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December 19, 2000

Women in Uniform Conference
Women in the Military: Where They Stand
Women Speak on Affirmative Action 2000
Hire a Vet: We Need Your Help
The American Woman 2001–2002
Friends of WREI
WREI's Fellows to Arrive
The Health of Midlife Women
American Woman Award Gala
WREI Features a Fellow



These have been demanding times for Captain Lory Manning, who directs WREI’s program on women in the military. After the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in which two women sailors were killed and five were wounded, Lory provided background on a variety of issues to reporters and commentators from the national media, including Scripps-Howard News Service, ABC News, New Republic magazine, and researchers from the Library of Congress.

On November 30–December 1, WREI held the fifth biennial Women in Uniform conference at the Women in Military Service to America Memorial (WIMSA) at Arlington Cemetery. Participants represented most branches of the U.S. military, firefighting, policing, peacekeeping, the U.S. and Canadian government, the United Nations, advocacy groups, and academia. Presentations covered such issues as the Australian experience with women on submarines, women in peacekeeping operations from both a U.S. and a UN perspective, military child care, and the differences in military and civilian employer approaches to family demands. WREI expects to publish the papers from the conference this spring.



WREI is pleased to announce the release of the third edition of Women in the Military: Where They Stand. This one-of-a-kind resource has been expanded to include the most recent data on women’s status in the U.S. military services, a chronology of significant legal and policy changes affecting women in the military from 1947 to the present, statistics by each service including additional tables by detailed race and Hispanic origin, and a list of organizations that are working on issues affecting women in the military. The report closes with a bibliography—a new addition to WREI’s timely and invaluable publication.

The report is widely used by members of the U.S. Congress and the executive branch, national security researchers, and the media, as well as by many overseas governments who are equalizing the roles of women in their militaries. Copies of Women in the Military: Where They Stand can be purchased at WREI's Online Publication Store for $7.00 (including postage and handling).



The hard work of the National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO) Affirmative Action Task Force, led by WREI's senior fellow Brigid O'Farrell, and the active involvement of women from around the country, have helped clarify the issues surrounding affirmative action. In this report, women themselves speak about how they have benefited from affirmative action and why it is still needed. Visit the NCWO and follow the links for a full copy of the report.



Do you know a woman who has served in the armed forces and now works as a police officer, truck driver, logistics planner, electrician, home builder, firefighter, or construction manager? If the answer is yes, please contact WREI's senior fellow Brigid O'Farrell. She is interviewing women veterans about their military experience and their transition to civilian jobs still considered nontraditional for women in transportation, construction, or public policy.



WREI is pleased to announce that The American Woman will be released at the beginning of March. This volume, the eighth in WREI’s acclaimed series, focuses on women’s emerging leadership in politics, business, education, unions, and the military. The American Woman 2001–2002: Getting to the Top will be launched at a press event in Washington.

There’s never time to rest on our laurels: planning is already underway for the ninth edition. Anne Stone and Vanessa Wight, who produce the impressive array of charts and tables in the book, are working with our long-time senior editor, Cindy Costello, to plan the next edition.



WREI would like to congratulate its board member Carol Gallagher on her fine book, Going to the Top, which was released this year. Carol was in Washington, DC last month for a book-signing at the Press Club. Her book is based on lessons learned from 200 women who have reached the top in America's Fortune 1000 companies.



The eight outstanding women who won WREI fellowships will arrive on January 16th for an intensive two-week orientation. They’ll meet with former fellows, House and Senate staffers, budget specialists, lobbyists, and issue experts from the Library of Congress, the American Political Science Association, and the executive branch.

Week three will be devoted to finding Capitol Hill placements. Fellowship director Rachel Mears has been trying to match fellows’ policy interests with those of Congressional offices, the object being to set up interviews with Members who can offer a challenging, professional experience.

The coming year marks the first time that WREI fellows will start their assignments as a new Congress is beginning. And the class of 2001 will have an inside view of how the legislative branch operates when the majority party’s margins are as razor thin as the margins in the presidential election. How will the public policy agenda be set? Will partisan rancor abate? Can a bipartisan spirit prevail or will gridlock tighten? Being part of history in the making is the reason the Congressional Fellowships on Women & Public Policy are still so attractive to scholars after two decades.



Preparations are well underway for WREI’s January 9–10 health summit in Philadelphia, “Improving the Health of Midlife Women: Policy Options for the 21st Century.” Cindy Costello, Ph.D., has assembled an impressive panel of issue experts who will spend two days devising practical policy recommendations that WREI will present to members of the 107th Congress. The summit's advisory committee members are Karen Scott Collins, M.D., of the Commonwealth Fund, Cindy Hall from Women's Policy, Inc., Wilhelmina Leigh, Ph.D., of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; Saralyn Mark, M.D., of HHS’s Office on Women’s Health, and Martha Romans of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health.

The report from this summit will be released at a Capitol Hill event and disseminated to women’s organizations, health advocacy groups, state and local policymakers, scholars, and the media.



Thanks to the generosity of our many supporters, our annual gala and silent auction on October 4th at the Mayflower broke 1999’s record for earnings. The event drew guests from a wide range of corporations, unions, government, women’s advocacy groups, scholars, and students. The Best Friends Jazz Choir struck just the right note in opening and closing the evening. Washington's Mayor Anthony Williams and Franklin Raines, chair of Fannie Mae, delivered wonderful tributes to our guest of honor, Alice Rivlin. And Dr. Rivlin returned the favor with a humorous, thoughtful, and touching insight into her landmark career in economics. Congratulations go to WREI’s small but dedicated staff, who worked very hard to organize an elegant, entertaining, and exciting evening for us all.



Susan Messina
Class of 1990–1991
Office of then-Representative Barbara Kennelly (D-CT)

Susan Messina is currently on maternity leave from her job as grant development and administration manager in the Medical Affairs Department of the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP). (AAHP is a managed care trade association in Washington, D.C.) Clare Krayer Messina-Fitzgerald arrived about a month ago, much to the joy and wonder of Susan and her partner, Maryann Krayer.

Before joining AAHP in 1998, Susan was deputy director of the Mary-Helen Mautner Project for Lesbians with Cancer, a community-based organization in Washington. She also served as president of the Board of the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League, the only local organization that serves gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth exclusively. She is currently president of the Bryn Mawr Club of Washington.

Susan, who used to have time to read books, recommended one particularly intriguing novel by Ruth Ozecki: My Year of Meats, a story of a Japanese American woman hired to produce a Japanese TV show about American housewives and their beef-cooking prowess.

In remembering her time with Representative Barbara Kennelly of Connecticut, Susan wrote, “It’s difficult to tease out the impact of any one experience—even one as rich as the fellowship. I know that if I hadn’t received the fellowship, I would have stayed in Philadelphia instead of relocating to Washington. Thus, in some senses, I owe my entire adult existence to WREI because I settled in D.C., met my partner, bought a condo, found jobs, made friends, etc. I was an alternate for the program and I sometimes wonder who turned down the fellowship and what my life would have been like if that unknown woman hadn’t made that decision in the spring of 1990.”