This morning, President Barack Obama, in addressing some 300 women leaders, activists, business leaders and entrepreneurs and academics at a White House Forum on Women and the Economy, emphasized the gains for women under his Administration, including increasing judicial appointments, preventive health care coverage, removal of sex discrimination in insurance pricing and saving teacher jobs. He said more jobs would have been saved for teachers and for construction workers if the House had passed his Jobs Act. In his remarks, the President spoke about women, now half of the nation's workforce and 30% of small businesses, as key to US economic growth. He emphasized the efforts of his Administration to ensure women's economic security, to create jobs, and business loans for women. Obama stressed equal pay for women is necessary for women, for families and the overall economic health of the country.
Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, who chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls and Tina Tchen, Executive Director of the Council and Chief of Staff to Michele Obama, announced the release of the Council's report "Keeping America's Women Moving Forward." Some achievements outlined in the report include: $4.5 billion for 16,000 loans for women-owned small businesses; summer employment for more than 185,000 low-income young women; and, subsidized employment for over 215,000 women. An additional 400,000 jobs were added or saved for teachers, some 70% of whom are women, under the Recovery Act and the Education Jobs Fund.
In reviewing women's advancements under his Administration, Obama told the participants that 20.4 million women are already benefiting from expanded preventive health care services such as mammograms and breast and cervical cancer screenings under the Affordable Care Act and 2.3 million women have received college loans through the expansion of the Pell Grant program.
The morning's program included breakout sessions with Attorney General Eric Holder and White House Advisor on Domestic Violence Lynn Rosenthal, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Deputy Assistant to the President on Health Policy Jeanne Lambrew, and Cecilia Munoz, Domestic Policy Council Director. At the breakout session on violence, Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) President, thanked the Attorney General for the recent modernization of the FBI Uniform Crime Report Definition of Rape to include most rapes. The FMF had led, with the Women's Law Project, the Rape is Rape Campaign to change the archaic 1927 definition of rape.
Media Resources: Council on Women and Girls Report Keeping America's Women Moving Forward
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .