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An Ode to Serena Williams

Posted by Mara Gandal-Powers, Counsel | Posted on: September 11, 2015 at 02:10 pm

When I was a senior in high school, I had pictures of three athletes up in my bedroom: Michael Jordan, Cal Ripken, and Serena Williams. That might not seem like a strange list right now, but sixteen years ago, Serena stood out like a sore thumb. Michael Jordan and Cal Ripken were stars with incredible records under their belts. Serena had only recently broken into the top 10 women tennis players.

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Labor Department Finalizes Rule to End Pay Secrecy

Posted by Rebecca Ojserkis, Legal Intern | Posted on: September 10, 2015 at 02:52 pm

Women pay the same price for a gallon of milk as men. Their rent doesn’t differ based on sex. Neither do their electricity bills. However, employers continue to pay women less than men, even when doing the same job. Though women should not bear the burden of correcting this discrimination, the experiences of Lilly Ledbetter and Charlize Theron  demonstrate that often employers only rectify these inequities when employees object. Employees can only fight against pay discrimination if they know about it, but many women cannot discover unfair wage disparities because their employers ban or discourage conversations about pay. These prohibitions cause many employees to fear retaliation simply for talking about or disclosing their pay.  In fact, some workers have been fired for even discussing what they make.

Today, the Department of Labor (DOL) finalized its rule [PDF] implementing President Obama’s Executive Order to ban pay secrecy in federal contract workplaces, protecting millions of workers who want to ask about, disclose, or discuss their pay. This marks a tremendous victory for women workers. Pay transparency is a crucial stepping stone to closing the wage gap because it allows women to discover—and work with the employer to rectify—pay discrimination.

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Let's Raise Our (Spending) Caps for Women and Families

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy | Posted on: September 10, 2015 at 02:17 pm

It’s the week after Labor Day, and to be honest, it’s one of my least favorite times of year in D.C. Summer vacation is over but it’s still 90 degrees outside, traffic is a nightmare, and Congress is back in town—and everyone on and around Capitol Hill seems to be placing bets on whether we’re just a few weeks away from a government shutdown.  

A shutdown, of course, is what we’ll get if Congress doesn’t pass legislation to keep the government funded when the new fiscal year begins October 1st. And unless that legislation stops the deep budget cuts known as the “sequester” (cuts that were mitigated in FY 2014 and 2015 by the “Ryan-Murray deal”), the sequester will be back and worse than ever in FY 2016.

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Federal Judge Confirmed — This Shouldn't Be Big News, But It Is

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: September 09, 2015 at 03:01 pm

Yesterday, upon its return from August recess, the Senate confirmed Roseann Ketchmark to a seat on the Western District of Missouri by a vote of 98-0.  Here are the reasons this unanimous confirmation vote was (unfortunately) newsworthy:

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Women’s Unemployment Low Overall, But Not for All Groups

Posted by Alana Eichner, Program Assistant | Posted on: September 04, 2015 at 04:27 pm

If you’ve taken a look at social media today, you have probably seen that it is #BeyDay, the affectionate hashtag celebrating the fact that September 4th is Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s birthday. What you might not have seen today is the release of August’s jobs data, and the news that women’s unemployment, 4.7 percent in August, is at the lowest rate it’s been in more than 7 years — before Beyoncé celebrated her 27th!

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The March for Life Decision: A Real Head-Scratcher

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: September 03, 2015 at 02:39 pm

On Monday, a federal district court judge issued a decision in March for Life, a case brought by a non-profit organization challenging the ACA’s birth control benefit. In that decision, the judge said that if some employees insist they don’t want a health insurance plan that includes birth control coverage, then the employer doesn’t have to cover birth control for any employee. Despite the fact that other employees have a right under federal law to birth control coverage and may need it to protect against unplanned pregnancy or for other health reasons, apparently, that right can be ignored. This outrageous decision could open up a can of worms.

What the Court Got Wrong

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The EACH Woman Act, Explained by Empire's Cookie Lyons

Posted by Sharon Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: September 02, 2015 at 04:02 pm

This summer, champions of women’s health in Congress introduced the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Woman Act, which will lift the bans that deny women insurance coverage of abortion. This includes the Hyde Amendment, a harmful prohibition on abortion coverage for low-income women qualified for Medicaid. 

Another thing introduced in 2015 that is amazing and groundbreaking is Empire and its lead character Cookie Lyons (portrayed by Emmy-nominated Taraji P. Henson.) This strong, complicated, take-no-prisoners woman embodies all of our responses to over-turning this ban on low-income women’s access to abortion and the introduction of this important bill.

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