Thursday, December 15, 2011

DoMENeering the Workforce

By Nicole Carcel and Michele Gottlieb

It’s just another Sunday night in as three young, educated women sit and contemplate their career futures. As the conversation gets heated and inquiries posed, our pondering seems to revolve around the same question: why do men still seem to dominate the workforce despite equal rights?

Here’s a test to further exemplify our point: who comes to mind when asked to name a top fashion designer? Filmmaker? Politician? Chef?  Most, if not all responses were more likely than not a man, even in industries that have become notorious by centuries of predisposed expectations to be solely for females, such as cooking and fashion, have become male dominated.  So what, we wonder, is the reason for this imbalance? If we live in a modern world where women outnumber men and equal rights have long been in fruition, what is the reasoning behind the thought process that inflicts us all? Why are so many of us conditioned to believe that men are still the domineering sex when it comes to the working force?

And even when you can find an industry where women hold dominance, such as modeling, the women are merely objectified as sex icons to sell products…back to women! The goals of which are to make women feel inadequate in sex appeal, focusing on the low psychological esteem of women everywhere.  Now, we have to wonder if this male-dominated mindset is a genuine reality or merely just the way we’ve all been predisposed to think in modern society.  Are we all conditioned to think that men are the best in all industries, or at least the forerunners as industry leaders because they really are quality producers? Or have we all been targeted as marketing subjects to believe so? 

Furthering our perplexity are the recent statistics depicting the shift in balance within the workforce. In a surprising article entitled The End of Men, posted by The Atlantic, the percentage of women vs. men actually holding down careers has shifted.

 Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way— and its vast cultural consequences. 
The statistics described in the article indicate that women have made tremendous leaps and bounds and are, in reality, capable of achieving just as much if not more as any male counterpart. It seems the answer to our questions lies in the simple truth that men or women alike, we are all literal industry heads in our, well, heads. Our individual selves, regardless of sex, are capable of achieving anything and everything, and also believing anything and everything we may be conditioned to believe.  

Are men really the industry leaders or are we just taught to think so? We pose this question to you to ponder on your own accord, using your own mental capacity, essentially internalizing your role in society’s makeshift tier of power. Is there really a glass ceiling or is it just a figment of all of our intertwined imaginations? That’s for you to decide.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Fetal Origins"

Annie Murphy Paul:
Learning before birth
(CNN) By Annie Murphy Paul

When does learning begin? As I explain in the talk I gave at TED, learning starts much earlier than many of us would have imagined: in the womb. I was surprised as anyone when I first encountered this notion. I'm a science writer, and my job is to trawl the murky depths of the academic journals, looking for something shiny and new -- a sparkling idea that catches my eye in the gloom.

Starting a few years ago, I began noticing a dazzling array of findings clustered around the prenatal period. These discoveries were generating considerable excitement among scientists, even as they overturned settled beliefs about when we start absorbing and responding to information from our environment. As a science reporter -- and as a mother -- I had to find out more.

This research, I discovered, is part of a burgeoning field known as "fetal origins," and it's turning pregnancy into something it has never been before: a scientific frontier. Obstetrics was once a sleepy medical specialty, and research on pregnancy a scientific backwater. Now the nine months of gestation are the focus of intense interest and excitement, the subject of an exploding number of journal articles, books, and conferences.

What it all adds up to is this: much of what a pregnant woman encounters in her daily life -- the air she breathes, the food and drink she consumes, the chemicals she's exposed to, even the emotions she feels -- are shared in some fashion with her fetus. They make up a mix of influences as individual and idiosyncratic as the woman herself. The fetus treats these maternal contributions as information, as what I like to call biological postcards from the world outside.

By attending to such messages, the fetus learns the answers to questions critical to its survival: Will it be born into a world of abundance, or scarcity? Will it be safe and protected, or will it face constant dangers and threats? Will it live a long, fruitful life, or a short, harried one?

The pregnant woman's diet and stress level, in particular, provide important clues to prevailing conditions, a finger lifted to the wind. The resulting tuning and tweaking of the fetus's brain and other organs are part of what give humans their enormous flexibility, their ability to thrive in environments as varied as the snow-swept tundra in Siberia and the golden-grassed savanna in Africa.
The recognition that learning actually begins before birth leads us to a striking new conception of the fetus, the pregnant woman and the relationship between them.

The fetus, we now know, is not an inert blob, but an active and dynamic creature, responding and adapting as it readies itself for life in the particular world it will soon enter. The pregnant woman is neither a passive incubator nor a source of always-imminent harm to her fetus, but a powerful and often positive influence on her child even before it's born. And pregnancy is not a nine-month wait for the big event of birth, but a crucial period unto itself -- "a staging period for well-being and disease in later life," as one scientist puts it.

