The State of American Women Project

The State of American Women Project Welcomes You!

Welcome to the blog for The State of American Women Project. In this space, the Global Women's Caucus shares articles and issues related to women living in American.  New articles are posted monthly.


Keeping Up the Fight

We’re barely two weeks into October and have already heard enough to write a new verse of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”.  This year has had so much going on that it’s enough to fill more than the entire sad song. Every day it seems like we hear an overwhelming flood of more depressing news—Covid-19 cases rising, blatant white supremacy, Supreme Court fears and more. It’s hard to keep reacting to everything with the appropriate level of anger or outrage anymore—four years of listening to anything will numb you somewhat. But take a deep breath, and remember that all this isn’t normal. Luckily, we still live in a democracy, where the election of the people runs this government is your choice. 

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In Support of 10.17.20 Women’s March

Flood Social Media with the Women Running in 2020

The first Women's March was January 21, 2017. It was a protest against the election of President Donald Trump. As many as 5 million people marched in the U.S., and another 7 million marched in one of the 168 sister marches around the world.

This Saturday, October 17, 2020, Women's March Global is organizing another march. Again, the march will protest the Trump presidency, but this march is motivated by the Senate’s plan to begin confirmation hearings for a new Supreme Court Justice to fill RBG's seat. Trump’s appointment of Amy Coney Barrett will shift the balance of the Court even further to the right, jeopardizing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Roe v. Wade, voting rights, marriage equality, and so much more.

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RGB and Us

RBG’s death was a national gut punch. It felt like a personal gut punch too - my family was finishing up our Rosh Hashanah dinner, celebrating the Jewish New Year as best we could, despite the strangeness of the broader year around us. Less than an hour before, we talked about our hopes for the coming year - and we all, from my 97-year-old grandfather to my 15-month-old nephew, agreed that getting rid of Trump, and taking back the Senate, was at the top of our lists. Then our phones buzzed with the news, and the room deflated.

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My Most Important Act as a Mother, Citizen, and Woman

I had my first child in 2016, just two weeks after Donald Trump was elected into the White House. This event changed me as a parent, and hardened my already firm beliefs of raising children who would be empathic, open-minded, and tolerant.

As a budding developmental psychologist, I am very aware of the scientifically supported ways to raise a prosocial child. A secure parent-child attachment is the first step towards a child’s understanding of the world as a trusting and good place. As Nature intended, the many ways of building security far exceed those that impede it. Along those lines, whether or not the child enters daycare, participates in playdates throughout the week, or has siblings has less to do with prosocial outcomes as with what is ultimately modeled and valued by the caregivers themselves. Therefore, my husband and I make it a priority to talk about inclusion, tolerance, and model those behaviors as best as we can for our children.

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Back to School, Differences in the US vs. Europe

In the US, back to school season generally conjures up thoughts of school shopping, sports tryouts, and a sigh relief for parents. But as with all things, COVID-19 has changed the back to school season, too, with school shopping in masks or online for a new tablet rather than crayons and notebooks. Sports in many areas are canceled indefinitely. And parents, rather than breathing a sigh of relief, are more stressed than ever as they try to figure out how to work while educating their children from home--  with the burden most often falling on women. While American parents wrestled with the prospect of in person, hybrid, or virtual learning (decisions t often reversed days later to virtual only studying), European kids have largely returned to the classroom in person. 

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Working Mothers are Carrying the Burden of the Pandemic

Since March 11, 2020, when the WHO announced the novel coronavirus as a global pandemic, mothers have been disproportionally impacted as they’ve strived to balance work and childcare. The pandemic’s influence on gender inequalities has not only highlighted that women, who represent a larger part of the healthcare workforce, are at greater risk for contracting Covid-19, but are also experiencing abuse due to vulnerabilities and inequalities in the household at higher rates than men. Moreover, when schools and daycares closed due to stay-at-home mandates, mothers were found to experience yet another negative side-effect of the pandemic: a greater share of the household responsibility and emotional labor as compared to their male partners. Burnout and mental health issues that arise from the overwhelm and pressure of full-time work and childcare is being reported in the media, but what initiatives and policies are being offered to mitigate it?

