Reproductive Justice IS Economic Justice image

Statement of NOW President Toni Van Pelt

The Democratic party, determined to win back the majority in the House of Representatives at any cost, is throwing its support behind anti-choice candidates. That’s a huge mistake. Reproductive justice is at the heart of women’s health, welfare, safety, and economic security.
This week Rep. Ben Ray Luján, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in an interview that, in order to pick up 24 more seats in the House, Democrats would fund candidates who oppose abortion rights. This marks a painful pivot from the 2016 party platform, which spelled out “that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured.”
That platform was driven by smart policy, and smart politics–because it recognizes that progressive abortion policy is central to achieving economic justice. That’s why women, and all progressives, should decry this new posturing–which has Democratic leaders trying to appeal to a mythical group of moderates, by shrugging off reproductive rights as a fringe issue. The truth is this: they’ll never achieve any of their progressive goals, economic or otherwise, if abortion rights get pushed out of the picture.
Most important of all: Democrats can’t risk women’s lives to play this political game. This is even more urgent for marginalized individuals. Women of color, young people, and LGBTQIA+ individuals are hit hardest when abortion access is gutted–and that would almost certainly be the case if the Democrats throw their support behind anti-choice candidates.
I’m calling on grassroots activists across the country to march into their Congressional Democratic offices and make their voices heard, and to to work at the local Democratic party level–as individuals, or with their NOW chapters. NOW has been a proud fighter for abortion rights and reproductive justice for over 50 years. The Democratic party cannot and should not take us for granted. Party leaders must think again, and get it right this time.


M.E. Ficarra , , 951-547-1241

Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill

Reposted by AZ NOW 02.18.17
The withdrawal of Andy Puzder’s nomination for Secretary of Labor comes at a pivotal time for U.S. workers.Graduation-300x300Andy Puzder built his business on exploiting workers, bilking them out of fair wages and humane workplace conditions, and using the sexual objectification of women to sell hamburgers. His business model was built on policies that harm low-wage workers, who are predominantly women, disproportionately women of color. All that was acceptable to the rubber-stamp Republican Senate, but when they saw the videotape of his former spouse detailing his vicious threats and abuse they finally pulled the plug.
1-Million-300x300Now that Andy Puzder has withdrawn his nomination to be Secretary of Labor, Donald Trump must be made to see the choice he faces.  He can pick another crony capitalist or Wall Street billionaire with whom he likes to golf at Mar-a-Lago, or he can pick someone who has an actual track record of supporting workers.
The next Labor nominee needs to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the well being of workers in three crucial ways: First, the nominee must promote a true living wage — at minimum, $15 per hour, although that may already be too low in some cities.  Second, they must be committed to programs and policies aimed at eliminating the gender and gender-race wage gaps, as well as sexual harassment in the workplace. Third, they must support the right of all employees to join unions and bargain collectively for decent wages and working conditions.
2058-300x300Donald Trump should have been mortified to even nominate Andy Puzder to lead the U.S. Department of  Labor. Trump isn’t likely to change, but he can wake up to the political reality his disastrous nomination of Puzder has created.   NOW calls on Trump to pick a nominee who will support and strengthen workers—not exploit their labor or use them to line his own pockets.
Andy Puzder’s nomination was unsustainable, but a nominee with the same views in a more palatable package will be equally unacceptable.  NOW leaders and activists around the country are newly energized, and we will carefully scrutinize Trump’s next Labor Secretary nominee.  Donald Trump is having a bad week, but it will get worse if he nominates another crony capitalist to be Secretary of Labor.


M.E. Ficarra , , 951-547-1241
, ,

This article has been reposted with permission Kathryn Mitchell,
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dianne-post-202x300Arizona NOW
PO Box 45558
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Dianne Post, Attorney
602 271 9019
19 July 2016
EEOC Comments on Proposed Rule Changes: Employer Information Report (EEO-1)
Yes, the EEOC should amend its rules to include gathering summary pay data from employers, including federal contractors, with more than 100 employees.
The gender pay gap is a problem internationally. No country has closed the gap and only 14 countries have closed more than 80% of it (Global Gender Gap 2014). Only by gathering such data and using it for analytical purposes can we hope to achieve equality.
In the U.S. in 2012, the median income for women was $15,000 and men $20,200. For full-time year-round earners, it was women $30,000 and men $33,592 (Legal Momentum).
Education seemed to increase rather than decrease the gap:
All levels:
Women $30,000       Men $33,592
Not HS Grad:
Women $17,300       Men $23,000
HS Grad, no college:
Women $23,000       Men $29,000
AA degree only:
Women $28,000       Men $35,000
BA/S degree only:
Women $42,000       Men $50,000
In 2015, men’s earnings grew at twice the rate of women’s. The median weekly earnings for full-time male workers were $889 in the third quarter. That’s a 2.2% increase from a year earlier. Full-time female workers’ earnings were $721, up 0.8% from a year earlier. The later data marked the third straight quarter that the increase in male earnings was at least double that of female workers. As a result, women who work full time earned 81.1 cents for every dollar a man earned from July through September. That’s down more than a penny from a year earlier.
1-Million-300x300Since the Great Recession, men have seen increasing pay in higher-wage, professional fields. The median weekly pay for men working full time in professional jobs – engineers, lawyers and teachers – was $1,345 in the third quarter, up 7.4% from a year earlier. Similar women earned $970 a week, a 2.2% increase from a year earlier (US Gender Pay Gap is Now Even Wider, Eric Morath, Wall Street Journal, 21 October 2015).
This is a global problem as well as a local one.
In every region in the world, women do 2.5 times as much work as men. Over all, three-fourths of men and one-half of women are in the work force. Yet, two-thirds of women in family businesses do not get paid. Women receive 24% less pay, thus cascading into lesser pensions as women age (UN Progress of World’s Women 2015-2016).
The world is both wealthier and more unequal today than at any point since World War II. The richest 1% of the world’s population now owns about 40% of the world’s assets, while the bottom half owns no more than 1%. To create equal work for women we need formal policies, paid work, and labor-saving equipment. We also need gender-responsive social policies such as pensions, health care, and money transfers along with rights-based macroeconomic policies – trade, tax policy, debt restructuring, deficit spending, and gender budgeting (UN Progress).
Cross-national comparisons repeatedly find that the U.S. has a higher relative poverty measure (RPM) than comparable countries. In the late 2000s, the U.S. had a 17.0 RPM, which was the fourth highest among the OECD’s 34 member nations, 6.0 points above the 11.0 OECD average, and exceeded only by Chile (18.0), Israel (20.0), and Mexico (21.0). (OECD October 2015).
U.S. single parents are the worst off compared to 16 high-income countries. U.S. single parents have above average employment rates, an exceptionally high share of full-time as opposed to part-time employment, and high rates of low-wage employment. The majority of minimum wage earners are women, and while working mothers earn two-thirds of household earnings, a 21% wage gap between women and men has existed for 10 years and is not closing (OECD).
Women’s low pay increases poverty.
Factors contributing to women’s lower pay include maternity, parental leave, violence/sexual harassment in the workplace, the glass ceiling, the sticky floor and lack of social protection. The U.S. is one of only two countries in the world without a mandatory paid maternity leave for all women workers.
In 1964, the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) was 19.0, the year in which President Johnson announced a war on poverty. Since then, it has dropped but is now rising again:
ERA NOW Round pic1969 – 12.1%
1970s – OPM averaged 11.8% in the 1970s,
1980s – 13.8%
1990s – 13.8%
2000-2009 – 12.5%.
Over the entire period 1964 through 2009, the OPM averaged 13.0%.
2010 – 15.1%
2011 – 15.0%
2012 – 15.0%
Two percent of the U.S. population is over 6 million more people in poverty.
More than one in seven women, nearly 18 million, lived in poverty in 2013. About 43 percent of these women (7.8 million) lived in extreme poverty, defined as income at or below 50 percent of the federal poverty level. More than 1 in 16 women lived in extreme poverty in 2013. This is a historically high rate according to the National Women’s Law Center.
StopRacismNOWThe poverty rate for women (14.5 percent) was 3.5 percentage points higher than it was for men (11.0 percent). The extreme poverty rate for women (6.3 percent) was 1.5 percentage points higher than it was for men (4.8 percent). Poverty rates were about one in four, among Black (25.3 percent), Hispanic (23.1 percent), and Native American (26.8 percent) women. Rates for foreign-born women (19.0 percent), White, non-Hispanic women (10.7 percent), and Asian women (11.0 percent) were also considerably higher than the rate for White, non-Hispanic men (8.0 percent) (National Women’s Law Center).
The poverty rate for female-headed families with children was 39.6 percent, compared to 19.7 percent for male-headed families with children and 7.6 percent for families with children headed by a married couple. Nearly six in ten of all poor children (58.8 percent) lived in families headed by women. Nearly 522,000 single women with children (12.0 percent) who worked full time year round in 2013 lived in poverty.
Among people 65 and older, more than twice as many women (nearly 2.9 million) as men (over 1.3 million) lived in poverty in 2013. The poverty rate for women 65 and older was 11.6 percent, 4.8 percentage points higher than the poverty rate for men 65 and older (6.8 percent). Nearly one in five (19.0 percent) women 65 and older living alone lived in poverty, compared to 11.3 percent for men 65 and older living alone.
