What better way to start a new century than to attend the Feminist Expo 2000 (March 31-April 2 in Baltimore). From Afghanistan's Taliban to the U.S.'s religious right, there were plenty of challenges for the 7,000 attendees to confront and even more causes to champion.
The Feminist Majority Foundation, organizers of the Expo, sought to gather a diverse band of feminists. Participants came from 45 countries and hundreds of organizations—from Central American women's artisan groups to local abortion rights coalitions. The presence of more than 2,000 college students upped the energy.
In addition to general sessions exploring the current state of feminism, winning women's economic empowerment and political equality, and envisioning the future, there were more than 200 exhibition booths and 106 symposia, roundtables, and training sessions. You could talk funding strategies for women's initiatives, learn about "Global Perspectives on Fighting Poverty" and "The True Costs of Free Trade," discuss the "Grrl Thing" with teen activists, or take part in training sessions geared to campus activism. There were indigenous women's crafts, book signings by a slew of famous and lesser known writers, a career center, and a surprising number of law enforcement officers looking to bring more women in to their ranks.
From letter-writing campaigns to forming global alliances, the mission was to get women together and work for change. The thrust of the gathering seemed to be by-the-book activism, empowering women to work within the system—not every femme's shtick. But for others the Expo was a great place to jump-start their activism.
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. . . .