The State of American Women Project

Taking Action from Overseas for Black Lives Matter

Living abroad comes with a mixed bag of benefits and as well as it own pains. The distance is usually the biggest drawback, bringing long and costly flights to get back to your home.  During the past weeks of protests over the killing of George Floyd (or Breonna Taylor, or Ahmaud Arbery, or of too many others), that distance has never felt further. Sometimes the distance makes it harder to take action, and easier to explain away when you don’t. It’s easy to say: “That’s happening in America”, or to say “I’d protest if I was there, but there’s nothing organized here,” instead of finding another way.

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Celebrating LGBTQ+ Women in History and Culture, Part 1

GWC is proud to celebrate Pride Month in June. We've compiled a list of links to websites, books, podcasts, etc., that commemorate the history and achievements of LGBTQ+ women in history and culture.

Part one of the list is below, and we will offer part two next month. We hope that you enjoy exploring these links.

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Voting for 1st Time, Across Cultures and Borders

On 8 March 2020 (4 months shy of turning 18 years old but much before the general election), I voted in the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary. I was all the way across the world from the White House in Mumbai, India. There was something beautifully joyful about 20 Americans living abroad, casting their vote in the lobby of a hotel in the bustling city of Mumbai. 

For some of these people, they just happened to be away from their homelands at this crucial time and therefore were lucky enough to be able to vote from another place.  But, things were a bit different for me, as I was voting for a presidential candidate to govern the people of a land in which I have never lived. The only home I’ve ever known is in the midst of South Bombay; approximately an 18-hour plane ride away from the hospital in Harris County, Texas where I was born.

It’s strange being part of something much bigger than yourself, and voting was an experience like no other. Yet, I felt slightly misplaced because, although I’m fairly informed about American politics and the Democratic Party (and, I will probably pursue high education in the United States), I hadn't gotten into the heated debates that some of the other American voters were having, simply because I didn't share their fervor.  Yet a fire ignites in me when I debate, question, and rant about Indian politics. This makes sense since this is where I now live. But, legally I'm a a citizen of another nation.  I guess that’s something I don’t quite understand yet.

I wrote the following piece on my way back home after voting:

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Empowering Women During Time of Pandemic

Our last GWC Newsletter seems light years away.  We shared plans, announced upcoming events and commented on the politics of the day. Though we all knew the virus was spreading, it was not yet the all-consuming, life-altering presence in our lives that it has become. What a difference a few short weeks has made!

Now here we are, pivoting, adapting and planning day-by-day, as women do so well.  The wonderful thing about our truly Global Women’s Caucus is that we are already very good at social distancing without losing touch!

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Making Herstory History

Women’s History Month – like many of women’s hard-fought civil rights wins – took time and patient lobbying to be officially adopted.

Following the lead of a few US counties and universities, which had successfully hosted weeklong celebrations of women’s important roles in history, President Carter first proclaimed a Women’s History Week (commencing on March 8th) in 1980. Despite bipartisan, national support for recognizing and celebrating the many contributions of American women in this way, Women’s History Week required annual lobbying until 1987, when Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month.[i]


Yet even with three decades of week or month-long celebrations dedicated to women, the American historical record remains too sparse with women’s contributions.

Across spheres, a few “household names” have been highlighted repeatedly across time. Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist and “conductor” on the Underground Railroad; Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the political activists who largely ignited the women’s suffrage movement; Amelia Earhart, the aviation pioneer and first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean; and Edith Warton, the first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize are among those whose names have echoed in the annals of American history.

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Disparity in Healthcare Access for American Women of Color

The 2020 primary season has whittled down the impressive field of Democratic presidential contenders to a mere eight candidates. With the exit of Kamala Harris in early December, the field lost its only woman of color, and with the suspension of the Castro and Booker campaigns, the field became entirely white.

Simultaneously, the platform of the Democratic party has centered around healthcare—and for good reason. Polling continues to show that voters rank healthcare as the most important issue in elections, and Democratic focus on Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act helped them win back the majority in the House of Representatives. And healthcare disparities negatively affect women—particularly women of color. This article lists some of the major risks and causes of disparities between women of color and white women, and then discusses the effects of Obamacare.

Higher Risks of Illnesses

Women of color, particularly Black and Latina women, face higher risks of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and certain types of cancer. Latina women are particularly susceptible to cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and are 50% more likely to die from liver disease and diabetes. Asian women, particularly Indian women, also face higher risk for cardiovascular disease.[i]

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Women in the U.S. Military

Women in the US Military: Trends and Challenges in 2019

For eight years, Brig. Gen. Laura Yeager flew Black Hawk helicopters in Iraq, conducting aeromedical evacuations of injured troops. A graduated of the Reserve Officer Training Corps at California State University, Long Beach, she began serving in 1986 as a second lieutenant. After leaving active duty following the birth of her son, she redeployed to Iraq as the deputy commander of the California National Guard’s 40th Combat Aviation Brigade, steadily rising through the ranks and eventually leading Joint Task Force North with Northern Command at Fort Bliss, Texas.[i]

This past June, Yeager became the first woman in history to lead a US Army infantry division, assuming control of the 40th Infantry Division of the California National Guard.


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