2058-300x300When women are poor, children are poor. Nearly 14.7 million children lived in poverty in 2013, more than two out of five of whom (44.2 percent) lived in extreme poverty. One in five (19.9 percent) children were poor. The rate was one in three for Black children (38.3 percent) and Native American (34.9 percent) children and three in ten for Hispanic (30.4 percent) and foreign-born (28.4 percent) children. The poverty rate was 10.1 percent for Asian children and 10.7 percent for white, non-Hispanic children. (UNICEF, in Child Poverty, Buchheit, Alternet, April 15, 2015.)
When pay is unequal, everyone suffers, especially children. In the past six years, U.S. wealth grew 60%; during the same period, homeless children grew 60%. As UNICEF reports, "[Children's] material well-being is highest in the Netherlands and in the four Nordic countries and lowest in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and the United States."Over half of public school students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies, and almost half of black children under the age of six are living in poverty. Nearly half of all food stamp recipients are children, and they averaged about $5 a day for their meals before the 2014 farm bill cut $8.6 billion (over the next ten years) from the food stamp program. In 2007 about 12 of every 100 kids were on food stamps. Today it's 20 of every 100. For every two homeless children in 2006, there are now 30 on a typical frigid night in January. According to the U.S. Department of Housing, 138,000 children were without a place to call home. That's about the same number of households that have each increased their wealth by $10 million per year since the Great Recession.
Educational equity has not improved pay equity.
Women are 50.8% of the entire U.S. population. They represent:
60% of undergraduate degrees
60% of masters degrees
47% of law degrees
48% of medical degrees
44% of masters in business & management,
37% of MBAs
In the overall labor force they represent:
47% of the labor force
59% of the college-educated, entry-level workforce
They hold 52% of professional level jobs but only
15% of executive officers
8% of top earners
5% of Fortune 500 CEOs
In the financial industry, they are 54.2% of labor force, but:
12% of executive officers
18% of board directors
0% of CEOs
Germany mandates 30% women on boards; Norway mandates 40% as does Iceland.
In the health and social assistance fields, they are 78% of labor force yet:
15% of executive officers
12% of board directors
0% of CEOs
In the legal/medical/science fields, they are:
45% of associates of law firms
25% of non-equity partners
15% of equity partners
34% of all physicians & surgeons
16% of medical school deans
9% of management positions in info tech,
14% of senior positions at Silicon Valley startups
On all U.S. boards, women have been stuck at 12% for more than a decade. On Fortune 500 boards, they have been stuck at 17% for more than eight years. (Ms Magazine)
Women of color suffer even more.
Data-Speaks-300x300Today women earn $.77 for every dollar earned by comparable men, which is not much improvement since 1990. But the figures are even lower for women of color:
African-American $.64 (2010)
Latina $.55 (2010)
Whites $.78 (2010)
Because of these pay inequities, women lose an average of $434,000 in lifetime.
Men lost the most jobs in the Great Recession in construction and manufacturing. However, in the recovery men gained all the jobs (93,700), while women lost 102,000 jobs. The result is that women have higher unemployment rates than men:
African American women 11%, Latina 10%, White 8%, white men approximately 5%. Women of color are also over-represented in low wage sector with few benefits.
The pay gap results in a wealth gap:
Single white men have wealth of $43,800 v. single white women of $41,500
Single Black male, $7,900 v. single Black female, $100;
Married or cohabitating white households, $167,500
Married or cohabitating African American households, $31,500
Latina household, $120
African American and Latina women with children, 0
Female minimum-wage workers have doubled since 2007 and are now twice that of males. Working poor Latina and African American women are twice that of whites. Working poor rates increased since the recession and even more since the 2009 “recovery” from 5.1% to 6% to 7% in 2011. Poverty rates for women of color are twice that of white women (The State of Women of Color in the United States: Too many barriers remain for this growing and increasingly important population, Farah Ahmad and Sarah Iverson, October, 2013, Center for American Progress).
The U.S. has a higher degree of income inequality than almost any other developed country. Only three of 34 OECD members rank higher – Chile, Mexico and Turkey.
Americans now are less likely to move to the class above their parents than citizens of other rich countries; current generations will die sooner than their parents and have less wealth.
Graduation-300x300The Special Rapporteur visited the U.S. in 2015 and in her report said, "The United States, as economic leader of the world, lags behind in providing a safety net and a decent life for those of its women who do not have access to independent wealth, high salaries or economic support from a partner or family" (UN Working Group, Dec. 2015). A 21 percent gender wage gap is "affecting women’s income throughout their lives, increasing women’s pension poverty."
The UN Working Group also said it was "shocked" by the lack of mandatory standards for workplace accommodation for pregnant women, post-natal mothers, and persons with care responsibilities, which it noted "are required in international human rights law.” International human rights law requires the establishment of social protection floors for core economic and social needs, provision for paid maternity leave, and the taking of all appropriate measures to produce ”de facto equality between all women and men in the labor market and in women-owned businesses," the statement reads.
It is clear that the pay gap continues. Gathering data is the beginning of changing policy. We must change policy if we intend to truly bring about equality. EEOC should be leading that charge. Thank you.

