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Biochemist's Comments Reveal Continuing Sexism in STEM

Posted by Rebecca Ojserkis, Legal Intern | Posted on: June 12, 2015 at 03:50 pm

In high school, I was the only woman from my class on our academic team (a group like quiz bowl). My male teammates sidelined me in one competition when the questions focused on biology. As a woman interested in the humanities, I was pigeon-holed as inferior in the sciences. When I knew the answers to the questions they got wrong, I became frustrated. Why hadn’t I stood up for myself?

The reason might have been the entrenched stereotype, exemplified by the recent comments of biochemist and Nobel laureate Tim Hunt, that women and science don’t mix.

Hunt’s Comments and Twitter’s Response

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Michigan Legislators Propose Raising Taxes on the Working Poor

Posted by Maureen Moody, Intern | Posted on: June 12, 2015 at 09:41 am

I grew up in Michigan, a state known for its beautiful lakes and beaches, its tart cherries, and for giving birth to the auto industry. Among Michiganders, the state is also known, a little less fondly, for its enormous potholes. Our potholes are so infamous, in fact, that in past years local breweries have crafted and sold beer, like the Pothole Stout, to raise funds for fixing the roads.

You might expect a local business to use its talents to help fill a pothole, but you would never expect someone to fill a pothole with food from a family’s table. But that’s essentially what the Michigan House of Representatives voted to do this week, approving a bill that would eliminate the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in a misguided attempt to find funds to repair Michigan’s roads.

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WNBA Should Address Discrimination Issues

Posted by Rebecca Ojserkis, Legal Intern | Posted on: June 11, 2015 at 09:35 am

Last week marked the start of an exciting summer filled with women’s sports. While the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicked off in Canada, the WNBA’s 2015 season began in the United States. However, the opening games have been overshadowed by controversy.

Former NBA player and coach Isiah Thomas was named president of the WNBA’s New York Liberty in May. This news comes eight years after a jury found that Isiah Thomas sexually harassed a former team executive while he was the president and coach of the NBA’s New York Knicks. Before the lawsuit was ultimately settled out of court, the jury concluded that Thomas sexually harassed an employee (though the jury did not decide whether he had to pay damages) and that Madison Square Garden, the Knicks’ owner, improperly fired the woman for complaining about the harassment. 

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New Guidance is a Step Forward for Transgender Health

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: June 10, 2015 at 09:47 am

Caitlyn Jenner is rightly being celebrated for choosing to live her life on her own terms. But, as Laverne Cox noted on her Tumblr, “Most trans folks don’t have the privileges Caitlyn and I have now have.

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Adding Valuable Skills in the Journey to Becoming an Advocate

Posted by Erika Hanson, Intern | Posted on: June 08, 2015 at 03:43 pm

This past Friday, interns across DC interested in reproductive health, rights, and justice participated in a law and policy training sponsored by the National Women’s Law Center and Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ). The training allowed undergrad students, law students, and policy students to interact with numerous advocates for reproductive rights across various fields and in various points in their careers.

Participants heard from recent law graduates paired with organizations dedicated to seeking reproductive justice as well as a diverse career panel made up of both public and private sector attorneys who advocate for reproductive rights and justice in different ways through their careers. Participants also interacted with the talented lawyers of the Center in small groups, discussing the emerging issues in reproductive rights and the larger law and policy context in which these issues are set. Participants also received valuable practical skills such as learning how to message to the public and how to speak with shakers and movers on the Hill.

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Why the Griswold Case Matters to 99% of Women (and Everyone Else Too)

Posted by Mara Gandal-Powers, Counsel | Posted on: June 07, 2015 at 10:00 am

Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court decided the case of Griswold v. Connecticut, which legalized access to and use of birth control. Whether you’re part of the 99% of women who use birth control at some point in their lives or not, Griswold has had an impact your life. Griswold was the foundation for many of the rights that shape our lives today, like the right to determine if and when to have children, the right to determine how to raise your children, and the right to have intimate relationships with whomever you love.

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Low-Wage Sectors Overrepresented in May's Job Growth

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: June 05, 2015 at 04:30 pm

Today’s release of jobs data for May shows another month of strong job growth. Our analysis finds that women gained two-thirds of the jobs added in May. However, 43 percent of all the jobs added were in low-wage sectors that don’t pay enough to support a family. This month’s numbers prove that it’s past time for lawmakers to support the growing movement to raise the minimum wage.

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Minimum Wage Update: State & Local Highlights

Big news out of California this week: the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 on Wednesday to adopt a plan that will raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020, boosting pay for more than 40 percent of the workforce in the country’s second-largest city. (The ordinance will require another procedural vote next week before being sent to Mayor Eric Garcetti, who supports the measure.) The minimum wage statewide—currently $9 per hour and scheduled to reach $10 in 2016—could also go higher if the Assembly approves a bill passed by the state Senate this week that would raise California's minimum wage to $11 next year and to $13 in 2017.

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