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WREI UPDATE— Issue 26

 

May 2005

IN THIS ISSUE
• Did you know?
• News from the WREI Fellows
• WREI holds Conference on “Women in the Military Today”
• News from the WREI Staff
• Saluting the Class of 2005

 

Did you know?
·According to Forbes, J.K. Rowling is the first billion-dollar author ever and one of only five self-made female billionaires in 2004.

Women writers have not always been so successful, however. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) is the first book recognized as modern science fiction, but the only favorable reviewer of it at the time, Walter Scott, claimed in print that her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, must have written the book.

In 1899, Kate Chopin, already a popular author of regional fiction, was certainly credited with The Awakening, but critics and readers were surprised and angered by the heavily feminist themes of the book. This greatly damaged the literary career Chopin, a widow, used to support her children. Emily Toth tells us in Kate Chopin: a Life of the Author of "The Awakening." that Chopin earned $102 in writing royalties the year The Awakening was published, but the next year, 1900, she made less than half that amount, only $49.77.

 

WREI holds Conference on “Women in the Military Today”

On May 19-20, WREI held its sixth conference to examine issues confronting America's servicewomen and women veterans. This unique two-day event took place at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery and attracted scholars, activists, reporters, and active duty and Reserve personnel from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Also participating were scholars and military officers from Canada, Germany, and Turkey.

Among the guest speakers: CSM Cynthia Pritchett, U.S. Army, Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan, the first woman to serve as a Command Sergeant Major in a combat theater; and Dr. Irene Trowell-Harris, Director of the Center for Women Veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Panels and presentations focused on gender and the military, minority women, issues for deployed women, VA health research findings, and military women and sexual trauma. In the next months, WREI plans to publish a selection of the proceedings from the conference.

As part of WREI’s conference, the Alliance for National Defense (AND) held a reception honoring Cindy Pritchett. In the photo, retired Army Brigadier General Pat Foote, AND’s president, presents CSM Pritchett the first annual Positive Voice Award for her historic work on behalf of American servicewomen.

WREI took this occasion to release the fifth edition of “Women in the Military: Where They Stand.” The updated version of this popular report includes the latest data on women’s combat support roles in Iraq and Afghanistan. Copies may be purchased from WREI for $5.00, which includes shipping.

WREI is grateful to Robert Kaufman and to the Fanny and Stephen Kahn Charitable Foundation for underwriting the cost of the conference and the new Women in the Military book.

 

Saluting the Class of 2005

Wednesday, June 8, will be WREI’s annual celebration of our Congressional Fellows on Women and Public Policy. We expect a capacity crowd of their friends and family as well as Members of Congress, former WREI Fellows, women’s activists, corporate, union, and non-profit leaders to join the fun.

As you will read below, these talented women have made important contributions to their House, Senate, and committee offices while mastering the in’s and outs of federal policy.

The Capitol Hill salute will take place in room B-369 of the Rayburn House Office Building from 6 – 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 and may be purchased through WREI by contacting Monica Jacobe at 202-628-0444, extension 10. WREI is grateful to The Altria Group, Inc. for underwriting the cost of this exciting evening.

 

News from the WREI Fellows

CLASS OF 2005

In January and February, JAIME HAWK spent many very busy weeks in the Senate Judiciary Committee working to improve or defeat the bankruptcy bill that ultimately passed Congress and became law. She also assisted with the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment that her boss, Senator Edward Kennedy, takes a lead on every Congress. Jaime’s now focusing on immigration and refugee issues—such as the comprehensive immigration reform bill that Senators Kennedy and McCain recently introduced—as well as on judicial nominations and the “nuclear option” threat.

Nurse-midwife DEB JESSUP spent April preparing for and staffing her boss, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, at Appropriations hearings with the directors of the Centers for Disease Control, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, the Administration on Aging, and the Corporation for National and Community Service (which includes VISTA, AmeriCorps and the Senior Corps). She is now working with the CDC and the National Partnership for Immunization to incorporate recommendations from an expert panel into legislation that would expand a national drive to increase adult immunization rates. The bill, which Deb named ADULT THRIVE for "ADULT Total Health Requires Increased Vaccination Efforts,” should be introduced in a few weeks.

At the House Ways and Means Committee’s Trade Subcommittee, IRENE LIN helped the minority staff recruit witnesses, prepare testimony, and write questions for a major hearing on the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Democrats are opposing CAFTA on the grounds that there are not sufficient labor protection standards in the agreement, which will result in a “race to the bottom” for working conditions. Through this assignment, Irene has gained a thorough knowledge of Central American labor laws and met with trade unionists who are risking their lives in order to exercise their right to organize there.

