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This is not shared sacrifice

JRF | Apr 09 2012 |

Did you know that the “Ryan Budget,” which was recently passed by the House of Representatives, “imposes trillions of dollars in spending cuts, 62 percent of which would come from low-income programs that women and families rely on?” This staggering figure is hard for me to believe.

In addition to cutting the funding for low-income programs, the budget cuts taxes for the wealthy at “six times greater than the cut for middle-income people.” Plus, Ryan’s proposed budget “would allow the tax cuts for working-poor and middle-class households to expire.”

The “Ryan Budget” also includes cutting the much needed Pell grants for low-income students. Nontraditional students, including JRF scholars, will be particularly hit hard by this budget cut as students who take less than a full class schedule each semester will no longer be eligible for funding.

American Association of University of Women (AAUW) says, “Congress should develop a sensible budget that promotes job creation and economic security, defends the civil rights of all Americans, and protects women’s rights." At JRF, we agree completely! We especially believe that a budget plan should help, not hinder low-income programs.

What can you do to prevent the Ryan Budget from passing in the Senate? Contact your Senators and tell them to oppose this proposed budget plan! Tell them what you know about the significant importance of low-income programs for women and families. AAUW has a handy Two-Minute Activist page that will walk you through contacting your senator – do it now!

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This is not shared sacrifice

JRF | Apr 09 2012 |

Did you know that the “Ryan Budget,” which was recently passed by the House of Representatives, “imposes trillions of dollars in spending cuts, 62 percent of which would come from low-income programs that women and families rely on?” This staggering figure is hard for me to believe.

In addition to cutting the funding for low-income programs, the budget cuts taxes for the wealthy at “six times greater than the cut for middle-income people.” Plus, Ryan’s proposed budget “would allow the tax cuts for working-poor and middle-class households to expire.”

The “Ryan Budget” also includes cutting the much needed Pell grants for low-income students. Nontraditional students, including JRF scholars, will be particularly hit hard by this budget cut as students who take less than a full class schedule each semester will no longer be eligible for funding.

American Association of University of Women (AAUW) says, “Congress should develop a sensible budget that promotes job creation and economic security, defends the civil rights of all Americans, and protects women’s rights." At JRF, we agree completely! We especially believe that a budget plan should help, not hinder low-income programs.

What can you do to prevent the Ryan Budget from passing in the Senate? Contact your Senators and tell them to oppose this proposed budget plan! Tell them what you know about the significant importance of low-income programs for women and families. AAUW has a handy Two-Minute Activist page that will walk you through contacting your senator – do it now!

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The History of Women’s History Month

JRF | Mar 06 2012 |

Women are underrepresented in leadership roles, forgotten in history books and much worse around the world. Women’s History Month is supposed to bring these issues to the forefront. We’ll be looking at amazing women throughout history, issues facing women today, and a lot more, so feel free to post suggestions.

For now, here’s a brief history of how Women’s History Month got started.

1911 – In Europe, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8

1916 – Jeannette Rankin is elected to congress. While this momentous stride for women did not specifically have anything to do with Women’s History Month, it set the stage for important things to follow.

1920 – The 19th Amendment is passed.  "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." While this was a big step, it largely applied only to wealthy, white women.

1930s/1940s – The economic depression and World War II created a national climate that actually worked against, and divided, women.

1960s – Interest is gained in women’s issues and history with a resurgence of feminism.

1970s – Many universities and colleges begin offering women’s history and study courses; legislation is passed to promote equality.

1978 – Sonoma County, California, dedicated a week in March to honoring women in history. The positive response to this dedication leads to a full week of recognition to be established just two years later.

1980 – National Women’s History Week is established after Congress passed a resolution. President Carter states in a presidential message, “I urge libraries, schools, and community organizations to focus their observances on the leaders who struggled for equality -- Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul.” Widespread support from schools and organizations is gained as many begin hosting special activities honoring women in history.

1987 – Congress expanded the Women’s History Week to one month. Since then, Congress continues to issue a resolution each year with wide support for the celebration of Women’s History Month.

1990s – Plans begin for building a National Museum of Women’s History.

Today – Recognition and support continues for Women’s History Month through numerous events, publications and websites such as this online information source: http://www.nwhp.org/.

While special media attention and events are held during March to honor women, we hope that “sheroes” will be honored all the time and not just one month out of the year!

How do you plan to celebrate Women’s History Month?

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Working moms face discrimination

JRF | Feb 27 2012 |

Working mothers are becoming the norm; unfortunately, these women are faced with discrimination. According to census data, women often earn only 77 cents to every dollar a man makes. And that’s white women. Women of color often earn even less, and the wage gap continues to widen for women with children. A University of New Mexico study found that mothers may earn up to 14 percent less than women who don’t have children.

NPR news recently aired a segment, “The Wage Gap Between Moms, Other Working Women,”  that discussed this prevalent issue with experts.  Many factors contribute to the pay discrepancies, like women choosing not to go to college to raise children and then entering the workforce, or selecting less demanding jobs to help balance all of the responsibilities, but part of the gap can’t be explained. This is the worrying part, says Kate Krause, a professor of economics at the University of New Mexico.

Pregnant women and mothers experience “subtle stereotyping” in the workplace, which means these women are given “less work or dead end assignments.” Less work leads to fewer leadership positions and fewer promotions.

The panel of experts, all working mothers, believes that unequal pay needs to be addressed head-on by “making supportive work-family policies a priority.” Paid leave is one crucial work-family policy for mothers, and paid leave not only increases wages for women, but also increases their “attachment to the labor force.” Communication is key. Dawn Porter, mother and founder of Trilogy Films, says, “Communicate with your supervisors, communicate with your co-workers, try and offer proactive situations and communicate that you're trying to stay in this job, that you care about this job.”

Do you have other thoughts on combating unequal pay and unfair treatment?

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Girl Scouts campaign for female leadership

The Adsmith | Feb 15 2012 |

As an elementary student, I participated in Girl Scouts. Through Girl Scouts, I made new friends, volunteered in my community, and like all girl scouts, sold cookies. My troop would set a goal for the number of cookies we aimed to sell, and thanks to generous family and friends, we would always exceed that number.

While Girl Scouts still sell cookies, troops are discussing the issue of female leadership in today’s society. Girl Scouts launched a new campaign to inspire girls to pursue leadership roles. As stated in a USA Today article, the campaign at togetherthere.org, “aims to create equal representation of women and men in all leadership sectors of society within a generation.”

Surprising facts, such as in 2011, “the U.S. ranked 72nd place below Rwanda and Cuba in women’s political representation,” prompted Girl Scouts to launch their campaign. Another figure that shows women are greatly underrepresented in leadership positions, is that women hold only “9.7 percent of top executive and board jobs at 400 of the largest publicly held companies in California.”

"It's really (about) changing the dialogue around the perception of girls and what they can accomplish, Ana Maria Chavez, chief executive officer for Girl Scouts, said. "We see that they have the potential to step into leadership roles. They just currently don't have the support system in place to take the next step.

What advice would you give to girls about becoming leaders?

For more information on the Girl Scouts of the USA campaign, including videos from inspiring women leaders, visit togetherthere.org.

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