“Rethinking Women’s Political Power: Recognizing and Overcoming Challenges to Incumbents, Candidates, Voters and Election Officers”

Tuesday, February 27, 2024 Noon-1:00 PM

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Please share this invitation and join CWI. Meetings are public and free of charge.

Jan Erickson, Government Relations Director, National Organization for Women, NOW and Co-President CWI and Connie Cordovilla, Fairfax County Election Officer and Vice President CWI will moderate this meeting.

Presenters include:

KDittmar Dr. Kelly Dittmar, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University–Camden; and Director of Research and a Scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at the Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University (https://cawp.rutgers.edu). Kelly authored the recently released report “Rethinking Women’s Political Power.” The Report, https://rethinkingpower.rutgers.edu/ examines at the state and local level (1) women’s navigation of the political ecosystem; (2) perceptions about women’s political power and progress, (3) an assessment of the support infrastructure for women in politics in the state (including its service of women across party and racial/ethnic lines); (4) views on the strength and influence of political parties in the state; (5) perceptions on where and with whom political power lies in the state; and (6) insights into opportunities for increasing women’s political power.

MKornberg Dr. Maya Kornberg, Ph.D. is a research fellow in the Brennan Center for Justice’s Elections and Government Program, where she leads work related to information and disinformation in politics, Congress, civic engagement, and money in politics. Maya is also the author of the recent book “Inside Congressional Committees: Function and Dysfunction in the Legislative Process” (Columbia University Press, 2023.) She will be presenting the new Brennan Center report entitled “Intimidation of State and Local Officeholders: The Threat to Democracy,” which she recently co-authored. The report explores hostility faced by local and state officeholders in the United States. The results show that the majority of state and local officials surveyed face hostility, with women and people of color reporting higher levels of violence than their white male colleagues. Many electeds are worried about their family and staff (with women and people of color expressing more concern.) The impact on democracy is also worrisome. A critical mass of respondents shared that they are reluctant to engage with constituents, take on controversial issues, and run for higher office. The research highlights important trends in a growing problem for American democracy. The report also details a number of recommendations for combatting this trend.

Resource Sheet For Fighting the Intimidation of Voters and Election Officers:
Brennan Center Reports on Intimidation of Office Holders, Election Workers and Voters 
Intimidation of Voters and Election Workers Resource Guide- https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/voter-intimidation-and-election-worker-intimidation-resource-guide
Another Barrier to Latino Representation: Intimidation of Election Officials—https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/another-barrier-latino-representation-intimidation-election-officials
Intimidation of State and Local Officeholders  https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/intimidation-state-and-local-officeholders 
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Know Your Rights: Voter Intimidation https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_pdf_file/kyr-voterintimidation-v03.pdf 
Georgetown Law School, Fact Sheet: Protecting Against Voter Intimidation https://www.law.georgetown.edu/icap/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2020/10/Voter-Intimidation-Fact-Sheet.pdf
Advancement Project, What to Do if You Experience Intimidation at the Polls https://advancementproject.org/what-to-do-if-you-experience-intimidation-at-the-polls/
United States Election Assistance Commission, Security Resources for Election Officials https://www.eac.gov/election-officials/election-official-security
Brookings Institution, One Way to Protect Female Election Officials from Harassment https://www.brookings.edu/articles/one-way-to-protect-female-election-officials-from-harassment/

The next CWI meeting is March 26, 2024 at noon on zoom and in person to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of CWI, Ms. Magazine and other feminist organizations.

Reforming the Federal Judiciary: Expand the Supreme Court, Limit Terms, Restore Legitimacy

Tuesday, January 23, 2024 Noon – 1:00 PM

Zoom Meeting Registration Link

Please share this invitation and join CWI. Meetings are public and free of charge.

Approval of the Supreme Court remains at a historic low. This follows polling last term finding that about half of Americans view the Court unfavorably and would describe the Court as “corrupt” and “unaccountable.” The same proportion, 48 percent, said that the Court is making decisions to take away their freedoms.   

In just the past two years, the conservative supermajority, led by justices placed on the Court by Donald Trump, has overturned laws on abortion, gun control, voting rights, affirmative action, executive power, and privileging religious views to permit discrimination in public spaces.  

As revelations about certain justices receiving elaborate gifts and failing to report gifts and spousal income as required mount, the legitimacy of the Supreme Court has come into serious question. Despite public and congressional scrutiny, the Supreme Court remains resistant to adopting an enforceable code of ethics.  

Calls to reform the Court are growing louder. One change often suggested is to expand the number of justices, perhaps adding four more justices to the current nine. Another possible avenue of reform would limit justices’ active terms to 18 years, rather than allowing for lifetime appointments. A Presidential Commission studied these and other options and issued a report in 2021. 

In addition to support for reform at the country’s highest court, there is increasing recognition that our system of federal circuit and district courts needs serious updating. Two speakers grounded in these concerns and possible solutions will speak at the Tuesday, January 23, 2024 CWI meeting.  

CHRIS KANG – Chris Kang is Co-founder of Demand Justice (demandjustice.org) and former Chief Counsel of the organization. Demand Justice is an advocacy organization which aims to inform and empower citizens to fight for progressive change in our judicial systems. Chris serves on the Board of Advisors for the American Constitution Society and was invited to testify before the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court. 

Chris served in the Obama White House for nearly seven years in key roles. He was Deputy Counsel to the President as well as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs. Chris oversaw the selection, vetting, and confirmation of more than 220 of the president’s judicial nominees—who set records for the most people of color, women, and openly gay and lesbian judges appointed by a president. In the Office of Legislative Affairs, as an advocate for the administration before Congress, Chris helped spearhead the confirmations of Supreme Court Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and passage of the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses.   

Chris also served as National Director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and worked for U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin, of Illinois, as Director of Floor Operations, Judiciary Committee Counsel, and Counsel for labor issues.  

The organization Chris co-founded, Demand Justice, is working to restore balance to the courts by reforming the Supreme Court, expanding the circuit and district courts, and championing new judges with experience as public defenders, civil rights lawyers, legal aid lawyers, and labor lawyers who represent working people. Demand Justice first endorsed Supreme Court expansion in 2018 and called for a freeze on the appointment of corporate lawyers to the federal bench in August of 2019.  Demand Justice publishes an informative Daily Supreme Court News Briefing which reports on cases before the Court and related media coverage.  

REBECCA BUCKWALTER-POZA – Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza is Aron Senior Justice Counsel at the Alliance for Justice. (afj.org). An advocate, attorney, and author, Rebecca is best known for successfully suing the forty-fifth president of the United States under the First Amendment with Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute.  

A second-generation American and two-decade veteran of Washington, Rebecca has worked on progressive campaigns and policy projects on five continents, including as a Luce Scholar at Hong Kong’s Asian Human Rights Commission and as Deputy National Press Secretary of the Democratic National Committee during President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.    

 Rebecca went on to direct access to justice project Making Justice Equal at the Center for American Progress, cover the Supreme Court and federal judiciary at NPR with Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg, and originate the role of Judicial Affairs Editor at Daily Kos. She is a co-founder of Prism, a publication that elevates stories, ideas, and solutions from the underrepresented leaders, thinkers, and activists whose voices are critical to a reflective democracy.    

 Rebecca received her A.B. from Harvard College and her J.D. from Yale Law School. A student of military law who observed at Guantanamo, Rebecca clerked for the Honorable Margaret Ryan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces as well as the late Honorable Juan R. Torruella on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.   

The next CWI meeting on Election Reforms is February 27, 2024 at noon on zoom.

