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We’ve All Been There, And An Over-The-Counter Pill Should Be There For Us

Posted by Mara Gandal-Powers, Counsel | Posted on: December 15, 2014 at 11:34 am

Ask any woman who has used the birth control pill about the time she needed to get pills and couldn’t because she couldn’t get a prescription in time, and she’ll have a story. That time she was on vacation and forgot her next pack of pills. That Sunday morning she opened up her medicine cabinet to find that the pack she finished yesterday was the last pack she had. That time she couldn’t get an appointment with her health care provider until weeks after her last pack of pills expired. Or that time she didn’t have a regular provider that she could call. Most of these women probably ended up with a gap between when they finished their birth control and when they were able to get a new pack of pills. And there’s a simple solution to this problem: there should be at least one birth control pill available over-the-counter.

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End-of-the-Year Push on Nominations

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: December 15, 2014 at 11:12 am

Although the House of Representatives has already called it a year, the Senate is still working. On Saturday, Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture petitions on 12 district court nominees and numerous executive branch nominees, including the Surgeon General. The cloture votes on the district court judges will take place this week, at a day and time yet to be determined.

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Access to Justice for All: Raising the Voices of the Men and Women Who Have Been Victims of Police Killings

Posted by Abigail Bar-Lev, Fellow | Posted on: December 11, 2014 at 09:17 am

There are more African American men in prison today than there were slaves in 1850.

Shock and frustration at the state of racial discrimination in the United States—particularly at the hands of police officers and mass incarceration—characterized Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights’ final hearing of the 113th Congress on the state of civil and human rights in the United States. Given recent affairs, it makes sense that the six panelists’ remarks focused on police abuse and racial discrimination, sentencing, and incarceration rates. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey presented a passionate appeal to the Committee to tackle the racial discrimination problems that pervade the prison system, while Representative Keith Ellison from Minneapolis urged the Senators that in addition to better training for state and local police forces, racial justice requires that we deal with the structural economic abandonment of cities like Ferguson, Missouri.

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White House Summit Puts a Spotlight on Early Education—But It’s Just a Start

Posted by Karen Schulman, Senior Policy Analyst | Posted on: December 10, 2014 at 09:30 am

It’s an exciting time for early care and education. Last month, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) was reauthorized with strong bipartisan support. Earlier this week, the Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem had a visit from none other than Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. And today, President Obama is holding the White House Summit on Early Education, where he will announce which states will be awarded Preschool Development Grants, highlight private philanthropic commitments to fund new preschool slots, and jumpstart efforts to expand children’s access to high-quality early learning opportunities.

Early care and education has support among everyone from the President to business leaders to governors of both parties to singer Shakira (expressed in both English and Spanish) to even members of the British royal family, because the benefits of giving children a strong start are clear. Children who receive a high-quality early education are more likely to succeed in school and in life.

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November’s Strong Jobs Growth Must be Sustained and Supplemented by Increases in the Minimum Wage

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: December 05, 2014 at 01:28 pm

Today’s release of jobs and employment data shows huge job growth for November, with the economy adding 321,000 jobs. This is great for both women and men—women added 108,000 jobs, making up a third of all jobs gains. Women saw the largest gains in professional & business (including temporary help services), private education & health services, and retail. 

Most groups of women also saw a decrease in their rate of unemployment.  The rate for women overall decreased slightly to 5.3 percent from 5.4 percent in October, adult Hispanic women declined to 6.4 percent from 7.0 percent, and white women to 4.5 percent from 4.6 percent. Single mothers’ unemployment rate declined to 8.2 percent from 8.7 percent.  African American women, however, were the only group of women whose unemployment rate went up—increasing to 9.6 percent from 9.4 percent in October.  All groups of adult men saw an increase in their unemployment rates. The unemployment rate overall stayed the same at 5.8 percent. 

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When It Comes to Working Women, Young v. UPS May Finally Be the Court’s Chance to Get it Right

Posted by Abigail Bar-Lev, Fellow | Posted on: December 04, 2014 at 02:20 pm

Cross-posted from the Alliance for Justice.

In the last couple of years, the Supreme Court has had a lot to say about working women. Unfortunately, none of it has been good.

In the past year and a half alone, the Court has made it harder for women to sue their employers for sexual harassment, limited the rights of home health care workers—who are nearly all women—to organize, and given bosses a religious trump card they can use to quash women’s rights to insurance coverage for birth control. But in the Young v. UPS case, which the Justices heard yesterday, the Court gets another chance to get it right.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s recent record on working women shows just how blind the justices have been to the realities of the workplace.

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Stony the Road We Trod: Parenting, Racial Justice, and Philanthropy

Posted by Nancy Withbroe, Vice President for Development and Strategy | Posted on: December 04, 2014 at 02:12 pm

17 years ago this Christmas Eve, I learned that I would be, as my midwife put it, “a mother of sons.” Pregnant with a second boy, I reflected on the responsibility I’d been given, as expressed by a friend: “The world needs more men like the ones you and your husband will raise.”

The baby I carried that Christmas is now a tall, broad-shouldered teenager with a deep baritone and sharp wit. Peter spent many weekends of his childhood running around our neighborhood outfitted head to toe in camouflage, engaging his best friend in epic “battles” with dart guns and, later, target practice with airsoft rifles in our backyard. As he aspires to a career in the Marines, I worry about the real battles and violence he will confront someday. As a feminist, I worry that some of the men with whom he’ll serve someday may not share the values that his dad and I have taught him about how to treat the women with whom he will serve. And, like any parent, I worry about if he’ll be safe when he learns to drive and if he’ll know what to do when he faces bullies at school.

But, through the countless afternoons when Peter and his pal played in our neighborhood, I never worried that a police officer would mistake their play for serious menace and their toys for real weapons. It never occurred to me that they could be killed for their shenanigans. Why? Because my son is white and his friend is Korean-American.

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Department of Ed Takes Single-Sex Classes Out of the Twilight Zone

Posted by Adaku Onyeka-Crawford, Fellow | Posted on: December 04, 2014 at 11:41 am

Imagine a public, co-ed elementary school in the 21st century where boys and girls are divided into separate classrooms for reading and language arts. In the boys classroom, pictures of race cars and sports imagery decorate the walls and students take part in competitive learning games; in contrast, the girls classroom is decked out in pink and animal prints with a poster warning students to “Act pretty at all times,” and students always work collaboratively in groups. Sadly, you’re not in the Twilight Zone. Classrooms like these actually exist in the United States today. Based on debunked studies that claim girls’ brains aren’t wired for competition and that boys’ brains can’t grasp emotions, single-sex classrooms that promote sex stereotypes have flourished—even though they employ sex-based discriminatory teaching methods that violate Title IX.

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