Category Archives: Women’s Issues

NYS Governor Proposes Constitutional Amendment Codifying Women’s Right to Choose

 

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo proposes constitutional amendment to enshrine women’s right to choose. “We have fought very hard for the progress that we have made. Great organizations like Planned Parenthood have brought us forward step by step and we are not going backwards.” © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo proposes constitutional amendment to enshrine women’s right to choose. “We have fought very hard for the progress that we have made. Great organizations like Planned Parenthood have brought us forward step by step and we are not going backwards.” © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he is proposing to once and for all guarantee a woman’s right to choose in New York by codifying the protections established by the 1973 Roe v. Wade into the state constitution. This would ensure these protections remain in place in New York in the event this decision is overturned, or altered by a new U.S. Supreme Court.

“As Washington seeks to limit women’s rights, we seek to protect them, and as they threaten reproductive rights, I propose a constitutional amendment to write Roe v. Wade into the New York State Constitution to prevent any attack on the right to choose,” Governor Cuomo said. “We will not allow the progress of the women’s movement to be stopped, and we must seize this opportunity to bring the state and the nation forward and stand up for women’s health. Make no mistake, we will always protect the right to choose in New York.”

The Governor made the announcement at the “I Stand with Planned Parenthood” rally and Family Planning Advocates’ Day of Action, in front of a crowd of 1600 activists and Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood. A video of the Governor making the announcement is available on YouTube here .

Roe v. Wade

The landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, held that the United States Constitution protects the right of a woman to choose to terminate her pregnancy prior to fetal viability or throughout pregnancy when it is necessary to preserve her life or health. In the 40 years since the decision, its core ruling has been continually upheld and the right to an abortion has been affirmed as constitutionally protected.

Securing Reproductive Health in New York

This announcement follows Governor Cuomo’s recent actions earlier this month to secure reproductive health services in New York. Under Governor Cuomo’s direction, the state took regulatory action to ensure that insurers:

  • Provide coverage for all contraceptive drugs and devices and coverage for at least one form of contraception in each of the FDA-approved contraceptive delivery methods without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles, regardless of the future of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Provide coverage for the dispensing of an initial three-month supply of a contraceptive to an insured person. For subsequent dispensing of the same contraceptive prescribed by the same health care provider and covered under the same policy or renewal, an insurer must allow coverage for the dispensing of the entire prescribed contraceptive supply, up to 12 months, at the same time.
  • Provide coverage for abortion services that are medically necessary without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles (unless the plan is a high deductible plan).

New York’s Promise to Women: Ever Upward

The proposed amendment is the latest in a series of actions by Governor Cuomo to champion women’s rights, known as “New York’s Promise to Women: Ever Upward.”

In the past two years alone, the Governor has signed legislation to combat sexual assault on college campuses through the Enough is Enough Act; prevent sexual harassment in the workplace regardless of the size of the employer; end pregnancy discrimination; establish the longest and most comprehensive paid family leave program in the nation; and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. (To learn more about New York’s Promise to Women, visit here.)

“Roe v. Wade handed down one of the most important legal rulings in our nation’s history, and it is imperative that we uphold the right to choose,” Kim Atkins, Board Chair, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, said. “With that federal protection under threat, it is more necessary than ever before that states stand up for reproductive rights, and Governor Cuomo is leading the nation by proposing this amendment in New York. With a constitutional amendment, that right will be guaranteed by the state constitution, so that it cannot be stripped away, no matter what happens at the federal level. Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for standing tall for the right to choose in New York.”‎

During remarks at the Family Planning Advocates’ Day of Action in Albany, Governor Cuomo did not just stand up for women’s rights, but for immigrant rights and against the Trump ban on travel, immigration and refugee sanctuary.

Here are highlights of Governor Cuomo’s remarks:

My daughters are frightened and they are not alone. They look around they wonder what happened to the America that they believed in. But here’s the fact also – we will not lose this nation’s soul and we will not stop the progress of the women’s movement and we will not allow disrespect of any American female, male, black, white, gay, LGBTQ because we have come too far my friends and we are not going backwards, we are going forwards. 

Now, for many years, this state was paralyzed. It didn’t assume its role as a national leader. But that changed. New York State has stood up and over the last few years we have made tremendous progress. 

We passed the first women’s equality act outlawing employment and housing discrimination against women. 

While the Congress in Washington stood frozen, we passed the “enough is enough” law that provides the greatest protection for women against campus sexual assault in the United States of America. 

We passed the best paid family leave bill in the country. 

We raised the minimum wage to 15 dollars, the highest in the United States that predominately helps women. 

Last month we furthered equal pay by ordering salary blind state hiring.

And last week on the day of the Women’s March, we signed an order mandating insurance companies to pay for birth control without deductibles, without copays and it doesn’t matter what Congress does on Obamacare. Women are entitled to birth control. 

The truth is we have come a long way. And the truth is that my daughters and all young women have rights today that my sisters didn’t have, that my mother didn’t have – There is a new generation of rights for women and that’s why we can’t go back.

I’m not saying everything is done, there’s certainly still more to do. There is an inherent sexism in society that exists and we will not stop fighting until we have total equality and parity.

Now as you know our rights are under attack in Washington and as they seek to limit women’s rights we in New York seek to protect them. As they pull on women’s rights, we’re going to push back on women’s rights. And as they threaten this nation with a possible Supreme Court nominees who will reverse Roe v. Wade – I want them to know today, if that’s what they do we’re going to protect Roe v. Wade in the State of New York. I propose today, I propose today, a constitutional amendment to right Roe v Wade into the New York State constitution so that nobody can change it. No supreme court nominee, because we’re going to protect a women’s right to choose in the state of New York. And let’s put in on the ballet and let’s let the people decide because this is still a democracy and New Yorkers want to protect a women’s right to choose.” 

But as Cecile Richards said, our challenge is even greater. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not just women’s rights that are under attack it’s the rights of foreigners and immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community. 

The new Washington philosophy is against people who are different than they are. That’s what it comes down to. 

The administration wants to control access to our nation because they fear radical Islamic terrorists.  We fear terrorists too. This is the state of New York. It was the blood of New Yorkers that spilled on 9/11 we understand the fear of terrorism. But while we are afraid of terrorism, we also fear an extreme right wing agenda that will infringe on our rights. And my friends we will protect our borders from terrorists, but we’re also going to protect ourselves from an extreme right wing agenda that will trample on our rights.  

And the new administration in Washington forgot something – When they tried to slam the doors shut on America there was a piece of paper that actually got caught in the fray and it keep the doors open. That piece of paper is called the Constitution of the United States of America. 

And that piece of paper says, that individuals have rights, the right to due process, the right to equal treatment under the laws and I want you to know that the state of New York is going to enforce every legal right of every person who’s detained, every person who’s victimized by any policy from that administration. 

They forgot, they forgot that there’s a state named New York and they underestimated us. We’ve worked very hard for the place that we’ve achieved. We stand on the shoulders of great leaders like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and Geraldine Ferraro and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We have fought very hard for the progress that we have made. Great organizations like Planned Parenthood have brought us forward step by step and we are not going backwards. 

They forgot that we are New Yorkers and we will stand in solidarity one with another. Because that is who we are. And that as a New Yorker I am a Muslim. And as a New Yorker, I am Jewish. And as a New Yorker, I am a refugee. And as a New Yorker, I am black, and as a New Yorker I am gay, and as a New Yorker I am poor, and as a New Yorker I am homeless. And as a New Yorker I am a child who needs an education. And as I am a New Yorker I am a family living in poverty. And that we are all connected and we are one. And if you infringe on the rights of one, you infringe on the rights of all. And if you attack one of us, you attack all of us. And we are going to stand in solidarity and we are going to push back and we are going to galvanize resistance like this nation has never seen. And we’re going to take this moment to bring this state and this nation forward. 

Next Step of New York’s Promise to Women: Ever Upward – More Information Available Here

 

 

 

Lessons From the Historic Women’s March: How to Counter Trump

The Capitol Building still draped in flags for Donald Trump’s inauguration the day before, 750,000 crammed the National Mall to stand up for Women’s Rights and Human Rights © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Capitol Building still draped in flags for Donald Trump’s inauguration the day before, 750,000 crammed the National Mall to stand up for Women’s Rights and Human Rights © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

It’s already begun. The unraveling of eight years of progress under Obama. Contrast their first actions: Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Act so women can have a legal remedy for pay equity. Trump signed  an executive orders to dismantle Obamacare and to withhold funding from any NGO anywhere that funds abortions.

Donald Trump doesn’t care that more than twice as many people came out to protest his illegitimately gained presidency, his morals and his agenda than came out to support his inauguration (I was at both. I saw despite the lies that Trump is spewing.) His warped ego will probably take it as a matter of pride that more than 500,000 people descended on Washington from all over the country while millions more filled out gargantuan protests in NYC (400,000), Los Angeles (750,000), Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis – indeed, all across the US – plus cities in 50 countries including Paris, London, Sydney.

Nasty Canadian Women at the Women’s March on Washington © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Nasty Canadian Women at the Women’s March on Washington © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

They came out to declare: Women’s Rights are Human Rights, women are not chattel, a mere vessel (vassal) to harbor an embryo. And so women and their men and children were standing up for reproductive rights, access to health care, gun safety, climate action, immigration reform, criminal justice, pay equity, public education, voting rights, campaign finance  – all those things that together constitute “women’s issues”. Economic justice, climate justice, criminal justice, social justice, political justice, national security and peace in the world are all “women’s issues.”

“From the shores of Sydney, Australia to the tundra of Kodiak, Alaska we marched. Signs held high, our voices carried across Little Rock, Arkansas and Nashville, Tennessee, Phoenix, Arizona and Lansing, Michigan. Pink knit hats stretched as far as the eye could see in London, England, New York City, Los Angeles, California and Washington DC,” writes Heidi L. Sieck, Co-Founder/CEO,  #VOTEPROCHOICE.

We Can Do It © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
We Can Do It © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In fact, this was the single largest political demonstration day of protest in US history and most certainly the largest outpouring of opposition at the opening of a new administration. Trump, who lost the popular vote by 2.6 million and carried only 42% of The Women’s Vote, comes into the White House with the lowest favorability rating probably since Lincoln, and 20 points lower than the outgoing president, Barack Obama.

And if Trump would actually have listened to his own nonsensical, dystopian, bizarre inaugural speech, he would realize that the women, men and children who protested rightfully have the political power that Trump said no longer resided in Washington.

“January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again,” Trump intoned. “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now…. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.”

Scream so he hears you! Donald Trump turned a deaf ear to the protesters, making sure they couldn’t get near the White House. But the nearly million strong roared loud enough to shake the venerable buildings © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Scream so he hears you! Donald Trump turned a deaf ear to the protesters, making sure they couldn’t get near the White House. But the nearly million strong roared loud enough to shake the venerable buildings © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

And yet, Trump managed to turn a deaf ear to the roars from the Women’s March that literally shook buildings with its force (yet he had to see them because his motorcade drove through twice on his way to the CIA).

In his first 100 days, what Trump vows to do would undo the progress of 100 years, violating the will of the vast majority of Americans.

But here it is: Trump managed to resurrect a militant feminism that, frankly, was dormant during the election campaign when Hillary Clinton could have, should have (in fact did, were it not for the Electoral College), break that ultimate glass ceiling to run the White House. Women of all ages, all races and creeds, and men and children, marching together in solidarity. A man carried a sign saying “I can’t believe we’re still fighting for this”.

I’m With Her © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
I’m With Her © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Now what will those who marched do? What will happen? Will that energy and activism be sustained against the forces of disillusionment, frustration, paralyzing despair and self-preserving apathy? Or will they return home feeling vindicated and affirmed that their fears and concerns are real and they are not to be silenced? I think they will return empowered, invigorated with a mission, with a voice, a language to articulate grievances and a clarity of purpose. Indeed, the Women’s March organizers are posting 10 action items for the first 100 Days at womensmarch.com.

