Monday, June 30, 2014

Dissapointing Decision From SCOTUS...

Today marks an important day in America’s history, as the Supreme Court ruled against protecting women’s rights, and in favor of corporations. Today, decades of work toward equality in the workforce was pushed aside. In two cases, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, the Supreme Court ruled that closely-held corporations could refrain from providing contraceptive coverage for their female employees due to religious freedom under the RFRA.

There is a long history behind the debate of religious freedom in both the Supreme Court and Congress. In 1990, the Supreme Court ruled against recognizing religious exceptions under the First Amendment’s free exercise clause, which outraged many Americans. Eventually, Congress reversed the decision. In 1993, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, became federal law. In fact, it was passed by an almost unanimous Congress. Its goal was to protect religious freedom under the law, and it is a major component of the Hobby Lobby case. The RFRA has brought a great deal of conflict in the past two decades. In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that the law was not applicable to individual states. Many states have since enacted their own RFRA laws. In fact, in February 2014, Arizona was embroiled in the RFRA conflict when its conservative politicians hoped to pass a state RFRA. When it came out that this law would legalize discrimination against the LGBTQ community within the state, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed it. The Supreme Court decision made today, which ruled in favor of the RFRA, may cause the greatest outbreak of anger yet.

There has been a continuous battle over birth control in past Supreme Court cases. One case that came to the court in 1965 in Griswold v. Connecticut, struck down state laws that prohibited the use of birth control by married couples. After that ruling, ten more states allowed for accessible birth control and family planning services. Roe v. Wade, an extremely well-known case, was decided in 1973 and the Supreme Court finally recognized women’s right to choose abortion as a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. In 1976, the court struck down state laws that required the consent of parents and spouses in order for women to have an abortion. The successes did not continue, though: in 1989, the Webster v. Reproductive Health Services allowed states to have more freedom in restricting abortion. The Court continued to make more conservative rulings, such as the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey where the court mandated a 24-hour waiting period and a parental-consent provision for minors.

 Clearly, the issues of religious freedom and birth control and abortion have been controversial issues leading up to the decision today. In this case, the two issues intersect and pose a constitutional, legal, and moral question in the United States.

In a 5-4 ruling today, Monday June 30th, the Supreme Court decided that for-profit companies that hold strong religious views can opt out of providing contraceptives for their employees. Under The Affordable Care Act, companies are required to cover contraceptives such as Plan B and birth control pills. Hobby Lobby, a furniture company run by Christians, fought against this provision, stating that it violates the first amendment and other laws protecting freedom of religion.

The Supreme Court specified that only closely held for-profit corporations could have religious rights, a description that perfectly fits Hobby Lobby. The Christian owners claim that their beliefs inform their whole company: they play Christian music in their stores and are closed on Sundays. In the owners' eyes, Plan B equates to abortion, and therefore goes against their strongly held morals. Paying for Plan B would be endorsing abortion, an act they could never endorse, given their faith. While Hobby Lobby sees this ruling as a victory for religious freedom, others see it as a defeat.

Those in dissent look at it from an employee’s perspective, and believe that it is unfair that an employer's religious beliefs could be forced on them. Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, stated in a CNN interview that she was disappointed the Supreme Court ruled that "it's absolutely OK for bosses to make personal decisions for women about our health care which we pay for with our's unacceptable” The court opted to protect the religious entitlement of employers over the religious freedom of employees, not to mention women's rights.

The Supreme Court's decision left many questions: which companies are considered "closely held"? How religious does a company need to be in order to be excused from covering contraceptives? What if religious owners refuse to cover vaccinations, an action that many people believe is against their faith? Furthermore, has anyone noticed that it was 5 male justices who just enacted a law that impacts the lives of millions of women?