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Turning Tragedy into Political Change

“We are powerful because we have survived.” Audre Lorde, a self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” wrote these words in her book, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Women have made an art of turning tragedy and despair into meaningful change and transformation of their communities, states, countries, and, indeed, the world. Many of these women have looked unspeakable tragedies in the eye and instead of pulling into themselves, launched campaigns or organizations to bring about change.

Photo Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Representative Lucy McBath, a Democrat, ran and won in Georgia’s 6th district on a platform of gun violence prevention after her son, Jordan Davis, was murdered in 2012 by a white man at a Florida gas station. Shortly after Jordan’s murder, McBath joined with a group of other mothers who had lost children to gun violence or police violence to form Mothers of the Movement. Then she became national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action, continuing her work on gun-violence prevention policies and education. When this didn’t bring about change fast enough, she ran against Karen Handel, a Republican and NRA A-rated and backed candidate. McBath won, and in addition to supporting a number of gun-violence prevention policies, in June of 2019 she introduced H.R. 3076, the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2019--a law that allows family or law enforcement to petition the court to temporarily remove firearms from a person who presents a danger to themselves or others. This law, if passed, will save lives-- lives like Jordan’s.

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Voter Suppression & Coronavirus

In any given election, voter suppression is a real and pressing issue. In this coming election in November, it’s even more dire. Ever since the 15th amendment was passed in 1870, expanding suffrage to men of all races, voter suppression has been present. Whether the method is in the form of literacy tests, poll taxes, voter ID laws or hour long wait times, they amount to the same result: they work to unjustly prevent citizens—disproportionately African American—from voting.

Photo Credit: Patricia McKnight/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Turning Tragedy into Political Change

“We are powerful because we have survived.” Audre Lorde, a self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” wrote these words in her book, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Women have made an art of turning tragedy and despair into meaningful change and transformation of their communities, states, countries, and, indeed, the world. Many of these women have looked unspeakable tragedies in the eye and instead of pulling into themselves, launched campaigns or organizations to bring about change.

Representative Lucy McBath, a Democrat, ran and won in Georgia’s 6th district on a platform of gun violence prevention after her son, Jordan Davis, was murdered in 2012 by a white man at a Florida gas station. Shortly after Jordan’s murder, McBath joined with a group of other mothers who had lost children to gun violence or police violence to form Mothers of the Movement. Then she became national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action, continuing her work on gun-violence prevention policies and education. When this didn’t bring about change fast enough, she ran against Karen Handel, a Republican and NRA A-rated and backed candidate. McBath won, and in addition to supporting a number of gun-violence prevention policies, in June of 2019 she introduced H.R. 3076, the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2019--a law that allows family or law enforcement to petition the court to temporarily remove firearms from a person who presents a danger to themselves or others. This law, if passed, will save lives--lives like Jordan’s.

Stacy Abrams, after having the governor election stolen from her due to voter suppression, launched an organization called Fair Fight. Fair Fight is dedicated to fair elections and turning out the vote for 2020. Abram’s turned her defeat into a movement against voter suppression, which will hopefully have tangible positive outcomes for voters in 2020.

After living through homelessness as a child and losing family members to the opium epidemic, Rosemary Ketchum became West Virginia's first transgender elected oficial. Ketchum, who served as a director at a mental health center said, “Running for office was never in the plan for me. I didn’t know what that would look like or how I would fit into that world.” But she kept focused on local issues of poverty, homelessness, and substance abuse and won as a city councilwoman in Wheeling, WV.

This article profiles just three of the many women who have turned hardship into political action and reform. They stand with other women such as Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani assassination attempt survivor, Nobel prize winner, and activist fighting for girls’ education; Greta Thunberg, Swedish climate activist; and Emma Gonzalez, Parkland school shooting survivor and gun-violence prevention activist. We, as women, turn tragedy and heartache, and loss into change. We reach deep into our hearts and know that our tragedy doesn’t have to be another woman’s tragedy, and we work toward positive change. The 2018 election saw more women running for office than ever before, backed by woman-led organizations and activists knocking on doors, phone banking, and having hard conversations with voters; 2020 will be no different. When we use our stories and our talents to take on the system, we can win.