Nel's New Day

March 8, 2019

Think Equal: International Women’s Day

On March 8, International Women’s Day, 28 members of the world champion United States women’s soccer team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit regarding the lack of pay equity and working conditions. According to the lawsuit, discrimination against the women athletes not only leaves them with much less than pay than men in the soccer field but also restricts their place of play, training, medical treatment, coaching, and even travel accommodations.

The women, stars for over a decade, head to France this summer to defend the Women’s World Cup that they won almost four years ago. Since their third win of the contest in summer of 2015, they have made some gain—doubled prize money pool for the upcoming tournament, the disappearance of artificial turf, and even a chartered flight. Female soccer teams in other countries such as Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Norway have made a few gains since protests by the U.S. women’s team.

FIFA, pro soccer teams’ employer, still favor the men by give a pool of $400 million to 32 men’s teams compared to $30 million for 24 women’s teams. According to pay schedules for players participating in 20 games a year, men get an average of $263,320 while women get a maximum of $99,000. That’s after the $17 million more in profit for 2016 that women made over the men. Although the male team lost the 2014 World Cup in Round 16, their bonuses were $5.375; after winning the Cup in 2015, women received $1.725 for bonuses.

Women suffer far worse inequities around the world than lack of pay. Poverty, lack of justice and rights, abuse, poorer health, discrimination in education—all these are just a few of the ways that women are wanting in gender equality. But sports is one area that symbolizes the subjection of women to male values. A recent example occurred in a cycling race in Switzerland. In the annual Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, men started two minutes before women—because women are faster. No matter—Nicole Hanselmann took a big lead over the men’s field, that is, before she was told to sit by the side of the road to “neutralise the women’s race in order to restore the gap between” the men and women’s groups. Maybe the men should have had a five-minute head start so that they could win.

Women ride the Tour de France through traffic and without media on the day before men get the attention, and the women’s Olympic race is half the length of the men’s race. Olympic cycling events for women didn’t exist until 1984, the same year that events included a women’s marathon but almost a century after the modern Olympic revivals in 1896 included these events for men.

Bobbi Gibbs entered the Boston Marathon in 1966 without an application after being told that was told that “women are not physiologically able to run a marathon.” She beat over half the field in 3 hours, 21 minutes. The next year, Kathrine Switzer entered the marathon under her initials and beat her boyfriend. Her time of 4 hours, 20 minutes might have been better if the race co-director had not physically attacked her during the race. Not until 1972 did the AAU allow women to run more than a mile and a half.

Other sports still have the  gender restrictions: women play two out of three sets in tennis, but men play three out of five. Men said that the rules are meant to protect women’s “reproductive organs” from undue endurance. In the beginning, women’s cycling threatened men because women gained independence with their own transportation. The lack of chaperones caused people to refer to bicycles as “prostitution on wheels.” The reason for gender inequality is to show women that we are inferior.

Other inequalities in sports:

In the U.S., 40 percent of sportspeople are women, but only six to eight percent of the total sports media coverage is devoted to them. Women-only sports stories comprise just 3.5 percent of all sports stories in the four major US newspapers.

Each year, male athletes get $179 million more in athletic scholarships—50 percent more—than female athletes receive.

Colleges and universities spend only 24 percent of their athletic operating budgets on female sports and just 16 percent of recruiting budgets for women.

Coaches for college women’s team sports earn 63 cents for every dollar earned by head coaches of men’s teams.

The 2015 Women’s World Cup soccer final was the most watched soccer match—male or female—but its players were far less compensated than male soccer players. In professional soccer, the National Women’s Soccer League has a pay ceiling per player of just $37,800 compared to an average of more than $300,000 and a median of about $100,000 for men’s Major League Soccer. Each team in the NWSL has a salary cap of just $265,000—compared to more than $3 million for men.

Of total commercial investment, 0.4 percent goes into women’s sport.

People who discriminate against women in sports claim that they won’t receive any attention, that the public wants to watch only men play. This attitude, however, comes from the top. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) makes news with male championship sports teams, either being rebuffed by them or feeding them fast foods like hamburgers and pizza. Yet he has not invited one female championship team to the White House to honor them on a solo visit—not the 2018 women’s NCAA basketball champions Notre Dame, not the 2017 WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx, nor the 2018 WNBA champion Seattle Storm. The latest invitation, however, was a men’s lower-division NCAA football championship team, the first one invited since Bill Clinton’s time. Every other president going back to Ronald Reagan invited the women’s NCAA basketball champions. Here’s President Obama with the 2016 NCAA winners.

Politics this year has brought out the worst—thus far—in conservative misogyny. From the minute that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected a Democratic U.S. representative from New York, journalists stalked her, intent on photographing her from behind, questioning how much she pays for her clothes, why she took an Uber instead of the subway. A Texas city council member called her a “bimbo,” and one of her congressional colleagues yelled “Go back to Puerto Rico!”  Conservative pundits call her a “little girl” and fantasize about dating her. On The View, Meghan McCain said she was “really surprised” that Ocasio-Cortez had asked an intelligent question at Michael Cohen’s House hearing. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has the same political views, but it’s the conservatives who cried at CPAC that Ocasio-Cortez wants to “take your hamburgers” and replaced incessant smears of Hillary Clinton to those directed at Ocasio-Cortez.

The hatred and sexism directed toward Ocasio-Cortez moved to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) after she criticized the control of Israel over U.S. policy. For decades, GOP congressional members and conservative media protected rampant racism from colleagues and now fail to call out their racist president while becoming livid about Omar’s suggestion that candidates receive millions of dollars to oppose Palestine and support Israel. The attacks didn’t start with her supposed anti-Semitic remarks used to revile her; threats against her began before she was sworn into the 116th Congress also because of her Islam religion. Every word she uses, even “hypnotize,” is classified as an “anti-Semitic trope” while DDT and other white male GOP congressional members escape any criticism. Yet 23 of them voted against all expressions of prejudice such as racism, Islamophobia, and anti-LGBTQ rights except for anti-Semitism. Omar is even being blamed for the spike in anti-Jewish hate crimes that began with DDT’s election.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish, said that while anti-Semitism is a “hateful and dangerous ideology,” it must not be confused with criticism of Israel’s government under the right-wing leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) joined Sanders in defending Omar because they, too, have suffered from the misogyny, especially since the women declared their candidacies for the 2020 presidential election. After condemning Hillary Clinton for being too “icy,” pundits slam Warren for being “aloof” and Harris for connecting with audiences “too much.” For weeks, opinionists agonized over whether the women presidential candidates were “authentic” and found stories to show that they are phonies. Warren’s oral history of Native American background from the 1980s appears again and again—and again. (The same people overlook DDT’s 9,000 lies.) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was attacked for talking about how to eat fried chicken, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar is “mean.” Authenticity for women is being a secretary or staff member.

The theme for the 2019 International Women’s Day is “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change.” Almost half the Democrats running for president in 2020 are women, and a pro sports team is suing for equality. Ocasio-Cortez and Omar are making changes in Congress along with the other 108 Democratic women plus their allies. These changes plus millions of others may bring women into the 21st century.

January 19, 2019

Women March, DDT Bombs

Filed under: Women's issues — trp2011 @ 10:47 PM

On the two-year anniversary of the inauguration of Dictator Donald Trump, approximately 200,000 people attended the 45th anti-abortion “March for Life” in Washington, D.C. VP Mike Pence spoke, telling the audience to “stand with that love and compassion.” Both he and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) emphasized the importance and equality of “every life,” meaning only fetuses and newborns, probably white.

The 2018 National Clinic Violence Survey provided statistics showing that the dangerously high levels of violence and threats against women’s clinics, doctors, and staff from the anti-abortion activists demonstrating “love and compassion”:

23.8% of clinics experienced the most severe types of threats and violence in the first half of 2018, including death threats, stalking, and blocking clinic access.

45% of clinics experienced at least one incident of severe violence, threats of severe violence, and/or severe harassment, such as break-ins, robberies, or vandalism, in the first half of 2018.

88% of clinics  reported experiencing some type of anti-abortion activity in the first half of 2018, with 62% of providers experiencing activity at least once a week

Clinics that rated their experience with law enforcement as “poor” or “fair” were twice as likely to experience high levels of severe violence or harassment (28%) than those that rated local law enforcement “good” or “excellent” (15.1%).

These are the only businesses in the United States that suffer these levels of threats and violence.

Reproductive rights are not the only area in which women lack equality within the United States. The recently-published annual Global Gender Gap Report from the World Economic Forum finds 51 countries in the world are better places for women to live than in the United States. That’s six countries down from two years earlier in the measure of 144 countries. The report evaluates four categories of gender equality:

Economic Participation and Opportunity: labor force, wage equality, earned income, administration (U.S. – #19)

Educational Attainment: literacy, enrollment, graduation level (U.S. – #46)

Health and Survival: sex ratio at birth, healthy life expectancy (U.S. – #71)

Political Empowerment: seats elected, appointed, years with female head of government (U.S. – #98)

According to the trend, women will gain equality to men in 165 years—2183.

Today is the third Women’s March. The first one brought out 4 million people in hundreds of places around the world. The protest goes far beyond just “women’s issues”: it includes rights for racial justice, LGBTQ people, immigrants, workers, voting, and the disabled as well as issues such as economic justice, liberties, and protection of environment and climate. Specific priorities include universal healthcare, the Equal Rights Amendment, end of war, student debt, and de-militarization of the U.S. borders.

Increasing the number of women in leadership could move the country toward these rights. Right now, the U.S. Congress is about 20 percent female—most of them Democrats—while the nation has a majority of women in the general population. These are benefits from women leadership:

Problem solving improves with more women because it benefits from diversity of gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and gender expression.

Workers have more trust in female leaders, according to a Pew survey. In 2015, 34 percent said women are more honest and ethical whereas only 3 percent is better in this area.

Women leaders are more collaborative, better at making deals as shown in the Senate. Quorumanalysis found that the average female senator co-sponsored 6.29 bills with another Senate woman, while the average male senator co-sponsored 4.07 bills with another Senate man” and that “the average female senator co-sponsored 171.08 bills with a member of the opposite party; for the average male senator, that figure was 129.87.”

Women make good mentors, according 30 percent in the Pew survey. Only 5 percent thought that men were better mentors.

Millennial women are more educated than men, and education is important in challenging the status quo, introducing new business approaches, and implementing innovative techniques.

In her speech at one of today’s rallies, Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (R-NY) said:

“Justice is not a concept we read about in a book. Justice is about the water we drink, justice is about the air we breathe, justice is about how easy it is to vote, justice is about how much ladies get paid.

“Justice is about making sure that being polite is not the same thing as being quiet.

“In fact, often times the most righteous thing you can do is shake the table.”

Ocasio-Cortez echoed a statement from Pulitzer Prize winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich that “well-behaved women seldom make history.”

Reports show that this year’s marches were smaller than the millions of the past, perhaps from bad weather, less interest, or the fracturing of he organization from accusations of anti-Semitism for the leaders. Yet hundreds of thousands of people in over 300 cities showed up in freezing rain across the United States. For the past two years, the marchers have been active—attending town halls, protecting the Affordable Care Act, supporting teachers on strike, campaigning for progressive candidates, electing women, and protesting to save the dying planet.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/03/these-are-the-women-making-history-as-the-116th-congress-is-sworn-in.html   In the midterm elections, the first since the inauguration of the annual Women’s March, 102 women won their races for the U.S. House, shattering the previous record of 84. Eighty-nine of these winning women, Democrats, represented ethnic and religious diversity. Women will chair six influential House committees. Over 20 of the 36 newly-elected women—all of whom replaced male incumbents—are first-time political candidates. One-fourth of the Senate is female, 17 Democrats and 8 Republicans. In Congress, 28 are mothers of younger children, causing the installation of infant changing facilities in the members’ restrooms.

Yesterday, a group of indigenous people protesting at the Lincoln Memorial were interrupted by 50 to 70 DDT-supporting who chanted “build the wall.” One of them, a white teenager wearing a MAGA hat, harassed an indigenous elder, Nathan Phillips, who served in Vietnam and participated in surrounding and jeering at the protesters. The young man came from Covington Catholic High School (Park Hills, KY), an all male schools of 560 students with a their mission to “embrace the gospel message of Jesus Christ in order to educate young men spiritually, academically, physically, and socially.” Singing the American Indian Movement song that serves as a ceremony to send the spirits home, Phillips, 64, said that he continued his drumming and singing by thinking about his wife, Shoshana, who died of bone marrow cancer nearly four years ago, and the threats that face indigenous communities. Covington students each paid $130 for the field trip to the March for Life before they moved on to abuse the indigenous protesters, and the students’ parents and chaperones did nothing to intervene in the students’ behavior. This past week, DDT mocked horrifying massacres of Native Americans.

Today, DDT preempted television programming for another speech purporting to be a plan to reopen the government. He negotiated with McConnell and son-in-law Jared Kushner—no Democrats involved—to rehash earlier proposals from the year before offering three years of safety to DACA recipients in exchange for $5.7 billion to build his “barrier.” DDT’s offer is useless because DACA recipients remain in limbo. Fact checking on his lies here. DDT had hoped that the Supreme Court would hear his appeal on DACA to rule on his executive order to dump DACA, but the high court would not hear the case, leaving injunctions against DDT’s rejection of DACA for another year.Hard-core conservatives who goaded DDT into the shutdown were not happy with DDT’s solution. Pundit Ann Coulter tweeted that the proposal was “amnesty.” She wrote, “We voted for Trump and got Jeb!”

Day 29 of the government shutdown: Just before the Women’s March for justice and reproductive rights, House Speaker Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ignored the House bills on the grounds that it would waste the Senate’s time “on show votes.” Last Thursday, McConnell failed to get the 60 necessary votes for his first anti-abortion bill of the 116th Congress, something he knew would happen. Opponents to women’s reproductive rights did show up to Washington—some of them to harass a Native American veteran and elder. McConnell plans to put another useless bill onto the floor of the Senate–this one DDT’s proposal that the Democratic House has declared DOA.

DDT is still stuck in his corner, and the economy is tanking from the government shutdown.

April 9, 2018

Equal Pay Day – Help from the 9th Circuit

Filed under: Women's issues — trp2011 @ 3:03 PM
Tags: ,

If women got the same wages that men do for equal jobs, then Equal Pay Day would be December 31 each year. But we don’t, and women on the average have to work over three months longer to equal the men’s salaries each year because women make $.80 for each $1.00 that men make. This year, Equal Pay Day is April 10, and women can celebrate a great court win today.

Almost one year ago, a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court ruled that employers can pay women less than men for the same work by using differences in workers’ previous salaries. The decision overturned a lower-court ruling and was appealed. Deborah Rhode of the Stanford Law School pointed out that this decision “perpetuate[s] the discrimination” because it “allow[s] prior discriminatory salary setting to justify future ones.”

Today, the eleven members of the 9th Circuit Court unanimously ruled that employers cannot use previous salaries to justify higher payment for men than for women. Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote the majority opinion before he died last month at the age of 87. The case concerned a starting salary for Aileen Rizo, a math consultant with the Fresno County Office of Education, who was paid less than all her male colleagues. The decision applies to the nine states of the 9th Circuit Court.

Although April 10 is Equal Pay Day for all women, dates vary for different ethnic groups when compared to white non-Hispanic men:

  • Asian-American Women: February 22, 2018 ($.87)
  • White Women: April 17, 2018 ($.79)
  • Black Women: August 7, 2018 ($.63)
  • Native American Women: September 27, 2018 ($.57)
  • Latinas: November 1, 2018 ($.54)

People who refuse to believe in the existence of the gender pay gap spread these myths:

  1. Myth: Women choose lower-paying work. Women are consistently told that they cannot do as well in male-dominated fields such as finance and technology. As career fields have a higher percentage of female entering them, the salaries drop because male-centric jobs are more prestigious. For example, biology and design were higher paying when more males were employed in these fields, whereas computing paid less in early years because early programmers were women. The trend then reversed for all these fields—computing became more lucrative when men dominated, and biology and design paid less with more women.
  2. Myth: Women choose to work fewer hours and select more part-time work than men do. Again, this is not a choice because the U.S. lacks federally mandated family leave, and child care is prohibitively expensive. With salaries higher for men, households with one worker keep the woman at home. Gender biases also allow men to leave home to work, leaving women to care for the children.
  3. Myth: Women choose jobs with flexibility over high pay so they can care for families. Female-dominated workplaces—care work, primary education, and clerical—have far less flextime than other workplace.
  4. Myth: More women are getting college degrees than men, so the gap will close on its own. Women continue to select college majors with lower-paying jobs. At the current rate, the closure of the gender pay gap may not occur for another 200 years.

Take-home pay is not the only problem from the gender pay gap. The discrimination leads to trickle-down financial disadvantages causing income inequality and financial insecurity:

  1. The retirement savings gap: Women save about half ($45,614) as much as men ($90,189), and only 52 percent of women have retirement savings’ accounts such as a 401K, compared to 71 percent of men.
  2. The student debt gap: Although women have less student debt, they are less equipped to deal with this debt; 28 percent of women see their loans a “not at all manageable” compared to less than half this percentage for men at 13 percent.
  3. The financial literacy gap: Men are taught far more about managing their finance, and parents think that sons have a better understanding of their money’s value than their daughters.
  4. The work time gap: Women are twice as likely as men to have part-time jobs which fail to offer such benefits as health care, retirement investment, and transit support. Women’s expenditures are more than those for men without these advantages. Again, women are left at home to care for the children because of the myth that they have more skill in this area than men.
  5. The homeownership gap: Homes owned by men are worth more than those owned by women, and male-owned homes appreciate more. Times reported that “homes owned by single men on average are valued 10 percent higher than those of single women, and that the value of their homes have appreciated by 16 percent more than those of their female counterparts.” Women, especially those of color, are also far more likely to be targeted by predatory lenders. “In 2005, women were 30 to 46 percent more likely to receive subprime mortgage loans than men. Black women were a staggering 256 percent more likely to receive subprime loans than white men,” according to Salon.

The gender pay gap doesn’t need to exist. A new Iceland law requires employers to pay women the same as men. All public and private employers with 25 or more employees must obtain government certification of equal pay policies or face fines. The legislation was supported by Iceland’s center-right ruling party and the opposition.  The 2017 Global Gender Pay Report shows that Iceland has the most gender equality of any country in term of economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

The United States ranks 49th in gender equality, ahead of Kazakhstan but behind Uganda. The United States ranks 96th in political empowerment of women, behind Nepal, Algeria and Pakistan.

A major difference between the United States and Iceland is also the female participation in Iceland’s federal government. Almost 50 percent of Iceland’s parliament is female. Women make up just 19 percent of the U.S. Congress.

Iceland is smart in this legislation: equal pay can help a country’s economy. Equal pay for women can increase the GDP, adding women in senior management roles and corporate boards can boost companies return on assets, and raising women’s wage can cut the poverty rate for both working women and their children in half if women earn as much as men. The U.S. economy could add $512.6 billion in wage and salary income, equivalent to 2.8 percent of 2016 GDP.  Lifting women out of poverty would vastly decrease the need for costs in the nation’s the safety net.

Statistics surrounding U.S. pay will be unknown in the future, however, after Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) eliminated the requirement for large companies to report wages by race and gender. In Iceland, all pay data will be made public for transparency.

Conservatives claim that the 1963 Equal Pay Act covers all problems with the gender gap in salaries. Yet among the caveat for “equal” pay is “a differential based on any other factor other than sex.” This one was used when the three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court ruled last year that past salaries could be used to pay women less.

A consistent argument against the Paycheck Fairness Act in the United States is that men make more money because they work harder and their jobs are “riskier.” That came from GOP state Rep. Will Infantine in New Hampshire. He added, “[Men] don’t mind working nights and weekends. They don’t mind working overtime, or outdoors in the elements.” As if that wasn’t enough, he said that “men are more motivated by money than women are.” That was in 2014. The state house gave “preliminary approval to the Paycheck Equity Act,” and the law took effect in 2015. Infantine is no longer in the state legislature.

Women can also be destructive to decreasing the gender pay gap:

  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), now a candidate for Senate, said that women “don’t want” equal pay laws.
  • Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) said it is “condescending” towards women to work on policies intended to prevent wage discrimination.
  • Phyllis Schlafly, before her death, wanted the pay gap to be larger so that women could find a “suitable mate.”
  • Kirsten Kukowski, RNC Press Secretary in 2014, could think of any policies her party could support to improve pay equity.
  • Cari Christman, head of Texas PAC RedState Women, said that women were too “busy” to find a solution to the gender pay gap.
  • Beth Cubriel, the 2014 executive director of the Texas GOP, said that women needed to become “better negotiators” if they want equal pay.
  • Fox network’s Martha MacCallum declared, “Many women get paid exactly what they’re worth.”

GOP men are equally dismissive. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) wanted to know what gender pay fairness would do for men, and Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy, called the debate “nonsense.”

Many people on the far right are even questioning women’s right to vote.

  • White supremacist leader Richard Spencer said that women voting in U.S. elections isn’t “a great thing.”
  • Casey Fisher, a Davis County (UT) GOP precinct chairman, called voting rights for a “grave mistake.”
  • Davis County GOP chairwoman Teena Horlacher, Fisher’s colleague, defended him by saying that Fisher was following the beliefs of the Founding Fathers.
  • Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore co-authored a textbook that was critical of the women’s suffrage movement.
  • Ann Coulter also opposes women’s right to vote, but her net worth was almost $9 million in 2016.

Imagine the gender pay gap if women couldn’t even vote. Happy Equal Pay Day!

March 22, 2018

Could ‘NIFLA v. Becerra’ Change Free Speech, Abortion Law?

The past week has been again filled with chaos—firings of the national security council, resignation and appointments of the legal team for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), continued lawsuits against the federal government, additional information about DDT’s sexual misconduct as more women join Stormy Daniels, and concerns regarding the retention of special investigator Robert Mueller. No wonder that a case before the Supreme Court last Tuesday got little attention from the media. In normal times that case would have been front and center on television because it’s one of seven cases thus far this judicial year that addresses free speech—two of them major lawsuits.

Last December the religious legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the federal government argued before SCOTUS that a cake in Colorado is free speech because the baker is an “artist.” A ruling in his favor and opposing service for a gay couple would permit rampant discrimination across the United States, not only against LGBTQ people but also anyone else who offended the religious and moral sensibilities of everyone in all businesses—retail, health care, food services—everyone.

Last Tuesday’s case, NIFLA v. Becerra, the federal government joined ADF to oppose a California law that requires community clinics to post notices about their licensing (or lack thereof), the availability of a medical provider, and patients’ access to abortion and other family planning services in the state. The 2015 California Reproductive FACT Act mandates that licensed community clinics whose “primary purpose is providing family planning or pregnancy-related services” disclose to all patients that California offers “free or low-cost” contraception, prenatal care, and abortion. These clinics must provide a telephone number that patients can call for more information about state-funded services. Clinics focusing on pregnancy or family planning but are unlicensed must clearly provide a warning in the clinic and in advertising that they have “no medical provider.”

Many of California residents are unaware of expanded funding for prenatal and family planning services from the Affordable Care Act, and many clinics, especially the anti-abortion crisis pregnancy clinics (CPCs) pressure women to not have an abortion. Many CPCs hide religious affiliations and claim that they provide more services than available in the clinics. Owners and employees of the CPCs use “free speech” to object to the law by arguing that it makes them “complicit in facilitating an act they believe hurts women and destroys innocent lives.” They maintain that the FACT Act is “gerrymandered” to “commandeer” their expression, “manipulat[ing] the marketplace of ideas” to favor abortion in violation of the First Amendment.

The argument from Michael Farris, a member of ADF, is that not all doctors are required to post the information, only community clinics with pregnancy-related services. He wants to move the law to heightened judicial scrutiny, which raises the legal bar for California to keep the law. Justice Samuel Alito bought the argument that the “crazy exemptions” of the law creates “a very strange pattern.” California Solicitor General Joshua Klein explained that the law targets community clinics where millions of low-income Californians get health care and exempts private physicians because they usually don’t have poorer women patients.

Jeffrey Wall, the deputy U.S. solicitor general who joined Farris on behalf of the federal government, tried to persuade the justices that informing pregnant women about alternatives to abortion are necessary only when medical procedures are provided and that unlicensed clinics don’t provide medical procedures. Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out that CPCs sometimes provide medical procedures such as ultrasounds and pregnancy tests and give pregnancy counseling, much like doctors’ medical advice in discussing abortion procedures.

The case also addresses whether clinic users should know which clinics are licensed and provide a full range of subsidized medical options. Sotomayor described Fallbrook Pregnancy Resource Center’s website:

“There is a woman on the homepage with a uniform that looks like a nurse’s uniform in front of an ultrasound machine. It shows an exam room. It talks about ‘abortion,’ ‘your options,’ and ‘our services,’ advertising ‘free ultrasounds.’ But in fact, the Fallbrook Pregnancy Resource Center is an unlicensed CPC. If a reasonable person could look at this website and think that you’re giving medical advice, would the unlicensed notice be wrong?”

Sotomayor compared NIFLA to Planned Parenthood v. Casey that allows states to pass “informed consent” laws forcing abortion providers to deliver a state-approved anti-abortion canned statement before the procedure even if the information is false. Both situations mandate information for women, one on alternatives to the clinics and the other about termination of pregnancies. Justice Stephen Breyer dubbed this issue “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” Denying California the right to require postings at all community clinics regarding availability of free and/or inexpensive family planning services could give free speech to only one side of the abortion argument.

The case was appealed to the Supreme Court after a federal district court and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court denied an injunction in favor of CPCs. Both lower courts maintained that California’s law was constitutional in the same way that Pennsylvania could require doctors to tell abortion patients about the “nature” of the procedure and the “probable gestation age” of the fetus.

Observers watching the negative comments from some justices believe that at least part of the FACT Act will be struck down; the question is how much and on what grounds. Mandatory disclaimers in multiple languages on advertising for unlicensed CPCs may be unconstitutional. Requiring clinics to tell patient about a lack of license seems legal. The middle ground is the crux: whether states can force CPCs to tell patients about services elsewhere.

A serious problem in this case comes from dangers in CPCs that promise medical assistance but have the sole purpose of forcing a woman to carry a fetus to full term. Over 2,700 CPCs throughout the nation lure pregnant women into their facilities and then terrify them with lies about their future if they have abortions.

States like Texas are using public funds from bona fide community clinics to unlicensed CPCs exempt from regulations or credentialing because they provide only non-medical services such as self-administered pregnancy tests or parenting classes. One-fourth of Texas’ 200 CPCs are funded by federal taxpayer money through the $38 million operating budget of “Alternatives to Abortion” for low-income women. With no government oversight, the “Texas Pregnancy Care Network” subcontracts with 51 CPCs with most money going to “counseling,” a term with no definition. Another $739,000 went to advertising. When asked if the CPCs were medically licensed, a state spokesperson said that they are not medical clinics.

People who go to CPCs don’t know they won’t get any medical care. Austin (TX) tried to pass an ordinance requiring that clinics state whether they have doctors. A federal judge struck down the ordinance with the argument that it violated CPCs’ due process. Texas law does require doctors to lie to women about medical risks of abortions, a procedure with less risks than pulling wisdom teeth or taking out tonsils.

In his 12 years as Chief Justice, John Roberts has greatly expanded the definition of free speech for corporations. To him and a majority of the justices in Citizens United, all money is free speech meaning unlimited anonymous corporate donations to political candidates, a ruling later expanded in McCutcheon v. FEC. These cases, and others such as Hobby Lobby allowing corporations to deny birth control to employees using faulty scientific information, shows that Roberts’ defense of the First Amendment protects only corporations. He uses the same argument to give corporations benefits in cases involving drug advertising and trademark regulations as well as removal of unions’ rights. A recent case argued whether state laws can permit mandatory fees for workers to pay for the support services that unions are legally to provide all employees.

The ruling in NIFLA, most likely in June, will either leave the California law in place or give pro-choice activists the grounds to argue against laws in other states that require doctors to give pregnant patients the false information that abortions cause breast cancer and infertility. The NIFLA lawyers argue that posting information “unconstitutionally compels [the clinics] to speak messages that they have not chosen, with which they do not agree, and that distract, and detract from, the messages they have chosen to speak.” A ruling in their favor might take the shackles off abortion providers and other doctors so they can deliver “the messages they have chosen to speak.” Breyer said that the court’s most important job is “to keep sauces the same.”

October 6, 2017

Congress Supports Women–A Little

North Korea, hurricanes, mass shootings, anti-women and anti-LGBTQ rights’ bills and order—all these are the orders of the day during the past few weeks. Scouring the news, however, reveals the passage of the Women, Peace and Security Act, in both the House and Senate with voice votes and then signed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) today.