Oct 2023 – “The National Women’s Health Network with a focus on Mifepristone”

Zoom Meeting Registration Link 

Denise Hyater Lindenmuth, Executive Director of the National Women’s Health Network and Vice President for Women[s Health at the Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues will serve as Moderator and introduce the National Women’s Health Network (NWHN.org). NWHN was founded in 1975, as a consumer watchdog organization that changes the way the medical establishment listens to women. It has thousands of institutional and organizational members. A donation of $15 also provides a 12 mo membership and other benefits. Special topics of interest include: aging women, maternal health, sexual and reproductive health, abortion, contraception, disability, FDA advocacy, breast health, chronic conditions, LGBTQAI health, mental health and wellbeing, and the social determinants of health. NWHN also analyzes and supports bills and monitors appropriations related to women’s health. It also provides many resources in its key topic areas on its website (NWHN.org).

Kristen Batstone from NWHN will provide an update on legal and availability issues for Mifepristone. Kristen Batstone is a Policy Manager at the National Women’s Health Network, where she works on issues related to reproductive health, maternal health and the health and well-being of aging women. Kristen previously worked at the National Rural Health Association, where she managed their women’s health and maternal health legislative portfolio. Kristen was responsible for facilitating relationships with Members of Congress and their staff, as well as developing policy interventions that improved women’s health outcomes in rural areas. Kristen received her undergraduate degree in Women, Gender, Sex and Sexuality Studies from American University, and she is working towards an MPH from George Washington University. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Kristen witnessed first-hand the inequities women from geographically isolated areas experience when trying to access high-quality, comprehensive health care. She is passionate about modernizing our health systems, expanding and diversifying our health care workforce, and decriminalizing life-saving health care.

In the discussion of mifepristone Kristen will provide a brief history of its use and popularity for medical abortions and then discuss the current legal objections and their implications for the future of abortions in the US. In doing so she will discuss the most recent 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling’s meaning and where do we go from here? To preview she notes, “A recent court decision threatens the national availability of Mifepristone, one of two abortion pill medications used for more than half of abortions in the US. Due to a stay issued by the Supreme Court, abortion pills are still available during judicial proceedings, but a subsequent decision from the Supreme Court could have a devastating impact on abortion access. Even if the Supreme Court sides with abortion advocates and upholds recent FDA guidance that allows Mifepristone to be dispensed through the mail and retail pharmacies, Mifepristone access is not guaranteed due to efforts to codify abortion pill bans at the state and federal level. Regardless of actions taken by courts and Congress, abortion pills will still be available by mail in all 50 states, even in states that ban abortion care.”

 Please come with your questions and suggestions about NWHN and mifepristone.

Remember to register to attend this Oct 24 CWI noon zoom meeting at this Registration Link. The next CWI meeting will be Jan 16, 2024 since the 4th Tuesdays in Nov and Dec fall near holidays.

“Equal Rights Amendment Centennial Convention: A Multigenerational Push in Seneca Falls”

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Generation Ratify, a youth led group, focusing on getting the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) into the US Constitution arranged the 100 year celebration of the first introduction of the ERA at the ERA Centennial Convention in Seneca Falls, NY on Fri July 21-Sat. July 22, 2023.  They invited others who had been working decades to get ERA ratified and into the Constitution.  ERA has now been ratified by ¾ of the states as required and is the 28th Amendment to the Constitution, but like many other Amendments is facing opposition to its full enshrinement in the Constitution. The Centennial Convention aimed to help accomplish this goal.

The Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues (CWI) had three Board members attend the Convention and will use this meeting to report on how it was organized, implemented and its accomplishments.  The CWI Board Members who took the ERA bus to Seneca Falls were Connie Cordovilla, Vice President, Membership, Holly Joseph, Treasurer and Loretta Gubernatis Vice-President for Media Outreach who made videos of much of this event.

Connie Cordovilla will Emcee and introduce this meeting. Others, such as Claudia Nachega, Deputy Executive Director, Generation Ratify, Lisa Sales, Pres. of Va NOW, and Zakiya Thomas, CEO of the ERA Coalition will explain the role of their organization and if possible show some key excerpts of speakers from the videos by Loretto Gubernatis. Holly Joseph will describe how this convention builds on our June 20th  CWI meeting on “When Will Women’s Voices Be Heard? Here is the link to a recording of that meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyYqfL8FpC4 . Loretto Gubernatis will discuss the value of working with the younger generation.