This crucial period has become a promising new target for prevention, raising hopes of conquering public health scourges like obesity and heart disease by intervening before birth. By "teaching" fetuses the appropriate lessons while they're still in utero, we could potentially end vicious cycles of poverty, infirmity and illness and initiate virtuous cycles of health, strength and stability.

So how can pregnant women communicate to their fetuses what they need to know?
Eat fish, scientists suggest, but make sure it's the low-mercury kind -- the omega-three fatty acids in seafood are associated with higher verbal intelligence and better social skills in school-age children. Exercise: research suggests that fetuses benefit from their mothers' physical activity. Protect yourself from toxins and pollutants, which are linked to birth defects and lowered IQ.

Don't worry too much about stress: research shows that moderate stress during pregnancy is associated with accelerated infant brain development. Seek help if you think you might be suffering from depression: the babies of depressed women are more likely to be born early and at low birth weight, and may be more irritable and have more trouble sleeping. And -- my favorite advice -- eat chocolate: it's associated with a lower risk of the high blood pressure condition known as preeclampsia.

When we hold our babies for the first time, we imagine them clean and new, unmarked by life, when in fact they have already been shaped by the world, and by us. It's my privilege to share with the TED audience the good news about how we can teach our children well from the very beginning.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Annie Murphy Paul.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sebelius contraception ruling a step back


(From CNN) -- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' directive overruling the Food and Drug Administration's decision to make emergency contraception available over the counter for all women, including girls under 17, was not only unprecedented, it was substantively without merit.

After a thorough and months-long review of the evidence, the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research determined that the contraceptive, Plan B One-Step, was safe and effective for teens, and that teens on their own understood what the product did -- and didn't do -- and how to use it. Based on these expert findings, the FDA commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, concluded that Plan B One-Step was "safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of childbearing potential."

The FDA decision overruled by Sebelius would have made emergency contraception available, alongside condoms and pregnancy tests, on the shelves of pharmacies, grocery stores and other retailers, giving women of all ages at risk of unintended pregnancy timely access to this safe and effective backup contraceptive method. And time is of the essence here: Although Plan B can help prevent pregnancy for up to three days after intercourse, it is more effective the sooner it is taken.

Sharon Camp
Sharon Camp
Plan-B contraceptive pill will stay prescription-only for girls under 17

Hamburg's concurrence with the recommendation to make the emergency contraceptive available over the counter was in line with the positions taken by the nation's most prestigious medical, scientific and public health organizations. The only groups opposing the FDA's decision were self-styled "pro-family" groups that oppose emergency contraception -- and most other methods of modern contraception -- outright.

Sebelius, who is not a scientist and who offered no evidence to contradict the FDA's conclusions, said she based her decision on her personal belief that adolescents as young as 11 might not understand how to use emergency contraception without guidance from a health care professional. To invoke 11-year-olds was not only inflammatory, but diversionary.
Morning-after pill and teens
Fewer than 1% of 11-year-old girls have had sexual intercourse, but close to half of girls -- most beginning at 15 or 16 -- have had sex by their 17th birthday. Under Sebelius' ruling, girls under 17 will be unable to obtain emergency contraception without a doctor's prescription. And if, as Sebelius insists, younger teens are unable to understand the label on this product--which the evidence suggests they can-- it follows that they also wouldn't understand the labels on countless other over-the-counter medications that can have severe, even fatal, side-effects if misused -- which this product does not.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Upcoming Events for Endorsed Candidate Betsy Butler in December

Betsy Butler is an NWPC CA endorsed Candidate for CA State Assembly (D-50)!
If you would like to attend either of the upcoming functions (see below!) contact Lindsay Bubar at (or 310-800-2650). All addresses will be sent upon RSVP.
Consumer Attorneys Event
Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Time: 6:30-8:00pm

Location: The Home of Christine Spagnoli, Santa Monica

Host Committee: 
Arbogast Bowen LLP, The Cochran Firm, Consumer Attorneys of California, Dolan Law Firm, Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP, Michels & Watkins, Christine Spagnoli 

Beverly Hills and West Hollywood Event to Support Betsy Butler
Date: Thursday, December 15, 2011

Time: 6:00-8:00pm

Location: The Home of the Illouian Family, Beverly Hills, CA

Join West Hollywood Mayor John Duran with 
Special Guests Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz
West Hollywood Mayor pro Tem Jeffrey Prang & 
West Hollywood City Councilmember John D'Amico 
along with co-hosts Diane Abbitt & Bernadette Abbruzze, Jessica & Myles Bowman, Fritz Hoelscher & Chris Vu, Houri & Jerry Illoulian, Jason Illoulian and David Manshoory 

Contact Lindsay Bubar at or 310-800-2650
All addresses will be sent upon RSVP.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Letter from California Senator Dianne Feinstein

A Century of Influence

By Nicole Carcel, NWPC LA Westside Board Member

On October 10, 1911, California became the 6th state in the United States where women could vote.  It doesn’t surprise me that our remarkable state saw the importance of equality nine years before the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.  

