Global Women's Caucus



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    This past year has tested us all, but if you ask anyone, I’ll bet no one disputes: moms are the MVP’s. Just when we thought our bandwidth for multitasking could not be stretched, we took on the job of teaching from home - the same home many of us had to turn into an office, making our 9-5’s, 24/7’s. We’ve blurred the line between work/life balance so thoroughly, that “balance” has lost all meaning. Who knew being home all the time could be so exhausting?

    The good news: brighter days are ahead! In Biden’s first 100 days, we’ve seen more progressive action aimed at relieving mothers than ever before. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan’s childcare provisions, child tax credits, extended COVID relief payments and lowered Affordable Care Act premiums, many parents are breathing easier under this administration. And the momentum shows no signs of slowing, with provisions in the American Jobs Plan aimed at middle income and struggling American families.

    The human side of infrastructure is finally being recognized!

    So, this May we celebrate women having their moment, because every issue at its heart is a gender issue. And at the heart of every person, is a mother who sacrificed something for us to be here. Thank you, moms!

     

     


     



    We are committed to fostering and promoting gender-informed perspectives in issues analysis, communication and policy-making for issues that impact women. We take action to address policies that negatively impact women and their families and so, by implication, the economy and our democracy.

    Our Volunteers help American women around the world become real activists in the struggle for women's rights no matter where they live and no matter how small or large their numbers -- whether a committee of one or one hundred. Learn about the ways you can volunteer with the Global Women's Caucus.

    Our Mission guides us to take actions to addresses policy that negatively impacts women and their families, and to fight tirelessly for the policies that bolster and protect them. 

    Our Leaders bring diverse experiences to the Global Women's Caucus, with expertise in a variety of fields ranging from law to education; from technology to arts. 

    DA Global Women's Caucus Leadership:

    Ann Hesse
    | Chair, Global Womens Caucus
    Christina Skovsgaard
    | Chair DA-Norway, GWC Steering Committee, GBC Steering Committee
    Stayce Camparo
    | Communications Co-Chair, GWC; Editor of GWC Newsletter
    Jamie McAfee
    | Communications Co-Chair, Womens Caucus
    See all Leaders

    News

    GWC May 2021 Newsletter

    Letter from the Editor

    This month we celebrate mothers, families, childcare workers, nurses, mothers who are nurses, nurses who care for children, mothers who’ve supported their families, well...you get the point! This month we honor these women, but particularly give appreciation to the unbelievable load they have carried this past year. As VP Kamala Harris noted, we are experiencing a state of emergency; women are being forced to leave the workforce in unprecedented numbers due to the unpaid and unappreciated work of caretaking. The GWC celebrates and honors you!

    We invite you to check out some of our resources for Mothers, and engage with our team on social media. Scroll down for important updates on our actions, insightful articles on our research including motherhood and labor, and make sure to take our April Newsletter quiz! Don’t forget to check out our Artist’s Corner by scrolling down to read a poem by award winning poet, Natalie Diaz. Lastly, we would love your participation in our #MyStoryGWC campaign, where you can connect with other members through shared stories, to highlight the issues most important to us.

    We hope you enjoy this edition, and we look forward to seeing you at our events!

    Stayce Camparo, Communications Co-Chair Global Women’s Caucus

    Over 10,000 members and growing! Join us

     

     


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    There’s nothing in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ that didn’t happen somewhere. 

    Over half of Americans woke up on November 9th, 2016 to a dystopia they didn’t see coming. How could a society so civil elect a president laser focused on dividing it, rather than conquering it? My partner at the time (now husband) and I had spent the evening prior at a Democrats Abroad event in Cologne, Germany, posing with Hillary Clinton cardboard cutouts, tossing toilet paper printed with Donald Trump’s face around the room to other expats. It was a night of optimism and exuberance. When we arrived home later that evening and turned on the tv, the mood shifted abruptly. Donald Trump was polling well? We stayed up as late as we could, but in the interest of sleep, and with the notion that just like visiting the toilet at a restaurant prompts your food to be at your table when you return, we went to bed, assuming a Hillary victory (you know how that story ends). 

    I read Margaret Atwood’s 1985 speculative fiction The Handmaid’s Tale sometime in my mid-twenties. Her novel poises America as a split country following a tumultuous civil war (is there any other kind?) The new factions of the former United States consist of a totalitarian patriarchal theocracy known as Gilead and a few remaining strongholds occupied by American rebels. In response to a devastating infertility pandemic, the women of Gilead are sorted and declared one of seven working titles. June, our protagonist, who can be seen marching for women’s rights in the days leading to the civil war, becomes a Handmaid: a fertile woman assigned to a high ranking official for the purpose of breeding. Ranchers and Animal Fancy enthusiasts know their counterparts as mares, heifers, bitches and does. Once a Handmaid's assignment is completed, they are to be reassigned to a new official, until no longer able to reproduce healthy offspring, upon which they are sent out to pasture (colonies covered in nuclear waste they will clean until they die).

