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Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment

Fatima Goss Graves is Vice President for Education and Employment at the National Women's Law Center, where she works to promote the rights of women and girls at school and in the workplace. Ms. Goss Graves advocates and litigates core legal and policy issues relating to at-risk girls in school, including those that impact pregnant and parenting students, students in a hostile school climate and students participating in athletics. She further works to advance equal pay for equal work, expand opportunities for women in nontraditional fields, and ensure the development of fundamental legal principles of equal opportunity. She uses a number of advocacy strategies in her work on these issues ranging from public education and legislative advocacy to litigation, including briefs in the Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals. Prior to joining the Center, she worked as an appellate and trial litigator at Mayer Brown LLP. She began her career as a law clerk for the Honorable Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Ms. Goss Graves is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles and Yale Law School.

My Take

Two Down, Three to Go.

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: May 13, 2008 at 02:46 pm

by Fatima Goss Graves, Senior Counsel
National Women’s Law Center

Ward Connerly. In some ways, Connerly introduced me to activism. In 1995 I was a student at UCLA (Go Bruins!) when he announced his campaign to eliminate affirmative action in the University of California system. At the young age of 19, I attended my first protest and learned to articulate the many reasons that Connerly’s initiative would be bad for California and bad for UC students. Unfortunately, despite the strong efforts of students and activists throughout California (and indeed the nation) Connerly succeeded first in implementing anti-affirmative action measures in the UC System and then, through the passage of Prop 209, throughout the state of California. 

Connerly followed up his “success” in California with statewide initiatives in the state of Washington (Prop. 200) and most recently in Michigan (Prop. 2). The California and Washington initiatives have been in place long enough that we can measure their detrimental effects. And our fears about these initiatives have come true – we now know that the passage of these initiatives resulted in a decrease in the percentage of women working in the skilled trades, fewer valuable science and math programs that target women and minorities, and fewer government contracts for women and minority small businesses.   

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Update on the Fair Pay Act

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: April 18, 2008 at 12:41 pm

by Fatima Goss Graves, Senior Counsel
National Women's Law Center

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SBA Erects Another Roadblock For Women-Owned Businesses

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: March 06, 2008 at 03:22 pm

by Fatima Goss Graves, Senior Counsel
National Women’s Law Center

This week the Center joined together with a diverse group of organizations to file comments protesting the Small Business Administration’s proposed rule to implement the Women’s Procurement Program. Women-owned businesses contracting with the federal government have been waiting for years for the SBA to finally implement the Women’s Procurement Program, which increases the ability for women-owned businesses to gain contracts with the federal government.

There is no doubt that women-owned small businesses have been largely shut out of federal contracting. Indeed, the federal government has been unable to implement even a limited goal of awarding five percent of federal contracts to women-owned small businesses. And Congress continually receives evidence of discrimination against women-owned small businesses. But after dragging its feet for years (you may recall that the SBA was ordered by a federal court to develop a plan for implementation way back in 2005), the proposed rule would do nothing to implement the program and instead would undermine Congress’ attempts to provide women-owned small businesses with a fair chance to participate in the federal procurement process.

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Education That Leaves Too Many Children Behind

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: March 05, 2008 at 09:27 pm

by Fatima Goss Graves, Senior Counsel
and Jocelyn Samuels, Vice President for Education and Employment
National Women’s Law Center

The walls of the boys’ classroom are painted blue, the light bulbs emit a cool white light and the thermostat is set to 69 degrees. In the girls’ room, by contrast, the walls are yellow, the light bulbs emit a warm yellow light and the temperature is kept six degrees warmer ...

Boys don’t hear as well as girls, which means that an instructor needs to speak louder in order for the boys in the room to hear her; and ... boys’ visual systems are better at seeing action, while girls are better at seeing the nuance of color and texture.

You may think that we’re quoting from some educational primer left over from the 1950s. If only that were the case. Instead, these descriptions come from this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, which had a lengthy piece on single sex schools. The article lavished considerable attention on the theories of Leonard Sax, who founded something called the National Association for Single-Sex Public Education — an organization that encourages schools to solve their educational problems by devising sex-segregated programs, classrooms, and schools based on unproven stereotypes about boys and girls.

Sax spends much of his time emphasizing selected developmental and brain research about boys and girls. But most experts agree that the evidence shows nothing about the likely educational achievement of boys and girls, much less justifies Sax’s boosterism about single sex programs. For example, there may be differences in male and female brain size, but that does not mean that boys and girls need different learning environments. What’s more, even where there are differences between boys and girls on average, there are too many students who — as individuals — will deviate from Sax’s supposed “norm.” Sax would have schools exclude from all-boy classrooms even those girls who could do better with cooler room temperatures, and from all-girl programs boys who prefer a cooperative, “warmer,” learning style.

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