A century later, California is still considered to be one of the nation’s most forward thinking states.  As we get ready for 2012 it is important to think of the women in 1911 who knew their voice was essential to shaping the California we know and love.  

Today, our voice matters more than ever. Women represent over 51% of the population, but only a little more than a quarter of elected positions at the county, state and federal levels. There is still much work to be done to inspire and empower women to run for office in our great state.

There are a number of great projects and organizations that are taking on the challenge of electing, educating, and empowering women to be more engaged. 

The 2012 Project is a national, non-partisan campaign to increase the number of women in Congress and state legislatures by taking advantage of the once-in-a-decade opportunities of 2012.  For more information check out

California Women Lead is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association of women holding or interested in holding elected or appointed office. Their mission is to give California's women the tools they need to be successful in both their political and professional lives. For more information on California Women Lead check out

If you or an extraordinary woman in your life is ready to take action, we want to hear from you!  

Being part of NWPC LA Westside has shown me that when surrounded by a group of remarkable women anything is possible. 

Board Member Spotlight: Nicole Carcel

Nicole is deeply engaged within the community. In addition to serving on the NWPC LA Westside board, she currently serves as the Outreach Chair on the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council. Nicole is also a Field Representative for California State Assembly Majority Policy Leader Mike Feuer. She is the direct liaison to the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Hollywood, Los Feliz, Fairfax, Miracle Mile, Mid-Wilshire and the city of West Hollywood. Prior to her time with the legislature, Nicole worked in the Political Department of the Chilean Embassy in Washington D.C.

Nicole graduated with honors from the University of California, Irvine. She is a member of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society.  Nicole is also an alumna of Gamma Phi Beta, a National Panhellenic Sorority. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Hillary Moment

Wall Street Journal, Original Article

Clinton/Associated Press
President Obama can't win by running a constructive campaign, and he won't be able to govern if he does win a second term.

When Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson accepted the reality that they could not effectively govern the nation if they sought re-election to the White House, both men took the moral high ground and decided against running for a new term as president. President Obama is facing a similar reality—and he must reach the same conclusion.

He should abandon his candidacy for re-election in favor of a clear alternative, one capable not only of saving the Democratic Party, but more important, of governing effectively and in a way that preserves the most important of the president's accomplishments. He should step aside for the one candidate who would become, by acclamation, the nominee of the Democratic Party: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Never before has there been such an obvious potential successor—one who has been a loyal and effective member of the president's administration, who has the stature to take on the office, and who is the only leader capable of uniting the country around a bipartisan economic and foreign policy.
Certainly, Mr. Obama could still win re-election in 2012. Even with his all-time low job approval ratings (and even worse ratings on handling the economy) the president could eke out a victory in November.

But the kind of campaign required for the president's political survival would make it almost impossible for him to govern—not only during the campaign, but throughout a second term.
Put simply, it seems that the White House has concluded that if the president cannot run on his record, he will need to wage the most negative campaign in history to stand any chance. With his job approval ratings below 45% overall and below 40% on the economy, the president cannot affirmatively make the case that voters are better off now than they were four years ago. He—like everyone else—knows that they are worse off.

President Obama is now neck and neck with a generic Republican challenger in the latest Real Clear Politics 2012 General Election Average (43.8%-43.%). Meanwhile, voters disapprove of the president's performance 49%-41% in the most recent Gallup survey, and 63% of voters disapprove of his handling of the economy, according to the most recent CNN/ORC poll.

Consequently, he has to make the case that the Republicans, who have garnered even lower ratings in the polls for their unwillingness to compromise and settle for gridlock, represent a more risky and dangerous choice than the current administration—an argument he's clearly begun to articulate.

One year ago in these pages, we warned that if President Obama continued down his overly partisan road, the nation would be "guaranteed two years of political gridlock at a time when we can ill afford it." The result has been exactly as we predicted: stalemate in Washington, fights over the debt ceiling, an inability to tackle the debt and deficit, and paralysis exacerbating market turmoil and economic decline.

If President Obama were to withdraw, he would put great pressure on the Republicans to come to the table and negotiate—especially if the president singularly focused in the way we have suggested on the economy, job creation, and debt and deficit reduction. By taking himself out of the campaign, he would change the dynamic from who is more to blame—George W. Bush or Barack Obama?—to a more constructive dialogue about our nation's future.

Even though Mrs. Clinton has expressed no interest in running, and we have no information to suggest that she is running any sort of stealth campaign, it is clear that she commands majority support throughout the country. A CNN/ORC poll released in late September had Mrs. Clinton's approval rating at an all-time high of 69%—even better than when she was the nation's first lady. Meanwhile, a Time Magazine poll shows that Mrs. Clinton is favored over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by 17 points (55%-38%), and Texas Gov. Rick Perry by 26 points (58%-32%).

But this is about more than electoral politics. Not only is Mrs. Clinton better positioned to win in 2012 than Mr. Obama, but she is better positioned to govern if she does. Given her strong public support, she has the ability to step above partisan politics, reach out to Republicans, change the dialogue, and break the gridlock in Washington.

President Bill Clinton reached a historic agreement with the Republicans in 1997 that led to a balanced budget. Were Mrs. Clinton to become the Democratic nominee, her argument would almost certainly have to be about reconciliation and about an overarching deal to rein in the federal deficit. She will understand implicitly the need to draw up a bipartisan plan with elements similar to her husband's in the mid-to-late '90s—entitlement reform, reform of the Defense Department, reining in spending, all the while working to preserve the country's social safety net.

Having unique experience in government as first lady, senator and now as Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton is more qualified than any presidential candidate in recent memory, including her husband. Her election would arguably be as historic an event as the election of President Obama in 2008.
By going down the re-election road and into partisan mode, the president has effectively guaranteed that the remainder of his term will be marred by the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity, common purpose, and most of all, our economic strength. If he continues on this course it is certain that the 2012 campaign will exacerbate the divisions in our country and weaken our national identity to such a degree that the scorched-earth campaign that President George W. Bush ran in the 2002 midterms and the 2004 presidential election will pale in comparison.

We write as patriots and Democrats—concerned about the fate of our party and, most of all, our country. We do not write as people who have been in contact with Mrs. Clinton or her political operation. Nor would we expect to be directly involved in any Clinton campaign.

If President Obama is not willing to seize the moral high ground and step aside, then the two Democratic leaders in Congress, Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, must urge the president not to seek re-election—for the good of the party and most of all for the good of the country. And they must present the only clear alternative—Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Caddell served as a pollster for President Jimmy Carter. Mr. Schoen, who served as a pollster for President Bill Clinton, is author of "Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What It Means for 2012 and Beyond," forthcoming from Rowman and Littlefield. LINK TO ARTICLE

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A funny approach to birth control for young adults

(CNN) -- Nothing is funnier than sex. In all the fretting over teens having babies and ranting against abortion, we forget about the night the bed broke, or the trouble we had pushing the dog off the couch, or even the laugh we had at age 11 when we stole our big sister's list of words for vagina. ("The Duchess"? Really?)

For reasons religious and political, certain Americans have turned what is one of the most natural and silliest of experiences into a sermon. As in, don't do it until you're married. Young people, ages 18 to 29, are simply ignoring this. According to a national survey by the Guttmacher Institute, almost 90% of unmarried young adults have had sex, and most are sexually active.

This horse is not only out of the barn, it's down the road and having a long drink of water. And the cowboys and cowgirls trying to rope the horse back in would do better to turn their attention to an issue they might be able to do something about: promoting contraception.

Single U.S. women in their 20s have one of the highest unplanned pregnancy rates in the world: seven out of 10, to be exact. Five out of 10 such pregnancies result in births. Consequences for the young parents and their children can be severe: stalled educational opportunities and serious health and school problems, among others.
Laura Sessions Stepp
Laura Sessions Stepp

The latest major player to focus attention on pregnancy prevention is the Ad Council, the organization that, 67 years ago, brought us Smokey Bear and fire prevention and later, produced such notables as car crash dummies Vince and Larry and the phrase "Friends don't let friends drive drunk."

The Ad Council recently began offering 33,000 media outlets -- digital, TV, radio, outdoor and print -- the opportunity to run for free a series of short ads encouraging 20-somethings to use birth control. Humor is key.

Of course, unplanned pregnancy is a serious problem in this country, council President Peggy Conlon said in an interview, similar to others the council has tackled, such as such as childhood obesity, gay and lesbian bullying, and dating abuse.

"Frankly, we don't take on many new campaigns," Conlon said. "We get hundreds of requests and take on maybe three to five a year. We felt very strongly that educating young women about birth control is a straightforward proposition. The campaign is exclusively about what options you have if you decide you're going to have sex and don't want to get pregnant. It's really education in prevention, as simple as that."

The public service announcements aren't on a par with comedian Whitney Cummings' risqué material, but they do make any sex jokes we parents make look incredibly lame. In one of them, two partners struggle to remove jeans that are fashionably skinny. In another, the slippery shower stall poses a problem. In yet another, a passionate couple is interrupted by a voyeur: a black and white Great Dane-boxer mix with a disapproving stare. (No worries: I'm not spoiling anything here. The ads, created by the New York agency Euro RSCG, are way funnier than I am.)

At the end of each spot, viewers are directed to the website, which also uses humor to help visitors compare 15 kinds of contraception, locate the closest place to acquire various methods, set up regular birth control reminders, and watch videos of real women sharing birth control experiences, including women who are not having sex.

Animated shorts on the site debunk sex myths. As in, is it possible for a guy to be too big for a condom? One click on a drawing of a dachshund, entitled "2 big 2 fit," brings up the answer. Want advice for better sex? The site has that, too, for example, "Warming the feet can increase your chance of orgasm by 30%." Who knew?

Bedsider is a project of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a nonprofit organization that bid last year for the coveted Ad Council support. The project is being funded -- to the tune of several million dollars -- by a private foundation that the campaign says has no connection to the pharmaceutical industry.

The teen pregnancy rate has declined nearly 40% over the past two decades, but rates of unplanned pregnancy among young adults have remained stubbornly high. This stagnation compelled Sarah Brown, the National Campaign's CEO, to seek fresh thinking, including help from IDEO, a San Francisco-based design firm whose clients include Converse shoes and the smartphone alternative Peek.

"We need to rebrand contraception as something that promotes self-determination, education and achievement," Brown said.

Not everyone will agree with Brown, of course. Recently, several conservative Republican lawmakers attempted to rebuke the concept of contraception as an endorsement of "consequence-free sex" that will bring about a "pagan society," and said it uses public funding to prevent a generation from being born. (I am not making this up. See NPR correspondent Julie Rovner's broadcast.)

The problem is not contraception, dear U.S. Rep. Steve King and others; it's not taking advantage of contraception. Fewer than half of the young adults surveyed by Guttmacher said they used birth control carefully and consistently.

I confess I have some difficulty understanding why so many young couples today don't use birth control faithfully.

When women of my generation moved into adulthood, we had very few people to talk to about sex and only a couple of choices of birth control. Illegal and dangerous abortions were common. So it's easy for us to mutter something like, "Don't these young women know how lucky they are?"

Well no, many of them don't. Nor should we expect them to. What we can do is recall what it was like to do a little mattress dancing at their age, and how concerns about school or friends or the possibility of getting pregnant could keep us from really enjoying ourselves.

Few things in life feel as good as good sex, especially with a loving partner. And today, just as in the past, young people often have to brush away a bunch of pesky thought-gnats to enjoy it. The fear of pregnancy no longer need be one of those pests, and bravo to the Ad Council for reminding us all of that.


CNN Editor's note: Laura Sessions Stepp is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, formerly with The Washington Post, who specializes in the coverage of young people. She has written two books: "Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both," and "Our Last Best Shot: Guiding Our Children through Early Adolescence." She is a senior media fellow for The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What We Learn from Mississippi

By Serena Josel

Last Tuesday, Mississippi voters shocked the nation by decisively rejecting Initiative 26--which would have banned abortion without exception, as well as many common forms of birth control, and in vitro fertilization.  Only ten days prior to the election, polls showed the measure passing by a 31 point margin, leaving advocates on both sides wondering what happened.

Ultimately voters decided that Initiative 26 went too far--even pro-life Gov. Haley Barbour expressed concern about the potential impact on women facing ectopic pregnancies or couples looking to in vitro for help conceiving.  Furthermore, research by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) suggests that views around pregnancy and parenting are far too complex to fit into a neat pro-choice/pro-life binary:
"Seven-in-ten Americans say the term 'pro-choice' describes them somewhat or very well, and nearly two-thirds simultaneously say the term 'pro-life' describes them somewhat or very well. This overlapping identity is present in virtually every demographic group."
Most Americans can find common ground when the conversation progresses beyond bumper-sticker speak and into the real-life impact of anti-contraceptive and anti-abortion measures.  Most of us agree that we'd like to see abortion become less necessary--and common-sense tells us that restricting access to birth control is a poor strategy in pursuit of this goal. 

