Friday, December 31, 2010


Let us work so that in 2011 women have true equality.

-all women need access to total reproductive health care including female service members and family members, they should have access to all reproductive health care options on base;

-women's work should not be under- or de-valued...women's pay should be equal to men's pay for comparable jobs;

-we need men to step up to the plate at home--housework, child- and elder-care; if women were not doing 2nd and 3rd shifts of work, they might have more time to get involved politically because

- we need more women need to be in the pipeline for political candidacies;

-we need affordable, reliable and available more than just 9-6 child- and elder-care;

- we need affordable public transportation and housing; ALL issues are Women's issues!

Happy New Year! We have a lot of work ahead of us in 2011. . .

Monday, December 27, 2010

2011: Plan for Growing Women Leaders

Part 1. Listen to Sheryl Sandberg's* talk at TED conference

*COO of Facebook

Friday, December 24, 2010

FDR and ER, a modern marriage

UCDW's book group is reading Hazel Rowley's Franklin & Eleanor: an Extraordinary Marriage for our January read.
A reader's guide is available at

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The F word

As we read CLICK! for our book group we should also think about how feminism is turned into an epitath and used to keep women in their place. We need to gather our power, and use it for good.

Gloria Steinem on eroticizing (!) equality:

Happy T-day

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Post-Election Thoughts

Congrats to the winners...but listen to the drumbeat, and learn.

Major lesson number one: We need more people being groomed for candidacy and office. If we do not have people sitting on the bench, we might experience what the republicans have--by running non-candidates (can you say: Lazio), it opens the door for others to jump in, such as the Tea Party candidates. [O'Donnell was correct in her assessment that if the GOP had backed her candidacy right away, things might have been a bit different--but she lost (as did most of the Republicans in Delaware by 20%)

On another note:
My prediction for the House, even though it has a republican majority, not all of the tea partiers are real republicans, and thus, the so-called R majority will split, or tend to be a lot more conservative...and produce gridlock, since the Senate is still democratic... This, btw, is what the founders had in mind when they talked about a limited government--they did not foresee the two houses agreeing on much legislation...thus, limiting government.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

a new anthem

A strong 9 year old (!) on identity:

Willow Smith "whip my Hair"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gloria Steinem on Feminism today

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I am reading Michael Kimmel's Guyland as news comes across that an 18 year old Rutgers student committed suicide by jumping of the George Washington Bridge the other day because of action that his roommate and another classmate took--using a webcam came to stream live over the internet the dead boy's private sexual encounter. An eighth grader in Houston took his life also this week because of anti-gay bullying. A 13 year old California boy who has been in a coma for the past 9 nine days since hanging himself to escape from the hell that is anti-gay bullying died this week, too.
Three deaths attributable to anti-gay bullying in half a week. "Homophobia is ubiquitous. . .And sometimes gay baiting takes an ugly turn and becomes gay-bashing" states Kimmel on page 9. Guyland is about masculinity, about how boys become men... and anything or anyone that challenges their concept of masculinity is fair game.

Our book group is reading this book to get some insight into how to grow feminist men. So far, I am getting insight into the misogyny that guys in guyland exude--they like girls, but seem to hate women. And, why young women buy into the the guyland world--females' social status is still determined by their relationship to men (p.245) (Simone de Beauvoir was so on the mark in her Second Sex as were-The Radicalesbians who penned the 1970 "Woman Identified Women" and defined heterosexism.

Our book group will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday Oct 14th to discuss the book, and we will go hear Dr. Kimmel deliver the keynote address at Marist the evening of October 22.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shortchanging Women

The gender discount is alive and well and works for you if you are an employer. But if you are a woman as an individual this discount surpresses not only your current earning & spending power, but your future earnings (as in you will always be behind if your increases are based on your wages today) and the impact is relly felt when wome collect social security.
Since in this repression, many women are the sole source of income for their families. . .

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Celebrate August 26th

Happy Women's Equality Day--today is the 90th anniversary of when women won the right to vote in the USA.
Celebrate by asking all the women you know if they are registered to vote!

