"If you are poor, why do you spend money on useless status symbols like handbags and belts and clothes and shoes and televisions and cars? One thing I’ve learned is that one person’s illogical belief is another person’s survival skill."
Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives. "In 2011 the Texas state legislature slashed family planning funds, passed a new sonogram law, and waged an all-out war on Planned Parenthood that has dramatically shifted the state’s public health priorities. In the eighteen months since then, the conflict has continued to simmer in the courts, on the campaign trail, and in at least one PR disaster. Meanwhile, what will happen to Texas women—and their fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands—remains very much unclear."
Rape in the Fields is a Frontline documentary that explores the persistent allegations that female agricultural workers in the U.S. are frequently sexually assaulted and harassed by supervisors who exploit their (often undocumented) immigrant status. Victims typically do not seek help from US law enforcement, either out of fear that they will be fired, deported or worse, or from a lack of understanding of U.S. law. Reviews: Popmatters. NY Times [more inside]
"Women get flustered under fire. They're too fragile, too emotional. They lack the ferocity required to take a life. They can't handle pain. They're a distraction, a threat to cohesion, a provocative tease to close-quartered men. These are the sort of myths you hear from people who oppose the U.S. military's evolving new rules about women in combat. But for women who have already been in combat, who have earned medals fighting alongside men, the war stories they tell don't sound a thing like myths" [more inside]
The Geography of Abortion Access - Forty years ago Tuesday, the Supreme Court ushered in legal abortion for American women when it decided in Roe v. Wade. Today, states—particularly in the South and Midwest—are eroding that right by legislating hundreds of provisions intended to impede access with burdensome obstacles. To understand more fully the complex state of access to abortion services in America, The Daily Beast identified and confirmed the location of the country’s remaining 724 clinics and calculated the distance from every part of the country to its closest clinic. (more)
In February, PBS and AOL launched Makers, a video archive containing personal stories and anecdotes told in the first person by women, many of whom have sparked groundbreaking changes in American culture. [more inside]
The GOP’s woman problem is that it has a serious problem with women. Frank Rich on George Stephanopoulos's unanswered question, how the Republicans have shifted to being the party of misogyny since the 70s, and why Mitt Romney would be just as bad as Rick Santorum.
Just in time for International Womens Day, it's Narrow the Gap, a look at the unbalanced payrolls of American workers based on US Department of Labor statistics from a variety of industries.
The Library of Congress has posted a series of colour photos from the 1930s and 1940s online. [more inside]
Provoking pro-choice advocates, Oklahoma passed two highly restrictive abortion laws on Tuesday. One (rtf file) requires doctors to show women an ultrasound of their fetus and point out its physical characteristics — even if the patient was impregnated through rape or incest. The second (rtf file) stipulates that doctors cannot be sued if they decide to lie to an expectant mother regarding her baby's birth defects. A third requires clinics to post signs telling patients they cannot be forced to have an abortion. The first law prompted an immediate lawsuit from Tulsa's only abortion clinic. [more inside]
“A Congresswoman must look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, speak on any given subject with authority and most of all work like a dog.” -- Rep. Florence Dwyer, R-NJ, 1957-73
The new lies about women's health (image slightly NSFW) according to Glamour. More on why every egg is sacred to the Bush administration. [via Wired's Sex Drive Daily]
Oveta Culp Hobby and the Women's Army Corps. Early in 1941 Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts (the first woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives) met with General George C. Marshall, the Army's Chief of Staff, and informed him that she intended to introduce a bill to establish an Army women's corps, separate and distinct from the existing Army Nurse Corps. Rogers remembered the female civilians who had worked overseas with the Army under contract and as volunteers during World War I: serving without benefit of official status, they had to obtain their own food and quarters, and they received no legal protection or medical care. Upon their return home they were not entitled to the disability benefits or pensions available to U.S. military veterans. Rogers was determined that if women were to serve again with the Army in a wartime theater they would receive the same legal protection and benefits as their male counterparts. After a long and acrimonious debate, the following year the bill was finally approved by Congress and signed into law by FDR. Oveta Culp Hobby, chairman of the board of the Houston Post, was appointed as Director of the WAAC. (more)
Sending the pregnant to fight Saddam: The dramatic rescue of GI Jessica brings up the issue [preemptive post justification]. This article has a nice historical overview of women's role in the military, in the form of a time-travel dialogue between today's soldier and a Vietnam era grunt.
National Organization for Women v. Scheidler Is being heard by SCOTUS today. The case may decide whether non-violent civil disobedience can be prosecuted under federal RICO laws. Here's the ACLU's amicus brief. And comments from NRO's Rod Dreher.
Women's Labor Bureau Offices Won't Be Closed. The proposal by the Office of Management and Budget to close all of the Bureau's local offices has been shelved. Follow-up to this thread.
Affirmative action seems to be taking root in an unlikely place: the Bush White House. "There's been talk inside and outside the administration about having no more than half the 484 political positions in the cabinet and agencies go to white males and at least 30 percent to women," Fred Barnes writes in the conservative Weekly Standard.