20 March 2012

Celebrating Affordable Health Care

Women’s bodies are now the main battleground in the fight for women’s rights. Conservative male pundits, legislators, and political commentators have become more and more audacious and hostile in their attempts to control women’s lives through their bodies. But as we have seen in recent weeks these attacks have had the reverse effect: this reactive environment has galvanized women to stand up, to fight for our rights, and to fight to make the health care law work for us.

So join us, and the Coalition to Protect Women's Health Care, today, as we celebrate 'women’s day' and the two-year anniversary -- the Friday March 23rd -- of the Affordable Care Act. Let’s fight to take back control of our own bodies.

As the National Women’s Law Center shows, health care reform is already helping women and families. It’s making health care more affordable for both insured and uninsured women; it has stopped insurance companies from making the fact of being a woman a “pre-existing” condition; it will (hopefully) ensure that women’s preventative health is universally covered. We know that if implemented correctly -- with women’s health given priority and coverage -- the Affordable Care Act will have a huge impact for women across the country.

But unfortunately there is a ways to go.

The New York Times reports that there is still a gender gap in affordability and the toxic political and cultural environment has made the few gains we have achieved vulnerable to attack. We know that health care reform is good for women, but we must continue to push for positive policy and implementation. That is why we are asking you to help us celebrate the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and stand together with us for women’s health!

You can:
  • Get involved locally and press for the implementation of health care reform in your state by finding your nearest chapter of Raising Women’s Voices.
  • Tweet about the health care law using the hashtag #herhealth, or just follow the conversation at #herhealth.
  • Show your support on facebook by sharing the image from this post.
  • Join the movement and have a say by uploading a video for the Coalition's "I Have a Say" campaign.
  • Attend or volunteer at the Women's Visibility Event at the Supreme Court on March 27th. Monday, March 26th marks the first day of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) oral arguments at the Supreme Court.

We must stand tall and show that we will not be bullied by rhetoric or political attacks. We must show that we will stand strong for women’s health.

19 March 2012

Sex Education Week of Action Urges Solutions to Poor Sexual Health in the South

This week, the Ms. Foundation for Women is joining a diverse group of 20 organizations across 10 states in the U.S. South urgently calling for age-appropriate, medically accurate, evidence-based or evidence-informed sexual health education.

These organizations, brought together by the Ms. Foundation since 2010 through a series of in-person and telephone gatherings, are mobilizing in communities throughout the region to conduct local activities and events—from meeting with legislators and school board members to hosting press conferences and events that showcase the stories of young people—to raise awareness about poor sexual health in the South and advocate for change.

Among the highlights:
• The ACLU of Mississippi, in collaboration with state partners, is hosting gatherings with teen girls to discuss how the absence of comprehensive sex education has impacted their communities. The groups will write letters to the state superintendent and local school board members.
• The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina is hosting a two-day retreat called “Your Story is Your Strength: Turning Teen Parenthood into Power” in which teen mothers from across the state participate in workshop discussions and a media training.

A report just released by Auburn University at Montgomery’s Center for Demographic Research, “Sexual Health of Young People in the U.S. South: Challenges and Opportunities,” underscores the critical need for improved sexual health education in the Southern region.

Key findings include:
• The South’s sexual health profile ranks below that of every other region in the U.S.
• The teenage birth rate is higher in the South than anywhere else in the country.
• The teenage rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea are higher in the South than in other regions in the nation.
• Poor sexual health among teenagers has real costs in terms of public funds. For example, in 2008 an estimated $2.3 billion from federal, state and local governments was spent on teenage childbearing-related expenses in the South.

The report, commissioned by the Ms. Foundation for Women, also highlights opportunities decision-makers have to improve the sexual health of teenagers in the U.S. South, including new federal grant programs for adolescent sexual health and teen pregnancy prevention, which provide funding for the implementation of evidence-based and evidence-informed programs that teach young people how to delay sexual activity and avoid risky sexual behaviors.