For an archival history of Women's Equality Day (A little known holiday) see:

For an history of Women's Right to Vote (here and around the world) see:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mind the Gap!

Here is a break down State by State of the gendered pay gap:

Look at the charts in this report:

Next book up

The rbook group met last night and we discussed Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex> We had a very lively 2 hour discussion, and I am sure it could have gone on all night.
While if we were going chronologicaly to discuss women, we would move from where de Beauvoir left off in 1947 and precede to read Betty Freiden's The Feminine Mystique, we have instead decided to skip over the 1950s and proceed to Gail Collins' book about women from 1960 to now When Everything Changed.

We have not scheduled the next meeting of the women who read, but I will post some "study" questions here in the near future...

So, read on...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Right-wing Women

Here is an interesting article on why (and how) women are getting leadership roles in the Tea Party:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sexism and *The Second Sex*

We are meeting on Bastille Day, July 14th to discuss the new translation of Simone de Beauvoir's ground shaking The Second Sex at 7pm at Inquiring Minds in Saugerties.

If we are to read this book as one of the GREAT BOOKS, as in actually reading this book as a primary source, and understanding it from our own perpsective, here are some questions to ponder:
If this is your first time reading this, how do yu find the book? Does it resonate with you? Is it dated, if so, how so?
If you read this book in its first translation--do you remember how that made you feel? How does the book strike you now?

If we are to read this book in context of modern life, academics, philosophy and feminism we might find that there have been 2 major reviews that have been negative. I might ask why...and I might answer my own question with--sexism is alive and well.

There have been a few negative reviews--The London Review of Books, for instance.
Read the letters back and forth,and you will see that the contention is that this volume is not the scholarly annotated one, but just a translation of one of the foundational books of 20th century feminism.
The second negative review was in the NYT
and a critique of Simone herself

It is my hope that the reviews will not discourage women from reading this translation...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Birth Control Prevents Pregnancy

Birth control prevents pregnancy, and some forms also prevent stds and HIV/Aids transmission. Thus, birth control in all forms is a form of preventative medicine/devices and is eligible to be covered by Health Care reform's preventative services policy that means no costs to the individual.
Unfortunately there is a battle going on over this, and Health Resources and Services Administration, HHS charged with determining the list of preventive services. There is some discussion that Sec. Sebelius will ask the national Institute of Medicine to "study" this question. SAY WHAT????

Write or call
Sec. Sebelius
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Toll Free: 1-877-696-6775

or on line:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Equal Pay Day

Yesterday was the 47th anniversary of the signing of the Equal Pay Act--the White House issued a press release (see below). In 1963 women on average earned 59 cents to the male dollar. Today, depending on where they live white women earn on average 77 cents to the male dollar, women of color 67 cents if they are black, to 58 cents for Latinas. Today women make up over 50% of the workforce.

While the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act was signed into being, it is still common practice to pay males more as the breadwinner, head of household even though in most families there are 2 incomes, or the women is the head of household. Even in the federal government, according to Carolyn Maloney, women earn 7% less than men.

I say, Mr. President, if you want to be the change do not just issue a press release, issue an executive order and model equal pay for equal work. You are the CEO of the federal system issue, you can do it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Second Sex

is reviewed in Sunday's NYT Book Review:

Legal rape

More and more states (22 according to the article cited below) are requiring ultrasounds before abortions may be performed. Oklahoma has the most draconian one--requiring a vaginal ultrasound (rather than one just using the wand on the belly)--I would call this mandatory procedure legal rape. [This law was passed over the governor's veto, and is currently being stayed by a court.]

Abortions are legal. Men and others (since there are women legislators) should NOT make laws on other people's --women's--bodies. That is the concept of bodily autonomy, which is the key to the liberal democratic concept of the (rational) individual.

The concept key to most anti-abortion laws and one that is included in Roe v Wade, is that when women are pregnant they are not wholly rational because of hormonal changes during pregnancy. Thus, in the case of requiring ultrasounds, they can be made to see what they are about to do.

