TUESDAY BLAST - Chicago Foundation for Women's Weekly eUpdate

March 4-10, 2008

Monday, March 31:
Chicago Sinfonietta presents "Ladies' Choice"

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Save the Date

Thursday, May 1:
Race for a Safe State 5K

Friday, Oct. 31:
23rd Annual Luncheon and Symposium

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We are proud to announce a $100,000 grant from The Chicago Community Trust, in support of our advocacy and public policy work. 

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Celebrating women
March is Women's History Month, and Saturday, March 8 is International Women's Day. Celebrate women's rights and demand safety, justice and health worldwide.
Tuesday Special

This Thursday: The long shadow of
slavery on women's lives

Join us from 5:30 to 8 p.m. this Thursday, March 6 for a community conversation on Margaret Garner, a real woman whose true story of escape from slavery is an opera by the same name for which Toni Morrison wrote the libretto.

We can waive the $25 registration for a limited number of people, thanks to our sponsor,
Macy’s. For your free ticket, call (312) 577-2801 or email with your answer to this question: How does the legacy of American slavery affect women today?

We will delve into issues of race, gender and history with our key women’s issues in mind: economic security, freedom from violence and access to health services and information. Margaret Garner expert Delores Walters, PhD, will tell the true story and draw connections to modern-day women’s lives. Learn more about the community conversation or register online by clicking here. 

VICTORY for the Cook County
Bureau of Health Services!

Scroll down to our Advocacy section for details on a long-overdue success story. 

Tuesday Stars
To celebrate March as Women's History Month, each week we will recognize a woman whose accomplishments made a difference then and now.

"I still frequently think about those women of an earlier generation who took the first Pill – unaware of their part in a still unfolding experiment – and died for love." -Barbara SeamanBarbara Seaman was a muckraker for women’s health. In the 1960s, hundreds of women died from taking oral contraceptives. She followed this story and wrote a book on the dangerous side effects of the early birth-control pill formulation, resulting in a Congressional investigation that mandated a warning label and a patient-information insert for the pill. The book also angered magazine advertisers, and Seaman lost several writing jobs as a result. She also later exposed the health risks of hormone-replacement therapy for menopausal women. Seaman, who passed away last week, is remembered as a catalyst of the women’s health movement. Read more about Seaman's life.  

Congratulations and thanks to Project Director Lorie Chaiten and Staff Counsel Leah Bartelt from the ACLU Illinois’ Reproductive Rights Project. They successfully fought back an attempt to lift a federal injunction on Illinois’ parental notification law for young women seeking abortions. The Illinois Supreme Court’s “bypass rules” passed in 2006 were not good enough to help girls who could not ask their parents for consent “because of fear of abuse, neglect or being tossed from the house,” as Chaiten said in the press release. We must all remember to continue strong advocacy statewide because anti-choice forces will continue to try to resurrect Illinois’ parental notice law. Read more in the Associated Press story.


Analysis: Women and girls in the media

G-rated movies and cartoons are not good for boys and girls when it comes to showing gender equality. In fact, so-called family films have the “highest concentration” of imbalanced portrayals of women and girls, according to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Specifically in movies with G and PG ratings, female characters are more likely to be pursuing romance as their primary objective. And female characters of all ages are three times more likely than males to have unrealistically thin bodies. Read more at the Women’s Media Center, a group founded in 2004 with the mission of “Making the female half of the world visible and powerful in the media.” 

In These Times ran an article about the media’s long history of sexist coverage of women running for president of the United States. Author Erika Falk wrote, “The most significant consequence of this [bias] is not that, should a woman run, the press would make it less likely for her to win. Rather, the real problem is that such press coverage may make women less likely to run.” Falk’s book, “Women for President: Media Bias in Eight Campaigns” (University of Illinois Press, $19.95), was just published this year—buy it at Women and Children First and use our coupon so 10% of your purchase benefits us.

What's missing
The story: Right-wing pundit Heather Mac Donald says rape is not a crisis on college campuses. What we call an epidemic she calls "hype" because women are not calling crisis lines or reporting assaults, and college campuses are not responding as if in a “state of emergency.” Campuses misinterpret casual sex--or the "booze-fueled hookup culture"--for rape, she writes. The piece ran as an op ed in the Los Angeles Times last week. 

What’s missing: Luckily the Times ran a wonderful response by sexual assault advocate Nora Niedzielski-Eichner. She not only mentions massive evidence to support the epidemic of sexual violence against women, she succinctly outlines one cause: "So what are the problems with sex and rape on college campuses? The biggest is many students' lack of a clear understanding of the difference between the two." To prevent rape, we need comprehensive sexuality education for all ages, and all colleges need better sexual assault prevention programs. We need to shift the focus from victims to perpetrators, and we need to show men how they can stand against rape. The Times got one thing right: Women want the sexual assault crisis to warrant media coverage. But in the future we want to hear the truth the first time, from the real experts.

Foundation news
Heartland Alliance’s Mid-America Institute on Poverty, a Foundation grantee, released a report (PDF) on extreme poverty in Illinois and joined elected officials and advocates—including Chicago Foundation for Women—at a press conference in Springfield last week. The group calls for a state Commission on Poverty Eradication to halve our state’s extreme poverty by 2015, in House Bill 4369 and Senate Bill 2074. Left to right: Rep. Cynthia Soto (D-4th) and Rep. Gregory Harris (D-13th), House sponsors; Sen. Michael Frerichs (D-52nd), primary Senate sponsor; Doug Schenkelberg, associate director of policy at Heartland; and Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-7th), primary House sponsor.

Read more at our Press Room and our Past Events at


VICTORY! Reform and revenue for the
Cook County Bureau of Health Services

It has finally arrived. Late Friday night, the Cook County Commissioners approved an ordinance to create an independent board of trustees for the county’s public health system. This will bring to the bureau much-needed public health management expertise and a strong commitment to restoring services for the county’s uninsured. We made calls, hosted press conferences, met directly with commissioners, wrote letters and raised our collective voices. Thank you to everyone who participated in our advocacy campaign, and congratulations to our entire activist community.

Update: HIV prevention action on hold
Congress has began marking up the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, so abstinence-only guidelines are up in the air. We will alert you when the time is right for further advocacy. If you don't get our Action Alerts, sign up now to hear urgent advocacy messages and make an impact when you're needed most.

Find more advocacy opportunities at our Online Action Center.

Our Events
Our website calendar lists all our programs, events and cosponsorships.

Does Dee Dee Myers really think "women should rule the world"? 
Read our interview with the author online.

In the spotlight
MARCH 5 (Wed.): "The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo" film, discussion, 7:30-10 p.m.
MARCH 11 (Tue.): "Why Women Should Rule the World": Discussion with author Dee Dee
, 11:30 a.m.
MARCH 11 (Tue.): Meet "Walking on Eggshells" author Jane Isay, 3-4:30 p.m.

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