Among other topics, these approaches include information about abstinence but also teach information on healthy relationships, contraception and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. The report also found that nearly 90 percent of people in the U.S. South favor the teaching of sex education (covering a range of topics) in public schools.

Photo (c) Elizabeth Rappaport & the Ms. Foundation for Women

08 March 2012

Happy International Women’s Day! A Blog Carnival Calling All Women to Send a Message of Strength

[This post originally appeared on the MomsRising.org blog carnival]

by Anika Rahman

Happy International Women’s Day, and welcome to the first #callingallwomen blog carnival. This March – Women’s History Month – 25 women’s funds from across the U.S. are uniting to promote solutions to the critical issues that women face.

Against the backdrop of an intensified war on women, the “Calling All Women: Send a Message of Strength” campaign is raising awareness of the inequality that exists and highlighting the change that women’s organizations are advancing in communities around the country. The campaign is encouraging women to “Sound Off” about the issues that matter most in their lives.

As this video demonstrates, equality for women has not yet been fully realized in 2012. With women still earning only 77 percent of men’s pay – and disparities in access to health care and education pervasive, we cannot afford to take any steps backward. Yet, some politicians are openly supporting a reversal of women’s rights – from attempts to deny us access to contraception to deeming us unfit for military combat.

The Calling All Women campaign is spreading the message far and wide that women must harness our collective power for change. Together we can support creative solutions to injustice. We can transform the lives of women, families and communities nationwide.

Help us spread the word! Watch and share the video on our campaign’s website, and tell us which issue is most pressing in your life on our “Sound Off” blog. You can also help amplify our voices by following us and sharing posts on Twitter (#callingallwomen). And support Ms. Foundation for Women’s campaign by texting WOMEN to 50555 to donate $10 to fund women’s programs.

Our blog carnival features women’s personal experiences with inequality – and their optimism for a brighter future. Read more below about the positive change happening in your community, and mine.


The Value of a Woman, Joy Rose
Rhode Island: We’ve Got Your Back for Paid Family Leave, Gayle Goldin
Women Voters and Voter ID, Faye Anderson
State-Sanctioned Shaming and the Battle for Reproductive Rights, Madeleine Gyory
Challenging Women’s Imprisonment in the United States, the World’s Top Jailer, Rachel Roth
Latte Factor: End Breastfeeding Discrimination, Genevieve Colvin
Barefoot and Pregnant: What This “War on Women” is Really About, Phoebe Taubman
We’ve Come a Long Way, Maybe: Women’s History Creates the Future, Gloria Feldt
Gloria Steinem Speaks Out on the War on Women, Rush Limbaugh, Angela Hill
Super Tuesday: It’s the Women’s Vote, Stupid!, Mona Gable
Has Political Discourse Hit Rock Bottom?, Andrew Rosenthal
When States Abuse Women, Nicholas Kristof


Read more: http://callingallwomen2012.com/2012/02/26/blog-carnival/

01 March 2012

Ms. Foundation Leads Coalition Launching Women’s History Month Campaign

Happy Women's History Month! Prompted by intensified attacks on women’s rights this election year, the Ms. Foundation for Women is leading a coalition of 25 women’s funds from across the country to increase attention to the issues affecting women and girls nationwide.

Throughout Women’s History Month, the “Calling All Women: Send a Message of Strength” campaign is raising awareness of the inequality that exists, highlighting the change that local and national women’s funds are advancing in communities around the country, and encouraging us all to stand together and support women nationwide.

Join us. Text WOMEN to 50555 to donate $10, which will be distributed to participating women’s funds. Watch and share the video on our campaign’s website, tell us which issue is most pressing in your life on our “Sound Off” blog, and join the conversation on Twitter #callingallwomen.

As our campaign video demonstrates, equality for women has not yet been fully realized in 2012. With women still earning only 77 percent of men’s pay and disparities in access to health care and education pervasive, we cannot afford to take any steps backward.

Your support of the Calling All Women campaign this Women’s History Month will help us make inequality a thing of the past. Together, we can send a message of strength!