Monday, March 30, 2009
First stop: Savannah, GA!
We've discovered that not only is Savannah known to us for its beautiful coastal shoreline, great seafood, and budding art scene, but it is also fertile ground for community organizing and feminist networking. Armstrong Atlantic State University's FMLA hosted a wonderful roundtable discussion which involved area women's organizations and student groups from the neighboring universities to discuss the prevalence of women's grassroots organizing in the Savannah area.
The event titled, "Making it Happen: Women, Grassroots and Change" included representatives from Savannah's Rape Crisis Center, Savannah Working Against Human Trafficking, Planned Parenthood, First City Network, A Working Woman in Need (AWWIN), Safe Shelter, and Zonta Club International of Savannah. Students were definitely in the place to be representing Armstrong's FMLA, GSA, and Gender & Women's Studies Students, as well as Savannah State University's Sociology Club.
The discussion covered a variety of topics from violence against women, violence in the LGBTQ community, poverty in the local community, women's political participation in local and state government, student activism, sensitivity training of law enforcement, and human and sex trafficking in the state of Georgia.
We're so glad to have been a part of this conversation. It was a big hit and we hope to see more of these dialogues in the future between community organizations and feminist student groups.
Friday, March 27, 2009
A Kansas jury acquitted abortion provider Dr. George Tiller today. Tiller was charged with violating state laws regulating late-term abortions, and was cleared of all 19 counts.
But the fight continues. Anti-choice legislators in Virginia and other states want to offer "Choose Life" state license plates, the sales of which would fund fake clinics that deceive pregnant women.
The South Carolina legislature may enact additional roadblocks for women seeking abortions. And on and on. We need you to keep working to ensure women continue to have access to safe, legal abortions.
In DC, human rights activist Dr. Sima Simar today urged the Obama administration to ensure U.S. policies address the needs of Afghan women and girls. Watch a C-SPAN clip of her press conference here!
Want to help women abroad? Ask your members of Congress what they are doing to invest in women and girls abroad. Raise money to train Afghan midwives - it takes just $3000 to train women to assist with pregnancies and childbirth. But every dollar helps. If you want to learn more, call the DC office at 703-522-2214 or the LA office at 310-556-2500.
In other news, the FMF staff is really pleased with the National Young Women's Leadership Conference! Thanks again for joining us in DC - it was such a pleasure to meet everyone.
We are currently reviewing the conference evaluations and will draft a report based on your feedback. If you haven't yet submitted yours, please email or send it to us by snail mail ASAP. If you took pictures, share those with us as well! Send photos and evals to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to our DC office:
Feminist Majority Foundation
1600 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 801
Arlington, VA 22209
So thanks for tuning in and keep up the great work!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
The two-day conference was filled with some of our country’s leading feminist voices of all generations and backgrounds and ended on a high note. As student activists filed out of the last plenary session, there were many great discussions about what needed to be done next. The energy was high and everyone seemed fired up and ready to go bring what was discussed at the conference back to their campuses.
Thank you to all of our engaging speakers and participants, you really made this year a huge success!
The plenary speakers did a wonderful job of explaining the historical context of the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), an international treaty aims to give women equal legal standing according to the laws of each nation, and the current situation of Afghan women and girls with the first hand accounts of courageous Afghan activists of various ages.
Did you know? Even though Americans helped to author CEDAW, they are among a handful of nations worldwide including Sudan, Somalia, and Saudi Arabia that have not ratified the treaty. We need to push now for the Senate to ratify this treaty!
We were also shocked to learn that 1 in 6 women in Afghanistan die during childbirth compared to 1 in 2,500 in the US. Afghan women have had acid thrown in their faces while trying to go to school and dozens of schools have been destroyed to prevent women and girls from attending, all while about 85% of the country’s women can not read or write.
The daily atrocities faced by women both domestically and internationally cannot be addressed unless women step up and speak out for themselves. Plenary speaker Mavis Leno summed it up very well by saying, “If women don’t speak up for women, no one speaks up for women. It’s us or no one!”
We will be continuing to blog from the conference and tweeting. Make sure to follow us on the conference twitter widget; we will be using the hash tag #nywlc for all conference-related tweets.
