Disparities & Access

Many of the health challenges faced by women are a result of insufficient access to basic prevention information, health services and insurance coverage. In the pharmaceutical and health industries, the gender dimensions of diseases and treatments are often overlooked in setting research priorities and developing new products. The availability and quality of health care may vary according to race, income, ability, geographic location or immigration status. In the U.S., finding affordable health insurance is particularly challenging for women, who often pay higher premiums than men. Many insurance companies fail to cover or provide adequate maternity care or essential reproductive health services. Additionally, women experience more part-time and interrupted jobs and careers due to caregiving and family responsibilities and require portable health plans that provide stable coverage.

GIRLS FORUM: Round-Up

February 13, 2009 posted by Linda Basch Last week we reached out to advocates and scholars working on issues affecting girls’ lives to submit their Girls Agenda 2009: More funding for teen dating violence prevention? More attention paid to the international trafficking of girls? New programs to promote the health, safety, and well-being of future women?  Effective, comprehensive sex education in our schools? The responses we received were dynamic, fresh, and exciting.  Deborah Tolman, Professor of Social Welfare, Hunter College School of Social Work, suggested that in order to enhance girls’ resiliency, we must do more than reduce risk—we must provide encouragement so that they may live their lives in the positive.  Lyn Mikel Brown, author of Girlfighting, offered an insightful critique of the “mean girl” phenomenon and recommended a strength-based approach: “We affirm girls’ relational and political strengths by giving them reason to believe they can count on one another and work together to solve social problems.”  Allison Kimmich, Executive Director of the National Women’s Study Association, drew on Obama’s role as both father and policymaker, nudging him to make policy decisions in the same manner he parents.


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THE GLOBAL TRACK: India--Land of Malls and Ragpickers

February 11, 2009 posted by Shyama Venkateswar

 
 

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="298" caption="Photograph: Deshakalyan Chowdhury"]Photograph: Deshakalyan Chowdhury[/caption]

I was recently in Calcutta, India, my place of birth, home to where my mother, a sibling, old friends, and sweet memories still reside. This is my other “home” where I try to get to every year to renew and regenerate myself, and recharge from the stresses of a running a two working parents’ nuclear household in frenetic New York City. My trip last month came after a two year gap; I felt the familiar overwhelming desire to be there, to be a part of the sights and sounds of an India that were at once familiar and yet distant to me. Having left almost 23 years ago to move to the US, I have a unique insider-outsider vantage point. I was born and brought up there; I know things instinctively – all the cultural puzzles, contradictions, nuances of language, wordplay and verbal cues, body language, subtle things - that only a native-born can ever know. But, having been away long enough, and trained in and working in a field where critical inquiry is required, I can no longer accept without questioning the status and daily conditions of millions of people living in absolute poverty, what Collier refers to as The Bottom Billion. Even as India’s economy grows steadily at about 8% a year, there are entire communities of people, some 300 million of them, who live under a $1 a day without regular access to food, water, housing, livelihoods, reproductive healthcare or education. Malnutrition in children under five is at a staggering 45%.

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GIRLS FORUM: Young Obama Campaign Worker Wants Equal Opportunities to Pursue Her Dreams

Februrary 5, 2009 posted by admin Dear President Obama, I was one of the “super volunteers” for the Duluth, MN area throughout your campaign. I’ve always been interested in history, culture and politics, and I had the opportunity to attend JrNYLC (Junior National Young Leaders Conference) in Washington, DC. Working on your campaign was one of the most memorable experiences of my life! It has already led me to new political experiences because of the people I met campaigning. I recently attended “Camp Wellstone” to learn more about working effectively on political campaigns. One of my supervisors, Drew Sandquist, worked on your inauguration team.


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GIRLS FORUM: Navigating Girlhood to Womanhood from New Moon’s Nancy Gruver

February 5, 2009 posted by admin We asked activists and scholars in the girl’s rights movement to draft a letter to President Obama, outlining their Girls Agenda for 2009.  Here’s what Nancy Gruver, founder and CEO of New Moon Magazine had to say: Dear President Obama: As Malia and Sasha’s proud father I don’t need to tell you how having daughters can give you new eyes on the world.  My daughters, Mavis and Nia, are adults now.  But it feels like just last week that they were ten years old and I was worrying about how to help them navigate the treacherous journey from girlhood to womanhood.  We started New Moon Girls magazine together to give girls a place to express themselves and make the world better. I believe you agree that growing up should mean increasing opportunities as well as responsibilities for our daughters.  It should mean increasing respect and rewards for their intelligence, creativity, and skills.  It should mean they have access to equal education and healthcare, including effective pregnancy prevention.  It should mean they have the freedom to walk down the street or go on a date without worrying they might be attacked just because they are female.


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FAST FACTS: Rights of Transgender Immigrants

January 29, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird FACT: “A growing number of people who have been persecuted for being transgender or transsexual have received asylum in the past few years, under the rubric of persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender… However, neither Citizenship and Immigration Services nor the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has expressly recognized transgender people as “a particular social group” for the purposes of asylum.” I was thrilled to receive an announcement yesterday by the American Immigration Lawyers Association about their newly-released practice manual for lawyers representing transgender clients. 

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Quick Links on the 36th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

January 22, 2009 posted by admin [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="165" caption="2004 March for Women's Lives in DC (photo via NOW)"][/caption] Today marks the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  As we look back to commemorate this historic court decision, we must also look forward to renewing, restoring, and securing reproductive and sexual health for all women.  Gloria Feldt recently reminded us of the importance of recognizing reproductive rights as human rights.  In order to restore reproductive rights, Caryl Rivers at Women’s eNews urges us to start now.


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NEW YEAR'S FORUM: 9 Points of Hope for 2009 from The Women’s Foundation of California’s Judy Patrick

January 9, 2009 posted by admin May 2009 be a year in which:

1. We act from hope and possibility rather than fear.

2. We build bridges across our differences through love and compassion.

3. Generosity trumps greed and justice triumphs.

4. Women and their families are central in the economic recovery package.

5. Every woman and girl is supported in her dreams for self-realization, whether through a friend’s loyalty, a parent’s love or a partner’s respect.

6. Policy makers and corporate executives choose to act with integrity and courage.

7. Every person in the US believes that her actions can make a difference.


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NEW YEAR'S FORUM: Racialicious’ Latoya Peterson Calls for Honesty in the New Year

January 6, 2009 posted by admin Our New Year's Resolution as a nation is a simple one.  We should resolve to be honest with ourselves.


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NEW YEAR'S FORUM: A Conversation with Kavita

January 6, 2009 posted by  Linda Basch As we start off with our New Year’s Resolutions for the nation, I begin with an inspiring conversation I recently had with Kavita Ramdas, President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women. We were musing about the future, particularly with regard to women’s human rights at this optimistic moment for the country, with a new administration about to take charge in Washington. But as Kavita pointed out, as we begin to look forward, we also need to be self reflective as a nation. We need to develop a sense of collective responsibility. A number of problems have grown up over the past several years that we can’t sweep away, that we must address as a country and hold ourselves accountable for. I couldn’t agree more. I love conversations that are as wide-ranging as this one was.  We covered a lot of ground.  Some highlights:  As someone who works on global women's rights, Kavita hopes that the new administration will place a high priority on advancing women's rights worldwide. This can only be achieved by the US decreasing its emphasis on militarism and violence as the primary means to resolve conflict and re-focusing its efforts away from the so called "war on terror" towards efforts to eradicate global poverty, inequality, and injustice. Yet, she insisted, that much of the US's ability to achieve such results globally will depend on the choices it makes inside its own borders. So, I asked Kavita what she would like to see in terms of change right here at home….


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Abortion Rights are Human Rights

December 19, 2008 posted by Linda Basch Gloria Feldt recently reviewed the book Our Bodies, Our Crimes for the journal Democracy.  Her article, however, is much more than a book review.  It is an historical overview of the reproductive rights movement, an analysis of current political trends, and, most of all, a call to action. Needless to say, we had to share!  Criticizing current pop culture depictions of unplanned pregnancies, Feldt writes, “if the realities of abortion are often overlooked, its potency as a political weapon for the Right remains strong.”  This election season, two states voted on ballot initiatives that would have limited women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care.  In Colorado, Amendment 48 would have granted full legal rights to fetuses and South Dakota once again faced an outright ban on abortion services.  Even though both initiatives were soundly defeated, Feldt states, “Like water on porous stone, the Right has slowly eroded the vulnerable legal protections of Griswold and Roe.” Feldt continues,


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