27 September 2011

Delegation of Women Leaders Fights Anti-Immigrant Bill in Georgia

Tomorrow a delegation of women leaders from over two dozen national human rights organizations -- National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, MomsRising, and many others -- will travel to Georgia to protest the state’s new anti-immigrant bill (HB 87), copycat legislation of Arizona’s controversial and costly SB1070, and speak out as part of the growing resistance to anti-immigrant legislation nationwide.

The We Belong Together Delegation will connect with those most gravely affected by Georgia’s new law with other regional immigrant activists for a day of story-sharing (September 28) and a press conference in front of the state capital building (September 29, 10:30am).

As we have noted before these laws are exceptionally harmful for women who are often most deeply affected when their families are torn apart, or they fail to report crimes such as domestic violence and sexual assault out of fear of deportation or detention, and find their bodies and children demonized in the increasingly hostile rhetoric. Read NAPAWF executive director Miriam Yeung's moving blog post about why this delegation and this movement is so important to her as an immigrant, a mother and an activist.

The need to fight these laws is why the Ms. Foundation supported a similar delegation of women's rights and immigrant rights activists who traveled to Washington in June of last year following the adoption of Arizona's SB1070 and gave voice to women whose lives and livelihoods were threatened by the legislation.

We are pleased to see Ms. Foundation grantees lead the way once again, advocating for dignity and respect for immigrant women and their families and advancing the rights of us all. We will share updates and photos in the next week so stay tuned. Let's all pledge to make sure our country is welcoming and safe for everyone.

For more information on the delegation please visit NDWA, NAPAWF or MomsRising.

 Immigrant Rights March photo © Elizabeth Rappaport and the Ms. Foundation for Women.

Marking a Time for Reflection and Renewal

As Jews in America observe the beginning of a new year with reflection and renewal, we mark the occasion with best wishes to all communities that form the fabric of the United States.

The Ms. Foundation is also taking stock and looking towards the future. As we move from reflection to renewal ourselves we are inspired by the power of humility and compassion, combined with commitment and action, to repair our world.

In this new year we wish our many partners -- women igniting change in communities across the country and those who work with them -- renewed determination and the ability and support to move us toward a just nation.

Together we can ignite change,

Anika Rahman
President and CEO

20 September 2011

Shop at Eileen Fisher This Saturday; Support Ms. Foundation

If you shop online this Saturday there's a way to get a great discount while helping thousands of women across the country -- and igniting change!

Along with almost two dozen local women's funds, the Ms. Foundation for Women is part of Eileen Fisher and the Women's Funding Network's September 24th day in support of women and girls. For every purchase at Eileen Fisher stores -- and online -- 10% will go to a partner women's fund.

The Ms. Foundation will benefit from in-store sales in Portland, Oregon and four stores in the Boston area, and we're sharing the money we'll receive with our local grantees in those areas who are supporting this effort, including the Oregon Tradeswomen Association, Massachusetts Citizens for Children and the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health.

Being part of this is easy:
  1. If you're in or near Portland, Oregon or Boston, please shop on Saturday, September 24th, and you can print out and use a $25 off coupon [Boston area coupon] [Portland area coupon].
  2. Or you can shop online at eileenfisher.com from ANYWHERE (and take $25 off using code 525900). When you make your online purchase please select the Ms. Foundation for Women as your beneficiary of choice.
Everyone at the Ms. Foundation applauds the commitment of Eileen Fisher, Women's Funding Network and women's funds nationwide to making change happen for women and girls.

Thanks for shopping in Portland, Oregon or Boston -- or making an Eileen Fisher purchase online (and voting for the Ms. Foundation for Women) -- this Saturday, September 24th.

16 September 2011

Media Ignore Record Poverty Among Women

Wednesday, in "Women: The Invisible Poor," the Daily Beast's Lindsay Bennett wrote: "When it comes to the latest economic data on women, the news is even worse than most people seem to realize. But you couldn’t learn that by reading The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, neither of which even mentioned women in their front-page stories about the rise in the poverty rate, which has soared to its highest level since 1993."

