The following e-newsletter is a joint communication from the Maine Women’s Policy Center and our sister organization, the Maine Women’s Lobby.
“We often fear that the Revolution needed is too big for what we can give.
Too much change is required inside, outside.
And we are too small.
But all that is required is that you step into the truth of your life.
And speak it, write it, paint it, dance it.
That you shine your light on your truth, for the world to see.
And as hundreds, then thousands, then millions do this – each sparking the courage of yet more –
Suddenly we have a world alight with truth.”
― Lucy H. Pearce, Burning Woman
Rise Up! Immigration Rally
Monday, May 1st at 6:00 PM
Congress Square Park, Portland
Facebook Event Page: bit.ly/2qmlppl
From those who cook the food we eat to those who build the businesses of the future, all are affected by the Trump Administration’s attack on immigrants. That’s why immigrants and allies across the country will be participating in events and actions for A Day Without Immigrants. America doesn’t work without immigrants.
Read this piece in The Nation to learn more about tomorrow’s May Day strike when immigrants and allies will stay home from work and school while also avoiding shopping and banking to demonstrate the power of immigrant labor and purchasing power, and to reject discrimination and hate. You can sign a pledge of support and discover other ways to support the strike and actions at lahuelga.com.
LUNAFEST hosted by the Maine Women‘s Lobby
Saturday, May 6th from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
USM Luther Bonney Hall, 96 Falmouth Street, Portland
LUNAFEST is a traveling film festival of award-winning short films by, for, and about women. This season, the program of nine films – filled with stories of reflection, hope and humor will feature a diverse range of issues impact women around the world. Find more information here.
Before and After Roe v. Wade: Unintended Pregnancies and Difficult Choices
Hosted by Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights (GRR!)
Tuesday, May 9th from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant Street, Brunswick
Join GRR! for a discussion about access to reproductive health care services pre- and post-Roe v. Wade. Listen to and share stories. Learn more here.
2017 Women’s Day at the State House
Hosted by the Alliance for Maine Women
Wednesday, May 10 from 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Maine State House and Cross Office Building, Augusta
Wear RED if you can. Come for all or part of the day.
Register at www.surveymonkey.com/r/7NQWKGV
Join us for the annual Women‘s Day at the State House. Connect with organizations that work on issues that matter to Maine women and families, learn about the Alliance for Maine Women‘s priorities for the 2017 legislative session, and connect with your legislators so your voice is heard in the halls of the State House! Learn more and register here.
8:00 AM: Registration in the Cross Cafe
8:00 AM: Organization Tables in the Hall of Flags
8:30 – 9:30 AM: Legislative Updates and Lobbying 101 in the Cross Cafe
9:30 – 10:30 AM: Speaker Panel
10:30 – 11:30 AM: Connect with organizations, activists, and legislators in the Hall of Flags
11:45 – 12:30 PM: Rally for Maine Women and Girls
12:15 – 1:00 PM: Tour the State House
12:30 – 1:00 PM: Lunch on Your Own (There is a cafeteria in the Cross Building)
1:00 – 2:00 PM: Workshops
Workshop 1: What is Reproductive Justice?
Workshop 2: Lived Experiences and Legislative Possibilities
2:00 – 3:00 PM: Workshops
Workshop 1: What is Reproductive Justice?
Workshop 2: Lived Experiences and Legislative Possibilities
Get more details and invite your friends at the Facebook Event Page.
SAVE THE DATE!
Maine Women‘s Summit on Economic Security
Friday, October 13th
Augusta Civic Center
Be sure to mark your calendar for our third Summit to engage activists, community leaders, nonprofit organizations, and legislators on policies to improve the economic security of Maine women. If your organization or business is interested in sponsoring this event, please contact Kathy at 207-622-0851 x3 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opportunity for action:
The Maine Women‘s Lobby is looking to host monthly film screenings at local community establishments around the state. If you are interested in having a monthly film screening in your community and know of an establishment that would be willing to participate in hosting the screening, please contact Victoria at 207-622-0851 x5 or email@example.com.
UPDATES FROM THE 128th LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Danna Hayes, our Director of Public Policy, is monitoring, testifying, and lobbying on scores of bills during this legislative session—bills that impact our financial security, access to health care, safety, and basic rights. Over the next couple months, we will need your help to contact legislators about both dangerous and proactive bills. Things can happen quickly at the State House so we’ll let you know about these opportunities for action through our email action alert system and through Facebook and Twitter. If there is an issue you are particularly interested in that falls in one of our four focus areas—economic security, access to health care, freedom from violence, and freedom from discrimination—contact Victoria Rodriguez, our Community Organizer, to talk with her about ways you can take action. She can be reached at 207-622-0851 x5 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some recent highlights from the session:
The wage gap continues to harm women across our country. In Maine, it is projected to take until 2060 to close the wage gap—and it will take even longer to close the gap for women of color, transgender women, mothers, and women with disabilities. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that if we closed this gap:
- the poverty rate for all working women would be cut in half, falling from 8.0% to 3.8% and the very high poverty rate for working single mothers would fall by nearly half, from 28.9% to 14.5%.
- approximately 25.8 million children would benefit from the increased earnings of their mothers.
- the number of children with working mothers living in poverty would be nearly cut in half, dropping from 5.6 million to 3.1 million.
- the US economy would have produced additional income of $512.6 billion—this represents 2.8% of the 2016 gross domestic product (GDP).
That’s why we’re supporting LD 1259, An Act Regarding Pay Equality, which is sponsored by Sen. Catherine Breen (D-Cumberland). LD 1259 would strengthen protections for workers under the Maine Human Rights Act. It would prevent employers from seeking information about a prospective employee’s past salary before offering employment. When companies use prior pay to determine an employee’s current wages, pay discrimination of the past follows employees into their next jobs.
The hearing for LD 1259 is on Tuesday, May 2nd at 1 PM in the Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research & Economic Development in Room 208 of the Cross Building. If you are interested in submitting testimony and have any questions, contact Kathy at email@example.com.
More information about pay inequity can be found in The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap.
LD 1237, An Act to Require Insurance Coverage for Contraceptive Supplies, is sponsored by Rep. Jay McCreight (D-Harpswell). It is a common-sense bill to provide up to 12 months of birth control at a time. Research has found that providing 12 months of birth control leads to a 30% reduction in unintended pregnancies and a 46% reduction in abortion. We testified in support of this basic health care that allows women to control their lives. The Insurance and Financial Services Committee voted 9-4 Ought to Pass this important legislation.
Read more about this bill in Maine should make it easier for women to access birth control.
LD 1476, An Act To Ensure Continued Coverage for Essential Health Care, is another bill that would improve women’s access to health care and is also sponsored by Rep. McCreight. We testified in support of this bill at a hearing last week. LD 1476 would mandate the coverage of essential preventive measures including newborn care, vaccinations, health and wellness screenings for children and adolescents, well-women exams, breast cancer screenings, Pap tests, birth control, STI testing and screening for interpersonal and domestic violence.
The inclusion of these essential preventive benefits have allowed for the greatest advance in women’s health in a generation. Prior to the ACA, women paid thousands of dollars out of pocket for basic base such as birth control and annual check-ups.
Poverty continues to be a serious issue facing too many Maine womenand children. In fact, from 2011 to 2016, the percentage pf Mainechildren living in deep poverty has increased at a rate 8 times higher than the national average. And our state has significantly reduced and limited assistance meant to help families with children move out of poverty. This is unacceptable.
That’s why we’re supporting LD 1475, An Act To Reduce Child Poverty by Leveraging Investments in Families Today (LIFT), which is sponsored by Speaker Sara Gideon (D-Freeport). The LIFT bill would:
- stabilize families by raising inadequate benefit levels and addressing the housing crisis that is leaving many families at risk of homelessness;
- break down barriers to work, including the “welfare cliff”, the high cost of child care, and the high cost of transportation. It would also expand opportunity to higher education; and
- create benchmarks to hold our government accountable for administering public programs that actually reduce poverty.
You can learn more about the LIFT bill at Real Reform Must Solve Real Problems.
In addition to these bills, we have opposed legislation attacking immigrants and communities that welcome them, opposed efforts to weaken protections for children in child care, opposed bills meant to further shame and punish people living in poverty, and supported bills that would improve women’s economic security and safety. As we mentioned earlier, these are just some of the many bills we are monitoring and taking action on each day in Augusta. We appreciate your help in letting our elected leaders know what issues are important to women in Maine.
THE NEED FOR PAID LEAVE
Have you ever struggled to care for a loved one without paid leave? Welcoming a new child, recovering from a serious illness or injury, caring for an aging parent, helping a sick spouse or other family member shouldn’t send a family into financial crisis, but far too often it does because the majority of workers do not have access to paid family and medical leave. If you would like to share your story, call or email Victoria at 207-622-0851 x5 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eliza Townsend, our Executive Director spoke on Maine Calling earlier this month for an episode on Maine Women’s History: http://mainepublic.org/post/
Kathy Kilrain del Rio, our Director of Program and Development, received the 2017 Achievement Citation Award for her activism on behalf of Maine women at the 2017 AAUW Maine State Convention in Waterville on Friday night.
Eliza was a guest speaker at the 7th Annual Mainebiz Women‘s Leadership Forum. The topic of the forum was The gender wage gap – why is this still a thing?
Equal Pay on Maine Calling
Maine‘s Immigrants Boost Workforce Of Whitest, Oldest State In U.S. on All Things Considered
How Trump Has Threatened Women and Families in His First 100 Days from National Women’s Law Center
How Child Care Enriches Mothers, and Especially the Sons They Raise in the New York Times
Scores of Maine attorneys condemn immigration arrest at Portland courthouse in the Portland Press Herald
Rising infant mortality rates point to big problems in northern Maine in the Portland Press Herald
SUPPORT MAINE WOMEN AND GIRLS
With so much on the line for women and girls, we need your support more than ever. To make a donation to support our mission, visit our donation page. If you would like to spread your support out over the whole year, click the box to make your donation monthly.
If you prefer to make your gift through the mail, send your check to Maine Women’s Lobby, 124 Sewall Street, Augusta, ME 04330. If you have any questions, contact Sarah at 207-622-0851 x2.
Thank you for your continued support!
Eliza, Danna, Victoria, Sarah, and Kathy