We need to take control of our bodies, for good!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pediatricians come to their senses

Last month the American Association of Pediatrics endorses nicking young girls' clitorises (as opposed to fully cutting and/ or infilibrating the young girls) to protect them from full Female Genital Mutilation under non-sterile conditions.
Now, they are rethinking this--since any cutting is mutilation. And, just because we might believe in multiculturalism, not all cultural practices are the same nor deserve respect (including those in our own culture...)

Lies of Omission

Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Maryland are required by local ordinances to post if they have medical personnel on premises and if they do not offer abortion services. They are suing to be able to mislead women who seek their help.
Is deception via omission covered by the first amendment?
What is the role of the government to ensure that women get all the reproductive health services that are available?

See the article in the Washington Times (the conservative paper) May 24, 2010:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Women & Healthcare

1. States are re-defining health care so that (elective) abortion is not part of it. Arizona and Tennessee have such a law--which limits the insurance sold on the state's Exchange. There are similar bills awaiting signing in Florida, Mississippi and Missouri. see

2. The Catholic Church has excommunicated a nun who sat on an ethics committee which decided to save a mother's life over that of her 11 week fetus by aborting that fetus. (Note to Church: If the mother had died, so would that fetus. Allowing that woman to live, means she can have other babies in the future).

Need I say more? Our reproductive health and life is under seige!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

May 9th

Happy Mother's Day, and Happy 50th Anniversary to the birth control pill--which helped make motherhood a choice.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Finally, after 60 years we English speakers/readers have the complete unabridged version of Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex.
de Beauvoir set out to anaylze the concept of woman--coming to the conclusion that women are "othered" by society. This study in the making and maintaining of women's inequality was eye opening when it was abridged, the unabridged version (What is a 2 volume paperback version in French is a 700 + page book in English) should only solidify more her argument.

Unfortunately, sixty years after she wrote this foundational book, women are still othered. Our rights are traded away as if they were baseball cards when legislation is written. Women are still earning roughly a quarter of what men earn--and those earnings matter from quality of life to political support to retirement.

Hopefully the republication of this book will spur on this generation of young women as it did their mothers and grandmothers before them.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Granny D

Yesterday Granny D Haddock died at age 100. At age 90 she walked across America to educate us about Campaign Finance Reform.

She is inspirational--she gave a wonderful, funny (she said she had become the epitome of the little old lady in tennis shoes) insightful talk at Marist a few years ago. She said that her involvement in politics (she also ran unsuccessfully for Senate) was what any citizen could and should do--if they believed in our democracy.

Here is the website for a video about her:

Here is the NH paper article on her death:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A women's history event

Wednesday March 3rd 7 p.m. in the Henry Hudson Room Fontaine Hall Marist College

Changing Society: [Black]Women, Race and the Law

Professor Gloria Browne-Marshall will speak about Black women catalysts for change who challenged the criminal justice system from the Colonial period to the Civil Rights era.

Professor Browne-Marshall is the author of Race, Law, and American Society: 1607-Present
(Routledge, 2007). She teaches at CUNY-John Jay in the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration forcusing on Constitutional Law and Racial Justice/Civil Rights Law, International Human Rights Law (African and Minority Rights), Child Advocacy (in the area of Statutory Rape, Education, HIV/AIDS)

This talk is sponsored by Women's Studies, History, Political Science and the African Diaspora programs as part of Women's History and Black History months.

Light snack will be served.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

There's a lot of DV going around

Domestic violence (aka wife or woman battery) the mayor of White Plains, Adam Bradley, has been arrested charged with slamming his wife's fingers in the door, on purpose. [When Bradley served as Assemblyman in Albany he was sponsing the no fault divorce bill. No Comment necessary.] Domestic violence can happen in any home, in any relationship.

During times of stress and economic hardship, domestic abuse increases. We need to find an acceptable outlet for frustrations, and beating their women is NOT acceptable.
We need to teach our young men (and women) to relieve their frustrations by shooting hoops, or going out for a run. Our young (and old) need to learn to settle differences not with fists and weapons, but with (measured) words.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Governor Paterson: One Term Only?

