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Senator Warren Calls for Innovation to Address Unfair Scheduling Practices

At Tuesday’s HELP Committee hearing on women’s economic security Senator Warren called attention to the extreme challenges  workers in low-wage jobs with unstable and unpredictable schedules often face – including the challenge of getting their schedules at the last minute, having hours that vary dramatically from week to week or month to month, having little ability to alter the timing of their work hours without facing a penalty, and working too few hours to make ends meet.

Senator Warren said: “[the lack of predictable work schedules and hours] makes juggling a family, a home and work for many people almost impossible” (you can watch her here starting at 1:46). Amanda Legros, a worker from New York, put the problem in stark relief when she described her own struggle [PDF] to try to get enough hours at work to make ends meet while parenting a young child.

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Why Every Child Needs a Strong Start

Posted by Gail Zuagar, Outreach Associate | Posted on: May 19, 2014 at 01:52 pm

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one explains pretty clearly why every child needs a strong start:

Morning Assignment


My oldest son has been going to family child care since he was about 6 months old.  Three years later, he’s still there (joined by his younger brother) and as you might be able to tell based on the above photo, he’s doing very well!  His teacher recently sent this to me after my big boy completed one of his morning assignments – he had to fill in missing letters in words.  Needless to say I was even more proud of him than usual.  And when I saw him later that day, he was beaming with pride himself!

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Women’s Economic Opportunities: We’ve Come a Long Way, But We’re Not There Yet

Posted by Emily Wales, Fellow | Posted on: May 16, 2014 at 02:06 pm

A friend of mine is bringing a group of middle schoolers to D.C. next month for a field trip about inequality and social justice. She asked if I knew of any good resources about the economic challenges women face. As it turns out, yes. Yes, I do.

From poverty and low-wage work to retirement savings, women face unique obstacles in providing for themselves and their families in the United States. Earlier this week, the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing on expanding economic opportunities for women and, with Senator Patty Murray leading the way, the conversation focused on the valuable contributions women have made to the economic security of their families and their country – and the need to remove barriers that still lie in the way.

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What Brown Means to Me

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: May 16, 2014 at 01:50 pm

I remember the first time my parents told me about Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark decision that declared racially segregated schools “inherently unequal.” My parents celebrated the decision, for redefining education opportunities in this country, for upending the racial caste system that had been constitutionally enshrined to that point, and for the opportunities that it provided for my family. It was the framework from which I learned about the civil rights movement, about women’s rights, and about social justice more broadly.

It is impossible to overstate Brown’s importance—it outlined the promise of an equal education as a foundation for an equal society. And it meant that the next generation of children in the Goss family could choose where to go to school, though note that the Knoxville Board of Education fought that point for another decade.

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Not Letting Religion Trump Facts or the Court in the Contraceptive Coverage Cases

Posted by Hillary Schneller, Fellow | Posted on: May 15, 2014 at 03:55 pm

Last week, the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument in two challenges to the contraceptive coverage benefit brought by non-profit organizations with religious objections to contraceptives. And, on Tuesday, a Wyoming district court ruled that a group of non-profit organizations raising the same challenge can’t take the benefit away from their employees while the case moves forward. The argument at the D.C. Circuit and the decision by the Wyoming district court show how the courts are responding to employers’ attempts to let religion trump facts and legal responsibilities of the court.

In each of these cases, the non-profits state objections to contraceptives, sterilization, “abortion-inducing drugs” or “abortifacients,” and any related education and counseling. Wait—what? Despite assertions to the contrary, the ACA does not require any health plan to include coverage for abortion. The birth control benefit requires coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptives. By definition, contraceptives prevent pregnancy. That means that none of the FDA-approved contraceptives health plans must cover are abortifacients. In fact, physicians and other health care professionals submitted a brief to the Supreme Court that explains these facts [PDF]. But don’t let facts get in the way of a good story. The media, and even courts, are picking up this inaccurate conflation between contraceptives and abortion—adding to misinformation and deception that is already common when it comes to women’s reproductive health.

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How Jill Abramson Brings the Equal Pay Conversation to the New York Times

Posted by Lauren Khouri, Fellow | Posted on: May 15, 2014 at 03:50 pm

Since Wednesday this week, media sources have been asking why Jill Abramson was fired from her job as executive editor of the New York Times. Articles suggest that Abramson discovered that her pay and pension benefits were significantly less than the pay and pension benefits of the male editors who held both the executive editor and managing editors roles before her. Abramson raised her unequal pay with the higher ups, and according to sources, was then fired a few weeks later.

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Here's a Better Idea: Pay for Corporate Tax Breaks by Closing Other Corporate Loopholes

Posted by Reggie Oldak, Senior Counsel and Director of Government Relations | Posted on: May 15, 2014 at 11:44 am

Earlier this week, legislation that would extend through the end of 2015 nearly all of the tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013 (and two provisions scheduled to expire at the end of this year) — known as the “tax extenders” because they’ve been routinely extended from year to year — cleared a procedural hurdle when the Senate voted 96 to 3 to begin debate on the bill.  

Guess what? The package will cost $85 billion over ten years. And the Senate has no plan to pay for it. More than 80% of the tax breaks benefit businesses, including multinational firms that ship jobs and profits overseas, NASCAR track owners, and racehorse owners.

It’s especially disturbing that the Senate would — like the House — consider spending billions on corporate tax subsidies without requiring that they be paid for before Congress acts on the far more urgent matter of extending emergency unemployment insurance benefits for over 2.7 million Americans who have lost their benefits since Congress refused to extend the program in December.  

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Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing This Week

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: May 15, 2014 at 09:28 am

Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on 7 nominees to federal courts in Georgia – including Michael Boggs, nominated to a seat on the Northern District of Georgia. Boggs, a former state legislator and currently a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals, was vigorously questioned about statements that he had made while running for a state judicial position: “I am proud of my record. You don’t have to guess where I stand – I oppose same-sex marriages. . . . I have a record that tells you exactly what I stand for.” Boggs’ legislative record includes not only strong opposition to same-sex marriages, but also support of legislation hostile to women’s reproductive rights. For example, he voted for an amendment that would have added information about the number of abortions performed by a doctor to profiles maintained by the Georgia State Board of Medical Examiners. The amendment would not have required any other specific medical procedure to be listed. Because anyone could request copies of doctor profiles from the Board, individuals looking to take violent action against doctors who perform abortions would have had easy access to that information, if the amendment had passed. A number of Senators asked Boggs whether he understood that the amendment he supported would have put doctors at risk of harm, and he responded by saying that, at the time, he was unaware of violence against abortion providers, and that his constituents were strongly anti-abortion.

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