Lisa Sales organized a bus from Washington, DC to and from Seneca Falls, NY. In addition to carrying about 40 attendees, she arranged for the bus to be wrapped in ERA symbols to publicize this important event. She also helped organize the kickoff rally from the US Capitol which she will explain and show some of the speeches by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Co Chair of the Congressional ERA Caucus and others. Lisa will also comment on the multi racial and intergeneration interaction of participants.

Claudia Nachega, Deputy Executive Director, Generation Ratify will provide a background on its formation and. success and the impetus for the Centennial Convention. She will also discuss the importance of the younger generation’s participation and plans for the future.

Zakiya Thomas. President and CEO of the ERA Coalition /Fund for Women’s Equality, will describe how the Coalition was one of the many supporters of the Convention and discuss future plans for full recognition of the ERA and how the ERA Coalition operates including it’s participation in the 8/26 60th Anniversary March on Washington and President Biden’s latest statement supporting ERA.

Holly Joseph and Loretto Gubernatis will conclude with key information on what is needed to get Congressional support for approval and implementation of the ERA by pointing out that it is not unusual for an Amendment to the Constitution to have opposition even after it is ratified by the required number of states and the great value in working intergenerationally.

Remember to register to attend this Sept 26 CWI noon Zoom meeting at this Registration Link.

The Oct. 24 CWI Meeting will be on Women’s Health Issues.

“When Will Women’s Voices Be Heard? When Will the Equal Rights Amendment Be Implemented?”

Registration Link (Please register!)

While Europe’s eye is fix’d on mighty things,
The fate of Empires and the fall of Kings;
While quacks of State must each produce his plan,
And even children lisp the Rights of Man;
Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention,
The Rights of Woman merit some attention.

– Robert Burns, from the Rights of Woman, 1792

ERA YES white logo on green rounded background

Holly Joseph, CWI Treasurer, will introduce this urgent and most fundamental subject of “the Rights of Woman” in our own country – these United States – in our own times.  This is a discussion of women’s voices being heard with the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) being a prime focus. 

Alice Paul (1/11/1885-7/9/1977) has been a preeminent champion of women’s rights legislation in the United States.  For having secured the right for women to vote through her tireless work and personal sacrifice to effect the ratification of the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920, she then turned her attention toward achieving ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in her belief that the vote alone would not be adequate for women to be full participants in American society.  It has been modified since her original more positive version but is now the following twenty-four words in the first Section: 

Section 1:  Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.

Section 2:  The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3:  This amendment shall take effect two years after the Alice Paul’s 19th date of ratification.     

After ratification of the 19th Suffrage Amendment, Alice Paul’s efforts to get another Amendment to expand rights for women – this one establishing an expression of women’s equality enshrined in our Constitution has not been as successful.  In fact, Alice Paul did not live to see the Equal Rights Amendment included in our Constitution.  A question for us to consider is whether we will all live so long to see it realized.

Over the years, many have tried to keep the ERA from passage on the grounds that it was unnecessary or even that it would be harmful.  Yet polling has suggested wider societal support for the measure than is reflected in Congressional support, the last expression of that being the failure to get Senate approval for the removal of the ERA deadline on April 27, 2023.  (The vote of 51-47 was not enough to overcome the filibuster despite a majority of Senators‘ approval.)

Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, Feminist Majority, Publisher of Ms. Magazine and early President of the National Organization for Women, will enrich the presentation with her vast knowledge of women’s programs as well as knowing Alice Paul and leading the fight for ERA for decades.  Nicole Vorrasi Bates, Founding Member and Executive Director of Shattering Glass, (shatteringglass.org) will share her perspective on the ongoing efforts to get the ERA in the Constitution.  We ask that all of us reflect on when we were struck with the realization that girls/women were not equal with boys/men.  For us feminists, the question is the following: “What are we going to do about it?”  Achieving the enactment of the Equal Rights Amendment — to establish gender equality in our country’s governing document – will unquestionably strengthen our democracy. 

