January 6, 2009 posted by Linda Basch As we start off with our New Year’s Resolutions for the nation, I begin with an inspiring conversation I recently had with Kavita Ramdas, President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women. We were musing about the future, particularly with regard to women’s human rights at this optimistic moment for the country, with a new administration about to take charge in Washington. But as Kavita pointed out, as we begin to look forward, we also need to be self reflective as a nation. We need to develop a sense of collective responsibility. A number of problems have grown up over the past several years that we can’t sweep away, that we must address as a country and hold ourselves accountable for. I couldn’t agree more. I love conversations that are as wide-ranging as this one was. We covered a lot of ground. Some highlights: As someone who works on global women's rights, Kavita hopes that the new administration will place a high priority on advancing women's rights worldwide. This can only be achieved by the US decreasing its emphasis on militarism and violence as the primary means to resolve conflict and re-focusing its efforts away from the so called "war on terror" towards efforts to eradicate global poverty, inequality, and injustice. Yet, she insisted, that much of the US's ability to achieve such results globally will depend on the choices it makes inside its own borders. So, I asked Kavita what she would like to see in terms of change right here at home….
December 19, 2008 posted by Linda BaschGloria Feldt recently reviewed the book Our Bodies, Our Crimes for the journal Democracy. Her article, however, is much more than a book review. It is an historical overview of the reproductive rights movement, an analysis of current political trends, and, most of all, a call to action. Needless to say, we had to share! Criticizing current pop culture depictions of unplanned pregnancies, Feldt writes, “if the realities of abortion are often overlooked, its potency as a political weapon for the Right remains strong.” This election season, two states voted on ballot initiatives that would have limited women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care. In Colorado, Amendment 48 would have granted full legal rights to fetuses and South Dakota once again faced an outright ban on abortion services. Even though both initiatives were soundly defeated, Feldt states, “Like water on porous stone, the Right has slowly eroded the vulnerable legal protections of Griswold and Roe.” Feldt continues,
December 16, 2008 posted by admin What does a skills training center for women in Sierra Leone, a village in Rwanda and an entire district in the Democratic Republic of Congo have in common? At each location, you are likely to find that the majority -- in some cases nearly all -- of the women and girls have been raped. What do women in these African countries have in common with women in the United States military? Silence and Inaction. A recent article reported that more than 37 women GIs in Iraq have experienced sexual violence at the hands of their own comrades: “The women…have reported poor medical treatment, lack of counseling and incomplete criminal investigations by military officials. Some say they were threatened with punishment after reporting assaults.”
December 5, 2008 posted by admin Michelle wakes up in the morning, takes a long satisfied stretch, and reaches for her blackberry resting on the nightstand. (Barack has already gotten the girls breakfast and taken them to school.) She’s got a lot of exciting issues to tackle today in her role as Partner-to-the-President: more family-friendly work policy, the reform and revitalization of public education, and the expansion of benefits and support for veterans and their families. Her calendar is chockfull of meetings with thought leaders and feminist politicians, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who she has come to consider a close friend and colleague and a group of community organizers—Adrienne Marie Brown, Majora Carter, Maria Teresa Petersen, Jehmu Greene etc.—that she is mentoring and bringing into the White House for personal meetings with the President and his team.
December 3, 2008 posted by adminWe're pleased to bring you a report from the AWID conference in South Africa last month, from Sande Smith, Director of Public Education at the Global Fund for Women. If you've attended a conference or event that you'd like to share with us, please email us at email@example.com. And now, here's Sande! During this, my first Association of Women’s Rights in Development forum, I heeded the advice of colleagues on how to manage the conference without falling prey to overwhelm. And to their advice, I added my own insight: follow a thread.
Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger and Nancy Duff Campbell, Co-Presidents, National Women's Law Center Throughout the nation's history, the actions of Congress, the President, and the courts have had a tremendous impact on the progress of women and their families.
November 7, 2008 Posted by Rita Henley Jensen, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Women’s eNews As The Memo: A Status Report on U.S. Women produced this summer by Women's eNews documents, we’ve seen a decline in U.S. women's wellbeing during the last decade: Our labor force participation is down; the wage gap is persistent, women's health indicators are falling, violence against women is likely to increase during the recession and lesbian or suspected lesbians who are in the military are most likely to be discharged under the Ask Don't Tell policy. Bias against women is systematic and needs to be addressed in a systematic way. To move women and the issues women care about most from the margins to the center in this new administration, President Obama should hold a joint monthly with the women's caucuses of the House and Senate. He should also consider the suggestions outlined below. New Appointments, Task Forces, and Advisory Positions I have two strong candidates for the Secretary of Treasury Post and both are brilliant and neither has made public statements insulting women's abilities in math and science, as has Lawrence Summers, who is currently under consideration. They are: 1. Brooksley E. Born is now chair of the board of the National Women's Law Center. From 1996 to 1999 she was chair of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission the federal government agency that oversees the futures and commodity option markets and futures professionals. While at the CFTC, Born served as a member of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets and the Technical Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions. She was fired from her post because she dared to urge tighter regulation of trading in derivatives. She was given her pink slip by none other than, yes indeed, , Mr. Shortlist for Treasury Secretary himself, best know for challenging the existence of gender bias and for his statement that "innate differences" between men and women might explain why fewer women succeed in those careers.
November 7, 2008 Posted by Linda Basch Linda Basch: What is your vision for an Obama administration? Who are your ideal Cabinet picks? What new offices, government departments, or agencies would you like to see set up? (We invite your biggest-sky thinking here, far out of the box!)Chris Grumm: Barack Obama's election is an exhilarating opportunity for new leadership and especially for women's leadership. This is a truly exciting time in history and we are on the cusp of a transformational moment for the world. Obama, both now as he creates his team and after January 20th, can bring a critical mass of women to decision-making tables, harnessing the visions of the best and brightest women from business, academia, government and the nonprofit world. This step-change - the infusion of women's ideas voices and leadership across the board - will catalyze real change in this country and worldwide. Rather than creating new agencies, Obama needs to reframe how existing agencies work. Women must be recognized as experts and partners in every agency, ensuring their voices and solutions are integral to policymaking on every critical national and global matter. We have the opportunity to ensure established departments and agencies function for the benefit of us all, fully addressing conditions challenging women and families who are disproportionately affected by issues such as poverty or unequal access to healthcare. Below are a few examples of how existing departments could embrace a new, expanded focus to achieve greater impact:
Every department collecting data on women;
the Department of Labor making major strides on the economic self sufficiency of women and their families;
the Department of Health and Human Services ensuring access to health care for everyone;
the Department of State practicing global compassion and collaboration with foreign policy negotiations;
and a Department of Education focused not only on excellent education for children but on the involvement of families and communities in the preparation of our future workforce.
Below is my exchange with Lisa McClain, Director of Gender Studies and an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Boise State University. In addition to her teaching and authoring of books and articles, Lisa is active on issues regarding women and religion, women and disability, violence against women and women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
Linda Basch: What are the key issues facing women in your state as they get ready to hit the polls?