House Passes Amendment to Continue Funding Small Educational Equity Act
Earlier this week, the US House of Representatives passed the Maloney/Woolsey/Sanchez amendment which will provide $3 million for 2005 to refund the Women's Educational Equity Act (WEEA). If passed without this amendment, the appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education (HR 5006) would have ended funding for WEEA. Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) offered the amendment to ensure continued implementation of WEEA, which was established by Representative Patsy Mink in 1974 to promote educational equity and to provide funds to help education agencies and institutions meet the requirements of Title IX.
The 30 year old WEEA program is the only remaining program solely focused on the Department of Education’s important civil rights responsibility to advance gender equity. At $3 million, it is also one of the smallest programs in the Department, receiving even less receiving even less than the $8.45 million received by the Whaling Partnership Program, which primarily helps museums and others in Alaska, Hawaii and Massachussets share historic information on the whaling industry.
Dr. Sue Klein, the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Education Equity Director, said “Members of the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education are relieved that the WEEA appropriations have been restored in the House, despite this Administration’s consistent annual budget requests to eliminate all WEEA funds. However, the Coalition is not pleased with how the Administration has allocated the funds.”
Previously over one-third of the appropriation was used to fund the WEEA Equity Resource Center which, among other important functions, published materials produced by WEEA, disseminated information on gender equity through its website and listserv, and even maintained a listing of state Title IX gender equity coordinators. Instead, the Department is using the funds previously used to provide much needed information on gender equity to support a study of single sex schools.
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. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .