Monday, April 30, 2012

Action Alert: Fight The Teen Endangerment Act - A pregnant teenager is a life worth saving

UPDATE: The Teen Endangerment Act could be brought to the House floor for a vote soon. NOW activists are calling and emailing their representatives asking them to defeat this pernicious bill, and with your help we can win this fight. I'm resending this email because every dollar counts. Please give today!

How does it feel to be a teenage woman holding a positive pregnancy test? Most of the men controlling more than 83 percent of Congress have no idea, and yet the chief masterminds of the War on Women are at it again, this time pushing a Teen Endangerment Act that would criminalize driving a teenage woman to an abortion provider in another state. Will you give to NOW today to help save young women's lives?

The past week has seen one ultra-conservative after another, from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to Rush Limbaugh, insist there is no War on Women -- maybe they should have a talk with the leadership of the House of Representatives, which is now charging ahead with a bill that would endanger the lives of vulnerable teenagers in need of abortion care. Do they think women won't notice this hypocrisy?

Like other fronts in the War on Women, the so-called "Child Interstate Abortion Act" is a relic of outdated thinking about a woman's right to autonomy. We defeated this back in the late '90s, and we can do it again with your help.

As I write, NOW leaders and activists are making their voices heard by phone, email, Facebook, Twitter and other social media to stop the Teen Endangerment Act in its tracks. And we're going further. We are organizing nationwide to drive out of office any elected official, Republican or Democrat, who votes to restrict women's access to abortion, birth control or other reproductive health services. Donate to NOW to stand with teenage women and all women to put an end to the right-wing War on Women.

Ending the War on Women won't be easy, and we are going to need every one of our supporters by our side to help us win. But we are determined to win, because a teenage life is a life worth saving.

For equality and justice,
Terry O'Neill, President
National Organization for Women

Eve Ensler Wants YOU to Join Her at the NOW Conference!

Eve Ensler will take the stage at the National NOW Conference for a full hour on Friday, June 29. NOW is thrilled to have the author of the groundbreaking play The Vagina Monologues kicking off our 2012 conference. Eve is the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls. When she joins us in Baltimore, Eve will talk about One Billion Rising, an upcoming revolution she is planning for Valentine's Day 2013. You might even get a chance to ask Eve a question during a Q&A session.

So make your conference plans NOW! Be sure to arrive at the hotel before Friday at 12:00 noon, because that's when Eve is scheduled to appear.

A number of truly inspiring women will speak and accept awards throughout the weekend. These feminist champions have blazed trails for women in health and science, advanced economic justice for women, advocated for access to birth control, run for public office, and made headlines across the country for civil rights.

Learn more about these speakers and check back often to see who's been added to the agenda.

This year's conference is in Baltimore, Md., June 29 - July 1. Online registration is open through June 13. The hotel is booking up fast, so make your hotel reservations soon.

See you in Baltimore!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Republican male senators say domestic violence is acceptable for certain groups

On this blog, we have been updating you on a regular basis on the status of the VAWA.  Thanks to your calls, emails and other forms of activism, it passed the Senate.  In a move that confuses even the most loyal Republican women, 31 Republican male Senators voted against the VAWA because they didn't want the life-saving provisions to protect Native American women, immigrants and LGBTQ folks.

From Think Progress.org




Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Leads the War For Women

WAR ON WOMEN, you betcha  !


War FOR Women is what ERA is waging.   That's because of the huge numbers of Republican-filed and passed horrific legislation across the nation—we hear numbers from 645 to 1100 bills since 2010!  We think ALEC may be behind legislators' fight against ERA, too.


GOOD NEWS is that the Equal Rights Amendment will destroy the WOW with marches all over Florida tomorrow, April 28, with a bigger and better Washington DC rally in September.  I have the honor to be speaking at both but bigger news is that our Florida House ERA bill Sponsor will speak at WOW rallies tomorrow.  That's Rep. Lori Berman, who will be filing our House bill tba for 2013!  Join in everywhere, Tallahassee, Ft. Lauderdale, or Orlando +++.

If you need them copies of our list and/or  graph of the big slope of these bills for your own  rallies or posting on Facebook or your site, just ask us. 


PLEASE do post a link to our site on yours, Okay?—what helps ERA helps YOU:  www.2PassERA.org. Thanks a heap.

Our own frank  2-hour discussion from Tennessee of the ERA vs WOW can be found    at Daily Kos, dated Sunday, 4/22.


Sandy Oestreich, founder-president of Equal Rights Alliance Inc, and ERA Education Inc.

March Because "Equal Enough" for Women Is Unacceptable

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/war-on-women-march-april-28_b_1457730.html

American women need to be recognized as full citizens. Yes, women in this country. It's me again, sitting in my office, by myself, saying that "equal enough" is NOT. But, I am not alone.
Tomorrow, Saturday, April 28th, thousands of women and men will participate in 53 marches and rallies for women's rights in 45 states and the District of Columbia. These events are part of UNITEWOMEN.ORG movement against the War on Women. In truth, I don't care what the sustained legislative assault on women's rights by the Republican party is called. Nor do I care, actually, for the Unitewomen moniker, because although I am happy for anything that offsets a cultural preference to portray women as enemies, I believe that men and women who understand the importance and benefits of equality must work together. However, I agree wholeheartedly with UNITEWOMEN.ORG's goals and intent. If you are not joining them, you should ask yourself why and consider doing it.

Why should you march?

Because women's and girls' fundamental rights, to privacy, to life, to bodily integrity, to chose when to plan their reproduction are being violated.

Because women can't afford to nor should be forced to live their lives according to rules that assume they are dependent on men.

Because women and girls should not be punished, denigrated and publicly humiliated for speaking civilly and intelligently in their own interest or making their own choices.

Because boys and girls should be taught what equality, not entitlement, means.

Without fail, when I talk to people about gender inequality in the United States, someone inevitably says some variation of this: "Compared to other women, women here are equal enough." First of all, women are not in competition with other women for safety from violence and freedom. Second, this type of comparison, with its echo of threat, is an unacceptable and irrelevant framework for considering citizenship and protection under the law. Women are citizens and should have the full rights and privileges of citizens.
We should. But we don't.

If you are uncertain about what I am saying and think I am exaggerating the harm, consider the effect of one distillation of events: the degree to which the conservative "political" agenda requires that all women, regardless of color, faith, economic status or sexual preference, seek men's review and approval before acting. (Those factors, race, economic status, sexual preference magnify the effect.) "Informed consent, " "permission slips," wage policies determined because "money may be more important to men," "man-up finances," women's health care being determined by all-male religious leaders and congressional panels, refusal to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act because of homophobia (and racism). On and on and one: every time the baseline requirement for women to exercise their rights and live freely is the intervention and approval of men. This is not just unfair to girls and women, but imposes unreasonable responsibilities and pressures on boys and men.

Even the phrasing of hot button issues -- "Mommy Wars" and "Slutgate" -- are coded conversations that define women, their health, their choices and their incomes primarily in terms of their relationships to men. Those frameworks are unacceptable. These attempts to legislate the subordination of women are not just distasteful and embarrassing but designed ultimately to humiliate women and keep them in their place.

TO BE CLEAR: This is not a man-bashing exercise. I do not hate men. I hate inequality and oppression. This is about men and women being mutually central as humans and, together, fighting systematized biases against girls' and women's full engagement with the world.

All over the world women seek equality. Men and women, who understand this, fight against everything from subtle, cultural sexism to extreme and violent gendered oppression. Here, in the US, many people really do think women are "equal enough." I am told we should "consider ourselves lucky." I am not going to compare oppressions. Nor am I in any way dismissing the dehumanizing and life-crushing hatred that women face in too many places on the planet. But, because others are violently deprived of rights and life does not mean that we should be content with circumscribed rights and lives. Women should not have to be thankful for hard-won rights, be penalized for seeking to live better lives or have to settle for "enough" when it comes to equality. In theory, we are citizens with full rights.

Republicans would have you believe that the word "war" is not a valid way to describe the assault on women's rights represented by the hundreds of bills (916 since January 2012 alone) and laws they've pursued or enacted during the past two years. This attitude is unsurprising. What is surprising to me however, is the degree to which these assaults reveal the Republican abandonment, when it comes to women, of three core beliefs of their own party, namely:

• Our country was founded on the fundamental principle that individuals have rights and freedoms
• Government intervention into the lives of private citizens should be limited
• Traditional values and freedoms of the American Republic should be reaffirmed

Either they are betraying their belief in, for example, individual rights and limited government or they are demonstrating that they don't believe women are genuinely included in the definition of individual citizens with full rights and privileges. Time and again, women and their rights are made marginal and secondary to almost everything else and debated away as a matter of expedience.

You should march because this is unacceptable.

It is evident that conservatives do not believe women can be trusted to think for themselves and make their own decisions... about when to become parents, money, faith.. nothing. Instead, in almost every sphere of life, their agenda is designed to keep women dependent on the good graces of men and competing for the resources that men have traditionally provided and keep them vulnerable in the process. That belief seems largely derived from Complementarianism, a worldview of gender roles as different but complementary, in which there are requirements made of men (as heads of households and public life) and restrictions placed on women, who are essentially limited to childrearing. It is one thing for people to chose this model privately, but it should not be enshrined in law, imposed on everyone and enforced judicially and legislatively to undermine equality and freedom. Yet, like a slow moving train wreck, that's what is happening.

As I said, it isn't about individual men and their relative goodness. It's about systematized bias, gender hierarchies and how power, responsibilities and rights are distributed. And, also for the record, before anti-feminist trolls come out of the commenting woodwork, I believe women should fight in combat in military wars. And, yes, I know, these systems are supported by both men and women. That's how Complementarianism works. It's a primary vector for ambivalent and paternalistic sexism's cultural sanction and enforcement by women.

Writer Erin Solaro put it this way in a commentary on women and war and freedom:
"At the core of citizenship is the idea that the citizen's body is hers and hers alone, regardless of sexual history, marital status or childbearing... The full citizenship of women is not just about the right to hold credit cards, buy real estate in our own names, have access to abortion and birth control and lead openly lesbian lives in which marriages and adoptions are legally recognized. These things are important in themselves -- terribly so, to the point of sometimes being matters of life and death -- but what they represent is vastly more important. They are part of a woman's citizenship and freedom, the right of a woman to fully inhabit her own life and participate fully in the life of the polity (in this case the American Republic) as a public and private equal."
You should march because women have yet to be recognized as full citizens, with agency in both the private and public spheres.
Follow Soraya Chemaly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/schemaly

Feminist Lessons to Learn from Muslim Nation of Bangladesh

Cross-posted from Say It, Sister blog.

On April 9, 2012, the New York Times published an article about the strides women are making in Bangladesh -- my birth country. It has not been an easy journey for the nation, plagued by both natural and man-made adversities. Natural disasters devastate the small country on a regular basis; as one of the poorest and most densely populated nations in the world, it has few resources to respond to the crises. It is below sea level and losing land every year due to global climate change. Bangladesh has suffered colonialism for centuries -- first at the hands of the British and then Pakistan; it gained independence only 41 years ago after a bloody war in which Pakistani forces killed three million people through genocide. Despite the obstacles, Bangladesh has three percent more women in elected positions than the United States. In addition, it has had female heads of state for decades -- an advancement the U.S. has not been able to make during its 200-plus years of independence.

There are a few reasons why Bangladesh has progressed further in electing women than the U.S. First, Bangladesh has a quota system reserving seats for women in the parliament. You might argue against affirmative action, but in the U.S., we are just not getting there without that extra push.

Second, Bangladeshi girls can look up to Bengali women in leadership positions in the past and present. It makes a difference when the leaders of the two most powerful political parties in Bangladesh are women, each of whom has served as the head of state. In the U.S., however, women who run or serve in political office are subject to increasingly hostile gender-based double standards and slurs. During the 2008 presidential elections -- just when things should have been getting better, not worse -- Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin endured some of the most vicious attacks in recent history.

Third, Bangladeshi women are not constantly bombarded with news reports of how bad women have it in other nations. The U.S. media love to talk about the oppression of women in other cultures, particularly Muslim women. The implication is that gender-based violence is something that happens to other women. Many Americans -- even those working in the anti-violence field -- use the term "honor killings" to describe domestic violence incidents in Muslim communities, suggesting the inevitability of these acts, since they are supposedly part of Islam.

But violence against women is a problem in every country and in every culture; in fact, at least three women die each day in the U.S. due to domestic violence. There has been a lot of talk about the sexual assaults of women involved with the Arab Spring, but the story that did not receive as much national coverage was of a Syrian imam who told rape victims that they deserve to be honored. Creating the false notion that other cultures treat women worse sets up U.S. women to stop fighting sexism at home, because it makes us believe we have it much better than those "backward" countries. As a young feminist, I have heard too many of my American peers tell me that feminism is irrelevant because we have already achieved equality.

By no means are the countries I mentioned safe havens for women. As feminists, we should care about every woman on this planet. However, we must not allow the other side to make us complacent about the sexist abuses in our own backyard. We must learn lessons from our global peers on how to bring more women to the decision-making table. Only then can we achieve true equality.

In Sisterhood,
Jerin

Please thank the Yeas and spank the nays on Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

Please find below a note from Pat Reuss of the National Organization for Women (NOW), who has been working on the VAWA since before its inception.

Get ready for the House fight – with the R's in control, and Stepford R women doing the guy's bidding, we'll need lots of grassroots lobbying.  But for the moment, let's enjoy our senate victory. 

 

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=2&vote=00087

Grouped by Home State

Alabama:

Sessions (R-AL), Nay

Shelby (R-AL), Nay

Alaska:

Begich (D-AK), Yea

Murkowski (R-AK), Yea

Arizona:

Kyl (R-AZ), Nay

McCain (R-AZ), Yea

Arkansas:

Boozman (R-AR), Nay

Pryor (D-AR), Yea

California:

Boxer (D-CA), Yea

Feinstein (D-CA), Yea

Colorado:

Bennet (D-CO), Yea

Udall (D-CO), Yea

Connecticut:

Blumenthal (D-CT), Yea

Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea

Delaware:

Carper (D-DE), Yea

Coons (D-DE), Yea

Florida:

Nelson (D-FL), Yea

Rubio (R-FL), Nay

Georgia:

Chambliss (R-GA), Nay

Isakson (R-GA), Nay

Hawaii:

Akaka (D-HI), Yea

Inouye (D-HI), Yea

Idaho:

Crapo (R-ID), Yea

Risch (R-ID), Nay

Illinois:

Durbin (D-IL), Yea

Kirk (R-IL), Not Voting

Indiana:

Coats (R-IN), Yea

Lugar (R-IN), Nay

Iowa:

Grassley (R-IA), Nay

Harkin (D-IA), Yea

Kansas:

Moran (R-KS), Nay

Roberts (R-KS), Nay

Kentucky:

McConnell (R-KY), Nay

Paul (R-KY), Nay

Louisiana:

Landrieu (D-LA), Yea

Vitter (R-LA), Yea

Maine:

Collins (R-ME), Yea

Snowe (R-ME), Yea

Maryland:

Cardin (D-MD), Yea

Mikulski (D-MD), Yea

Massachusetts:

Brown (R-MA), Yea

Kerry (D-MA), Yea

Michigan:

Levin (D-MI), Yea

Stabenow (D-MI), Yea

Minnesota:

Franken (D-MN), Yea

Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea

Mississippi:

Cochran (R-MS), Nay

Wicker (R-MS), Nay

Missouri:

Blunt (R-MO), Nay

McCaskill (D-MO), Yea

Montana:

Baucus (D-MT), Yea

Tester (D-MT), Yea

Nebraska:

Johanns (R-NE), Nay

Nelson (D-NE), Yea

Nevada:

Heller (R-NV), Yea

Reid (D-NV), Yea

New Hampshire:

Ayotte (R-NH), Yea

Shaheen (D-NH), Yea

New Jersey:

Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea

Menendez (D-NJ), Yea

New Mexico:

Bingaman (D-NM), Yea

Udall (D-NM), Yea

New York:

Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea

Schumer (D-NY), Yea

North Carolina:

Burr (R-NC), Nay

Hagan (D-NC), Yea

North Dakota:

Conrad (D-ND), Yea

Hoeven (R-ND), Yea

Ohio:

Brown (D-OH), Yea

Portman (R-OH), Yea

Oklahoma:

Coburn (R-OK), Nay

Inhofe (R-OK), Nay

Oregon:

Merkley (D-OR), Yea

Wyden (D-OR), Yea

Pennsylvania:

Casey (D-PA), Yea

Toomey (R-PA), Nay

Rhode Island:

Reed (D-RI), Yea

Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea

South Carolina:

DeMint (R-SC), Nay

Graham (R-SC), Nay

South Dakota:

Johnson (D-SD), Yea

Thune (R-SD), Nay

Tennessee:

Alexander (R-TN), Yea

Corker (R-TN), Yea

Texas:

Cornyn (R-TX), Nay

Hutchison (R-TX), Yea

Utah:

Hatch (R-UT), Nay

Lee (R-UT), Nay

Vermont:

Leahy (D-VT), Yea

Sanders (I-VT), Yea

Virginia:

Warner (D-VA), Yea

Webb (D-VA), Yea

Washington:

Cantwell (D-WA), Yea

Murray (D-WA), Yea

West Virginia:

Manchin (D-WV), Yea

Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea

Wisconsin:

Johnson (R-WI), Nay

Kohl (D-WI), Yea

Wyoming:

Barrasso (R-WY), Nay

Enzi (R-WY), Nay

NOW Applauds Senate Passage of "Real" Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA)

For Immediate Release
Contact: Latoya Veal, 202-628-8669, ext. 116

NOW Applauds Senate Passage of "Real" VAWA
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill

April 26, 2012

Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (S. 1925), which includes funding for services to previously underserved populations. The act has transformed the nation's response to domestic and sexual violence, and has saved innumerable lives.

NOW applauds the senators who bravely rejected amendments that would undermine the act and would have blocked efforts to provide services to immigrant women, the LGBT community and women on reservations. Shamefully, in contrast to prior reauthorizations, there were 31 senators who voted "no", effectively turning their backs on the women who need this life-saving legislation.

NOW calls on the House of Representatives to take up S. 1925 and reject attempts to water down the bill or exclude victims in immigrant, Native American and the LGBT communities. It is time to promote policies that serve women's needs and stop playing politics with women's lives.


A Complete Guide to 'Hipster Racism,' such as comedians making "harmless" racist jokes

The following article touches on many forms of racist micro aggression.  The same tactics are used in sexism, such as women being told to lighten up about rape "jokes."  If you ever had any doubts about why racism and sexism are similar, (http://www.ncdsv.org/images/mcsr_racismandrapehowaretheyconnected.pdf), just substitute the racist slurs/"jokes" below with sexist remarks.
http://jezebel.com/5905291/a-complete-guide-to-hipster-racism

Some of my favorite points:

"There's been a lot of talk these last couple of weeks about "hipster racism" or "ironic racism"—or, as I like to call it, racism."

"...the domain of educated, middle-class white people...who believe that not wanting to be racist makes it okay for them to be totally racist. "But I went to college — I can't be racist!""

"Modern racism lives in entrenched de facto inequalities, in coded language about "work ethic" and "states' rights," in silent negative spaces like absence and invisibility...And in irony."

"...we are all kind of bizarrely cavalier and careless these days, throwing our most deeply-considered morals under the bus for the sake of a few cheap jokes."

"Ummm, I'm a Writer and I'm Trying to Write in Here!"
This is Lesley Arfin crowing about the majestic power of the n-word, and white kids whining that it's "unfair" that black people "get" to use "it". You know, because words are powerful and words are Arfin's craft and would you take the color red away from the best painter on Twitter??? And besides, don't you just find Arfin to be so RAW and DELICIOUSLY NAUGHTY? It's all tied up with the deliberately obtuse people who conflate "freedom of speech" with "immunity from criticism." You "can" say the n-word. Go ahead and say it if you want, Skrillex. And I will go ahead and give you the world's most sidewaysiest eyeball forever. Because it hurts people. Why do you want to hurt people?

