Women's Caucus News

GWC November/December 2022 Newsletter

Letter from the Editor

Dear Member,

The results of the ‘22 midterm elections are an attestation to the hard work, commitment, and persistence of our membership body. Because of you and your vote, we were able to block a ‘red wave’ and keep our majority in the Senate. This feat further demonstrates that the democratic party is most aligned with the will of the people, as our numbers endured redistricting and discriminatory voting restrictions. Our will has triumphed, and we will continue to work for equality and justice for those who are continually marginalized.

Democracy has prevailed, but it continues to stand on precarious ground. While we all take a moment to breathe, we must remain dedicated to the task at hand. The Global Women’s Caucus is mobilizing our members to vote in the Georgia runoff. WE NEED OUR GEORGIA MEMBERS to make sure to, once again, cast your vote for the future of our nation. We are counting on you!

As the GWC continues to grow, we need your help. We have open positions in Communications. Consider volunteering with us, help friends and family register to vote, or donate! Make sure you’re registered to vote here!

Lastly, this will be my farewell newsletter as your GWC Communications Co-Director and Newsletter Editor. It has been an honor to work alongside such incredible and outstanding women for the last two years. I have learned so much from this position, and although I may no longer be speaking to you all from here, you can be sure I will be marching alongside you no matter where we are. 

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

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

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GWC Special Edition August Newsletter

Letter from the Editor

Dear Member,

Today we celebrate Equality Day, and the anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution that prohibits States and the Federal Government from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex. The struggle for this right was not won by all at the time of ratification, and is under threat today. The Global Women’s Caucus is asking you to join us in commemorating and celebrating this struggle by helping to mobilize our base for the ‘22 midterms so that we can exercise our right to vote. With nearly 9 million Americans living abroad, we have the power to make impactful and lasting changes this election. As the Republicans pursue tactics to undermine the democratic practice of free and fair elections, we will fight back by voting in numbers and sending the loud and clear message that we will not, and cannot be quieted!

November marks the pivotal moment in deciding our future. We have the chance to ensure that pro-choice and pro-equality candidates win their seats, and WE NEED YOU! First, we need you to register to vote in your State to receive your absentee ballot here. Then we need you to help us Get Out the Vote, by contacting everyone you know who is eligible to vote and making sure they are ready to cast their ballot as well. Lastly, please help our efforts by checking out our GOTV Equality toolkit here. With your help, we can win in November!

We hope you enjoy this special edition filled with voting information, events, and stories of motivation from our leaders and members!

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

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GWC July / August 2022 Newsletter

Letter from the Editor

Dear Member,

This is not lightly stated: the Republican party is blatantly pursuing an agenda to strip the rights and freedoms from women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and our youth. They have succeeded in the establishment of a conservative Supreme Court that is threatening the long fought-for protections of equality and rights. They are pursuing tactics that undermine the democratic practice of free and fair elections. They are doing this without full representation of the people and they are not heeding our cry!

We find ourselves at a pivotal moment in the course of deciding our future. The Global Women’s Caucus is preparing to mobilize our members to make sure we Get Out the Vote in November for the midterms. We have the chance to ensure that pro-choice and pro-equality candidates win their seats, and WE NEED YOU! 

As the GWC continues to grow, we need your help. Join our team for this very important midterm year. Consider volunteering with us, help friends and family register to vote, or donate! Make sure you’re registered to vote in 2022 here!

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

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

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Climate and Women

Climate and Women
by:  Angela Fobbs

Good Afternoon, I am here to talk about the climate catastrophe we are experiencing and why it is imperative that women take the lead on climate action and change. There are fewer women in the oil and gas industry than in almost any other major industry; only 22%. This is not a coincidence; I don't think this destructive and violent field isn’t compatible with our nature.

Climate change is real. Some doubt this fact, but for millions, it is a hard reality that is a destructive force in their lives. Our species is facing droughts, floods, hail, and other extreme weather events; we are at level of climate collapse worse than most scientists predicted. We must ramp down fossil fuel use as quickly as possible.

The concentration of greenhouse gasses in the earth’s atmosphere is increasing the temperature on earth. The concentration has risen steadily since the Industrial Revolution. Approximately two-thirds of greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2) which is largely the product of burning fossil fuels. While methane, the primary component of natural gas, is responsible for more than 25 percent of the climate change we are experiencing today. It is a powerful pollutant with a global warming potential over 80 times greater than CO2 for 20 years after it is released into the atmosphere. For some, this means the temperature is higher, for others it is lower, and for many, it causes extreme weather like floods or fires.

It is a dangerous myth that we can’t solve the crisis. That is not true. A wide range of technologies is available to reduce emissions. Examples are improved efficiency, storing carbon, and renewable energy solutions. These technologies have already been implemented at an industrial scale. We have tremendous means to reduce our carbon pollution and avoid dangerous climate change. We need to avail ourselves of every means, utilize every technology, and take every measure to avert further catastrophe.  