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a dissent noting that "the exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers' beliefs access to contraceptive coverage." It is also important to understand that “the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month's full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage." Her comments reveal the sad implications that are sure to come as a result of this decision. She also poses questions about what this means for our future in terms of using religious freedom as an argument: "Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]” Ginsburg’s comments reveal that this decision was not unanimous by any means, and necessitates further conversations. There will certainly be an ongoing dialogue surrounding today’s decision.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Robin Thicke Normalizes Harassment and Violence Against Women...Once Again

Robin Thicke’s new song, “Get Her Back,” is extremely problematic, to say the least. Between the lyrics, the music video, and his controversial song “Blurred Lines,” there is a great deal to discuss. First of all, let’s examine the lyrics. While not as blatantly misogynistic and sexually violent as “Blurred Lines,” the lyrics of “Get Her Back” suggest that Thicke will go to all ends, including stalking and harassment, in order to win back the desired woman. He says, “All I wanna do / Is get you back tonight / I gotta get to go, get to go, get her back.” While this line may not explicitly state that he will stalk her, it promotes the idea of a man relentlessly trying to “get” a woman back who broke up with him. To put it simply, this is harassment. He will continue to go to her house (i.e. stalk her) until she agrees to be with him, even though she does not want to be with him. These lyrics promote the misogynistic myth that stalking, though it is never referred to as such, is romantic when a man does it. He literally says, “I'll wait for forever for you to love me again,” implying he will not stop harassing/stalking her until she agrees to love him. These are just samples of the problems with Thicke’s lyrics.
Unfortunately, the music video might be considered even more disturbing than the lyrics. In short, the video shows a sad Thicke singing, sometimes with blood on his face, while also showing a mostly nude woman, wearing lots of make-up, in the background. In some frames, the video only shows her body; in others, it shows her drowning. And, throughout the video, there are texts that appear on the screen that show Thicke explaining he will never back down while the woman repeatedly tells him that their relationship is over. Basically, every part of this music video is problematic. Generally, as common with many music videos, this one sexualizes the woman. She wears a lot of make-up and practically no clothes; in fact, in some shots the camera only shows her buttocks. Also, sometimes she is touching Thicke’s chest in a suggestive manner. Thicke, on the other hand, is shown mostly in close-ups of his face. As was the case with the video for “Blurred Lines,” this video emphasizes the sexuality of the woman.
This music video also focuses on violence against woman. Thicke has blood on his face, implying that there was some sort of fight between the couple. If that was not enough, the woman is shown drowning in a series of repeated shots nearing the end of the video. Is this implying that Thicke is fantasizing about her drowning? Or is it showing that she cannot live without him? Either way, it disempowers the woman and punishes her for her choice to break up with Thicke.
For me, one of the most scary and real parts of the video is the addition of the text messages that appear on screen throughout it. The first one reads, “I kept trying to warn you you were pushing me too far…” This text already sets up the music video to be extremely disturbing. If this text is directed at the woman, it reads as Thicke blaming her as an excuse for something. If read as the woman texting him, the more likely situation since she ended things with him, it shows that Thicke “pushed” her too far, which could mean there was a violence, or emotional abuse, in the relationship. The texts show that this woman clearly does not want to see him, yet the last text reads, “This is just the beginning,” and the video shows Thicke walking away from the camera. He implies that he will not relent until she takes him back, which is a scary thought.
Overall, this song is disturbing. It normalizes harassment and stalking while showing Thicke as a hopeless romantic who will not give up rather than a truly frightening ex. If I could say one thing to Thicke, it would be that he can make hit songs without the use of violent, sexist imagery and lyrics. Maybe eventually he will understand how his songs disempower women.
-Emily Schacter 

Unfair Expectations of Hilary’s “Brand”

    Since the start of Hillary Clinton’s new book tour, there has been a discussion regarding her new “brand,” or lack thereof, and how it could affect her chance at the 2016 presidency. On Wednesday, Martha Pease wrote an opinion piece,  “Hillary Clinton's disappointing book rollout,” for CNN. She discusses how Clinton could have used this book tour as an opportunity to prove herself as a more likable, relatable candidate, who is less concentrated on herself and more focused on potential voters. While Pease brings up valid points, the need for a “brand” seems to be geared towards women as a way to show themselves as warm, approachable candidates. Yes, these traits are important, but women are typically scrutinized for them. Pease reveals interesting statistics for Hillary: “in a recent WSJ/NBC survey: 55% people rate her as competent, but 60% don't see her as likable.” Pease repeatedly notes that Clinton is “amazingly qualified,” yet she still lacks some sort of friendly component. This argument begs the question: if Clinton was a man, would there still be this kind of discussion? Pease also mentions that “leaders influence and persuade best when they connect to people first with warmth, followed with competency,” but this brings up a double standard. In order for women to show they are competent, they must show they can take a hard stance on certain topics. Women have to show voters that they are qualified and, sometimes, leave emotions out of it in order to gain legitimacy. While doing so, they are supposed to brand themselves as warm. Men are assumed to be qualified and therefore have an easier time showing compassion without the risk of being labeled as weak. So yes, perhaps Hillary could have used this tour as an opportunity to win over more voters, but it is absolutely necessary that this discussion leads to a broader conversation about the expectations of women candidates for office.
-Emily Schacter