Also, there are ways and avenues and organizations to channel that rage and turn it into strategic, well articulated constructive action, in order to fight against the despair that will come when we aren’t able to immediately stop the steamroll of anti-democratic, regressive initiatives that come from the Trump/Republican camarilla.

Donald Trump may not care about the protests, feeling somehow above and immune in his bubble of sycophants. In a creepy way, he probably drew orgasmic delight that 4 million people around the world focused their attention on him, no matter that he was the target of their contempt, disdain and hatred.

Women’s Marchers in numbers hard to ignore by Congressmen, Senators, State Legislators© 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Women’s Marchers in numbers hard to ignore by Congressmen, Senators, State Legislators© 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

But Congressmen know. Senators know. State legislators know. And they should be quaking in the reverberation of the marchers. And that’s where the focus has to be. This is Day 1 of the 2017 campaign to take back state offices. This is Day One to take back the House and/or the Senate in 2018. Because taking just one house would cut Trump’s Presidency to 2 years instead of an excruciating 4.

That is, if he isn’t impeached first for his corrupt business practices and likely collusion with Russia (not likely with a Republican Congress that clearly doesn’t care about actual illegalities like blatant violations of emoluments clause of Constitution and conflicts of interest that go against the national interest). He is more likely to be removed by a military coup when he orders bombing civilians, repopulating Guantanamo with prisoners snatched up with bounties, reopening black sites in order to torture, or, as he told the CIA, getting a second chance at taking Iraq’s oil because, you know, he learned as a boy “to the victor belong the spoils.”

Marching Forward We Won’t Go Back © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Marching Forward We Won’t Go Back © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Individually, we feel powerless, but collectively we have power. And it starts with pressing our village and city mayors, town and county supervisors, state representatives, governors and Congressmen need to be bold – like the San Francisco and New York mayors vowing to repulse Trump’s attack on sanctuary cities, governors like Cuomo in New York State standing up for a climate action agenda and protecting women’s reproductive rights; generals vowing to reject an order to bomb civilians or torture terror suspects. It’s newspapers being willing to lose privileged “access” and risking lawsuits to publish investigations. It’s government workers with the courage to be whistleblowers.

By these measures, the simple act of voting would seem an easy way to counter Trumpism, yet a disgraceful number don’t even do this; people need to start early to get registered to vote and vote in every election, especially local and state elections and not just the presidential.

But all of this requires us to stay active. We have to resist being immobilized by despair (that’s their strategy) and take action. If it seems too overwhelming with everything being thrown at us, just pick one or two issues to stay on top.

How to counter Trump?

Just a smattering of the signs left by the 750,000 Women’s Marchers, wanting to leave a message for Washington policy makers © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Just a smattering of the signs left by the 750,000 Women’s Marchers, wanting to leave a message for Washington policy makers © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Conflicts of Interest: Support Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s legislation that would require Trump to disclose his business holdings and require him to disclose his tax forms. Investigate – after all, what is Government Oversight Committee for, beyond investigating Benghazi and Clinton’s emails? Sue for violations of the emoluments clause, for Trump Hotel in Washington violating the law that prevents an elected official from leasing property from the federal government. Impeach Trump and any of his lackeys for their self-serving, self-dealing conflicts of interest.  Boycott Trump’s business holdings and the corporations that enable him, including Trump Hotels and golf courses, “Celebrity Apprentice,” and Fox News.

Cabinet appointments: Democrats will be unable to stop Trump’s appointments, thanks to the hypocritical Republican lapdogs. But Senate Democrats have a duty to expose their self-interest conflicts, their ineptitude, their extraordinary lack of qualifications so that they will be put on notice that their actions will be scrutinized.

“Through cutting-edge reports, social media, newspapers, radio and TV, and much more, we’re going to highlight this rogues’ gallery’s history of law-breaking, how their corporate ties will corrupt policymaking, and how their reactionary views will harm everyday Americans.” says Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen (citizen.org).

Dissent is patriotic © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Dissent is patriotic © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

What should Senate, House Democrats do? Oppose with every tool and tactic they can the anti-Democratic principles, including using the Republican tactics against them like the filibuster, holds on nominations, lawsuits, articles of impeachment  (though McConnell and Ryan will likely take away the very tools they used to unprecedented degree). That isn’t the same thing as opposing for opposing sake, to make the president fail, as Republicans did even as Obama was trying to keep the country from economic collapse. But Democrats are obligated to fight back where the agenda destroys progress. What Democrats should not do? Try to appeal to the pseudo-populism and the mythical “poor” “underserved” “voiceless” white working class, as if they are the only “real Americans” who matter. And yes, they should sue the Trump Administration just as the Republicans sued Obama over DACA and Obamacare. If Republicans don’t offer any means to compromise or impact policy, Democrats should go nuclear.

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty© 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty© 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Support the Fourth Estate – the journalists who fulfill their function of investigating and being a watchdog on government and powerful interests. Be vigilant in calling out falsehoods, fake news and propaganda. That means that when the economy goes down, unemployment  goes up, tens of thousands die without access to health care and Trump and the Republicans blame Obama and the Democrats, that The Media hold them to account. Write letters to the editor, comments online. Alert news media to issues. Defend journalists who are doing their job. Cultivate social media networks to counter the right-wing propaganda machine. The success of the Women’s March to rally support solely through social media shows these networks have taken root.

Fight the rabidly regressive agenda that Trump/Republicans will steamroll through in the first 100 days. The more that Republicans refuse to accept compromise or allow Democrats to participate in forming policy, the more militant the opposition has to become. Boycott, strike, protest, rally. Use your body, your voice, your pen.

Respect Existence or Expect Resistance© 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Respect Existence or Expect Resistance© 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Sue. Sue. Sue. “Presidents do not rule by fiat,” declared Mitch Bernard, Chief Operating Officer, for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Donald Trump may not simply undo international agreements, overrule enacted laws, or violate environmental regulations on his own say so. If — when — he ignores environmental laws, NRDC will meet him in court. And we’re gearing up to give him the fight of his life.”

The Trump/Republican strategy (copied from Karl Rove and the Bush/Cheney debacle) is to have so many outrages coming so fast, deflecting attention and paralyzing any action, and more significantly to normalize the destructive actions simply by being equivalent or (imagine) not as bad as the previous outrage.

Putin$ Puppet. © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Putin$ Puppet. © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“In the face of Trump’s parade of horribles,” says Robert Reich of MoveOn.org, “it would be easy (and understandable) for people to get numb, hunker down, and pray that they’ll make it through the next four years. But human history teaches us of the perils of complacency and fear in response to political extremism and violence.”

If it is too paralyzing because of all the issues that are infuriating to your core, pick one, two or a few to focus on – keep active and aware of what Trump and his collaborators in the Congress and the Cabinet are doing. Write, call, visit, rally at representatives’ offices. Speak up to family, friends and neighbors. Go to town halls and civic meetings. You cannot be a Silent Majority.

I’m With Mommy © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
I’m With Mommy © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Support key organizations – give what you can – because they will need money to lobby, sue, organize protests and petition campaigns, can offer language for legislation and expose facts about the impacts of overturning regulations allowing corporations to pollute the air and water; repealing the Affordable Care Act, (losing 3 million jobs, adding billions to the budget deficit, depriving 18 million newly insured people of access to health care, instead of saving 87,000 lives, seeing 36,000 die needlessly for lack of health care); of the public health, environmental, economic, international repercussions of rolling back climate action. (Caveat: Organizations can’t just seize on the latest outrage to fundraise without actually doing something.)

Some worthy organizations that have outlined effective strategies to beat back the forces of darkness include National Resources Defense Council (NRDC.org), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF.org), League of Conservation Voters (LCV.org), MoveOn.org, EmilysList.org, WomensMarch.com, PlannedParenthood.org, Public Citizen (citizen.org), just to list a few.

Standing up for women’s rights © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Standing up for women’s rights © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Together, we must resist the Trump Dynasty with everything we’ve got — starting with marches all over the country today,” declared Robert Weissman of Public Citizen. “It won’t be easy. We can be honest about that. The fights that matter most rarely are. But with all of our vigilance, all of our acumen, all of our strength, we can — we will — prevail over greed and hatred and corruption.”

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© 2017 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at  www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Nailing Down Obama’s Legacy: Report Documents Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color

President Obama has made women’s equality a centerpiece of his administration, and First Lady Michelle Obama embraced Girls Learn, promoting access to education for girls around the world, as one of her major initiatives. The First Lady, an inspiration to girls and women, came to New York City to discuss Girls Learn © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Obama has made women’s equality a centerpiece of his administration, and First Lady Michelle Obama embraced Girls Learn, promoting access to education for girls around the world, as one of her major initiatives. The First Lady, an inspiration to girls and women, came to New York City to discuss Girls Learn © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In light of the likelihood of the incoming Donald Trump Administration to erase all the progress of the Obama Administration, especially in reversing women’s rights – to health care, reproductive freedom, voting, pay equity, health security – it is important to keep track of what Obama accomplished during his term, not only for history, but also, because his actions could provide a template for a future Administration to put the nation back on track toward a “more perfect union”. – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features 

WASHINGTON, DC – On Dec. 16, the White House Council on Women and Girls released a report and hosted a forum on the Administration’s work to advance equity for women and girls of color and highlight the innovative solutions and exciting place-based work that is happening throughout the country.  The forum brought together a range of stakeholders from the academic, private, government and philanthropic sectors to discuss ways that we can break down barriers to success and create more ladders of opportunity for all Americans, including women and girls of color.  The event was live streamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live and the full report is available HERE.

The Council on Women and Girls, since its inception, has focused on the needs and challenges of all women and girls. In 2014, as part of the effort to take into account the distinctive concerns of women and girls, the Council on Women and Girls launched a specific work stream called “Advancing Equity” to ensure that policies and programs across the federal government take into account the unique obstacles faced by women and girls, including women and girls of color and women and girls from marginalized communities.

In November 2014, the Council on Women and Girls released a report titled “Women and Girls of Color: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunities” to identify barriers and disparities facing women and girls of color. This report addressed work done over the first six years of the Administration to improve the lives of women and girls of color. It discussed important issues, such as educational attainment, economic security, health and safety, violence against women, and criminal and juvenile justice. It also included a call to action for the establishment of a federal interagency working group to develop opportunities for advancement, which commenced in March of 2015.

One year later, in November 2015, the Council released a new report “Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color” to highlight some of the additional steps taken by the Administration on issues faced by women and girls of color from 2014 through 2015.[i] In that report, the Council on Women and Girls identified five data-driven issue areas where interventions can promote opportunities for success at school, work, and in the community for women and girls of color. The five issues included:

  1. Fostering school success and reducing unnecessary exclusionary school discipline by implementing supportive school discipline strategies and policies, including through public awareness of the impact on girls of color;
  2. Meeting the needs of vulnerable and striving youth by recognizing and responding appropriately to the finding that many girls enter intervening public systems through a route that begins with sexual abuse and trauma;
  3. Increasing access to inclusive STEM education to meet 21st century workforce demands and reducing opportunity gaps that affect women broadly in science, technology, engineering and math education and fields, but often affect women and girls of color the most;
  4. Sustaining reduced rates of teen pregnancy and building on success through expanded access to knowledge about birth control and preventive health services;
  5. Expanding pathways to economic prosperity through opportunities for job mobility and investments in fair, equitable workplace policies.

This updated report serves as a follow-up to the 2014 and 2015 reports, and as the culmination of the Advancing Equity work stream of this Administration. The Obama Administration has taken important steps forward in elevating, and addressing, key issues that cause disparities for women and girls of color, and women and girls from marginalized and under-served populations. Moreover, the call to action around this work has inspired philanthropic leaders, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations to continue efforts that sustain and build upon the successes achieved in improved life outcomes for women and girls of color and their peers.

