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Against All Odds: Denying Domestic Violence Victims Health Insurance

Posted by Megan Tackney, Outreach Manager for Health and Reproductive Rights | Posted on: September 16, 2009 at 09:14 pm

by Megan Tackney, Outreach Program Associate, 
National Women's Law Center 

In my first job out of college I found myself working at my local women’s crisis center. 

Wait, let me make a correction — I didn’t find myself there. I wanted to be there. I wanted to help. I thought I knew what to expect when I walked through the doors — which were padlocked, barred, and rigged with an alarm and camera. 

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'Mad Men' Takes on Fair Pay

Posted by Robin Reed, Director of Online Communications | Posted on: September 16, 2009 at 08:00 pm

by Robin Reed, Online Outreach Manager 
National Women's Law Center 

“I don't know if you read in the paper, but they passed a law saying women who do the same work as men will get paid the same thing. Equal pay."

So said Peggy Olson, a (fictional) copywriter at a Madison Avenue advertising agency on Mad Men, AMC’s critically acclaimed TV series set in 1963. In this week’s episode, Peggy, the agency’s only female employee working in a non-administrative capacity, asked her boss for a raise. And didn’t get one.

Peggy, in Mad Men’s pre-women’s lib era, is a model for a woman making her own way in the world. She started out as a 20-year-old secretary making $35 a week until one of the men on staff noticed that she had a gift for copywriting. She eventually got two promotions, based on pure talent. Now she has her own office and secretary, simply because she was bold enough to ask for them (not bad — many women, in 1963 and 2009 alike, are reluctant to ask for things like promotions and perks, fearing retaliation). Peggy is often still the one who’s sent to get the coffee, and the men on staff have no qualms about making sexist and derogatory comments to her. And she’s paid less than her male colleagues.

This week, when Peggy asked her boss for a raise, she pointed out that she was being paid less than a fellow copywriter, Paul. Paul has the same title she has and isn't nearly as talented or dedicated as Peggy. He does, interestingly, have a degree from Princeton, whereas Peggy has only a secretarial school degree (and couldn't have gone to Princeton in any case, since Princeton didn't start awarding degrees to women until 1969). But being a Princeton alum doesn’t automatically merit getting paid more (especially in Paul’s case, since all he seems to have gotten out of his education was an affectation for fake British accents and mohair).

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Thank You Letter to Anti-Choice & Anti-Reform Friends

Posted by Thao Nguyen, Director of Outreach | Posted on: September 16, 2009 at 07:06 pm

by Thao Nguyen, Outreach Manager, 
National Women's Law Center 

Dear Anti-Choice & Anti-Reform Friends,

Can I begin by thanking you for so often being the same people? It makes it so much easier to not have to read twice the number of inflammatory blog posts and articles on the internet. You have so conveniently gone from one bad argument to another, melding the anti-reform and anti-choice messages so seamlessly into one incoherent mistruth – it’s just made it really easy for me to keep up by not expecting your claims to be based on any facts. This has been an amazing time saver allowing me to spend more time on taxing projects like watching the previous seasons of Mad Men so that I can understand the hype and outbid all my competitors on Ebay.

This brings me to my next point – thank you for providing shallow and outrageous arguments why women’s health should be undermined in the current health care legislation. Since polling shows that Americans want medical professionals, not politicians, to decide what should be part of a health benefits package, it did make me wonder – will this finally throw a wrench in their grand scheme of playing politics with women’s health?

Of course you didn’t disappoint. Amidst all your abortion talk, it’s funny that you never remember to mention the fact that the Energy and Commerce bill includes an amendment that would bar the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. The Senate Finance Committee mark that was released today has a similar provision.

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Abortion at Risk in Health Care Reform

Posted by Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights | Posted on: September 16, 2009 at 05:11 pm

by Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights, 
National Women's Law Center 

Your action is needed immediately. Senators may be negotiating away insurance coverage for abortion services as we speak.

There is no time to delay. Call and e-mail your Senators and the White House right now.

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NWLC in the News

Posted by Mary Robbins, Program Associate | Posted on: September 16, 2009 at 04:31 pm

by Mary Robbins, Program Associate, 
National Women's Law Center

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Vote Tomorrow on Early Learning Challenge Fund

Posted by Helen Blank, Director of Child Care and Early Learning | Posted on: September 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm

by Helen Blank, Director of Leadership and Public Policy,
National Women’s Law Center 

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Health Care Reform Has a Woman's Face

Posted by Jenifer Rajkumar, Fellow | Posted on: September 15, 2009 at 08:38 pm

by Jenifer Rajkumar, Fellow, 
National Women's Law Center 

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An Unstable Health Care System: A Girl's Best Friend?

Posted by Thao Nguyen, Director of Outreach | Posted on: September 14, 2009 at 06:26 pm

by Thao Nguyen, Outreach Manger, 
National Women's Law Center 

Yesterday I had one of those weird phone calls. The kind where, as soon as you get off the phone, you immediately go through your contact list looking for someone you can tell about it. The kind that makes you stop that downstairs neighbor you haven’t spoken to in three years and recount the story to her. The kind that inspires you to drop everything and write a post for your organization’s blog. On a Sunday night.
The call was from my friend, Lucy.* She was calling to tell me that she and her boyfriend of 10 years recently got married.

Okay, I suppose since you don’t know them this might not be mind-blowing to you. But Lucy and her beau, Dan,* had one of those painful relationships where the woman was hinting, making banners, and going just short of taking a full-page out in The New York Times to beg her boyfriend to propose to her — and he just couldn’t seem to get around to it. But Lucy, who works with bankers and lawyers for a living, has the patience of a saint.

And so 10 years have come and gone. Which makes today, for all the friends who have been rooting for her (and who may or may not have been condemning her boyfriend for his lack of action), a momentous time that rivals the recent replacing of judges. (Yeah – I was shocked by the Ellen announcement too.) 
So when I heard that the wedding, this miracle of all miracles, had actually taken place, I made some popcorn, got a glass of wine, and snuggled up on the sofa, expecting a long story about how Dan finally came to his senses. Only to have Lucy matter-of-factly tell me, “I don’t have a job anymore and the COBRA was too expensive. No health insurance, so marriage.”

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