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Menstruation Stigma Has Got to Go. Period.

Posted by Katie Hegarty, Online Outreach Associate | Posted on: August 11, 2015 at 08:37 am

An unexpected cultural debate was revived by the first Presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle. When Donald Trump didn’t like the way moderator Megyn Kelly framed her questions, Trump said she had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” By now most of us have heard the explanation that he meant her nose. Obviously.

What the public has understood the comment to really mean is that Kelly’s behavior was a result of her menstruating — an occurrence that, despite its mundanity, is still tied to stereotypes of surging hormones and emotional instability in people (not just women) who menstruate.

It feels a little maddening to be having this conversation in 2015, but this particular stereotype is just that strong. Let’s state for the record: even if Kelly had been menstruating, attributing any behavior to that fact would still be an attempt to use a woman’s own body to discredit her. Can you imagine ignoring a man’s comments at work because he had, I don’t know, athlete’s foot? Or you could see his five o’clock shadow coming in? But more importantly, stigma around menstruation is a serious threat to girls and women around the world. We can’t afford to further that threat by giving these myths a national profile.

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Sadness, Frustration, and Hope After Michael Brown's Death

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Senior Vice President for Program | Posted on: August 10, 2015 at 01:56 pm

Michael Brown lost his life one year ago and we will never be the same. In fact, I know that we will be better. But when I think about the last year, I am filled with many competing emotions.

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Reproductive Justice for Latinas Demands Medicaid Expansion

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: August 07, 2015 at 03:08 pm

Too often women are forced to choose between getting a mammogram and paying rent, birth control or groceries, taking their child to the doctor or making a car payment. Reproductive justice demands that all people have the economic means, social capital, and political power to make and exercise decisions about their own health, family, and future. Reproductive justice means no woman is forced to make such impossible decisions. Unfortunately, that is not the reality for the millions of Latinas that lack health insurance coverage. Many of these women make too little to qualify for assistance purchasing health insurance in the state marketplace but do not qualify for Medicaid, so they are left without coverage. The solution is simple: states need to expand Medicaid. 

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The New $10 Bill: Women's Historical Renaissance

Posted by Alicia Gurrieri, Program Assistant | Posted on: August 07, 2015 at 02:57 pm

US Treasurer Rosie Rios held a round table discussion at the Sewall-Belmont House yesterday to receive design input on the new $10 bill. Before the discussion started, I figured I knew what was ahead of me: debates over which singular woman in history deserves to represent all of woman’s accomplishments. In actuality, I was surprised, inspired, and felt extremely hopeful about what a new $10 bill could actually do for women’s historic accomplishments.

Women Behind the Money

I never paid much attention to the aesthetics of bills, probably because my joy of actually having money outweighed my appreciation of the details. But, as Rosie Rios explained yesterday, the details on our currency tell a story. She explained how the notes released in 2003 shared the theme of ‘freedom’ with a different symbolic representation embedded in each note, much like how the notes in 2020 will share the theme of democracy.

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Senate Leaves Town Without Confirming Any More Judges

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: August 07, 2015 at 12:39 pm

The Senate left for the August recess on Wednesday night. Apparently Senate Majority Leader McConnell and his leadership team were untroubled by the fact that only five judges have been confirmed thus far in 2015. In contrast, at this point in 2007 – the second-to-last year of President George W. Bush’s presidency – the Democratic-controlled Senate had confirmed 26 judges.

This dramatic slowdown in confirmations has not happened by accident. Attempts to schedule floor votes on nominees have been blocked at every turn. Most recently, when New York Senator Chuck Schumer asked for consent to schedule votes on three New York district court nominees – one of whom is nominated to a seat where there currently is no active judge sitting – Senate Judiciary Chairman Senator Grassley objected and informed Senator Schumer that the Senate would not be voting on any judicial nominations until the Senate returns in September.

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Low-Wage Jobs Drove Women’s Employment Gains in July

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: August 07, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Today’s release of July’s jobs data shows that women added 115,000 jobs in July, accounting for 54 percent of all job gains. But our analysis reveals a troubling fact: almost four in ten of the jobs added by women were in low-wage sectors. In fact, two-thirds of the low-wage jobs added in July went to women.

The economy added 215,000 jobs in July. 66,000 jobs were added in the low-wage sectors of leisure & hospitality and retail – 64 percent of them (42,000) went to women. These low-wage job gains made up 37 percent of all women’s job gains in July, even though these sectors make up just 23 percent of all women’s jobs. On the other hand, men added 23,900 jobs in these low-wage sectors, accounting for 24 percent of their July job gains. These sectors make up 21 percent of all men’s jobs.

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3 Lessons We Should Learn from the Charlottesville Cavaliers

Posted by Allie Bohm, Legal Intern | Posted on: August 07, 2015 at 10:26 am

The Charlottesville Cavaliers are 10-years old.  Some of them have been playing basketball together since they were five.  And, they were rocking the National Travel Basketball Association’s annual tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. until they were disqualified because one of their players just happens to be a girl.

Kymora Johnson has been a Cavalier since she was five and has always been treated as, well, a member of the team.  She has played in the Myrtle Beach tournament twice before.  In fact, this year, it wasn’t until the Cavaliers were leading the pack, going five games undefeated, that officials decided to bar them from the finals.

Lesson 1: Sometimes the Kids are More Mature than the Adults

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How Criminal Justice is a Reproductive Justice Issue, Especially for Women of Color

Posted by Carolyn Kossow, Intern | Posted on: August 06, 2015 at 12:41 pm

In 2011, a woman named Bei Bei Shuai was prosecuted for homicide based on her attempted suicide. She was pregnant at the time and was rushed to the hospital to have an emergency cesarean section. Her newborn daughter died shortly after birth. Rather than treating Ms. Shuai with the compassion she deserved, the state of Indiana charged her with attempted murder and feticide of her child. Ms. Shuai served 435 days in jail until the Supreme Court of Indiana allowed her release on bail. If convicted of murder, Ms. Shuai could have been sentenced to 45 years in prison. Ms. Shuai eventually pled guilty to criminal recklessness and all other charges were dropped. After over a year in jail, Ms. Shuai is now free. Ms. Shuai, like many pregnant and prosecuted women in the U.S, is a young woman of color.

So how can we take action to prevent more stories like Bei Bei Shuai’s? By fighting for reproductive justice. Reproductive Justice organizations have defined reproductive justice as the right of individuals to have the children they want, raise the children they have, and plan their families through safe, legal access to contraception and abortion. Prosecuting a woman’s actions while pregnant undermines her ability to make important decisions about her health and the wellbeing of her family. Prosecutions can also create distrust between medical providers and patients, and discourage women from seeking the care they need.

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