The Continuing War on Women


Women need to unite to regain our rights.

Women need to unite to regain our rights.

Despite the persistent gender gap in opinion polls and mounting criticism of their hostility to women’s rights, Republicans are not backing off their assault on women’s equality and well-being. New laws in some states could mean a death sentence for a pregnant woman who suffers a life-threatening condition. But the attack goes well beyond abortion, into birth control, access to health care, equal pay and domestic violence.
Republicans seem immune to criticism. In an angry speech last month, John Boehner, the House speaker, said claims that his party was damaging the welfare of women were “entirely created” by Democrats. Earlier, the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, sneered that any suggestion of a G.O.P. “war on women” was as big a fiction as a “war on caterpillars.”

But just last Wednesday, Mr. Boehner refuted his own argument by ramming through the House a bill that seriously weakens the Violence Against Women Act. That followed the Republican push in Virginia and elsewhere to require medically unnecessary and physically invasive sonograms before an abortion, and Senate Republicans’ persistent blocking of a measure to better address the entrenched problem of sex-based wage discrimination.

On Capitol Hill and in state legislatures, Republicans are attacking women’s rights in four broad areas.

ABORTION On Thursday, a House subcommittee denied the District of Columbia’s Democratic delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, a chance to testify at a hearing called to promote a proposed federal ban on nearly all abortions in the District 20 weeks after fertilization. The bill flouts the Roe v. Wade standard of fetal viability.

Seven states have enacted similar measures. In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law that bans most abortions two weeks earlier. Each measure will create real hardships for women who will have to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy before learning of major fetal abnormalities or risks to their own health.

These laws go a cruel step further than the familiar Republican attacks on Roe v. Wade. They omit reasonable exceptions for a woman’s health or cases of rape, incest or grievous fetal impairment. These laws would require a woman seeking an abortion to be near death, a standard that could easily delay medical treatment until it is too late.

All contain intimidating criminal penalties, fines and reporting requirements designed to scare doctors away. Last year, the House passed a measure that would have

Stop. Stop trying to control women

Stop. Stop trying to control women

allowed hospitals receiving federal money to refuse to perform an emergency abortion even when a woman’s life was at stake. The Senate has not taken up that bill, fortunately.

ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE Governor Brewer also recently signed a bill eliminating public funding for Planned Parenthood. Arizona law already barred spending public money on abortions, which are in any case a small part of the services that Planned Parenthood provides. The new bill denies the organization public money for nonabortion services, like cancer screening and family planning, often the only services of that kind available to poor women.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and the state’s Republican-dominated Legislature tried a similar thing in 2011, and were sued in federal court by a group of clinics. The state argues that it is trying to deny money to organizations that “promote” abortions. That is nonsense. Texas already did not give taxpayer money for abortions, and the clinics that sued do not perform abortions.

Last year, the newly installed House Republican majority rushed to pass bills (stopped by the Democratic-led Senate) to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and Title X. That federal program provides millions of women with birth control, lifesaving screening for breast and cervical cancer, and other preventive care. It is a highly effective way of preventing the unintended pregnancies and abortions that Republicans claim to be so worried about.

EQUAL PAY Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, the epicenter of all kinds of punitive and regressive legislation, signed the repeal of a 2009 law that allowed women and others to bring lawsuits in state courts against pay discrimination, instead of requiring them to be heard as slower and more costly federal cases. It also stiffened penalties for employers found guilty of discrimination.

He defended that bad decision by saying he did not want those suits to “clog up the legal system.” He turned that power over to his government, which has a record of hostility toward workers’ rights.

President Obama has been trying for three years to update and bolster the 1963 Equal Pay Act to enhance remedies for victims of gender-based wage discrimination, shield employees from retaliation for sharing salary information with co-workers, and mandate that employers show that wage differences are job-related, not sex-based, and driven by business necessity.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Last month, the Senate approved a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, designed to protect victims of domestic and sexual abuse and bring their abusers to justice. The disappointing House bill omits new protections for gay, Indian, student and immigrant abuse victims that are contained in the bipartisan Senate bill. It also rolls back protections for immigrant women whose status is dependent on a spouse, making it more likely that they will stay with their abusers, at real personal risk, and ends existing protections for undocumented immigrants who report abuse and cooperate with law enforcement to pursue the abuser.

Whether this pattern of disturbing developments constitutes a war on women is a political argument. That women’s rights and health are casualties of Republican policy is indisputable.

—Excerpted from the New York Times

This is the second time we have picketed many of our issues

This is the second time we have picketed many of our issues

There are no doubts that there is a War on Women. There was one in the 60′s and 70′s. We protest to Take Back the Night. These protests are organized because women need to be able to be out at night without fear of violence, such as rape. 95% of rape victims are women. When a woman says no, it is no. Forcing sex on her is a crime. If a woman has too much to drink or has done some drugs, if she says no, it is no. A woman wears a mini skirt to a party? She is not advertising, she is being a fashonista. She has the right to say no. There is never a reason for a man to ignore a woman saying no. You wanting sex with a woman in these circumstances is not because you are a stud, she is too hot to leave alone. It has to do with the perp’s need for power and control. It makes you a sexual predator.

Domestic Violence is also a crime. There is never a reason to hit a woman. Abuse can be physical such as slapping, pinching, hitting, punching, kicking, or twisting limbs. Abuse can also be verbal and emotional. This includes demeaning words, telling a woman how stupid she is. It is telling her she is ugly and no other man will want her. It is manipulating her to do what you want her to do. Please refer to previous blogs that you will see in my sidebar for October, 2013. If you are being hit, save some money and keep it hidden well. Call your local hotline for your city. Leave and take your children and go to the shelter. You will receive all you need to be free. You never have to live in violence ever again. Women have legal recourse and you will have support getting a protection order or a restraining order.

Equal pay for equal work. People often think this is funny. But woman work as hard as a man and sometimes harder. Even with the Equal pay law that President Obama has signed and it is law women earn less. This is left over from the sixties and seventies. Corporations  felt men where heads of households and if the wife was working, then she was just doing it for “pin money?” When we worked to get women the right to leave the house and go to work it was so that every woman had a choice. That she had the right to do what would make her happy. So staying home raising kids was fine and so was going to work.But our wonderful corporations made it almost necessary for a woman to work. Two incomes are needed to survive.

Sexual harrassment is a federal crime. If you have a supervisor or someone else and they want sex from you and you are not interested just say no. If he makes it plain that your job or salary or promotion are at risk you are being sexually harrassed. Go to Human Resources and file a complaint. It is your right. You can’t be fired because you said no. They may try to tell you that but it isn’t true. Get a lawyer.

waronwomen3

Remember that being a woman is something to be proud of, just as being a man is something to be proud of if you are not sexist or racist. You have the right, as a woman, to live freely in a place where you or you and your children are safe from violence.

war on women4

waronwomen2

No Box For Me


Image

You go where you are free.

Our society likes us all to be conformist in how we live, what we do, ;and what we think. Even as a child I wasn’t able to do this, I couldn’t even fake it. My soul would just rebel at things like hypocrisy and injustice.

Society in every country makes demands upon its citizens that they be uniform in actions and thinking. I am not talking about good behavior versus criminal  behavior. It is as Ghandi said when he was encouraging Indian citizens to use passive resistance to obtain their freedom from the English.

My hackles go up when someone is telling a person what to think or say. I will not be put into a box all neat and orderly. This has been true since I was a child and often I paid dearly for having my own thoughts. Human beings don’t all think alike or act alike, for which I am grateful. How boring it would be if we were all the same in our actions and thinking. It is true that sometimes people just know how to push our buttons, but you are in control of how you are going to react.

Women, for instance, are treated as inferior or as second class citizens. As I have mentioned before, we still are the only American citizens who are not legally equal. Minorities continue to suffer discrimination. It is a sad fact that often a person has a bad experience, and forms a distrust of all people of that race, culture or religion.

