WREI UPDATE Issue 15
IN THIS ISSUE
DID YOU KNOW?
88 American servicewomen-all but one in the Pacific theater-were taken prisoners of war in World War II.
WOMEN IN THE MILITARY
The war in Iraq
has evoked tremendous interest in the role of women in the U.S. armed
forces. WREI has received up to 25 calls a day from media outlets around
the country and the world, eager for information about women soldiers,
sailors, Marines, airmen, and Coast Guardsmen. Retired Navy Captain
Since mid-January, Lory has appeared on the ABC Evening News, CBS's Early Show, "48 Hours," "The Jim Lehrer News Hour," and Fox Network News. She has also provided background for NBC Evening News, NBC Dateline, CNN, MS-NBC, and NPR-Boston. Magazines seeking her expertise include U.S. News and World Report, Defense News Weekly, The American Spectator, Time, People, Glamour, and Woman's Day. Perhaps one of the most interesting inquiries came from Woman's Day: "Are U.S. women soldiers allowed to wear make-up?"
Lory has also provided background and statistics to the Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Colorado Springs Gazette, Dallas Morning News, Grand Rapids Press, Indianapolis Star, Jacksonville Clarion, Atlanta Constitution, New York Times, Oregonian, Santa Fe New Mexican, Denver Post, and the Associated Press wire service.
WREI is also getting out the facts on women in uniform through Lory's radio interviews with Susan Stamburg of National Public Radio as well as other NPR stations in Minnesota, Philadelphia, New Hampshire, and Boston.
CONGRESSIONAL FELLOWSHIPS ON WOMEN & PUBLIC POLICY
The seven members of the Class of 2003 are now hard at work in their Congressional offices. Here is what they are doing and where:
is working for Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota in the
In the office of Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Wisconsin, MELANIE DONOHUE is handling a wide variety of health care issues, particularly Medicaid and Medicare. She researched Medicare changes and statistics for the Congresswoman before a recent reform vote and keeps an eye on all proposed changes and cuts to both programs.
JESSICA DONZE is now on the staff of Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, staffing such public health issues as obesity, child nutrition, and Medicaid/ Medicare. Specifically, Jessica works on bills to increase the number of mental health professionals assisting children, provide funding for eating disorder and obesity programs for children, and expand medical nutrition coverage for children under Medicaid.
YOULANDA GIBBONS took a position with Senator Patty Murray of Washington. She is working with various committee staffs to develop legislative strategy and specific legislation dealing with education, particularly targeting children with disabilities and those coming from educationally disadvantaged families, including TANF and the No Child Left Behind Act.
SONIA KANDATHIL is working with health caucuses for Congresswoman Lois Capps of California, including school health and safety, cancer research and prevention, and biomedical research. Sonia has already begun work on legislation to regulate the types of food offered in school vending machines, as well as on microbicides and an HIV vaccine.
DANA McGRATH has joined the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee staff of Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. Dana is handling a wide range of women's issues, including recent Senate abortion legislation and Title IX.
ELIZABETH VOGEL handles women's issues in the office of Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York. She found 200 cosponsors for the Equal Rights/Women's Equality Amendment and helped draft the Fair Play/Equal Access in Membership Resolution, which asks government officials to boycott clubs that discriminate on the basis of race or sex. Elizabeth also staffed the Congresswoman for the SARS hearings and is developing legislation for equitable insurance coverage for double mastectomy patients.
WREI is now the home base for public education about the WOMEN WRITING AFRICA, a landmark literary project ten years in the making. The books brought together over 100 African women to collect, translate into English, and edit documents, histories, stories, poems, newspaper articles, and brochures by African women since the 18th century. When completed, WOMEN WRITING AFRICA will be a four-volume set that divides the continent into geographic regions. The first volume, SOUTH AFRICA, has just been published in hardback.
WREI is organizing events in Washington to celebrate the project and to promote the new history of Africa that highlights the voices of African women. On March 6th, International Women's Day, we joined with the National Council of Women's Organizations at the South African Embassy for a program focused on this unique scholarly effort. A capacity crowd turned out to hear Florence Howe of the Feminist Press and Tuzyline Jita Allan of the City University of New York read stories, poems, and songs of African women.
WREI also partnered with the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University to present Women Writing Africa to the academic community. The seminar highlighted the language, literature, culture, and ideology of this 100 year-old collection and drew more than 30 scholars from universities in Washington, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. Among the panelists: Dr. Delores Finger Wright, professor of social work at Delaware State University and WREI Fellow (1981-82).
THE AMERICAN WOMAN
We are delighted to report that Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and Sue Kelly sent out copies of THE AMERICAN WOMAN 2003-2004 to every member of the House of Representatives under a joint "Dear Colleague." They cited DAUGHTERS OF A REVOLUTION as "an invaluable resource from an outstanding organization that has a long history of working with members of Congress to provide unbiased, accurate information."
Our publisher, Palgrave Press, reports that the book is selling well and a second printing seems likely. The most recent issue of "On Campus with Women," an electronic newsletter published by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, includes a whole "page" on the book. You can check it out at www.aacu.org/ocww/index.cfm. Pamela Dohring, a Ph.D. candidate at McGill, wrote a fine article in the newsletter of the McGill Centre for Research and Teaching on Women. The Library Journal reviewer described the book as "a user-friendly resource recommended for all libraries."
