Thursday, January 30, 2014

President Obama Addresses Women's Issues at State of the Union

On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address in our nation’s capital before all distinguished members of Congress, and to millions of Americans watching at home. The President opened his address with saying that 2014 will be a “breakthrough year for America”, and hoped it would be a “year of action”. He urged Congress to draft legislation on a variety of issues like income inequality, immigration, energy, and education reform.

Here at the MWPC, we were very excited to hear the President address the issues of better workplace policies for women and equal pay for equal work. According to the President, the fact that women make up half of the workforce but still earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns is “wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. Women deserve equal pay for equal work.” He then likened current workplace policies limiting a woman’s family planning to those found in a Mad Men episode, resulting in an enthusiastic applause by congresswomen and men alike.

President Obama not only called 2014 a year for action, but a year for opportunity. “Let’s all come together”, he says, “to give every women the opportunity she deserves, because I believe when women succeed, America succeeds.” The MWPC hopes the President and members of Congress make 2014 the year they prioritize closing the pay gap, and fixing workplace policies so that all women across our country have the opportunity to succeed!

Watch the enhanced version of the State of the Union with here.

Gabriela Coletta

Friday, January 24, 2014

What We've Been Reading...

Stay informed while keeping warm! Here are some stories that we have been talking about this week.

Janet Yellen, the Fed’s first female leader, is making a small but symbolic change when she becomes Federal Reserve Chair on February 1st. She decided to use a gender-neutral title rather than Chairman or Chairwoman. Her title of preference will be Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Read more here.  

The Senate’s 20 women, driven by the success they have had politically and legislatively, are helping other female senate hopefuls through public support and fundraising to swell their rankings. They are providing campaign help to female candidates from West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, Iowa, and Oregon.
"Women are now seen as the ones in the Senate who are getting the job done," said Baldwin, who heads the Women's Senate Network, a division of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that helps female candidates.

Four female members of the Senate are running for reelection this year: Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). In all, 29 women (13 Democrats and 16 Republicans) currently are running for Senate.  “The women Senators are wielding power and getting things done.”

Mike Huckabee stated yesterday that Democrats are pushing women to believe “they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government.” Huckabee dismissed the notion that the GOP is engaged in a "War on Women," as Democratic rivals allege.

Nancy Pelosi commented on her view of the gender gap in the U.S. politics, stating that she sees our disparities largely as a product of our culture. The article points of that out of 100 senators, 20 are female; out of 435 representatives, there are 78 women. According to the World Economic Forum, that puts the United States at 60th in the world for political equality between the sexes.

Sunday’s cover of New York Times Magazine will feature Hillary Clinton’s face as “The Woman on the Moon.” Entitled “Planet Hillary,” the New York Times explains their motivation behind the cover here. Hillary’s face is closely surrounded by other celestial bodies on the cover, one being “Huma’s Dark Matter.”

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, January 17, 2014

What We've Been Reading...

This week at the MWPC, a few stories piqued our interest. Below are some reading suggestions that got us thinking! responds to Time Magazine’s most recent cover; it features a man hanging from the spike of a high-heeled shoe with the title, “Can Anyone Stop Hillary?”. Author Chloe Angyal views this depiction as “same old” and “sexist.” We agree. 

Michelle Obama turns 50 years old today. Happy Birthday, FLOTUS! She announced on twitter: “Excited to join Barack in the 50+ club today… check out my @AARP card! –mo” 

This week #MaPoli was buzzing about Adriana Cohen's Op-Ed for the Boston Herald entitled, “Women needing
government are not independent.”  Cohen says that liberal progressives have created a dialogue around women's reproductive health in order to lead to political victories for their party. Read the article and tell us what you think!

As we have mentioned, the Massachusetts’ Buffer Zone Law is currently being debated at the U.S. Supreme Court. This Boston Globe article provides a general synopsis of all sides of the issue.

Yesterday, the senate passed a 37-1 vote on a bill that would allow early voting in all state and federal elections and primaries in Massachusetts. This proposed change could have an exciting effect on voting behavior in elections throughout the Commonwealth. Read more about the legislation here.

