18 April 2012

When a Mother Has No Choice

While politicians scrambled to distance themselves from Hilary Rosen’s ill-chosen remarks about Ann Romney, the bigger point was overlooked.

“All moms are entitled to choose their path,” the candidate’s wife tweeted.

Unfortunately, that’s just not true.

It’s not a choice for the single mother to work three jobs to keep her family afloat when she would rather be a stay-at-home mom.

It’s not a choice for the woman whose family will lose health care benefits if she reduces her hours to care for her special-needs child.

And it’s not a choice for the woman who can’t afford not to work because her family needs her additional income to survive.

For these women, work offers a lifeline for their families. Without it, they couldn’t put food on the table or clothes on their children’s backs.

On the other end of the spectrum is the growing number of women who would prefer to work but whose salaries won’t cover the high cost of day care. For some of these women, low levels of education are a barrier in attaining jobs that pay well enough. For others, disparities in pay prevent them from earning as much as their male counterparts.

The Ms. Foundation wants every woman to have the same choices that Ann Romney did. That’s why we support organizations like All Our Kin, whose Toolkit Licensing Program helps support women who need access to affordable child care while also creating jobs for women, who constitute the majority of child care providers in the United States.

It’s why we advocate for access to affordable health care services, including contraception. And why we promote policies that help women and families achieve economic security.

Because wealth should not be a prerequisite for choice.

12 April 2012

The Ms. Foundation and PreventConnect Launch Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Web Conference Series

The nine session series will explore themes of how to end child sexual abuse and build the network of those committed to addressing this issue.

The first web conference "Including Efforts to End Child Sexual Abuse within the Sexual Violence Prevention Movement" will focus on ways that local, state and national strategies to integrate child sexual abuse prevention within larger sexual violence prevention efforts.

Thurs. May 3, 2012
2:00pm EST (90 min)
Cost: Free
Register now

Hosts: Joan Tabachnick and Cordelia Anderson

Sally J. Lasky, Director of Special Projects, National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Donna Dunn, Executive Director, Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Gina Scaramello, Executive Director, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center

Learning Objectives:

  1. Increased understanding of how ending child sexual abuse is relevant to sexual violence prevention efforts throughout the lifespan.
  2. Expanded knowledge of local, state and national efforts to end child sexual abuse.
  3. Ability to identify three actions that organizations can take to integrate prevention across the lifespan.

What is a Web Conference?
A web conference is an opportunity to attend an online workshop by watching a presentation on your computer screen (using your internet connection) and hearing presenters through your telephone. Prevent Connect web conferences feature an opportunity to participate in online question & answer sessions and live text chat between participants. If for some reason you are unable to join on your computer, you can download the presentation slides from our website and listen on your phone.

Real-Time Captioning Available: Instructions for accessing captioning during this web conference will be provided with your registration confirmation.

Compatibility: The iLinc web conference software used by Prevent Connect is compatible with both Microsoft® Windows® and Apple® Macintosh® computers. Click here for detailed system requirements.

Register today!

10 April 2012

Cutting Down Barriers, and Planting Trees, in Underserved Communities

How could a collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service benefit women? The Ms. Foundation for Women is exploring this type of public-private partnership, which could help give women the support they need to develop skills that enable them to compete in male-dominated fields like forestry. This particular opportunity would couple job training in non-traditional fields for women, particularly in Mississippi’s low income communities, with wrap-around services, like childcare, provided by Ms. Foundation grantees. It’s an unconventional arrangement that could yield significant benefits for women.

The Ms. Foundation planted seeds for this type of approach, helping to put nail salon workers’ reproductive safety on the federal government’s radar screen through earlier grants to advocacy organizations. Nail salon workers, many of whom are Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and of reproductive age, face reproductive health consequences from prolonged exposure to chemicals, some known to be carcinogenic. Advocates supported through the Ms. Foundation fought hard to protect the health and safety of nail salon workers and brought government to consider “healthier solutions”.

This type of approach – in the context of worker safety, in particular – was the focus of a recent White House National Philanthropic Briefing on the Asian American Pacific Islander Community, which convened government, philanthropy and the private sector to address the unmet needs of AAPIs. Ms. Foundation Vice President of Grants and Capacity Building Pat Eng and board member Phoebe Eng took part in the gathering, which was an extension of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. It was a real honor to be involved in the discussion -- Security was so tight that even breakfast foods had to show proper identification and pass clearance!

As a Chinese American and advocate for racial and gender equity, Pat helped plan the briefing’s Civil and Human Rights Breakout session, which focused on safety for AAPIs in the context of schools, workplaces, the broader community, LGBT and women. What this briefing signified for Pat was an understanding that more needs to be done to address the barriers that AAPIs face in accessing government resources and services. It’s a positive first step in bringing groups from different sectors together to help improve the quality of life for AAPIs!