by Sidra Zaidi, International Consortium on Emergency Contraception (ICEC)
March 20, 2013
Women’s health advocates in theUnited Statesoften pride themselves on leading the world toward greater gender equality. The celebration over S.47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA), was no exception. Passage of VAWA required sustained and public fights to ensure it included protections for sexual minorities, immigrants, and Native women and access for individuals in need of post-exposure HIV prophylaxis treatment, which prevents possible HIV infection after unprotected sex.
Yet despite these considerable gains, the advocates failed to ensure that the bill fully protects rape survivors from the psychological and physical threat of unwanted pregnancy.
VAWA makes no explicit mention of emergency contraception (EC), also known as the morning-after pill, which is the only available method to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. The exclusion of EC from VAWA was not the result of opposition from the usual suspects. Rather, by all accounts, the women’s rights advocates who fought to reauthorize VAWA never made EC a priority.
In a conversation over email, a committee aide for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the primary author of the VAWA reauthorization, told me the following: “The law requires states to make sure defendants get tested for HIV within 48 hours or they lose a certain percentage of money from one of the grant programs. Basically, the focus has always been around HIV, and emergency contraception was not an issue raised by any of the groups that the Chairman worked so closely with to reauthorize VAWA.”
Job growth for women in lower-paying industries leading to lower overall earnings
Washington, DC—On the eve of International Women’s Day, women workers in the United States are facing a larger wage gap that has grown for women in all major race and ethnic groups, according to analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). The ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings was 80.9 percent in 2012, a decline of more than one percentage point since 2011 when the ratio was 82.2 percent.
Women’s earnings may have been hurt by budget cutbacks and the loss of public sector jobs at the local and state level. These are often medium and higher skilled jobs with smaller wage gaps than lower-paying industries, such as retail and hospitality, which saw strong job growth in 2012.
Job growth in retail and hospitality, while welcome, often involves low paid jobs,” said Dr. Heidi Hartmann, President of IWPR. “Women are more likely than men to work in minimum wage jobs and the stall in minimum wage increases disproportionately affects their earnings.”
This came from Ms Magazine Blog on February 25, 2013. It was written by: Aviva Dove-Viebahn
You may not know it yet, but there’s a new hero in town—specifically, inGloriaCity, the Gotham-esque setting of the innovative online comic book My So-Called Secret Identity which just published its first issue last week. Rife with violence and bursting to the seams with a cadre of grandstanding superheroes,GloriaCityis also home to Ph.D. student Cat Daniels, a cop’s daughter and ostensibly ordinary woman with a strong will and an abiding love of the city’s streets and secrets. She has a superpower, too, but not one that comes with a black latex bodysuit, décolletage cutout or star-spangled underwear: Cat is simply exceedingly smart.
My So-Called Secret Identity features a superhero we all can rally around, an antidote to the brawny chauvinists and busty sex symbols of mainstream comics. Created and written by Will Brooker, a Batman scholar and self-processed comic book aficionado who got sick and tired of all the comics “featuring women as pin-ups,” My So-Called Secret Identity boasts an otherwise almost all-female creative team, including graphic artistsSuzeShoreand Sarah Zaidan.
Usually, an intelligent woman in any narrative is the sidekick, the overlooked Brain who delivers important plot points and never gets the guy she wants. She’s very rarely the central figure. Think about Sherlock Holmes and how many variations of that character we’ve seen over the years–Batman, House, every CSI lead character. Now think about how many female equivalents there are.
The comic runs on a donation-only basis, with all funds collected over its base operating costs donated to a women’s charity (for Issue 2, My So-Called Secret Identity is supporting A Way Out, which provides resources for at-risk women and young adults).