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summit on Working Families

On Monday, June 23rd, 2014, the White House Council on Women and Girls, The Department of Labor, and the Center for American Progress hosted a Summit on Working Families. The Summit convened policymakers, economists, advocates, business leaders, and workers to discuss policy solutions which can strengthen the economy through strengthening the stability of the working family. Though working families were the topic of discussion, the focus unsurprisingly often came upon working women, who would be disproportionately affected by the policy solutions discussed.


Working families are increasingly dependent on the income of women to make ends meet.
Reported at the summit, women today make up 47% of the workforce with married women bringing home 44% of their families’ income on average and 40% of mothers acting as the sole or primary source of income for the household. However, policy fails to guarantee that workers will experience equal pay or equal protection in the workplace or will have the flexibility to maintain a healthy work/family life balance. As stated in the description of the event, the special focus on women is merited because while “all workers will directly benefit from better workplace policy, the impact will be greatest for working women and their families.”


The White House Council of Economic Advisors released three reports relevant to the discussions of the Summit, “Nice Facts about American Families and Work”, “The Economics of Paid and Unpaid Leave” and “Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility”, which laid the foundation for a conversation of how policy can ensure that for American workers. The Summit proposed “A Year of Action”, a collection of policy priorities for the next year which would change the workplace to support the changing demographics of working families. Goals include expanding workplace flexibility and empowering workers, increasing access to affordable childcare, making progress toward solutions for paid leave, closing the pay gap by increasing access to non-traditional occupations, expanding tax credits that support working families, and encouraging the private sector in efforts to bring solutions to more workplaces. Policy solutions implied by these goals include but are not limited to increasing access to paid parental leave and paid sick leave, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit and guaranteeing access to universal preschool programs.


If the Summit were successful in achieving its goals, America’s workers, especially women, would experience a dramatic shift in their economic stability and freedom. However, the politics surrounding these policies may obstruct the path to success. Despite the vast majority of Americans supporting policies like paid sick leave, American Prospect author Sharon Lerner points out these policy suggestions have faced decades of political turmoil in “Get Sick, Get Fired: America’s Low-Wage Workers Push Back”. If this deadlocked Congress fails to make progress in strengthening workplace policy in the coming months, this midterm election cycle may be America’s chance to elect a Congress who will.

Allysha Roth, MWPC Intern 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Boston Idea Week- The Boston Brand Event Summary

As part of the Innovation Districts’ Boston Idea Week, an interactive discussion was held on Wednesday, June 18th at the Courthouse Station about how the Boston Brand has been affected by the busing crisis of the 1970’s and the city’s history of racism. Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, a former MWPC Board Member and endorsed candidate, kicked off the event with a brief speech on the various ways she is trying to make Boston more welcoming to communities of color through legislation. She said that in order to really make progress on this issue people have to come together and “be willing to have an uncomfortable conversation” and be honest about the history of race in Boston. The discussion that followed, moderated by the Boston Globe’s Meghan Irons who posed questions to The Boston Busing/Desegregation Project’s Donna Bivens and President of the Boston NAACP Michael Curry, repeatedly returned to the question of how to start that conversation. There seems to be a universal acceptance that approaching the controversial topic of race with frankness, openness and honesty is key towards creating equal access to education and reducing the impact of racism. However, the key to starting those conversations amongst great division remains up in the air.

What We've Been Reading- Women's Rights and Success in the Workplace

On Wednesday, Politico reported in their congressional news column “Huddle” that Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Small Business Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced legislation into the senate to amend the Small Business Act to increase the opportunities for women owners of small businesses to win federal contracts. Senator Shaheen, the sponsor of the Women’s Small Business Procurement Parity Act, is endorsed by the National Women’s Political Caucus for re-election and has a history of sponsoring legislation advancing women’s rights such as the Violence Against Women Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. The National Women’s Business Council released a statement in support of the bill which advocated that “Women’s economic parity must continue to be at the forefront of policymakers’ efforts to move our economy in the right direction”.

