Thursday, August 31, 2006

Back Lash

The New York Times has just recently brought to our attention the diminished numbers of female supreme court law clerks.

Just under 50 percent of new law school graduates in 2005 were women. Yet women account for only 7 of the 37 law clerkships for the new term, the first time the number has been in the single digits since 1994, when there were 4,000 fewer women among the country’s new law school graduates than there are today.


Considering the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor has decreased the female leadership on the Supreme Court by 50% this is not where we want to be heading.

A post on one popular legal Web site, the Volokh Conspiracy, asked, “Why so few women Supreme Court clerks?” and drew 135 comments during a single week in July. The answers included the relative scarcity of female students among the top editors of the leading law schools’ law reviews — an important preclerkship credential — and the absence of women among the “feeder judges,” the dozen or so federal appeals court judges who, year in and year out, offer a reliable pipeline to the Supreme Court for their own favored law clerks.


There is much speculation as to why women are missing out on these important opportunities and I have a sneaking suspicion it is not due to availablitiy or career drive.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Blogging as Feminist Activism

NOW has an interesting article up on their website this week about the importance of blogging and commenting on other people's blogs in order to build feminist grassroots activism. Now more than ever we are witnessing the political power of blogs, given the role the netroots played in the downfall of Joe Lieberman in Conneticut.

Women are in a particular place of power when it comes to blogging. There are so many wonderful political blogs by women. The more we read and comment on them the more powerful and mainstream they become. People are starting to pay attention to us and we need to keep the momentum going!

A good starting point is the Blogher website. Blogher has done wonders in terms of creating a strong network of women bloggers. Their blogroll keeps us all connected and helps throw a good deal of traffic our way. If you haven't been to Blogher, you're definitely missing out on a major source of potential feminist activism.


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Monday, August 28, 2006

Bitch Magazine 10th Anniversary Gala & Auction

Bay Area Feminists...Take Note!

Bitch Magazine is hosting a 10th Anniversary Gala and Auction

Friday, September 8 at 6pm

San Francisco Women's Building
3543 18th St


$15 advance, $25 door
Visit: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/6353 for more details


All ages welcome!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

FDA FInally Approves Plan B

It's about time! Women 18 and older will finally be able to buy the morning after pill over the counter, says the FDA. Women have been waiting too long for this no-brainer decision...this is wonderful news!

Sales of Plan B over the counter should begin by the end of this year. Read the story here.


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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

California Commission on the Status of Women Public Hearings

The state of California is holding a series of public hearings on issues of importance to women. In preparation, they are soliciting proposals for testimonials from women. Three different hearings will be held at the following locations:

September 20, 2006
2 to 6 PM
Center for Healthy Communities
The California Endowment
1000 North Alameda Street
Redwood Room
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Submit testimony sign-up form by September 15, 2006

September 28, 2006
1:30 to 5:30 PM
Fresno State Building
2550 Mariposa Mall, #1036 (Assembly Room)
Fresno, CA 93721
Submit testimony sign-up form by September 25, 2006

October 19, 2006
1 to 5 PM
State Capitol Building
Room 447
Sacramento, CA 95814
Submit testimony sign-up form by October 13, 2006



Issues for testimony include, but are not limited to, sexual harassment, reproductive freedom, racial equality, child support, childcare, human trafficking, access to health care, child custody, women in prison, economic security, divorce, Title IX, housing, education, pay equity, stalking, sexual assault, employment discrimination, women in politics, teen dating violence, domestic violence, hate crimes, athletic equity, disability, CalWORKs, CEDAW & teen pregnancy.


