May 13-19, 2008
No fairy tale: Mothers in poverty
When it comes to poverty, mothers raising children bear the heaviest burden. In the wake of Mother’s Day, we invite you to stand up for mothers and women everywhere by learning about recent research on economic security funded by our grants. Register for Friday morning’s free “Economic Security Briefing: Poverty’s Impact on Illinois Women and Girls” and see poverty through a gender lens.
Voices for Illinois Children (PDF) studied the proposed Illinois budget for FY 2009 with an eye to how women and girls will fare next year. The “2008 Report on Illinois Poverty" (PDF) by the Heartland Alliance’s Illinois Poverty Summit contains a section on challenges to women’s economic security (starting on p. 16). Some facts from the two reports:
- Female-headed households in Illinois have 2.6 times the poverty rate of families overall.
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grants, which give cash assistance, have been the same in Illinois since 2002—not even adjusted to keep up with inflation. The program may face a 5 percent cut in 2009.
- One in five divorced women live in poverty.
- Just one year of post-secondary education can cut the poverty rate in half for households headed by women of color.
Join us from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. this Friday, May 16. Register online now.
Mildred Loving, a black woman who challenged Virginia's ban on interracial marriages, passed away last week, the Associated Press reports. Loving and her white husband, Richard, appealed Virginia's ban and in 1967 won a precedent-setting Supreme Court case. Last June was the case's 40th anniversary and Loving, a self-proclaimed apolitical person, uncharacteristically released a statement. She wrote, “I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.” We enthusiastically agree. Read the rest of Loving's statement.
A study asking why men buy sex was released last week by the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation—a Foundation grantee—and the Justice Project Against Sexual Harm. The 200 men interviewed frequently buy sex, and a majority them were college-educated and in committed relationships, the Chicago Tribune reports. One interviewed man said: “Prostitutes are a product, like cereal. You go to the grocery, pick the brand you want and pay for it. It’s business.” About 90 percent of the men said they would stop buying sex if they were likely to be caught by law enforcement.
In a separate story, Alternet writes about more sex trade research and federal anti-trafficking legislation that would shift attention to arresting perpetrators of domestic sex trafficking instead of individuals who are prostituted. (The Foundation supports this bill, HR 3887, which passed the U.S. House and is expected in the Senate soon.) Leading local groups in the article include the Justice Project and two grantees: DePaul’s Schiller, DuCanto and Fleck Family Law Center and the Young Women’s Empowerment Project.
Psychologists often treat transgender children as if they are mentally ill, National Public Radio reports. Two radically different approaches to working with these children highlight a divide that puts transgender youth in the middle: Do parents choose therapy for “gender identity disorder” to “correct” a child’s gender to match the sexual organs, or do families embrace their children as transgender and support the child’s development into any gender identity? Unfortunately, the “disorder” approach is more prevalent. Part one and part two have text overviews and links to each segment's audio.
The story: Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) will not be investigated by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics for his ties to prostitution, the Associated Press reports. At the trial of “D.C. Madam” Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the senator was “spared further embarrassment” when he was not called as a witness, though his phone number was found in Palfrey’s records and he admitted to soliciting women working for Palfrey. The Senate committee ruled that Vitter’s ties to prostitution were not relevant because they predated his Senate service, did not involve public funds or use of his office and never resulted in criminal charges. The committee did say they “would find the alleged conduct of solicitation for prostitution to be reprehensible” if proven true.
What’s missing: Accountability. Let’s be clear that Vitter was not simply “spared… embarrassment” when the prosecution did not put him on the stand. Because Vitter had no files charged against him, he also gets a pass on Congressional oversight—if this tepid response keeps up, will Vitter ever be called to account for his actions? Not likely. We expect more than empty words—from Congress and the media alike—when it comes to allegations involving the sex trade.
POWER: Opening Doors for Women host their fifth annual Networking Dinners on Thursday, May 22 starting at 5 p.m. at the Adler Planetarium. Join Eileen Sweeney, Motorola’s director of corporate and foundation philanthropic relations, and Chicago Foundation for Women for the “Women in Philanthropy” dinner. Speakers include Mary F. Morten, the Foundation’s interim executive director; Mae P. Hong from the Field Foundation (and our board chair); Deborah Harrington from Woods Fund of Chicago, and Jamie Phillippe from The Chicago Community Trust. We’re pleased to join our colleagues in the field to look at trends in philanthropy and what’s on the horizon for women in this sector. See more dinner topics and register online.
Calling all nonprofit communicators: The 2008 Making Media Connections conference will be June 11 and 12 at Columbia College. Community Media Workshop's annual conference is cosponsored this year by Chicago Foundation for Women. Join top media experts, nonprofit communicators, board members, community leaders, mainstream and independent journalists and publishers to talk about getting our communities' important stories told. Learn more and register online.
Read more at our Press Room and our Past Events at cfw.org.
Update: Progress on Cook County public health governance
Save our public health services. They may one day save you.
In February we celebrated when the Cook County Board passed an ordinance to create an independent board of directors to govern the Cook County Bureau of Health Services—but our advocacy efforts continue. Over the last several months, the Foundation has worked with the Emergency Network to Save Cook County Health Services to monitor and provide guidance for a nominating committee (PDF) in charge of selecting members to oversee the bureau. The efforts are having an impact. On May 5, President Todd Stroger selected seven of the Network’s recommended nine candidates. We applaud this first step in restoring the county’s health care system. Read the Emergency Network’s press release (PDF). When it's time for you to take action, we will alert you. In the meantime, find out who your county commissioner is at www.civicfootprint.org or visit the Cook County website for commissioner contact information.
Find more advocacy opportunities at our Online Action Center.
Our website calendar lists all our programs, events and cosponsorships.
In the spotlight
TODAY, MAY 13 (Tue.): Build the Movement: Empowering Asian American Voters (with
Asian American Leadership Council), 6-8 p.m.
MAY 15 (Thu.): Grantees: Executive Director Roundtable on Developing the Development
Department, 12-1:30 p.m.
MAY 16 (Fri): Economic Security Briefing: Poverty’s Impact on Illinois Women and Girls,
MAY 23 (Fri.): Abstinence-Only Sex Education: Why Young Women Deserve More (with
Anti-Defamation League), 8-9:30 a.m.
New this week
JUNE 1 (Sun.): Women's Voices conference: Understanding Mental Health Issues of
Women and Girls (with Naomi Ruth Cohen Charitable Foundation), 12:45-5:30 p.m.
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