This monthly newsletter is produced in partnership between the Maine Women’s Policy Center and our sister organization, the Maine Women’s Lobby.
We’ve been hearing a lot from our members and women around the state since the election—concern, sadness, fear, and disappointment as well as determination, passion, and commitment. No matter how hard the fight for progress is going forward, the Maine Women’s Lobby will be here for all of you. We understand your concerns and we share them. We see your passion and we feel that, too.
We’re holding on to our vision for a better future for Maine women and girls. We will have to think of new strategies to make progress and we will need to stand together and organize like never before. We are eager to connect with all of you standing for a positive future. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have ideas you want to share or to be engaged in our work going forward.
We will never stop fighting for a future where each of us can live our lives without fear of violence, with access to health care, with autonomy over our own bodies, with financial security, and with equity & dignity no matter our race, religious beliefs, ethnicity, gender, immigration status, or sexual orientation. Thank standing up and speaking out for these values with us.
A BIG WIN FOR WORKERS
We were thrilled to see voters in Maine show so much support for Question 4: An Act to Raise the Minimum Wage. By passing this ballot question, Mainers have given a much needed raise to our state’s lowest paid workers. The minimum wage will gradually increase to $12 per hour by 2020. Then future increases will be linked to the cost of living—an important step forward for workers struggling to make ends meet. AndMaine also became the eighth state in the U.S. to gradually eliminate the subminimum wage for workers who earn tips—with the current subminimum tipped wage gradually increasing to the regular minimum wage by 2024.
Women make up 60% of the workers who will get a raise when the minimum wage increases and women make up 70% of those who will see greater stability when the subminimum tipped wage is eliminated. One in three working seniors will see greater financial security from this new law, and approximately 60,000 Maine kids will be better off because one or both parents will be getting a raise. This is a huge win for the economic security of Maine workers and their families across the state.
Unfortunately, we already know that Gov. LePage and corporate lobbyists want to undermine this victory for workers. One of the many attacks we’ll be working against in the 2017 Legislative Session will be an attempt to roll-back some parts of this new law. We’ll be asking for your help to defeat these attacks. And if you are a worker who will have greater financial security because of this law, we’d love to hear your story. Call207.622.0851 x3 or email email@example.com.
In case you missed it, Maine wasn’t alone in voting for higher wages. Arizona, Colorado and Washington also voted to increase the minimum wage. And both Arizona and Washington also passed measures to ensure workers can earn paid sick days. Read more about these wins in The Bright Spots for Workers Amid Tuesday’s Disastrous Election.
TWO EVENTS TO GET DECEMBER OFF TO A GREAT START
The Maine Women‘s Lobby and USM Women and Gender Studies are hosting a free film screening of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry. The screening will be followed by an interactive discussion about getting involved in activism in our communities.
We’re honored to join Maine Initiatives and a variety of organizations working for racial justice at SPACE Gallery for First Friday. You’ll have a chance to explore, learn more, share your ideas, and get involved in the transformational racial justice work happening every day in Maine. And you can help the Maine Women’s Lobby create a collaborative community art piece. If you’ll be in Portland, we urge you to explore each organization’s work, and to get involved as a volunteer, donor, and advocate for racial justice and racial equity in Maine.
SUPPORT OUR MISSION
#GivingTuesday was yesterday, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to make a donation to support the work of the Maine Women’s Lobby. You can make a one-time contribution or become a sustaining donor with a monthly donation of any size. And you’ll always know your gift helps make sure their is a strong voice for women and girls in the halls of the State House and beyond. Your support also makes it possible for us to strengthen our outreach across the state and look for new ways to make progress toward a more equitable future.
Thank you for your support!
NOMINATE SOMEONE AMAZING
We couldn’t do our work without the partnership of great organizations that share our values and amazing activists doing hard work in their communities. That’s why it makes us happy to let you know about two events shining a spotlight on some of those amazing leaders here inMaine. To make their award ceremonies a success, EMPOWER The Immigrant Woman and Hardy Girls Healthy Women are looking for you to nominate the great activists in your life.
EMPOWER The Immigrant Woman will hold its second annual conference and gala on March 18th. They’ll be honoring immigrant women who are moving their communities forward, carving a path, and setting an example for strength and success. You can learn more about the conference at www.empowerimmigrantwoman.org/
Each year Hardy Girls Healthy Women honors girls whose bold voices and daring acts have made a substantial impact on their communities at their annual Girls Rock! Awards. In 2017, this inspiring evening will take place on April 7th. HGHW is looking for nominees in the following categories: Title IX Champion, Health Promoter, Against the Odds Advocate, Community Organizer, Entrepreneur, and STEM-gineer. You can learn more and make a nomination at hghw.org/programs/girls-rock-
SAVE THE DATE: GIRLS’ DAY AT THE STATE HOUSE
“Girls should know that they can be leaders too, and that they have a chance to speak up for what they believe.” -Diana, Glenburn
On March 24th, we’ll be bringing together more than 100 eighth grade girls at the Maine State House to learn about women’s leadership and how they can engage in policy-making. We’re always inspired by the girls who join us for this special event.
We’re able to make Girls’ Day happen because of the support of many volunteers who each work with a small group of girls all day long. If you are interested in being a volunteer on March 24th, contact Victoria at 207.622.0851 x5 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOUR STORIES ABOUT EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, CHILDCARE, AND PAID LEAVE
We hear all the time from women struggling to balance their responsibilities at work and at home. She may be a new mom who can’t afford to lose a paycheck to stay home with an infant or adopted child. A parent struggling to find quality, affordable childcare so she can go to work. Someone sandwiched between caring for children and trying to help her own parents age at home. A wife trying to care for her spouse fighting cancer.
Too often, our policies are stuck in the Mad Men era instead of reflecting the realities of working families today. That’s why we’re shining a light on the obstacles families face when trying to access early childhood education programs, the lack of affordable childcare, and the need for paid leave. Your story can help. You can share your experiences online at one of the following links, or you can contact Victoria at 207.622.0851 x5 or email@example.com.
My Family’s Experience with Accessing Early Childhood Programs and Childcare: www.surveymonkey.com/r/
The Need for Paid Leave: bit.ly/paidleavestory
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“Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” -Maggie Kuhn
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