As Obama Presidency Nears Finish, White House Continues to Work for Pay Equity, Announcing New Commitments to Equal Pay Pledge

Lily Ledbetter, for whom the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made inroads to addressing the inequity of women’s pay, is named. Equal Pay has been an Administration priority since President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay into law as his first piece of legislation upon becoming president © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lilly Ledbetter, for whom the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made inroads to addressing the inequity of women’s pay, is named. Equal Pay has been an Administration priority since President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay into law as his first piece of legislation upon becoming president © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With the end of his presidency in sight, President Obama is working to accomplish as much progress as he could before the Donald Trump Administration comes in promising to undo it all. 

The White House offered this Fact Sheet Announcing New Commitments to the Equal Pay Pledge, a who’s who of the best places for women to work:

The White House launched the Equal Pay Pledge in June at the first-ever United State of Women Summit, encouraging companies from across the American economy to take action to advance equal pay. Today we are announcing new signatories to the White House Equal Pay Pledge and highlighting the critical role that businesses can play in reducing the national gender pay gap.

These 44 newly-committed employers bring the total number to more than one hundred companies and organizations that collectively employ millions of Americans. The new commitments are from a diverse range of employers, including AT&T, eBay, The Estée Lauder Companies, InterContinental Hotels Group, Mastercard, Yahoo, Square and Zillow Group.

Equal Pay has been an Administration priority since President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law as his first piece of legislation. Policies that ensure fair pay for all Americans and that help businesses to attract the strongest talent can not only narrow the pay gap, but also boost productivity and benefit our economy.

Today, women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force and more women than ever are the breadwinners in their families. More women are also working in positions and fields that have been traditionally occupied by men. Yet in 2015, the typical woman working full-time all year in the United States earned only 80 percent of what the typical man earned working full-time all year. The pay gap is even greater for African American and Latina women, with African American women earning 63 cents and Latina women earning 54 cents for every dollar earned by a white non-Hispanic man. The gender wage gap continues to be a very real and persistent problem that continues to shortchange American women and their families.

EMPLOYERS FOR PAY EQUITY BUSINESS CONSORTIUM

This year on Women’s Equality Day, a group of White House Equal Pay Pledge employers formed an independent business consortium, Employers for Pay Equity—to help private industry players share best practices and develop better hiring, promotion, and pay policies. Today, Employers for Pay Equity is announcing a partnership with Simmons College to carry the consortium’s work forward. Simmons College will play a leading role in hosting the consortium to establish pay equity as a best business practice and a means to grow a more equitable workforce for all Americans.

These private sector companies and organizations share a commitment to equal pay and their pledges build on the Administration’s record of empowering women and girls.

By signing the Equal Pay Pledge, these employers are:

  • Acknowledging the critical role businesses must play in reducing the national pay gap.
  • Committing to conducting an annual company-wide gender pay analysis across occupations.
  • Reviewing hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers.
  • Embedding equal pay efforts into broader enterprise-wide equity initiatives.
  • Pledging to take these steps as well as identify and promote other best practices that will close the national wage gap to ensure fundamental fairness for all workers.

We thank all who have joined in this pledge and encourage the business community to continue to implement and uphold pay equity policies. 

*** 

WHITE HOUSE EQUAL PAY PLEDGE 

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first piece of legislation President Obama signed into law. Policies that ensure fair pay for all Americans and that help businesses attract the strongest talent can not only narrow the gender pay gap, but also boost productivity and benefit our economy. Yet, the typical woman working full-time all year in the United States only earns 80 percent of what a typical man working full-time all year earns. While the gap has narrowed slightly over the past few years, there is much more work to be done to ensure fair pay for all. 

Building on the Administration’s numerous actions to close the national pay gap, the White House challenged businesses to take the Equal Pay Pledge. Several U.S. private sector companies have come together in support of advancing equal pay. 

*** 

We received a very positive response to the pledge and welcome our new signatories, including the employers below. 

These signatories put forth their pledges as follows: 

Equal Pay Pledge 

  • Adobe is proud to join the list of companies committed to equal pay.  Paychecks are important, not only because they cover the needs of employees and their families, but also because they are an important indicator of fair treatment. Gender should have no part in driving pay decisions.

We have already reported our U.S. pay data relative to gender and race, and we will continue to report our pay data annually.  This equal pay commitment is part of a larger diversity and inclusion strategy with three key areas of focus:  building a diverse talent pipeline; broadening our recruiting efforts to ensure a diverse candidate pool; and helping all employees grow once they are part of Adobe.

Investing to bring out the best in everyone, regardless of gender or background, contributes to the success of the business and the most important asset – our people.

  • Amalgamated Bank is proud to take the White House Equal Pay pledge to keep compensation fair, to practice our own values of fairness, diversity and inclusion, and to never stop looking for ways to do better.  We believe that pay equality isn’t an accomplishment, it’s standard operating procedure.  For nearly 100 years, Amalgamated Bank has been the progressive bank for the progressive community.  We strive to lead by example among financial institutions and ensure equal access to financial services for all people, which also means that our own employees receive equal pay for equal work.  By helping those both inside and outside the bank who do good do better, we believe everyone benefits.
  • AT&T’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has been visible and steadfast for nearly half a century. It dates back to the establishment of our Supplier Diversity Program in 1968, and our first Employee Resource Group in 1969.  Today, more than 120,000 employees have active memberships in our Employee Resource Groups and Employee Networks.

Diversity and inclusion is essential to our culture and our success. It fosters big ideas, fresh perspectives and opportunities, and bold leadership.  It plays an essential role in innovation, and it helps us play a more vital role in our communities.  Engaging in practices that support diversity, inclusion, and equality is a basic part of how we do business.

Signing on to the White House Equal Pay Pledge reinforces and validates what we already deliver to our employees:  equal pay for comparable work, experience and performance, regardless of gender, race, religion, or age. We’re proud to continue the practices that have created our fair and equitable workplace.

  • Autodesk today announces that we are signing the White House Equal Pay Pledge. Autodesk looks at inclusion comprehensively—how we attract, retain and develop top talent; how we include the widest range of entrepreneurs and developers using our software in our ecosystem; and how we expand opportunity globally to underrepresented segments of society. Equal pay is at the foundation of inclusion—this means we consider all of our employees, with all of the dimensions of diversity that they bring, whole contributing members of our organization deserving of equal compensation.

We currently conduct an annual review our compensation packages based on gender and ethnicity, but we recognize there is still much more to do and that signing this pledge is a commitment to ongoing self-reflection and analysis as an organization, which is why we do not take this lightly. In addition to a commitment to equal pay, our signature is also a commitment to creating and maintaining an inclusive environment where people can contribute fully and achieve personal and professional success.

  • Colgate-US has long been highly committed to the principles of fairness and equity the White House Equal Pay Pledge serves to support and is proud to add its name to the number of organizations taking this pledge.
  • eBay – For more than 20 years, eBay has sought to build a company that supports Connected Commerce – commerce that is enabled by people, supported by technology, and open to everyone.  In accordance with our vision, we believe deeply that we must have a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace to ensure we reflect the perspectives of the tens of millions of customers that we serve globally.  That’s why eBay is proud to join with the White House in pledging to close the gender wage gap.We at eBay are committed to ensuring that we pay our people fairly based on their role, contribution and impact – not on factors unrelated to the work they do.  We have supported strategic initiatives, like our Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) and eBay Women in Technology (eWIT), that aim to support gender diversity in our workplace and the ability of women to build lasting, successful careers at our company.  Additionally, in early 2016, we undertook an extensive, global study of gender pay equity that considered the main components of compensation.  We are pleased to report that our study found pay parity between male and female employees.

    Going forward, we are committed to conducting on-going reviews of our compensation practices and, when necessary, we will take appropriate action to make sure that our employees continue to be paid fairly and equitably.  Ongoing commitment to equal pay principles is essential to ensuring we deliver on this pledge, and we will continue to review our practices globally to make sure we are creating the best possible workplace for all of our employees.

  • Edison International, we understand that diversity of thought is fueled by diversity of people engaged in an inclusive and fair work environment. We are committed to ensuring that gender pay equity is a part of the fairness experienced by all of our employees. Therefore, we are pleased to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge.

We are a diverse company that succeeds when our employees are able to bring their best selves to the workplace. The ability to attract, retain, and develop a diverse workforce allows us to leverage our unique experiences, better reflect the communities we serve, and ensure equity and inclusion that benefits both our company and our customers.

As part of our pledge, we commit to continue our annual review of compensation, which is used to understand any potential gaps in pay and to take action when appropriate. In addition, Edison International aims to further increase equal employment opportunities and to break down employment barriers by continually seeking diverse representation in our hiring and promotional opportunities. We continue to analyze and evolve our pay practices and market demands for talent and to foster an inclusive work environment where our employees can fully contribute, find opportunities for advancement, and feel valued.

  • The Estée Lauder Companies is honored to partner with the White House in its effort to promote gender equality in the workplace.

As a Company founded by a pioneering entrepreneur, Mrs. Estée Lauder, we are proud to continue her legacy of empowering women, supporting families, and promoting equality.

Founded on strong family values 70 years ago, we have always believed that our people are our greatest asset. We take pride in maintaining a unique, creative and diverse workforce where everyone’s contributions are fairly rewarded.  We are proud that women constitute 85% of our employees worldwide, with 50% of our senior vice president positions and above in the U.S. held by women.

We understand that equal pay not only affects women but also their families, their communities, and our shared economy. By signing the Equal Pay Pledge, we are underscoring our commitment to ensure that all women and men are compensated fairly in terms of capabilities and experience.

We remain committed to providing a dynamic and supportive workplace for all our employees to foster their growth, success and well-being.

  • Exelon is pleased to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge and we are committed to doing all we can to help close the national gender pay gap. Research shows that the typical American working woman makes 79% of what the typical working man makes – this translates to a loss of $500,000 over her lifetime. For Latino and African American women this cumulative loss nearly doubles. Diversity and inclusion is critical to Exelon’s success and our workforce programs must include transparency and fairness. As a result, we are joining other leading companies and conducting an annual audit of compensation, hiring and promotion practices. Through these efforts, Exelon is stating unequivocally that we value every worker, male and female. Advancing pay equity is not simply good business practice, but the right thing to do.
  • The Honest Company is honored to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge and join the other companies who have taken on this economic and social imperative.  Our mission – to empower people to live a happy & healthy life – is at the heart of our business, and our company culture embodies our name: Honesty, Transparency, Openness. This applies both to how we treat our consumers as well as our employees. Diversity and gender equity are strategic pillars for our organization, and we are committed to ensuring all employees benefit from a workplace that is inclusive and fair. We are proud to stand with the White House and other companies who share these values.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group: Our ambition is to be number one for guests, owners and colleagues. A critical part of this ambition is our commitment to upholding equitable compensation practices regardless of race, gender or ethnicity. That’s why we are pleased to sign the White House pledge.
  • Mastercard: We believe that diversity and inclusion are essential to creating an inclusive environment for our colleagues, helping them to better serve our customers worldwide. At the same time, to ensure that our employees reflect the customers we serve and today, we source talent from numerous industries and backgrounds.

We are committed to this important pledge and will continue to review and enhance our policies and practices to ensure they reflect our values and connecting our employees to “Priceless Possibilities.” Our “Whole You” program is based on the premise of providing benefits to employees at different stages of life both at work and outside of work.

  • MWWPR was founded 30 years ago on progressive ideals that continue to fuel our vision, inspire our progress, and motivate our employees today. Our agency’s ethos of “Matter More” serves as our guiding principle – we strive to not only help our clients matter more to the people who matter most, but to ensure that all our employees feel valued for the contributions they make.

Engaging and retaining our incredible staff is our agency’s highest priority, and demonstrating fairness and inclusion is fundamental to our talent strategy. Our management committee is comprised of a majority of women, many of whom actively mentor junior female colleagues, and we regularly review our hiring and promotion processes to ensure we are evaluating and rewarding all employees equally.