"No, don't you see? I'm just showing how I'm so down with [minority group] that it's totally cool for me to make jokes at their expense. Because we are just that kind of tight bros now."
No. You cannot unlock some secret double-not-racist achievement by just being regular racist. Otherwise Bill O'Reilly would be president of the NAACP.

"But it's a JOOOOOKE."
...People in positions of power simply cannot make jokes at the expense of the powerless. That's why, at a company party, you never have a roast where the CEO is roasting the janitor ("Isn't it funny how Steve can barely feed his family? This guy knows what I'm talking about!" [points to other janitor]). Because that would be GROSS, and both janitors would have to work late to clean up everyone's barf. Open-mic comedians, I know you think you're part of some fresh vanguard in alternative comedy who just discovered that a lot of black ladies don't like it when you touch their hair, but pleeeeeeease just stick to stuff about how your stupid girlfriend is a bitch. (Just kidding. Please never speak again.)

"...if a group of people comes to you and says, "This thing that you are doing is hurting us," and you keep doing it for fun, then you are a dickweed! Like, you know we had an actual genocide here, right? A deliberate extermination of human beings? Right where your house is? So maybe just err on the side of sensitivity."

"Yeah, but we have a black president! Isn't racism over?"

In Solidarity,
N. Jerin Arifa
National NOW Board of Directors
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
National Organization for Women (NOW)
Blog:  YoungFeministTaskForce.blogspot.com
Twitter: JerinNOW

The National Organization for Women is the nation's largest organization working to advance women's rights and improve women's lives.
www.now.org

Board Member
Bella Abzug Leadership Institute
www.abzuginstitute.org

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Good News: VAWA Passes the Senate!

The National Organization for Women (NOW) helped write the VAWA and has been working on it ever since.

 

April 26, 2012

 Please forward to everyone you know who cares about ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking! 


GREAT NEWS!

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, S. 1925, has passed the Senate by a  68 to 31 vote!
And it couldn't have happened without you!


Check the vote count, and call your Senators that voted yes to tell them how proud you are that they supported the bill written by more than 2,000 professionals serving victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and supported by more than 1,000 national, state and local programs.  Let them know you are glad that they voted to protect ALL victims of these crimes!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Eve Ensler and other extraordinary Speakers on National NOW Conference Agenda

Extraordinary Speakers on
National NOW Conference Agenda
April 25, 2012
Thinking of coming to the 2012 National NOW Conference this summer? Well, stop thinking and start making your plans, because our first wave of confirmed speakers is simply amazing! Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler will deliver a keynote speech on Friday at 12:00 noon, so don't even consider arriving late. Ensler will be followed throughout the weekend by other truly inspiring women . . .

Eve Ensler
Keynote Speaker

[image - Eve Ensler]
Eve Ensler is a Tony award winning playwright, performer and activist. She is the author of The Vagina Monologues, which has been published in 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries.
Ensler's newest work, I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Life Of Girls Around The World, was published in book form by Random House and made The New York Times Best Seller list. The book was recently workshopped in Johannesburg, South Africa, followed by Paris, France, and will open at Berkeley Rep in June 2012, moving toward an off-Broadway production.
She is also the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls, which has raised over 85 million dollars. V-Day supports anti-violence organizations throughout the world, helping them continue and expand their core work on the ground, while drawing public attention to the larger fight.
Ensler's play Here was filmed live by Sky Television in London, UK. Her other plays include Necessary Targets, The Treatment, and The Good Body, which she performed on Broadway, followed by a national tour. In 2006, Ensler released her book, Insecure At Last: A Political Memoir, and co-edited A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and a Prayer. She is currently writing a new book In The Body of the World for Metropolitan to be published 2013.
    

Krystal Ball

[image - Krystal Ball]
Krystal Ball is an MSNBC contributor, political writer, activist and former congressional candidate. She is a frequent political commenter and has appeared on programs such as The Ed Show, Good Morning America, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, To The Contrary, The O'Reilly Factor, and Hannity. Ball's writing has appeared in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, the Atlantic and Politico.
Ball speaks regularly about women in politics and has been a featured speaker at Columbia University, Princeton, University of Mary Washington, and Christopher Newport University. She has also been active combatting media misogyny and was among the first to call for a boycott of Rush Limbaugh's advertisers following his three day smear of law student Sandra Fluke.
In 2010, with the help of an endorsement from Virginia NOW, Ball survived a tough primary to become the Democratic nominee for U.S. Congress for the 1st District of Virginia. Although she did not successfully unseat Republican incumbent Rob Wittman, her campaign raised nearly $1 million from more than 6,000 donors.
Following her congressional campaign, Ball was named by Forbes Magazine as number 21 on the magazine's Most Powerful Women of the Midterm Elections list. The Week magazine rated her as one of the Top Eight Political Stars of 2010.
Follow Ball at KrystalOnline.com and on Twitter

Sandra Fluke
Woman of Courage Honoree

[image - Sandra Fluke]
Sandra Fluke is completing her final semester as a Public Interest Law Scholar at Georgetown University Law Center. She is devoted to advocating for gender equity in all sectors of society. Recently, she testified before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on the need to provide access to contraception, which she has advocated for since arriving at Georgetown. She has spoken about this and other issues of concern to women across news outlets including The New York Times, Washington Post, TIME Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC and CBS.
Previously, Fluke created and led the Program Evaluation Initiative for Sanctuary for Families in New York City, ensuring high quality services to victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. She also served on the Manhattan Borough President's Taskforce on Domestic Violence and co-founded the New York Statewide Coalition for Fair Access to Family Court, which successfully lobbied for legislation allowing LGBTQ, teen, and other victims of intimate partner violence to access civil orders of protection. During law school, Fluke has represented numerous victims of domestic violence and human trafficking and has engaged in human rights advocacy in Kenya on behalf of child victims of domestic human trafficking.
Fluke majored in Policy Analysis and Management, as well as Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Cornell University, graduating with a BS in 2003.


Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D.
Woman of Vision Honoree

[image - Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D.]
Heidi Hartmann is the president of the Washington-based Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR), a scientific research organization she founded in 1987 to meet the need for women-centered, policy-oriented research. Dr. Hartmann is also a research professor at The George Washington University. Her areas of expertise include women and the economy, workforce participation, employment, pay equity, and retirement security.
Dr. Hartmann is a co-author of Still A Man's Labor Market: The Long-Term Earnings Gap; Unnecessary Losses: Costs to Americans of the Lack of Family and Medical Leave; Equal Pay for Working Families; and Survival at the Bottom: The Income Packages of Low-Income Families with Children. She has published numerous articles in journals and books, and her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. She lectures widely on women, economics, and public policy, frequently testifies before Congress, and is often cited as an authority in various media outlets.
Prior to founding IWPR, Dr. Hartmann was on the faculties of Rutgers University and the New School for Social Research and worked at the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences. In 1994, Dr. Hartmann was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship Award for her work in the field of women and economics. She is vice-chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations and co-editor of the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy.
    

Tamika Mallory

[image - Tamika Mallory]
Tamika D. Mallory is the national executive director of one of the nation's leading civil rights organizations, National Action Network (NAN), which was founded by renowned preacher and activist Reverend Al Sharpton. Just 31-years-old, Mallory has been a member of NAN since its 1991 inception and is the youngest national executive director in the group's history.
Mallory was introduced to the world of civil rights at a young age by her parents, who were founding members of NAN. Currently making headlines around the country for her tireless activism and strong stance on women's issues, anti-violence, and voter registration, Mallory was chosen by Ebony Magazine as one of the 30 most influential national leaders under 30, and she was publicly applauded as a "leader of tomorrow" by Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama. She has worked closely with the Obama administration on civil rights issues, including education, equal rights for women, health care reform, gun violence and police misconduct. Recently, Mallory was named one of thegrio.com's 100 future leaders.
Mallory has been featured on CNN, FOX, TV One, MSNBC and other media outlets. She sits on News Corp's Diversity Advisory Council and is a board member of Youth-in-Action. Mallory holds a B.S. in Communications from the College of New Rochelle, and resides in New York City with her 13-year-old son Tarique.
    

Dr. Vivian Pinn
NOW Foundation Victoria J. Mastrobuono
Women's Health Award Honoree

[image - Dr. Vivian Pinn]
Dr. Vivian W. Pinn's contributions to women's health and the field of women in science and medicine are truly extraordinary. As the first full-time director of the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health, she dedicated two decades to ensuring that women's health was a high priority at NIH.
Dr. Pinn played a key role in putting gender, racial and ethnic disparities in medical research and health care policy on the national agenda. One of her primary objectives was to increase the number of women in leadership roles in research and academic institutions. Dr. Pinn helped develop a re-entry program to assist scientists in re-establishing themselves in their fields after interruptions in their careers due to reasons such as family responsibilities.
Among Dr. Pinn's many firsts, she was the only African American and the only woman in her class to graduate from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1967, and in 1982 she became the first African-American woman to chair an academic pathology department in the United States, at Howard University College of Medicine.
Dr. Pinn has received numerous honors. She was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, received the Elizabeth Blackwell Award from the American Medical Women's Association, and was elected to the Institute of Medicine.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Help pass S. 1925: the real Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The National Organization for Women helped write the VAWA and has been working on it ever since.

