers’s stance on repro rights: “…Gov. Evers will continue to take any action necessary to protect access to reproductive services, including abortion and contraceptive services.” (source)
Carol Moore published Gender Inequality Causes Poverty in Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative 2021-05-06 08:24:34 -0400
Professor Linda Scott’s latest article, “Gender Inequality Causes Poverty”, makes the case that gender inequality is one of the major causes of poverty around the world. She contends that specific gender barriers form a complex, interlocking system of economic exclusion that keep women dependent and suffering additional constraints such as domestic violence, food insecurity and inadequate access to healthcare. Her April 13th talk with the GWC showed the strong relationship between rising gender equality and improved national prosperity.
Carol Moore published Democrats Tackle the Pandemic’s Devastating Economic Impact on Women in American Women 2021-03-31 12:16:57 -0400
The devastating economic hit taken by working women during the Covid recession (hence the new term: “she-session”) is severe. Female participation in the U.S. workforce has dropped to 57%, the lowest level in 30 years. Over 4 million women have left the labor force, disproportionately represented in the hardest-hit industries: hospitality and leisure, education and health service.
Many of those still working have faced reduced income since women working part-time are more likely to have shorter hours or be on zero-hour contracts. In addition women bear an increased burden of care for children, exacerbated by school closures, and for family members falling ill. Restrictions of movement have resulted in increased incidents of domestic violence and has limited access to reproductive healthcare. Academics estimate women have lost years of progress in the workforce in the last 12 months.
There is good news since the election of President Biden and Vice-President Harris - beyond the vastly increased rate of vaccinations. Democrats have started taking action to reverse these negative trends for women, and Legislators in Congress and policy specialists in the White House have been working on several fronts:
- President Biden nominated six women members to his Cabinet, including Janet Yellen, as the first woman Secretary of the Treasury and Marcia Fudge, the first Black woman Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Academic research has shown women in leadership positions will bring priorities and issues to the discussion that have otherwise been ignored. As Senator Warren said, “If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu.” These senior appointments have demonstrated the importance this administration places on the principles of gender diversity and inclusion.
- Through the economic impact payments and expansion of the Child Tax Credit, the American Rescue Act will immediately benefit women and their families. Of major importance for women, the bill includes significant funds to address the crisis in child care facilities around the country. And, as we all know, lack of adequate child care will present a major barrier to women returning to the workforce.
The American Rescue Plan provides about $15 billion which will be released by states’ block grants to support families and providers, while an additional $24 billion will go towards a stabilization fund for child care providers to cover a range of expenses.
- Reliable child care provisions are finally being recognized as the critical part of American infrastructure that they are, freeing women to re-enter the workforce. This major investment also represents a significant step in bringing more equitable and affordable access to child care for families in poverty and communities of color.
- On March 8, 2021, the Biden-Harris administration created a new government entity to advance women’s rights: the White House Gender Policy Council. It will establish a government-wide focus on “…gender equity and equal rights and opportunity for women and girls.” Unlike previous Democratic administrations, this Council will be well-staffed with the two co-chairs reporting directly to the President. Every Cabinet member will participate. And a specific goal is “…Increasing economic security and opportunity by addressing the structural barriers to women’s participation in the labor force…”
- In December, 2020, the House Democratic Women’s Caucus wrote an 8-page letter to President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris listing over 60 areas that executive actions could promote “…a transformative agenda for women and families…” and reverse the damage done by the outgoing administration. It sets a framework for an impressive range of actions to reverse the depredations of the Trump administration’s attack on federal support for a range of gender equity regulations.
Here at Democrats Abroad, the Global Women’s Caucus is thrilled with the many steps Democrats are taking to advance the agenda of women’s economic well-being and reverse the impact of this pandemic. The DA 2020 Platform contains a range of similar economic policy recommendations to advance gender parity, and we look forward to engaging DA members to advance these policies over the coming months with our Democratic colleagues in Washington, DC. For more information on our initiative, visit: https://www.democratsabroad.org/wc_the_state_of_american_women_project
Carol Moore published The ERA Is Needed More Than Ever in 2021! in ERA Stories 2021-03-15 17:10:39 -0400
In September 1966, I started college at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, only learning there was a quota in place (8 males/1 female) when I got there. Four years later there were still quotas at law schools. I did get in (in a class of 200 men and 25 women), faced discrimination when job-hunting and found the time-honored solution of work in the federal government. Living in New York City, Bella Abzug was my Congresswoman and the second wave of the feminist movement was in full swing. Naively I believed the tide was turning and, in fact, I benefitted from other women’s battles: Chase Manhattan Bank had been sued for sex discrimination in the early ‘70’s and reached a settlement, so I was welcomed with open arms when I applied in London in 1977.
Good assignments and promotions came in line with my male colleagues until I returned to work after my first child and a three-month maternity leave. My boss called me into his office, said he was glad to have me back, but I was not going to get a pay review due in the next month. He wanted to see at least six months’ performance as confirmation that I was still “committed” to my job. I loved the job, was fortunate to have a healthy baby, a supportive husband and an excellent nanny, so I “put up and shut up.”
Later in my financial career there were more instances of discrimination in both pay and promotion, but the work was engaging and I conveniently bought into the story that women were moving towards pay equality and into leadership positions. Fast forward to 2021 and the global gender data shows equality has not happened anywhere in the world.
Even worse, the Covid pandemic has brought into sharp relief the expectation that women will sacrifice their work and careers to pick up the unpaid burden of caring for children and older relations. In the United States this is aggravated by the failure to provide adequate child and elder care. Many women are paying the well-documented “motherhood penalty”, where employers tend to deny women pay increases, promotions, and important assignments, and single them out for cutbacks and layoffs.
The ERA is critical as the legal basis to continue the fight for gender equality. Moving toward parity in leadership will also help end a culture of systemic misogyny, where some men (too many of those in power) continue to belittle women’s contribution to economic prosperity and well-being. Data now shows that, as richer countries improve women’s status on the scale towards economic equality, their increased contribution significantly improves the countries’ economic growth and well-being. I will reiterate: there is no country yet where women have gender pay parity. This is strong evidence that this inequality is systemic. For American women the barriers are formidable, and the timing is critical as the pandemic ends: the ERA will give substantial legal support to the case for parity as women return to the American workforce in the next 12 – 18 months. WE NEED THE ERA NOW!!!
Carol Moore, live in London, vote in Florida.