I hope you all were able to catch part of yesterday's Opening Plenary on UStream, or the fantastic tweets from the attendees via Twitter. If not, here are some links to see what you missed:
*See who tweeted the conference: feministcampus.org/follow
*Watch yesterdays opening plenary: www.ustream.tv/channel/feminist-majority-foundation-2009-nywlc
*And don’t forget to read yesterday's blog entries!
Once again we will be tweeting and blogging all day. Enjoy your second day of the conference.
For those of you who are coming to the conference today or following us virtually, here is the line-up:
10:00 – 11:15am - Morning Plenary: FEMINISM WITHOUT BORDERS
Eleanor Smeal, President, FMF; Anushay Hossain, Global Programs Coordinator, FMF; Lorraine Sheinberg, Board Member, FMF; Producer of “CEDAW: The Secret Treaty”; Susan Rubin, Writer and Narrator, “CEDAW: The Secret Treaty”; Lisa Cohen, Chief of Staff, Office of Congresswoman Diana DeGette (CO-1); Mavis Leno, Chair of FMF Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls; FMF Board Member; Atossa Leoni, Actor, The Kite Runner; Feroza Yari, Women For Women International, FMF Afghan Scholar; Tamana Naveed, High School Student, Kabul, Afghanistan ; Dr. Sima Samar, Chair, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission; Founder, Shuhada Organization and Clinic
11:30am – 12:45pm - Workshop Series 3
Standing With Our Sisters Around the World
Exposing Fake Clinics
Debunking the Myths: Women’s Health and Contraception
Change Has Arrived, But There’s Work to Be Done!
Connecting the Dots: Women, Population, and Climate Change
2:15pm - Closing Rally: STAND UP, SPEAK OUT, TAKE THE LEAD!
Wendy Matheny, Campus Program Director, FMF; Grace Mulenga, Vice President, University of the District of Columbia Student Government Association; Shelby Knox, Feminist Organizer, The Education of Shelby Knox; Dolores Huerta, Founder, Dolores Huerta Foundation; Cofounder, United Farm Workers; National Campus Organizers Olivia Ortiz,Emily Kadar, Val Vilott, Allie McDonald, Patrice Guillory, Danielle Geong, and Tania Stewart
4:00 pm - Regional Caucuses
Saturday, March 21, 2009
We are blogging and tweeting live from the conference. Follow us on the conference twitter widget; we will be using the hash tag #nywlc for all conference-related tweets. You can also follow us on the campus blog.
The 2009 National Young Women’s Leadership Conference has started off incredibly! The opening plenary has just finished up – I cried, I laughed, I cheered. You could feel the energy in the room as we had the opportunity to hear from some of our country’s most influential women!
If you missed it, here are some highlights:
- Dolores Huerta, confounder of the United Farm Workers and current president and founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, spoke about her close work with the new Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. She specifically recollected Solis’ campaign for the California state legislature and their work with women workers in Juarez, Mexico.
- Solis took the stage and energized the audience, reminding us that there is a place at the table for everyone and that young women need to keep the fight going until we see all discrimination ended. She talked about a plethora of issues ranging from increasing the number of women in math and science to sex trafficking to the importance of unions to green jobs and the economy. She challenged women everywhere to take leadership, step up, and speak out in many forums.
- Feminist Majority Foundation President Ellie Smeal moderated the opening plenary and revved up the crowd by listing off some of the great victories for women since President Obama took office, such as:
o The repeal of the Global Gag Rule
o Passage and signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act 2009
o Passage and signing of the Omnibus Spending Act of 2009 that included a provision to restore subsidized birth control pricing to low-income and college campus clinics and also a provision that released money held up by the Bush Administration for seven years that withheld authorized funds from the United Nations Population Fund for women’s maternal health.
o The creation of the White House Council on Women and Girls
- Tina Tchen, the Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison gave some the details about what the new administration is doing for women and girls. She encouraged dialogue and engagement with the new administration on all topics by e-mailing email@example.com.
- Lilly Ledbetter gave first hand accounts of her experiences as a victim of pay discrimination – she was paid 30-40% less than her male counterparts for nearly 20 years as a manager at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. She underscored how the discrimination impacted not only her salary, but also her retirement savings, social security, and overtime pay. Ledbetter pursued her wage discrimination case all the way through to the Supreme Court, where she lost in a decision that gutted the Title V of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Fortunately, President Obama has signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – although it can’t help Lilly recoup her damages, it gives future women a chance to protect themselves from such discrimination.