April 24, 2012
 Please forward to everyone you know who cares about ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking! 
VAWA could be debated on the Senate Floor as soon as Wednesday! Call your Senators today with this message: 
"I am/the members of my organization are constituents and we need our Senator(s) to vote for S. 1925.  S. 1925 is the real VAWA and has protections and services for ALL victims.  A vote for any other bill or unfriendly amendment is a vote AGAINST VAWA."
We agree with the Washington Post: S. 1925 protects victims and must pass.  A vote for any other bill or a vote for any amendment is a vote AGAINST VAWA.
On or after Wednesday, April 25, the Senate will adopt the motion to proceed to S.1925, a bill to reauthorize Violence Against Women Act of 1994.  This means we need to act FAST – contact your Senators TODAY.
Suggested Action:
1.        Tell senators to SUPPORT S. 1925 and OPPOSE the Grassley-Hutchison Substitute to S.1925 or any other amendments to S. 1925
2.        Sign onto our letter in support of VAWA

Social Security Panic Unwarranted: Report Sets Stage for Improved Benefits: Help protect the disabled

National Organization for Women Press Release:

For Immediate Release
Contact: Latoya Veal, 202-628-8669, ext. 116

Social Security Panic Unwarranted:
Report Sets Stage for Improved Benefits
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill

April 23, 2012

Trustees for the Social Security Trust Fund report today that the program can pay full benefits through 2033 -- three years less than projected in 2011, due primarily to the continuing high unemployment rate. As usual, we can count on Wall Street interests and the politicians carrying their water to proclaim that Social Security is going bankrupt. That's plain wrong. Social Security has an accumulated surplus of more than $2.7 trillion and can pay 100 percent of benefits for the next several decades.

NOW suggests that with a number of modest adjustments to Social Security's financing, we can improve benefits and ensure adequate funds far into the future. Improvements are especially important for older women, who are poorer and face higher expenses in retirement.

It is especially troubling to hear Wall Street demanding further steps that would dismantle the program. Remember, these are the very folks who drove the U.S. economy off a cliff in 2007, resulting in the main stress on Social Security's finances -- unemployment. The system's revenues have been reduced in recent years due to high unemployment; fewer people working means fewer workers paying into the system. This is nothing new. In fact, this situation has occurred 18 times since 1958 -- whenever a recession has shed thousands of jobs.

As the economy improves and more people find employment, Social Security revenue will increase, allowing the trust fund balance to continue to grow. Safeguarding Social Security's financing is all the more reason for lawmakers to endorse projects that get people back to work and stimulate what is now a sluggish economic recovery.

Unfortunately, conservatives in Congress have stood in the way of any major job stimulus effort. These are the same conservative politicians who have tried time and again to cut Social Security benefits or to privatize this highly successful social insurance program, risking nearly everyone's retirement in the hands of Wall Street gamblers.

It is critically important to fine tune the program to ensure that Social Security retirement, disability and survivor benefits can be paid over the long term -- 75 years or more. Women, especially, need to know that adequate benefits will be available when they need them, as older women have fewer savings, often no pension income, and more out-of-pocket health care expenses. Sex-based pay discrimination and time out of the paid workforce to care for family undermine women's old-age economic security.

Addressing the facts about older women's economic insecurity, the National Organization for Women and a large group of allied organizations are working on proposals to improve Social Security's long-term solvency and to modernize its benefit structure. Here's what we would like to see: modestly improved benefits for everyone, increased survivor benefits, credits for caregiving years taken out of the paid workforce, an increased special minimum for lifetime low-income earners, changing the Cost of Living (COLA) formula to one that is based on the Consumer Price Index for the elderly (CPI-E), restoration of student benefits, requiring equal benefits for same-sex married couples and partners, and improvements that address the needs of people with disabilities.

To achieve these improvements, modest adjustments will have to be made to Social Security's financing structure, beginning with lifting the cap on wages subject to the payroll tax. Right now, workers who earn $50,000 contribute 6.2 percent of their income through the payroll tax, while people who make $500,000 per year pay only about 1 percent. Lifting or removing the cap (currently $110,100) would eliminate the entire projected shortfall far into the future. Additionally, slowly increasing the Social Security contribution rate by 1/40th of one percent over 20 years for both employers and employees would help, as would lowering the unemployment rate and raising the minimum wage.

These are changes that should be made to properly prepare for the retirement of 76 million baby boomers and successive generations. NOW calls on policy makers to take up modernization of Social Security, improving -- not cutting -- benefits, and planning for long-term financial security of the program.

###

NOW.org | Press Room

Friday, April 20, 2012

Time to Thank our Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Allies!

As I mentioned in previous emailsthe National Organization for Women (NOW) - especially Pat Reuss - were the driving forces behind drafting and passing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  We continue to fight to get it reauthorized.  Please contact your senators and ask them to support this crucial bill to save the lives of children, women and men.


Sincerely,
N. Jerin Arifa

National NOW Board of Directors

National NOW Young Feminist Task Force, Chair

NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force, Chair

National Organization for Women (NOW)


 

April 20, 2012

 

Please forward to everyone you know who cares about ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking!

 

VAWA is live in the Senate – Let's thank our supporters and tell them we appreciate their vote for S. 1925!

 

S. 1925 has been filed as a "motion to proceed" in the Senate and is likely to be debated on the Senate floor next week.   There will likely be an alternative bill offered as a substitute, and perhaps other harmful amendments, so we want to make sure that S. 1925, the real VAWA, which has key provisions that will protect all victims, is the bill that passes.  Take a moment to thank our supporters and tell them you are proud of their support of S. 1925 and all of the important provisions that provide better access to law enforcement for women in Indian country, better access for immigrant women who fear deportation if they report violence, and better access for LGBT victims who are facing barriers accessing services.