For the first time, the U.S. is required to develop a strategy to increase women’s participation in peace negotiations and conflict prevention. The Department of Defense, State Department, and USAID are to strengthen the participation of women in peace and security processes along with post-conflict relief and recovery efforts.

The bill entered Congress five years ago because women have such a small part in conflict resolution. Only nine percent of negotiators at official peace talks were women between 1992 and 2011. Only five percent of police and military forces are women in many places throughout the world. In 2011, President Obama created a strategy on women’s participation in peace and security processes by executive order that was updated in 2016.  The order did not improve the situation much in the past six years: In 2015, only 3 percent of UN military peacekeepers and 10 percent of UN police personnel were women. DDT has nominated white men to almost all positions.

The new law not only requires that women’s participation be a priority in federal agencies but also mandates personnel for these agencies to train and consult with women in conflict areas. It also gives Congress the right to oversee that the law is enacted. The law requires the International Military Education and Training program, that brings foreign officers to U.S. military schools, to double the number of women in three years. Out of participants from 140 countries between 2011 and 2015, only seven percent were women. Also to be doubled is the number of female peacekeepers in five years and female participants in the State Department anti-terrorism training program within three years. Women must be at least ten percent of nominees for U.S.-funded police training programs around the world.

This new law may seem like a distraction to the various foreign policy challenges and security threats, but it does require gender diverse groups which can be better at preventing and resolving conflicts. In 2001, U.S. and allied NATO forces gave billions of dollars to stabilize the country and help to reconstruct it. Yet Afghan women had little involvement in decision-making, leaving procedures to men. Women stayed at home with no input into their fate as male soldiers and tribal elders determined what to do with them. Community needs, understood by women where terrorist groups and insurgents were embedded, were determined by men without any contribution by women.

How women move the world toward conflict resolution:

  • Syrian women have risked their lives to secure local ceasefires, mobilize campaigns for reconciliation, and open secret schools in ISIS-controlled territories.
  • Policewomen in Pakistan address grievances to rebuild trust with the civilian population.
  • Women in South Sudan are forming coalitions to resolve the conflict between government and opposition leaders.
  • Peace accords are 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years if women take part in their development because women often bring up issues connected to causes of conflict and violence.

Sen. Jean Shaheen (D-NH), a founder of the bill, said:

“Women are disproportionally affected by violence and armed conflict around the world, yet far too often they are under-represented in the peace process. We know that when women are at the table in peace talks, conflict prevention, and conflict mediation, it increases the likelihood that these negotiations will succeed. Our legislation will help ensure that women have a meaningful role in security and peace around the world.”

According to research, female security forces are more likely than men to de-escalate tensions with excessive force. Women are better at providing a perception of a security force’s integrity. They can also get more information about security risks, and women are more likely to report gender-based violence to female personnel.

Congress has now passed the law, but DDT wants to slash the tiny budget for women, peace, and security efforts. This needs to be stopped. Other important steps forward are improved targets for all U.S.-offered training related to peace and security issues and outlines of specific steps to better use women’s skills and perspectives. Guidelines are necessary for recruitment, retention and outreach to involve women in prevention and peacebuilding efforts. Congress also needs to legislate the U.S. National Action Plan on women, peace, and security so that U.S. agencies are held accountable for the commitment shown in the Women, Peace and Security Act.

The law is a baby step, but it’s a start.

May 22, 2017

‘Pay for Play,’ Or Women ‘Empowerment’ in Saudi Arabia

The first stop on a world trip by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) garnered big bucks for his daughter Ivanka. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates gave her $134 million for her new initiative to “benefit female entrepreneurs around the globe.” Women Entrepreneurs Fund seems to be the sort of “pay for play” activity that DDT accused Hillary Clinton of running in the Clinton Foundation. Last year DDT was furious that the Clinton Foundation accepted money from Saudi Arabia because they treat “women as slaves” and “kill gays.” He added, “Hillary must return all money from such countries!”

About the countries who just donated money to Ivanka’s fund, DDT said to Clinton during a debate last year:

“You talk about women and women’s rights. These are people that push gays off business — off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly, and yet you take their money. So I’d like to ask you right now. Why don’t you give back the money that you’ve taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money. I think it would be a great gesture.”

Of course, this was because the countries had donated to the Clinton Foundation, which did not accept any donations from Saudi Arabia while Clinton was Secretary of State. Donations to DDT’s daughter is just fine.

Scrutiny of Ivanka’s project caused her to claim that the World Bank would manage the investment fund. Yet it is widely known by both domestic and foreign officials that Ivanka has an office in the West Wing, meets with foreign leaders, and advises her father on many presidential matters. Writing her a check can make Ivanka’s father very happy. Ethics experts have objected to Ivanka’s leadership in gathering funds. Kathleen Clark at the Washington University in St. Louis said that it was unclear whether Ivanka had “any governmental authority” to make such requests. Richard Painter, Bush’s ethics czar, declared:

“It absolutely cannot be a private fund. She can’t be at the White House soliciting money for a private foundation. We went through this with Hillary Clinton, who resigned from her foundation when she took a job as secretary of state.”

Presidents and their families can be legally involved in philanthropy, but their efforts are subject to a lengthy approval process to guarantee there is no special access or influence or influence for donors. One example is “Let Girls Learn,” a Michelle and Barack Obama charity that supports educational opportunities for teen girls in developing countries. In 2016 the World Bank invested $2.5 billion in the project, stating that the empowerment of girls was “central” to the group’s development efforts. Earlier this year, DDT’s White House sent a memo to Peace Corps employees ending the program. After public outcry, a White House official indicated that it would continue the work—just not the name or probably any connection to the Obamas. Yet Jennifer Rigg, executive director of Global Campaign for Education-US (GCE-US), said, “We haven’t seen any new commitments, partners, or projects of Let Girls Learn announced since the start of the current administration.” DDT’s new budget provides deep cuts for Peace Corps–as well as everything else except the military.

During Clinton’s campaign, DDT attacked her for connections to Goldman Sachs, which is now deeply entrenched in the White House with at least six high-level officials. Dina Powell, who headed up the investment bank’s project to provide business education for women throughout the world, 10,000 Women, is working with Ivanka on this fund-raising. Ivanka’s chief of staff is Julie Radford, previous leader of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Business initiative, which invested in small U.S. businesses. Information about Ivanka’s project is very sketchy, and Dan Primack has several questions:

  • Do these investments need a financial return, or are they are a grant or loan?
  • Who is on the investment committee, and will they get paid?
  • How are the people behind the project actively soliciting contributions from private institutions and foreign governments, and has White House counsel signed off on the project?
  • Will the fund get capital from U.S. state pension funds, similar to other private equity funds?
  • How will the fund balance interests of U.S. companies that might receive direct competition from foreign startups that receive investment?

In her speech about women’s empowerment in Saudi Arabia, Ivanka glowed about how well the nation treats women, saying that the country’s “progress” in its treatment of women “is very encouraging.” Journalists were asked to leave the room before problems of women’s inequality could be brought up, such as women not having the right to drive, go anywhere alone, or be included in public life. U.S. officials also ignored these issues. Women reporters were banned from most of Ivanka’s event on women’s empowerment with Princess Reema bint Bandar.