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Polarized Debate: Mommy Wars and Welfare

Interesting that we are in the process of the mommy war debate and articles such as "A Welfare Law Milestone Finds Many Left Behind" in the New York Times today point to the fact that the mommy war debate is predominantly a class issue. Society places the female role in the home.....except if your on welfare for too long and then it's back to work.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Book Review: Two Paths to Equality

Alice Paul and the Struggle for the ERA

I recently read a book about one of the most underappreciated yet major contributors to American feminism in U.S. history, Alice Paul. It is a shame so few Americans know who Alice Paul is. She was a passionate feminist activist, one who went to extremes in her struggle to obtain women’s equality. Paul endured horrible treatment by the U.S. government in her campaign for women’s voting rights, including imprisonment and forced feeding in response to her self imposed hunger strike. These commitments should not be forgotten. Although the book I just read by Amy E. Butler, Two Paths to Equality: Alice Paul and Ethel M. Smith in the ERA Debate 1921-1923, was interesting and provided me with new insight of Paul’s struggle to pass the ERA, I found it was not one of the best ways to learn about Paul contributions. The best ways to familiarize yourself with her contributions to feminism is to see the film, Iron Jawed Angels. The amazing Hillary Swank plays Paul, portraying her accurately and with great respect as a feminist visionary and committed activist.

Written by Amy E. Butler, Two Paths to Equality chronicles the different approaches two feminist leaders, Alice Paul and Ethel M. Smith, took to achieving women’s equality. Paul demanded a constitutional amendment securing quality for women in the form of the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), while Smith felt the ERA targeted women from a privileged background and did not adequately address the needs of poor and working class women. This book is based on the fascinating concept that first wave feminists, while having similar goals, did not always agree on the means through which they could be achieved.

After a discussion of the background of these two women, Butler gets to the heart of an issue that has divided feminists until this day: whether or not working within the existing political structure can lead to the securing of equal rights for women. Butler ultimately sides with Smith in this debate, concluding her book with these words,


“If today’s focus is on building recognition of the varieties of women’s experiences, then equal rights as a basis of legislative and legal change is not the way” (113).


Although I enjoyed her book, especially the parts discussing how Paul and Smith came to prominence, I do not agree with her conclusions. I disagree with one of her fundamental arguments:


“Equality remains a male-defined concept. It assumes that all people are similarly situated, and it is not flexible enough to account for individual differences according to gender, class or race. Equal rights is a social construct, not just a form of jurisprudence, that upholds a universal standard of equality that typically excludes the interest of some groups to the interests of others” (112-113).

I believe the desire for an ERA should remain a feminist priority, as it is one of the best ways to ensure legal equality between women and men. Without an ERA in our constitution, women will continue to face discrimination and treatment as second class citizens. The ERA is as relevant now as it was in 1921 and women deserve its passage. I guess that makes me a feminist cut from the same cloth as Alice Paul.

If you haven’t done so, be sure to see Iron Jawed Angels. Viewing this film will give you new understanding of Alice Paul, a woman believed to be the first activist in our country to protest using methods of civil disobedience. It would be a shame for us feminists to allow her sacrifices for women in our country to go unremembered.


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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Female Democratic Candidates Set for Midterm Election

The November midterm elections are coming up soon and many women will be on the ballot nationwide in both federal and state elections.

Below is a list of female, Democratic candidates according to the Democratic Party's "Women's Vote Center Week in Review"

MORE WOMEN SECURE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATIONS!


Each week, we are adding more women candidates to the list of Federal and Statewide Democratic nominees. This week we feature winners in Connecticut, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan and Missouri from our August 8th primaries and runoffs. Look for a complete list of women Democratic nominees running for Federal and Statewide office in late-September, following the September 28th primaries.

Federal Office

CT - Rosa DeLauro (C-3)
CT - Diane Farrell (C-4)
CO - Diana Degette (C-1)
CO - Angie Paccione (C-4)
MI - Debbie Stabenow (Senate)
MI - Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (C-13)
MI - Sharon Renier (C-7)
MI - Nancy Skinner (C-9)
MO - Claire McCaskill (Senate)
MO - Sara Jo Shettles (C-6)
MO - Veronica Hambacker (C-8)

Statewide Office

CT - Mary Glassman, Lt. Governor
CT - Susan Bysiewicz, Secretary of State
CT - Denise Nappier, Treasurer
CT - Nancy Wyman, Comptroller
CO - Barbara O'Brien, Lt. Governor
CO - Fern O'Brien, Attorney General
CO - Cary Kennedy, Treasurer
GA - Gail Buckner, Secretary of State
MI - Jennifer Granholm, Governor
MO - Susan Montree, Auditor



If you are a registered voter in any of the states listed below, visit these women's websites to help them get as much early support as possible. The more women elected this fall, the better!