Posted 06/22/2016 by  & filed under Ending Sex Discrimination, Ending Violence Against Women, Stopping Violence Against WomenBy Angela Myers, Communications Intern
The juvenile justice system is criminalizing sexual assault victims. In our juvenile justice system, many, if not most, of the young women placed in the juvenile justice system are victims of sexual abuse.
Although in the last 20 years the amount of youths placed in the juvenile system has gone down, the proportion of young girls placed into the system has increased.  As stated in an Education Week article,“Sexual abuse is a “primary predictor” for involvement with the juvenile-justice system, and that girls of color—particularly African-Americans, Native Americans, and Latinas—are disproportionately affected.” By putting young women into the juvenile system, the root problems of bad behavior and delinquency aren’t being solved. Sexual abuse history is also strongly linked to the likelihood that a young woman will be charged again after release.
What is the issue?
The sexual abuse to Prison pipeline is an issue that focuses specifically on young women who have experienced sexual assault. These girls are pushed into the juvenile justice system for displaying understandable reactions to trauma, which usually meet the criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). By being placed into the juvenile system, girls don’t have access to proper mental health treatment. As data and reports show, girls are 4.4 times more likely to experience sexual assault than boys. By placing these girls in the juvenile justice system we are taking them out of their communities, not giving them the help that they need to psychologically recover from trauma. The juvenile justice system is also known for having an ineffective education system. This inhibits those in the system to easily transfer out and back to school. So in the end, by placing victims in the juvenile justice system girls are taken out of their communities and everything they know.
Sexual assault is a traumatic experience that leads many young women to act out.  But the research so far shows that an overwhelming majority of girls in the juvenile justice system have experienced sexual abuse. In a 2006 study in Oregon, 96 percent of the girls in the juvenile justice system had a history of sexual abuse, and 76 percent had experienced one incident of sexual or physical abuse before age thirteen. Additionally, in a 2009 study in South Carolina of “delinquent girls”, 84 percent reported a history of sexual violence. In Angela Davis’s book, Are Prisons Obsolete?, Davis writes extensively, in the chapter  “How Gender Structures the Prison system,” on the sexual abuse that is experienced by women in the prison system in California, before and after they enter the system. A major problem and factor in our juvenile justice system and our prison system is that women and girls are being sexually abused in prisons, and if they aren’t, the standard practices of those systems have the potential to retraumatize victims. Strip searching, for example, is standard practice for adult prisons but on a case-by-case basis in the juvenile justice system. Being stripped searched can be retraumatizing for victims of sexual assault.
The most common crimes for which girls are arrested—running away, substance abuse, and truancy—are also the most common reactions to abuse. Putting these girls into the juvenile justice system is generally a harsher conviction than needed if we want to punish these girls for their crimes. These crimes are also often painted as ones that need to be punished early and quickly, rather than treated. These girls are not criminals, but victims. Once we see that these victims need treatment not punishment, hopefully then we will be able to curb the sheer amount of girls in the juvenile justice system.

