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An Eye-Opening Reminder of Where We Fall Short for Women and Families

Posted by Alana Eichner, Program Assistant | Posted on: August 14, 2014 at 03:56 pm

On Tuesday, several of us at the National Women’s Law Center had the privilege of meeting with a group of 11 female political leaders from Latin America, hailing from Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela.

Staff from the Law Center spoke about our efforts to advance public policies that work for women and families, and women from the delegation asked poignant questions about how we advance that mission, and the successes and challenges we face in those efforts.

Part of what was so striking about the conversation was noticing what facts about the state of public policy for women in the U.S. most shocked our visitors. Explaining the recent Hobby Lobby decision caused jaws to drop when the group realized they had heard the English to Spanish translation correctly: the Court actually ruled in favor of an employer’s right to impose its religious beliefs on the health care decisions of its employees. More shocked faces accompanied learning that the U.S. federal minimum wage still sits at a puny $7.25 per hour—and it doesn’t even apply to all workers. And again, disbelieving inquiries followed hearing that an employer has no obligation to guarantee its workers a minimum number of hours, but can instead send workers home without pay if business is slow—even if an employee has traveled long distances or arranged child care to be at work.

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Invest In Kids Twitter Action

Posted by Helen Blank, Director of Child Care and Early Learning | Posted on: August 14, 2014 at 03:46 pm

You’re invited to stand up for early learning!

Who: Early learning advocates (organizations and individuals)

What: Tweets about the importance of expanding access to early learning

Why: Keep up the public outcry in support of early learning

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Breastfeeding in a Digital World

Posted by Katie Hegarty, Online Outreach Assistant | Posted on: August 14, 2014 at 09:15 am

Full disclosure: I spend all day on Facebook. I’m doing important advocacy and outreach, and like to think I’m helping to change the world for women and girls, but still, half the words I use are hashtagged. And because I spend so much time on social media (and because I’m in my twenties), I see a lot of baby pictures. I mean a lot. But I haven’t seen any pictures of my Facebook friends breastfeeding — even now, during National Breastfeeding Month.

It may be that Facebook (and Instagram, which it owns) doesn’t want me to see breastfeeding pictures. A few years ago, the company found itself in hot water over its standards for deleting breastfeeding images. It recently amended its policy, though user complaints still have the potential to get a photo deleted. Of course Facebook has every right to enforce its anti-obscenity policies, but to label feeding a baby “obscene”? That’s out of line.

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Five Reasons to Celebrate Social Security's 79th Birthday

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: August 14, 2014 at 09:09 am

On August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. As he said at the time, he was just laying the “cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means complete.” Since then, generations of Americans have contributed to, strengthened, and improved our Social Security system—and for generations, it has protected workers and their families against the loss of income due to retirement, disability, or death. Through wars and recessions, Social Security insurance payments have been made on time and in full; last month, over 58 million Americans of all ages relied on Social Security.

Each of those 58 million people has a story to tell about what Social Security means to them and their families—but 58 million is too many reasons to list. So here are five reasons to celebrate today:

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Stem the Rising Tide of Corporate Inversions

Posted by Tiffany Ray, Intern | Posted on: August 11, 2014 at 02:30 pm

Taxpayers scored a major win this week when Walgreen Co. nixed plans to become the latest U.S. corporation to move its corporate address abroad in order to dodge tax bills here at home. Public outcry against the legal loophole known as “inversion” is reaching a fever pitch; clearly, Walgreen was listening. Let’s hope Congress is, too.

Inversion is a scheme by which a company based in the U.S. can merge with a company abroad and then re-incorporate in that other country – one with a more advantageous tax structure, typically the UK, Ireland, or Switzerland – to avoid paying taxes at home.

These U.S. inverters are, literally and figuratively, un-American. With each new deal that’s struck, they push even more of the tax burden onto workers, families, and small business [PDF].

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After Hobby Lobby Decision, State Legislators Mobilize to Protect Employees’ Access to Reproductive Healthcare Services

Posted by Sarah Brafman, Intern | Posted on: August 11, 2014 at 12:53 pm

“I’ve never been so fired up about a case before,” a friend recently wrote me, referring to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.

My friend is not the only one fired up about the Hobby Lobby decision. According to a recent poll, more than 7 out of 10 U.S. women voters believe that corporations should not be allowed to opt out of a law when they feel it conflicts with their own religious beliefs. And in an interview with Katie Couric, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who penned the Hobby Lobby dissent, said, “Contraceptive protection is something every woman must have access to, to control her own destiny…[Hobby Lobby] has no constitutional right to foist that belief on the hundreds and hundreds of women who work for them who don’t share that belief.”

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¡RJ AHORA! Celebration History During the Latina Week of Action

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: August 08, 2014 at 04:42 pm

Twenty years ago, when a group of visionary Black women created the Reproductive Justice framework, I was still in school, with no idea that a movement was being formed. Nor did I know how important that movement would be as it helped shape and reframe our understanding of reproductive issues, bringing a human rights and justice framework to the reproductive health community and creating a more inclusive movement. Reproductive Justice requires that all people have “the economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, sexuality, and reproduction for ourselves, our families, and our communities in all areas of our lives.” [PDF] This challenges all of us to work towards a more just world in which we have not only the legal right to reproductive freedom but, also, the resources to exercise those rights and choose whether and when to have children and to be able to parent the children we do have with dignity in healthy and safe environments.

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Proposed Department of Labor Rule Will Shed Light on Federal Contractor Pay Practices, Help to Uncover Discrimination

Posted by Emily Werth, Fellow | Posted on: August 07, 2014 at 04:36 pm

It is a very simple principle — you can’t fix a problem that you don’t know about.

With that in mind, yesterday the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs — the agency charged with enforcing laws that prohibit discrimination by companies that contract with the federal government — announced a proposal for a new rule that will require certain contractors to report on how they pay their workers.

The annual Equal Pay Report that contractors will have to submit if this new rule is adopted will include information about employee compensation and the demographics of the company’s workforce. Having such data will help OFCCP to root out pay discrimination against women and minorities more effectively. The collection and reporting of this data to the government will also give contractors strong incentives to proactively monitor their own pay practices and to eliminate any unjustified pay disparities.

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