Posted by Sandi on Jan 30, 2012 in Women's Rights
This is so well put. Listen to Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland talk about the “ambition gap” and the continual inequality between genders in the workforce due to social norms that begin in childhood and are perpetuated throughout our adult lives.
In the developing world these inequalities are much more obvious when it comes to the accessibility of education for girls vs. boys and basic freedoms that are often restricted by government and/or religious tradition. But in industrialized countries like the United States the gender gap is more muted. Our social norms have still not changed and our ways of thinking about how women and men should act are so ingrained in us that we fail to notice unless it is pointed out. My favorite quote from Sandberg who explains that it all begins in how we are raised when she points out: “little girls are called bossy . . . I challenge you go find someone who calls a little boy bossy.” Sandberg then goes on to link this social norm and way of thinking to adults in the workforce by noting that “success and likability are positively correlated with men and negatively correlated for women.” Watch the full 6 minutes below:
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Posted by Sandi on Apr 8, 2011 in Political Thoughts
, Women's Rights
As I’m sure you’ve all heard, its extremely likely that the U.S. Federal Government will be shut down if Congress does not agree upon and vote on a budget (H.R. 1) for the fiscal year. All throughout the day I’ve been getting news alerts saying they are close to a compromise . . . I’m sure you are wondering what is holding things up? Is it a disagreement on how much should be cut?
All I can say is that the disagreement over spending cuts has been settled for hours now, in fact the Dems met the GOP request of $30+ billion in spending cuts, but then the GOP decided to change their mind because the Tea Party wants more. And then there is the fact that Republicans attached more than 80 riders to their initial funding bill, including several that actually increase federal spending. As Senator Reid explained, ”The two main issues that are holding this matter up are the choice of women, reproductive rights, and clean air.” Thats right – the GOP/Tea Party is going to shut down the U.S. Government because ideological policy issues that will only hurt low income and middle class Americans. More so it appears that the Tea Party conservatives are launching a “War on Women.” As evidenced by the riders that include: eliminating Title X Family Planning funds for low income women (Planned Parenthood), not allowing women to purchase health coverage with their own money if it includes abortion services, redefining rape as “forcible rape,” allow hospitals to refuse to provide abortions/medical care even to victims of rape or incest, eliminate funding for programs like Head Start and WIC and limit the EPA from being able to set regulations for carbon emissions, etc (learn more about these riders here). And as Speaker Boehner explained: ”We will continue to insist that the policy riders passed in H.R. 1 are on the table. It’s just as important to many of our members as the spending cuts themselves.” It appears that compromise is not in the GOP/Tea Party vocabulary.
Here is the thing, It may be important to freshman Tea-Party members to infringe on my rights and access to safe affordable reproductive healthcare, but it is insanely irresponsible to put ideology before your primary responsibility, which is to keep our country and government running. GOP get your people in line and stop letting your freshman members act like children who really want their dessert before dinner. Because at this point dinner may not be served on the tables of many working families. There are those families who are struggling to put food on the table because our economy has yet to begin producing enough jobs to get our country back on track — and then there are those who will not be allowed to report to work or be paid because of a government shutdown. Your attempts to hold the U.S. Government and American people hostage because of extreme ideological views is childish and if you can’t put the country’s interests ahead of your own you don’t deserve to be there.
*Images from this post are from the Rally for Women’s Health and Lobby Day in Washington, DC on April 7th 2011 (organized by NARAL Pro-Choice America & Planned Parenthood). Thousands of women came to the Capital from around the country via car, bus, plane or train to tell their representatives in the U.S. Government that their bodies and access to basic reproductive healthcare are not to be toyed with. Millions of women (and men) utilize the comprehensive health services Planned Parenthood provides which include cancer screening (breast & uterine), access to preventative contraception, STI/HIV testing, etc. Attendees met with Congressional staffers and Members of Congress to explain the importance of access to reproductive and preventative family planing care that is covered by Title X funds.