Advocating for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, the American Association of University Women published an article which demonstrated the nuances of the pay gap through the personal experience of one professional woman, a black mother. While the reported average for the gender pay gap is that women make 77 cents, that ratio drops to 69 cents/dollar for mothers, and 64 cents/dollar for black women. Despite advocating on behalf of her own self-interest, the subject of the article has a salary that is $20,000 less than the median salary for similar positions in her area. The discrimination against her is less explicit and justified by her employer because of the fact that on occasion her duties as a mother conflict with her career.  Her situation demonstrates that negotiation alone would be insufficient to close the gender wage gap.

Women’s Voices Magazine tackles equal pay from both sides of the aisle. Alison Jarris, author of the column View from the Left points out how stereotypes and gendered expectations of behavior in the workplace hold women back from being successful in “The Surprising Way Stereotypes Rule the Workplace.” Among the list of common gendered differences are that “men are likely to overestimate their performance, while women generally underestimate that same measure,” successful men are perceived as more likeable by both men and women while successful women are perceived as less likeable by both, and the nurturing attribute expectation for women which men don’t experience serves as a double edged sword in the workplace, working against women both if they meet this expectation and if they don’t.  Thus, while sexism doesn’t have to be overt or ever consciously done in order to impact the success of women in the workplace.

On the other hand, Kelsey Budd, author of the View from the Right column discussed equal pay in her article “What Comes Along with ‘Equal Pay Day’… A Republican Woman’s Thoughts.” Budd argues that the argument that the wage gap is discriminatory is mythological and the reason women don’t make as much money as men is that they choose to have children, citing a statistic that “42% of high-achieving career women are childless”.  She concludes that instead of fighting for equal pay women should focus on supporting “the choices all women make, whether it’s pursuing a coveted partner position or coming home to become a full-time mom”.  This view, however, ignores the fact that if women and men were guaranteed paid parental leave, women might not have to make an either-or choice when it comes to family and career.  For instance, long paid parental leave for both parents makes it extremely easy balance both work and family life in Sweden, among other reasons. However, Budd does have a good point that it is important to keep in mind how statistics are calculated when considering the gender pay gap.
-Allysha Roth 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What We've Been Reading- Week of 6/16

Confronting the Issue of Rape in India: Shilpa Phadke, an assistant professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, wrote a powerful opinion article on June 17th, “Better toilets won’t solve India’s rape problem,” describing the current debate surrounding rape in India. After the rape and murder of two girls on May 27th in Uttar Pradesh, a state in Northern India, some people have asserted that if the girls had had better access to toilets, they would not have been kidnapped while they relieved themselves in an outside field. Naturally, this claim has received criticism, as Phadke points out. She explains that “the two girls were raped, murdered and lynched not because of a lack of toilets but because of India’s caste affiliations and the historical precedent that makes lower-caste women’s bodies the subject of sexual and other kinds of violence perpetrated by upper-caste men.” Moreover, the toilet argument is problematic because “if indoor toilets keep women safe, the implication is that women could be kept indoors forever — for their own safety, of course.” Phadke does not deny that there is a sanitation problem across the country and that better toilets would be helpful, especially for the comfort of women. But the idea that better toilets could truly prevent rape puts the responsibility on women to prevent their own rape, which is ridiculously unfair. Additionally, taking away public space as a resource for women detracts even more from women’s inherent rights. Phadke explains, “In this context, it is important to talk about the right to access and about public access as a value in itself.” Her article is extremely well-written and engages the reader in an incredibly important conversation.

It was posited in the Washington Post this week that student loans could become the newest women’s issue for Democrats in the midterm election, as discussed in this article. With the recent filibuster conducted by Senate Republicans, Democrats lost the chance to refinance student loans at a lower interest rate, and this topic has important implications for the gendered issue of income inequality. With the average amount of debt for a bachelor’s degree totaling almost 30,000, the fact that female college graduates make 82 cents for every dollar than their male counterparts in their first year out of college is troubling. Women then have less money to pay off these loans, and these debts become more burdensome as women must put a higher percentage of their incomes towards paying off student loans. The gendered aspect of the student loan topic provides another perspective to the plight of the income inequality faced by women.

