Loss of Affirmative Action Program Means Fewer Women on the Force in Pittsburgh
According to Commander Gwen Elliot, the Pittsburgh Police Force, one of the most diverse law enforcement teams in the United States, is changing as a result of a 1991 decision striking down an affirmative action program that took effect in 1976. Before the program took effect, no women in blue served Pittsburgh, but now one in four officers on the Force is female, compared to about one in ten nationwide. But without the court-ordered program, over 90 % of officers newly hired have been male.
Elliot serves on the advisory board of the National Center for Women & Policing (NCWP), a project of FMF working toward parity in the nation's law enforcement agencies. Its second annual survey on the status of women in the largest agencies, Equality Denied: The Status of Women in Policing: 1998, reveals that only 13.8% of all sworn officers are female. One factor contributing to this inequality is the fact that many law enforcement offices, including Pittsburgh's Force, award bonus points on entry tests to candidates with military experience. With women currently representing only 13.7% of active military personnel, and discrimination against women within the military, this means for fewer women veteran candidates.
NCWP's report does demonstrate areas of progress: affirmative action programs work to integrate law enforcement agencies. Equality Denied shows that eight of the ten municipal agencies with the highest percentage increase in sworn women officers have some court-ordered affirmative action program in place.
Media Resources: CBS National News - January 6,2000 and National Center for Women & Policing. Equality Denied: The Status of Women in Policing: 1998.]
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .