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Issues Economic and Social Justice Stop TPP Fast Track ERA Articles Poverty, Hunger, Inequality, Violence: American Women Are Being Screwed
Thursday, 29 August 2013 00:43

Poverty, Hunger, Inequality, Violence: American Women Are Being Screwed

Written by  Pamela Powers Hanley

Women earn less than men. Compared to white men, Latinas earn 59 cents for every dollar earned by a white man, black women earn 68 cents on the dollar, white women earn 81 cents on the dollar, and Asian women earn 88 cents on the dollar

It’s time for a stats update…

93 years after American women won the right to vote,

90 years after the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the US Constitution was originally proposed,

53 years after The Pill,

50 years after The Feminine Mystique awakened middle-class housewives from the slumber of the 1950s,

47 years after the creation of the National Organization for Women (NOW),

40 years after Roe v Wade legalized abortion in the US,

and 31 years after the ERA died because it fell short of state ratification by 3 state legislatures…

Where are we?

Women earn less than men. Compared to white men, Latinas earn 59 cents for every dollar earned by a white man, black women earn 68 cents on the dollar, white women earn 81 cents on the dollar, and Asian women earn 88 cents on the dollar. In 2012, the Republican Party’s presidential candidate said he would not have signed the Lilly Leddbetter Fair Pay Act, thus perpetuating this inequality.

Single women and their children live in poverty. According to the National Poverty Center, “Poverty rates are highest for families headed by single women, particularly if they are black or Hispanic. In 2010, 31.6 percent of households headed by single women were poor, while 15.8 percent of households headed by single men and 6.2 percent of married-couple households lived in poverty.” Here is Tucson, 52 percent of children live in single parent households; 71 percent of these children live in poverty, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

28 million women provide unpaid care for the elderly. Many working women joke sarcastically about starting their “second shift” when they leave their paid jobs at the end of the day. For some, the second shift is going home to cook, wash dishes, and help with the homework. For 28 million women, the second shift is caring for elderly family members (usually their Moms) or friends. According to a new report released by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 42.1 million Americans (66 percent of whom are women) provided $450 billion in uncompensated care in 2009– more than the cost of Medicaid. The “average” family caregiver is “a 49-year-old woman who works outside the home and spends about 20 hours a week caring for her mother without pay.”

Politicians (mostly Republicans) promote and enact laws that oppress women. Cutting food stamps, which help poor women feed their families. Cutting Head Start, which helps poor children succeed. Cutting low-income childcare subsidies, which help poor women find and keep jobs. Cutting public education, which levels the playing field across the classes. Defunding Planned Parenthood, which offers reduced or free contraception, allowing women to choose pregnancy (or not). Closing women’s health clinics in multiple states, which denies access to care and access to safe, legal abortions. Intimidating and demeaning women by forcing them to have unnecessary medical procedures, particularly vaginal ultrasound. Pondering the question of “legitimate rape” in the US Congress. Allowing employers to drop contraception from health insurance plans. Making voting more difficult. Balancing budgets on the backs of the poor, while keeping the military-industrial complex fat and happy. Sexism has become institutionalized and codified in the US. It’s OK to say ”duh” now, but even on the left– among people fighting for racial equality–it’s OK to be sexist. From the Huffington Post…

“We have to stand together with a single goal,” explains Desiree Jordan, founder of Unite Women NY, one of the leaders of renewed ERA efforts and an organizer of the rally on the 24th. “Constitutional equality for all. We can’t deny equal rights to half of our population and at the same time claim to be “leaders of the free world.” As she points out, as a country, we are keen on making sure acknowledgement for women’s equal rights is written into other countries’ constitutions. [Emphasis added.]

As David Rothkopf put it earlier this year, “the underrepresentation of women in positions of power is proof not so much that men still dominate the top of the pyramid as it is of a system of the most egregious, widespread, pernicious, destructive pattern of human rights abuses in the history of civilization.” Being “equal enough” in the United States is squarely part of this global sex-based caste system. It’s beyond embarrassing that we haven’t passed the Equal Rights Amendment, a necessary step to dismantling “traditional” discriminatory power.

Is it time for an Equal Rights Amendment?
Hell, yes! Back in the 1970s, after the Congress passed the ERA, there was a huge push by feminists to encourage state legislatures to pass it and make the ERA an amendment to the US Constitution. One of the prevailing memes of the times was that the ERA was unnecessary because, of course, women are equal. Well, obviously, things have not played out that way. Even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says US laws don’t protect women from discrimination. From the Huffington Post…

Without the ERA, gains made for and by women remain vulnerable, politically negotiable and constantly at risk. Some believe that the 14th Amendment secures women’s rights under the Constitution. But, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is fond of explaining why this is not the case: “Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws.” The 14th Amendment was not written to include women and gives no guarantee based on sex. [Emphasis added.]

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) and allies are pressing for passage of the ERA by eliminating the time limit on ratification by the state legislatures and implementing a “three state strategy”, since the ERA fell three state legislatures short of passage back in the 1980s. Go here and scroll down to see a map of states that never passed the ERA. Of course, it’s the “usual suspects” who have not passed it. Think of the states that passed vaginal ultrasound, defunded Planned Parenthood, cut public education, or voted not to extend Medicaid under Obamacare. It’s just about the same list– the deep South + the Libertarian West.

Why is the ERA important?
When you read this statement: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” and think of the literally hundreds of anti-woman bills that have been passed just in this decade, it’s obvious that the ERA is as important today as it was in 1923. The Equal Rights Amendment and the 50th Anniversary of The March on Washington in the Huffington Post provides a thorough look at the ERA and related issues of sexism and racism. Two of the most salient points from the article are:

1) The ERA would shift the way in which sex discrimination cases are dealt. “Sex” would be a classification requiring “strict scrutiny,” like race, sexuality, As The Feminist Majority puts it, “Those fighting sex discrimination would no longer have to prove discrimination, but instead those who discriminate would have to prove that they did not violate the Constitution.” Think about the millions of women who’ve faced pay discrimination at Walmart, but still can’t sue as a class, because they can’t show they “have enough in common.“

2) Passage of the ERA will institutionalize equitable considerations of women’s need as they differ from men’s. Currently, our normative interpretation of laws is based almost entirely on men’s needs, bodies, experiences and life stages. For example, in the study reported on by Covert, the majority of men surveyed, “feel that the “country has made most of the changes needed to give women equal rights as men,” but just 29 percent of women felt the same.” These “feelings” become the basis for legislation, norms and discrimination that is perpetuated and unaddressed.

It’s time. Let’s do this. Joint resolutions SJRES15 and HJRS43– currently in Congress– would remove the ERA ratification time limit. Call your Congressional representative and urge backing of these resolutions. If you live in a state that never passed the ERA, check out PDA’s the three state strategy. We can make equality for all an issue in the coming elections.

A few months ago, I heard author and activist John Nichols call for the foot soldiers in “the new progressive movement” to fight for three Constitutional Amendments, which would guarantee the right to vote for all Americans, get money out of politics (by denying corporate personhood and denying money = speech), and eliminate the Electoral College.

These are all great ideas, but passage of the ERA should be added to this list.

Link to original article from the Tucson Progressive

 


 

PamelaPowersHannleyPamela Powers Hannley
I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth--not just people who agree with me or look like me. I believe that people who promote religiosity but use violence, intimidation, and lies to force their ideas upon other people are not following the teachings of any religious leader. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona.

In addition to being a blogger, I am a published author, photographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post. I am a proud member of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA).

Read 4277 times Last modified on Thursday, 29 August 2013 01:34

Trans Pacific Partnership Fast Track - Where Does Your Legislator Stand

Click your state to see your Senators and Representatives

Green = Most Legislators Oppose Fast Track, Yellow = Some Opposition, Orange = Oppose TPP, Gray = Unknown
DeLauro 13 - Signed 2013 DeLauro/Miller letter
Pocan - Signed Freshman Letter Opposing Fast Track
W/M - Signed Ways and Means Letter opposing TPP
Gibson - Signed Rep. Chris Gibson letter opposing TPP
SOPA - Oppose Stop Online Piracy Act - voted against
Currency - Oppose Currency Manipulation (Signed Michaud Letter)
Textile - Oppose changes to "First Yarn" (Signed Textile Industry Letter)

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    Written on Friday, 01 November 2013 15:15 Read more...
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    Written on Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:45 Read more...
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    Written on Thursday, 17 October 2013 20:25 Read more...
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    Written on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 00:05 Read more...
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    Written on Thursday, 03 October 2013 03:17 Read more...
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    Written on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 03:31 Read more...
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    Secretive Free Trade Agreement Puts Climate, Public Health at Risk

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    As secretive talks over the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)—the pending free trade agreement slammed as "NAFTA on steroids" and "a quiet coup for the investor class"—continue, new warnings highlight the corporate winners and global losers at stake.

    Written on Monday, 16 September 2013 02:45 Read more...
  • Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership Fast Track
    Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership Fast Track

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    The negotiations for this new “free trade” agreement have been conducted in secret. Members of Congress as well as the public have no factual information about the contents of this deal.

    Written on Sunday, 15 September 2013 17:36 Read more...
  • TPP Talking Points

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed agreement between the U.S. and 12 nations that do business throughout the Pacific Rim. TPP and its European cousin the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (aka TAFTA), are "free trade" agreements that do much more than the term implies.

    Written on Monday, 02 September 2013 00:00 Read more...
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    Obama's secret trade deal threatens prescription drug prices on global scale

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    Written on Saturday, 27 July 2013 00:00 Read more...
  • Pocan Calls for Increased Transparency on Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement to Protect American Jobs
    Pocan Calls for Increased Transparency on Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement to Protect American Jobs

    Pocan urges Congress not to give up its constitutional authority to oversee foreign trade agreements

    Written on Friday, 14 June 2013 00:00 Read more...
  • Alan Grayson On Trans-Pacific Partnership: Obama Secrecy Hides 'Assault On Democratic Government'
    Alan Grayson On Trans-Pacific Partnership: Obama Secrecy Hides 'Assault On Democratic Government'

    Progressive Democrats in Congress are ramping up pressure on the Obama administration to release the text of Trans-Pacific Partnership, a secretive free trade agreement with 10 other nations, amid intensifying controversy over the administration's transparency record and its treatment of classified information.

    Written on Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00 Read more...

Join "Countdown to Coverage" Share TPP with your Daily Newspaper

CWA devised a simple plan for which they were uniquely suited: drag TPP out of the shadows and into the light - one city at a time - using a medium they understand intimately: Daily Newspapers!

Two CWA members - Dave Felice in Denver, CO and Madelyn Elder in Portland, OR have started the ball rolling. We just need to keep up the momentum leading up to a big day of petition deliveries.

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Step 1 is to send an Op-Ed to your Daily Newspaper.

Join our Twitter Storm

If you have a Twitter account you can help stop Fast Track on the TPP. Sign-in to your Twitter account and copy and paste the Tweets from our Twitter storm. Or you can copy your favorite Tweet and then click on the map and Tweet your legislator.

Twitter Storm Tweets for Tuesday, January 28th @ 9pm Eastern

Tweets for the special State of the Union Twitter Storm will be posted on January 28th at 8pm EST. Check back for the new Tweets.

Find Your Member of Congress

Click here to quickly find your member of Congress by putting in your home address. This site also features a one-click link to the same information in Spanish

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Then call and ask them to oppose Fast Track on the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Sample script is below.

Script

“I'm a constituent, and I am strongly opposed to my representative giving away Congress’ constitutional authority to control our trade policy. We send people to Congress to stand up for us, not give away their power to stop more American job offshoring and protect us from dangerous imported food that doesn’t meet our safety standards. This latest so-called trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), would not only do that - but also ban Buy American and increase our medicine prices. That’s why it’s crucial that Congress not give away its authority to make sure every provision of TPP is in our interest before this massive deal can be signed. Good trade deals don’t need to be railroaded through Congress using Fast Track. I hope my representative will commit to opposing this outrageous legislation.”

Email Your Senators and Rep - Say No On Fast Track and TPP

Send an email directly to your Senators and Representatives courtesy of our partners at CWA. Enter your zip code and your members are automatically selected.

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Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

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Report on your TPP Contact

Please let us know your legislator's stance on Fast Track Authorization for the Trans Pacific Partnership as well as their stance on the TPP in General. Click here to report the response.

The Trans Pacific Partnership: Corporate Global Domination

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

Lori Wallach Leaked TPP Documents (Democracy NOW)

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of

Lori Wallach on Thom Hartmann (Great Minds) - The TPP

Flush the TPP

Congress only has one more week in session this year, the week of December 9. So far our pressure to stop the TPP has been working. Visit Flush the TPP for calling scripts and links to Members of the Ways and Means Committee.

Flush the TPP

TPP Downloads

The following documents are available from the Oppose TPP Downloads Folder

June 29th TPP Powerpoint

CWA TPP Jobs Report