Most agree that the decision to become a parent is among the most important that a woman can make in her life.  That decision is far too personal for the government to intrude into, and therefore best made by each individual based on her own unique circumstances.  Most Americans can accept that decisions we find difficult are not necessarily wrong.

Mississippi teaches me that complex issues deserve thoughtful conversation; that polarized debates rarely reflect honest feelings of ambiguity; and that most Americans (even in what Gallup called "the most conservative U.S. state") genuinely care about women's health.

Women Face High Stakes In 2012: Persuading Women To Run For Office

One reason few women are elected to higher office is that few of them run.
Photo illustration by Christopher Meighan/
The Washington Post
"It's very very difficult to make large gains if women are only competing in about a third of the races," said Lawless, of the Women and Politics Institute. "And so until we really see more women running for office, it's very, very difficult to see increases in the percentage of women holding office."
It's partly about ego. Lawless' research has found that 60 percent of men believe they're fit to run for public office, compared to fewer than 40 percent of women who have the same qualifications. Women are also significantly more likely to let these doubts prevent them from running.
Even today, women also have more family obligations to consider than men do.
"In families where both adults are working, generally in high-level careers, women are 12 times more likely than men to be responsible for the majority of household tasks, and more than 10 times more likely to be responsible for the majority of child care responsibilities," wrote Lawless in 2007.
"A lot of women are supporting their families," said Hirono. "They've got other things in their lives that make it that much harder for them to think about running for office."
"This is a brutal line of work in terms of your privacy and your personal life being criticized," said McCaskill. "Any mistake you make being blown out of proportion, being twisted or distorted. I think that there are many women who believe it doesn't jibe with a strong family life, and I'm the first to acknowledge there are challenges associated with that."
"I feel like, in my life, I've been everything as an elected official," McCaskill added. "I've been single, I've been divorced, I've been pregnant. I've had three small children as a single mom. I've been remarried with a blended family. I've gone through a lot of different steps in my personal life, all while holding elected office, and I think that I can say confidently that while there are challenges, there are also advantages, and a lot of women don't see any of the advantages."
So what's the solution?
A 2009 study by CAWP -- which also runs the nonpartisan 2012 Project designed to inspire women to run for office -- found that nearly twice as many women as men said they had decided to run for political office only after it was suggested to them, whereas men were more likely to come up with the idea on their own.
Lawless has also found that women are four times more likely to seriously consider running for office when the idea is suggested to them.
Sam Bennett ran for Congress in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 2008. She is now president and CEO of the She Should Run Foundation, a nonprofit group focused on getting people to urge more women to run for office and then connecting them with organizations and infrastructure to help them do so.
"Men wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and have been culturally raised and trained to see themselves as political candidates. Women have been raised in a radically different way," said Bennett. "Our culture has trained them not only to not see themselves as political candidates, but to see themselves as uniquely unqualified to run. So that's where the challenge lies."
"This problem will not fix itself -- a banner year of outstanding senatorial candidates not withstanding," she added. "The only thing that's going to fix this is exponentially more women being asked to run for office."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ask a Woman to Run for Office TODAY!

Today, while women make up 
51% of the U.S. population, they comprise 
only 17% of Congress
And for the first time since 1979, the number of women in Congress has declined.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Message from NWPC National


Women, United we Stand
Bettina Hager

It has come to the attention of politically minded women nationwide that NJ state Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono is being asked to accept an unprecedented seat sharing offer. What the exact political motives behind this insulting insinuation that it takes two women to effectively hold a typically man’s job, it is obvious that there is an effort to undermine the authority and effectiveness of Senator Buono, a rising female political star.

Women comparatively hold so few power positions that it is both difficult and counterproductive to even find two women to pit against each other. It is especially damaging to the image of women because so often these “catfights” don’t truly exist but are merely capitalized by the media who are desperately seeking a juicy story. It can, in effect, create a divide that is baseless yet powerful enough for the careers and reputation of women politicians to be put under the microscope.

The most important thing for women to remember is that united we stand stronger. When the representation held by women in the NJ government is a measly 28% we need to view each other as allies. It is especially offensive considering that the efforts are a political maneuver created by men who, when facing a formidable challenge, feel that women- as interchangeable public figures- can be simply replaced. Even more degrading is the idea that a job, historically held by a string of men, can only effectively be done with the combined efforts of two women.

This blatant disrespect and disregard of women’s political talents and aptitude should be taken as a rallying call. Yesterday’s elections marked the one year countdown to the upcoming 2012 election and two years until the NJ Governor election- where Buono is considered a strong favorite. We must stand by our strong women and let them know that we will not stand for divisive tactics or an insistence on shared power. Lest we forget, women hold up half the sky.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mississippi's Proposition 26 -- REJECTED By Voters!

