Chicago Foundation for Women's Weekly eUpdate

The week of Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2007


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"What Will It Take?"
is paid for in part by a grant from the State of Illinois.

IS IT OK TO WORK NAKED? Maybe, if it’s your choice. But not if it’s your editor’s idea. That’s the story told by writer Alecia Warren, a Women’s eNews correspondent, about her first post-college journalism job as an intern for a Northern California weekly. Her editor assigned her to write an article about pubic hair trends by interviewing and photographing visitors to a nearby nude beach. She should do the story “naked, of course,” her totally inappropriate boss announced. Like many young people wanting to succeed on that all-important first job, she did it and now tells her unnerving story.

JULIA SERANO for her piece about the dangers faced by transgendered people. Her commentary on Feministing ran in connection with the Nov. 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance to commemorate the lives of transgendered people who have been killed because of their gender identity.

JEROME McDONNELL, host of Worldview on WBEZ, for his terrific feature about sexual assault of women in the military

UNDER 40 AND ACTIVE? APPLY FOR THE FOUNDERS' AWARD. If you advocate on women’s and girls’ issues and are under age 40, apply for the $25,000 Founders’ Award for Young Women Advocates to further your work. This Friday, Nov. 30 (no later than 5 p.m.) is this year’s deadline–view the application PDF now.

SIGN UP TO ATTEND "WOMEN TAKE CHARGE NIGHT" on Thursday, Dec. 6 at one of seven locations around Illinois. The events will offer information about breast and cervical cancer and the state-sponsored free mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams and Pap tests for all uninsured women under the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program--find the location near you. 

MAKE PLANS TO CELEBRATE JANE ADDAMS on Saturday, Dec. 8. In anticipation of the first-ever Jane Addams Day on Dec. 10, we are cosponsoring the American Association of University Women – Illinois’ performance of the Hull-House play, “Halsted Street” from 10 a.m. to noon at the Chicago History Museum. Admission to the program is free, but museum admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and students ages 13-22 and free for children 12 and under. Among Addams’ achievements: helping found Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. And Addams was the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

TO GIVE...IS TO GIVE. This holiday season, whether you’re looking for gift ideas or making your own wish list, keep these ideas in mind:

  • 12-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1: Stephanie Riger’s handcrafted jewelry sale, where 10% of sales benefit the Foundation. Come to 1304 Noyes St. in Evanston for necklaces, pins, bracelets and earrings ($30 and up).
  • sells books, movies, music, housewares and more, and they make a donation to us with each purchase you make. Make sure it says “Chicago Foundation for Women” in the upper right corner.
  • Honor a loved one with a tribute gift to the Foundation, and we will send a card of your choosing with a note on how their gift helps women and girls live in safe, just and healthy communities.

We’ve been talking about the distressing lack of context in coverage of the search for Stacy Peterson and the media circus surrounding her husband, Drew Peterson. Now, Anne Friedman Glauber, head of Global Issues Communications Group at Ruder Finn Public Relations, adds her voice with “News skips context in 24-7 Peterson coverage,” a commentary carried by Women’s eNews. Despite media claiming to want a new angle on this story, not one outlet wanted to talk to a national expert on domestic violence who could provide perspective and information on preventing violence against women. Read our coverage in last week's Tuesday Blast and read our letter to the "TODAY Show" after their first interview with Drew Peterson.

Women wait an average of 20 seconds longer than men at coffee shops to receive their drinks, according to a recent study titled “Ladies First? A Field Study of Discrimination in Coffee Shops,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Student researched recorded the wait times of 295 customers. Factoring in preparation times for fancier drinks, two explanations are possible for women’s longer wait: Male employees might harbor resentment toward female customers and thus take longer to serve them, or alternatively male workers spend time flirting with female customers. Any way you pour it, women are left waiting longer for that peppermint latté.

Northwestern University will spend $3 million over five years on the new Institute for Women’s Health Research. The institute will conduct original health research and examine existing studies with a “gender lens,” said institute director Teresa Woodruff, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. A sidebar in the story notes gender differences among health problems from lung cancer to suicide, highlighting the need for more preventive care and research that keep women in mind.

Bills and policies that need your energy. Visit our Action Center - quickly make a difference this week.

