Well, it looks like we won’t see each other in person for a while due to Covid-19. Fortunately, the Women’s Caucus has lots of experience overcoming physical distance. Just as we won’t let an ocean stand in our way of being active in US politics, we also won’t let social distancing interfere with our commitments to activism, education and the community we all cherish.
This month, our comms team has put together some social and political actions you can easily take from home. If it’s inspiration, motivation or food for thought you seek, be sure to check out our Women’s Caucus Reads — and let us know what you’re reading, watching and listening to during those long hours at home!
We’re looking forward to sharing more ways to stay active and engaged from afar, but in the meantime, we know these are stressful times and it’s more important than ever to maintain our social bonds, even if it’s from a healthy physical distance.
To this end, we invite all our members to join us on Slack, the virtual “water cooler” of the Women’s Caucus. There we have also set up a new channel called #copingwithcovid, where we invite all members to share, vent, laugh, stay connected and seek help and support during these trying times. We’re also planning on some virtual hangouts in the near future, so stay tuned!
In closing, we send our best wishes for strength, solidarity, hope and good health in the challenging period ahead. If we stick together, we are confident that distance need not mean disengagement, and isolation can give way to activation.
Meghan Feeks & Steph Ryde
Co-Chairs, DAUK Women’s Caucus
By Laura Donohue and Sadie KempnerRead More
By Steph Ryde
The right to vote has always been something that I have taken for granted. As a non-disabled, white, cis woman I have never had an issue requesting or casting my ballot. So I admit that I was shocked and surprised as I researched disabled access to the vote: how is it that in 2016, 137 polling places were reported as having an impediment restricting people with disabilities from voting?Read More
As we turn our focus to “Women and the Economy” this month, we recognize the contributions and achievements of all working women: not just women working in the paid labor force, but also women doing unpaid work that plays a vital, if undervalued, role in our economy.
We also recognize the challenges facing working women and commit to doing our part to address them. Following are 4 things you can do this month to support working women, whether their workplace is the home or the C-suite:
On behalf of the DAUK Women’s Caucus, thanks for helping us do the hard work of democracy, on top of your regular work, wherever your place of work may be. Hope you’re all having a great fall and we look forward to seeing you at an event in the very near future!
Meghan, Steph and Eva
It has been well documented that women’s financial literacy is on average lower than mens. Alongside on average making less money than men, having longer employment gaps, and traditionally feminine skills being systematically de-valued, this gap in financial literacy –understanding and education around personal finances and money management – significantly contributes to gender-based financial inequity. A consequence of social conditioning, this exacerbates differentially gendered behaviours associated with risk, security and plain old financial know-how. We asked the Women’s Caucus – what are your top tips for improving your financial literacy or taking control of your personal finances?Read More
by Courtney Plummer and Sadie Kempner
Last month we participated in a riveting webinar with Jenny Lawson, Vice President of Organizing, Engagement, and Campaigns at Planned Parenthood Action Fund & Planned Parenthood Votes. Here is what we learned from Jenny, leading into the 2020 elections.Read More
On the heels of Labor Day, we recognize the contributions of working women and men to our nation, economy and way of life. And we commit to getting back to work: not just because the summer holidays are over, but because democracy takes work — and it’s up to all of us to keep at it.
Here in the UK and back home in the States, summer days were hardly lazy for the Women’s Caucus! Find out what our members have been up to and how you, too, can get caught in the act(ivism)!
In honor of Independence Day last month, we asked you to tell us about American women who inspire you. You came back to us with some truly amazing ladies who’ve made their mark on everything from government and civil rights to medicine and sports. Is this your first time hearing some of these names? Don’t worry, you’re not alone — when we discussed them at our July social, many of us were shocked by how few we’d heard of before. Clearly, American “her-story” still has a long way to go. But there’s no question that the stories of our foremothers deserve to be told and celebrated, and we hope you’ll enjoy learning about these homegrown Wonder Women as much as we did!Read More
Happy Fourth of July! The weather has been lovely from the start of July which makes outdoor picnics and bbqs a perfect way to celebrate our nation’s independence.
