Down on Main Street: U.S. Women Poorer And Getting Ready For More With Sequestration

If you're like me, you remember at least one time during childhood when you squabbled with some other kid. An adult stepped in and said, "Work it Out." As we head closer to the March 1 sequestration, that ominous term now part of American lexicon, DC squabbling and fingerpointing continues. I'm longing for Main Street to rise up and tell those governing us to work it out -- right now. Instead of using energy to find solutions, those governing us seem more focused on who's fault it is that we're in this situation. My vow of tolerance is failing, though I'm listening to all 'sides' and wondering, where is the adult to step in? We're innudated with information about how these automatic cuts will impact us in a myriad of ways. Likley thousands of teachers will lose their jobs. Our food supply will become less safe as food inspections are reduced. Children will go without vaccinations. Struggling parents won't be able to afford child care. Millions of seniors will go without meals. (For more, see the White House sequester cuts estimates of impact for your state at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/sequestration-state-impact/?tid=ts_carousel.) When sequester … [Read more...]

Senators on Paycheck Fairness Act Serve Up Intolerance Taming Practice Opportunity

Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. --George Bernard Shaw Last year I heard something that set me back on my heels, catalyzing the interviews (and forth-coming book) about real women in America:  Main Street Women. At a youth leadership forum, the decades-old pay inequity statistic was presented to a group of 150 high school juniors:  females in America make about 77 cents for every dollar males earn in the U.S. Red-faced, one girl turned to me and said, "Then why am I even trying?" Paycheck Fairness Act Week three of the 8 week tolerance challenge gave me a chance to try out the intolerance-taming practices in the context of the Paycheck Fairness Act. What better way to test out the 4 practices than on something that tends to bring out my ire and sometimes, vocal paralysis as I find it incomprehensible that anyone could disagree with the concept of equal pay for equal work. Below are two Missouri Senators email responses (verbatim/cut-paste) received after I wrote them to express that I wanted the Paycheck Fairness Act brought to a vote. And, that I wanted them to vote yay as my representatives. The four intolerance taming … [Read more...]

A Civilian Feminist’s Confessions on ‘Combat Equality’

My Feminist Frame is Civilian Last week I was standing at a San Francisco city bus stop plastered with Army recruitment flyers when I heard the news that the Pentagon had lifted the so-called ban on women in combat. (U.S. Air Force women have been in combat for 20 years.) While some have heralded this as opening the door for women to break through the brass ceiling, as an ardent pro-equality woman, I’m strangely conflicted. Frankly, my notions of gender equity are grounded in the civilian world. Since girlhood I have envisioned my country as one that would give me the unequivocal right to make decisions about my own body, would guarantee me equal pay for equal qualifications and work, and would ensure that I have pathways to lead in the same ways that men have. And, I just knew that we’d have a female head of state by the time I ‘grew up.’ Okay, none of these things have happened yet…the gender equality battlefield is ongoing with military-like advancements and retreats, and no drones to turn to take out equality enemies. The "equality" achieved through the women in combat announcement caught me off guard. I realized, I’ve always thought more about the civilian glass … [Read more...]

Mainstreet Women: More What We’re Proud of & Wish Every Girl Could Experience Too

A WISH:  EVERY CHILD EMOTIONALLY SECURE It was hard times growing up in the ‘dirty 30s’ in America but I always had family around, I was never hungry. I had all my emotional needs met. We were secure. Not financially, but emotionally secure. Yes, every girl, every child – that is what I wish for them – to have the security that I had. *Elaine, NE #2 THEME:  EDUCATION, PROFESSION & PASSION According to the World Economic Forum’s 2012 Global Gender Gap report, U.S. Women are No. 1 in the world for educational attainment. Not surprisingly, Mainstreet Women are proud of their hard-earned education that enables them to pursue passions and professions. (The U.S. currently ranks 22nd overall. We're No. 55 in political empowerment, No. 33 in health and survival rates, and No. 8 in economic participation and opportunity.) For girls, I want them to know that education has made all the difference for me. Not my titles, I don’t use them though others do, but the fact that I did it. I have confidence that I can learn what I need to learn to succeed. Kathy, ID My education is what I’m most proud of. Despite not having a family who could do it for me, I had the … [Read more...]

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