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December 2004

• Did you know?
• Anne Johnson Stone retires as WREI's senior researcher
• WREI hosts Capitol Hill showing of "HIV Goddesses"
• News from Former Fellows
• Call for Papers


Did you know?
Sixty-one percent of women shop for the holidays on the day after Thanksgiving, also known as "Black Friday."

Thirty-one percent of shoppers have "regifted" a present at least once, with women 20% more likely than men to have done so. (60% of all women, and 40% of all men have "regifted.")

Source: American Express


WREI hosts Capitol Hill showing of "HIV Goddesses"

As part of World AIDS Day on December 1st, WREI premiered a moving documentary by celebrated filmmaker Sharon Sopher to a capacity crowd on Capitol Hill. "HIV Goddesses: Stories of Courage" is an autobiographical look at how Sopher diagnosed herself with AIDS via a 20-minute internet search--a diagnosis that 27 doctors failed to find during the first five years of her illness. The film shows the courage of Sopher and other infected Wisconsin women as they confront the pain, debilitation, complex and uncertain treatment, and stigma of AIDS.

Sopher has established the HIV Goddesses Empowering project to demonstrate that AIDS is a major womans health issue in the U.S.: "Many Americans still believe that HIV is a gay men's disease. Or that the only women who get HIV are poor or African American or young or prostitutes who use drugs. Not fitting the 'profile' of who gets AIDS in America can be hazardous to your health."

A producer, director, writer, reporter, and Emmy Award-winning, Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Sopher worked for NBC news for many years and spent 20 years in Africa, recording the drama of drought in Zimbabwe, apartheid in South Africa, and war in the Sahara. Africa is also where she acquired AIDS.

Sue Ann Thompson, founder and president of the Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation, has helped promote Sopher's work. She spoke on Mainstreaming AIDS as a Women's Health Issue, noting that the disease is now the fifth leading killer of women in the United States and that women and girls are among the fastest growing infection groups.

"I can guarantee," Thompson said, "that if there are women in Northern Wisconsin with AIDS--places like Markesan, which has a population of less than 1,500--you know there are women all over this country with AIDS who need our help and support."

The event was underwritten through a generous grant from Wyeth.


Call for Papers

As part of WREI's sixth Conference on Women in the Military, members of the armed services, civil servants, scholars, and interested individuals are invited to submit papers and presentations with U. S. and international perspectives on women in the military and women veterans.

The Conference will be held May 19-20, 2005, at the Women in Military Service to America (WIMSA) Memorial facilities at Arlington Cemetery. Its theme: Women in the Military Today.

Suggested topics include women in the frontlines, work/family balance, health issues, and the command climate. For more information about submitting papers, contact Captain Lory Manning, U.S. Navy (ret.), director of WREI's Women in the Military project, at 202-628-0444 X12 or lmanning@wrei.org. Registration for and details about the event will be available in March.


Anne Johnson Stone retires as WREI's senior researcher

After nearly a quarter-century of writing, researching, and red-penciling WREI's work to the highest possible standards, Anne Johnson Stone retired as senior research associate in November.

Anne came to WREI in 1980 from the staff of Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY), bringing with her a passionate commitment to women's equality, a great intellectual curiosity, editorial skills without equal, and the gift of a well-turned phrase. She went on to become senior editor of The American Woman, WREI's biennial compilation of essays and facts/figures that present and assess almost every aspect of women's lives in the U.S.

A self-taught statistician, Anne became master of the tables and charts at "the back of the book" - deciphering Census data, crunching numbers, responding to Congressional and media inquiries, instructing the next generation, preparing reports on a wide range of issues, and salivating with delight over the latest offering from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Anne shepherded all or part of nine editions of this acclaimed reference and will continue part-time until the tenth edition of The American Woman is completed.

She is and will remain sorely missed.


News from Former Fellows

In 2002, it was to ALICIA BUTLER that House members and staff turned for advice on Floor procedures and legislative strategy. Rep. Nancy Pelosi moved this WREI Fellow from her personal office to the Minority Leadership suite when Alicia's skills at explaining Motions to Recommit and the Five Minute Rule became apparent. Rejecting offers to remain a go-to source in Congress when her Fellowship ended, Alicia moved back to her beloved Texas to work for Rep. Lloyd Doggett until January of this year. Here's her report on what's happened since then:

"I landed at a small political communications firm here in Austin, called Message, Audience & Presentation. Mainly we do direct mail, along with some radio and TV production and some general consulting, depending on the race. To my surprise, it has been a fantastic way to blend my policy background with my love for politics, and it's taught me a lot about messaging and marketing--two skills that I've found very valuable.

The roots of the firm are in Hispanic Democratic politics, particularly in South Texas, so we spent much of the primary season knocking off incumbent Democrats who'd crossed the line in supporting the Republican leadership down here for Dems who would fight to keep kids on CHIP and in decent public schools. This fall, we worked for a couple state legislative caucuses, helped out on a couple of the Congressional races in Texas through the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and we were on the independent expenditure team for the DNC which was a very cool experience, but ultimately disappointing, of course.

I'm an account executive, and I've found it's a very fulfilling way to be involved in campaigns without the burnout and constant turnover of actually hopping around from campaign to campaign. And being able to work in Austin with some very cool folks has helped me retain a nice life outside of the office, too--which keeps me relatively sane.

I was really thinking that I might head up to DC again after this cycle, but I feel strangely obligated to try to do some good around here for a little longer (as frustrating as being a Democrat in Texas can be many days), so my plan is to stick around here for at least another year. I'm also still with the same guy who I've been dating for years. He managed a congressional race in Florida (the primary fight to face Katherine Harris) and then did press for Kerry/Edwards in West Virginia and then Minnesota, and now he's back in Austin and looking for a job, so we can try to live in the same town for awhile (what a novel idea!)."