Click here to receive their free weekly newsletter.

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A Must Read For Kids




If you haven't read Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, I highly recommend that the book be on the required reading list for every human in America between the ages of 16 and 80. I was so pleased to find that he had written another book, Chew on This: Everything you didn't want to know about fast food for kids ages 9 to 15. If it's anything like Fast Food Nation, hopefully it will get kids to rethink the mass amount of fast food they consume. We could only be so fortunate!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Inflammatory Breast Cancer; Did You Know?

I've just recently been informed that a type of breast cancer called Inflammatory Breast Cancer occurs in around 1-4% of women. Signs and symptoms usually present more as a benign breast infection such as Mastitis thus mamagrams do not pick up this particular form of breast cancer. Below I've compiled a link list with information on Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Even though it's relatively rare, women should be more informed about this type of cancer.

News Report on IBC

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Organization
National Cancer Institute
Mayo Clinic
Imaginis


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Monday, August 14, 2006

Quality Music, TV Shows, Books & Movies for Children

I found an interesting request through Blogher courtesy of The Lovely Mrs. Davis:

She is asking parent bloggers to share the following...

What television, music, movie or book from your childhood are you excited about sharing with your own children?


I love these types of questions so of course I am happy to share mine!

Movie:

E.T.
--This is the first movie I remember truly enjoying as a child. I recently saw parts of it and was amazed at the wonderment I still have while watching this movie. I'm sure many of my generation will agree that this was a defining movie from our childhood and one we would want our children to see.

Music:

Banana Slug String Band--Although it is a little obscure, I loved this band when I was a child. The messages in their songs are wonderful...all about treading lightly on the earth and protecting our environment. "Dirt Made My Lunch" was my favorite song of theirs.

T.V. Show:

Punky Brewster--Although this tv show is sadly outdated (especially the 80s outfits!) this was my absolute favorite tv show as a child. Punky is a great role model for young girls, I know she was for me. She is independent, family oriented and a good friend. I hope my daughter will be able to enjoy this show when she gets a little older. I'm so thrilled it's out on dvd!

Books:


Ramona Quimby Series--Ramona was a fictional character by Beverly Clearly, written to be such a pest, especially to her older sister and to various teachers/adult figures. I never looked at her that way, though. To me she was always misunderstood, curious about the world, and a lot of run to read about.

Are You There God, It's Me Margaret--Hands down the defining book of my adolescence. I must have read this book over 100 times. I hope my daughter will find it as wonderful as I did. In fact, I would read this book again, right now. I would also recommend any other Judy Blume book to my daughter, she is a fantastic writer and grossly underappreciated in our culture.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Is The Rape of a 14 yr. Old Girl Buried in News?

The terror alert level today has passengers thirsty, but hey at least mothers can still take formula or breast milk. The press has over played this minor inconvience and I say minor because more pressing issues have been placed in the background. The GIs who admitted to raping and murdering a 14 year old girl, along with her family and then burning her body to hide the evidence have cited combat stress as an excuse for their planned behavior.

Said Capt. Elizabeth Walker, an attorney for the defense: "These soldiers are not robots. They are humans with emotions, and a command structure that hung them out to dry."


The soldiers are humans with emotions but the Iraqi girl and her family were not? It's a lack of authority that made me do it?
Wow, I guess if the soldiers are under extreme stress, mixing pain killers with Iraqi whiskey and cough syrup then their planned expedition after they had already harrassed this girl at a military check point was understandable. There is something severely wrong with this senario that anyone who would percieve these horrible individuals to have rights in which to argue such a ludicrous defense is enraging. Especially with respect to little unknown songs such as the one on UTube.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

New Calls for Submissions

Call for Submssions for Women, Action & the Media 2007:

Via their website...