In Saudi Arabia, adult women must have permission from a male guardian to travel, marry, work, and have access healthcare. Without a male relative, they also struggle with transactions such as renting an apartment or filing legal claims. Saudi women who attempt the restrictions of male control are jailed. Restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia extend to their garb. Even most foreign visitors—although not Melania and Ivanka Trump—are required to wear floor-length black dresses—no pants—that cover all the body including arms and legs. A head scarf should cover their head and hide their hair. More conservative women wear veils that also cover their faces, save for a slit that makes their eyes visible. In the past, First Ladies of the U.S. have dressed modestly but not in conformance with the mandated dress for Saudi women. DDT was highly critical when Michelle Obama failed to wear a scarf, accusing her of creating enemies.

Although 38 women were elected in December 2015 for a total of 3,159 municipal positions, Saudi Arabian councils are segregated by sex: women participate only through a video link in a separate room. Women are also denied the opportunities given males in sports: women were not allowed to attend or participate in national tournaments or state-organized sports leagues until last summer when four women represented Saudi Arabia in the Rio Olympics.

Aziza al-Yousef, a 58-year-old activist, said, “If Ivanka is interested in women empowerment and human rights, she should see activists, and not just officials.” As Ivanka wrote in her 2009 book, The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life, “Perception is more important than reality. If someone perceives something to be true, it is more important than if it is in fact true.”

The donation to Ivanka Trump raises a few question:

  • Is it just a coincidence that Ivanka gets $134 million at the same time that Saudi Arabia is able to buy at least $110 billion in lethal weapons from the United States and she travels to the country as “assistant to the president of the United States”?
  • Is it now acceptable that Ivanka receive at least $134 million from countries that her father describes as abusers of women and killers of gays?
  • And is $134 million enough for Ivanka to describe herself as an “advocate for the education & empowerment of women & girls” while ignoring the donor that lacks these values?

Time will tell.

April 5, 2017

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: DDT Defends O’Reilly

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. In keeping with presidents in the past, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) issued a proclamation to honor this event:

“We dedicate each April to raising awareness about sexual abuse and recommitting ourselves to fighting it. Women, children, and men have inherent dignity that should never be violated…. “As we recognize National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we are reminded that we all share the responsibility to reduce and ultimately end sexual violence. As a Nation, we must develop meaningful strategies to eliminate these crimes, including increasing awareness of the problem in our communities, creating systems that protect vulnerable groups, and sharing successful prevention strategies.”

During DDT’s campaign, a 2005 recording shows him bragging about his committing sexual assault in which he said, “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the p***y.” Eleven women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct, and one is currently suing him for defamation after the controversy.

After the sexual-assaulter promised that his administration “will do everything in its power to protect women, children, and men from sexual violence,” DDT defended Fox network host, Bill O’Reilly, after the New York Times’ article about his harassment of women, including the $13 million paid to settle claims to five women. Five days into Sexual Assault Awareness month, DDT declared that O’Reilly is a “good person” and declaimed that “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.” Advertisers were so disturbed with the revelations, that included information from other women who didn’t sue him, that over fifty companies, including major automobile manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, have dropped their advertising for the O’Reilly show. DDT also said, “Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled.”

As a fan of Fox, DDT gets all his false information from them such as all that wire-tapping that didn’t exist. He is so obsessive about watching the cable that his schedule shows that he doesn’t being any presidential activity until almost 11:00 in the morning. DDT has attended baseball games with O’Reilly and been a regular guest on his show, giving him an interview airing on Fox during its Super Bowl pregame bowl.

DDT brags about referring to the Fox owner, Rupert Murdoch, by his first name. Since the presidential election, the two men frequently communicate. In the past, Murdock mentored DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Murdoch’s former wife, Wendi Deng, made DDT’s daughter Ivanka a trustee of the Murdoch children’s fortune until Ivanka dropped out of this role a few months ago.

In saying that he thinks that neither O’Reilly nor Ailes did anything wrong, DDT is probably not lying. He thought that he also did nothing wrong in assaulting women. A 2015 survey found that one in three women have been sexually harassed at work, and 71 percent of them did not report the harassment, partly because powerful men can block their job prospects. Like O’Reilly, DDT denied that he did nothing wrong and would sue women who made claims against him.

Last year DDT defended former Fox CEO Roger Ailes after a number of his female employees reported his sexual harassment.  “I think they are unfounded just based on what I’ve read,” Trump said. “Totally unfounded, based on what I read.” Ailes was forced to resign from Fox News just one week after that interview. Julie Roginsky has recently filed another sexual harassment suit against Ailes. The FBI is investigating him and other Fox executives for using corporate funds to pay off the company’s sexual harassment victims. DDT defended Mike Tyson against his 1992 rape charges as well as billionaire whose private jet was nicknamed “The Lolita Express” and Joe Paterno who ignored Jerry Sandusky throughout years of the assistant coach’s sexual abuse of young boys.

O’Reilly has spent two decades at Fox being verbally abuse to female staffers, punishing them for refusing sexual advances, and appearing to masturbate while on the phone with them. Seventeen years ago, producer Andrew Mackris’ sexual harassment lawsuit accused him of describing his sexual fantasies about her and urging her to purchases a vibrator. If she told anyone about this, he said, she would “pay so dearly that [she’d] wish she’d never been born.” Mackris received $9 million by issuing a joint statement with O’Reilly that “no wrongdoing whatsoever” had occurred. She has not worked in television news since then. In 2011 Rebecca Gomez Diamond settled for an undisclosed amount. One of the settlements came because one of the women had recorded telephone calls with O’Reilly.

 

Transcripts from a custody hearing between O’Reilly and his ex-wife in 2014 show that their daughter once saw her father choking her mother and dragging her down the stairs.

In response to the NYT article, O’Reilly played the victim when he said, “Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity.” His next cover was that he “would do anything to avoid hurting [my children.]” The question might be the identities of “prominent and controversial people” other than DDT.

Last week, DDT “honored” National Autism Day after he spread the falsehoods that vaccines cause “horrible autism” and that there’s a “tremendous increase” in the number of autism cases. After his intense ridicule of journalist Serge Kovaleski, he skipped over honoring Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March. DDT has until September 15 to figure out how to work around Hispanic Heritage Month after his racist attacks, including the ones against a Latino judge.

April 4, 2017

(Un)Equal Pay Day 2017 – Still Little Progress

Today is Equal Pay Day, the day of the year showing how many more days into this year that women must work to make what men earned during the previous year. The day is earlier this year than last, meaning that a woman now makes $0.80 for every dollar a man makes. That statistic is much better than 54 years ago before the passage of the so-called “Equal Pay Act” when women made $0.59, but at this rate, women won’t have equal pay until 2059. Women haven’t made made little progress in the 21st century.

Only four of 120 occupations pay women slightly more than men: counselors, food preparers and servers, sewing machine operators, and teacher assistants. In 107 of these occupations, the wage gap is at least five percent and one as disparate as 44.4 percent. The gap is also much larger for black women than white women except for office administrators or work in natural resource, construction, and maintenance. Median weekly earnings for black women are only 62.5 percent of white men, putting their Equal Pay Day later in the year, and Hispanic women earn only 57.2 percent as much.

The claim that male-dominated fields just pay more isn’t a justification: women still earn less than men in these jobs such as truck drivers, janitors, and software developers. In other careers, female managers make 77 percent of male managers’ salaries and female chief executives less than 78 percent. In female-dominated jobs, men still make more than women. Female nurses, teachers, and secretaries all make less than the rare men who take those positions. Four years ago, the new chair of Washington state’s GOP chair made $20,000 less than her male predecessor.

