28 October 2008

The Big Five - Learn More About Five Issues Important to Women: Economic Security, Health, Immigration, Violence and Education

The Ms. Foundation is proud to be a co-sponsor of The Big Five, a public-information campaign launched by the National Council for Research on Women. Based on the work of 2,000 scholars in the 115 research, advocacy and policy centers in NCRW's network, the campaign focuses on five issues important to women: economic security, health, immigration, violence and education. You'll find the facts, along with in-depth analysis and proposals to develop effective policies and programs at ncrwbigfive.org

Help us spread the word! Together, we can make a difference, not only for women and girls, but for society as a whole -- in the U.S. and around the world.

To find out about how the Ms. Foundation's more than 150 grantee organizations are igniting critical policy and culture change on behalf of women, families and communities, visit us at ms.foundation.org and sign up to receive our blog postings by email.

24 October 2008

Join the Ms. Foundation for a Special Showing of "Pray the Devil Back to Hell"

The Ms. Foundation for Women and the Global Fund for Women are Honored to Present

Pray the Devil Back to Hell
A film by Gini Reticker and Abigail E. Disney

Liberian women demonstrate at the American Embassy in Monrovia at the height of the civil war, July 2003. [Photo credit: Pewee Flomoku]
Liberian women demonstrate at the American Embassy in Monrovia at
the height of the civil war, July 2003. [Photo credit: Pewee Flomoku]

Host: Sara K. Gould, President and CEO, The Ms. Foundation for Women
Date: Saturday, November 8, 2008
Time: 8:00 pm
Location: Cinema Village [site]
Address: 22 East 12th St., Manhattan [map]

Pray the Devil Back to Hell chronicles the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together across faith to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country.

The Ms. Foundation for Women builds women's collective power to ignite progressive change. As the leading national women's fund, we support over 150 local, state and national organizations working for social justice across the United States. President and CEO Sara Gould will host a conversation with the filmmakers and discuss the importance of linking women's struggles around the world.

"We believe that women who are most affected by flawed policies and institutions have solutions that benefit everyone," says Sara Gould. "As demonstrated so powerfully in Pray the Devil, women have the courage and deep commitment to pursue just solutions against all odds. We must create connections with women's movements across the globe, to be inspired, and to learn from and support one another, as we build the collective power of women to create a better world."

For more information, contact Lulu Roller at 212.709.4430 and lroller@ms.foundation.org
For more information on the film see PraytheDevilBacktoHell.com
For more information on the Global Fund for Women see globalfundforwomen.org
For more information on the Ms. Foundation for Women see ms.foundation.org

17 October 2008

Ms. Foundation Grantees Collaborate in Opposition to Colorado Amendment 48 Declaring Personhood Begins at Fertilization

Two Ms. Foundation grantees, the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), and the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) are working together to oppose the "Definition of Person" amendment to the Colorado State Constitution. Amendment 48, on the ballot before voters on November 4, declares that the term person includes "any human being from the moment of fertilization" and would grant that person "inalienable rights, equality of justice and due process of law."

As noted on COLOR's web site, the amendment (emphasis added)
goes too far by outlawing all abortions, even in the case of rape, incest, and to save the life of the woman. The amendment does not respect family decisions and puts women's health at risk. Even though many Latinos would not choose abortion for themselves, we respect other people's decisions and believe that family decisions should be private.
In a letter to the editor in the New York Times, NAPW Executive Director Lynn M. Paltrow, writing about the Colorado amendment and related ones in California, and South Dakota, noted:
Measures that outlaw abortion and recognize fetal rights are routinely used to hurt all pregnant women, including those going to term. Such measures are used to control, and sometimes punish, women who do not want unnecessary Caesarean surgery; who want to have vaginal births after previous Caesarean surgery; women who love their children but can’t necessarily overcome a drug or alcohol problem in the short term of a pregnancy; and women who suffer unintentional stillbirths.

In collaboration, NAPW and COLOR have prepared a one-page fact sheet in English and Spanish that is part of state-wide education efforts and COLOR's grassroots door-to-door canvassing. Both organizations are also pursuing public information and voter education campaigns. Lynn Paltrow, of NAPW, in collaboration with Indra Lusero of the Luz Reproductive Justice Think Tank, wrote a commentary that has appeared in numerous local papers including the Vail Daily. Lynn Paltrow's speaking visit was covered in the Denver Daily News with an exploration of the opposition to Amendment 48.

07 October 2008

Ms. Foundation Announces Emergency Grants

Crisis continues on the Gulf Coast:
FEMA fails thousands again; ICE raid threatens immigrant workers and families

Today, the Ms. Foundation announced that it has made special grants to the United Houma Nation Relief Fund, the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation and the Mississippi Immigrants’ Rights Alliance—all either current or past Katrina Women’s Response Fund grantees—to meet the urgent needs of women, families and communities in the Gulf Coast.

One month after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike ravaged rural, low-lying coastal areas of Louisiana and forced the evacuation of New Orleans, entire communities remain in crisis. FEMA is repeating past mistakes and a severe housing emergency looms.

Throughout the bayou, homes were thrust off of their foundations and strong winds left only a few beams standing. FEMA has offered emergency housing vouchers, but for nonexistent rentals and hotel rooms already taken up by representatives of the powerful oil and gas industry.

Since Gustav, Brenda Dardar Robichaux, Principal Chief of the United Houma Nation and a recipient of the Ms. Foundation’s 2008 Women of Vision Award, has been blogging about Gustav and Ike’s devastating impact on her People—and the failure of the media or policymakers to pay attention. You can read her entries here. She also set up a relief center again, just like she did after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, to offer emergency food, supplies and assistance with FEMA applications.

In New Orleans, people are still struggling to recover from unexpected costs and lost wages sustained during a city-wide evacuation. The displacement was especially burdensome for low-wage workers—most often women—who frequently lack benefits or leave policies that might serve as a buffer in times of emergency. LDRF is working to help offset their expenses and restore some sense of economic security—already fragile before the recent storms—to their lives.

In Laurel, Mississippi, just before Gustav hit Louisiana, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained nearly 600 immigrant workers in the largest workplace raid in U.S. history. Since then, families have struggled to pay rent or purchase basic necessities like medicine and food. MIRA acted quickly to protect the legal rights of the detained workers’ and their families and to establish a relief fund to meet people’s basic needs.

Sara K. Gould, President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women, shared this: “We are proud to support the relief efforts of our Gulf Coast grantees as they work to meet people’s immediate needs and to address new levels of devastation brought about by recent hurricanes and ongoing government failure, discrimination and neglect. We hope to continue to raise the visibility and leadership of those who are most impacted—namely, low-income women, women of color, and immigrant women—who, because of their disproportionate and direct experience with these crises, have the most just and sustainable solutions to the short- and long-term challenges their communities face.”
Photos: Gustav Damage, 9/16/08
Brenda Dardar Robichaux
Credit: United Houma Nation