As of 14 minutes ago (its 10:55a.m.) various news media have been announcing that Governor Paterson is withdrawing his name from the gubernatorial race....

Gov. Paterson, The State Police & Domestic Violence

Governor Paterson has been an outspoken advocate of women, especially when it comes to domestic violence. Unfortunately, in the past few days there are allegations that he may have had to contact with the girlfriend of one of his aides who may be a victim of domestic abuse, and following that alleged contact, she did not show up at the hearing on the case. Regardless of his intent, the appearance of such contact is very questionable. The Governor has to be like Caesar's wife: above reproach, without even the appearance of an impropriety.
Patterson has asked AG Cuomo to investigate.
The fact that Denise O'Donnell, Patterson's cabinet official who oversaw the State Police resigned yesterday over the handling of this case also casts a dark shadow over Patterson O'Donnell resigned because she said the Superintendent of the State Police misled her to believe that the state police were not involved in the case.

From where I sit the underlying issue is one of the old boys' network potentially protecting one of their own.. .trying to intimidate a victim of domestic abuse to drop the charges.

It is an issue of trust and open communication for O'Donnell, thus, I understand her resignation. How can you oversee an agency without transparency? The State Police's office of Internal Affairs needs to be investigating the allegations that the State Police had been involved in the case with officers were intimidating a victim.

The issue for the Governor is a one of trust and appearances--as a lawyer, he should understand the appearance of intimidating a victim of domestic abuse; as the governor he needs to be aware that actions speak louder than words--he can talk all he wants about against domestic abuse but the appearance of him defending his aide against allegations of abuse lead to distrust.

Victim intimidation is a very real part of the domestic abuse (battering) cycle. It is nigh on to witness tampering, and disrupts our justice system, but more importantly, it allows batterers to not have to accept the consequences of their actions.

Voting Monolopy?

yes, if the Justice Department allows Election Systems and Software (ESS)to acquire Diebold's election division. If this acquisition goes through 70% of all of American electronic voting machines will be made/ controlled/ serviced by one company.
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 [(HAVA) for more information go to ] which was supposed to help alleviate hanging chads and mismarked votes by upgrading voting machines.
Not only are electronic voting machine's technology (and programming) considered propreitary information, thus, the public (government) will not have access to the code to check reliability or verify votes and the machines are a computer hacker's dream. Here is a collection of NYT editorials on the problems with electronic voting from 2004-6:

There is also a fear that with ESS holding 0-% of the market it will be harder for election jurisdictions to negotiate a fair and equal price. Thus, today's NYT's editorial is about the Justice Department using its antitrust powers to ensure that public interest is served.

Here is the web page with contacts for AG Holder at the Justice Department:
email: AskDOJ at

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Zero Tolerance

The NYS Senate did the right thing last night: they sent the message that battering women is very NOT okay. At 9:30 last night they voted (53-8) to expel Senator Hiriam Monserrate (D-Queens) from the Senate because he battered his girlfriend.
This is the first time that a Senator was expelled for slashing his girl friend
s face last year; it underscores NYS's position of zero tolerance for domestic violence.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Corporate Citizens???

Corporate Citizens?, More like a Corporate State
On Thursday the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Citizens United V FEC that in short states that corporations are people/citizens and thus, can not be censored; they have first amendment rights to free speech. Corporations (which include labor unions and not for profit corporations) can fund political speech/ads/films/events without any limit or censorship, save the FEC limits to directly giving to candidates.
I am making my way through the 183 page decision.. .[ for those of you who want to read it]

As I said this Fall at the Constitution Day event, if corporations are given the same rights as citizens, they also need to be given the same responsibilities. For instance, they need to be making decisions not just with their own self interest in mind (read: profit) but with the public good in mind. Perhaps using this mindset, we might not have had people mortgaged over their means with interest only mortgages because the mortgage brokers would have thought about the consequences and impact on the community five years out when the balloon payment hit, and could not be paid. Likewise the development and sale of derivatives might have been curtailed.
But, for a court which the majority are suppose to be strict constructionalists and not judicial activists, this decision is more than activist it remakes our Republic into a Corporate State.