Check out the opening plenary on UStream. Keep watching for new posts all weekend, and follow us on Twitter @feministcampus. Tweet your responses with the hash tag #NYWLC! Here’s to a happy feminist weekend!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
The FMF campus team and attendees of the National Young Women's Leadership Conference will be gathering this Saturday, March 21, from 7-9 pm at Vapiano M Street for an evening of dinner, drinks, good conversation, and feminist fun. This will be a chance for feminists around the country to meet each other in a casual setting to share ideas and just have a good time.
Vapiano M Street is located at 1800 M Street N.W., conveniently near the Farragut North (red line) and Farragut West (blue and orange lines) metro stops.
Not able to attend the conference? Check out the opening plenary, livestreaming at 10 am on Saturday at http://www.ustream.tv/. You can also follow participants on twitter by using the hashtag #nywlc
Join the feminist network, even if you can't make it to DC!
Friday, March 13, 2009
The Women's Rights Coalition presents:
FREE violence-prevention training at Hunter College
Bringing In the Bystander: train-the-trainer workshop
Wed, March 18th, 3–8:30pm, with 30 minute FREE dinner
68th Street Campus, Thomas Hunter 309
Learn this FREE training, so you can hold the workshop yourself. 1 out of 4 women in college will be sexually assaulted at least once, but you can help change that. Bringing in the Bystander program emphasizes that everyone has a role to play in ending violence against women on campus. It uses a community of responsibility model to teach bystanders how to intervene safely & effectively in cases of violence before, during, & after incidents with strangers, acquaintances, or friends. Research shows this form of education to the most effective against intimate partner violence.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by TH 309
FMF is gearing up for our National Young Women's Leadership Conference next weekend, and things are looking good. The NYWLC will be March 21-22 at the University of the District of Columbia, followed by a congressional visit day on the 23rd.
Hilda Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor
Tina Tchen, White House Council on Women and Girls
Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority Foundation
Dolores Huerta, United Farm Workers
Lilly Ledbetter, U.S. Supreme Court petitioner
Reva Price, advisor to Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Shireen Mitchell, Digital Sisters/Sistas
Shelby Knox, The Education of Shelby Knox
430 people have already registered, and more are on the way. Learn more and register TODAY at http://www.feministcampus.org/leadership/.
We've been busy reaching out to students, staff, and faculty in the DC Metro area to encourage them to participate. This week, members of the campus team visited the University of the District of Columbia, George Washington University, and Trinity University, and contacted the Montgomery College Women's Studies program.
There is a lot of activism and leadership on these campuses, and on campuses throughout DC. We'll return to UDC next week to table and encourage the student body to get involved. They've been a great host, and we're looking forward to showcasing this campus to young feminists and seasoned leaders from all around the country.
Keep up the fabulous feminist work on your campuses and communities. Thanks and we hope to see you in DC for the conference!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Yesterday, the Senate passed the 2009 Omnibus bill. Included in the bill is a provision that allows low-income health clinics and college health centers to purchase birth control at a lower cost. Feminists around the country have been working for this provision ever since the 2005, when Congress "mysteriously" forgot to include low birth control pricing in the Deficit Reduction Act. We are so proud of all the work feminist students have done to lower birth control prices on their campuses, and we've been celebrating like mad.
Today we received even more good news out of Washington. President Obama has created the White House Council on Women and Girls, chaired by his senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and directed by White House Director of Public Liaison Tina Tchen. Here is what President Obama had to say before signing the executive order this afternoon
I like the sound of feminism in the White House. Let's keep the victories coming!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
By Lacey Robinson, President, Wake Forest University Feminist Majority Leadership Allaince
Before it was even chartered, the Wake Forest University FMLA secured a biweekly opinion column, "FMLA Today," in the campus newspaper, Old Gold and Black. The column has helped boost publicity for the group, show Wake Forest the group’s dedication to promoting a feminist campus and community, and has served as a public outlet for the group’s impressive energy.
Each member of FMLA has the chance to write the column for any week, not merely as a resume-builder but also as a consciousness-builder. At Wake Forest, an uber-conservative, private bubble from the world, this is especially imperative.
Last week’s column highlighted the disturbing disparity between what Americans spend their money on and what the global financial need is. The authors cited an on-campus professor’s project in Africa, legitimized by the endorsement by the Kenyan Prime Minister, that is having trouble raising a relatively meager amount of money to send young girls to school.
