The Violence Against Women Act, a groundbreaking piece of legislation addressing domestic and sexual violence, was first enacted in 1994 and then reauthorized in 2000 and 2005. Among the measures the act has taken to protect victims and prevent abuse, the law strengthened the legal action taken against perpetrators of domestic violence and provided services, including rape crisis centers, hotlines, and community support programs, for its victims. Congress is now debating its reauthorization, as the law expired in September, and while it has received broad bipartisan support in the past it has recently come under political fire from some Republican lawmakers who object to provisions which Democrats have added to this year’s reauthorization. Critics specifically object to provisions which would expand the law’s coverage to illegal immigrants, homosexuals, and American Indians, who would have greater authority to persecute non-Indians who commit crimes against American Indian women. Republicans argue that these were purely political additions designed to induce GOP lawmakers to oppose an otherwise popular bill, giving Democrats more ammunition in their campaign argument that Republicans are “anti woman.” Furthermore, some conservative activists object to the law entirely, arguing that it does not cut down on—and might even increase—instances of domestic abuse while overextending the federal government’s jurisdiction. Should the Violence Against Women Act be reauthorized? Here is the Debate Club’s take:
Diversity in executive management is low at all agencies when compared to the percentage of people of color in the civilian labor force. Three agencies—the Federal Reserve Banks of St. Louis, Boston, and Cleveland—have no people of color in executive management.
On March 14, 2011 we first published a list of thirty pieces of Republican legislation “that Republicans are using to destroy America” and called it “The Dirty Thirty.” That original list has been updated several times and grown significantly although the list is incomplete, given there have been a thousand bills alone restricting a woman’s right to abortion. If most of the laws directed toward Women’s Reproductive Rights seem petty and punitive, well…they are. In fact, the goal of Republican legislation seems increasingly to be this: to punish the rest of us for not being like them.
There are over 20 new items on the newest list, including several 2011 items previously excluded, and also new pieces of 2012 legislation. An effort has also been made to provide updated news on the fate of various pieces of legislation and a new category, “Doomsday Legislation”, has been added thanks to continued Republican insanity.
Men file far more patents than women do, but women are securing an increasing number of patents and trademarks, according to a recent study by the National Women’s Business Council, a government advisory panel.
In 2010, 22,984 patents were granted to women, a 35 percent jump over the previous year. The increase for men was only 28 percent.
“Overall, women held 18 percent of all patents granted in 2010, compared to the 14 percent they had a decade earlier. In 1990, they earned only 9 percent,” the study found.
Interestingly, the NWBC paper found that the highest rate of increase in the grant of patents to women was in the 1986-1993 period, and the slowest rate was in the 1999-2006 period, during the dot-com bubble.
The picture for trademarks was even better. Women nearly doubled their share of trademarks within a 30-year span.
Last month's long overdue hearing by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) revealed that shocking, blatant attacks on working women are going on more than three decades after passage of the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which requires most employers to treat pregnant women the same as other applicants or employees.
The recent controversy over contraception and health insurance has focused on who should pay for the pill. But there is a wealth of economic evidence about the value of the pill – to taxpayers as well as to women in general.
Indeed, as the economist Betsey Stevenson has noted, a number of studies have shown that by allowing women to delay marriage and childbearing, the pill has also helped them invest in their skills and education, join the work force in greater numbers, move into higher-status and better-paying professions and make more money over all.
One of the most influential and frequently cited studies of the impact the pill has had on women’s lives comes from Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz. The two Harvard economists argue that the pill gave women “far greater certainty regarding the pregnancy consequences of sex.” That “lowered the costs of engaging in long-term career investments,” freeing women to finish high school or go to college, for instance, rather than settling down.
A study by Martha J. Bailey, Brad Hershbein and Amalia R. Miller helps assign a dollar value to those tectonic shifts. For instance, they show that young women who won access to the pill in the 1960s ended up earning an 8 percent premium on their hourly wages by age 50.
Frustrated that her previous efforts to get more women into the top echelons of European business have not yielded stronger results, Viviane Reding, the senior justice official in the European Union, was to announce a new effort Monday that could result in legislation requiring that women occupy up to 60 percent of the seats on corporate boards.
France and other countries with legally binding quotas have made the most progress in placing women in top business positions, Ms. Reding said during an interview Friday in advance of her announcement. E.U.-wide rules were now needed, she said.
“Personally, I don’t like quotas,” Ms. Reding said. “But I like what the quotas do. Quotas open the way to equality and they break through the glass ceiling.” Countries that have quotas “bring the results,” she said.
But to each new insult, joke and legislative attack, I say "bring it on." Each one is feeding the huge countervailing wave of take-back, push-back energy and at this point--despite everything I have just said--I am actually feeling surprisingly optimistic about the fall elections.
I am not talking about the presidential race, but the all important battle for congressional seats and shooing away from power the anti-women bloc.
Data crunched by Deborah Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., suggests this year will be a second "year of the woman," Walsh said at January's launch in the nation's capital of the Political Parity Project, a coalition of 51 women's organizations dedicated to doubling the number of women at the highest levels of U.S. government.
"This presidential election year is the first time in a generation, that women have an opportunity to gain a large number of congressional seats," Walsh said.
At the same gathering, Siobhan Bennett, president of the Women's Campaign Fund, likened this election year at the same gathering to the 1848 meeting at Seneca Falls, N.Y., that was the beginning of the women's suffrage movement.
Walsh cited three factors: Voter turnout is higher in presidential election years--weakening the power of the far right; retirements and redistricting have left open seats in at least 37 congressional districts and women typically fare better when they are not facing an incumbent; and more than 50 of the women running for these seats stand a better-than-even chance to win.
Near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, a father doused his three teenage daughters with boiling water and shot them because, he told a court, he suspected they were having sex. Two died.
He said he killed them to defend his honor.
Murder in Iraq can carry a death sentence but under laws that activists say are far too lenient for so-called "honor killings," the father was jailed for just two years. Medical examinations showed the girls were virgins.
The light sentence was a result of Article 409 of Iraq's penal code which is often used in cases of "honor killings" by men. Women's activists in Iraq, led by the only woman in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's cabinet, Minister of State for Women's Affairs Ibtihal al-Zaidi, are lobbying to change the law.
But they say they face entrenched tribal values in a country where parliament includes many men from conservative parties.
For decades Iraqi women have enjoyed more freedoms than women in many other countries in the Middle East. They are generally free from the strict enforcement of dress codes or restrictions on movement, and can join political life.
But conservative tribal norms still prevail and all too often girls or women are punished by relatives for what are perceived to be crimes of honor.
Such cases can be difficult to document. An Iraqi Human Rights ministry report said 249 women were murdered in 2010, including for reasons of "honor crimes," without giving a breakdown. Amnesty International cites the ministry as saying at least 84 women were killed in Iraq in honor killings in 2009.
Women, Business and the Law is a World Bank report that presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women's prospects as entrepreneurs and employees, in part drawing on laws contained in the Gender Law Library. Both resources can inform research and policy discussions on how to improve women's economic opportunities and outcomes.