Monday, May 21, 2012

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: May 21, 2012

Federal Policy Updates 

HELP MAKE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK A REALITY

On April 17th, we honored Equal Pay Day – the day where a women’s salary will equal that of a man’s from the previous year. Now, one month later, we need your help to take action in support of equal pay. 

 In the next few weeks, we expect the Senate to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act. The vote could come at any moment, so we need you to contact your Senators today. Ask your Senators to show their support for equal pay by co-sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act.

While women make up more than half of the workforce and more than 2/3 of them are their families’ principal breadwinners, women still earn on average only 77% of what their male counterparts do. Women need fair wages that will allow them and their families to be economically secure and the legal recourse to ensure they can.

The Paycheck Fairness Act will strengthen the 1963 Equal Pay Act because it will:
  • Deter wage discrimination by strengthening penalties for equal pay violations; 
  • Prohibit retaliation against workers who ask about employers' wage practices or disclose their own wages; • Empower women to negotiate for equal pay; 
  • Strengthen federal outreach, education and enforcement efforts; 
  • Create stronger incentives for employers to follow the law. 
UPDATE ON THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT

Last week we asked you to take action to urge your Representative not to weaken the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). While the bill that passed the Senate extended protections, the House bill that did pass last week rolls back protections as it discourages undocumented immigrant women from reporting abuse without the threat of being deported. It also makes it harder for Native American women to seek justice against their abusers, and it leaves out protections for the LGBT community.

The House bill marks the first time that the VAWA’s protections have been reduced!

Even though the House and Senate have both passed bills, our voices can still be heard! The Senate and House will likely have to reconcile the difference in the bills passed through a Conference Committee.

Please urge your members of Congress to restore provisions that enable survivors to access critical services and resources required to be safe and recover from an experience of violence, leave an abusive situation or be free from violence in a relationship. To find your members, click here or call (202) 224-3121.

SIGN-ON LETTER TO SUPPORT PAID LEAVE

The Senate is planning to mark-up the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill in mid-June, so now is a great time to show your support for the State Paid Leave Fund. This is a small but important program that would support the development of family and medical leave insurance programs in the states.

Join the National Partnership for Women & Families in support of the State Paid Leave Fund by signing the coalition letter. National and state organizations are both encouraged to sign.

What is the State Paid Leave Fund? President Obama's proposed FY 2013 budget includes $5 million to establish a State Paid Leave Fund within the Department of Labor. The Fund would provide competitive grants to states considering paid leave programs. Grant funds would be used for critical activities such as program design, research and analysis, stakeholder consultation, actuarial analyses, and development of financing models and benefit structures.

To read and sign on to the letter, click here. The deadline for signing is Friday, June 1st. If you have any questions email Marion Johnson at mjohnson@nationalpartnership.org or Rachel Lyons at rlyons@nationalpartnership.org.

Individuals are also welcome to send they own letters to your Senators. Feel free to use information from the updated National Partnership State Paid Leave Fund Fact Sheet.

State Policy Updates 

HELP SUPPORT THE FOSTERING CONNECTIONS TO SUCCESS AND INCREASING ADOPTION ACT

In Pennsylvania, nearly 45 percent of children in foster care are ages 13 or older. Research shows that these youth are more likely than their peers to drop out of high school, experience homelessness or battle mental health challenges. Teens who receive the ongoing support of an adult often experience improvements in these areas, but unfortunately, teens are far less likely to be adopted than younger children. Of the more than 2,300 children adopted from foster care in Pennsylvania in 2010, only 9 percent were ages 13 or older.

The Governor’s proposed state budget includes a call for full implementation of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, a federal law designed to help older teens in foster care as they transition to adulthood. As state lawmakers negotiate a final budget for the coming fiscal year, it is critical they include full implementation of Fostering Connections so more teens can join permanent families or receive the extended support they need to land on their feet.

If you are a resource families can join in these efforts by clicking here. Individuals authorized to speak on behalf of their organizations can join by clicking here.

If you would like more information and to find other ways to be involved and take action join PPC's PA-Child Advocacy Network

From our friend at the Pennsylvania Partnership for Children.

Information and Events 

WOMEN VETERANS TWITTER TOWN HALL

In recognition of Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day the U.S. Department of Labor’s will be hosting a Women Veterans Twitter Town Hall.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 12 noon (EDT)

To join, you can send the Women’s Bureau your questions by e-mail to womensbureaunetwork@dol.gov before Monday, May 21 by 3 p.m. EDT or follow @USDOL. You can tweet questions in advance and throughout the event using hashtag #VetsTownHall.

This event is hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, Employment and Training Administration. There will also be special guests from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, John 14:2, Inc., Women Veterans Interactive, and Business and Professional Women’s Foundation.

For more information contact the U.S. Department of Labor - Women's at 202.693.6710 or visit them online at www.dol.gov/wb/.

FREE MAMMOGRAMS!

We wanted to share this message from our friends at the Philadelphia Unemployment Project. Please feel free to share it with the women in your life. 

If you haven't had a mammogram yet and don't have health insurance, you may qualify for a free one. To find out if you qualify, contact Leslie at the Philadelphia Unemployment Project. Leslie is a volunteer who is trained in mammogram referrals and will help you get your free mammogram.

Call 215-557-0822 ext. 114 on Wednesdays and ask for Leslie or email her any day at lmeyerson@philaup.org.

Don't put this off any longer! Over 12,000 women in Pennsylvania are diagnosed each year with breast cancer. If it's found early, the five-year survival rate is 98%. This can save your life.

If you would like to volunteer to help women get access to free mammogram, let Leslie know.

WOMEN’ LAW PROJECT RELEASES A NEW REPORT

The Women’s Law Project (WLP) recently released a new report, Through the Lens of Equality: Eliminating Sex Bias to Improve the Health of Pennsylvania’s Women, linking sex bias to adverse health outcomes in women.

Through the Lens of Equality examines the health impact of sexual and intimate partner violence, caregiving responsibilities, poverty, and bias in the workplace, school, and health care. The report delves into the politicization of women’s reproductive health care and shows how women are harmed by limited access to abortion, contraception, and maternity care. It repeatedly points to the importance of implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to expand access to better health care for women, while acknowledging the ACA’s serious gaps, including not mandating abortion coverage.

To learn more about this report and the work of the Women's Law Project, visit www.womenslawproject.org.

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