Search Results : maternity

Sep 252009

Sen. Jon Kyl’s  (R-AZ) objection to providing maternity coverage as part of health care reform? He doesn’t need it.

As Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) pointed out, his Mom probably did, not to mention his wife and any female offspring he might have. You can thank Sen. Stabenow here.

 September 25, 2009  Posted by on September 25, 2009 Comments Off on Sen. Kyl Doesn’t Need Maternity Coverage, So He’s Against It
Mar 052009

With thanks from the IWD Australia website:


Australian women have been campaigning for 30 years for a national paid maternity leave scheme. Over 157 countries have paid maternity leave including Mongolia, Botswana, Burma, Italy and the UK. Australia and the USA are the only OECD countries without it.

47% of Australian working women have no access to any paid leave for parenting. The vast majority of these women earn under $700 a week.

Paid Maternity Leave is overdue. It needs to be delivered in the 2009 federal budget. It’s good for mothers and babies, better mother and baby health and development, good for breastfeeding and bonding. It’s good for families. Everyone can share in the joy of a new baby without financial stress. No need to save up to cover lost wages.

It’s good for the economy. Women stay in the workforce, their skill and experience is not wasted. It is an economic stimulus, keeps people having children and safeguards women’s jobs in hard times.

What you can do?

March for International Women’s Day to support a national paid maternity leave scheme in this year’s federal budget.

Join the email petition.

Write to your Local federal MP calling for paid maternity leave in the federal budget in May.

Push! Push! Push! for…

 March 5, 2009  Posted by on March 5, 2009 Comments Off on International Women’s Day 2009: Pushing For Paid Maternity Leave in Adelaide, AU
Nov 112012

The United States is one of six countries that has not yet ratified CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women which was adopted by the United Nations in 1979.  The Convention is a significant tool in insuring women’s human rights which defines discrimination against women as,

“any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field”.

Upon ratifying the Convention, it requires countries,

  • To incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women;
  • To establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and
  • To ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.

That the U.S. with all of its power and resources has chosen to not yet ratify CEDAW is appalling and is significantly detrimental to protecting and furthering women’s human rights and the time to rectify that is now, without reservation (see below for why this is so important).

The question then is what would it take to get CEDAW ratified?

In the United States, ratification of international treaties requires two-thirds of the Senate (67 of 100 Senators) to vote in favor of the treaty, providing the Senate’s advice and consent for ratification. But before an international treaty reaches the Senate floor, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee typically reviews international treaties and votes to send it forward for a consideration by the full Senate. Then the president signs the treaty and ratification is complete…
…The Obama administration strongly supports ratification and has included CEDAW as one of five multilateral treaties that are a priority. In the U.S. Senate, the CEDAW treaty has been voted favorably out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee twice with bipartisan support: in 1994 with a vote of 13-5 and in 2002 with a vote of 12-7. It has never been brought to the Senate floor for a vote.

Vice President Biden was a strong supporter of CEDAW when he was a senator and more recently, Sen. Barbara Boxer indicated strong support for CEDAW in a hearing on international women’s rights last year.

As important as the U.S. ratification of CEDAW is however, we need to be clear that it must be ratified without Reservations, Understandings and Declarations (RUDs) that would undermine and pervert its intent.  During an earlier attempt to get CEDAW ratified,

(Former) Senator Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina), a vocal opponent of abortion, the committee imposed 11 restrictions which run counter to CEDAW’s intent as an international bill of rights for women. Included among the RUDs were limitations that negated CEDAW’s mandated paid maternity leave and access to family planning and reproductive health care (including abortion.)

And as the NOW Foundation has pointed out, the restrictions that have been proposed,

convey a clear lack of commitment to ending discrimination against women and specifically claim no responsibility for the U.S. to undertake efforts to expand maternity leave, improve access to health care services for women, or take more effective efforts to address sex-based pay discrimination, among other objectives that would promote women’s equality…

…NOW believes that the Reservation disavowing the “doctrine of comparable worth” will have a similar chilling effect on efforts to advance legislation that would strengthen current laws prohibiting sex-based pay discrimination.

According to international human rights lawyer Janet Benshoof, the damage of passing CEDAW with the qualifications that have been proposed would be enormous,

Ironically, if the U.S. intention in ratifying CEDAW is to send a supportive message to women globally, our twisted sister version will, in fact, do the opposite. Although the RUDs seemingly apply solely to American women, they eviscerate the core of CEDAW, the definition of equality and provide legal authority to those who want to undermine women’s rights.

Although reversal of the United States isolationist stand on international law is atop the wish lists of lawyers in the human rights legal field, engagement via this gutted CEDAW poses even more danger than continued U.S. isolation. The Senate should advise and consent to the ratification of a clean CEDAW unencumbered by reservations. They should not ratify a CEDAW that limits the full scope of women’s equality rights.

187 countries have ratified CEDAW.  Six have not:  the U.S., Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Palau, and Tonga.  It is well past time for the United States to truly become the leader in women’s human rights that it claims to be and ratify CEDAW without reservation.


Click here for the complete text of CEDAW.

 November 11, 2012  Posted by on November 11, 2012 Comments Off on It’s Time To Ratify CEDAW
Apr 032012

Over the course of the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak about Occupy Patriarchy and why feminism is so important to the success of the Occupy movement at the University of Pennsylvania, at a panel organized by the Lysistrata Gender Working Group at NYU and at a panel discussion at the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference.

