This is the future that we’re building, one where all of us here at home and around the world are free to live out our dreams. Where our children’s aspirations aren’t segregated into pink and blue. Where working families don’t have to choose between taking care of a loved one and earning a paycheck. Where women and girls, no matter where they live, are free from fear of violence—including gun violence. Where hatred against women, or hatred against the LGBT community, that doesn’t neatly fit into some predetermined notion of how people should be or how they love—where that is no longer the operative rule in any society. A future where women lead half our businesses, make up half of Congress. Where our girls know they can hold any job, and run any company, and compete on any field, and perform on any stage, and science the heck out of any challenge. That’s the future we’re trying to build.
– President Obama speaking at the United State of Women
June News from the Maine Women’s Policy Center and Maine Women’s Lobby
Thank you for everything, Molly!
We recently said goodbye to Molly Bogart, our Outreach Coordinator and Administrative Assistant. Molly started out as an intern with our organizations while still attending college in 2012 and joined our staff in the fall of 2013. Molly worked to engage women in elections, led advocacy trainings, and worked to connect more people across the state to the work of the two organizations. Passionate about the issues we champion—women’s and civil rights, economic justice, and access to comprehensive and affordable healthcare—Molly is a true treasure. We’re excited to see all that she will do in her future endeavors, and we miss her a lot already.
Molly didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye to all of you, so she left us with these words of farewell to share:
“I loved beyond measure working with the staff, partners, and supporters of MWL in my two and a half years there—you have all been a constant source of energy and inspiration. I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of Maine women, and all people, to make sure everyone can live a life with safety, dignity, and economic security. Onward!”
We wish you all the best, Molly!
HAPPENINGS AT MWL/MWPC
Eliza Townsend, our executive director, is featured in the July issue of MaineMagazine as one their 50 Mainers Charting the State’s Future. As Eliza says, we need to make sure our people have the tools to succeed if we want our state to succeed. “Let’s invest in education, paid family leave, quality child care. Let’s make sure everyone has access to healthcare and can earn a paid day off when they’re sick. That’s how we’ll build a twenty-first century economy.”
Way to go, Eliza!
Pew Charitable Trusts held a conference in Portland this week, and our own Danna Hayes spoke on a panel about increasing access to dental health care. Having access to the full range of health care women need throughout our lives includes preventative and routine dental care. Too many people in our state can’t access this important care. It’s an especially challenging issue for people living in rural Maine, those without transportation, and those who lack mobility—such as the elderly and disabled.
- 31% of Mainers don’t have a dentist
- Dental care is the most common unmet health treatment need in children
- 15 of 16 Maine counties have federally designated shortage areas
- 40% of dentists plan to retire or reduce their hours within the next five years
We’ll continue to fight for increasing access to a full range of health care for all Mainers. We’re glad Danna had a chance to share those efforts with colleagues from around the country.
SCOTUS’ IMPACT ON OUR LIVES
As another session of the Supreme Court comes to an end, it’s a good moment to reflect on the important role the federal courts play in our lives. This year the Court made its most significant ruling on abortion in more than 20 years in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. They struck down provisions in a Texas TRAP law designed to force women’s health centers that provide abortion care to close. But that was only one of many decisions that will impact women’s lives in both positive and negative ways. Read our latest blog post, Their decisions impact our lives for generations, to learn more.
But this is also a critical moment in the future of the Supreme Court. There is already one vacancy on the Court due to the death of Justice Scalia and obstruction by Republican Leadership in the Senate and on the Judiciary Committee. Three more justices will be in their eighties during the next President’s administration, and based on the average age justices retire; one or more of them are likely to be leaving the Court in the next few years. That means the next President could nominate as many as four justices—shaping the future of the Court for generations. Learn more about this tipping point at scotustippingpoint.org.
And just for fun, take this quiz to see which SCOTUS Justice you are: scotustippingpoint.org/#quiz.
YES ON 4!
The ballot question to raise the minimum wage finally has official language and a number. On Election Day, vote Yes on 4 to raise Maine‘s minimum wage by a dollar per year until it reaches $12 in 2020. Another important part of this referendum is to gradually end the subminimum wage for tipped workers by 2024. We’ll be working hard between now and Tuesday, November 8th to pass this vital citizen’s initiative.
The question you’ll see on the ballot is: Do you want to raise the minimum hourly wage of $7.50 to $9.00 in 2017, and in $1.00 increments up to $12 in 2020; and to raise it for service workers who receive tips from the current rate of $3.75 to $5 in 2017, in $1.00 increments up to $12 in 2024?
EXPANDING ACCESS TO #PAIDSICKDAYS
We began this newsletter with an excerpt from Pres. Obama’s remarks at the United State of Women earlier this month. The day focused on the policies that help women thrive, from paid family leave to raising wages, from expanding access to affordable childcare to ending violence and discrimination. Making sure more workers can earn paid sick days was also highlighted, and the next day was a national day of action in support of the Healthy Families Act. Nearly 200,000 Mainers can’t earn a single paid sick day. The Healthy Families Act would make a big difference in their lives. Congresswoman Pingree and Senator King are already cosponsors of this legislation. Congressman Poliquin and Senator Collins are not yet supporting it. To contact our Representatives and Senators to thank them for their support or urge them to become cosponsors, visit bit.ly/1sGKpYL.
The American Medical Association also recognizes the need for paid sick leave. They cited a growing body of evidence that lack of access to paid sick leave results in the spread of infectious diseases, as well as delayed screenings, diagnoses, and treatment.
“With both dual-earner and single-parent households on the rise in the United States, it is increasingly challenging for workers to juggle family and work,” said former AMA Board Chair Barbara L. McAneny, M.D. “Workers without paid sick days are more likely to work sick and are more likely to delay needed medical care, which can lead to prolonged illness and worsen otherwise minor health issues. Lack of paid leave also has a ripple effect across a worker’s family. Paid sick leave has been shown to aid children’s health, shorten hospital stays and reduce the risk of disease transmission by allowing parents to stay home with sick children. Paid sick leave keeps our homes, offices and communities healthier while ensuring the family’s economic security.”
The momentum for #paidsickdays keeps growing!
DON’T FORGET TO CONNECT WITH US ONLINE
What words bring you inspiration and motivate you to continue to be an advocate for a better world? Send us some summer inspiration by emailing Kathy at email@example.com so she can share them with our members on social media or in a future edition of our e-news.