For MWWPR, signing the Equal Pay Pledge is an important next step in demonstrating our commitment to our people, and we are honored to be the first public relations firm to take the pledge. We hope to inspire our colleagues in the industry to make a similar commitment, and are proud to stand with other leaders in the business community as we continue prioritizing equality and transparency across our agency.

  • Nestlé in the US: At Nestlé, we value our employees’ health and wellness, which includes the opportunity to work in an environment where one feels empowered, appreciated and respected.  Enhancing gender balance in our workforce is one of our company’s core societal commitments, globally and in the U.S., which is why each of our operating companies in the US is pleased to reaffirm our commitments by signing the White House Equal Pay Pledge.2016 marks Nestlé’s 150th year in business and we know that in order to be in business for the next 150, we must promote inclusive opportunities that respect the contribution of all of our employees.  Nestlé believes that striving towards equal pay, fair hiring, retention and promotion practices, and investing in leadership and professional development opportunities for women is good for our people, our consumers and our business.  We remain dedicated to enhancing gender balance in our workforce. To that end, we will continue to invest in programs including providing support for dual-career spouses as part of our International Dual Career Network, hosting networking events in conjunction with the Network of Executive Women Leadership Summit, continuing to find opportunities to publicly celebrate the accomplishments of our women executives throughout our businesses and encouraging eligible employees to take advantage of our Parent Support Policy, which offers up to 14 weeks of paid leave for primary caregivers with the option of extending unpaid leave up to six months.

    Each Nestlé business in the US will continue to review its hiring practices, assessments, and promotion decisions at the business level on an annual basis and work towards improving our ability to achieve gender balance and foster an equitable environment for all of our employees.

  • New Belgium Brewing is proud to sign on to the White House Equal Pay Pledge. As a 100% employee owned company, we know that when we take care of one another our workplace and our business are healthier. We’re proud to have women and men in every part of our company working side by side, earning wages that reflect our commitment to equal pay, advancement based on merit, and a spirit of community.
  • SoulCycle: Led by a female CEO and founded by two women, SoulCycle’s commitment to supporting and advancing women has always been part of the company’s DNA. The support and respect that we extend to each rider who walks through our 67 studio doors extends to our company-wide culture.  We’re committed to nurturing the health and happiness of all of our team members, and that includes our hiring practices and compensation.  As a company, we understand the importance of supporting and advancing women throughout their careers, and we know that our team thrives when they’re compensated fairly for their contributions.  We’re proud that women make up 86% of our studio leadership.

We applaud the White House for its efforts to eliminate the gender wage gap and promote equal pay.  We pledge to continue taking action individually and collectively as a team to pay equality.

  • Square is proud to sign the Equal Pay Pledge as a natural extension of our existing commitment to pay equity.  Square was built on the principle of inclusion which is reflected not only in the products and services that we provide to our sellers, but also in our internal policies and work environment.  We strive to recruit, retain, promote, and compensate our employees on the basis of their qualifications, performance, and potential.  We also work with our managers and employees in efforts to prevent gender-based bias from entering the workplace.  Most of all, we are committed to continually reviewing our policies and practices to identify and act upon further opportunities for improvement—we will always strive for inclusion, fairness, and equality.
  • Workday – Since day one, we’ve embraced diversity – including different experiences, perspectives, insights, backgrounds, and skills – because it fuels innovation, and creates a broader connection to the world. We believe that all employees deserve equal pay, and an equal chance to succeed. That’s why we’re proud to join the White House in signing the Equal Pay Pledge, as it supports our ongoing commitment to close the gender wage gap.As part of this commitment, we’ve developed reporting capabilities within our product that can uncover and potentially address the gender wage gap. We and many of our customers use these reporting capabilities to evaluate our pay practices to ensure our employees are compensated fairly. Knowledge is power, and we believe that technology can provide the information organizations need to create a more equal and inclusive workplace.
  • Yahoo, with more than one billion unique users across the world each month, has a distinct opportunity to leverage the power of our platforms to advance inclusion and diversity at the company, and across the tech industry. We recognize that building an inclusive and diverse workplace is more than a theoretical goal. It is a mission-critical business imperative that we must address with the same level of urgency and commitment that we apply to other strategic initiatives. And pay equity is a critical and inextricable component of this mission.

We are proud to have been recognized in 2015-2016 for our strides in paving the way for gender equality (Watermark Index Award winner), for being a best place to work for LGBT employees (scoring 100% on Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for the tenth year in a row), for being a best place to work for parents (named by Elle Magazine and Fatherly.com), and by being named as an employer whose work significantly impacts communication access for people with hearing loss (receiving the National Access Award by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)).

  • Zillow Group is honored to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge and join other companies who are committed to this effort. Zillow Group evaluates pay equity twice a year, is building out training to be aware of our unconscious biases, and reviews hiring and promotion processes. We are constantly striving to ensure that our compensation and benefits package matches our values of inclusion and equity. In addition to our generous maternity and parental leave policies, Zillow Group offices have designated nursing rooms, fully equipped with hospital grade pumps and fridges. Since 2010, we have offered free overnight breast milk shipping for nursing mothers on business trips. As a company, we invest in our people since they are investing in us. We believe the private sector plays a critical role in reducing the national pay gap and are proud of our internal efforts to provide gold-star benefits and gender pay equity for all our employees.

WE ARE ALSO JOINED BY THE FOLLOWING BUSINESSES:

  • Association of Equipment Manufacturers
  • AttainIT
  • Avanade Inc.
  • Avila Retail
  • Branding Brand
  • Cava Grill
  • DCode42
  • GBD Architects Incorporated
  • Global Experience Specialists
  • Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc
  • Hired, Inc.
  • Margaux’s Bookkeeping, Inc.
  • Omada Health
  • Periscope Data
  • RizePoint
  • Robinson & Kardonsky, P.C.
  • Spottswoode Winery
  • Stanton Chase International
  • Teslights LLC.
  • Thrive Global
  • Venesco LLC
  • Vmware
  • Vonage
  • WP Engine

BUILDING ON A RECORD OF SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES

Since taking office, President Obama and his Administration have taken a number of actions to support working families and combat the pay gap, including:

  • Publishing a final regulation by the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. The program provides subsidies to working families and last year provided services for roughly 1.4 million children aged 0-13, most of whom are younger than 5. The rule, which has not been comprehensively revised since 1998, will provide a roadmap to states on how to implement the new law and clarify ambiguities around provisions that deal with eligibility for services; health and safety requirements; and how best to support the needs of parents and providers as they transition to the new law.  It also clarifies that worker organizations can provide professional development to child care workers and contribute to discussions around the rates states set for subsidies.
  • Signing his first piece of legislation as President, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pair Act, in January 2009 making it easier for employees to challenge unfair pay practices.
  • Creating the National Equal Pay Task Force in January 2010 to implement his pledge to crack down on violations of equal pay laws, which included representatives from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and the Office of Personnel Management. The Task Force has issued reports on its progress, including Fighting for Equal Pay in the WorkforceKeeping America’s Women Moving Forward, andFifty Years After the Equal Pay Act.  In addition, since the creation of the Equal Pay Task Force in 2010, the EEOC has received over 18,000 charges of sex-based pay discrimination, and through its independent enforcement efforts, the EEOC has obtained over $140 million in monetary relief for victims of pay discrimination on the basis of sex.
  • Calling on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, commonsense legislation that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by closing loopholes in the defenses for equal pay violations, providing stronger remedies, and expanding protections against discrimination for employees who share or inquire about information about their compensation at work.
  • Signing a Presidential Memorandum in May 2013 directing the Office of Personnel Management to develop a government-wide strategy to address the gender pay gap in the federal workforce, leading to a report in April 2014 and new guidance in July 2015—which cautioned against reliance on a candidate’s existing salary to set pay, as it can potentially adversely affect women who may have taken time off from their careers or propagate gaps due to discriminatory pay practices by previous employers.
  • Issuing an Executive Order in April 2014 and publishing a Department of Labor rule in September 2015 prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees who discuss or inquire about their compensation.
  • Announcing a White House Equal Pay Pledge, with more than 50 leading businesses signing on to take action to advance equal pay.  By signing the pledge, these companies are committing to conduct an annual company-wide gender pay analysis, review hiring and promotion processes, embed equal pay efforts in broader equity initiatives, and identify and promote best practices that will close the wage gap.
  • Hosting a White House Summit on Working Families in June 2014, highlighting the issues that women and families face, setting the agenda for a 21st century workplace, and announcing of a number of steps to help working families thrive.
  • Hosting the United State of Women Summit in June 2016, highlighting the progress that has been made over the course of this Administration and discussing public and private sector solutions to the challenges that still lie ahead.
  • Signing a Presidential Memorandum in January 2015 directing federal agencies to advance six weeks of paid sick leave to federal employees with new children, calling on Congress to grant another six weeks of paid leave for federal employees, and calling on Congress to pass legislation that gives all American families access to paid family and medical leave.
  • Publishing a final Department of Labor rule in May updating outdated overtime regulations, expanding overtime pay protections to 4.2 million additional Americans, boosting wages for workers by $12 billion over the next 10 years, and allowing workers to better balance their work and family obligations.
  • Issuing an Executive Order in February 2014 requiring federal contractors to raise their minimum wage initially to $10.10 an hour, indexing it, and lifting the tipped minimum wage (which disproportionately impacts women)—and urging Congress, states, cities, and businesses to do the same.
  • Directing the Office of Personnel Management and federal agencies to enhanceworkplace flexibility for federal employees to the maximum extent practicable, including enshrining a right to request flexible work arrangements.
  • Signing into law the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, which requires agencies to support and establish policies for telework by eligible employees.
  • Calling on Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would require employers to make reasonable accommodations to workers who have limitations from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions (unless it would impose an undue hardship on the employer). The legislation would also prohibit employers from forcing pregnant employees to take paid or unpaid leave if a reasonable accommodation would allow them to work.
  • Finalizing a Department of Labor rule updating its sex discrimination guidelinesfor federal contractors for the first time since 1978, to align with current law and address barriers to equal opportunity and pay, such as pay discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environments, a lack of workplace accommodations for pregnant women, and gender identity and family caregiving discrimination.
  • Collecting summary employee pay data from certain employers to improve investigations of possible pay discrimination, which remains a contributing factor to persistent wage gaps. Starting March 2018, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will add the summary pay data to the annual Employer Information Report or EEO-1 report that is coordinated by the EEOC and the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
  • Announcing the Department of Labor’s award of $54 million in “Strengthening Working Families” grants to help low- to middle-skilled parents access the affordable, quality child care they need to earn an education, participate in training programs, and compete for better-paying jobs in emergency industries.
  • Expanding access for women to higher-paying jobs through a proposed rule updating equal employment opportunity requirements in registered apprenticeships and through a Mega-Construction Projects (MCP) Initiative at the Department of Labor.

Clinton Global Initiative Ends 12-Year Run with Global Impact Affecting 435 Million People

 

President Bill Clinton, at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative, acknowledges the partners who have made commitments on behalf of Haiti © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Bill Clinton, at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative, acknowledges the partners who have made commitments to rebuild Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake  © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

I am so sick of Donald Trump and his sleezy band of “surrogates” attacking the Clinton Foundation as if it were run in the same way and for the same purpose as the corrupt and self-serving Trump Foundation, rather than being the catalyst for sustainable development that has meaningfully lifted millions out of poverty, provided life-saving medications and vaccines, expanded health care and educational opportunities, fostered the cultural changes to lift up women and girls and reduce gender violence and inequality. And that’s just for starters.

At an emotional Closing Plenary Session of the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative – the annual meeting that brings together philanthropists, corporations, government leaders and non-governmental organizations to partner together on sustainable projects that actually help solve the intractable problems of the world, from poverty to gender inequality to conflict resolution -, President Clinton delivered a personal reflection on what the last 15 years of the Clinton Foundation have meant to him and discussed how CGI helped redefine philanthropy.

“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea,” President Clinton said at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea,” President Clinton said at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea,” President Clinton said.

During the three days of the gathering, CGI “members” (who are obligated to make and implement commitments) discussed and announced 96 new Commitments to Action to continue driving progress on pressing global issues, including preventing the spread of Zika, addressing the refugee crisis in Syria, reducing violence against women in the developing world, peacebuilding in post-conflict areas, and strengthening business supply chains so that companies can do well by doing good.

What started with 600 commitments in 100 countries in CGI’s first two years has since grown to more than 3,600 commitments spanning more than 180 countries, which have improved the lives of over 435 million people. The impact of CGI will continue through the work of CGI members who are implementing their Commitments to Action.  When fully funded and implemented, commitments announced by CGI members over the past 11 years will ensure that:

  • More than 52 million childrenhave access to a better education.
  • More than 33 million peoplehave increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
  • More than 13 million girls and womenhave been supported through empowerment initiatives.
  • More than $1.6 billionhas been invested or loaned to small- and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Nearly 35 million peoplehave access to information technologies.
  • More than 50 million farmers or small-scale producers have gained access toinputs, supports, and markets
  • More than 8 million people have gained skills to cope with the risks of environmental stress and natural disasters.
  • More than 401 million acres of foresthave been protected or restored.
  • Nearly 4 million clean jobs have been created.
  • More than 114 million peoplehave increased access to maternal and child health and survival programs.
  • More than $318 million in research and development funds has been spent on new vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics.

“I started CGI in 2005 because I believed people wanted to come together and work together to solve big problems and seize key opportunities.,” said President Clinton. “It has changed the landscape of modern philanthropy. Putting ideas into action is no longer the exception but the rule. I look forward to seeing new Commitments to Action announced which will continue to improve lives long into the future.”

“Every year, CGI’s Annual Meeting has been a place where we see unlikely partnerships form – in the hallways, at a discussion table, or right on stage,” said Chelsea Clinton. “I’m excited to see what partnerships emerge this year to tackle challenges in education, global health and development broadly – and to look back and continue to learn from the impact of CGI partnerships through the years on pivotal issues like Ebola relief, disaster response, increased opportunities for girls and women, climate change, and sustainable economic development.”

CGI built a forum for government, business, and civil society to come together and turn ideas into action through the Commitment to Action model — the defining feature of CGI. Since the first Annual Meeting in 2005, CGI has brought together nearly 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of business, philanthropic, non-profit leaders, and influential civic voices. Timed to continue the dialogue on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the CGI Annual Meeting has guided members to expand and replicate proven solutions to pressing challenges.

At the meeting, several CGI members expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the work of CGI within their remarks, including:

Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International, said, “I have been a proud member of CGI since 2005. I have witnessed its unique, practical, and measurable contributions in the world, the opportunities it created for marginalized voices to be heard, and how it helped push social issues otherwise ignored to the limelight. This may be the last Annual Meeting, but the work and the spirit of President Clinton’s mission and the CGI committed community will live on forever.”

The theme of CGI is “Turning Ideas Into Action,” and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever noted, “the Clinton Global Initiative has done much more than that. It has been an enormous convening power to bring people together who otherwise would not have come together.”

“The question you need to ask them is it’s not just about how to innovate, but how to innovate and develop a business model which produces global access to that idea. Because innovation that nobody gets access to is not innovation,” said Andrew Witty, Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline

Madeleine K. Albright, chair , Albright Stonebridge Group chairs panel with Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE Campaign; John R. Allen, Brookings Institution, Frederica Mogherini, European Union; Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Madeleine K. Albright, chair , Albright Stonebridge Group chairs panel with Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE Campaign; John R. Allen, Brookings Institution, Frederica Mogherini, European Union; Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“The truth is you cannot find a more dedicated group of problem solvers, visionaries and altruists anywhere in the world than at CGI,” Madeleine Albright, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group, said. “The Clinton Foundation had done more to help alleviate poverty and disease, and further global development than any platform I know.”

(See: Clinton Global Initiative Has Been Catalyst to Solving World’s Most Intractable Problems)

21 years after a heinous massacre in Sbrebrenica, Bosnia, Bill Clinton brings together Aleksander Vucic, Prime Minister of Serbia Camil Durakovic, Mayor of Sbrebrenica, to discuss how to reach reconciliation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
21 years after a heinous massacre in Sbrebrenica, Bosnia, Bill Clinton brings together Aleksander Vucic, Prime Minister of Serbia Camil Durakovic, Mayor of Sbrebrenica, to discuss how to reach reconciliation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The final CGI was a kind of valedictory, reflecting back on what has been achieved, and in some ways, ending up the way it started, with a strong focus on Women and Girls (because when women succeed, society succeeds), and conflict resolution, with extremely stirring presentations that featured Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister, Serbia, together with Camil Durakovic, Mayor, Municipality of Srebrenica who have managed to come together 21 years after the massacre at Srebrenica, and Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President, Colombia, honored as with a Global Citizen Award for

Advija Ibrahimovic, Survivor of the Srebrenica Genocide © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Advija Ibrahimovic, Survivor of the Srebrenica Genocide © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

making peace after 50 years of civil war; Advija Ibrahimovic a survivor of Srebrenica, who presented a Global Citizen Award to Nadia Mura for the courage to tell her story of being kidnapped and exploited by ISIS who after her escape has become a voice for the thousands of women and children who have been trafficked in situations of conflict.

Nadia Murad, a survivor of ISIS terror, has dedicated herself to rescue the thousands of women and girls who have been trafficked in situations of conflict. Honored with a Clinton Global Citizen Award, she also has been named a UN Goodwill Ambassador. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Nadia Murad, a survivor of ISIS terror, has dedicated herself to rescue the thousands of women and girls who have been trafficked in situations of conflict. Honored with a Clinton Global Citizen Award, she also has been named a UN Goodwill Ambassador. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

(See: Five are Honored with Global Citizen Awards at Final Clinton Global Initiative)

 

What can the Trump Foundation show? It does not have a legal certificate to solicit the millions of dollars, does not spend Donald’s own money but takes credit for others’ contributions, uses contributions to bolster his business and his personal reputation. He went on TV to solicit funds for veterans groups (as an excuse to not show up at a Republican debate) but only actually gave up the money after being exposed by the press (illegal to do that). He used his contribution to sway the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi from investigating the Trump University fraud. Donald Trump has launched a new personal attack saying “follow the money”. Well here it is:

Among the new commitment announcements from the 12th and final Annual Meeting were those addressing critical issues such as the refugee crisis and the containment of infectious diseases like Zika, and a score of commitments aimed at addressing violence against women and gender inequality.

Here are details of just some of the commitments, in the hopes they will provide models for others to follow after there is no more Clinton Global Initiative to catalyze such partnerships, to inspire and to monitor and bring them to fruition:

  • U.ME.WE Campaign 
    Commitment by: Ubuntu Education Fund
    Partner(s): Colin Cowie Events; De Agostini SpA; Eastern Cape Province Department of Health; Knowledge is Power Program; McKinsey & Company

    PROGRESS REPORT: In 2012, Ubuntu Education Fund committed to launch the U.ME.WE. Campaign, a three year, $25 million initiative to provide long-term financial stability and develop the Ubuntu Centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa into a world class health and education campus, transforming the lives of 2,000 children and their families from cradle to career.  Led by an experienced and dedicated medical team, the organization’s health program offered comprehensive HIV/TB services from testing to adherence support, sexual and reproductive health interventions, primary care, and nutritional support. Ubuntu has provided well over 24,200 medical services to 2,000 of Port Elizabeth, South Africa’s most vulnerable children, as well as piloted an early childhood development program that has grown from 38 to 148 children, created a university preparation program for Grade 12 scholars, and enhanced household security through Ubuntu’s Family Support Specialists.  Through this Clinton Global Initiative commitment, the organization has ensured that the birthplaces of 2,000 orphaned and vulnerable children living in Port Elizabeth’s townships do not have to determine their futures.

  • Amplifying the Voices of Poor Women to Create Inclusive Cities 
    Commitment by: Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC)
    Partner(s): Arghyam; Cities Alliance; Shack/Slum Dwellers International; Tata Trusts; United Cities and Local Governments Africa

    NEW: In 2016, the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC) and their partners committed to amplify the voices of slum dwellers in Odisha and Maharashtra, India. Over the next three years, SPARC, in collaboration with partners and local governments, will train local informal residents and collect previously absent and unattainable citywide slum data, while developing projects to address the priority issue areas articulated by residents in seven towns with the greatest demonstrated WASH and vulnerable housing needs in India. The participation and leadership of slum dwellers is key to demonstrating inclusive and equitable city development planning, which should incorporate the participation of and reflect the needs of resident slum dwellers, from start to finish. Ultimately, this Commitment to Action will impact more than 1,300,000 slum dwellers in more than 1,000 slum communities throughout India.

  • Increasing Adoption of Clean Energy Technology in Mozambique
    Commitment by: Edp – Energias De Portugal, S.A.
    Partner(s): OIKOS – Cooperação e Desenvolvimento; Leigos para o Desenvolvimento; SAN-JFS

    NEW: In 2016, EDP – Energias de Portugal, S.A. committed to launch a program that will promote community adoption and integration of electricity in the village of Titimane in Mozambique. Titimane will gain access to electricity for the first time through the development of a renewable-energy powered mini-grid. While this new access to clean energy will promote sustainable economic development, EDP is well aware of the challenges off-grid villages face in transitioning away from previous energy sources and adopting new clean energy technologies. Working with two local NGO implementation partners, EDP will develop an integrated behavior-based economic development approach that will enable all 4,000 members of the community to leverage this new access to electricity by providing comprehensive outreach, training and community programming over 2.5 years in four focus areas: entrepreneurship, education, health, and community empowerment.

  • Haiti Commitment Cluster
    PROGRESS REPORT: Approximately 30 organizations who have made commitments through the Haiti Action Network will announce progress and celebrate the over 100 commitments that have been made to benefit Haiti, including commitments made by Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Project International, Heineken, Marriot International, Inc., The Timberland Company, and West Elm. New commitments will also be announced to improve Haiti’s education, expand economic opportunity, and increase sustainability.
  • Tackling Childcare: Good for Business and Development
    Commitment by: IFC
    Partner(s): Aeromexico; Afrifresh; Axiata Group; Bauducco; Care.com, Inc.; Danone; Dialog Axiata Plc; EY; Grupo M; HBL Bank; HCL Technologies Limited; Institute for Women’s Policy Research; International Labour Organization; Kidogo; MAS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.; Pepsico; Safaricom Limited; Sumimoto Chemical

    Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

    NEW: In 2016, IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), brought together a group of private sector companies operating in a variety of different business sectors in emerging as well as developed markets to identify and implement childcare solutions that are good for business, employees, and communities. Private sector partners commit to at least three gender smart measures from a menu of options that focus on substantiating the business case for employer-supported childcare and putting this business case into practice. Strategic partners will provide knowledge, best practices, lessons learned, and data to help the private sector commitment members realize their commitments. The Tackling Childcare Secretariat housed in IFC will provide technical expertise, host learning events, provide communications opportunities, and compile the group’s learning on how employer-supported childcare can work in different regions, industries, and business environments in a global best practice “Tackling Childcare” report on employer-supported childcare. Ultimately, the commitment aims to directly impact the lives of working parents in participating organization, improve learning and awareness about the business case and best practices for employer-supported childcare, and encourage others to start or scale up their own employer-supported childcare efforts.

