Fight for Families: NOW Participates in Civil Disobedience for Fair Immigration Reform

 O'neill arrested

WASHINGTON – Today in front of the White House, National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill joined roughly 300 others in an act of civil disobedience, urging President Obama to stop deporting parents and separating families.

“Congress has failed to act, so President Obama must step in to protect hard working immigrants and their families,” said O’Neill.

The fight for comprehensive immigration reform that meets the needs of immigrant women is long overdue. Women comprise 51% of immigrants, but make up less than one-third of recipients of employment visas each year. Seventy percent of immigrant women therefore enter the U.S. through the family visa system, which is so backlogged that women and children can wait decades to be reunited with their families.

The event in Washington was expected to be the largest immigration act of civil disobedience at the White House in history.


Elise Coletta , , 202-628-8669 ext. 115
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College Students Create Nail Polish That Changes Colors When Exposed To Date Rape Drugs

four college

Four male students at North Carolina State University are attempting to put an end to date rape with their own hands. More accurately, they’re ending it with the hands of their friends, girlfriends and female supporters.

The guys — Ankesh Madan, Stephen Gray, Tyler Confrey-Maloney and Tasso Von Windheim — have invented a nail polish called Undercover Colors that changes shades when touched by date rape drugs.

They aim to protect their loved ones and women who may not have anyone present to watch out for them, according to Undercover Colors’ Facebook page.

It reads,

In the U.S., 18% of women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. That’s almost one out of every five women in our country. We may not know who they are, but these women are not faceless. They are our daughters, they are our girlfriends, and they are our friends.

The varnish is an innovative step towards more effective systems of rape prevention in bars and at parties. The company calls itself the “first fashion company working to prevent sexual assault.”


Undercover Colors’ brilliant idea combines the stylish practicality of nail polish with chemicals that can detect Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB.

When wearing the polish, women can test their drink by stirring it with their finger. The company hopes to make would-be rapists fear the potential repercussions of being caught trying to drug a woman.

Its profile states,

Through this nail polish and similar technologies, we hope to make potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman’s drink because there’s now a risk that they can get caught. In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators.

In order to make their invention a reality, the cofounders are asking for donations from supporters.

H/T: Slash Gear, Photos Courtesy: Undercover Colors




City Club of Portland says ‘yes’ to several Oregon measures, including a new ERA

Aug 26, 2014

Digital Managing Editor-Portland Business Journal

The City Club of Portland’s members have given their collective thumbs up to education bonds, driver cards for undocumented residents, recreational marijuana and labels on foods containing genetically modified organisms.

And, in a turnaround from what a City Club committee had recommended, the group’s members endorsed an Oregon version of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Each of the five measures will appear on Oregon’s ballot this fall. In each case, two-thirds of the members approved of the notions.

The ERA question had caused some consternation when a City Club committee recommended the group not endorse it. The attendant publicity helped a pro-ERA group raise enough money to fund an Oregon voter pamphlet notice.

Some 81 percent of the members backed post-secondary education bonds while another 95 percent backed driver cards for undocumented residents. Eighty-three percent back the legalization of recreational marijuana while 77 percent want food companies to label items made with GMOs.

Another 67 percent supported the ERA measure.

City Club will itself place statements in the voter pamphlet supporting the measures.

“City Club of Portland is excited to engage with all Oregonians this year prior to the election,” City Club President Karen Kervin said in a release. “We hope to help inform the debate about these important measures that could reshape our state.” 



Rep. Speier the Equal Rights Amendment and What is Needed

Rep. Speier the Equal Rights Amendment and What is Needed.

Our Constitution granted women the right to vote 94 years ago, but efforts to ban discrimination based on sex have never earned constitutional status. This gaping legal hole was summed up recently by conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: “Certainly the Constitution does not require (discrimination on the basis of sex). The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.”

Women today aren’t guaranteed equal pay for equal work and are subjected to restrictions on contraception and family planning services, unfair workplace conditions and laws that favor the perpetrators over victims in cases of sexual assault. The need for constitutionally guaranteed equality remains shamefully overdue. How can we have “liberty and justice for all” when a prohibition against sex discrimination is missing from our nation’s blueprint?

The Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in every session of Congress from 1923 until 1972, the year it finally passed. The amendment required ratification by 38 states, but fell three states short.

The 15 states that have not ratified the ERA are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia. The Illinois Senate passed the ERA in May and the Illinois House is set to vote on it in November.

The ERA would provide women with remedies to combat discrimination in pay equity, pregnancy accommodations, contraceptive coverage and domestic violence. Currently, women face a double burden when they are victimized. They must first prove the violation happened, and then they must also prove intent to discriminate based on sex. The ERA would banish this “intent” requirement forever.

As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated, “I would like my granddaughters, when they pick up the Constitution, to see that notion – that women and men are persons of equal stature.”

And so I have introduced House Joint Resolution 113 to eliminate the deadline for ERA ratification.

The ERA has had its deadline moved in the past; the 27th Amendment (congressional pay), was ratified 202 years after it passed Congress. When states tried to rescind their support for the 14th and 15th Amendments, their efforts were struck down by the courts; therefore, the 35 states that have already voted for the ERA cannot take back their support.