Women are 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished at age 65 and older. Women age 75 to 79 are three times more likely. Women are more likely to report that their primary source of income is Social Security—50 percent to 38 percent for men. Women are 14 percent less likely to receive a pension. Over a 40-year the pay gap between men and women is an average of $430,480 and much more for women of color, as much as $1 million. Women over 65 years old were born before desegregation, seriously affecting education and employment opportunities. One-third of women in the United States live either in or on the edge of poverty. Gender pay equality would annually boost the income of full-time working women by $6,250 on average and cut the poverty rate in half for the six million who live below the poverty line. It would also raise the GDP by 2.9 percent, $450 billion.

Myths about the disparity blame women taking off work to care for family members, frequently because of no paid family leave and affordable childcare, but this excuse isn’t a valid reason. Women are frequently offered less pay for the same work or forced into devalued female-dominated occupations. In addition, women get less pay increase than men for their higher education. In 40 percent of households, women are the primary earners.

Conservatives maintain, without proof, that tax cuts will cause economic growth. Yet increased earnings for women will have that result because most of these workers are lower-income and middle-income who will use their increases to purchase items and thus boost demand and the economy. Success of three proposed bills would accomplish these goals: the Paycheck Fairness Act to hold businesses accountable; the Healthy Families Act to allow paid short-term sick days; and the FAMILY Act to permit longer-term paid time for health reasons.

People who claim that existing laws give equal pay to men and women should talk to 17-year-old Jenson Walcott. Hired the same day as her friend Jake Reed at the Pizza Studio in Legends Outlet Mall (Kansas City KS), they were both fired when she asked the manager why Reed got paid more per hour than she did. The manager claimed that he took that action because they were not supposed to talk about their salaries, but no one had told them about this policy. The two teenagers ended up talking about their experience at last summer’s national Democratic convention. After the convention, the pizza chain apologized and said that the manager had been fired. But the two young people weren’t offered their jobs back.

While the GOP Congress blocks bills to provide gender equality, Massachusetts was the first state to pass a law taking effect on July 1, 2018, that requires employers in the private sector to pay men and women the same for comparable work that “requires substantially similar skill, effort and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions.” Another part of this “first-in-the-country” law bans employers from asking about salary histories, a method to discover how little the applicant might be paid and thus continue pay discrimination. Employers can no longer stop employees from talking about their pay with others, a practice that promotes pay discrimination. Seven states have passed laws for disclosure but not equality although some are considering bills.

Workers’ comp, a program that kicks in after work-related injuries, also favors men because women get smaller disability payments. For example, a California settlement paid a woman less from nerve damage and carpal tunnel syndrome because of the claim that 20 percent of her disability occurred because it is common in women of her age. Another reduction came from the claim that the woman was breast-feeding although the symptoms of carpal tunnel came before she was even pregnant. Removal of a prostate after work-related cancer gives a man an impairment rating of 16 to 20 percent no matter what his age; a mastectomy for a woman from work-induced breast cancer is allowed a five-percent impairment rating for women of reproductive age and none at all for older women. Work-related “psychiatric injuries” such as depression have been reduced by as much as 80 percent from of “perimenopausal factors” and “gynecological issues.” Male characteristics are never cited as pre-existing conditions or risk factors—reasons for reducing disability benefits.

Women make up over half the population, but DDT’s government appointments not requiring Senate confirmation were only 27 percent of his almost 400 appointments during his first four weeks. A chart shows that the largest gender disparities were in departments considered “masculine” such as Commerce and Defense. Only one woman was in the eight new NASA hires. Only the departments of Health and Human Services, State, and Personnel Management showed more female than male appointments.

Asked during his campaign on Morning Joe if he supported equal pay for men and women, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said:

“When you have to categorize men and women into a particular group and a particular pay scale, it gets very—because people do different jobs. It’s very hard to say what is the same job. It’s a very, very tricky question. And I talked about competition with other places and other parts of the world, Mika. This is one of the things we have to look at very strongly.”

DDT’s new “adviser,” his daughter Ivanka Kushner, received media praise for tweeting that “women deserve equal pay for equal work.” This is the same person who almost refused to give eight weeks’ maternity leave to her former chief marketing officer, who has the shoes she sells made in a cramped Chinese factory and other clothing in Bangladesh and Indonesia, and who had her Chinese-made scarves recalled over burn risk Her father rolled back the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order mandating companies asking for government contracts comply with some basic standards of pay equity and safety and defunded access to reproductive care for poor women in the world.

New York has the smallest wage gap between men and women; Wyoming has the largest. How’s the gender pay inequality in your state? Check here. More information about the wage gender gap here.  And here.

January 28, 2017

Women’s March Affects Entire World, All Ages

I couldn’t stop laughing! A poll shows that Republican males believe that their lives are harder than those of women. Men make more money for the same work, have a far less chance of rape, don’t have their reproductive rights attacked, and do far more housework than men while holding a full-time job, but white men are the “low people on the totem pole” and “everybody else is above the white man,” according to an 81-year-old retired police captain. He complained that “everything in general is in favor of a woman. No matter what happens in life, it seems like the man’s always at fault.”

In this survey taken after the election, only 41 percent of GOP men think now is a good time to be a man. Although one-third of women feel unsafe because of their gender, only 20 percent of men understand that women feel this way. Thirty percent of women frequently feel sexually objectified, but again only 20 percent of men think that women feel this way. Benevolent sexism–the “negative consequences of attitudes that idealize women as pure, moral, pedestal-worthy objects of men’s adoration, protection and provision”–is rampant among men. With their bias of gender roles, 69 percent of men think that women should be protected, and 47 percent believe that women are more ethical and moral. At least 43 percent of parents reported that the election made them teach their children about sexual assault and consent, something President Donald Trump (PDT) was evidently not taught.

One week ago, millions of people throughout the world marched for women’s rights, and some conservative males weren’t happy.

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel: “So a group of unhappy liberal women marched in Washington DC. We shouldn’t be surprised; almost all liberal women are unhappy. Perhaps there’s a correlation. But I do have a question: if they can afford all those piercings, tattoos, body paintings, signs, and plane tickets, then why do they want us to pay for their birth control?”

Indiana state Sen. Jack Sandlin: “In one day Trump got more fat women out walking than Michelle Obama did in 8 years.”

Nebraska state Sen. Bill Kintner: A retweeting of LA talk show host Larry Elder mocking a photo of three women with signs protesting PDT’s comments about his personal sexual assault was capped by Kintner’s statement, “Ladies, I think you’re safe.”

Texas state Rep. Tony Tinderholt: About his support to make abortion completely illegal, “Right now, it’s real easy. Right now, they don’t make it important to be personally responsible because they know that they have a backup of ‘oh, I can just go get an abortion.’ Now, we both know that consenting adults don’t always think smartly sometimes. But consenting adults need to also consider the repercussions of the sexual relationship that they’re gonna have, which is a child.”

Michael Flynn Jr., son of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to women: “What MORE do you want? Free mani/pedis?”

Atlantic County (NJ) GOP Freeholder John Carman: “Will the women’s protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?”