    Chelsea Clinton announces a commitment to help save elephants by curbing demand for ivory © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Chelsea Clinton announces a commitment to help save elephants by curbing demand for ivory © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
  • The New Luxury: Catalyzing Influencers to Curb Global Ivory
    Commitment by: Save the Elephants
    Partner(s): Tiffany & Co.; Marc Jacobs International; DNA Model Management; Edelman; Doutzen Kroes

    NEW: In 2016, Save the Elephants, in partnership with Elephants Action Network Members, the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, and leading industry influencers including Tiffany & Co., Marc Jacobs International, DNA Model Management, Edelman, and Doutzen Kroes committed to the creation of a multi-stakeholder campaign leveraging their global taste-making status to curb the demand for elephant ivory in key buying markets. Fashion influencers, those brands and individuals who create and steward the goods and preferences that are so central to consumers’ identities, will communicate out their commitments to ivory-free products and lifestyles via a range of media platforms. Influencers will simultaneously drive $1 million in donations to the Elephant Crisis Fund, which supports anti-poaching efforts facing immediate need, via the unified #knotonmyplanet campaign. This messaging overtly links the consumption of ivory with the killing of elephants, and along with tailored influencer-created assets, will target populations in the United States and high-ivory demand East Asian countries at strategic intervals.

  • Igniting Ideas for Greece’s Future: The Angelopoulos 100 (CGI Annual Meeting 2016)
    Commitment by: Gianna Angelopoulos

    NEW: In 2016, Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos committed to scaling up her efforts to develop young Greek social entrepreneurs by recruiting, selecting, training, and supporting 100 Angelopoulos Fellows in implementing and sustaining projects that address Greece’s major challenges. Due to the financial crisis that has plagued Greece for almost a decade, career opportunities are limited and well educated young Greeks are quickly leaving the country. This commitment will connect young Greeks with relevant experts, mentorship opportunities, access to capital, and connections to international contacts and conferences to support them in their entrepreneurial endeavors. Creating an extensive, ongoing community network for the 100 Fellows will assist them in developing successful social enterprises that will positively impact communities across Greece.

  • Disabilities: Social & Financial Inclusion for Women & Girls
    Commitment by: Keystone Human Services
    Partner(s): Czech Development Agency; East European Foundation; Moldova, Republic of; National Agency for Employment; Soros Foundation; Step by Step Management, Inc.; Swedish Organization for Individual Relief; United States Agency for International Development; Winrock International

    PROGRESS REPORT: In 2013, Keystone Human Services committed to improve social and financial inclusion for women and girls with disabilities in the United States and Eastern Europe, specifically in Pennsylvania, Moldova, and Russia. Through this commitment, Keystone aims to deinstitutionalize young women with disabilities, moving them from state institutions to community homes, and provide them with the necessary, community-based support structures. A complementary program aims to establish an inclusive, family-oriented, workforce model that effectively reduces obstacles to employment for women with disabilities and women caregivers of children with disabilities. Initially, Keystone intended to impact that lives of 60 women and girls, but the program has seen incredible successful and far exceed expectations. In Moldova, The Equal Access to Education program, an inclusive education project, has been piloted in 22 schools, and is being promoted and replicated at the national level. This has benefited many girls who now have access to education, health services, orthopedic and optical items, rehabilitation centers, physical therapy, counseling, and psychological support.

  • Life Saving Healthcare for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
    Commitment by: Unipol Gruppo Finanziario SpA
    Partner(s): United Nations Refugee Agency

    NEW: In 2016, Unipol committed to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 300 refugees over two years in Lebanon, which is host to the highest number of Syrian refugees in proportion to its population size. Unipol will contribute a cash donation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which will provide treatment for emergency and lifesaving secondary and tertiary healthcare, such as normal and caesarian deliveries, as well as hospitalization costs and surgeries for emergency care. Rather than establishing new services, UNHCR will offset costs to ensure that Syrian refugees can access quality public healthcare. Complementing this donation, Unipol will raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees in host countries by implementing a communication campaign in Italy. With approximately 15,000 employees and over 16 million customers, Unipol will give UNHCR the possibility to reach a widespread audience. In addition, clients subscribing to Unipol life insurances will be given the option to indicate UNHCR among their beneficiaries, providing a key fundraising opportunity for UNHCR.

  • Building Peace: Higher Education for Syrian Youth
    Commitment by: Syria Relief and Development
    Partner(s): University of Idlib

    NEW: In 2016, Syria Relief and Development (SRD) committed to supporting the University of Idlib in northwestern Syria over a period of two years to ensure continued access to higher education and prevent brain drain as a significant percentage of the population flees the country due to the ongoing civil war. Recognizing the vital – yet underfunded – role of tertiary education during times of crisis, SRD will provide free tuition to over 1,300 enrolled students (focusing on at-risk populations) and provide the departments of pharmacy, mechanical engineering, education, and agriculture with financial support, consulting services, educational technology, and assistance with curriculum development. Additionally, SRD will introduce a job training and internship program for more than 300 students, as well as reproductive health, family planning, and skills building courses for 500 women. As a result, SRD will ensure that the education of the next generation of Syrian doctors, civil engineers, and teachers will not be placed on hold.

  • Business and Employability Skills in Jordan
    Commitment by: City & Guilds Group; Near East Foundation

    NEW: In 2016, Near East Foundation (NEF) and Building Markets committed to providing business development and employability skills training to over 6,000 refugees and Jordanians over two years, addressing the economic vulnerabilities that refugees and Jordanians alike face. NEF and Building Markets will focus on women and youth, thus contributing to their financial self-reliance, and will prioritize areas in Jordan with a high number of refugees and concentrated poverty. NEF will deliver training in livelihood support hubs, or “Siraj Centers”, where local Master Trainers will help women and youth refugees to build skills to either find employment or to start their own micro-enterprises and generate stable income. In addition, Building Markets and NEF will provide advanced support to at least 300 participants who demonstrate high business growth potential to scale their ventures, increasing income and creating job opportunities for Jordanians and refugees.

  • FARMS: Bridging the Humanitarian-Development
    Commitment by: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
    Partner(s): Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation; Jordan River Foundation; Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Jordan

    NEW: In 2016, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) committed to establish the Facility for Refugees, Migrants, Forced Displacement, and Rural Stability (FARMS) to raise $100 million in new funds for agricultural development targeted towards rural communities, refugees, and displaced individuals. FARMS will support agriculture-related training, financial access and adaptation technologies to increase the self-reliance of refugees and strengthen the resilience of host communities. The commitment will focus on countries with large proportions of refugee and displaced communities and the initial focus will include Jordan, Iraq, and Sudan, with planned expansion to the broader Middle East and North Africa region. In the long term, FARMS will support projects that focus on restoring agricultural productivity in origin areas from where refugees have fled so that people who have left are motivated to return to their native countries, and those who remain have a chance to rebuild their lives.

  • Transitioning Girls & Women from Cash to the Workforce
    Commitment by: Women’s Refugee Commission
    Partner(s): Danish Refugee Council; Mercy Corps; Norwegian Refugee Council

    NEW: In 2016, Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) committed to safely transition refugee women and girls in Jordan and Turkey from cash assistance to the workforce in order to provide economic self-reliance and support women and girls as they re-connect or enter into the formal workforce for the first time. This will help to address a common sentiment among refugee women of powerlessness, hopelessness, high stress, and various protection risks, all of which are tied to a lack of financial resources. Over the course of two years, WRC will conduct research that builds on its current studies that demonstrate how cash-based initiatives can prevent gender based violence, and will build the capacity of partners in the private sector and non-governmental organization service providers to prepare displaced women and girls of working age to safely obtain formal employment. WRC will also build global awareness on issues such as the right to work and decent work legislation for refugee women and girls.

  • Reinventing Refugee Employment and Integration in Italy
    Commitment by: Kairos Rainbow Srl
    Partner(s): Centro Astalli; Istituto Massimiliano Massimo; Italian Institute for Asia and the Mediterranean (ISIAMED); Jesuit Foundation for Education; Ristrutturazioni Italiana Srl; SCM Srl; Tras. Co. Italia

    NEW: In 2016, Kairos Rainbow committed to address the gap that exists in Italy between skilled refugees and a lack of job opportunities by providing 180 refugees, including from Somalia, Pakistan, and Syria, with language courses, legal counseling, and job placements to facilitate their social and economic integration in the country. To do so, over a period of two years, Kairos will partner with Italian companies who will create tailored training programs and offer internships which will ultimately make it easier for refugees to obtain full time employment, as well as partner with local organizations that will provide social services, such as assistance to renew residency and work permits. Through this commitment, Kairos aims to change the perception of refugees in Italy from scapegoats to integrated and empowered participants in the country’s economy and society. The commitment will pilot in Rome and, based on its success, will expand to other cities in Italy.

    Turning Landfills into Goldmines: Can We Make the Circular Economy a Reality? Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres moderates panel with Stacey Davidson, Redisa; Ron Gonen, Closed Loop Partners; and Paul Polman, CEO Unilever © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Turning Landfills into Goldmines: Can We Make the Circular Economy a Reality? Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres moderates panel with Stacey Davidson, Redisa; Ron Gonen, Closed Loop Partners; and Paul Polman, CEO Unilever © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
  • Turning Waste into Energy at Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan
    Commitment by: Solar CITIES
    Partner(s): Arava Institute for Environmental Studies; Blueprint for Survival, Tamera ecoVillage; Foam Tech Insulation Services; HomeBiogas Israel; Schools for Sustainability; Solar CITIES – Palestine/Jordan Chapter; UNICEF

    NEW: In 2016, Solar CITIES committed to installing two biogas hubs and educating 50 new biogas technicians and closed-loop farmers in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp over the next three years. The biogas hubs will turn food and animal wastes into clean and safe fuel and fertilizer, while eliminating pathogens that cause illness and attract disease-carrying animals. The hubs will provide access to energy and opportunities for residents to learn, share and implement clean and renewable energy solutions within Zaatari, with future plans to expand to Greece, Lebanon and Turkey. The biogas technicians will become micro-waste management experts and closed-loop farmers will gain income by building farm- and community-scale biodigesters, selling the fertilizer and biogas, and working with Solar CITIES to schedule a series of workshops with local community members to scale biodigester construction. Increased access to renewable energy will reduce fossil fuel usage and indoor air pollution while controlling rodent and insect populations by better managing food waste at its source, ultimately impacting more than 11,000 residents and saving more than 100,000 KwH of energy.

  • SOS: Focus on Syrian Medical Students & Doctors
    Commitment by: Global Platform for Syrian Students
    Partner(s): American University of Beirut; University Dohok, Iraq; University Nova, Lisbon; The Hashemite University, Jordan; World Health Organization

    NEW: In 2016, The Global Platform for Syrian Students, established by former President of Portugal Jorge Sampaio, committed to providing scholarships to 200 medical students who are displaced by the Syrian Civil War and to support specialist training programs for 200 Syrian doctors still working within the country in order to allow Syrians to continue their medical residency or post-graduate specialist training. This approach will help to address the challenges that Syrian medical students face both within and outside of the country, whose education and training have been interrupted by the conflict, and will invest in critical capacity building for the Syrian medical profession. The commitment will take place over three academic years and will begin with a pilot in 2016 with scholarships for 75 Syrian students in partner universities in Portugal, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, which will be scaled to additional students over the next three years. The specialist training in Syria will commence in early 2017, and the goal is that at least 30% of the students and doctors will be women.

    Katja Iversen, President and CEO, Women Deliver, moderates panel with Kazuo Hirai, CEO Sony Corporation, and Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Katja Iversen, President and CEO, Women Deliver, moderates panel with Kazuo Hirai, CEO Sony Corporation, and Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com 
  • Zika Prevention & Care
    Commitment by: Direct Relief International
    Partner(s): 3M Foundation; Ansell Limited; Asociacoin de Salud Primeria de Puerto Rico (ASPPR); Batey Relief Alliance; Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC); Fundacion Ruth Paz; FUSAL; Greenlid Envirosciences; Hopital Albert Schweitzer; International Planned Parenthood Federation; Jamaica; Medtronic, Inc.; Ministerio de la Primera Infancia, Argentina; Ministry of Health of Jamaica; National Association of Community Health Centers; Proyecto Aldea Global; Texas Association of Community Health Centers

    NEW: In 2016, Direct Relief, in partnership with International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR), Batey Relief Alliance, and others, committed to launch a multi-national response to the current Zika outbreak across Latin America, the United States, and the Caribbean. The multi-faceted response will focus on reproductive health and family planning, prenatal care, and the prevention of transmission through the distribution of essential commodities empowering communities to take preventative actions and make informed decisions about their health. This response will take the form of Zika Modules designed to protect against the transmission and the potentially devastating consequences of the virus. Direct Relief will distribute up to Zika Modules to partners involved in comprehensive, community-based Zika response efforts in Argentina, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, the United States (specifically Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas), and Venezuela. Modules will include: insect repellent, biodegradable mosquito traps, digital thermometers, ultrasounds, fetal dopplers, and contraceptives.

