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WREI UPDATE— Issue 7

June 22, 2001

IN THIS ISSUE
Improving the Health of Midlife Women
American Woman Award Winner Cathleen Black
American Woman Award Dinner and Gala 2001
WREI Receives Shared Vision Award
Women in the Military Project
Hire-A-Vet: Noted Scholars Assess WREI’s Working Paper on Women Veteran’s Employment
Board Member Diane Watson is Elected to Congress
WREI Fellow Patricia Rojas Leads a Fight for Immigrant Students at the National Level
Martha Farnsworth Riche is Featured in Fast Company
American Woman 2001-2002 Book Signing at Barnes & Noble
Where is Former Fellow Lucille Bonvouloir Now?

 

DID YOU KNOW . . .
More women than men age 25 to 34 have a bachelor's degree and women in this age group are just as likely to have an advanced degree as their grandmothers were to have a bachelor's degree.

 

IMPROVING THE HEALTH OF MIDLIFE WOMEN
Little attention has been directed towards the health of midlife women. The focus has been on younger women of reproductive age or older women eligible for Medicare. Significant gaps in health coverage and research as well as disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention confront women from 45 to 64—one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population.

WREI addresses these gaps in a comprehensive new report, Improving the Health of Midlife Women: Policy Options for the 21st Century by Cindy Costello and Vanessa Wight. It offers Congress 15 High Impact Actions that could be taken to address these gaps as well as a broad range of recommendations to set a midlife women’s federal health agenda.

After releasing the report at a Capitol Hill briefing in May, Susan Scanlan, president of WREI, and Cindy Costello met with Secretary Tommy Thompson, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to discuss ways the Department could implement several of the recommendations. This was followed by a promising meeting at the White House with domestic policy staff.

To find out more, visit us online at www.wrei.org, where Improving the Health of Midlife Women is available for $8.50.

 

AMERICAN WOMAN AWARD WINNER CATHLEEN BLACK
On October 9th, WREI will recognize Cathleen Black, president of Hearst Magazines, with our annual American Woman Award. Ms. Black currently directs the world’s largest chain of magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, O, The Oprah Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Redbook. Today, Hearst publishes 98 international editions in more than 100 countries.

Over a long and distinguished career, Ms. Black has achieved many “firsts.” In 1972, she helped launch Ms. magazine and seven years later became the first woman publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, New York Magazine. From there, she moved to USA Today as president and then publisher. In 1991, she was named president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America. Fortune magazine listed Cathie Black as one of the 24 “Most Powerful Woman” in American business. She was awarded “Publishing Executive of the Year” by Advertising Age in 2000.

 

AMERICAN WOMAN AWARD DINNER AND GALA 2001
It’s almost that time of year again, when WREI not only presents the American Woman Award but also holds its annual gala and celebrated silent auction.

This year’s gala, honoring Cathleen Black, president of Hearst Magazines, will be at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, October 9th, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Please mark your calendars for an exciting and entertaining evening. And visit our website soon to purchase tickets and peruse our growing list of auction items

Last year’s silent auction included a variety of temptations for bidders, ranging from a Swedish massage to a weekend at The Sanderling Inn at Duck, NC to a baseball autographed by George W. and Laura Bush.

 

WREI RECEIVES SHARED VISION AWARD
On April 25th, founding president Betty Dooley accepted the first Shared Vision award on WREI’s behalf from Women in Government Relations/WGR Leader Foundation at an evening of celebration at the Museum for Women in the Arts.

Fellow honoree Olympia Snowe, Republican Senator from Maine, saluted us in her remarks: “I know first-hand the immensity of WREI’s contributions not only to the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues, but also to the entire body of knowledge on issues affecting America’s women. And that’s critical, because the fact of the matter is, women have been often overlooked.”

 

WOMEN IN THE MILITARY PROJECT
The Ford Foundation has informally agreed to provide funding for the Women in the Military project for another year. Over the next 12 months, WREI will be re-envisioning this project and seeking new sources of support. If you have any thoughts on the project or suggestions for new funding, please contact the project director, Lory Manning.

 

HIRE-A-VET: SCHOLARS ASSESS THE STATUS OF WOMEN VETERANS’ EMPLOYMENT
WREI convened a group of noted scholars who have done research on women veterans and/or on civilian employment matters, most of whom were veterans themselves, to help assess a paper prepared by Lory Manning, project director, and Brigid O'Farrell, WREI's senior fellow.

This paper reviews research on women veterans’ employment situations, examines the data sources available for studying women veterans’ employment, and makes recommendations for research that ought to be conducted in this area. The paper will be delivered to the Department of Labor Veteran's Employment and Training Service.

 

BOARD MEMBER DIANE WATSON IS ELECTED TO CONGRESS
Diane Watson, a long time member of WREI’s Board of Directors, was elected to the House of Representatives on June 5th in a special election for California’s 32nd District to replace the late Julian Dixon. She won with 75 percent of the vote.

Ms. Watson, was the first African American woman elected to the California Senate in 1978 and served as a state senator for 20 years. In 1999, President Clinton named her ambassador to Micronesia.

 

WREI FELLOW PATRICIA ROJAS LEADS A FIGHT FOR IMMIGRANT STUDENTS AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL

Many immigrant students are unable to attend college because of their immigrant status and their ineligibility for in-state tuition rates. This concerned WREI Fellow Patricia Rojas who, in graduate school in Houston, was a founding member of the Coalition of Higher Education for Immigrant Students. The Coalition fought for state legislation to help the undocumented students who had done well in U.S. high schools but were unable to take their education further.

Rojas and her organization were successful in introducing and recently passing a bill that allows immigrant students in Texas to pay in-state tuition. Our WREI Fellow has now had an even bigger breakthrough: While working under Rep. Roybal-Allard, she took the lead in drafting similar legislation that would benefit students across the country. Rojas is now seeking support for HR. 1918, the Student Advisement Act of 2001.

 

MARTHA FARNSWORTH RICHE IS FEATURED IN FAST COMPANY
Dr. Martha Farnsworth Riche, president and founder of Farnsworth Riche Associates, was recently featured in Fast Company as one of ten executives and thinkers, each explaining the most important part of their leadership agenda.

Riche explained that since older people are gaining more control of the market, people need to be aware that targeting the young age groups will not work anymore. A new demographic is forming and the different age brackets are balancing out, she said

A former director of the Census Bureau and a leading demographer in her field, Martha Farnsworth Riche will contribute to the next edition of WREI’s American Woman publication, expected in Winter 2002.

 

AMERICAN WOMAN 2001-2002 BOOK SIGNING AT BARNES & NOBLE
On June 21, Barnes & Noble bookstore in Bethesda, MD hosted a book signing and discussion featuring Cynthia B. Costello and Anne J. Stone, editors of The American Woman 2001–2002: Getting to the Top, and Vanessa Wight, research associate at WREI. They highlighted the most recent edition in the American Woman series, which focuses on women's leadership in politics, higher education, business, labor unions, and the military. WREI's editors enjoyed a terrific turnout and our guests, an interesting and informative evening.

 

WHERE IS FORMER FELLOW LUCILLE BONVOULOIR NOW?
As a WREI Fellow in 1984-1985, Sister Lucille Bonvouloir, RSM, was assigned to the House Select Committee on Aging. She worked on Rep. Mike Synar’s (D-OK) Task Force on Rural Elderly, where she researched the impact of year-old Medicare cost containment on rural hospitals. “After unearthing several horror stories, I ended up putting together the first Quality of Care hearing on this legislation,” she reports.

While on the Hill, Lucille completed a master’s degree in public administration at George Washington University, which she has put to good and continuous use over the past 16 years. She served as executive director of the Committed on Temporary Shelter in Vermont, providing emergency housing and support services for people without homes. For the past four years, as vice president of the Sisters of Mercy in Burlington, one of 25 regional religious communities, Lucille has worked on reconfiguration of the Northeast. Her challenge is to find new and creative ways to carry on the mission today and into the future at a time when numbers are diminishing but commitment is growing.

Things have changed dramatically since Lucille entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1960: “We wore the full habit and veil (long, black) and all you could see was a face and hands; the regimen was highly structured and the ministry options limited.” Changes since then? “External evidence is what is most obvious—the full habit is no longer required; in fact, many Sisters wear “regular” clothing; we minister in a variety of ways. The daily schedule is determined in each local residence.

Essentially religious life underwent a massive shift from a life based on the rule, traditions, and externals. Theologically, it involved a change from seeing God as totally ‘other’ to a concept that includes seeing God in others.”

In December, Lucille traveled to El Salvador to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the four churchwomen who were brutally killed and raped during the war. “People from all over the world were there. The time with the people of El Salvador and those who work with them was sacred time. Wherever I went, I was struck with the sense of hope of the people, given their reality of utter destitution and poverty. In an environment with no running water and houses made of scrap materials and banana leaves, a man spoke of the people’s struggle to secure a small plot of land.”