Here is Chris Hedges view on this situation:

The above is from: Blogging-for-America with some minor changes

Friday, January 22, 2010

Anniversary of Roe V Wade

Today is the anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision, Roe V Wade in 1973. It is a very interesting opinion--it helps to articulate the concept of right to privacy that everyone uses, those who value this opinion and those who are working to reverse this opinion. Section VIII reads as follows (italics and bold, are mine):

The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however, going back perhaps as far as Union Pacific R. Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891), the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution. In varying contexts, the Court or individual Justices have, indeed, found at least the roots of that right in the First Amendment, Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 564 (1969); in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1968), Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 350 (1967), Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616 (1886), see Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 478 (1928) (Brandeis, J., dissenting); in the penumbras of the Bill of Rights, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. at 484-485; in the Ninth Amendment, id. at 486 (Goldberg, J., concurring); or in the concept of liberty guaranteed by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, see Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399 (1923). These decisions make it clear that only personal rights that can be deemed "fundamental" or "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty," Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 325 (1937), are included in this guarantee of personal privacy. They also make it clear that the right has some extension to activities relating to marriage, Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 12 (1967); procreation, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541-542 (1942); contraception, Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. at 453-454; id. at 460, 463-465 [p153] (WHITE, J., concurring in result); family relationships, Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 166 (1944); and childrearing and education, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 535 (1925), Meyer v. Nebraska, supra.

This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.

While it gives women bodily autonomy in the right to decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term, the right is a finite one. She may only make the decision on her own during the first trimester, during the second and third trimesters she needs to seek medical opinions,which can trump hers. Further along in the section, Justice Blackmun writes:
On the basis of elements such as these, appellant and some amici argue that the woman's right is absolute and that she is entitled to terminate her pregnancy at whatever time, in whatever way, and for whatever reason she alone chooses. With this we do not agree. Appellant's arguments that Texas either has no valid interest at all in regulating the abortion decision, or no interest strong enough to support any limitation upon the woman's sole determination, are unpersuasive. The [p154] Court's decisions recognizing a right of privacy also acknowledge that some state regulation in areas protected by that right is appropriate. As noted above, a State may properly assert important interests in safeguarding health, in maintaining medical standards, and in protecting potential life. At some point in pregnancy, these respective interests become sufficiently compelling to sustain regulation of the factors that govern the abortion decision. The privacy right involved, therefore, cannot be said to be absolute. In fact, it is not clear to us that the claim asserted by some amici that one has an unlimited right to do with one's body as one pleases bears a close relationship to the right of privacy previously articulated in the Court's decisions. The Court has refused to recognize an unlimited right of this kind in the past. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905) (vaccination); Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927) ( sterilization).

We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified, and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.

For those of you who have never read the decision you may find it, and the dissent here:

IMHO, We have a LOT of work to do to have women recognized as full individuals capable of making decisions throughout their lives, on their own, with full bodily autonomy. Without this ability, we are not seen as individuals.

Friday, January 15, 2010

NYS Select Committee Directs NYS Senate to Expel or Censure Monserrate. We need to call our State Senators for their vote in this matter--IMHO, he should be expelled. Domestic Abuse should not be swept under the rug--Domnestic Abuse is a very serious crime.
Urge your Senator, as I did mine, Senator Larkin to vote for Monserrate's expulsion. The NYS Senate needs to send the message that domistic violence is not acceptableto the women and men of NYS.

To find your senator and e-mail him:
To See Senate committee's full report:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To help Haiti

Besides the regular Red Cross, Unicef, etc. groupos which aid in emergencies here are two women's groups that you may donate to to help Haitians:
•Madre – works with community based Haitian women’s organizations, will be helping women in crisis, needs: water tablets, antibiotics, medical supplies, also distributing food & clean water asking for: donate $$ or supplies, call for more info 212-627 0444

•Quixote Center – long term grassroots organization working in US & Haiti, works w/ women’s groups & is sending earthquake aid