    It goes without saying - Atwood’s America is a brutally harsh place. But it wasn’t always that way. Throughout the first three seasons of the book’s successful television adaptation, June and other Handmaids have flashbacks to their lives before Gilead. Hints of what’s to come begin as attacks on women’s rights. First their credit cards are all declined - their individual wealth having been rerouted to the account of their closest male relative. Then, employers are forced to fire all female employees, restricting each woman’s duties to her own household. Not much longer, travel is blocked, ICE wielding a heavy hand to keep citizens from emigrating. All the while, many Christian beliefs are quickly adopted and written into law, most notably banning abortion and homosexuality. June and other brave Handmaids refuse to accept this new world order and begin Operation: Mayday, a ploy to topple Gilead. 

    Reading the book (in my rose colored Obama world), I would have characterized it no more than "speculative fiction," as I would George Orwell’s 1984. This was a reality we had dodged decades ago, with flavors of Nazi Germany extinguished in WW2. That’s not how progress works, right? It doesn’t go backwards. What struck me with the Trump election and the four years that followed was the truth about progress -- that it is not linear, but more akin to a square dance, a constant negotiation. While some progressive laws may stick, others are prey to the whim of swinging door politics. And politics, not passion, it certainly is. Donald Trump, a man formerly of no known theology, standard of ethics or conservative conduct, preyed on the fears of the Republican electorate, turn-coating his entire personal history (much of it recorded on audio and video) to appear like a man of God, aiming to return the nation to His values. The novel's "Sons of Jacob," the political powerhouse running Gilead, appeals to the same conservative notions of piety, while in private, they practice no such thing. In both cases, the ruse worked. 

    You may be thinking to yourself, “these observations have all been made before, what’s your point?” Well, I'm late to The Handmaid’s Tale series fandom. I gobbled up the first three seasons this March in a manic COVID-exhausted binge. Just shy of my second trimester with my first child, I found myself reassessing my priorities. My new focus: a healthy planet not just for me, but for my child to live on, and finding solace in a future of equity-focused and trusted lawmakers - frankly, an animal-need to protect the future of all children. Watching the world crumble around the Handmaids, I felt like I was doing research into the signals of what now feels like a speculative future. In the first few weeks of this year, wasn’t  a wave of reproductive bans passed or proposed? In the last few months, did we not see an attack on the rights of Transgender children? In a flashback episode to pre-Gilead June, her husband and daughter watch the news helplessly as it’s announced that the President’s been murdered and the Capitol has been overtaken. The heaviness and disbelief of the very real events on January 6th resurged, knocking me sideways. This almost happened in our America and people died. It felt like a fourth-wall breach. It became less a paranoid notion to wonder: is America a safe place to raise a baby? I’d never considered these questions before this year, but now I had a whole new generation to consider past my own and I felt deeply responsible for it. 

    With the show's fourth season debuting now, I’m holding my breath for June and her Handmaids. I see now that it was a luxury to assume progress would continue in my general favor - in the favor of women. Margaret Atwood says she wrote The Handmaid’s Tale "hoping to fend off [a theocratic dystopia]” and that "a lot of people have been jolted out of political slumber and are paying attention … the Constitution still stands.” I agree with Atwood. As long as the Junes of the world are here, there will be resistance. And when the going gets tough, Atwood  tells us to "support your leaders who are standing against unconstitutional laws; keep informed, as best as possible.” And who are we to argue? She’s been right so far...

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    Upcoming Events

    Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US & Canada) · 6 rsvps
    Webinar information provided with RSVP

    GWC Reproductive Justice Team Meeting

    All Invited!

    Our reproductive justice action team is having a steering committee meeting.

    Join us and hear what we are doing to fight the tsunami of anti-choice legislation in the USA.

    Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 02:00 PM Berlin Time · 32 rsvps
    Link information to be provided prior to event

    Books Abroad: The House of Mirth

    We are pleased to announce that the next Books Abroad, Feminist Reading Group pick is "The House of Mirth" by Edith Wharton!

    Voted for by an overwhelming margin in our recent public vote for our next book selection, this book is a wonderful choice for many reasons.
     
    Written in 1905, the novel tells the story of a young woman reaching her 29th year, an age when her youth is coming to an end and her marital prospects are becoming slim. "The House of Mirth" traces her descent from privilege to a lonely life on the margins of society.
     
    Wharton in The House of Mirth probes her situation like an entomologist. A classic novel by a writer who was controversial in her own rite, it deftly portrays the moral, social and economic restraints on a woman who dared to claim the privileges of marriage without assuming the responsibilities.
     
    “The story carries you along even though it takes place in the early 20th century in a world and milieu that are far from us today. It shows us the progress we’ve made, even though we have a long way to go! What’s instructive and worthy of discussion is the question of what makes a feminist,” says Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, the Books Abroad planning team member who nominated the book.
     
    We will discuss “The House of Mirth” on Sunday, May 23rd at 2pm CEDT.