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August 2003

Did you know?
Celebrating the Congressional Fellowships on Women & Public Policy
News of Former Fellows
Immigration/Citizenship Project
Acknowledging and tackling a common problem among women
Mark Your Calendars!
WREI’s Summer Interns
American Woman Award Gala


Women who belong to the youngest voting-age bracket (ages 18-24) register and vote less frequently than either men or women in any other age bracket. The only segment of the population LESS likely to vote is the male 18- to 24-year-old bracket.

-- from the U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Voting and Registration in the Election of 2000, Table 2


Celebrating the Congressional Fellowships on Women & Public Policy

On June 20th, the seven women in the class of 2003 — stars one and all — were recognized at WREI’s annual Capitol Hill reception. A crowd of nearly 100 friends, family, and former Fellows heard from this year’s class as well as from their Congressional bosses, Senator Jeff Bingama (NM), and Congresswomen Lois Capps (CA), Carolyn Maloney (NY), Betty McCollum (MN), and Jan Schakowsky (IL).

WREI Board member Barbara Easterling, Secretary-Treasurer of the Communications Workers of America and sponsor of the CWA Fellowship, spoke on behalf of the program’s funders. Guests also heard from Rita Green, Senior Manager for Constituency Relations at Altria Corporate Services. Altria not only underwrote the costs of the reception, they will also be sponsoring the 25th Fellowship reunion at their Washington offices in November.

View pictures from this evening of fun with this year’s Fellows, Jolein Anderson, Melanie Donohue, Jessica Donze, Youlanda Gibbons, Sonia Kandathil, Dana McGrath, and Elizabeth Vogel at www.wrei.org.


News of Former Fellows

Tobi Walker, class of 1990-91 and now a program officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts, was quoted in a recent Washington Post piece on voting trends. After analyzing dozens of studies on civic behavior, Tobi acknowledged that “[m]ost measures of political engagement . . . provide little insight into how young people understand or participate in politics.”

Congratulations to Kimala Price, class of 1999-2000, who is now Dr. Price, having completed her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In May, Kim successfully defended her dissertation, “A Tale of Two Pills: Making Political Sense of Reproductive Technology through Policy Stories.” Come September, Kim will begin a two-year, post-doctoral appointment at Ibis Reproductive Health, a reproductive and sexual health research institute in Cambridge, MA. In addition to revising her dissertation for publication, Kim will serve as a research consultant for community-based organizations.


Immigration/Citizenship Project

The National Association of Commissions for Women invited WREI to present a workshop on women immigrants and the changing nature of citizenship at its 34th annual conference in Wilmington, DE on July 17th. The project team—Senior Fellow Marjorie Lightman, Kim Price, and Heather Ignatius, our graduate intern— spoke about challenges facing immigrant women and suggested action strategies for women’s organizations.

Marjorie provided a historical commentary about the limitations of the framework with which Americans view immigration. Heather presented a statistical portrait of immigration in the U.S., detailing the most popular source countries, top U.S. immigrant destinations, and potential motives for immigration. Kim outlined challenges that immigrants in the U.S. face, including discrimination, abuse, violence, and issues of legality. She also recommended ways for the commissions to respond to the needs of the immigrant women in their states.


Acknowledging and tackling a common problem among women

WREI president Susan Scanlan attended an expert’s summit this spring sponsored by the National Association for Continence (NAFC) and the Partnership for Long-Term Health for Women. These two organizations subsequently issued a white paper on Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). SUI is a highly prevalent but unacknowledged health problem that affects an estimated one in four American women over the age of 18. A NAFC survey revealed that 80 percent of SUI sufferers wrongly believe that their condition is an inevitable part of aging that cannot be treated. Coping silently, many become discouraged and stop exercising, seeing friends or continuing other activities that would normally keep them healthy and happy.

The white paper outlines a five-point action plan to address the unmet needs in SUI research, education, diagnosis, and treatment. For more information or for a copy of the white paper, visit the NAFC website at www.nafc.org.


Mark Your Calendars!

On Monday, September 8th, you are invited to a presentation and book signing by the editors of The American Woman 2003—2004: Daughters of a Revolution—Young Women Today. Come hear from our brilliant editorial team, Cindy Costello, Vanessa Wight, and Anne Stone at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 4801 Bethesda Avenue in Bethesda, MD. We hope to see you there!


WREI’s Summer Interns

WREI is indeed fortunate to enjoy the services of two outstanding young volunteers this summer. Heather Ignatius, who organized a terrific power point presentation for WREI’s immigration workshop, earned a BA in political science from the University of California, San Diego and is now pursuing a master’s in International Relations, specifically international law and organizations, at George Washington University.

Laura Bornstein from Bryn Mawr, PA will be a sophomore at Rice University with a double major in political science and women and gender studies. Laura, who speaks fluent Italian, is researching voter participation of young American women, ages 18 to 24. She provided the “factoid” that opened this issue of UPDATE.

Interns are an essential part of WREI operations. Do you have a sister/daughter/niece/friend who’d like to spend a semester working in Washington?


American Woman Award Gala

WREI will present its American Woman Award to Marsha Johnson “Marty” Evans on October 20th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Marty Evans is a remarkable leader who has worn three hats with great distinction. For more than 25 years, she bore the blue and gold of the U.S. Navy, retiring as rear admiral. Throughout her military career, she personally broke down barriers while working to expand opportunities for all Navy women. In 1997, she switched uniforms—to the green and yellow of the Girl Scouts. During her four years at the helm, the Scouts expanded cutting-edge programs to enhance girls’ experiences in science, technology, sports, money management, and community service.

Last year, Marty Evans put on a new, red and white hat, that of president of the American Red Cross. While confronting the challenges that this new career offers, she maintains her commitment to expanding professional opportunities for women. In short, it would be hard to find an individual who better exemplifies the qualities that WREI proudly celebrates with its annual American Woman award.

Check out www.wrei.org for more on the American Woman Award, fantastic prizes to be offered at our celebrated silent auction, and discount ticket prices for students, veterans, and staff at sister organizations.