If humans were a rational species, speeches like this wouldn’t be necessary. But, alas, far too many people don’t think the situation is real, urgent, or dire.  I hear too many people say things like “the next generation will fix it” or “I’ll be dead when that happens”. Or “I can’t or won’t make changes to my life”.

The floods, hurricanes, and other unusual weather depicted in the video running behind me are merely a portend of what we face if significant action is not taken. Everyone who hasn’t yet needs to wake up to the reality that our species is facing extinction.

So, Why do women need to take the lead? 

When we speak of women and climate change, what is the first image that comes to your mind? Is it a woman living in the 3rd world fighting to keep her family alive? Or is it someone like us, living in the western world and enjoying all the fruits of our society? For most, it is the first image but good on you if you thought about people like us. We are in just as much peril as women are in poorer nations.

There are so many things women have to fight for: reproductive rights, equality, and democracy to name a few of the big ones and I must add one more thing to our plate. 

We need to expand the definition of feminism to include climate action. The climate emergency, if not curtailed, will derail our rights, our democracy, and our future. The climate crisis is not gender-neutral. Climate change is a powerful 'threat multiplier," compounding existing vulnerabilities and injustices. Under conditions of poverty, women and girls face a greater risk of displacement, death, early marriage, and sex work. Like poverty, weather catastrophes create conditions where those in power take advantage at the expense of the vulnerable. So, in very real ways, the climate emergency thwarts the rights and opportunities of women, girls, and non-binary people.

It is up to women to save our own lives and our species. We need to make our governments act! Many of us have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, or know bright young people. It is wrong to think young people will save us. We, the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends, and allies have the power to change things right now. 

We need to look to Australia. Earlier this year parts of Australia were devastated by heavy rains and terrible floods. Last month after women stepped up to run for election and worked to get out the vote for candidates who wanted to take action on decarbonizing their economy, they ousted their climate-denying Prime Minister. 

Some women are working on climate change while others are concerned with other important issues. All woman need to be concerned about climate change. It is up to us to save our species. We need to force our government to act! We have to work together and make this happen. We need to change the way we weld our power because we are a force to be reckoned with when we understand and use our power with purpose.

We have 143 days until the midterm elections. I know most of our members have not requested an absentee ballot for the midterms. Do you want Republicans to be in charge when there is a crisis? Please don’t wait any longer. Make sure your voting-age children are registered to vote. Ask 5 people you know who didn’t vote in 2020 to vote. Make sure all your democratic or independent friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and family vote.

We need to turn out the vote like we did to defeat Trump. It is time to defeat the rest of the treasonous, fascist, racist, misogynist, homophobic, climate-change-denying Republicans. Together we can win the midterms.

Our earth is a wondrous and magical place. It has provided everything we need, want, and desire. Our planet is filled with so much beauty, so many amazing animals, and amazing people. Like the 4500 years old pyramids at Giza, humankind has created so much. We cannot destroy our home because we can't stop doing something that will kill us; burning fossil fuels. 

All power to the people. Let’s Decarbonize our society and let’s save humanity. Vote for democrats in 2022.

Thank you 


The Will to Change

The Will to Change
by:  Stayce Camparo

I was invited here today to speak about the will to change, and there is obviously a lot of change for us to do. However, I hope to leave you with the idea of a different kind of change that is already in motion, and perhaps the reason for the grossly felt assault against our rights today.

I have lived abroad for 10 years – a mere blink of an eye compared to many here today, but long enough to have lost some insight into many of the struggles that women back home face. I had both of my children in Germany, where I didn’t have to spend a penny for childbirth. In fact, (through a social tax system) I was paid to be a mother, and will continue to receive a stipend for my two children until they are in their 20s. For both children, I received at-home care after childbirth by a midwife who weighed my babies every few days and helped me with breastfeeding. At the age of 1, both children entered daycare for a small monthly fee, and at three they were covered by the government through taxes. This allowed me to continue my University studies, which were also covered by taxes. Living in Germany, I am solaced to know that I have autonomy over my reproductive choices, should I want, or not want to have another child. I also know that my children are safe at school, as opposed to my home country that is in the midst of a gun violence pandemic. These are probably many of the luxuries you have also experienced. Many of my contemporaries living in the U.S. have had very different experiences, and WILL have very different experiences. In fact, some of you today would say that our country is backsliding on many issues that concern women, and I too see that our country is not in a good place, however it would be remiss not to acknowledge the counter waves of social movements we’ve recently witnessed, triggered perhaps by … a more political youth, or … even as a consequence of perhaps social media. Regardless of where it is coming from, there seems to be a determined will of the people to seek change.

