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National NOW Times >> Winter 2007

In This Issue

Women Make the Difference in Elections
Women's rights activists breathed a collective sigh of relief when the final election results were tabulated. Nancy Pelosi became the first woman to serve as the Speaker of the House, Harry Reid became the Senate Majority Leader, and the power to confirm right-wing extremist judges was wrested from the control of anti-women Republican leaders.

Supreme Court Hears Cases That Could Ban Abortion Procedures
In the first year of his second term, George W. Bush nominated a new chief justice and a new associate justice to the United States Supreme Court. A Republican-led Senate confirmed both Bush nominees despite a huge outcry from NOW and other groups concerned with the threat posed to women's rights and civil liberties by the record and ideology of both men

Activists Work on Progressive Candidate Elections and Ballot Initiatives
Activists worked day and night on hundreds of campaigns this fall to elect feminist candidates. Our collective efforts helped to achieve a milestone, electing the first woman to serve as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif).

Conservatives Push to End Affirmative Action
Foes of equal opportunity chalked up several recent successes in their multilayered attacks on affirmative action and equal opportunity programs. In November, fifty-eight percent of Michigan voters passed a referendum amending the state constitution to "ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national original for public employment, education or contracting purposes."

Voters Support Reproductive Rights and Minimum Wage
While much of the focus of the midterm elections had been on the shift of power in Congress, voters also considered many crucial ballot measures. Women's rights activists won on two key issues: abortion rights and minimum wage increases.

NOW Opposes Anti-Marriage Ballot Measures
Ballot measures amending state constitutions to recognize marriage only between a man and a woman were approved in seven of the eight states where the bans were presented to voters. With the new bans, we now have 28 states where voters have approved adding marriage discrimination to their state constitutions since 1998.

Viewpoint: Not Just Semantics
As I'm writing this column, NOW is preparing to honor the 34th anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. So what happens if Roe v. Wade is reversed? Most people believe that the question of abortion will revert to individual state legislatures. Will that be devastating for countless women? Most assuredly. Is that as bad as it gets? Definitely not.

Regulations Undermine Title IX Equal Education and Sports Access
The Michigan anti-affirmative action ballot measure battle followed on the heels of another protracted fight in the spring by Michigan NOW activists to stop legislation to permit single sex public schools. Proponents had conducted extensive local organizing in Detroit, where they managed to convince parents with children in under-funded inner-city schools, and even school district officials, that single sex education would be a cheap and easy fix for their problems. Even Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) was supportive, and the measure passed.

School Shooters Target Girls, Point to Larger Problem of Violence Against Women
Mass school shootings understandably cause alarm in the community and the nation as people try to understand how anyone could commit such terrible acts. These appalling crimes are sad and disturbing all on their own, but they also shed light on larger issues.

Los tiroteos en las escuelas dirigidos a niñas apuntan a un problema más profundo de violencia contra las mujeres
Es comprensible que los tiroteos masivos en las escuelas ocasionen alarma en la comunidad y la nación, que no logra entender como alguien puede cometer actos tan monstruosos. Estos crímenes espeluznantes de por sí son tristes y perturbadores, pero también arrojan luz sobre problemas más
profundos.

NOW Leaders Run and Win in November Elections
In November NOW activists worked tirelessly to create social, cultural and political change in the U.S. by electing candidates who support women's rights. Some members donated to feminist candidates, and others helped by making phone calls, passing out campaign literature, walking precincts and holding up signs, all to convince others to vote for equality.

NOW Rallies to Save Affirmative Action
On Monday, December 4, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of voluntary local efforts to promote diverse student bodies and prevent segregation in public elementary and secondary schools in Louisville, Kentucky, and Seattle, Washington. The cases challenged the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case that ended legal segregation in public schools.

Start a WAGE Club!
WAGE Clubs offer NOW activists another tool to fight for women's full equality. As more activists join the movement to close the wage gap, NOW looks forward to seeing significant changes in how women are paid for their valuable work.

HPV Vaccine Added to CDC's Official Vaccination Schedule
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has formally included the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in its recommended vaccination schedule starting this year, recommending that all girls receive the vaccine at age 11 or 12.

110th Congress
New faces, new leadership, and renewed hope for equality, fairness, peace and prosperity are on the horizon, and NOW has our "to do" list ready.

Congressional Allies: Women and People of Color Chair Key Committees

Not a Pretty Picture: Key Votes for 109th Congress
The 109th's two sessions were dominated by numerous efforts by the Republican leadership to extend previous tax cuts and enact new ones, along with use of the budget resolution and reconciliation processes to pursue their long term goal of drastically cutting social spending. Nearly all of the provisions would benefit uppermost income earners, investors and businesses, while offering relatively little to middle-class and low-income earners.

Wal-Mart Enacts Unfair Wage and Work Policy
Consistent with their pattern of discriminatory and anti-family actions, Wal-Mart, the largest employer in the United States, announced more policies that will hurt employees. The new policies cap wages in certain positions, allow the hiring of more part-time workers in lieu of full-time workers, and revise scheduling practices in a manner that could force some employees to be on-call 24 hours a day.

Get Ready for the 2007 Annual Conference
There is much to celebrate at the 2007 National NOW conference: the 2006 midterm election victories, Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, and last but not least, the 30th Anniversary of the NOW PAC, the political arm of NOW, which endorses, supports and promotes electing feminists to federal office.

Insurance Companies Label Eating Disorders "Behavioral Illnesses," Refuse to Cover Mental Health Costs
According to the National Institute of Mental Health and The New England Journal of Medicine, an estimated five to 10 million people suffer from eating disorders in the U.S. – 90 percent are young women. Surprisingly, most states do not require insurance companies to cover the cost of mental health services for patients with eating disorders.

FDA Bows to Industry: OKs Risky Kind of Breast Implant
In a clearly industry-influenced decision, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued final approval on November 17 to two implant makers, Allergan Inc. (formerly Inamed) and Mentor Corporation, to market their risky silicone gel-filled breast implants to women aged 22 and older.

Congress Faces the "Truth"
The Senate passed a bill last week directing that a statue of Sojourner Truth be displayed in the U.S. Capitol building, the first African-American woman to be so honored. The House had already passed the same bill (HR 4510) so this legislation now goes to the president for signature.

Young Feminists Mobilize College Campuses
NOW CANs and UChapters held several actions throughout the election season that raised consciousness about feminism's vibrant, policy-influencing, change-making movement. In NOW Campus Action Networks (CANs) and in NOW chapters on university or college campuses (UChapters), young feminists contribute free time between classes, studying, internships and everyday life to effect change by advocating for equality.

Camp Democracy Set Stage for November Elections
NOW, in coalition with a number of peace organizations and anti-war groups, hosted Camp Democracy in Washington, D.C., during the month of September. Over the course of several weeks, activists called on Congress and the Bush administration to end the violence in Iraq, to halt spending on weapons and bombs, and to rebuild Iraq using Iraqi labor and Iraqi companies.

 

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