Why is this important?
It has become obvious lately that the juvenile justice system and the prison system in general is flawed. A disproportionate amount of the women in these systems are women of color. By criminalizing young girls who have experienced sexual assault we are further traumatizing those girls and not fixing the root of the problem that caused their delinquent behavior. Girls who are put into the juvenile justice system also face the stigma of being labeled a “delinquent child” and that can follow them once they leave the system. Then after they re-integrate back into school the change in structure may retrigger problematic behavior. These girls and all young women deserve respect and also the proper care for their needs. This can change if we give therapy to girls who are exhibiting bad behavior in the classroom and signs of trauma. Also we can work toward ending sexual abuse toward young girls by giving therapy and rehabilitation to rapists and child molesters. As a society we need to stop sexual assault at all ages. Until then we can’t criminalize the behaviors of young women who are acting out because of their trauma due to sexual assault.

Arizona Capital Times, Dianne Post and Kaitlin Ford

— Dianne Post is a Phoenix attorney and Kaitlin Ford is an intern for NOW.

By: Guest Opinion  January 21, 2016 , 5:30 pm

Most Americans have heard of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). What most Americans do not realize is that the ERA did not pass and is not a part of the U.S. Constitution. How can this be when between 91 percent to 96 percent of American adults polled believe that men and women should have equal rights, and 72 percent already think that men and women have equal rights guaranteed by the Constitution (ERA Survey)? How can this be when the U.S. imposed the ERA language on other countries in 1945 and encouraged it in its foreign assistance in all the former Soviet Union countries in the 1990s? How can this be when the Republicans were the first to endorse the ERA in the party platform in the 1940s with the Democrats shortly following suit?

kaitlin-fordKaitlin Ford

Yet it remains that America is one of few countries that does not guarantee women equal protection of rights under the Constitution. In fact, corporations received equal rights under the 14th Amendment before women did. U.S. Supreme Court justices have made it clear that the Constitution does not prohibit discrimination based on sex. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “If I could choose an amendment to add to the Constitution, it would be the Equal Rights Amendment. I think we have achieved that through legislation, but legislation can be repealed, it can be altered. So I would like my granddaughters, when they pick up the Constitution, to see that notion — that women and men are persons of equal stature — I’d like them to see that is a basic principle of our society.”

The ERA was born in 1923 after women won the right to vote. It was introduced every year in Congress until finally, in 1972, the ERA was passed by Congress and by 1984 ratified by 35 states of the 38 needed. The ERA is the only proposed amendment that had an expiration date on it – a practice many challenge. Since then, it continues to be introduced in Congress every year and a new movement has arisen to see it passed by 2020 because there still is an urgent need for the ERA in today’s society.

The ERA will help improve the lives of men and women by making equality a Constitutional principle as well as a law, as it is now in some areas. The U.S. falls behind many other countries in measures of women’s equality from the number of parliamentarians to maternal deaths to response to domestic violence. The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights found recently in the Jessica Gonzales case that the U.S. violated the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man by failing to protect victims of domestic violence.

dianne-post-202x300Dianne Post

Currently women make on average 83 cents on the dollar compared to men performing the same job. Women also are less likely to have benefits at work such as insurance and pensions. These are only a few examples of how the ERA will improve the lives of all American citizens now and in the future.

Arizona did not pass the ERA in the 1980s. In fact, the state donated $10,000 of taxpayer money to the Mountain States Defense Fund to defeat the ERA. But women in Arizona still demand equality. State Rep. Rebecca Rios will be introducing the ERA again this year. It has been introduced many past years but leadership refused to assign it to a committee, let alone have a hearing. The women of Arizona deserve better. Arizona was once a beacon for women’s rights. Women could vote in Arizona in 1912, and Rachael Berry, from Apache County, was the first woman legislator elected in Arizona in 1914 before women in the rest of the country could even vote. Isabel Greenway was Arizona’s first congresswoman and only representative from 1933-1935. Arizona holds the record for the most women governors (four, three in a row) and having women hold all state offices at the same time (1998). The first woman appointed to the Supreme Court came from here. Arizona needs to reclaim its place in the march toward equality by ratifying the ERA today and moving toward that day that all discrimination will end.

— Dianne Post is a Phoenix attorney and Kaitlin Ford is an intern for NOW.