Mississippi's Proposition 26, also known as the "Personhood Amendment," was rejected by voters by a margin of 58% to 42%.

In 2012, voters in Mississippi will have the opportunity to send their first woman (Heather McTeer, endorsed by Women’s Campaign Fund) to Congress.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mississippi gov. supports amendment to declare fertilized egg a person

By Mallory Simon
from CNN
If the Mississippi amendment passes, the moment an egg is fertilized a woman would not be able to get an abortion in the state.
(CNN) -- Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour offered his support Friday for an amendment to the state constitution that would define life as beginning at the moment of conception, saying he cast his absentee ballot for the measure despite struggling with its implications.

"I have some concerns about it," he said in a statement issued Friday, a day after casting his ballot. "But I think all in all, I believe life begins at conception, so I think the right thing to do was to vote for it."
On Wednesday, Barbour, a Republican, said that he was still undecided and that the measure was "too ambiguous."

Initiative 26 would define personhood as "every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof."

Though the text of the amendment is simple, the implications if it passes couldn't be more complex. If approved by Mississippi voters on Tuesday, it would make it impossible to get an abortion and hamper the ability to get some forms of birth control.

Because the amendment would define a fertilized egg as a person with full legal rights, it could have an impact on a woman's ability to get the morning-after pill or birth control pills that destroy fertilized eggs, and it could make in vitro fertilization treatments more difficult because it could become illegal to dispose of unused fertilized eggs. This could lead to a nationwide debate about women's rights and abortion while setting up a possible challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which makes abortion legal.

The ballot initiative is part of a national campaign brought by Personhood USA. The Colorado-based group describes itself as a nonprofit Christian ministry that "serves the pro-life community by assisting local groups to initiate citizen, legislative, and political action focusing on the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement: personhood rights for all innocent humans."

Mississippi voters can decide 'personhood' of the unborn, court rules:

The idea for personhood was born during Roe v. Wade's oral arguments, when Justice Potter Stewart said, "If it were established that an unborn fetus is a person, you would have an impossible case here." Now, Personhood USA is trying to use the amendment to establish "personhood" as a direct challenge to the Roe v. Wade ruling.


See Wanda Sykes TOMORROW -- This Sunday!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One Week Away! Election Night Party

Join hosts Ann Blanchard, Nancy Cotton, Julie Durk, Bettina Duval, Martha Hackett, Jean Huang, Louise Krakower, Kimberly Quinones, Mimi Schmir, Carolin Shining & Sarah Timberman 

2012 Project Election Night Party
Tuesday, November 8
7:30pm to 9:00pm

The Honorable Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (the first African American woman elected to Congress from the Western U.S.) and amazing Actress Gina Torres are part of the spcial program.
We hope you will join us!

Remember: Don't get mad. Get Elected.

Location: 2551 La Condesa Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Questions? Contact Betsy Cotton:, or 510-306-0038 

Everyday Californians can help move California forward

California is, by nature, an optimistic state, a state of thinkers and, most importantly, a state of doers. A recent Viewpoint Learning survey tells us that a full 86 percent of Californians – almost nine of out of 10 – believe it’s possible for the state to be well-run.

That’s extraordinary, especially in this time of a faltering economy and broken governance system. To go from a hope for good government to an actual working government, we must have a civically engaged citizenry. When Californians participate in the political process, it ensures our government remains open, fulfills its responsibilities to the people, and achieves results for Californians.

Our state is home to industries and innovation that have transformed economies near and far, and our regions provide a diversity of industry and ideas. These ideas and economies are fueled by California voters and residents.

Everyday Californians form the backbone of our state, and their participation in local, regional, and state government is critical to a functioning government – as the NWPC well knows. Because every day Californians live and work here, they have a very real stake in the workings of government and the decisions that are made. To ensure California’s government remains healthy at all levels, those Californians must get involved and make their voices heard.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan California Forward is partnering with the NWPC LA Westside to encourage the civic participation of all Californians. This will make government at every level more open and accountable and by empowering local governments to work together to best serve their communities.

We want to increase performance, responsibility, and openness in all levels of government by empowering local communities to find local solutions to local problems. That means moving resources from the state to the local level and ensuring that they are spent wisely.

California Forward is working on a comprehensive reform package that goes beyond balancing the budget from one year to the next.  We want to stabilize the state’s governance system and ensure that government programs get results.