WAM!2007 Call for Proposals

Save the date -- WAM!2007 is coming! In fact, we're hiring a Conference Manager (could it be you?), and our Call for Proposals is already here.

Please send us your session proposals and help us spread the word, and in the meantime, save the date: WAM!2007 will be held right here in Cambridge from March 30 - April 1, 2007. Stay tuned -- we'll have keynote announcements very soon.


Imaging Ourselves Project Deadline Extended. From their website...


What Defines Your Generation of Women?

Submit your work for our Online Exhibit! Download the application form below and read our easy steps to submit.


We are looking for submissions from young women in every corner of the globe. If you have a story to tell, images to share, or a voice that wants to be heard, we welcome your submission. We accept film, audio, images and text.


Imagining Ourselves has many submission categories, including a catagory specific to mothers...


Motherhood: A Life-Changing Experience


One of the most life-changing experiences in a woman’s life is that of having and caring for a child. These days women are having children later and some are not having children at all. Family structures around the world are changing, yet mothers are most often the parent who will stay at home with young children. Child birth itself is a risk for many mothers around the world. Did you know that the 530,000 annual deaths that arise from pregnancy and childbirth complications are preventable? Share your stories on motherhood with us, and discuss your ideas on better maternal healthcare worldwide.

Deadline for submissions: February 1, 2007


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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Results for the Race We're All Watching

Lieberman lost!! For us feminists, anti-war activists, Bush loathers and political junkies, this news is huge. For a popular incumbent with huge name recognition to lose a primary election sends an incredible statement: Democrats are finally getting united against the war in Iraq.


Find out more about Ned Lamont, a progressive Democratic, by visiting his website.


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WIC Now Covers Fruits & Vegetables

In a no-brainer move, WIC (a program to feed women, infants & children) has made the obviously correct decision to include fruits and vegetables to their list of eligible foods. It's amazing that this is news, as these items should of course have been covered all along. It's also amazing to read, as MSNBC reports, that over half of America's children received food through the WIC program.



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4 Billion Dollar Misogyny

An intense and scary article in the LA Times this past weekend gives a glimpse into the misogynistic world of Joe Francis, the creator of Girls Gone Wild. Four billion dollars a year is produced based on young underaged girls being exploitated and manipulated into various explicit acts using heavy amounts of alcohol and drugs. Joe Francis, who argues 1st Ammendment rights claims empowerment. Lucky for him the article makes him out to be a woman hating rapist.


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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Breastfeeding in Public is a Mother's Right

Breastfeeding in public is a mother’s right and it amazes me to read that people feel otherwise. Anyone who says different does not have the best interests of children or nursing mothers in mind…period. Kateri at Wet Feet is keeping a wonderful list of pictures of nursing mothers to protest the outrage over the beautiful Baby Talk magazine cover.

This picture captures the joy of nursing for mother and baby perfectly. It should be celebrated, not condemned. 



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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Take Action!

On Monday, July 31st, the FDA announced the decision to re-evaluate their policy concerning the morning-after pill. Currently, distribution of the morning-after pill over the counter has been blocked mainly for political reasons as opposed to realistic medical reasons. The FDA is reconsidering this position and according to NARAL, this change of agenda is due to over 40,000 complaints voiced by the public. The catch of course is, the agency has not disclosed when if any alterations in the policy will happen.

Please take the time to send a quick message to acting commissioner, Andrew Von Eschenbach via NARAL,to take action.


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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

More Great Feminist Songs



According to my site meter, it seems like there is a good interest in feminist music. Since the interest is there, here are a few more great feminist songs...



"Point Hope"--Indigo Girls

"Let Me Go Easy"--Indigo Girls--A beautiful song about dying with dignity and on your own terms.
The recent album, Rarities, by the Indigo Girls was grossly overlooked. Both of these songs come from that album. As a fan of their music for over a decade, I have to say I think it's their
best album to date.



Fiona Apple's most recent release, Extraordinary Machine, is an absolute classic. Every song on the album is a gem, especially "Not About Love" and "Tymps (the sick in the head song)."



Both of these cd's are a must for any feminist rock music fan.


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