Remember to register to attend this June 20 CWI noon zoom meeting at this Registration Link

May 2023 – “The Importance of the Separation of Church and State for Feminists” 

  Co-sponsored with Americans United

         Registration Link

CWI is delighted to co-sponsor this zoom meeting with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU.org). Feminists are keenly aware that religious extremists and their politician allies are trying to force everyone else to live by their beliefs and to use religion as a license to harm others. This threatens our freedom to live as ourselves, which widens inequality in our communities and country. Women have long been a target and therefore understand the consequences of when the lines between religion and government are blurred. The fundamental right to be treated equally under the law depends upon the separation of church and state.

Three staff members from AU will inform us about AU and its work particularly as it relates to feminist issues.  They are Maggie Garrett, Vice President for Public Policy. Maggie is a legal and policy expert who has been working on church-state separation issues for more than 20 years. Much of her work focuses on ensuring that public funds are used for public schools, and she leads AU’s work to protect the Johnson Amendment, a tax code provision that ensures that tax-exempt nonprofits, including religious organizations, do not endorse or oppose political candidates. Before joining AU she worked with the ACLU of Georgia and Alabama. She graduated from Hamilton College and the George Washington University Law School.  Dena Sher, Associate Vice President for Public Policy, is an attorney with nearly 20 years’ experience working on religion and law. She focuses on blocking efforts to misuse religion to undermine people’s rights. Previously, she served as AU’s state legislative counsel, and started with AU as an Equal Justice Works fellow. Dena also worked for the ACLU, lobbying on federal policy on religious freedom. She graduated from Georgetown University and the George Washington University Law School. AU, with Maggie and Dena’s leadership, chairs the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination, co-chairs the National Coalition for Public Education, and heads up the coalition working to support the Do No Harm Act. The final AU presenter, Catherine Feuille, Madison Legal Fellow, graduated from Dartmouth College and Yale Law School, where she participated in the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. She also has a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University and has experience working in health care delivery.

Maggie, Dena, and Catherine will provide an overview of the constitutional principles and laws that guarantee religious freedom but have unfortunately been misused to cause harm. Their presentation will include a discussion about the repercussions of when the separation of church and state is not upheld:

●      People, especially women, face discrimination.

●      People can’t access healthcare. For example, AU and NWLC have challenged Missouri’s abortion ban because it violates the state constitutional provision requiring church-state separation.

●      Social services that people and families need are jeopardized.

●      Public education is undermined, funding is being drained for private school vouchers, public charter schools may soon be able to discriminate, and religion is being imposed on students who are in public schools.

Remember to register to attend this May 23 CWI/AU noon zoom meeting at this Registration Link.

Apr 2023 – “Fighting Attacks on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” Co-sponsored with the African American Policy Forum

Tuesday, April 25, 2023, 12:00-1:30 pm via Zoom

Registration Link

CWI is delighted to co-sponsor this zoom meeting with the African American Policy Forum (AAPF). AAPF is taking a leading role in providing in depth information on why the revisions to the Advanced Placement African American Studies Course are detrimental and why this and other anti-woke attacks on education equity need to be stopped. Sumi Cho, will introduce a shortened 30 minute version of a March AAPF briefing video featuring Kimberlé Crenshaw, Co-Founder & Executive Director, AAPF and colleagues on “When Racial Reckoning and Anti-Wokeness Collide: What’s Left Out of AP Black Studies and Why Everyone Should Care.“
Professor Crenshaw is known for her development of “intersectionality” and critical race theory (CRT), important concepts originally included in the AP African American Studies pilot course.

Longtime law professor Sumi Cho is now AAPF Director of Strategic Initiatives. Sumi will also invite all to participate in the Freedom to Learn National Day of Action on May 3, 2023 and the remaining planning activities. The purpose of the Freedom to Learn National Day of Action on May 3 is to defend the truth and protect the freedom to learn. Now is the time to build a broad network of people to strengthen our democracy and our values of equity, inclusion, and social justice. Through collective actions across the country, we will resist restrictions on the freedom to learn, fight the right’s “anti-woke” disinformation campaigns, and demonstrate majoritarian support for equity in our schools, campuses, and workplaces. We will make it plain that giving in to the demands of “anti-woke” forces is not an option for institutions and politicians who represent us. We cannot protect the bedrock institutions of a democracy–the right to vote, freedom of speech, and access to the truth–by appeasing organized and legislated lies as the College Board has done. You can register for actions and resources at www.freedomtolearn.net, and even join as a partner organization on this co-sponsoring Partner form! Register for the Thur. 7:30-9 PM planning meetings on April 20 and 27 at bit.ly/F2L_ROAD20503.

After viewing the video, Kristin Penner, AAPF Senior Research Analyst, will share a presentation of her work visually mapping the networks behind right-wing campaigns such as those against affirmative action, CRT, voting rights, and equity rights. She will provide examples of how feminist and intersectional issues such as affirmative action, reproductive rights, sexuality education and the work of Women Scholars are also being attacked. Kristin is a co-founder of the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard, which is an amicus supporting affirmative action in the Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard case awaiting a SCOTUS decision now. Kristin will also review how the May 3 National Day of Action events can focus on combating these attacks on feminist education such as dismantling Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Offices in postsecondary institutions which often house Title IX Coordinators, killing women’s/gender and ethnic studies programs, and even taking over entire liberal arts colleges like New College in Sarasota, FL.

In addition to registering to attend this April 25 CWI noon zoom meeting at this Registration Link, we urge you to sign this OPEN LETTER ON FIGHTING “ANTI-WOKE” CENSORSHIP OF INTERSECTIONALITY “ANTI-WOKE” CENSORSHIP OF INTERSECTIONALITY AND BLACK FEMINISM.

March 2023 – “Updates on DC Women’s History Museums and Sites to Visit in the DC Area”

Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 12:00-1:30 pm via Zoom

Registration Link

March is Women’s History Month and Washington, DC is fortunate to host two National Women’s History Museums and a variety of sites related to women. In our CWI March 2021 meeting we heard about and discussed the two museums. See the April 2021 CWI newsletter for a summary of this meeting. A video of this 2021 CWI meeting is available on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6G1iIj6GPs.

In 2021 Julissa Marenco, Assistant Secretary Communications and External Affairs and Chief Marketing Officer for the Smithsonian, shared an early-stage update for the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. We are delighted that she is now rejoining us to give an update on progress to date. Jennifer Herrera, Vice President of External Affairs, National Women’s History Museum (NWHM), helped arrange for the then director and the Board Chair of the virtual NWHM to describe their activities. Jennifer Herrera will join us on 3-21-23 to share information on their opening of an in person exhibit at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington DC at the end of this March. Finally, Holly T. Joseph, CWI’s Treasurer and long-time feminist activist will share her research on women’s historical sites to visit in the DC area.

Update on Plans for the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum (womenshistory.si.edu), by Julissa Marenco. In the 2021 CWI meeting, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney and Wendy Pangburn, Executive Director of the American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission described Congressional actions since 2014 to create a Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. These actions culminated in passing H.R. 1980 in the 116 th Congress which was included in the bipartisan and bicameral omnibus spending package which became law Dec. 27, 2020. Julissa described the ongoing Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative and the appointment of Lisa Sasaki as the Museum’s interim director. Julissa will give an update on the site selection process. Her presentation will be followed by questions from the meeting participants since she needs to leave early. Lisa Sasaki the interim Museum director is unable to join us since she has been scheduled for another meeting in Detroit.

Update on the National Women’s History Museum (womenshistory.org) and its New DC In-person Exhibit and Future Plans by Jennifer Herrera. NWHM was incorporated in 1996. It is privately funded and mostly virtual. In the 2021 CWI meeting, they shared how they supported federal legislation for a women’s history museum and even contributed significant and instrumental funding to the Congressional Commission. They also discussed remodeling their extensive website and plans to host physical exhibits. Jennifer Herrera will discuss the Museum’s next chapter and how they plan to bring women’s history to communities across the country. Further, Jennifer will share information and extend an invitation to visit NWHM’s new exhibition, “We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist DC” at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, opening on March 30, 2023. The Library is located at 901 G St NW, near the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Gallery Place – Chinatown Metro. Finally, Jennifer will discuss other news about the Museum and share information on upcoming events and resources.

Women’s History Sites to Visit in the DC Area by Holly T. Joseph For Women’s History Month, CWI is studying institutions and smaller sites to pursue this exciting subject. There are many we know – starting with the Capitol and Alice Paul’s DC residence, now named the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, and perhaps some we don’t know. Holly hopes you’ll find abundant opportunities for visits in her presentation and for reflection on the topic of women in history – at a point in history that we hope is the end of the historic pandemic.

Feb 2023-“The Effect of COVID-19 on Women’s Employment and Their Work Life Balance”

Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 12:00-1:30 pm via Zoom
Registration Link

Gender equality in women’s employment was dealt a blow by COVID-19. While female participation in the labor force picked up after the pandemic’s worst phase in 2020, it still remains under threat from risks that, if left unaddressed, could wash away the progress made in gender equality in the past decade. (Deloitte Insight, January 2022)

This meeting addressing COVID’s impact on women’s employment will be hosted by CWI’s, Dr. Alotta Taylor, Jeanette Lim Esbrook, Esq. and Ms. Sherry Klein.

COVID-19’s economic impact resulting in the widening gender disparity in the labor market has been a major worry. However, (Deloitte Insight, January 2022) stated with the pickup in economic activity since the second half of 2020 and a significant increase in the scale and pace of vaccinations around the world in 2021, female employment has recovered some of the lost ground. Yet this recovery isn’t without risks. Moreover, in countries where women have traditionally lagged far behind men, returning to the job market after losing out in 2020 may prove harder for mothers who took up extensive childcare responsibilities during the pandemic. And as government aid fizzles out in many parts of the world, single parents will find it even more difficult to keep up with childcare and other household expenses. COVID also increased the viability of virtual work, but little is known about it’s positive or negative impact on women.

This meeting will be informed by the following speakers who will present information on the impact of COVID-19 on women’s employment and how return to work can be furthered by attention to policies such as increases in child-care options, virtual work options, and paid family leave.

Julie Vogtman (she/her), Director of Job Quality & Senior Counsel for the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). Vogtman will provide an overview of 3 years of COVID including a survey she made about a year ago at the 2-yr. mark. The topics of impact on women and employment include: Caregiving, finances, economic impact, policy solutions including family paid leave.

At NWLC, Julie engages in research, policy analysis and advocacy, and public education to advance federal and state policies that benefit both women in low-paid jobs and their families, including higher wages, fair work scheduling practices, and childcare assistance. She has written extensively about women and the economy and the factors contributing to racial and gender pay disparities, including as a co-author of NWLC’s March 2022 report, Resilient But Not Recovered: After Two Years of the COVID-19 Crisis, Women Are Still Struggling. Julie Vogtman was quoted February 12, 2023 in a Washington Post article on women returning to work, “We are certainly seeing some very positive signs in the economy, but there are still disparities, both in and who is back to work and who is getting the best jobs,” referring to challenges such as paid sick leave and more affordable child care, that affect women of color and those with lower levels of education and income.

Prior to joining NWLC in 2010, Julie was an associate with Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, DC. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as an editor for the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy, and holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Furman University.

