01 August 2011

Weekly Round-Up: Grantees Making Waves Nationwide

We love starting the week off with great news! This morning the Department of Health and Human Services accepted the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine that contraception, and other key women's preventive health services, be covered by insurance without co-pays or deductibles. This groundbreaking decision paves the way for millions of women to access the full range of FDA-approved contraception under health care reform, and creates a critical evidence-based framework to advance the concept that women's health care is basic health care. Congratulations to the many organizations -- Raising Women’s Voices, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and the National Women’s Law Center to name a few -- that worked to inform the report, providing research and testimony, and continue to advocate to make health care reform a reality for women across the country. Read Raising Women’s Voices’ op-ed published in the South Coast Today. Check out what we at the Ms. Foundation had to say about this just last week!

And now for the bad news: President Obama and congressional leaders appear to have reached a deal to raise the debt-ceiling that includes deep cuts to social programs that will hit women and families the hardest. The National Women's Law Center issued a response, writing: "The deal would cut domestic discretionary programs – programs such as Head Start, K-12 education, Title X family planning, job training, domestic violence prevention, meals-on-wheels and other services for vulnerable people – by hundreds of billions of dollars but not touch a penny of the tax breaks enjoyed by millionaires and corporations." 

On Thursday July 28th, Service Women's Action Network participated in an historic panel hosted by the Congressional Caucus on Women in the Military. The newly-formed caucus has devoted its attention to two issues of highest priority to SWAN: revoking the Combat Exclusion Policy and ending Military Sexual Violence.

CEOs to workers: More for me, less for you, an op-ed on wage disparities and the minimum wage by Holly Sklar of Let Justice Roll (and co-author with Ms. Foundation COO Susan Wefald of Raise the Floor), was published in McClatchy DC.

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade has launched its first canvassing project since Hurricane Katrina devastated its offices and displaced community members and staff six years ago. Matthew Kern, LABB’s new canvass director, discusses this final step towards recovery from the storms, explaining that they'll once again be able to "go out every day, rain, heat or shine, knock on doors and talk to people about issues they would have probably never have been exposed to any other way.” Read Kern’s full blog post.

The Institute for Women's Policy Research released a report, Ending Sex and Race Discrimination in the Workplace: Legal Interventions That Push the Envelope. The report examines how legal remedies have been used to address sexual harassment since the Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson case in which the United States Supreme Court ruled for the first time that sexual harassment constitutes unlawful sex discrimination.

The Women of Color Policy Network released a report on state-level legislative and policy activity relating to economic security, immigration reform, and reproductive rights and what they mean for women of color, their families, and communities. The brief, State Legislative Roundup for 2011, provides an overview of state-level wins and losses.

On July 11, the National Partnership for Women and Families and Family Values @ Work organized more than 200 paid sick days activists for the 2011 National Summit on Paid Sick Days and Paid Family Leave. Advocates, policy experts, workers and business leaders from 23 states and the District of Columbia gathered to discuss the movement to secure paid sick days and paid family leave taking root nationwide, and met with their members of Congress and urge them to support the Healthy Families Act. Watch a photo slideshow and a short video that chronicles one woman’s “day of action” on Capitol Hill. Read a blog post.

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum announced that "Reproductive Health Disparities: Pap Knowledge and Screening Rates among Asian Pacific Islander College Women," the latest research from their California Young Women's Collaborative, produced by Asian Pacific Islander students from CSU-Fullerton, was published in the Californian Journal of Health Promotion. Check it out!

The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance joined over 200 organizations around the country to call for a halt to the controversial "Secure Communities" program and protest the inadequacies of proposed oversight strategies. In a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton, civil and immigrants rights organizations, faith leaders, and law enforcement officials denounced the Department of Homeland Security's newly-established advisory committee, which was established without public input, is devoid of transparency or accountability, and does not include immigrant community members.

Events and Opportunities

The 2nd Annual Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice starts today! The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health California Latinas for Reproductive Justice and Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights are partnering around the theme, Caminamos: Justice for Immigrant Women. The week of action will engage people in advocating for immigrant women's rights and re-centering gender in the immigration dialogue.

The Jobs with Justice National Conference is just a few weeks away! Some program highlights include sessions like Stop the War on Workers; Workers Unite to Turn the Tide on Immigration Enforcement; and Caring Across Generations. Register and learn more.

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