         Women Deliver Young Leaders Initiative

Commitment by: Women Deliver

Partner(s): European Parliamentary Forum; Global Fund for Women; Johnson & Johnson

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2012, Women Deliver committed to expand the youth component of its programming by scaling up its engagement with a diverse cohort of young people early in their careers. As a result of this commitment, young leaders will receive the following skills: basic and intermediate advocacy skills; information and communications technology skills; technical skills related to maternal health and sexual and reproductive health and rights; and networking and social media skills.  In addition to a first round of e-learning opportunities offered in 2012, Young Leaders participated in a second e-course focused on deepening their ability to design and implement projects in their communities.  The Young Leaders who successfully completed the e-course were eligible to submit a grant proposal to receive seed funding to implement a project in their community. Ten grants were awarded to Young Leaders in Mexico, Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Sixteen Young Leaders, including all 10 seed grantees, attended The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health Partners’ Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa as speakers, participants, facilitators, and bloggers, where they were able to share best practices, key learnings, and outcomes from their projects.  The work of the Young Leaders continues to receive media attention, particularly at the national level. All of this has led to the creation of the Young Leaders Program, which, apart from increasing the number of Young Leaders to 200, includes a robust recruitment process, advocacy training and opportunities, a Speakers’ Bureau, alumni network, mentorship network, and more.

         Global STEM Alliance (GSA) – 1000 Girls – 1000 Futures

Commitment by: New York Academy Of Sciences

Partner(s): AMIDEAST; AOL Charitable Foundation; ARM Holdings; British Council; Million Women Mentors; Motorola Solutions Foundation; Municipality of Barcelona; U.S. – Mexico Foundation; World Learning

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2014, the New York Academy of Sciences (the Academy) committed to launch a three-year, $2 million mentorship program to increase girls and women’s participation in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math).  The Academy developed a mentorship program that paired 1,000 high-school aged girls with mentors who study or work in STEM fields. The girls received year-long one-on-one mentor support, online training in foundational skills development, and the opportunity to attend an annual Program Summit.  All items in the Action Plan to date for the 2015 cohort were accomplished. More than 300 girls from 12 countries were nominated for the program’s first cohort, and in an overwhelming show of support, more than 500 applications were received from professional women seeking to be mentors.  As this first cohort of young women are now completing the online curriculum, Academy staff are actively preparing for the first Summit, scheduled to take place July 26-28, 2016, in New York City. Planning is also underway to offer the program to the second cohort of young women beginning in September 2016.

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Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, has confronted child marriage through a Youtube video, which she performed at the Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, has confronted child marriage through a Youtube video, which she performed at the Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Addressing Harmful Practices: FGC and Child Marriage

Commitment by: United Postcode Lotteries

Partner(s): Amref Health Africa; Girls Not Brides; Tostan

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2013, The United Postcode Lotteries (UPL) committed, together with its partners AMREF, Tostan and Girls Not Brides, to work towards bringing an end to harmful practices affecting girls and young women, specifically child marriage and female genital cutting (FGC), with a specific focus on East and West Africa.  This commitment brings together a donor focused on girls’ and women’s rights, a global partnership of almost 300 organizations based in 50 countries focused on child marriage, and two NGOs with a deep and proven commitment to working directly with communities in Africa to address these practices. A summary of key results so far (status bi-annual report year 3 implementation) include: 7,755 girls from Samburu, Magadi, Loitoktok, and Kilindi participated in one of the Alternative Rites of Passage; more than 100,000 girls, parents, and cultural elders were educated about the effects of FGC; 354 peer educators from the communities were trained in sexual and reproductive health, sexual and gender based violence, human rights, effects of FGC, Alternative Rites of Passage, and mobilization approaches; 850 Traditional Birth Attendants, who are often also circumcisers, were trained on the possible health effects of FGC. Many of them are now ARP ambassadors. The Alternative Rites of Passage is very mediagenic, especially in Kenya, USA, Canada, and the Netherlands, the project received attention in newspapers, magazines, online, television, and radio. Some of the projects key champion community leaders have been featured on national television. Nice Leng’ete, a campaigner/project officer, received international recognition from DFID as one of the most influential young campaigner, and Kenya’s first lady Margaret Kenyatta attended one of the Alternative Rites of Passage and has become a great supporter of Amref’s approach to tackle FGC. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Women Through Travel

Commitment by: Airbnb, Inc.

Partner(s): Global Fund for Women; Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, Airbnb committed to accommodate the travel needs of Global Fund for Women and Vital Voices for convenings. The travel credits will be disseminated to more than 100 female entrepreneurs, small business owners, and human rights activists. Upon completion of the reports, Airbnb will explore a second phase of partnership with Vital Voices and Global Fund for Women. Airbnb will also focus on the economic impact of home sharing on female hosts and contribute to their broader strategy of economic empowerment. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Confronting

Commitment by: American Jewish World Service

Partner(s): The Kendeda Fund

NEW: In 2016, the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) committed to support 50 grassroots, capacity-building and research organizations to address child, early and forced marriage in India. Through strategic grant making and organizational meetings, AJWS will work on the local and national level in India and social movements to enable girls to have access to services in their communities. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Justice Institute on GBV

Commitment by: Avon Products, Inc.

Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, Avon committed to support the creation of 10 new Justice Institutes in 2017 and 2018 in countries that represent top global markets, as well as in countries where previous Institutes are ready to expand. With a commitment of $1 million, Avon will support the training of 500 women throughout the expansion of 10 country Institutes over the course of two years from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Banking the Unbanked

Commitment by: CARE

NEW: In 2016, CARE committed to providing 500,000 women access to formal financial services in Africa and Asia by 2020. Presently, 1.1 billion women lack access to financial services, while many have access only to the informal financial sector. Given this deficit, CARE will widen women’s access to formal financial services through strengthening its Village Savings Loan Association network, identifying mature VSLA communities, leveraging its relationships with banks and mobile network operators, and developing culturally responsive digital products, where possible. Commencing in East Africa—where CARE has a large existing network—the commitment will expand to Western and Southern Africa and Asia from 2016 – 2020. Looking ahead, this commitment will contribute to CARE’s broader global strategy to provide 30 million women access to formal financial services by 2020. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Entrepreneurs & Tech

Commitment by: Cherie Blair Foundation For Women

NEW: In 2016, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women committed to giving 10,000 women entrepreneurs access to digital channels, mentoring, and the valuable information they need to grow their businesses. The Foundation has committed to developing an application through its Technology Program that will deliver information via SMS to women entrepreneurs that will have a networking component. The commitment will identify one country to implement the project and will work with local partners, including a local NGO as well as a mobile network operator to deliver this commitment. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: FITE Entrepreneur Accelerator

Commitment by: Dermalogica

Partner(s): City & Guilds Group; Operation Hope, Inc.; U.S. Small Business Administration

NEW: In 2016, Dermalogica committed to a two phase program to provide vocational training to women. Dermalogica has committed to creating industry specific business skills by building off of their FITE Entrepreneur Accelerator Program with free online classes to support vocational training education. The first phase will be the development of the online platform, which will then phase into marketing and distribution, as well as new courses added in 2017-2018. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Mining Communities

Commitment by: Freeport-McMoRan Inc.

Partner(s): Don Bosco Institute; Thunderbird School Of Global Management; WEConnect International

NEW: In 2016, Freeport-McMoRan committed to invest $5 million to promote women’s economic empowerment and address violence against women in four countries by 2021. Starting in 2017, Freeport-McMoRan will scale up its online platform DreamBuilder entrepreneurship training program for women to develop skills to strengthen their businesses. Broadly, Freeport-McMoRan will work to develop programs that will support women through resources, training, consulting services and mentoring. They will also offer at least $1 million in new capital to facilitate the growth of at least 60 women-owned businesses. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: A Multi-Sector Approach

Commitment by: Global Fund for Women

Partner(s): Clinton Foundation; Vital Voices Global Partnership; WEConnect International

NEW: In 2016, Global Fund for Women committed to investing $3 million over a two year period in partnerships that will raise the visibility of women-led organizations removing barriers to gender equality globally. Global Fund for Women will make grants averaging $40,000 to grantee partners through their annual open call for proposals. This commitment will further contribute to the mission of Global Fund for Women to change the systems in which women and girls live and work; and build movements that catalyze transformation for individuals and societies. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Buying from Women

Commitment by: WEConnect International

Partner(s): EY; Freeport-McMoRan Inc.; IBM; Ingersoll Rand Company Ltd.; Pfizer Inc; Procter & Gamble; Walmart

NEW: In 2016, WEConnect International committed to expanding upon a previous CGI commitment to track and measure global contract opportunities for women owned business based outside of the U.S. WEConnect will focus on making it easier for corporations to find and do business with more women as suppliers and to measure their progress from 2016 to 2021. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: McLarty Global Fellowship

Commitment by: McLarty Associates

Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, The McLarty Global Fellowship committed to working with Vital Voices to contribute research to advance the research and advocacy for women and girls conducted by Vital Voices. The McLarty Global Fellowship will support two graduate students from the Clinton School at the University of Arkansas to spend a semester in Washington, DC advancing the work of Vital Voices. One Fellow will be assigned to the economic empowerment team at Vital Voices and the second Fellow will work directly with the Human Rights team. This commitment is part of the Girls, Women & the Global Goals coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Skills Training for Women

Commitment by: Nest

Partner(s): If Hummingbird Foundation Inc.; West Elm

NEW: In 2016, Nest committed to reaching 100,000 artisans by expanding its Nest Professional Program by growing brand partnerships over the next three years. Craft production enables women to work while caring for dependents and provides employment where gender discrimination is prevalent. Nest’s commitment will match artisan producers with high caliber industry experts by leveraging brand partnership to ensure the work is not only efficient and effective, but also sustainable. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Business Development

Commitment by: Procter & Gamble

Partner(s): WEConnect International

NEW: In 2016, Proctor and Gamble committed to implementing Women’s Business Development Programs in order to train 100 women business owners by 2017. P&G will initially target the following countries: China, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, and the United States. Ultimately, this commitment will contribute to P&G’s goal of enabling women business owners to build their business and have a greater economic impact in the communities in which they operate. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: End Workplace Violence

Commitment by: Sodexo Group

NEW: In 2016, Sodexo committed to improve the quality of life of women in the communities it serves by focusing on gender equality and empowerment through operations in Latin America and India. By August 2019, Sodexo will: 1) Promote awareness of gender-based violence; 2) Provide in-depth training about gender-based violence prevention; 3) Provide economic opportunity for survivors of violence; and 4) Lead collaboration in the countries where they work to make a larger impact in the community. This commitment is part of the Girls, Women & the Global Goals coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

Chelsea Clinton, Vice chair, Clinton Foundation, with Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, and Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up, addressing efforts to combat cultural practices of child marriage and female genital mutilation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Chelsea Clinton, Vice chair, Clinton Foundation, with Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, and Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up, addressing efforts to combat cultural practices of child marriage and female genital mutilation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Every Hour Matters Campaign

Commitment by: Together For Girls

Partner(s): Becton, Dickinson and Company; CARE; Child Helpline International; Cummins&Partners; Pan-American Health Organization; SafeTrek; Save the Children; United Nations Women; Women Deliver; World Health Organization

