From fighting for equal pay to singing a feminist anthem, women are changing the world every day. Here is what we are reading this month.
Ms. Magazine, Liza Kane-Hartnett
Last month’s “What We’re Reading” included a post reporting on multiple states attempts to pass anti-abortion legislation. While the effects of the U.S. government’s current anti-women agenda has been well publicized, we sometimes forget how these policies affect our global partners. The Global Gag rule, first imposed under President Ronald Reagan, has been re-enacted and expanded by the present administration to withhold all “U.S. global health funding [from] foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that provide abortion services, counseling, referrals or advocacy—or fund other organizations that do so” (Kane-Hartnett). The policy applies to organizations even if they use their own, non-U.S. funds to counsel or refer patients to safe abortion services. The article details the Gag Rule’s negative impacts, including on American NGOs working in Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, and South Africa, which have not only been restricted from speaking about reproductive health in general, but also about access to HIV/AIDS-related services and information regarding safe abortions. The silencing of these organizations has emboldened the anti-abortion rhetoric in these communities, further marginalizing women and girls and the women who serve them.
Angry? So are we! Join us by tweeting: We join women’s advocates including the International Women’s Health Coalition and call on Congress to ban the anti-woman Global Gag rule (http://bit.ly/2Xv38ty). #trumpglobalgag @IWHC
Why America is the World’s First Poor Rich Country: Or, How American Collapse is Made of a New Kind of Poverty
Medium, Umair Haque
In this thought-provoking article, business consultant and author Umair Haque explores how America is pioneering a “new kind” of poverty. Neither relative nor absolute poverty, Haque argues that American poverty means living everyday “one small step from catastrophe” (Haque). The average American is living paycheck to paycheck due to the high cost of basic necessities such as healthcare, education, and shelter. Yet, this is not the reality for citizens of other developed nations. While a French woman might earn a similar salary to that of an American, the cost of everyday necessities is much lower – thus, she is able to save or invest money, while the American is forced to forfeit a payment or take out a loan. Moreover, those unable to make ends meet in the US are punished by the very institutions that forced them to take out loans. Haque argues that this is leading to the slow collapse of the United States. What do you think?
Vox, Tara Golshan
On June 13th, the US women’s soccer team made history by scoring the most goals in a single World Cup game, beating Thailand 13-0. While the women’s team has unequivocally performed better than the men’s US team (the latter didn’t even classify to play in last year’s World Cup), they continue to be paid less than their male counterparts. For a similar game, women will earn $99,000 (only if they win!), while the men earn $263,320 if they win and $100,000 if they lose. You read that right: even if the men lose, they still make more than when the women win. Understandably, the women’s team has filed a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation claiming, “purposeful gender discrimination” (Golshan), not only in their salary but also in their training and travel accommodations. This gap has been highlighted not just for women in sports but for all women in the workforce. In general, women make 80¢ for every $1 a man makes, while black women make 61¢ per $1 and Latina women making 53¢ to the dollar (Golshan). It’s past time for women to earn equal pay, and we stand by all women demanding it.
International Crisis Group
Analyzing how Al-Shabaab’s rule in Somalia affects women and the role women play in the movement is hard. However, developing government-backed strategies against gender-based violence is harder, especially when many women support the regime that upholds these harsh rules. Many of these women consider themselves active participants of the insurgency group, believing that Al-Shabaab “can provide some security and its courts often uphold Islamic family law to their benefit” (ICG). While they may not be allowed to hold positions of leadership, women engage through fundraising, recruitment, indoctrination, weapon transportation, and spying. How can the state and civil society intervene?
Vox, Jane Coaston
Have you ever wondered exactly what we mean when we say intersectionality? What is the origin of the term? Why has it suddenly gone viral in mainstream politics? Why do conservatives hate the word? If so, this is the article for you. Coined by Kimberle Crenshaw, the term was first used to describe the overlap of experiences of different identities with the ultimate goal of “demolishing racial hierarchies” (Coaston). Yet, today it has been coined by many activists to refer to something else. Want to find out more? Read here!
NPR, Mandalit Del Barco
“‘La Cocina’ means ‘the kitchen’ in Spanish. It’s also the name of a business incubator based in San Francisco’s Mission District. Since it began in 2005, it’s been helping local food entrepreneurs, many of whom are low-income immigrant women, develop their small businesses…Over the years, many of its alumni have found success…[like] a new cookbook! We are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of the American Dream tells some of their stories.” Want to learn more? Click here!
The Washington Post, Jenny Rogers
Many women report feeling a sense of invisibility after they turn 50. For most, they experience a time in their lives solely dedicated to reaching personal and/or professional milestones. From a housemother becoming a doctor to a closeted woman living openly gay, this article explores the lives of eight women in their 50s and is further proof that age is just a number!
Bitch Media, Rebecca Coon
In 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FELA) was passed allowing, under certain conditions, employees to qualify for up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave (Coon). Only 60% of US workers have access to FELA, and many who do are unable to afford to take the time off. This is unacceptable. The United States is the only developing country that does not offer paid family leave. These policies place an undue burden on women, especially women of color, who are not only the primary caretakers of children but who are also working full-time jobs. If 82% of Americans support paid leave for mothers, why has it not happened? Time to demand paid family leave!
Join us by tweeting: Women should not have to miss a paycheck to give birth or take care of a sick family member. I support and fight for #Paidfamilyleave! @womenstrongintl @paidleaveus (http://bit.ly/2IJ8sS5)
Youtube, International Crisis Group
Ever what happened to the girls made famous through the #BringBackOurGirls campaign? This article brings us up to date. “For ten years, clashes between the rebel group and the military have killed several thousand people and displaced more than two million in Nigeria alone. The Nigerian army’s advance in 2015 prompted many women affiliated with the group to flee. Others were captured or rescued by soldiers and returned to internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, where they were exposed to acute marginalisation and abuse…This hostile environment is pushing a significant number [of women] to return to the insurgency. This documentary gathers these women’s testimonies and sheds new light on the realities they face on their challenging journey back into society.”
The Big, Feminist Policy Idea America’s Families Have Been Waiting For: How Universal Family Care could help people throughout their lives
The New York Times, Ai-jen Poo and Benjamin W. Veghte
Family care is the biggest form of unpaid labor in the United States. Not surprisingly, the biggest burden of this work lands on the backs of women of color. Currently, there are over 43.5 million unpaid family caregivers in the country, and our social protection programs like Medicaid don’t begin to meet the needs of this population (Universal Family Care). That is why the Universal Family Care organization is advocating for a “‘Public Family Care Insurance Fund’ to make care affordable and accessible to all” (Universal Family Care). This plan aims to cover an expansive list of benefits pertaining to family care in all stages of life, including daycare for young children and medical support for the elderly. And everyone would be eligible for this assistance!
Want to add your voice to the petition to pass the Public Family Care Insurance Fund? Click here!
NPR, Neda Ulaby
If you’ve ever listened to Lesley Gore’s iconic rendition of, “You Don’t Own Me,” you might identify it as a feminist anthem about “a woman telling a guy off” (Ulaby). However, did you know that the origin of the song also has roots in the civil rights movement? The co-authors of the song, David White and John Madara, wanted to speak about the “violence against disenfranchized people who stand up to oppression” (Ulaby). From the 1963 original, to the hip-hop cover by the artist Grace, to Lesley Gore’s last cover in her final album, the song has since been used as an anthem in a multitude of social right campaigns, such as during the #metoo movement and the #WomensMarch. Ultimately, the song gives voice to those who cannot speak and moves all listeners to practice empathy and stand with the powerless.