This may seem more anecdotal than objectively true, so I want to look at our history in order to visualize the trajectory of this change. Sapiens have walked the Earth for roughly 200,000 years. 190,000 years ago, we revolutionized how we feed ourselves and live. Historians define this time as the Agricultural Revolution, a time when women were able to, and encouraged to, reproduce at a fast pace, thus increasing exponentially the fertility rate. Consequentially, cities grew, and societies became more complex, and sets of imagined constructs were developed that organized society and created stability, including the expected roles of women and men. Many of these imagined constructs are still around today, and are witnessed in various forms of caste systems, ethnic, cultural, or gender with women usually towards the bottom of any particular caste. The development of writing allowed these imagined constructs to circulate, and provided tangible documentation of what would become, a widely accepted imagined social order. In 1776, one of these imagined constructs was signed by our founding fathers as the Declaration of Independence with an established hierarchy of men at the top and women at the bottom; white Europeans at the top, and Black and Native American people at the bottom. Around 9,200 years after the agricultural revolution, the scientific revolution began, that not only changed the course of human history, but also the biological history that we would experience on this planet. Our imagined constructs remained, and many of the breakthroughs and leadership decisions were carried out by the privileged who had access to opportunities that were established by our imagined constructs. These constructs have been met with waves of challenge, marking periods of good social change, but I would say that the rate of challenge is increasing. About 150 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, white women earned the right to vote, and 50 years later black women were also finally able to exercise that right. New language was added to “an invented formulation of laws by which to govern the United States,” known as the Constitution. Eight years after that triumph, a group of scholars educated on these laws, also known as the Supreme Court ruled, on the basis of privacy, that a woman could finally exercise reproductive choice under protection of the Constitution. Seven years ago, a major and long-established imagined construct was reversed to allow women and men to marry whom they chose, and not on the basis of gender. Five years ago, the hashtag, “me too” propelled sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and rape culture back into the public sphere, and has motivated large institutions to reevaluate imagined constructs about gender and sex. Galvanized by the election of Donald Trump to presidency in 2016, political movements that continue to challenge these imagined constructs, that have sustained time, are becoming widely and rapidly confirmed as false. We see that much of this progress is in danger today, but we should remain cognizant that progress is not always linear.

Hopefully, what this digression in human history has conveyed is that our world is changing…and it is changing fast. Two years ago, we elected a democratic president, and begot the most diverse cabinet the United States has EVER seen. Look around our society as well. I just became aware that a ballet company in the Pacific Northwest has for the first time cast a transgender female as a swan in Swan Lake, spurring a ripple of other companies to make similar changes. I am only 8 years retired from the professional world of ballet, and even when I was still dancing, this was not a topic of social justice people were ready to act on. This is good news! Our world is progressing…the United States is progressing…we are becoming a more inclusive, egalitarian society. However…power is being held by a few…a few who are scared about this progress and change…this new and equal world, where lines are blended, and power is held by the many rather than the few; where power is shared with those who have historically been at the bottom of our imagined orders of society. These obstructionists to change are working hard to hold onto their last fledglings of stability and security. But they will be gone…and people like my son and daughter will still be here. No one, not even the few with some power to yield, are able to crush the steam roller of progress that is upon us and moving fast. This change is the will of the people. I believe that what we are witnessing in terms of a felt reversal of democracy, and rights for women, is only a last attempt at maintaining an imagined status quo that has been nullified by the people of the United States, and many societies beyond. It is because of your work the last 30 years, here at the Global Women’s Caucus, that we are moving forward so fast. We should see the resistance by the few, and temporary reversals, as a clear sign that we are headed in the right direction. We are deciding as a human race: in what world we want to live in… Under what imagined constructs we choose to live our lives. We are conceding, together, universally, that a future of feminism is preferrable…that a future of equality is preferrable. And I see, that in a world where a blank piece of paper is a political statement, that, globally, people are challenging the outdated imagined constructs, and raising generations wanting to live under new ones.

The future of the feminist movement, and of democracy, is built within our unified sisterhood here at the Global Women’s Caucus. Our responsibility is unifying the millions of Americans living outside the U.S., and guiding them into active participation in the decisions being made back home…because those decisions not only affect our fellow Americans, but, in our globalized world, they affect citizens of all countries. That is what we are doing, and that is what we should continue to do. And we should recognize that this work is not necessarily for us. This work is for those who continue to be marginalized, exploited, and oppressed, who will sadly be affected by the rescinding of Roe v. Wade, and other reversals we are surely to face. We cannot be discouraged by this however, and we should not be complacent either. This kind of structural change begins in the kitchen of our homes, and in the playgrounds with our children, on walks with our neighbors, and in the many small and intimate gatherings that connect us. It begins when we speak about values and empathy, and continues as we build new communities away from home. This is our will…nothing different than what we have been doing, but rather a continuation of those small steps that will make our change irreversible…the small steps that are breaking down those archaic imagined constructs, and cultivating communities that internalize basic human rights. If the last 30 years have shown us anything, it is that our will and strength lies within those communities we build at the Global Women’s Caucus, the relationships we are fostering by being together today, and the new connections surely to be made tomorrow. Thank you.