And just when you thought the 2014 elections couldn't get any busier, we start to learn about more potential open seats across the Commonwealth. Get your walking shoes ready, canvassers!

Finally, we join millions of others across the nation in recognizing the incredible work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend. Did you know Dr. King was a supporter of Planned Parenthood and an early advocate for women's reproductive health rights?

Have a great weekend!

Questioning the Line

The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments Wednesday, January 15, 2014 in a case questioning the constitutionality of buffer zones at abortion clinics.

The case seeks to answer two questions. First, does the Massachusetts buffer zone law push the limits, or is it permitted under the court's 2000 ruling allowing some buffer zones? Next, should the court reverse the 2000 decision completely? This prior decision allowed Colorado to enact speech-related restrictions using a 100-foot barrier adjacent to healthcare facilities; a definitively more conservative court is hearing today’s case.

Massachusetts’s law currently utilizes a yellow line, painted 35 feet from the entrance to a reproductive health care facility. Anyone who remains standing within the line is asked to move beyond it. At the MWPC, we see this limitation on protester speech as acceptable and beneficial for all parties.  

The buffer zones in Massachusetts allow women to inquire about their health, seek guidance, and obtain treatment without the fear of physical harassment.  “State officials and clinic employees say patients and staff feel safer and find it easier to enter the clinics [because of the buffer zones].” The buffer zones still allow protesters to attempt to persuade women arriving at the clinic; it does not take away the voice of the protester but rather limits it in acceptable time, place, and manner.

The MWPC will always stand by the legislative rights of women to pursue proper healthcare. Please join us.  
“Supreme Court Considers Legality Of Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones”
“U.S. Supreme Court Skeptical Of Massachusetts Buffer Zone Law”

Brittany Straughn

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

More Women in the Governor’s Mansion: Highlighting Female Candidates in 2014 Gubernatorial Races

More Women in the Governor's Mansion

Happy New Year!
We’re only 15 days into the new year, and already multiple media and news outlets are declaring 2014 to be the year of Women in Politics. We’ve probably all seen the Washington Post’s Nine Women to Watch in Politics, or Cosmopolitan’s list of 20 Women to Watch in Politics. This past weekend, MSNBC also took to the web to proclaim 2014 the year of the woman.
All three articles convey a similar theme: 2014 will bring a new group of strong female trailblazers who will hopefully remedy the startling lack of female representation we see in the country.
This year, more women than ever before are stepping up and announcing their candidacies to take the reigns as governor. This is huge considering thirty-six states have gubernatorial races in 2014, and many will feature female candidates across both parties.
The most high profile gubernatorial races featuring women are here at home in Massachusetts and in Texas. In Massachusetts, we are fortunate to have two strong female candidates, Martha Coakley and Juliette Kayyem vying for the state’s top seat. The country is also closely watching the developing Texas gubernatorial race, featuring two fearless women, Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte looking to score an all female ticket for governor and lieutenant governor.
Other women to watch include candidates in the Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Rhode Island.
In Wisconsin, Democrat Mary Burke has been racking up donations and endorsements as she prepares to challenge Republican incumbent Scott Walker. Governor Walker has repeatedly voiced his opposition to various women’s issues including abortion, equal pay, and access to women’s healthcare through the Affordable Care Act.
In Pennsylvania, Representative Allyson Schwartz and former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Kate McGinty have begun fundraising for their gubernatorial campaigns among eight other Democratic candidates in a race that will be crowded and will likely be determined by dollars and donations.
In Maryland, Heather Mizeur has announced her candidacy. If successful, Mizeur would be the first female and the first openly gay governor in the state’s history. In Rhode Island, Gina Raimondo, the current State Treasurer, kicked off her campaign on January 13th. During her announcement, Raimondo outlined her platform as a progressive candidate, and quickly picked up an endorsement from Emily’s List.
This year, there are also four incumbent female governors are up for re-election with almost certain victories. Those are New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and Hew Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan.
Next week, we will take a look at 2014’s Senate races and the women seeking some of the most contested seats.

Rebecca Pineiro

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