Monthly Archives: September 2013

13 posts

4 Things Every Woman Can Learn From Diana Nyad

4 Things Every Woman Can Learn From Diana Nyad

Diana Nyad’s fulfillment of what seemed like an impossible dream is an accomplishment every man and woman can relate to. Today, remind yourself of your capabilities. Remember that struggles are part of life and that it is the way we approach them that helps to shape who we become. Finally, CT NOW would like to know what your life long dreams are. Share your goals with us!

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This Labor Day, Remember Who Still Struggles

When I first read the title of the below article, I didn’t get how they related.  But now, after reading the article, I feel ridiculous for not getting it.  The article enlightens and inspires a reminder of who still struggles.  

Lessons From America’s First Labor Day and the Rise in Women Who Live Alone

By Page Gardner
September 2, 2013
(Reposted from Huffington Post)

In the first Labor Day celebration in American history, some 12,000 tradesmen paraded through the streets of New York City. The cigar makers, blacksmiths and bricklayers (all men) carried silk banners calling for an eight-hour workday, an end to child labor and abolishment of New York’s shameful tenements. After years of struggle, they were victorious.

I was reminded of the 1882 Labor Day parade when the U.S. Census Bureau last week released data on the current makeup of America’s families. Beyond the obvious fact that women today comprise about half of the U.S. work force, changes to the American family have been dramatic. My two big takeaways from the report are that more adults (especially women) are living alone than ever before and that the economic recession has had a devastating effect on America’s unmarried women.

Living Alone the New Normal
In 1970, only 17 percent of U.S. households contained “singleton” men and women getting by without spouses, children, parents or unrelated roommates. Today, more than a quarter of all households meet this definition. Women living alone today account for 15 percent of all U.S. households, compared to just 5.6 percent in 1970. (I can just imagine how small that number would have been in 1882.) Meanwhile, the portion of American households made up of married couples with children under 18 fell in half from 40 percent in 1970 to just 20 percent today. “Living alone has become more widespread as the rising number of one-person households offset the shrinking number of married households with children,” the Census Bureau reported. “The increase in living alone and the decline in married house — holds reflect a rising age at first marriage for men and women.”

This living-alone phenomenon comes as no surprise to the Voter Participation Center, the sister group to the Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund. For the past decade, we’ve been tracking the rising political and demographic importance of unmarried women (never married, separated, divorced or widowed.) For all the talk of the gender gap in American politics, the truth is that the marriage gap is even more profound. In 2012, unmarried women supported President Obama over Mitt Romney by 36 percentage points, a massive margin that helped stem other losses. Even though Obama lost the votes of married women by 7 points in 2012, he made up for it with his overwhelming support among unmarried women. The point is that, as the ranks of unmarried women and unmarried mothers increase and continue to change our definition of the “typical American family,” we need to pay attention to their issues — and respect their growing political influence.

Unmarried Mothers Devastated by the Recession
The Census Bureau also made clear that unmarried women and their children bore the brunt of the effects of the economic recession. Although nine percent of married families were living below the poverty line and receiving food stamps as of 2012, the proportion among single-mother households was four times greater. A depressing 38.8 percent of all unmarried mothers are currently living in poverty and receiving government-provided food stamps to get by, the data show, and a third of all unmarried American mothers are unemployed.

Although the recession officially ended in 2009, wages remain stagnant, income inequality is soaring and unmarried women continue to suffer. From 2007 to 2012, the number of single moms who received food stamps increased from 28 percent to 39 percent. Poverty is now rampant for the children of single-parent families. Nearly half of the 17.9 million American children who live with their mother only are now living in poverty — providing a compelling rationale to raise the minimum wage so that unmarried mothers can make ends meet for their families.

Improving the Lives of Vulnerable American Workers Today
As we celebrate Labor Day today, we should reflect on how far we’ve come as a nation since 1882. And yet how far we need to go to keep improving the lives of vulnerable American workers. That’s particularly true of our growing labor force of unmarried mothers, who are just barely managing to get by.

Page Gardner is President and Founder of the Voter Participation Center. Follow VPC on Twitter @Voter Center.

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August 25 – September 1 Weekly News Round Up

 Weekly News Round Up 

A roundup of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

The big news this week was the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, which forced the nation to reflect on how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go. Read the full transcript of Obama’s speech at the commemoration here. Some criticized the celebrations for reflecting too much on the past instead of the work still to be done, especially after several young organizers were cut from the roster of speakers.

California’s senate has passed legislation that would increase the number of abortion providers by allowing nurse practitioners, midwives, and physician assistants to perform the procedure. While conservatives argue that this puts women at a greater risk, abortion is a very low-risk procedure, and nurse practitioners are already performing abortions in Oregon, Montana, Vermont and New Hampshire.

Connecticut has approved regulations for medical marijuana that will allow for the opening of marijuana dispensaries. Much of the debate over regulations focused on fears of a potential federal government response. That argument is now moot, as the Justice Department announced Thursday that it will not interfere with state decisions to legalize marijuana.

Fast food workers in Hartford walked off the job Thursday for a one-day strike protesting low wages. Unions and the Connecticut Working Families Party supported the strike, one of many happening around the country on Thursday. The workers are asking for a $15/hour wage. It’s not news that the minimum wage, which the majority of these workers make, has fallen well behind the cost of living. Conversations about what compensation minimum wage workers “deserve” often provoke incredibly frustrating but predictable indignation from folks who argue that such “menial” labor isn’t deserving of higher wages. My rule: if you haven’t worked a minimum wage service job in the last decade, take a back seat.

In light of the fast food strikes, the director of Connecticut’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women makes a case for why economic security is a women’s issue (and I would add, a feminist issue as well).

The US is changing its process for recognizing Native American tribes, which may directly affect tribes here in Connecticut.

A giant WTF?! to Montana, where a teacher convicted of raping a 14-year old student will serve only 30 days in jail. The judge decided that the girl was equally responsible for the “situation.” Horrifying.

Connecticut representatives want Obama to get congressional approval before taking action in Syria.

This thought-provoking piece on the Miley Cyrus VMAs debacle is the most brilliant thing I’ve read this week. It’s a little less news and a little more reflection, but it’s well worth your time.

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