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Womenstake, NWLC's Blog

Here’s How You Fight: Support the Women’s Health Protection Act

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: January 21, 2015 at 05:19 pm

I am in charge of intern hiring for our team at the Law Center. Lately, I have noticed a lot of intern applicants saying that they weren’t interested in reproductive rights specifically until they heard about what was happening in Texas. You see, the Texas state legislature passed a bunch of horrible abortion restrictions that have shut down half of the state’s abortion clinics, leaving huge swaths of the state without an abortion provider. Many of the remaining clinics could still close if some of these restrictions are ultimately upheld by the courts.

During the special legislative session convened just for passing the horrible restrictions, a huge crowd of women’s rights supporters showed up to protest the bill and support Wendy Davis’s filibuster. It was truly an amazing sight; people across the country stayed up into the wee hours to watch Wendy, the crowd, and other state representatives push back on the awful bill.

After some rushed maneuvering by the anti-abortion politicians to shut down the filibuster and the protestors, the legislature passed the law.

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House Passes Bill that Targets Immigrant Women and Families & Vulnerable Workers

Posted by Adaku Onyeka-Crawford, Fellow | Posted on: January 21, 2015 at 03:28 pm

We’re not even three weeks into the 114th Congress and the U.S. House of Representatives has already passed two measures aimed at deporting millions of immigrant workers and children.

The amendments, which are tucked away in a spending bill (H.R. 240) for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), would 1) roll back President Obama’s November 2014 executive order that halted deportation and offered work permits for four million undocumented immigrants, and 2) eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that provides similar protections for Dreamers (i.e., undocumented immigrants who entered the country before age 16 and have lived continuously in the United States for at least five years).

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Working Families Pay Too Much in State and Local Taxes

Posted by Reggie Oldak, Senior Counsel and Director of Government Relations | Posted on: January 16, 2015 at 05:13 pm

Remember when a presidential nominee famously said, “Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. …” ?

According to the Tax Policy Center [PDF], that was the approximate fraction of households that paid no federal income tax for 2009. But, as the Tax Policy Center went on to explain, almost two thirds of the 47 percent work and contribute payroll taxes that help finance Social Security and Medicare. The temporarily unemployed, those who used to work and have now retired, those who make too little to be subject to the income tax, and entrepreneurs whose businesses experience a loss may not be paying income tax or payroll tax in a particular year but will have contributed a great deal over time. And let’s not forget the wealthy and big corporations who exploit loopholes to avoid taxes.

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Take It From POTUS: It’s Time to Lead on Leave

Yesterday, the White House announced  it would take important steps toward ensuring that workers have the right to earn up to seven paid sick days a year and paid family and medical leave to care for their families. Specifically, the White House plans to call on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act and on states and cities to pass similar laws; provide new funding to help states design their own paid family and medical leave programs; and increase the paid sick days and family and medical leave benefits available to federal employees.

This initiative will help all workers, but will be especially meaningful to women who still shoulder the lion’s share of caregiving responsibilities. With more families counting on women’s wages than ever before, both women and men need to be able to take time off from work to welcome a new baby, to care for a sick child or elderly parent, or to address their own medical needs without suffering financial hardship as a result. As the President noted, “[N]o matter how sick they are, or how sick a family member is, they may find themselves having to choose to be able to buy groceries or pay the rent, or look after themselves or their children." 

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Charlize Theron’s $10,000,000 Raise and Pay Secrecy

Posted by Abigail Bar-Lev, Fellow | Posted on: January 15, 2015 at 12:28 pm

This weekend, we learned that Charlize Theron was slated to be paid less than Chris Hemsworth in the upcoming movie The Huntsman. And even though we already knew that the wage gap crosses nearly all occupations, we learned last month that other famous actresses, too, like Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams, are paid less—by the millions—than their male counterparts.            

But Charlize Theron managed to do something that many women cannot: she negotiated a raise, rumored to be more than $10 million, so that she is now paid the same as her male co-star.

What helped Charlize Theron fight back against unequal pay—information about what her male co-star was paid—would also help millions of women in America get their fair share. But more often than not, pay secrecy rules keep information about what the man across the hall is paid under wraps.

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White House Summit on STEM Will Hopefully Reverse Trend of No Girls of Color Taking AP Computer Science Exams in 12 States

Posted by | Posted on: January 15, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Today, the White House with the U.S. Department of Education and The Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown University Law Center are hosting “Front and Center,” a day-long conference aimed at addressing marginalized girls’ lack of access to STEM and Career and Technical Education (CTE). 

The summit comes shortly after Education Week reported that although the number of students who took the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam “skyrocketed” from 2013 to 2014, girls—particularly girls of color—remain underrepresented among test takers.  Female students in general were noticeably underrepresented among test takers, as well as Hispanic and African American boys: only 20% of the test takers were girls, only 9% were Hispanic, and only 4% were African American. In fact, in 12 states not a single Black student sat for the AP Computer Science exam; Mississippi, where African Americans make up 37% of the state’s population, is among those states, and Montana has the dubious distinction of not having had a single female, Hispanic, or African American student take the exam. 

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Quiz: And The Oscar Goes To...Movies About Abortion

Posted by Sharon Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: January 14, 2015 at 11:33 am

This year’s Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 15th.  Like many feminist movie fans, I’ll be waiting to learn which movies that I loved — those featuring strong and interesting women — have garnered a nomination.  Obvious Child, the romantic comedy in which Jenny Slate’s character has an abortion, was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards this year and although a very long-shot for the Oscars, made several “Best of 2014” lists.  

While we are waiting to learn which movies have a chance for the golden statuette, here is a quiz about some movies that include women having abortions that have either been nominated for or won Oscars in the past: 

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Mach Mining v. EEOC: When Can an Employer Point Fingers to Avoid Defending Against a Discrimination Charge?

Posted by Abigail Bar-Lev, Fellow | Posted on: January 13, 2015 at 03:29 pm

Today, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Mach Mining v. EEOC, a story about a woman who applied for a position as a miner with Mach Mining and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after she was denied the job. The EEOC investigated the company, and sued Mach Mining for systemic hiring discrimination against women on the basis that they have never hired a female miner. And yet the story being told at the Supreme Court today is not the one you think. It’s not about sex discrimination, it’s not about the company’s practices, it’s not about the fact that the share of women in the mining industry has remained shockingly low— less than one half of one percent—for decades, due in large part to the discrimination that blocks women from entering and staying in the field. Instead, the story is about whether the EEOC did enough to conciliate with Mach Mining before suing the company for sex discrimination, and whether that question is even reviewable by the courts. Conciliation is the process by which the EEOC must first attempt an informal resolution with the employer before filing a lawsuit in federal court.

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