Daily Archives: April 4, 2017

3 posts

Schools Must Protect Girls of Color, in DC and across the US

A statement from national NOW President Terry O’Neill:

The recent revelations about missing Black and Latina girls in Washington, D.C. raises some questions that go beyond the facts as reported in the media. A spokesperson for Washington D.C.’s mayor said, “oftentimes these girls are repeat runaways…So if we really want to help solve this problem and bring down the numbers we have to break the cycle of young people, especially young girls, who repeatedly run away from home.”

This begs the question: what role are schools playing in this phenomenon?

In too many schools, zero-tolerance policies prioritize discipline over educational attainment, with disproportionate impacts on students of color. Black girls are six times more likely to be suspended than white girls, and three times more likely than Black boys, for the same behavior. Students suspended or expelled are in turn three times more likely to be drawn into the juvenile justice system the following year.

What’s more, girls are sexually abused at a rate over 4 times higher than boys, and their behavioral reaction to trauma is often criminalized. Traumatic experiences are in fact often the cause for girls’ involvement in the criminal justice system including sexual violence (31 percent), physical abuse (41 percent), and family violence (84 percent).

Federal law, in the form of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, requires all federally-funded schools to provide girls an equal educational opportunity. That surely includes providing trauma-informed services–instead of punishment and pushout–to help survivors recover from their trauma, stay in school, and thrive.

We commend Congressional Black Caucus chair Cedric Richmond and DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton for calling on the Justice Department to support the District’s investigations into the missing girls, and we appreciate Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposal for new initiatives to find missing children and support organizations that assist at-risk teens.

Along with these measures, NOW calls on schools to comply with Title IX and ensure an equal educational opportunity, including appropriate screenings and services, for students who are survivors of trauma.

Instead of dismissing the District’s missing Black and Latina girls as “runaways,” we need to ask whether their schools failed to give them the attention, compassion, and resources they may have needed. Their lives matter.

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NOW Calls for Bill O’Reilly to be Fired and Demands an Independent Investigation Into the Culture of Sexual Harassment at Fox News

A statement from national NOW President Terry O’Neill:

The culture of sexual harassment at Fox News must stop. The National Organization for Women (NOW) calls for Bill O’Reilly to be fired and demands an immediate independent investigation into the culture of sexual harassment at Fox News.

An investigation by The New York Times revealed that five women who accused Mr. O’Reilly of sexual harassment received payouts–totaling about $13 million–in exchange for their silence. Three of these stories had been previously unreported.

The report indicates that Mr. O’Reilly abused his position of power and engaged in a pattern of predatory, misogynistic behavior–enticing women with promises of career advancement, and threatening retribution when they rebuffed his sexual advances. The reported use of his powerful position to repeatedly manipulate women reveals a cruel misogyny that runs to the core of his character.

On the heels of Roger Ailes’ shameful removal from Fox News, following similar sexual harassment claims, Mr. O’Reilly’s case is part of a larger culture that condones the harassment and objectification of women at Fox News. Men like Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Ailes will never be stopped as long as their behavior is allowed to continue, even supported, by their employer.

For too long women have endured dangerous sexism at the hands of powerful men and , powerful institutions. Fox News is too big and too influential to simply let this go. Women have the right to go to work without facing harassment. Fox News apparently doesn’t get that basic concept.

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On Equal Pay Day, NOW Reaffirms Commitment to Closing Gender-Race Wage Gap

A statement from national NOW President Terry O’Neill:

April 4, 2017 marks the day when women ”catch up” to the wages earned by white men in 2016. Women still earn, on average, just 80 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. From this number, it is obvious that an embarrassing pay inequity exists between women and men in the United States. What’s not obvious is the way this inequity is magnified for women of color.

When the numbers are broken down by race, the wage gap expands for many women of color. White women and Asian women are paid just 75% and 85% of what white men do, respectively. But African-American women receive just 63% of what white men do; and Latinas face even bigger disadvantages, at 54%.

Over a lifetime, the consequences of this gender-race wage gap are severe. Lower lifetime earnings prevents women from saving for retirement, and reduces the Social Security benefits they receive. The larger the gap, the larger the price a woman pays at the end of her working years.

This Equal Pay Day is a reminder that we need to get real about policies that will close the gender-race wage gap. Women make up two thirds of low-wage workers–like home health aides, child care workers, and restaurant servers–so it is imperative that we make the minimum wage a living wage. Adequate family leave policies and expanded access to affordable child care are critical pieces of the puzzle as well.

But we need to fight for these policies beyond April 4. NOW will observe all of the remaining 2017 Equal Pay Days listed below, remembering the unique disadvantages women of color face. And we will continue fighting every day for common-sense policies to protect women workers.

African-American Women: July 31, 2017
Native American Women: September 25, 2017
Latinas: November 2, 2017

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