Our reform proposal would do this in three basic steps:

  1. Create a stable and results-oriented state budget process.  Local governments need a stable state budget process that helps them reach community goals.  California has proposed requiring a two-year state budget to reduce the endless wrangling and uncertainty.  The State would establish goals and performance metrics and the Legislature would review all programs once every five years.  Lawmakers would have to identify ways to pay for major policy choices, rather than putting all programs at risk of being cut in future years.

  1. Ensure local governments are accountable for results.  Californians expect all local governments to spend public money wisely.  To communicate clearly and manage effectively, all local governments would be required to identify goals and performance metrics as part of their budgets.

  1. Encourage cooperation among local governments.  Experience shows that to solve difficult public programs, public agencies must work together.  Schools need to work with social service agencies, and social service agencies need to work with law enforcement.  Through Community Strategic Action Plans, local leaders would be given the flexibility and incentives to work together to develop integrated approaches to meet community needs.

We’re working to recapture the promise of California by collaborating with lawmakers, every day Californians, and other leaders all over the state to put California back on the Path Forward.

To ensure lawmakers are more responsive to the populations they serve, we’re encouraging voters to participate by casting their ballot, engaging with their city and county leaders, and getting involved in their communities.

We also need your input and energy. Watch our Path Forward video and share your vision for California.  Also, sign up for our mailing list and like us on Facebook to stay on top of California governance reform issues.  Finally, to see what you can do to help move California Forward, go to our action fund website and find out how you can get involved.

California Forward is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to create a government that works.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Exceptional Merit Media Awards (EMMA) in Los Angeles!

EMMA awards will be held November 6, 2011 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles from 12-3 PM.  

The EMMAs began in 1986 to recognize exceptional coverage of women’s issues across media outlets.  Since its inception, the EMMAs have recognized contributions from the likes of Sheryl WuDunn, Ellen Goodman, Cokie Roberts, and Diane Sawyer, Glamour Magazine, and Ms. Magazine.  Always a forward thinker, Judy Chavis, this year’s EMMA’s chairwoman, has made it her goal to attract new outlets in music, entertainment, and sports to the event. In keeping with the event’s desire to merge the seriousness of the material with a fun and spirited atmosphere, the band Red Sea Rising will be performing. 

To get more information on this event and purchase tickets or sponsorships please visit the Official 2011 EMMA’s website

Judy Chavis, VP of Development & EMMAs Chair
(512) 263 - 0194

The National Women's Political Caucus Announces the 2011 EMMAs Congressional Host Committee

The National Women's Political Caucus is proud to announce its 2011 Exceptional Merit in Media Awards (EMMAs) Congressional Host Committee.  The committee, featuring Congresswomen and Senators from around the Nation is comprised of 4 Senators and 24 Congresswomen


United States Senators
Dianne Feinstein * Kay Hagan 
Barbara A. Mikulski * Patty Murray

United States Representatives
Tammy Baldwin * Karen Bass * Eddie Bernice Johnson * Judy Chu * Yvette Clarke * Susan Davis * Diana DeGette * Rosa DeLauro * Donna Edwards * Janice Hahn * Mazie Hirono * Eleanor Holmes Norton * Barbara Lee * Zoe Lofgren * Carolyn Maloney * Doris Matsui * Gwen Moore * Chellie Pingree *
 Linda Sanchez * Loretta Sanchez * Janice Schakowsky * Jackie Speier * Niki Tsongas * Lynn Woolsey

The EMMAs honor outstanding journalists, authors, filmmakers and media outlets that inform and educate Americans about issues critical to women, and whose work often brings to light those issues that tend to get glossed over, or slip through the cracks of mainstream public attention.  A full list of this year's nominees can be found by viewing our EMMAs Submissions List.

The awards ceremony will be held Sunday, November 06, 2011 at the Skirball Cultural Center from 12:00 - 3:00 pm, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. 

Tickets to the event are $100 for individuals, $30 for young adults.  To purchase tickets to the event go to our event registration site.

Various sponsorship levels are also available, from $1,000-10,000. Contact Bettina Hager at 202-785-1100 for more information. 

Find NWPC on facebook at, and follow us on Twitter at NWPC_Updates for author highlights and future announcements of special guests.


The National Women's Political Caucus is a multipartisan, multicultural grassroots organization dedicated to increasing women's participation in the political field and creating a political power base designed to achieve equality for all women. Founded in 1971, the NWPC prides itself in increasing the number of pro-choice women elected and appointed into office every year. Through recruiting, training and financial donations, the NWPC provides support to women candidates running for all levels of office regardless of political affiliation. The NWPC has endorsed over 50,000 women throughout its 40 years of service.
For more information visit


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