FUND ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING FOR WOMEN. In 2002, the Illinois Legislature passed a law allowing judges to sentence mothers convicted of non-violent crimes to an alternative residential drug treatment program. Ask Gov. Blagojevich to include funding for Cook County’s pilot program in his FY 09 budget. Read our letter to Ginger Ostro, director of the Governor’s Office on Management and Budget. CLICK HERE TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.


HATE CRIMES. The federal definition of a hate crime must be expanded to include gender, sexual orientation and disability status. President Bush said he will veto this change, bowing to the Christian religious right, who wrongly think this bill will limit free speech from the pulpit. The American Civil Liberties Union supports the legislation, though it has never backed a hate crime law before. WRITE NOW: CLICK HERE TO CONTACT CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT NOW.

FOOD SUPPLEMENTAL PROGRAMS must be funded to keep up with inflation and rising food prices. That includes the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (or WIC) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) mostly for seniors 60 and older. TELL YOUR SENATORS TODAY to fully fund these programs.

FIGHTING VIOLENCE AROUND THE GLOBE. We’ve endorsed the International Violence Against Women Act, which U.S. Senators Joe Biden (D-DE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduced on Oct. 31. This bill would make ending violence against women and girls a top diplomatic priority and incorporate known violence prevention strategies into foreign aid appropriations. The bill is in its infancy, but if you’d like to show your support, sign the petition. We’ll keep you posted on developments and send an action alert when your help is needed to move this bill forward..

We are waiting. We will keep you updated with action alert when you need to act to help save the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

We add perspective to recent headlines

The story: New York Jets football fans regularly harass women during halftime at home games. The practice, which apparently has been going on for some time, “is the game,” one 20-year-old fan told The New York Times. The men line up along a pedestrian ramp and shout at women to expose their breasts. Women who refuse are pelted with plastic beer bottles or spit. Women who agree can be tossed out of the stadium for indecent exposure.
What is missing: We sent a letter to the Times outlining everything that was missing from this story, from the reporter’s focus on the men’s behavior rather than the women’s victimization to the need for everyone to stand together against gender violence. Read our letter here.

The story: Three boys, ages 8 and 9, have been charged with rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment and sexual assault against an 11-year-old girl in a small Georgia town about 30 miles north of Atlanta. In an interview on CNN (link to video), Acworth Police Chief Michael Wilkie noted that it is “not unusual at all to investigate” sexual abuse cases in which victims are so young, but this is the first time he had seen suspects that young. Meanwhile, the father of one of the accused boys admitted the children had sex but said it was consensual, according to WSB-TV Atlanta.
What is missing: The judge has issued a gag order in the case to keep either side from talking with the media. But that shouldn’t stop the media from reporting on the larger problem of violence against girls or stop any of us from using this case as a stepping-off point for sending an anti-violence message to children. If this case involving such young children isn’t enough to show us that we need to deliver this message sooner, consider this: A 1991 study of American high school students found that the majority of girls and three-quarters of boys thought forced sex was acceptable under some circumstances, including when a woman had had past sexual experiences or when a boy spent a lot of money on the girl.


NOV. 27: Meeting: Lesbian Leadership Council, 6-7:30 p.m.

DEC. 5: Meeting: African American Leadership Council, 6-8 p.m. (council members only)
DEC. 6: Meeting: Asian American Leadership Council, 6-8 p.m. (council members only)
DEC. 7: The Impact of Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration on Gender-Based Violence: The Sex Trade, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (“What Will It Take?” grantee convening)

DEC. 12: Reproductive Health Telephone Briefing: Detained girls, incarcerated women, 3-4:30 p.m.

For more programs and events see our calendar page.

We sent a letter to the New York Times on their coverage of the New York Jets' unofficial halftime "ritual harassment" of women. (Read more this week under "What Is Missing?")

The Southtown Star on Sunday, Nov. 25 ran our letter to the editor on comprehensive sex education that includes abstinence as well as accurate information on contraception and safer sex.

Our Acting Executive Director, Mary Morten, was recognized in the Chicago Sun-Times society pages for her Women’s Bar Association of Illinois honor, the “Women with Vision Award.”

Catch up at our Press Room or our Past Events page at

Speakers' Bureau: Want a free speaker to come and tell you or your organization about “What Will It Take?” Contact Laura Fletcher at (312) 577-2824 or More about the Speakers' Bureau...

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