 

ACTION:  Call the below Senators and tell them "Thank you for sponsoring S. 1925 – the only bill that protects ALL victims of violence.  We appreciate that you will vote to keep all of the critical provisions, including those protections for Tribal women, immigrants and LGBT victims, in the bill.  We are behind you!"  

 

If you talk to staff, ask for their email so you can send them these three fact sheets:  Tribal, immigration and LGBT.

Start with our valiant Republican sponsors – they are under pressure from all sides and need to know you consider them stars:

Ayotte, Kelly - (R - NH) (202) 224-3324 Judiciary: John Lawrence, Women: Daniel Auger

Brown, Scott P. - (R - MA) (202) 224-4543

Collins, Susan M. - (R - ME) (202) 224-2523 Judiciary: Rich Houghton, Women: Kenneth Altman, Lorinda Harris

Crapo, Mike - (R - ID) (202) 224-6142

Heller, Dean - (R - NV) ) (202) 224-6244 Judiciary and Women's Issues LA: Leeann Gibson

Kirk, Mark - (R - IL) (202) 224-2854

Murkowski, Lisa - (R - AK) (202) 224-6665 Judiciary LA: Nathan Bergerbest, Women's Issues LA: Amanda Makki

Snowe, Olympia J. - (R - ME) (202) 224-5344 Women's Issues LA: Amy Pellegrino

 

Next, our Democratic women champions:

 

California

Dianne Feinstein D (202) 224-3841 Judiciary LA: Neil Quinter, Women's Issues: Nora Connors, Devin Rhinerson

Barbara Boxer D (202) 224-3553  Judiciary LA: Derrick Brent, Women's Issues LA: Cerin Lindgrensavage

 

Louisiana

Mary Landrieu D (202) 224-5824 CoS: Jane Campbell, Leg Dir: Elizabeth Craddock, Judiciary: Angelique Roche

 

Maryland

Barbara Mikulski D (202) 224-4654 Judiciary and women's issues LA: Teri Curtis

 

Michigan

Debbie Stabenow D (202) 224-4822 Judiciary LA: Jason LaGosh, Women's Issues LA: Alex Sheff

 

Minnesota

Amy Klobuchar D (202) 224-3244 Judiciary LA: Craig Kalkut, Women's Issues LA: Elizabeth Frosch

 

Missouri

Claire McCaskill D (202) 224-6154  Judiciary and women's issues LA: Derron Parks

 

New Hampshire

Jeanne Shaheen D (202) 224-2841 Judiciary LA: Emily Livingston, Women's issues: Alison MacDonald

 

New York

Kirsten Gillibrand (202) 224-4451 Judiciary and women's issues LA: Michele Jawando

 

North Carolina

Kay Hagan D (202) 224-6342 Judiciary and women's issues LA: Tracy Zvenyach

 

Washington

Patty Murray D (202) 224-2621

Judiciary LA: Jason Park, Women's Issues LA: Paula Burg

Maria Cantwell D (202) 224-3441

Judiciary and women's issues LA: Janel George

 

And finally all the other wonderful sponsors:

 

Leahy, Patrick J. - (D - VT)

Akaka, Daniel K. - (D - HI)

Baucus, Max - (D - MT)

Begich, Mark - (D - AK)

Bennet, Michael F. - (D - CO)

Bingaman, Jeff - (D - NM)

Blumenthal, Richard - (D - CT)

Brown, Sherrod - (D - OH)

Cardin, Benjamin L. - (D - MD)

Carper, Thomas R. - (D - DE)

Casey, Robert P., Jr. - (D - PA)

Conrad, Kent - (D - ND)

Coons, Christopher A. - (D - DE)

Durbin, Richard J. - (D - IL)

Franken, Al - (D - MN)

Harkin, Tom - (D - IA)

Inouye, Daniel K. - (D - HI)

Johnson, Tim - (D - SD)

Kerry, John F. - (D - MA)

Kohl, Herb - (D - WI)

Lautenberg, Frank R. - (D - NJ)

Levin, Carl - (D - MI)

Lieberman, Joseph I. - (ID - CT)

Manchin, Joe, III - (D - WV)

Menendez, Robert - (D - NJ)

Merkley, Jeff - (D - OR)

Nelson, Ben - (D - NE)

Nelson, Bill - (D - FL)

Pryor, Mark L. - (D - AR)

Reed, Jack - (D - RI)

Reid, Harry - (D-NV)

Rockefeller, John  - (D - WV)

Sanders, Bernard - (I - VT)

Schumer, Charles E. - (D - NY)

Tester, Jon - (D - MT)

Udall, Mark - (D - CO)

Udall, Tom - (D - NM)

Warner, Mark R. - (D - VA)

Webb, Jim - (D - VA)

Whitehouse, Sheldon - (D - RI)

Wyden, Ron - (D - OR)