We are also pleased to announce that former WREI Fellow Suzan Harkness is using DAUGHTERS OF A REVOLUTION as the basic text for her women's studies course at the University of the District of Columbia. PROTECTING TITLE IX. The Women's National Basketball Association is promoting a petition asking President George W. Bush and Secretary of Education Roderick Paige to preserve and enforce current Title IX athletic policies.
Title IX, the legislation
that began a revolution for women and girls in sports, faces a threat
from recommendations in the final report of the Secretary's Commission
on Opportunities in Athletics. Open to All: Title IX at Thirty proposes
changes that could seriously weaken the legislation and lead to fewer
opportunities for female athletes. Secretary Paige can unilaterally
implement these recommendations without Congressional approval. To read
the report and recommendations, go to
If you believe sports participation opportunities confer benefits to both boys and girls, please consider signing the WNBA petition to tell our government that Title IX works. Click on the link below and pass it on to others. It will be posted until the start of the WNBA season on May 22. www.nba.com/wnba/title_IX_petition.jsp
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? FORMER WREI FELLOW ELIZABETH CONWAY, CLASS OF 1986-87, BRINGS US UP-TO-DATE
1. What is your educational background? B.A., Oberlin College; M.A.,Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
2. With which Congressional office did you work during your WREI Fellowship? I was a Fellow for what was then called the House Education and Labor Committee's Subcommittee on Labor-Management Relations. It's the subcommittee that dealt with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and other pension issues.
3. What are you
doing now? My husband, Matt Kane, and I have been tag-teaming our way
through parenthood and the paid labor force. We've been fortunate to
be able to do periodic trade-offs: one of us works a full-time-plus
job while the other works part-time and coordinates the home front,
and then after five or six years we switch roles. We made another change
last fall, when we relocated from Detroit to Minneapolis and I left
my job as Director of Product and Program Development and
4. How has your
WREI fellowship affected your career path? On the career front, the
WREI fellowship is what sent me into my field of health benefits and
health care policy. During the first days of the fellowship program,
we had a speaker who talked about the importance of pension issues to
women - and about the unfortunately small number of women with expertise
in that area. Her comments led me to an assignment with the House Labor-Management
Subcommittee, where I set about learning whatever I could about ERISA
(both through my work on the subcommittee and by auditing an ERISA class
at Georgetown Law School). Ironically, I spent just a few weeks on pension
issues before being assigned to staff
5. Tell us a bit
about your family and what you do that isn't work. I've got three children.
Maggie is in 6th grade, Nora is in 3rd grade and Kevin is in 1st grade.
The kids are involved in the typical array of activities - school, music,
art, sports and church. Given the limited number of hours in a day,
that's where I spend most of my non-work time. Matt and I are very committed
to getting the kids involved in social justice and community service
work from an early age, so we're always
6. What activity/book/experience/person
has changed the way you look at the world? How and when did this happen?
I've gotten inspiration from a wide variety of people, books, activities
and experiences. But if I have to pick one, it would be my paternal
grandmother. She was widowed with three small children during the Depression,
and she struggled to keep her family going. She went to work for the
Iowa state employment service, taking a 70-mile bus trip from her small
town to Sioux City on Sunday evenings and returning to her children,
who stayed with their
7. What do you do
when you want to escape the world and relax? I don't know if it quite
qualifies as relaxation, but my favorite escape is dancing. I've taken
workshops in buckstep and Acadian clogging, swing dance and Cajun dancing,
and I love them all. But my main event is Irish step dancing. I started
about five years ago, just for exercise, after my daughter Maggie started
taking classes. Since I was almost 40 when I started (and perhaps lacking
in a few things, like talent!) you probably won't be seeing me in Riverdance
any time soon. But it's a
IMPORTANT UPCOMING EVENTS
1. WREI is cosponsoring the International ATHENA Conference to be held in Washington on May 8-10th at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. For ten years, the ATHENA Foundation of Chicago has worked to create leadership opportunities for women by liaisoning with chambers of commerce, universities, major corporations and small businesses. Over 250 women and men are expected to participate in panel discussions and lecture sessions while networking to become or improve as leaders in their fields.
For more information or to register for the conference, please go to www.athenafoundation.org.
2. On June 17th,
WREI will hold our 24th annual Capitol Hill reception to salute the
Class of 2003 Congressional Fellows on Women & Public Policy. Please
plan to join us for a light-hearted evening of short speeches, good
food and great fellowship. The event will be held from 6:00 until 8:30
p.m. in room 121 of the Cannon House Office Building. In addition to
the seven outstanding women who are will be honored, we expect a big
turnout of former WREI Fellows, quite a few Congressional staffers,
and leaders from women's organizations in and around
3. More than 660 researchers, activists, scholars, and policymakers will gather when the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) holds its seventh annual International Women's Policy Research Conference on June 22-24 at the Capital Hilton in Washington. Women Working to Make a Difference in the World will focus on women's progress in a time of uncertain national economies and increasing globalization. This event also commemorates the 15th anniversary of IWPR's founding by celebrated economist Heidi Hartmann.
Visit www.iwpr.org for the conference program, costs and fees as well as to register on line.