In juxtaposition, the authors cited the vast amount of money that Americans spend on pornography each year. While the authors and the rest of the FMLA group are working in conjunction with the professor to write grants and obtain other sources of funding for the project, we have also taken the project one step further by publicizing the underlying problem: the dearth of responsibility and money that Americans are willing to spend on altruism.
As the Wake Forest FMLA advances through its chartering process, it is negotiating the obstacles that the anti-feminists on campus “erect.” The latest powerful article and the ones to come will reveal our fortitude and refusal to yield both to their arrogance and the boorish apathy of the world at large.
Photo by Librarian Avenger (Flickr)
Monday, March 9, 2009
This was written by Myra Duran - FMF West Coast intern and UCLA Bruin Feminist for Equality:
The month of March - Women’s History Month, and home of International Women’s Day - is the month when feminists around the world can commemorate years of activism and celebrate our achievements in the name of women’s equality. From taking action against the war in the
Since the recognition of International Women’s Day in 1900, it has been a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike. These days, more and more college students are taking on more responsible roles, showing they care about international women’s issues, and are not afraid to express their political ideology on campus.
I am currently involved with a student group at UCLA called Bruin Feminists for Equality. We are a group that seeks to develop bold, new strategies, and programs to advance the social, political and economic equality of all people. Most importantly, we try to focus on the empowerment of women and girls in all sectors of society. So, when March rolled around we decided that we had to put on an event that would embody the true essence of what International Women’s Day is.
If you have been a part of any student group where many different minds, opinions, and thoughts all come together, then you will agree that hosting an event that is supposed to capture a global mindset can be a trying feat to accomplish. We finally settled on a theme we felt confident in: “Taking Back What’s Ours”. It was set to include three workshops: one on women’s self defense, one on gender and sexuality in the workplace, and the last on transnational feminism, with a keynote speaker to close. Through these workshops, our goal was to draw attention to the various ways women can reclaim their rights against patriarchy, violence, homophobia, and other forms of oppression.
Stress and panic arose when two weeks before our event we still didn’t have a keynote speaker. We didn’t just want anyone to speak; we wanted someone who has really made true strides and accomplishments in transnational feminism. One woman stood out for us: world-renowned Chicana poet, playwright, and writer: Cherrie Moraga. In the words of one of my women’s studies classmates, “Cherrie is Chicana feminism - it’s like Shakespeare for English literature. Cherrie Moraga is the definition of what Chicana feminist writing is.” We only hoped that she would want to come out from her Stanford abode and honor us with her presence.
Did we get Cherrie or did we not?……….Yes, we did! We were E-C-S-T-A-T-I-C that this true pioneer for women of color was actually going to speak at our event. All of our hard work paid off when we heard Cherrie was coming, and we knew our event would genuinely embody what International Women’s Day is all about. We knew the event was a great success when over 80 students came to listen to her speak! Listening to Cherrie’s inspirational words and picking her brain for ideas on how we, as young adults, can become the new revolutionaries of our generation was the highlight of the day and her words are still flying in my mind. In the words of Cherrie, “you can only feel joy if you are free, so be FREE!”
Thursday, March 5, 2009
The FMF Campus Team is buzzing with excitement as we finalize details for the National Young Women’s Leadership Conference. We hope you will be able to join us after the conference for our Congressional Day of Action, Monday, March 23, to truly take your message from campus to Congress.
Before you head to Capitol Hill, however, you need to schedule a meeting with your members of Congress. Below is a step-by-step guide and sample script you can use to set up your appointments for a Congressional Day of Action.
Scheduling a meeting:
- Call your representatives and senators’ offices. To call directly, find your senators’ contact information at www.senate.gov; and your representative’s numbers at www.house.gov. You can also call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for the member by name.
- When you reach the office, explain that you are a constituent and that you will be in Washington, DC on Monday, March 23. Ask to schedule a short meeting with the member of Congress, ideally, or their women’s issues staffer between 12 and 4 p.m.
- Once you’ve scheduled your meeting, email the Campus Team at email@example.com to let us know! If you have questions or problems setting up a meeting, call the DC office at (703) 522-2214.
Hi, my name is _________ and I’m a constituent from_____________.
I’m attending the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Young Women’s Leadership Conference and would like to schedule a visit to meet with (Name of Member of Congress) or her/his women’s affairs staffer between 12 and 4 p.m. on Monday, March 23. Who can I speak with to schedule this meeting? Thank you, I look forward to meeting with (Member/Staffer’s Name) on March 23 at (insert time).