Equality is only three states and 24 words away. It’s time for these words to be made constitutional law: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

Source: SFGate

Jackie Speier represents San Mateo County and a portion of San Francisco County in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Photo: Rep. Speier & Rep. Maloney Source: ERA Action
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Celebrate Women’s Equality Day By Supporting Constitutional Equality for Oregon Women


April 26 is Women’s Equality Day, the day designated by the United States Congress to commemorate the 1919 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote.  Women have made many positive gains since 1919 but women are still not “equal”.   Oregonians have the opportunity to help make women a little more “equal” this November by voting YES on Measure 89, which would place an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) into the Oregon Constitution. 

            Across the board, women earn far less than men.  This is true even in higher paying professions such as medicine and engineering.  It is also true in government jobs.  In Oregon, women earn only seventy-nine percent (79%) of what men earn, and many more women than men are paid only the minimum wage.  This has huge long-term consequences, with women earning over $400,000 less in their lifetimes than men overall. (Hannah K. Hoffman, Statesman Journal, 8/10/14).   This also means women receive less in Social Security and pension benefits when they retire. 

            Women are much more likely than men to be the victims of domestic and sexual violence.  This is true in the military, it is true on our college campuses, and it is true in Oregon.  

            Over twenty (20) states have equality between men and women spelled out in their constitutions; Oregon does not.  The federal ERA has not been ratified by the necessary two-thirds (2/3) of the states, so there also is nothing in the federal constitution guaranteeing women’s equality.  Women make up more than fifty percent (50%) of the population and their equality should be supported in both the federal and Oregon constitutions.  We can make this happen in Oregon in November by voting YES for Measure 89:  “State/political subdivision shall not deny or abridge equality of rights on account of sex.”  For more information:           

Nancy Campbell Mead board member


How to Remove Gender Bias From the Hiring Process

A new study finds that when equally qualified male and female candidates apply for a job, managers are much more likely to hire the man.

Read more:


Are you aware of your own gender bias when you’re hiring?

recent study, published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that managers of both sexes are twice as likely to hire a man as a woman.

The study, conducted by business-school professors from Columbia University, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago, asked male and female managers to recruit people to handle simple mathematical tasks. The applicants had equal skills, but managers of both genders were more likely to hire men.

The male candidates boasted about their abilities, while women downplayed their talents, but the managers didn’t compensate for the difference when making hiring decisions. When the managers were explicitly shown the women could perform the tasks just as well as the men, the result was still that men were 1.5 times more likely to be hired. Even worse, when managers hired a job applicant who performed worse on the test than a fellow candidate, two-thirds of the time the lesser candidate was a man.

Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, the CEO of gender consulting firm 20-first and author of How Women Mean Business, writes in the Harvard Business Review that the study is a typical example of the corporate hiring process.

“Until hiring and promotion practices change, women can ‘lean in’ all they like, graduate in record numbers from top universities, and dominate buying decisions–but they still are much less likely to make it to the top,” Wittenberg-Cox writes in HBR. “The corporate world is led by men confident that they are identifying talent objectively and effectively. The reality, underlined by this and many other reports, is that decision making about talent is rife with unconscious assumptions and personal biases.”

To help balance the gender gap in hiring, Wittenberg-Cox says leaders need to realize corporate America has a “preference for a masculine style of leadership” that is “deeply ingrained, largely unconscious, and reliably self-reinforcing.” The first step to curb this unconscious bias is to “make it conscious,” she writes.

Below, read Wittenberg-Cox’s three tips to help yourself and your company get over bias against women when making hiring decisions.

Make gender bias a business issue.

If the results of the test don’t bother you initially, think about the fact that underqualified men were hired over more talented women. Wittenberg-Cox says you should reframe gender bias as a business issue, not a women’s issue. “If managers are choosing less qualified men over more qualified women, the company is clearly losing valuable talent,” she writes. “Even if hiring managers are choosing equally qualified men, if they’re doing it in dramatically greater numbers (as the study above shows they do), the company is still missing an opportunity to build the kind of balanced workforce that we know produces more creative results.”

Change people’s minds.

Wittenberg-Cox says leaders need to start educating themselves and managers about the issue of gender bias instead of putting the burden on women to change themselves. “You can expect all your women to suddenly change their behavior and start overselling their skills, as the men in the study above did–but frankly, do you really want them to?” she writes. Research shows when women boast about their skills they are perceived negatively, instead of as confident and ambitious. You need to teach your staff, male and female, about the different behaviors men and women exhibit and how to effectively and accurately perceive them.

Change your hiring systems.

If gender bias runs deep in the corporate world, that means HR policies are often rife with bias too. Wittenberg-Cox writes that many large companies consider “ambition” to be an important character trait for their leadership candidates. When candidates are seen as “ambitious,” they’re usually boasting, or overselling their talents–a trait studies have shown to be predominately male, she writes. Hiring managers typically believe erroneously that the most self-promotional candidates are objectively the best. “This does not make room to develop the majority of today’s talent for tomorrow’s world. Nor allow a variety of leadership styles to co-exist,” she adds.

Vivek Wadhwa talks about how Indian entrepreneurs went from outsiders to mainstream and how other groups, especially women, could do the same.