Pantene recently came out with a new ad. Instead of using regular tactics to sell shampoo, the ad is part of Pantene’s new campaign called “Shine Strong”, and looks at how women often over apologize and say “sorry” for things that are not their fault. The video shows women apologizing for asking a question, handing her baby to her husband and speaking at the same time as a man. The company says that it is part of the debate brought by Sheryl Sandberg’s “Ban Bossy” campaign. At the end of the video things are reverse and the women stopping apologizing and some start saying, “Sorry, Not Sorry.” Pantene says that over the upcoming 2014-2015 year they will be a part of a campaign with The American Association of University Women to “challenge women student leaders on college campuses throughout the country to initiate change and tackle biases and stereotypes that permeate our culture.” The video can be viewed here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

“Keys to Elected Office: The Essential Guide for Women” Summary

On Monday, June 9th, the Barbara Lee Foundation gave a webinar, or a web-based seminar, titled, “Keys to Elected Office: The Essential Guide for Women.” MWPC and many others tuned in to listen to three experts who presented information regarding how women can help their political campaigns through well-researched strategies. While the studies focused on gubernatorial candidates, the strategies can be applied to other races in an effective way. The webinar covered three major categories: Preparation, Substance and Presentation.
The Preparation chapter emphasizes that it is necessary for women candidates to be confident and repeatedly note their qualifications. Voters need to hear that a woman is qualified in order to consider voting for her. Moreover, this section explained that while men can simply tell audiences their qualifications, women must show that they are experienced. Women should also use being a mother, if that applies, to their own advantage. Instead of allowing voters to doubt their commitment and availability to their new position, women can show that they manage their family and are organized in doing so. This allows them to be viewed as “360-degree candidates,” exemplifying their flexibility and strength organization.
The Substance portion concentrates on a few factors, including qualification versus likability and the balance between the two. Voters will not vote for a woman who is qualified but unlikable, and it is therefore extremely important for women to show their qualifications while remaining likable to potential voters. Additionally, it has been shown that voters believe women candidates are better with issues of education, healthcare, and women’s health, but less qualified when it comes to economic issues. Women must show that they are credible in these fields by establishing themselves as effective problem-solvers. This sections also stresses the importance of contrast ads in order for women to win against their opponents.
Finally, the Presentation section examines how words really do matter when coming from a woman candidate. Moreover, appearance matters. Women must develop an appropriate style to appeal to voters. Also, since voters already believe women candidates to be more honest and ethical than male candidates, women can use this claim to their advantage by exhibiting transparency. Women candidates must also be careful in their campaigns to avoid mistakes. If a mistake is made, though, they should respond quickly with an appropriate answer and third-party people who can vouch for the candidate and her qualifications.
The research in the presentation is comprehensive as well as comprehensible. It is another resource for women running for office, and can help with strategy. For more information, the full report is included in the link below, as well as the Barbara Lee Foundation website.

Friday, June 6, 2014

What We've Been Reading- June 6th, 2014

Happy Friday to all of our readers! Here is what we have been reading this week:

On June 5th, Lego announced that it would be releasing a new line that will feature female scientists. The figurines in the series, as told by the Research Institute, include a female astronomer, a female paleontologist, and a female chemist. This series follows many complaints and criticisms about gender stereotypes and the underrepresentation of females in Legos toys. In 2012, the company put a line called Lego Friends on the market, which depicted beauty salon stylists, bakers, and “hourglass-shaped figures,” as asserted in this Jezebel article. Though the Lego Friends series was financially successful, it perpetuated many stereotypes and assisted in furthering gender barriers. This new series critically places an emphasis on females in the field of science, and doesn’t merely relegate women to the home, salons, and bakeries like in past Lego series. This is certainly a welcome change.
A new article this week by the Washington Post shifts the conversation about women’s economic development focus away from income inequality and towards poverty and low wages, charging that these intertwined factors must be a crucial part of any conversation about women and economic growth. The article explains that over half of the people living in poverty in the United States today are women and girls. Since women comprise approximately two thirds of the minimum wage population, they would greatly benefit from an increase in minimum wage. Life expectancy for a 55-year-old woman on the lower spectrum of the income distribution was found to be 10 years lower than that of a woman of the same age on the higher end of the income distribution. The United States must seriously consider implementing a higher minimum wage to address the plight of women living in poverty. Besides raising the minimum wage, increasing education levels of women would, in turn, naturally raise wages, as the median income of women with a college degree is 23,00 thousand dollars higher than that of women with a high school diploma.