Image

Living in a world of terror is frightening. However, I remember the Cold War and the drills at school where we would be told to get under our desks when the siren went off. I asked, one day, how the desks would protect us. The teacher was not pleased at all with me because the other kids heard and wanted an answer too. She didn’t have an answer.

I have Muslim friends. They are not jihadists yet every day people look at them with distrust. I was with one of my friends and we went to dinner. When the server came to our table, she was visibly uncomfortable. I started to talk to the server and to relieve the tension. It ended up fine but my friend was uncomfortable. It was shortly after 9-11 and we both understood but my heart hurt that this situation happened.

Sometimes, you can see both sides, but you must choose the ethical and morally right behaviorAs a society, we need to remember that the Divine is within all of us and to try to correct what is hypocritical and unjust.

Yes, there are evil people in the world. But they often come from severely dysfunctional families. Sometimes they are so damaged they cannot heal or are not given the opportunity. My rule for measuring this life is hypocrisy and injustice. I cannot tolerate either in my life. So there are times I have walked away from people because they were an offense to my soul.

WWII and the holocaust are examples of people who ignored their inner guidance and some even assisted the Nazis. One person whose name you are probably familiar with is Coco Chanel. She began the designer line of the House of Chanel. She collaborated with the Germans when they took Paris. People died because of her actions. But she took care of herself and her Chanel line thrives to this day.

I encourage everyone to be true to who you are and what is true in your life. If you do not betray your own soul and heart, then you will be able to trust your inner guidance to lead you to your higher good.

.Image

If you are being your true self, you will then be the person that the Divine, The One, Adonai intended you to be in this lifetime.

Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870


Needlework by Barbara Mattio

Needlework by Barbara Mattio

My subject will be the many aspects of the Hallmark holiday which sells so many cards in America. It is a big job in a woman’s life and one she is least prepared for. Congratulations to all the mothers out there. You have served above and beyond. My heart goes out to the women who desperately want children and are unable to have them. I respect the women who have known they didn’t want to have children and did not. This can be a awkward day for them. I respect the women who knew they never wanted to marry for whatever reason and honor their decision.

There is the pain of the mothers who have lost children. Your hearts have sustained the worst of the pain a human being can suffer. To lose a child or a grandchild is an event that should earn every mother a medal of honor; a recognition of what she has lost. I dedicate this upcoming holiday to the mothers who are no longer with us on this plane, but have left us to be welcomed home by the Divine Universe.

I am going to include the Mother’s Day Proclamation every year until we as women have been given our legal equality. Every man enters this plane via our bodies and yet we aren’t equal? I believe not. We are and we will work to that end  until we accomplish equality.

In Memory of all the Mother's who are no longet with us   Photo  copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013

In Memory of all the Mother’s who are no longet with us and children who have been lost due to violence in the past year. Photo copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013

Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870 – Julia Ward Howe

“Arise, the women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears!
Say firmly
“We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking of carnage,
for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country
will be too tender of those of another country
to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes with
our own, it says ‘disarm! disarm!’
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
whereby the great human family can live in peace,
each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Ceasar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
that a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient
and at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
to promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
the amicable settlement of international questions,
the great and general interests of peace.”

We are connected to all life now and always.

We are connected to all life now and always.

Twenty two Republicans Voted Against the Violence Against Women Act


"Sculpture

Sculpture at National Museum of Art; acrylic paints on stretched canvas; Painting by Barbara Mattio

Washington DC is a remarkable city. There are the politicians and Congress and the White House. I have gone there many times to see art museums. I love borrowed exhibits. I have also been in the mall more times than I can remember for protests and picketing for women’s and children’t rights.

Yesterday, Congress did pass the Violence Against Women Act. This is a wonderful victory for women. But don’t get too excited because there is still a war going on against women.And this piece of legislation must be ratified by Congress every five years.

We still must work to receive legal equality. We, the women of America, are the only citizens who do not have legal equality. This needs to be passed this year. There is still much discrimination against women and minorities.

Every republican voted against equal pay for equal worl

Every Republican voted against equal pay for equal work

There is a lack of respect for women in America

There is a lack of respect for women in America

I suggest that everyone looks for the voting record of your Congress people. Look at who is voting against women and children. If you have one who has voted against legislation you believe in, it is time to vote againt the Congress person in the next election.

Magnolia, Oil pastels   By Barbara Mattio

Magnolia, Oil pastels By Barbara Mattio

We can change women’s lives with our voices and our actions. We can use peaceful ways to debate and state the importance of respect for women, reproductive health concerns, education, equal pay and legal equality. Don’t leave it for someone else to stand up and tell the world our truth. We are sisters and need to stand up with and for the women of America.

Equal pay for equal work

Equal pay for equal work

,

The Quiet but Worsening War on Women


Betty Freiden wrote the Feminine Mystic

Betty Freiden wrote the Feminine Mystic

Every day I hear another story about women and what is quietly happening to the rights we already have, after a great deal of work. I also hear about what is happening to prevent our legal equality. Congress did not pass the Violence Against Women Act. It is a law that must be renewed every five years. Congress just decided not to renew the law. This law protects women from Domestic Violence, slapping, punching, kicking, pushing, being burned, having a jaw broken and worse. A woman is battered every 11 seconds. Congress, those guys who love their constituents so much voted no.

Some of them may be batterers, some may have come from families where violence was common in the home. Some think women need to be controlled and punished when they don’t do what the man in their lives. Violence will increase against women. Sexism and misogyny worsen every day. The answer is to have laws to protect us. Men need to treat us as equal partners. We need Congress to pass the law to make us legally equal.

I suggest you write, email, call your congress people and the White House. I do it. More women and feminist men need to let these people know how we feel and that we won’t settle for being second class citizens. Raise your voice with pride. “We are women, hear us roar.”  –Helen Reddy

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Often abuse begins when a woman becomes pregnant.

Often the abuse begins when a woman becomes pregnant.

Rights for Women Won’t End on November sixth


November 6, 2012 does decide who will be our President for the next four years.What won’t be decided is what will happen to women and our rights and issues.

In 2013, we face another important battle in Congress. We need to have passed the legislation to make women legally equal. Think it is not necessary? That is what they said about women voting. Essentially, they said we weren’t smart enough to vote. Not only are we smart enough but we are smarter than some men. Nothing personal.

Women are still going to require access to contraception. The whole “be fruitful and multiply” thing is well past the point of no return. We have seven billion plus human beings on this planet and I believe we have fulfilled the directive.

Children around the world are dying from hunger, lack of clean water, violent revolutions, greed, bigotry, racism and in some countries if a girl is born she will be left to die. Baby girls die alone, unwanted and unloved. Even if their mothers want them, the husband will throw both of them out, if necessary.

Here in America, the most prosperous country in the world, our children aren’t golden. They often lack proper education, health care, food, love, encouragement. Why you ask? Because they weren’t born into rich families, but into poor and disadvantaged families. Most of society turns away from the reality of what these children lack and what they suffer.

Domestic Violence is gaining victims. The laws we worked so hard to get on the books, are often not being enforced. Young girls are not being told no one has the right to pinch, punch, slap, rape, hit, demean, kick, or call them names. We must tell these girls there is help and they should not be forced to live in violence. There are help lines and shelters where then will be helped and legally protected in every state and in almost every town.

Human trafficking is where many boys and girls end up. Sold into sexual slavery and facing decades of being objectified and beaten by any man who has the money to pay for their services. These kids live in hell on earth. Their innocent souls corrupted and ravaged by men who only care about themselves and what their money can buy them.

All people have the right to live authentically. No one should have to pretend to fit in. Everyone needs to be accepted for who they are. Parents, society and governments need to make this possible…

I have barely scratched the surface, but I will continue to address these issues as time goes on.