 

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EXTRA! GWC 30th Anniversary Wrap-up

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!

Caucus Founders
Connie Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier
Women's_Caucus-Paris-June_18-7454.jpg Women's_Caucus-Paris-June_18-7490b.jpg

 

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:

  1. When you hear those words “someone oughta,” it’s important to realize that “someone” can be you!
  2. 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.
  3. 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,

Ann Hesse

Chair, DA Global Women’s Caucus


BANS OFF OUR BODIES Online Event Follow up

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Thanks to everyone who attended our event. Here are the links to most of the things we talked about today, plus some extra information. Read Global Women's Caucus Statement on the Right to an Abortion.

Take_Action.png

  • Contact your senator and tell them you want them to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. It has already passed the house, and 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
  • Donate to Democrats Abroad
  • 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 officials enact the policies we elected them to
  • Share your story. If you need support, help, or inspiration, check out:

https://shoutyourabortion.com/

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/get-involved/share-your-story

 

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GWC May / June Newsletter 2022

Anniversary Edition May June 2022 Global Women's Caucus Newsletter

Letter from the Editor

This June, the Global Women’s Caucus celebrates 30 years of sisterhood, progress and growth. Starting at the country-level in France, the Women’s Caucus has grown into a global entity with a mission to mobilize voters and raise a strong unified voice on the issues that impact American women, both stateside and abroad. Our tenets: educate, build community, and promote activism, are the beacons that guide our leaders and members to continue to be active American citizens, regardless of where we live.

Join us June 18th, as we celebrate together from the place it all began. If you can’t join us in Paris, we welcome you to create your own event to discuss the issues and future of the Global Women’s Caucus.

A final note on the state of reproductive rights: We know you are angry. We are angry too. Our democracy and rights are being threatened by only a few, with the lone goal of oppression and control over a female’s right of choice. TAKE THAT ANGER TO THE MIDTERMS! As the GWC continues to grow, we need your help. Join our team for this very important midterm year. Consider volunteering with us, help friends and family register to vote, or donate! Make sure you’re registered to vote in 2022 here!

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

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

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Global Women's Caucus Statement on the Right to an Abortion

Dear fellow DA members,

Today’s news concerning the Supreme Court’s expected decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade is absolutely chilling.

We’re devastated. But, as Democrats Abroad we need to recognize that this is not a threat exclusively against women. It is an attack on all of us.

This attack on reproductive rights rings a shrill warning bell. We need to be aware that all the hard won legal victories to preserve basic rights and freedoms and to protect marginalized  populations from racism, homophobia, sexual harassment are at risk. The 14th Amendment, the right to privacy, in our doctor’s office, our marriages, our homes, is weakened by this decision. 

What immediately springs to mind is the prescient warning by Martin Niemöller, World War II freedom fighter: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out- Because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists...and then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak for me.” 

We, in the GWC leadership, understand that this issue has always been about more than controlling women. It’s  about authoritarian control of all aspects of society.  

The admitted goal of these authoritarians is to roll back generations of progress in civil rights for the many and to consolidate power among the few. 

If you are not a wealthy white cis male, they are coming for you next.

U.S. citizens living around the world have been eyewitnesses to authoritarian power-grabs like this over many decades.  There are many horrific examples of what a “forced birth” society looks like, especially for poor and marginalized communities.  If  Roe falls, America will join these repressive regimes. 

We have a six-month window to prevent the nightmare of an anti-democratic authoritarian takeover in November.

Republicans hold almost all the cards now, thanks to their skillful application of voter suppression, fear and disinformation tactics. However, we have the overwhelming number of Democratic votes abroad and at home. They know that the majority of Americans reject their patriarchal white supremacist doctrine and this Supreme Court opinion

We have a chance to save our democracy and our freedoms with an overwhelming turnout for the November midterms from Democrats Abroad.

They are betting that we won’t vote in large enough numbers to upset their plans and have done their best to prevent many from doing so which makes our job even more difficult. But we proved them wrong in 2020 and we can do it again. 

We can do what we have had to do for far too long and out of absolute necessity to ensure a better future. 

We can fight back. We can persist. We can:

Let us keep up this fight together in solidarity.

In unity,

Ann Hesse, Chair, GWC with Steering Committee members:

Connie Borde

Angela Fobbs

Naomi Ages

Stayce Camparo

Marnie Delaney

Brooke Scott

Sheila Malovany-Chevallier

Salli Swartz

Carol Moore

Christina Skovsgaard

Jamie McAfee

Shari Temple