In anticipation of a mark-up of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reauthorization, RENEE NEELY drafted an amendment for her boss, Rep. Bobby Scott, to add a "Longitudinal Studies of Employment and Earnings of TANF Leavers" section to the bill. This would mandate an examination of post-welfare health care coverage, including mental health, substance abuse treatment, and reproductive health, for those individuals and families leaving the system. In her spare time, Renee completed her dissertation and became a doctor of clinical psychology in mid-May. On June 19th, Dr. Neely will marry Mark Walters.

In addition to passing the Florida Bar exam in February, attorney KAREN PERSIS also researched and wrote the Access to Legal Pharmaceuticals Act for her boss, Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Karen was instrumental in drafting HR.1652, wrote all the background information for Congressional offices and women’s/health groups backing the legislation, and then helped organize a press conference and briefing for the bill. Karen notes that this work has shown her how new federal legislation begins with a simple idea to address a problem and moves forward.

On April 5, the US Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe that would repeal the Global Gag Rule, a policy which denies U.S. international family planning assistance to organizations that use their own funds to counsel women on the availability of abortion, to advocate for changes to abortion laws, or to provide abortion services. Attorney PATTY SKUSTER helped prepare Senator Boxer for her floor statement and debate in support of the amendment--a terrific opportunity for Patty, who had traveled to East Africa and Nepal to document the disastrous impact of the Gag Rule. Patty is also working with Senator Boxer's legal counsel to prepare the Senator for developments concerning the president's judicial nominations.

 

FORMER FELLOWS

ELIZABETH VOGEL (Class of 2003) worked on the ERA and a host of women’s health and economic issues as a Fellow in the office of Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Elizabeth recently received her Ph.D. in public administration and urban policy from Old Dominion University. Her dissertation was titled “Pursuit of Professionalism in Bureaucracy: Perceptions of Federal Civil Service Employees about Bureaucratic Values in the Ethnic Federalism of Ethiopia.” Elizabeth took time out for some post-doctoral spa treatments and is now on her way to Somalia.

KARLA ARMENOFF (Class of 1998-99) worked for Rep. Luis Guitierrez of Illinois on the affordable housing and community reinvestment issues so near and dear to her heart. Marriage to Wataru Matsuyasu took her to Boston, where she first worked for State Rep. Jarrett Barrios of Cambridge and then became executive director of Watertown Community Housing, Inc. When her son Alex turned nine months, Karla and company moved back to Carmel, Indiana, to be near family. Daughter Abby arrived two weeks ago. Karla continues dissertation work for her doctorate in public policy at the University of Massachusetts.

The 2005 Fellows recently had the opportunity to meet another member of the Class of 1998-99, LY NGUYEN, who spoke to them about cultural competence across medical disciplines in treating mental health. Ly completed her doctorate in clinical and community psychology at the University of Maryland while covering minority health issues for Rep. Bobby Scott. Following her marriage to Fred Monroe, she won a post-doctoral fellowship from the Kellogg Foundation to study health disparities at Morgan State University. Ly now runs her own independent consulting firm and is helping orient Kellogg Fellows on Capitol Hill. She is also expecting a baby in September.

ANN POTTER FRANCIS (Class of 1999-2000) is the proud new mother of James Paul Francis, who was born on March 9th, weighing in at 8 lbs. 2 oz. Following her Fellowship with Rep. Sue Kelly of New York (then Republican co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women), Ann returned to DePaul University to complete her master’s in public services administration and took a non-profit job with Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois, lobbying the state legislature for after school programs for at-risk teens. She also married Todd Francis, the Georgetown doctor she met while working at WREI. When Todd completed his residency in Chicago, the Francises moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he took a job with Ohio State University’s world-renowned sports medicine program. Ann worked as a public policy manager for the Children's Hunger Alliance until taking on maternity duties.

DARLENE ISKRA (Class of 2002) is pursuing a doctorate in military sociology at the University of Maryland. A retired Navy commander and one of the Navy’s first women divers, Darlene worked for Senator Maria Cantwell during her WREI Fellowship. She recently received the George M. Phillips Award from the University in recognition of her outstanding contributions to topics of importance to community and public concerns. It was CMDR Iskra who successfully pushed language into the 2003 Defense Department Authorization bill that prohibited the Pentagon from requiring or even encouraging American servicewomen to wear the abaya while assigned to posts in the Middle East.

 

News from the WREI Staff

RAYMA BARAN has spent the last year as the policy associate who gathers, analyzes, and presents the data that will appear in the next edition of WREI’s American Woman book. She will celebrate her June 6th birthday with a parachute jump in Louisa, VA. What an appropriate way to commemorate D-Day!