It is also a great time to reflect on the present state of our country and if the actions of our government are in line with our values as citizens of the United States.Read More
By Carol Graham
Carol Graham gives an honest critique of the President’s 4th of July speech and how women, particularly women in the military and Native Women, were excluded.Read More
By Carol Moore
DAUKWC member Carol Moore gives a recap of the informative and thought provoking talk by Dr. Jennifer Merchant about how women’s rights are being impacted by the current political climate and how we can become active in ensuring those rights are preserved.Read More
We recently appointed two members to be Co-chairs of the Communications Committee for the Women’s Caucus. We chatted with one of the new Communications Co-Chairs, Sadie, about about her feminist role models, why she joined the Women’s Caucus and what she always brings back from the US. Here’s what she had to say.Read More
by Sadie Kempner
The DAUK Women’s Caucus are passionately committed to the sexual and reproductive rights under attack from the present administration. If you’ve been reading the news or screaming into the void that is social media, you’ll know how important these rights are for straight cisgender women. But straight cisgender women are by no means the only group whose reproductive rights are on the line here. The LGBTQ+ community also faces alarming sexual and reproductive injustice and needs to be part of the conversation.Read More
by Courtney Plummer
A ‘heartbeat bill’ proposes to ban all abortions once a doctor can detect a ‘heartbeat’ in the womb. This detection usually happens around six weeks of pregnancy, before many women realize they are pregnant. The heartbeat bill has gained considerable momentum in the US as conservative state legislatures are trying to challenge the issue with the Supreme Court and ultimately secure a reversal of Roe V. Wade. Many state legislatures have passed this bill and are also introducing a ‘trigger bill’, a bill that would automatically ban abortion once federal law is reversed.
Here is a current but not complete round-up of where the heartbeat bill stands in various states at the time of publication.Read More
Little choices we make every day can make a big difference for the planet. Here our members share what they do, tips and ideas for reducing waste, lowering carbon footprint and staying informed about environmental issues. Have your own ideas for helping the planet? We’d love to hear about them in the comments and/or Instagram Challenge.
If 2018 was the year of the Blue Wave, 2019 is the year of the Green Wave, with the environment topping the list of progressive voter concerns as it becomes a defining issue for Democratic lawmakers.
At our meeting later this month, we’ll be taking a look at the Green New Deal and other ideas and policies that have emerged in both the public and private sector to address climate change, protect the environment and ensure a sustainable future. But in the meantime — and in the spirit of recycling — it’s worth taking a look back at some of our rich and thought-provoking resources from last year, when Women’s Caucus members turned out in record numbers to learn, share experiences and take action on the environment.Read More
The indomitable Stacey Abrams made London a stop on her crusade to end voter suppression last week, calling on US citizens abroad to help her put up a ‘Fair Fight’.Read More
by Ariadne Schulz
Each February, during Black History Month, my black friends report getting the same, cringeworthy question: “When’s White History Month?”
The answer to that question is that every month is White History Month — because part of institutional racism is erasure.Read More
by Wen-Wen Lindroth
Last month, WC member Wen-Wen Lindroth and the DAUK Policy Network & Resolutions Committee organized a fascinating event on shifts in Asian-American identity and voting patterns with Prof. Catherine Liu.
On Monday, March 25th, Dr. Catherine Liu, Professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Irvine, spoke to DAUK about the evolution and current state of the Asian American electorate. Hosted by the PNR identities policy group, Prof. Liu presented her forthcoming paper: “Class AND Race: Asian Americans by the Numbers: The Political Transformation of an American Demographic.”
Feminism — it’s a word that both unites and divides; inspires and instigates. It’s an ideology that some embrace, some reject and others are still trying on for size. It’s something that’s meant different things to different people at different times, so we wanted to know: what does feminism mean to you? Here’s our members had to say:
by Carol Moore
Last month, Virginia came close to becoming the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which would guarantee gender equality under the law. Disappointingly (if unsurprisingly), four Republican legislators stopped a bill, approved in Virginia’s State Senate, from passing out of committee to a vote on the House floor.