While some staff members from either side of the aisle were welcoming and willing to listen, others (Nan Hayworth, M.D. R-NY – I’m talking to you) were not! Congresswoman Hayworth has said publicly that she is both pro-choice and supports access to reproductive healthcare, but actually voted in favor of cutting Title X funding to Planned Parenthood. You see where we might find issue with that? Her staff had 20 of us stand in the hallway (we “couldn’t fit in the office”), looked as if we were torturing him (its not hard to just smile and nod, even if you disagree) and refused to explain her rationale for voting no despite her public statements. When he finally stated that for “fiscal reasons” she voted to cut Title X – a staff member from Planned Parenthood pointed out to him that for every $1 cut from Title X funds that Medicaid spending would actually increase by $3. A statistic which the staffer of course never wrote down. So here is to hoping that the Congresswoman gets her views and numbers straight in time to vote for the best interests of her constituents who utilized Planned Parenthood’s services.
For additional information about the GOP H.R. 1 riders which would greatly effect women, please read my post titled “It’s All About Jobs, Stupid! Not My Uterus!”
This past week we lost two giants whose lives were not only marked by their own successes and failures, but also by their service and dedication to ensure that others had those same opportunities for success. They were women who didn’t allow social norms to dictate their opinions or actions.
I sometimes wonder if Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011) and Geraldine Ferraro (1935-2011) ever crossed paths? They were so different, yet also so much the same. One was married once, the other eight times. One was in Hollywood, the other in our Nation’s Capital. Both were working mothers. Ferraro stood by her husband and son during extremely difficult times, despite the impact to her career and Elizabeth Taylor was said to be a wonderful mother & step-mother (according to Carrie Fischer) and both were known as tireless advocates for their friends. Its funny that both Elizabeth Taylor and Geraldine Ferraro are forever engraved in my mind as women who truly had grit, because of things they did in 1984 – the year of my birth.
Everyone knows that in 1984, Geraldine Ferraro became the first female candidate for Vice President to be on a major party ticket when Walter Mondale chose her as his running mate. As Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright explained to POLITICO, “When she stepped up on the stage at the San Francisco convention, that really opened the door in so many different ways . . . People questioned, frankly, whether a woman could do foreign policy. They asked her if she could press the nuclear button – questions they don’t ask men. But she cut through it all.” She cut through it all so that the girl I was at the time, and the woman I became knew running for Vice President or even President of our great country was a possibility, not a pipedream. The 1984 election loss didn’t bring her down. Ferraro went on to serve as United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights under Clinton and she continued to fight and support other women who ran for office across the country. As she put it, “When women run, women win.”
In the same year, Elizabeth Taylor became one of the first celebrities and public personalities to raise awareness and advocate for the prevention of HIV/AIDS by organizing and hosting the first AIDS fundraiser in 1984, to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles. In the 1980s HIV/AIDS was barely acknowledged, despite the fact that it was causing hundreds of deaths each year (including the death of my Great Uncle in 1985) because it was a “Gay Disease.” Some of Taylor’s friends, including actor Rock Hudson, were stricken by the disease. So despite the controversy associated with the disease she refused to stay silent by publicly advocating for funding and research to find a cure. In 1993 she founded the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. Former President Bill Clinton said it best, ”Elizabeth’s legacy will live on in many people around the world whose lives will be longer and better because of her work and the ongoing efforts of those she inspired.”
Both these women paved a path for us . . . the least we can do is fill in a pot hole every now and then to make sure the road continues to allow safe passage for all.
Posted by Sandi on Feb 15, 2011 in Political Thoughts
, Women's Rights
If you are like me, you’ve been receiving multiple action alerts from women’s groups and democratic leaders on a daily basis the past 2-3 weeks about the GOP assault on women. The purpose of this post is to simply layout the pieces and intentions of the GOP’s attacks on American women, and What YOU Can DO About It!
So much for the November 2010 Election platform of ”Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” . . . because it seems that all the GOP has been doing since taking control of the House in January is attempt to chip away at my right to reproductive choice, privacy and health services. And boy have they been busy – in the past month 4 bills have been introduced that cut funding and restrict women’s access to vital programs that support women and families.
1) H.R. 3—the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act – This is the infamous bill introduced by Chris Smith (R-NJ) that would make it illegal for even private insurance companies to offer health coverage for abortion. But, thats not all – it also takes things a thousand steps further by redefining the term RAPE, by only allowing victims who are subjected to “forcible rape” to have access to abortion services. I don’t know about you, but last I checked no means no, and rape is rape, plain and simple. So congress has decided if the victim of a rape is drugged, mentally handicapped, under age (statutory) or a victim of incest its not “really rape” because it wasn’t “forced.” Now when people started speaking out and putting the pressure on – the GOP said they’d remove that language from the bill. But, surprise, surprise as of today the “forcible rape” language is still there and the bill has over 163 sponsors.
TAKE ACTION by Signing this Petition Against H.R.3 : http://boehnersamerica.org/splash/signup/splash01/
And enjoy this Daily Show Clip on the “forcible rape” language . . .
2) The Pence Bill or H.R. 217, the “Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act” - Introduced by Mike Pence, this bill’s only goal is to restrict Planned Parenthood from receiving Federal funds for family planning services that have helped millions of women by providing access to basic reproductive healthcare. With over 160 GOP sponsors the bill plans on cutting more than $70 million in funds provided by the federal government, that often go to serve those women who can normally not afford basic medical care. The majority of Planned Parenthood funding doesn’t go towards abortion, but to health services like annual GYN check-ups, birth control, and STI/STD testing.
TAKE ACTION against “The Pence Bill” and cuts to Planned Parenthood funding by calling (202) 730-9001 for the Congressional switch board or get patched through to your Congressman HERE.
3) H.R. 358, the “Protect Life Act – Introduced by Joe Pitts (R-PA), this bill would not only prohibit federal funding for abortions under the national health-care law, it would also allow doctors and hospitals to refuse to perform any abortion, even if it was needed to save the life of a pregnant woman. Current law dictates that a pregnant woman with a life-threatening condition cannot be turned away by a hospital, even if her condition requires a doctor to abort her child. A federal law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), requires hospitals that receive federal funds (almost all of them do) to provide you with emergency treatment or transfer you to a hospital that can. This bill would undermine that law, by allowing a doctor to not only deny an abortion to a dying pregnant woman, but to also refuse to transfer that woman to a place where she might be able to receive an abortion. In fact, the hospital would not be required to do anything at all.
*The only TAKE ACTION alert I could find for this bill was from the Catholic Advocate urging their members to support the “Protect Life Act” and allow doctors to let their pregnant patients die.
UPDATE 2/16/2011 – NARAL has created an online petition against both H.R. 358 & H.R. 3 – So Please TAKE ACTION: http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/get-involved/stupak-on-steroids/call-rep-021611.html
4) The Continuing Resolution for FY 2011 – proposed by House Republican leaders, according to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) this resolution cuts support for women and girls at every stage of life:
- Eliminates the Title X family planning programs that provide funding for contraception and other preventive care to over five million women and men each year
- Cuts Head Start and child care for 368,000 children
- Cuts millions from nutrition programs for pregnant women and their children
- Cuts funding for prenatal care
- Eliminates funding for the Women’s Educational Equity Program that helps schools comply with Title IX
- Cuts funding for Pell grants, which help low-income women afford college, by more than $800 per student
- Cuts funding needed to keep Social Security offices open and for meals, housing, and other supports for elderly women
TAKE ACTION Against “Continuing Resolution for FY2011′s” Drastic Cuts to services for Women and Girls by Signing this Petition!
Make no mistake, this is a full assault against women! Make sure you take action against each of these attempts to limit women’s access to vital services and programs. The only “jobs” bill the GOP leadership has introduced was the “Repeal of the Job Killing Healthcare Law” which as studies and numerous statistics have already proven actually decreases the deficit and definitely does not “kill” any jobs. In fact, the new “Affordable Care Act” has already helped thousands of my generation who are unemployed and now allowed to stay on their parents health insurance until the age of 26.
The GOP claims to be acting on a “mandate” from the people – but, the majority of Americans when asked about specific provisions within the “Affordable Care Act” overwhelmingly support the new law. Meanwhile, the majority of Americans also respect and support a woman’s right to choose – yet it appears that the GOP is allowing the conservative minority dictate their actions and could care less about the needs of the American people.
We are paying attention and we don’t like what we see! As clearly stated in MoveOn’s most recent ad against these malicious attacks on Women & Girls – We Will Never Go Back!