Allison Wolff will discuss the impact of balancing working as a professional remotely with family and childcare responsibilities. As the Web Program Manager for NASA’s Space Operations and Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorates, Ms. Wolff is responsible for managing application development projects and operates as an advisor for Enterprise-level application governance and policy boards. She is a pragmatic innovator and works diligently to foster a culture of collaboration, diversity, and empowerment. Ms. Wolff implemented numerous successful initiatives at NASA including the Enterprise Platform approach for the Office of the Chief Information Officer, a data-driven business architecture for the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation and NASA IT Labs which was awarded FedScoop’s Federal IT Program of the Year and recognized as a finalist for the ACT-IAC Excellence.gov award for Enterprise Efficiency. Ms. Wolff was named a Computerworld Innovation Laureate, a NextGov Bold Award Finalist for Tech Innovation and was selected as a FedScoop 50 Most Inspiring Up & Comer in 2020. While NASA is her passion, her first love is her family. She approaches each day striving to make the world a better place for her three daughters and hopes to be an
exemplary leader in promoting work-life balance with a personal emphasis on physical and emotional wellness. She will share insights on NASA’s current and planned policies on virtual work and its impact on women.

Sarah Jane (SJ) Glynn, Senior Advisor, Women’s Bureau, US Department of Labor, co-authored a report issued by the DOL on the impact of COVID19 on women’s employment, visible here: Bearing the Cost. We hope she will be able to report on current and future federal policies on virtual versus in person work and its impact on women.

From the DOL website:

Sarah Jane (SJ) Glynn serves as a senior advisor for the Women’s Bureau. She is a labor sociologist and policy analyst with experience working at the national, state, and local level. Prior to joining the Department of Labor, SJ was a senior fellow with the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress, where she previously held the role of director of women’s economic policy. SJ has spent her career researching and working to advance policies that help support employment and economic security for women and caregivers, including paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, workplace flexibility, and pay equity. Before beginning her career in policy work, SJ was an adjunct lecturer in sociology at Vanderbilt and Belmont universities. 

SJ received her bachelor’s degree in women’s studies with a concentration in LGBTQ studies from UCLA and her doctorate degree in sociology from Vanderbilt University. 

Here are some related resources on the topic:

Next CWI Zoom Noon Meeting: Tue. March 21 on DC Women’s  History Museums and Attractions

Jan 2023-” Identifying and Protecting U.S. Reproductive Rights After the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Decision”

Tuesday, January, 24, 2023, 12-1:30pm via Zoom

Registration Link

Feminists need to understand the many ways federal and state governments can continue to protect rights to reproductive health care despite the Supreme Court overruling of Roe v. Wade longstanding constitutional protections for abortion rights. Our presenters will highlight many of the existing protections especially those at the federal level that are the focus of the Biden-Harris interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access and Pres. Biden’s Executive order 14076 on “Securing Access to Reproductive and Other Healthcare Services”. They will highlight ways states are, or should be, implementing provisions to provide additional protections and also how reproductive justice organizations are working to educate and push for these provisions to provide easily accessible reproduction related health care. The Executive Director of Virginia Planned Parenthood will describe how they are identifying and protecting reproductive rights as well as advocating new approaches.

We have not been successful in finding a federal presenter from the interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access co-chaired by Xavier Becerra, Sec. of HHS and Jennifer Klein, Director, White House Gender Policy Council or the Department of Justice Reproductive Rights Task Force. However, the White House is planning to have a near future meeting so Click here to sign-up for the White House women’s community newsletter. These federal resources are also helpful.

Shaina Goodman, JD, Director for Reproductive Health and Rights, National Partnership for Women & Families. She received her JD, master’s in social work and bachelor’s degree in women & gender studies from Washington University in St. Louis and has a Maryland law license.  She will report on many of the federal activities and plans to protect abortion rights and access.  She will start by providing general principles on where federal laws and policies overpower those of state and local governments.

Jamie Lockhart, (she/her) serves as the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, a statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to preserve and broaden access to reproductive health care through legislation, public education, electoral activity and litigation in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Previously, Jamie served as the National Director of Mission: Readiness, was recruited for campaigns in the Commonwealth of Virginia, including President Obama’s 2012 re-election, and served as a Legislative Assistant and Director of E-Communications for Congresswoman Diana DeGette. Jamie graduated magna cum laude from James Madison University and obtained a Master in Public Administration degree from the Harvard Kennedy School. She is a certified group fitness instructor, triathlete and mom to a toddler. Jamie will describe the current status and future possibilities for abortion rights in VA.