If you haven't yet registered for this year's National Young Women's Leadership Conference, visit feministcampus.org/leadership!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
As devastating as the passage of Prop 8 was, equal rights advocates wasted no time in the fight to win back marriage equality. On Nov. 5th, The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal and the ACLU filed a petition to overturn Prop 8 on behalf of Equality California and six same-sex couples who are not yet married. On the same day, the Cities and Counties of San Francisco,
Arguments to overturn Prop 8 hinge on the Court’s duty to protect minority rights from a simple majority vote, and more specifically, on constitutional technicalities that differentiate an amendment from a revision. Anti-Prop 8 backers will be making the case that by assaulting and successfully eliminating rights that were previously guaranteed by the CA Constitution, Prop 8 was not just an amendment, but was actually a revision to the Constitution, in that it changed an integral part of its composition. A constitutional revision can only be placed on the ballot by a two-thirds legislative vote and Prop 8 did not go about obtaining this. Prop 8 would therefore be invalid.
The anti-Prop 8 forces mentioned above have been joined by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, both houses of the Legislature, and Attorney General Jerry Brown, who will not be assuming his duty of defending the Proposition in court tomorrow, but will actually be advocating against it. The defense for Prop 8 is led by Kenneth Starr, representing Protect Marriage, the initial sponsor of Prop 8. The majority of media attention and speculation is centering around the histories, past views and voting trends of the seven California Supreme Court justices. The questions they ask throughout the hearing are said to be key indicators of how they’ll end up voting. To watch for yourself, check out the live webcast of the hearing, from , tomorrow, Thurs. May 5, at www.calchannel.com.
And, most importantly, show your solidarity no matter where you are!! Today, on the eve of the hearing, there are solidarity marches happening all over
The Feminist Majority Foundation is a proud supporter of Gay-Straight Alliances, LGBT and Queer Student Groups and
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
It is often that I realize many of my role models are women, and many of them share the same qualities- strength of heart, passion of mind, and ambitious and brave spirits that never stop working and fighting for something admirable and beautiful. They are, in their own rites, all pioneers; starting and completing the struggles of women in different industries and areas for equality.
I am curious to think of how many people realize the greatness of women they have learned about, lived with, worked with, and admired, both as women and as strong figures in their respective industries and areas. For me, I look to women like…
• Ellie Smeal, for starting the Feminist Majority Foundation and committing her life to the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes;
• And I could talk for hours about Hillary Rodham Clinton, a woman who suffered the brunt of political sexism but forged on and paved a new road for women in American politics;
• I’m sure most people can appreciate the journeys Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres have had in establishing themselves as regulars in the male-dominated world of entertainment, both being ethnic or sexual minorities and, now, household names;
• And women like Isadora Duncan who pioneered in the modern dance movement in the US that infiltrates so much of our creative world;
• Poets like Maya Angelou can inspire and move us with messages of female strength and pride with every syllable;
• Lucille Ball led the way for women in the world of comedy, that eventually led us to entertainers like Madonna, who push for the liberation of women with their art;
• And it is impossible to forget the travels of Amelia Earhart and Sojourner Truth, who not only pioneered missions and paths, but the roles of women in new positions for the entire world to observe.
As a young woman and someone passionate about women’s issues and equality, it is important to me that people appreciate not only the accomplishments heralded in Women’s History Month, but the individual stories of those women as well. As women, these stories are something that connect us- they are not someone else’s battles or someone else’s accomplishments: they are your story, my story, our herstory.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Many groups we work with tell us that they spend a good portion of their energy DEFINING feminism so as to keep expanding their membership and gaining more of a reputation on campus. This is so common, and so critical, I thought I'd share these gems!
The posters that the WS program at EKU came up with are brilliant in their simplicity - a mere checklist of feminist issues that most people would be hard-pressed to say no to.
While there are lots of events you could do around the subject of "What is Feminism?" (panel discussions, film screenings, social events, and more), flyers like these could help you to advertise such an event or stand alone as a constant reminder for folks walking by.
To register, click here!
For more info, or to register your group of 5+, call the FMF campus team: Washington D.C. office at 1-866-444-FMLA (toll free), Los Angeles office at 1-866-471-FMLA.