According to a recent Washington Post article, 2014 seems to not be the ‘year of the woman governor,’ as it was previously believed. 24 states have yet to elect a woman as governor, and the numbers of female governors are expected to stay essentially the same this year, perhaps with a slight increase of one to two taking the office. Surprisingly, the years of 2004 and 2007 boast the highest rates of female governors, with a record nine women being elected. An interesting trend found that across the women running for governor’s office in the US, all possess business experience as well as backgrounds in politics. Kira Sanbonmatsu, the author of a book exploring gender in state legislatures, calls the office of governor a “more challenging office” for women to achieve, and observes that “voters have been more comfortable seeing women in legislative positions than in executive offices.” Clearly, much work remains to be done in order to achieve gender parity in American politics.

This week, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine similar to those of Hitler prior to World War II. Clinton drew the connection between Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in order to protect what he considered ethnic Germans to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in order to protect ethnic Russians, as reported by NBC. Putin’s response to Clinton's allegations have been criticized after he claimed it is better not to argue with women. He also stated that Clinton “has never been too graceful in her statements.” According to another article by NBC, Putin attributes Clinton's comments to the lack of valid arguments by the Obama administration for his actions. He then goes on to say "When people push boundaries too far, it's not because they are strong but because they are weak. But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman.”

Last week news broke that a high school in Utah photoshopped the outfits of some female students in order to cover up low cut shirts, exposed shoulders and tattoos in the yearbook. There was outcry from students and the public because they were never told that their outfits were too revealing by the administration and that alterations to their photos would be made. The administration seemed to only photoshop some students while others wearing similar clothing were left untouched. Eventually they school apologized, not for altering the students pictures, but for the seemingly random way in which they did it. This week, a new article exposed the double standard that the school administration allowed in the yearbook. There are many photos in the book that show boys with their entire chest exposed, with underwear showing, and tattoos, all the things that were covered up in the photos of female students. One male student is even pictured showing his middle finger to the camera. The director of the Rape Recovery Center near the school, Holly Mullen, says that this action by the administration sends the message to young girls that they need to control themselves and the way they dress in order to prevent men from “reckless behavior.”

Sallie Krawcheck, a former Wall Street executive at Citi, Bank of America, and Smith Barney is now heading an index fund at an investment company, Pax World Management, according to a recent article. This is not just a regular index fund, as it will only choose to invest in companies that have a high ratio of women in senior management or on the board. This was sparked by recent studies that show companies with lots of diversity within their senior management perform better financially over time. Because this is an index fund, instead of a managed mutual fund, the initial investment is only $1000, making more accessible to companies of all sizes. The fund plans to invest in the 400 or so companies that make up the Pax Global Women’s Leadership Index. Having female CEO’s, a high ratio of women on their boards, and signing on the the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles will allow a company to come into consideration. Krawcheck says that “like everything it will be a risk, but a risk that is worthwhile.”

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Grassroots Intern Training Day

On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus attended Planned Parenthood’s Grassroots Intern Training Day. We heard from several speakers about a range of topics, including field organizing and political communications. Many different organizations were also in attendance, such as MassEquality, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, and Mass Alliance.
During a workshop led by Amaad Rivera and Andi Wheeler about field organizing, we learned the importance and empowerment of a grassroots driven campaign through the crucial tactics of phone-banking and door-to-door canvassing. We were also informed of the strategy of voter targeting, in which campaigns discern which members of a population should be targeted through paid communication such as direct mail.

Michael Falcone educated us about the difference between politics and policy and their places in a campaign. Politics was defined as the maintenance of relationships and conveying of policy messages, while policy was the construction of a candidate’s position on relevant issues.

All in all, it was an enlightening day that got us excited for this summer’s PAC work with the MWPC.