In addition, bills have been introduced in 11 of the 13 state legislatures that have not yet ratified the ERA.Continue Reading
by Meghan Feeks
‘When we have unity of purpose, that’s how we win’
In an upbeat address in London last week, Democratic National Committee(DNC) Chairman Tom Perez saluted Democrats Abroad for mobilizing record numbers of overseas votersin the midterms, which saw a blue wave sweep the nation up and down the ballot.
But he also warned that “our democracy is still on fire,”and called upon overseas Democrats to continue being “first responders” in the fight for American values.Continue reading
by Shari Temple – DA ERA Project Coordinator
For those of you who have not been following the progress of this amendment that failed to get through Congress in 1977, here’s a brief history: The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex; it seeks to end the legal distinctions between men and women in terms of divorce, property, employment and other matters including equal rights to be heard in courts of justice.
From 1971 to 1977, the amendment received 35 of the necessary 38 state ratifications. With wide, bipartisan support (including that of both major political parties, both houses of Congress, and Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter) the ERA seemed destined for ratification until Phyllis Schafly mobilized conservative women in opposition, arguing that the ERA would disadvantage housewives and cause women to be drafted into the military.Continue Reading
By Elizabeth Crocker, RN, MSc
I’m betting the farm that all of us believe that we control our own destiny. But how do we control our healthcare — how we access it, use it and benefit from it?
By Carol Graham
During the 1992 presidential campaign I was shocked by the vitriol aimed at Hillary Clinton by other women. But when she fought back speaking candidly (and somewhat testily) regarding her decision to pursue a career instead of ‘baking cookies’, the defense strategy of the Clinton campaign managers was equally shocking. Read More
Milan, 9 June 2018
On 26 May, news broke out of the US on the Trump Administration’s unprecedented “zero tolerance” policy, inhumanely detaining and separating immigrant children from their parents at the US border, sparking a wave of protests in at least 30 cities across the North American continent.
International protests and petitions quickly followed suit. Groups in London, Spain, Denmark, France, Switzerland, and Germany took swift action in solidarity with this movement. Spain was home to the first protests with overseas American citizens, holding demonstrations on 27 May and 1 June in Plaça Catalunya, Barcelona. London’s protest at the US Embassy occurred in solidarity with the Families Belong Together sister marches in the states on June 30th. Read More
In a brightly lit classroom, we sat in groups of four clutching handwritten index cards in our hands. Having learned a few basic things about our partners — their names, where they were from and their favorite color, for example — we were asked to introduce them to the group, using the unusual grammatical rules printed on our cards.
On March 24, the LGBTQ+ Caucus launched its first Pride Month Series, a sequence of events marking the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and celebrating Pride, with a reception hosting Jason Jones, an inspiring LGBTQ activist from Trinidad and Tobago. Jones recently won an historic court case against his national government to overturn two colonial-era anti-LGBTQ laws that have been used for centuries to oppress the LGBTQ community.
This June we find ourselves in a time of extremes. Stuck at home without travel and social gatherings things have slowed, quieted even, while tensions in the world outside swirl in a fevered frenzy. Admittedly I had been shying away from the news. With less to do and more time to think the reality of the world weighed heavy on my chest. That very decision, to turn away and come back to it later, is a privilege, the privilege to say I can’t deal with that today, maybe I’ll look at it tomorrow. I struggled to look at news as face after face of black individuals killed and brutalised by police popped up on my newsfeed. Then I found the video of George Floyd automatically playing on my phone late at night and I realised I couldn’t hide anymore. There were no excuses for sitting back and burying my head in the sand. I had been repeating to myself ‘why doesn’t someone do something?!’ until I realised that I wasn’t doing anything. Sometimes looking around as the world whizzes by is daunting, where do we even start? But we need to start somewhere. No action is too small. What gives me hope in times like these is the knowledge of the amazing community of activists, of people who really care about what is going on and want to make a difference, that we have built here in the Women’s Caucus. You all inspire me to be better every day. As the post cards we have been colouring recently said – Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean.
So let’s get this ocean moving and start turning some tides. We’ve put together an activist calendar for June. One action per day. Together we can rise up and support our friends, families, and neighbours in the states to end systematic racism. We need to start with ourselves and understand our privileges and biases, build ourselves a solid foundation and then go out into the world starting with families and friends to help drive change.
Let’s do this together.