You said it, Lindsay. We couldn't believe it either. In its lead article covering the Census Bureau's new poverty data, the Times highlighted increases in poverty among men, children and youth, with not one mention of women, who are also facing record poverty levels this year (and, as always, are more likely to be poor than men). Here are some of the numbers:
  • Poverty among women climbed to 14.5% in 2010, the highest rate in 17 years
  • Women (7.5 million of them) are also experiencing the highest rate of extreme poverty on record. 
  • Poverty rates among women of color (25.6% for Black women, 25% for Latinas) and single moms (40.7%) are even more staggering. 
  • The child poverty rate climbed to 22%, and more than half of children in poverty lived in families headed by single mothers. 
And why is it so important to report this data? In part because it underscores how important it is to elevate women's solutions -- solutions based on lived experience and tremendously urgent need.

Solutions like paid sick days (just passed in Seattle) and quality, affordable child care, both of which help women in particular keep their jobs. Solutions like using federal dollars to prevent  teacher layoffs in states nationwide, one of many put forward by our grantees that were included in President Obama's recent jobs proposal. And solutions like those of the Caring Across Generations campaign, which would create 2 million new caregiving jobs and overwhelmingly benefit low-income, immigrant women of color.

This week's poverty numbers -- as well as growing numbers of those without health insurance, and a stagnant gender wage gap -- remind us just how badly women are reeling. How urgently change generated by women is called for. And how shameful it is that the 17.2 million women living in poverty -- particularly in a climate where women are bearing the brunt of the recession -- are not front-page news.

So, press, pundits and policymakers: do your job -- and your math! -- and consider the full story. Women are half of our nation's workforce, and two-thirds of families depend on women's earnings to survive. How can our country recover if we don't do everything we can to guarantee their visibility and well-being?

Photo: © Elizabeth Rappaport and the Ms. Foundation for Women.

15 September 2011

Internship Opportunity in Gloria Steinem's Office

We’re pleased to share this opportunity to support Gloria Steinem (Ms. Foundation co-founder), and we look forward to meeting the intern in our shared office space.

Gloria Steinem's downtown Brooklyn office is looking for a fall intern--one day per week (Fridays strongly preferred), unpaid (though we will cover your travel expenses), and the chance of a lifetime!

...are a small (tiny!) office looking for a little extra help as we head into a busy fall.
...have several large archiving projects for our intern to focus on, but naturally this position will likely also include light office work (phone answering, mail-related tasks, copying, and others).
...want a bright and efficient addition to our team!

...are a feminist with energy, passion, smarts, and a great work ethic.
...have an interest in history, library science, or information/data management (or all of these)!
...want a chance to work in a close-knit office environment that can be fast-paced and stressful but also fun and inspiring.

If you think you'd be a good fit, send a resume and a cover letter describing what you're like and what you're passionate about to: mariecochs@gmail.com. Please include "archival intern position" and your name in the subject line.

12 September 2011

Louisiana Advocate, Gina Womack, Receives National Honor

We are so happy to congratulate Gina Womack, co-founder and executive director of Friends and Families of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), a longtime grantee, on her 2011 Alston Bannerman Fellowship Award. The fellowship is presented by the Center for Social Inclusion to outstanding community activists of color who have dedicated their life to social change.

Gina, a 2009 Ms. Foundation Woman of Vision, whose advocacy brings justice and human decency to thousands of incarcerated people and their families across the US South, exemplifies the spirit of the Bannerman award. We have supported Gina and FFLIC for years and are so pleased to see her work, dedication, and passion rewarded in this way!

Watch the video below and hear her personal story of how she turned a small idea for a support group of friends and family members of incarcerated youth into a movement fighting for dignity, respect and justice in the increasingly opaque prison industry. Congratulations, Gina!