TUESDAY BLAST - Chicago Foundation for Women's Weekly eUpdate

April 8-14, 2008

Thursday, June 5
Honoring women leaders

2008 Impact Awards

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Tuesday Special

LeeAnn Trotter will emcee our 5K
Our second annual Race for a Safe State is coming to Grant Park on Thursday, May 1. NBC5 reporter LeeAnn Trotter joins us again this year to kick off the race.

More reasons to run, walk or roll with us:

PRIZES: Two round-trip United Airlines tickets for the top fundraiser, plus great prizes from Fleet Feet for the top finishers in all age groups.
BRING THE FAMILY: Music, games and snacks both before and after the race. Kids under 13 race free with a participating adult.
ATHLETE-FRIENDLY: All participants get a technical shirt this year—even better than last year’s T-shirt. And the course is now USATF certified.
A GOOD CAUSE: The park is a place where too many women and girls do not feel safe. Help us make Chicago a safer place for all women and girls. Register now.


How is Illinois ensuring the well-being of women and girls? To find out, we commissioned Voices for Illinois Children to take a line-by-line look at the governor’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2009 through the lens of gender. The Foundation believes public budgets are a moral compass that direct the state’s obligation to its more vulnerable citizens. In three critical areas—economic security, freedom from violence and health—the “budget does include some increased support for programs critical to the well-being of women and girls.” Despite increasing costs, proposed funding for many programs is flat or reduced--placing an added burden on women and girls most in need of a social safety net. It’s imperative that budget-makers remain sensitive to the needs of those residents buffeted by numerous hardships such as abuse, poverty and lack of health insurance. Read the report (PDF). For advocacy efforts that Chicago Foundation for Women supports, visit our advocacy page.

Health care and access
A transgender man is carrying a baby for him and his wife. Thomas Beatie underwent sex reassignment surgery but did not undergo sterilization and “kept my reproductive rights,” as he wrote in a moving essay in The Advocate. He and his wife—Beatie is legally male and they are married—wanted a child but she cannot become pregnant, so Beatie made the decision to attempt a pregnancy. However, the couple struggled for a year to find a doctor willing to examine Beatie so he could access a sperm donor bank.

Birth control patch Ortho Evra has been linked to health complications and deaths due to a higher-than-reported dose of estrogen, The New York Times reports. The drug’s manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, claims the lawsuits are dead in the water because the Food and Drug Administration approved the patch as safe, despite the fact that the company obscured the estrogen levels on its packaging. The so-called “pre-emption” argument has been repeatedly shot down in courts, but the Bush administration backs the drug companies.  

What's missing
The story: Thomas Athans, husband of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and co-founder of “the liberal TalkUSA Radio network,” was caught in a prostitution sting by police, the Associated Press reports. When confronted by police outside a Detroit-area hotel, Athans admitted he had just paid $150 for sex with a woman still in the hotel. Police let him go without prostitution-related charges, and they proceeded to arrest the woman Athans had just left. Athans, who reportedly “didn’t drop any names or ask for preferential treatment,” later received and paid a $115 fine for driving with a suspended license.

What’s missing: Consistency. Why does law enforcement only care about one side of prostitution here, especially since a man admitted guilt and was found at the hotel? And why didn’t the Associated Press address this double standard? Even if Athans didn’t request “preferential treatment,” we shouldn’t pat him on the back—he’s a wealthy white man who got to walk away from the scene of a crime. The media should take another step and ask law enforcement why they arrest women yet largely ignore the men who buy or profit from prostitution: Does it reduce women’s recidivism? Does it deter demand for prostitution? Both answers are no, so why not ask about offering services to those in the sex trade and focusing arrests on the demand side, both of which have been shown to help? This will not be the last time a famous man is caught in a prostitution sting, so next time we hope reporters are more critical of law enforcement’s approach.

Foundation news

Our reception at the "Ladies' Choice" Chicago Sinfonietta concert on March 31 welcomed many musicians, as well as guest conductor Tania León. A warm thanks to our guests for making the reception memorable, and to the musicians and composers who wowed us with their talent and passion. It was a perfect way to send off Women's History Month.

From April 2-3, we hosted the Women’s Funding Network and several women’s funds for the Chicago “Dismantling Poverty Convening.” The Women’s Funding Network is an international organization with more than 100 member funds committed to improving the status of women and girls locally, nationally and globally. We were also joined by New York Women’s Foundation, Women’s Foundation of California, Washington Area Women’s Foundation, Atlanta Women’s Foundation, Minnesota Women’s Foundation, Ms. Foundation for Women, Women’s Foundation of Colorado and Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. See a slideshow of select photos on our website.

Our grantees
"Keeping a roof over their heads," a position paper completed by the Jane Addams Hull House Association (a Foundation grantee), examined the hurdles faced by low-income working women as they attempt to find and maintain safe, affordable and quality housing in metropolitan Chicago. One finding showed that of the 420,000 female headed households in Chicago, 131,000 live on between $10,000 and $30,000 annually. To address some of the housing issues facing working poor families, the report called for policymakers, funders and social service providers to reinvigorate the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund and the Rental Housing Support Program, among other suggestions. Click here to read the paper (PDF).

Read more at our Press Room and our Past Events at


ACTION: No more tax money for abstinence-only sex ed
Next Tuesday, taxes are due—and Illinois needs to hear from all of us that our tax dollars should not be used for abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education. The state accepts federal Title V funding for these programs that are insufficient, inaccurate and ineffective—and require additional state money and resources. Just a glance at recent news tells the tale:

  • Iowa, our neighbor to the west, became the 17th state to reject Title V funding last month.
  • More than 20 editorial boards76 members of Congress and countless medical professionals are calling for an end to the failed abstinence-only experiment.
  • Study after study show abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula do not work, and now a University of Washington study shows how much better a comprehensive approach to sex education is—unlike Title V programs, they consistently prevent teen pregnancy, the Seattle Times reports

April 15 is a statewide day of action on this issue. Stay tuned for our action alert, and organize your own activities using the toolkit (PDF) from Illinois Caucus on Adolescent Health, a grantee, or send a postcard (PDF) to Gov. Blagojevich and Illinois’ congressional delegation.

Foreign HIV/AIDS relief funding passes House

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, passed the U.S. House of Representatives and awaits action in the Senate. Stay tuned for an action alert when your advocacy is needed. The facts: With a five-year, $50 billion reauthorization, the program is expanding but has some points of concern: the anti-prostitution pledge prevents programs from reaching out to women in the sex trade; contraception services are severely restricted; and new reporting language maintains a "heavy emphasis on abstinence-oriented prevention strategies," though without requiring one-third of the prevention budget be spent on them, the Washington Post reports.

Find more advocacy opportunities at our Online Action Center.

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

In the spotlight
APRIL 9 (Wed.): A Foundation for Your Financial Future: Redefining Economic Security,
     6-8 p.m. (First program in the Leadership and Alumnae Councils' financial series)
APRIL 17 (Thu.): April Artifacts (fundraiser for African American Leadership Council),
     5:30-8 p.m.
APRIL 20 (Sun.): "A Passage to India" (fundraiser for Asian American Leadership Council),
     3-6 p.m.
APRIL 27-MAY 1 (Sun.-Thu.): "Body and Sold" play on sex trafficking, 7-9 p.m. each day

New this week
MAY 22 (Thu.): "Beyond Choice" reproductive justice conference (cosponsored program),
     8 a.m.-3 p.m.

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