Unmarried women were among Barack Obama’s most loyal supporters in 2008, turning out in droves and delivering 70 percent of their votes to him. When many of them stayed home in the 2010 midterm election, Democrats lost the House and had their Senate majority trimmed.
Now, determined to get single women back, Senate leaders are reshaping their legislative agenda, advancing a bill to bolster workers’ ability to win pay discrimination lawsuits. A similar measure was blocked by Republicans two years ago, and proponents expect it to be rejected again, setting up a contrast between the parties over an issue that especially touches unmarried women.
It will be the third time this year that Senate Democrats will push for votes on policies affecting women, with the other measures focused on insurance coverage for contraceptives and programs for domestic violence victims.
They are aiming to fire up the 55 million single, divorced, separated or widowed U.S. women eligible to vote this year. While 60 percent of all unmarried women cast ballots in 2008, just 38 percent turned out in 2010, said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. Democratic strategists see these voters as critical to helping return Obama to the White House and to retain Senate seats in Ohio, Virginia and other states.
“What is really at issue is their turnout rate,” Lake said in an interview. “Unmarried younger women plummeted in the turnout in 2010, and they came into this election cycle not very interested in the election.”
A report from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) finds that in countries recovering from war in West Africa, domestic violence is the biggest threat to women's safety.
The report, called "Let Me Not Die Before My Time: Domestic Violence In West Africa," reveals that "across Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone, years after the official end of these countries' brutal wars, women are being intimidated, threatened and beaten with shocking frequency."
Though domestic violence is a global issue affecting about one in three women worldwide, IRC chose to focus on these three West African countries to show how the problem can become more severe in post-conflict environments.
The report is based on 10 years of research and direct interaction with women and government leaders in Liberia, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. All three countries were embroiled in violent civil wars a decade ago, and those tensions remain.
The European Parliament this week adopted a report urging Turkey to follow up on its recent work toward securing gender equality and women's rights.
The report, written by Socialists & Democrats Member of European Parliament Emine Bozkurt, lays out a series of goals for Ankara to accomplish by 2020 in raising the status of women to fully equal members of Turkish society as Brussels and Ankara seek to breathe life into the country's stalled EU accession bid.
The Dutch lawmaker's report was accepted unanimously by the legislative body's Women's Rights and Gender Equality Commission in March, and Tuesday was approved by the entire EP meeting in a plenary session, with 590 votes in favor, 28 against and 53 abstentions, the Italian news agency ANSAmed reported.
Senator Barbara Milkulski is holding a press conference later today to press the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act she recently introduced. But didn’t President Obama already kill the gender wage gap? Not quite. While Obama has long been touting the first bill he signed once in office, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, it only provides a woman more time to file a claim of discrimination. The Paycheck Fairness Act would go further by ensuring employees can discuss their salaries with each other—since it’s hard to root out pay discrimination if you don’t know how you stack up against everyone else.
Lilly Ledbetter certainly helps women who want to bring lawsuits against their employers by giving them more time to do so. In that way, Obama’s first act did recognize the problem of pay discrimination. But it’s a baby step forward in the march toward equal pay.
The numbers since its signing bear that out. According to Bloomberg, the number of pay discrimination complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission actually fell from 2,268 when Obama signed the Act in 2009 to 2,191 last year. Meanwhile, the pay gap has widened from 77.8 in 2007 to 77.4 percent in 2010.
So what will it take to make the wage gap disappear? Why wouldn’t clearing the way for lawsuits get us there? Part of the answer is that Ledbetter only nibbled at the edges of an enormous, systemic problem. As I’vepreviously written, the causes of the gap range from a too-low minimum wage to decreased unionization levels. These kinds of issues won’t budge on a large scale even if women are emboldened to sue for equal pay.
She didn't know the term because her own parents weren't even born when Indiana senator Birch Bayh introduced Title IX to Congress in 1972, but she provided a spontaneously perfect example of that legislation's impact ... and its continued importance.
Sports weren't mentioned in Title IX's tidy 37 words, but its promise that women wouldn't be "excluded from participation in (…) any education program or activity" allowed us to start leaving our collective footprints on playing fields and parquet floors and rubberized oval tracks.
Since the legislation was enacted on June 23, 1972, women's participation in sports has grown roughly a bazillion percent (I'm not very good at math) from 294,015 high school athletes in 1972 to 3,057,266 in 2008, while at the college level, the numbers have increased from 29,972 in 1972 to 186,460 in 2010.
A gender discrimination suit filed by a female employee of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers has exposed a system to view that allegedly boosted male positions and compensation while excluding the company's female employees, reports ABC News.
Ellen Pao, 42, an investment partner with the firm, filed a lawsuit on May 10 alleging the firm engaged in gender discrimination against her and other female employees. She said she faced retaliation when she complained of multiple instances of sexual harassment, which included being pressured by a junior partner to have a sexual relationship and being given a book that had "sexual drawings" and poems with "strong sexual content."
Kleiner Perkins, the esteemed venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, Calif., is seven miles away from the headquarters of Facebook, one of the many tech firms in which it has invested in its 40-year history. Google, Zynga and Groupon are among other beneficiaries of Kleiner Perkins' investments, which can range from $100,000 to $50 million.
In this elite world, women represented fewer than 10 percent of high-level venture capitalists, and left the industry at twice the rate as that of men, according to an estimate from the Kauffman Foundation in 2004.
Teresa Nelson, a professor at Simmons School of Management in Boston and faculty affiliate at the Center for Gender in Organizations, said she has no knowledge that the situation has changed.
Like many tipped workers, Dunder has trouble making ends meet because of an obscure federal provision called the tip credit, which has established a sub-minimum wage for tipped workers at $2.15 per hour, or $4,333 a year for a full-time worker. Forty-five states have established slightly higher sub-minimum wages. For example, Michigan pays $2.65 an hour.
The federal full minimum wage is $7.25 per hour or about $15,000 a year for a 40-hour work week.
Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC-United), a New York-based national nonprofit restaurant worker organization, wants to raise and index the federal minimum wage for tipped workers to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.
They say the hike is needed to provide a livable income. Tipped workers, the group says, are more likely to fall into poverty than those who receive minimum wage. Servers rely on food stamps at nearly double the rate of the general population.
Speakers at the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association’s inaugural Women in Private Equity Forum have come out largely against hiring quotas as a solution to the lack of women working in the industry.
Panellists including Zeina Bain, a director in leveraged buyouts at the Carlyle Group, and guest speaker Laura Tenison, founder of Jojo Maman Bebe, spoke out against the use of quotas following a European Commission proposal to impose mandatory quotas and a report by Lord Davies in which he called for more female board representation at FTSE 100 companies.
Bain said: “I am against quotas. It is hard enough to be taken seriously as a woman. You put yourself out there when you are working on a deal. If there are quotas in place, [people might say] does she know what she is talking about? Why is she here?”
Tenison said in a speech about her experience as an entrepreneur that she disagreed with quotas, noting that she believed that the hiring process should be dependent solely on achievements and merit. “It just so happens that all the directors [on Jojo Maman Bebe’s board], apart from one, are women, and that is because they are right for the job."
In a straw poll of about 80 attendees, only a handful agreed with the use of quotas.
This 95-page report describes rape, stalking, unwanted touching, exhibitionism, or vulgar and obscene language by supervisors, employers, and others in positions of power. Most farmworkers interviewed said they had experienced such treatment or knew others who had. And most said they had not reported these or other workplace abuses, fearing reprisals. Those who had filed sexual harassment claims or reported sexual assault to the police had done so with the encouragement and assistance of survivor advocates or attorneys in the face of difficult challenges.