One of the key things that I discussed is why the issues that feminists routinely prioritize are so important to the Occupy movement. Those issues include:

  • Equal pay and ending other forms of economic discrimination
  • Childcare
  • Paid maternity and paternity leave
  • Zero tolerance of violence against women, sexism, sexual harassment and other misogynist behavior
  • Ending sexual exploitation and trafficking
  • Getting the Equal Rights Amendment ratified
  • Implementation of the National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security
  • Funding the Violence Against Women Act
  • Ratification of CEDAW the Convention on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Reproductive justice (including the right not to have a child, the right to have a child and the right to raise children
  • Zero tolerance on the assault on women’s reproductive health
  • Valuing unpaid work such as childcare, eldercare and housework

Nat'l Young Feminist Leadership Panel on Occupy and Feminism

For any real substantive change for the better to occur, it is critical that these issues be considered an integral part of the Occupy discussion because institutions such as Wall Street are manifestation of the far deeper and greater problem of patriarchy, which depends in large measure on the exploitation, dis-empowerment and subjugation of women.

As the Occupy movement continues, I think that there is a real opportunity to develop a broader commitment to addressing these issues. But that opportunity will not be easily realized and must be predicated on the understanding that Wall Street is a manifestation of the problems we face, not the root cause, and real change must also include confronting misogyny in the movement itself.

It is not sufficient to say that we have to come together as the 99% against the 1%. The needs of the 99% are not homogenous and it is not acceptable to say that it is divisive when we point this out.

While the Occupy movement has been developing, the war on women has become a nightmare of hateful, ignorant, daily attacks on women’s human rights. It is urgent that this be stopped and presents an opportunity for the Occupy movement as a whole to stand up for women’s lives and say that this war must stop. On April 28th there will be rallies in all 50 states and in Washington, DC calling for an end to the war on women.

Occupy Patriarchy calls on the Occupy movement everywhere to support and attend these rallies because an attack on the 52% is an attack on the 99% and if we want to confront Wall Street, then we MUST confront patriarchy.

(Cross-posted from Occupy Patriarchy.  Feminist Peace Network endorses the April 28th action to end the war on women and calls on everybody, men included to get out on the street and demand an end to the systemic assault on women’s lives.)

 April 3, 2012  Posted by on April 3, 2012 Comments Off on A Call To The Occupy Movement To Join in Uniting Against The War On Women’s Lives
Aug 262010

As is always the case in the aftermath of an environmental disaster, women and children are particularly vulnerable and there are women-specific needs that are generally inadequately addressed by aid organizations, such as protection from violence in refugee camps, maternity needs, and providing feminine hygiene supplies.  There are a number or agencies working full tilt to provide aid to those affected by the flood (CARE, Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam, the Red Cross).  Organizations that are particularly responsive to the needs of women include the Global Fund for Women and Madre.

Photo courtesy of Aware Girls

In addition, via Isis International, I received an email about the efforts of a young Pakistani women’s organization, Aware Girls, that is working to meet the needs of young women impacted by the flood. Gulalai Ismail, the organization’s Chairperson writes,

The Flood affected communities are struggling for their survival. Their habitats have been destroyed, they have lost their livelihood. In such circumstances in the patriarchal societies adolescent girls do not get proper attention to fulfill their specific needs, they are ignored by the Humanitarian support programs and even local philanthropists as their needs are not taken as an important issue. Diarrhea and other water related diseases are very common, the water has become contaminated, access to safe sanitation lacks. The young women and adolescent girls have little access to nutritious food. This program is focusing on these specific issues of young women. This program will supplement the ongoing support programs by UN agencies and other Support Programs in the area.

AWARE GIRLS is membership Organization and it has membership from the flood affected areas. The members from the target area have asked the organization to work for addressing the specific needs of the young and adolescents women. AWARE GIRLS is young women led organization working for the rights and development of young women of the Province.
The young women can feel the sufferings and problems of young women. AWARE GIRLS has already worked for Internally displaced Young women by providing them support KITS, raising voice for Gender Cluster, and developing Research Report for Mainstreaming Gender in Humanitarian work in the North Western Pakistan.

In the Gender neutral relief, rehabilitation efforts the specific needs of Adolescents Girls are ignored such that the use of unhygienic cloth for sanitary purpose during menses period may cause of spread of further diseases among the affected population. The young women have a little access to the relief and support provided by the Relief organizations because of patriarchal culture.

There is an urgent need to move from gender blindness to gender sensitivity in helping the victims of this disaster. it is imperative to ensure that a gender perspective is included in the disaster management programs so that the relief efforts are able to properly address Young women’s needs such that;

  • Fulfilling women specific requirements, such as sanitary pads /towels and clean white cloth and underwear,
  • Providing Contraceptives, blankets and clothes,
  • Toiletries: toilet rolls, soaps, shampoo, Towels,
  • Nutritional supplements (multi vitamins, iron etc)
  • Clean drinking water
  • Ware cleaning tablets

We have developed a KIT fulfilling these specific needs of young women. One KIT Costs 30 USD. We are Generating resources to approach 5,000 Young women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and fulfil their needs.

Gulalai Ismail

If you are able to help with this effort, please contact Aware Girls here.  At this time, the best way to donate money to Aware Girls is via Western Union, please contact them for details.

Photo Courtesy of Aware Girls

Many thanks to Aware Girls for sharing these photographs which were taken in Northwestern Pakistan by Aware Girl supporters.

 August 26, 2010  Posted by on August 26, 2010 Comments Off on Helping The Women Of Pakistan