PDT: “Why didn’t these people vote?”

march-small-compare-2

inaug-small-compare

 

 

 

 

 

According to the New York Times, the women’s January 21, 2017 march on Washington, D.C. had 470,000 people (above left), three times the 160,000 who attended PDT’s inauguration the day before (above right).

inauguration-comparison

Crowd scientists were comfortable with the number for the inauguration, but thought that the number of people attending women’s march could be much larger because it was more sprawling and fluid—maybe as many as one million. They explained that PDT might have assumed that his crowd was larger because he could see only the front third of the crowd. Scientists monitored seven life feeds all day from a variety of perspectives. President Obama’s 2009 inauguration audience (above left) will continue to be the largest history. (Below: women’s march in Washington, D.C.)

Texas-based Southwest Airlines illuminated some of their cabins with a glowing support of the Women’s March. Pink is the “unofficial” color worn and used in support of Planned Parenthood.

 

antarctica-protestThe protest went as far as Antarctica. (right)

march-childEven a four-year-old girl participated.

 

 

 

 

The women’s march was arguably the largest in U.S. history; numbers keep rising up to 5 million—over one percent of the country’s population—which doesn’t count many of the protesters from the hundreds of small cities and towns in every state across the nation.

map-march

In Stanley, Idaho (population of 63), almost half the town—30 people—protested. I’m proud to say that my small town of 10,000 had at least 1,600 people turning out for its “Stronger Together March.”

march-city-hall

And of course, Portland (OR) did us proud. (Photo below by Ann Hubbard)

march-crowd

leaviing-melanie-behindJust as PDT leaves his wife behind, he plans to ignore the women in the United States.

 

Despite claims made by conservatives that women are fat and ugly and shallow, that they don’t need financial help, that white men are at the bottom of humanity, “this is what democracy looks like!” Keep in mind that women make up over half the population in the United States. We think, care, work, and vote.

march-washington-dc

October 13, 2016

Victims of Sexual Assault Leave Their Closets

Filed under: Women's issues — trp2011 @ 9:29 PM
Tags: , , ,

My blog on National Coming Out Day (October 11) left out an important group of people who are still in the closet–the women who have been sexually assaulted. During the fast few days, millions of these brave women have started to leave their closets although it’s proving dangerous in many cases.

The media is now focusing on the growing number of women who are telling how Donald Trump sexually attacked them in a rejection of Trump’s claims that his infamous “grab them by the p***y” statement were “just words.” They all have the same reason: at Sunday night’s debate Trump blatantly insisted that he had never sexually assaulted any women in an effort to protect himself from criticism regarding his coarse language about women.

Trump’s response was typical of his approach to accusations by calling them all “horrible, horrible liars.” He also told his audiences that he could not possibly have attacked these women because they were so physically unappealing. After declaring that the stories of sexual assault against a woman on an airplane was a “totally fabricated and false story,” Trump said, “Take a look … at her. You tell me what you think. I don’t think so.” The words were accompanied with a sneer, and the crowds cheered. He used the same words when he accused a reporter of lying about his sexual assault on her.

Trump’s language about women has been devastating to them even if they have not been sexually assaulted. On the campaign trail tonight, an 11-year-old Girl Scout asked VP candidate Mike Pence a question. She brought up some of Trump’s language about women’s bodies and said, “When I hear those words and look in the mirror, they make me feel bad about myself.” Pence’s solution for her concerns is that the GOP foreign policy will keep her safe by destroying ISIS.

Why didn’t the People staff writer Natasha Stoynoff make the attack public when it first happened? This is her answer:

“Like many women, I was ashamed and blamed myself for his transgression. I minimized it (‘It’s not like he raped me…’); I doubted my recollection and my reaction. I was afraid that a famous, powerful, wealthy man could and would discredit and destroy me, especially if I got his coveted people feature killed. ‘I just want to forget it ever happened,’ I insisted.” But when she saw Trump deny putting his offensive words into action, she could no longer forget.”

Many women who report sexual assaults aren’t believed. If they push the issue, they usually run the chance of being punished. Conservative male politicians and pundits are now accusing the women telling their stories about Trump for being opportunists. Yet some of the women have talked about their experiences throughout the campaign, and the people largely ignored them because of their illogical hatred for Hillary Clinton. The media also failed to widely publish the information.

In his support of Trump’s sexual assault “locker room talk” and behavior, Rush Limbaugh ridiculed liberals for the importance of consent in “American sexual mores.” Limbaugh ranted:

“If the left ever senses and smells that there’s no consent in part of the equation, then here come the rape police. But consent is the magic key to the left.”

In his attempt to indicate the absurdity of this law, Rush Limbaugh is really correct. Consent really is the “magic key”: the Justice Department defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.”

Yet Limbaugh, often recognized as a leader of the conservatives, believes that women don’t have the right to protect themselves by refusing to give consent. Other conservative leaders follow his lead. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) said that he might continue to support Trump even if the GOP candidate said, “I really like to rape women.” It should be noted that Farenthold was sued two years ago for creating “a hostile work environment” and sexual harassment.” He allegedly told his communications director at the time, Lauren Greene, that he had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about her. The case was eventually settled out of court.

The escape that conservatives use to justify for their continued support of Trump is to “condemn” his words but then stand by him. For example, evangelical leader Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, claims that Trump is a “changed” man. Conservatives like Dave Daubenmire think that “it’s better for a president to grab a vagina than have one.” Falwell ignores the Trump of today who still maligns women, claims he will send Hillary Clinton to prison without legal justification, defrauds people, and constant lies about his personal and professional affairs.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory defends Trump by saying that Hillary Clinton’s statements are just as bad. “She lies an awful lot,” he said, which is in itself if not a lie than a massive misrepresentation not supported by evidence. At least Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who is running for re-election, had the good sense to take back her statement that Trump is a “role model for youth.”

Newt Gingrich didn’t even deny Jessica Leeds’ description of Trump’s touching her breasts and putting his hands up her skirt when she sat next to him in first class. Instead, he referred to the disgusting event as “a bad airplane flight.”

Dave Zirin explains how males provide the impetus in forcing women to keep their experiences of being sexually assaulted a secret. He tells about not calling out the bragging of an upperclassmate about making women have sex with him and telling a story about his attack on a girl. Zirin wrote that he kept quiet because he didn’t want to “look like a loser” but went home ashamed. The bragging student was later accused of rape but allowed to quietly leave the school without prosecution. Zirin emphasized the importance of confronting predators, something that three-fourths of the GOP political leaders refuse to do. The secrecy of sexual assault creates a rape culture.

As tragic as these sexual assault stories demonstrate the rape culture throughout the nation, woman who have been attacked are coming out of the closet. Huffington Post is keeping a list of women who describe Donald Trump’s assault on them, including Trump’s first wife and a woman suing Trump for rape when she was 13 years old. New Yorker has descriptions of sexual allegations against Trump.

Author Kelly Oxford used social media to expose stories of attacks when she asked women to tweet about their first sexual assaults last Friday. Over 30 million people have read or answered Oxford about their initial sexual abuses. Goldie Taylor, Daily Beast editor-at-large, started another Twitter conversation after Trump supporters like Joe Scarborough slammed women because they didn’t immediately report the assaults. Taylor tweeted, “How long did it take you speak publicly about your sexual abuse and name the perpetrator? It took me 30 years.” She had never told friends, family, or even her partner about the assault.

In all his horribleness, Trump may have opened the closet for millions of victims of sexual assault.

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