What Women Want


This is a subject that has inspired books and movies. It is now a huge part of our 2012 Presidential election. Now, be assured that not all women want more rights. Some are happy and content being “owned” by the significant male in their life. But for those of us who are strong. capable and passionate, we want change. We don’t want to go back to the nineteenth century and we want to move forward.

Women want to be legally equal in 2013. We are the only citizens of the United States of America who are not equal legally. We want the government and men out of our bodies. We are capable of making choices that effect our reproduction and our health.

We want people to understand that rape is not legitimate. It has nothing to do with sex. It is completely about power and control. I cite the cases of eighty-five year old women and one year old babies being raped.

We want stronger laws protecting women and men from Domestic Violence. I worked in Domestic Violence in two states for over 25 years. A women does not have to live in fear. No one has the right to verbally abuse you. No one has the right to hit, slap, punch, kick, break your jaw, threaten your life or the lives of your children. There are shelters and helplines in almost every town and in every state. Call your local police for telephone numbers to receive shelter, food, counseling, legal assistance, moral support and caring attention.
At the shelter I helped to start we had a slogan, “You can’t beat a Woman.”

We want equal pay for equal work. Women who are doing the same job as a man are currently earning $.77 for every dollar a man earns. In the 1970′s, it was $.64 for every dollar a man earned. Yes, it is an improvement but a pathetic one.

Women want the world to know that women’s work counts. If a woman chooses to stay at home with her children she is just as worthy as a woman who goes out of the home to work. And if we go out to work, our work is as meaningful as a man’s work.

Women do not want to be viewed as second class citizens. We don’t want how we look, what size we wear, or how much plastic surgery we’ve had to matter more than our character, morals and intelligence.

We want the women in every country of the world to be free from honor killings, being sold into sexual slavery, from genital mutilation. We want every child, boy or girl in the world to be able to learn to read and write and to receive the medical care they require.

We want American insurance companies not to put caps on the health costs of human beings. We want every man, women, and child to receive the medical care and medication they need, even if they aren’t in the 1%. We want insurance companies to be forced not to tell doctors what medications they can prescribe and what treatments they can order.

We want the bullying that children are suffering at the hands of classmates to end. We want schools to be free of violence and hatred. Every time a child commits suicide due to bullying, we as a society, have failed them. Our hands are also bloody.

We want people to be able to love whomever they love. Love comes from the soul and souls don’t have gender. Souls just love and that love is no less beautiful than any other.

Please feel free to add things that I have not mentioned. I am happy to have your feedback. We need to create a better life for all women on this planet. If you don’t know much about feminism and would like more information, I suggest reading, Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, Gloria Steinem. Revolution from Within, Robin Morgan, The Burning Times. I also suggest Lenore Walker and Alice Walker, Marge Piercy and Toni Morrison.

Alice Walker, author and feminist

And For the First Time


We are celebrating the 30th summer Olympics. There is something else we need to celebrate at this time. It is that for the very first time, ever ever. there are women athletes from every country competing.

This is huge and makes my heart sing. After all the American politics and the ultra conservatives wanting to take away our rights as women; after being the target of a War On Women; after all the centuries of persecution of women in countries around the world, We are There. We are ALL There, women competing, laughing and being equal. Women being brave and fighting to be at the top of their sport.

We may not earn as much as a man at a comparable job but we can compete in the Olympics! Each success must be celebrated. Perhaps, 2013 will bring us the status of being legally equal to all other people in America.

Untitled poem from “The Dinner Party”

“And then all that has divided us will merge
And then compassion will be wedded to power
And then softness will come to a world that is harsh
and unkind
And then both men and women will be gentle
And then both women and men will be strong
And then no person will be subject to another’s will
And then all will be rich and free and varied
And then the greed of some will give way to the needs
of many
And then all will share equally in the Earth’s abundance
And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old
And then all will nourish the young
And then all will live in harmony with each other
and the Earth
And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.”

————Judy Chicago