Leading women members of Congress spoke about women's leadership yesterday at an event on Capitol Hill organized by Feminist Majority Foundation interns. Senator Barbara Boxer, Congresswoman Hilda Solis, and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney addressed a full room during the Taking the Lead: From Campus to Congress event. The event also featured Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) president Eleanor Smeal and Howard University Student Association (HUSA) president Jennifer Owens. FMF interns also presented preliminary research on women’s leadership on college campuses to an audience of mostly young women.
Delivering a reality check, FMF interns shared their preliminary results from a survey of over 150 colleges and universities, examining the roles that women take in student government leadership. The preliminary results are alarming: only one in every four schools had a woman president. More encouragingly, over half of the schools had a women vice-president, HUSA president Owens confirmed this, saying that Howard usually sees student government tickets with a male president running with a female vice-president. Owens decided to run for the highest seat, however, because she had a vision for her campus and quickly saw that no one else was working for the changes she thought were necessary. She encouraged the young women present to get involved in leadership, reminding them, “Do not doubt yourself… Be yourself. You know that what you’re doing is right in the end.”
The elected members of Congress spoke from their own experiences and reminded young women that leadership qualities need to be developed early on. Senator Boxer spoke of the struggles that earlier feminists endured to ensure the status that women enjoy today, but emphasized that there is more to win. Congresswoman urged young women to get out and “stir the pot” by encouraging feminists to run, registering women to vote, and voting. Finally, Congresswoman Maloney spoke personally about her experiences challenging a male incumbent and gaining the confidence necessary to develop into the leader she is today.
Taking the Lead is part of FMF’s Feminization of Power campaign, a project designed to encourage women of all ages to participate in leadership and to change the face of power. “Young people who go into government get active in college,” Smeal said, encouraging young feminists to run for student government. Congresswoman Maloney closed with her advice to young women: “If you don’t like the system, you have to take some responsibility [for] changing it.”
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. . . .