NEW: In 2016, Through its Every Hour Matters campaign, Together for Girls committed to assisting girls and women who have experienced rape or sexual assault. Sexual violence is a pervasive problem that leaves a proportion of survivors with only 72 hours to receive life-saving post exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV and 120 hours to receive emergency contraception. Together for Girls will increase awareness of the importance of rapid access to post-rape care by increasing the public’s awareness and building partnerships with leaders to improve survivors’ access to comprehensive services. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners: Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, high-fives Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, high-fives Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Ending Gender-Based Violence

Commitment by: United Nations Women

NEW: In 2016, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women committed to funding $1 million in grants targeting projects and supporting civil society organizations that empower refugee women and girls in an effort to address the issue of sexual and gender based violence experienced by refugee women and girls. Prioritizing countries that have been impacted by the ongoing refugee crisis. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Changemakers with Pond’s

Commitment by: Unilever

Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, Unilever launched a fellowship program that will invest in 100 emerging global women leaders over the next four years through its brand Pond’s. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Dignified Jobs for India’s Poorest

Commitment by: Upaya Social Ventures

Partner(s): anant Learning and Development Pvt. Ltd; Krishi Star; Maitri; Open Road Alliance; Saahas; Tamul Plates

NEW: In 2016, Upaya committed to investing in more women led enterprises over the next three years to increase the total number of women in its portfolio by 50%. Upaya will invest in agribusiness, skill development, and labor intensive manufacturing businesses. These businesses will participate in a financial management program. Over three years, Upaya will work with 50 companies and invest in 10 of them. This new approach will allow Upaya to create new partnerships with industry experts and investors to empower women entrepreneurs. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Tech for Women’s Rights

Commitment by: WAKE: Women’s Alliance for Knowledge Exchange

NEW: In 2016, WAKE committed to investing in three to five NGOs from its Tech2Empower (T2E) initiative, a tech and communications training workshop for leaders of women’s rights organizations. WAKE’s commitment will focus on three expansions of T2E: expanding to two new regions (Central America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa); launching T2E Fellowships; and establishing Learning Hubs. In its expansion WAKE will hold T2E workshops to train NGO leaders in the two regions, which will provide a foundation for T2E Fellowships and Learning Hubs. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Delivering for Good

Commitment by: Women Deliver

Partner(s): Together For Girls

NEW: In 2016, Women Deliver committed to launching a four year global campaign, Deliver for Good, which promotes investments (political, programmatic, and financial) in girls and women, specifically focusing on violence against girls and women. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Women in Conflict Areas

Commitment by: Women For Women International

Partner(s): Kingdom of the Netherlands

NEW: In 2016, Women for Women International (WfWI) commits to supporting economic empowerment activities for socially and economically marginalized women over the age of 18 who are in the greatest need, through its comprehensive women’s empowerment program. Through this program, WfWI will focus on developing a curriculum reaching 25 women that would build empowerment skills and engaging men in activities that will address issues of violence against girls and women. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Advancing Women in the Workforce

Commitment by: Women’s Funding Network

NEW: In 2016, Women’s Funding Network committed to build their Advancing Women in the Workforce program with up to 10 women’s foundations in the US. This one-year commitment will secure $30,000 in funding from its members to launch a women’s economic security digital storytelling platform that will drive engagement with women’s foundations and provide a valuable fundraising tool and 70,000 to work in target communities. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sector. 

President Bill Clinton announces partners in a Clinton Global Initiative commitment © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Bill Clinton announces partners in a Clinton Global Initiative commitment © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Pathway to Social Entrepreneurship for Young Leaders

Commitment by: The Resolution Project

Partner(s): African Leadership Academy; Axiom Investment Advisors; Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation; DuPont Company; Echoing Green; General Electric; Gerson Lehrman Group, Inc.; Group 113; Harvard University; Hatzimemos Libby; Jim Mannino Public Relations; National Society of High School Scholars; Semester at Sea; The Geraldine y Gabriel Sunshine Foundation; The World Model UN Conference

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2014, The Resolution Project (‘Resolution’) committed to expand its Resolution Fellowship to support 400 college students from across the globe who seek to address an array of global challenges through social entrepreneurship. Resolution also launched new initiatives – the Resolution Institute, Pathway and Corporate Program Partnerships, the Fellow Resources System, and The Resolution SOLVE Summit – to provide a comprehensive ecosystem of resources for young social entrepreneurs.  More than 60% of Resolution Fellows report they would have been unlikely to launch their social venture without the support of Resolution, proving that they play a catalytic role in their Fellows’ development as socially responsible leaders.  Resolution Fellows report improvements in their adaptability, leadership, and organizational skills and note that Resolution has helped them respond to challenges and obstacles. Resolution Fellows have gone on to secure more than $2.5 million in additional funding through revenue, grants, awards, etc. More than 90% of Resolution Fellows report high satisfaction rates with the mentorship they receive from volunteer Guides.

         From Divisive Crisis to Inclusive Cities: Catalyzing Transformative Partnerships in Greater Monrovia

Commitment by: Cities Alliance

Partner(s): Comic Relief; Habitat For Humanity International; Ministry of Internal Affairs, Department of Urban Affairs, Government of Libera; Monrovia City Corporation (MCC); Paynesville City Corporation (PCC); Shack/Slum Dwellers International; StreetNet International; UN-Habitat; United Cities and Local Governments Africa; UNOPS; Women In Informal Employment: Globalizing And Organizing; YMCA Liberia

NEW: In 2016, Cities Alliance committed to improving the lives of 400,000 slum dwellers in Greater Monrovia, Liberia by empowering local residents to create lasting change in their communities through partnership with government, the private sector and civil society. Cities Alliance, in partnership with local and national government, UCLG, UN-Habitat, UNOPS, Habitat for Humanity International, Comic Relief, YMCA, WIEGO, StreetNet International, and SDI will mobilize communities and equip them to undertake comprehensive urban development solutions, enabling basic service improvements, affordable housing schemes, enhanced small business opportunities and resilience upgrades in existing slums and poor neighborhoods, including in hazard prone coastal and wetland areas. Empowering local communities and building capacity among civic leaders via neighborhood associations, Cities Alliances wishes to bridge the existing gap between slum dwellers and both local and national levels of government, improving strategic urban planning frameworks and enhancing national enabling environments, in order to develop and bring about meaningful change in the lives of the urban poor.

         MHNOW: Closing the Mental Health Treatment Gap

Commitment by: Global Development Incubator

Partner(s): Arogya World; Basic Needs; Children’s Health Fund; Clear Village; Falkora; Global Futures Group; Grand Challenges Canada; Hans Foundation; Harvard School Of Public Health; International Institute for Mental Health Leadership; International Medical Corps; Johnson & Johnson; Keystone Human Services; King’s College London; Many Minds Collaborative; Peter C. Alderman Foundation; Step Up on Second; StrongMinds, Inc.

NEW: In 2016, the Global Development Incubator, BasicNeeds, Johnson & Johnson, Grand Challenges Canada and 20 others committed to launch mhNOW (Mental Health Now), a Multi-Stakeholder Initiative (MSI) to catalyze, connect, and support cities committed to driving change in the field of mental health. mhNOW’s ambition is to activate leadership and empower cities to catalyze cross-sector collective actions to close the mental health gap in 30 cities by 2030. The mhNOW MSI will mobilize and channel resources and networks to city projects through a challenge prize and through technical assistance to 1) scale local innovations; 2) mobilize youth leadership; and 3) improve the evidence base for the return on investment in mental health and establish a monitoring and evaluation framework to aggregate city and global data indicators. During its first year, partners will engage communities as various as Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Vietnam, Singapore, and the United States and in cities that span from Nairobi and Chennai to Philadelphia and Flint.

President Bill Clinton at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Bill Clinton at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

CGI CEO Bob Harrison published a piece in the Huffington Post on the many ways CGI and its members have transformed modern philanthropy. In it, he notes:

  • CGI members have frequently come together to find unconventional partners—across sectors—for collective impact:“A 2014 analysis of CGI commitments reveals that the most successful Commitments to Action involve partnerships. Since 2005, members of the CGI community have worked together to leverage each organization’s strengths and expertise to achieve their shared goals for social impact.”
  • CGI members have helped define innovative investing for social good: “CGI members have created and scaled innovative investment models—pioneering methods that have become the new standard.”
  • CGI members have put girls and women at the center of every issue: “The unique challenges facing girls and women worldwide are at the forefront of CGI programming and are integrated across all our focus areas. Whether a commitment targets technology, health care, the environment, or education—members are encouraged to integrate the perspective of girls and women into both the design and implementation of their commitments. To date, CGI members have supported 11 million girls and women through empowerment initiatives.”
  • CGI members have responded quickly to disasters and have helped make our communities more resilient: “When disaster strikes, the CGI community is positioned to act fast—it comes together to assess needs and assist with critical resources.”
  • CGI members have advanced the approach of “doing well by doing good:” For the past 11 years, President Clinton has been a leading advocate for engaging the private sector to create positive change. This philosophy of “doing well by doing good” has been enthusiastically embraced by CGI members from the business community, whose commitments have transcended conventional Corporate Social Responsibility and have helped push modern philanthropy forward.”

Devex provided a preview of the program and will be exploring CGI’s legacy and the role it has played in developed in its coverage throughout the event.

In a New York Times piece that discussed recent developments in the ivory trade, CGI’s three-year long campaign to save the elephant population was highlighted. Progress on this commitment will be announced in the coming days.

CGI commitment-maker Ubuntu’s Jake Lief wrote in Quartz on how leadership lessons for charities often come from stories about failure.

CGI CEO Bob Harrison discussed the 2016 CGI Annual Meeting and how CGI has changed philanthropy on Bloomberg Radio.

Last week on CNN, Clinton Foundation President Donna Shalala discussed the Annual Meeting and CGI’s impact across the world.

AFT President Randi Weingarten highlighted CGI’s unique model of bringing unlikely partners together in an op-ed for the Huffington Post.

CGI staff also reflected on the magnitude of the Clinton Global Initiative and its legacy, watch the video here: https://youtu.be/YhhDzra5SuM 

To watch major plenary and breakout sessions, go to http://live.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

For a timeline of the Clinton Global Initiative over the years, visit https://www.clintonfoundation.org/sites/default/files/cgi_timeline.pdf.

For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org; follow on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

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© 2016 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

 

 

White House Highlights Actions to Expand Paid Sick Leave, Gather Data to Fight for Equal Pay

Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez discussed two new actions to support working Americans.   First, the Department of Labor is finalizing a rule to require employees of businesses doing work on federal contracts to earn up to seven paid sick days a year.  Second, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is collecting data to improve enforcement of our nation’s equal pay laws © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez discussed two new actions to support working Americans. First, the Department of Labor is finalizing a rule to require employees of businesses doing work on federal contracts to earn up to seven paid sick days a year. Second, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is collecting data to improve enforcement of our nation’s equal pay laws © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“A woman deserves equal pay for equal work.  She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job.  A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too.”— President Barack Obama, 2014 State of the Union Address 

Today the White House is highlighting two new actions to further support working Americans.   First, the Department of Labor is finalizing a rule to require employees of businesses doing work on federal contracts to earn up to seven paid sick days a year.  Second, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is publishing its final and approved collection of summary pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity from businesses with 100 or more employees to improve enforcement of our nation’s equal pay laws.

In a White House conference call with reporters, Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania applauded the Administration’s actions, noting that he has been in public office for less than two years, but prior, “I was a business owner, employed up to 600-700 employees. We did all these things – paid sick leave, personal time off, holidays, long vacation time. These were not a cost to the business, they made business sense with lower turnover, better morale, healthier employees, better productivity.

“One of the things we must acknowledge: it’s not just a fair thing, a matter of public health, public good, but something that is good for business. “

More than one million workers will not have to depend on the kindness of employers because of these new rules. “Workers shouldn’t have to win the boss lottery or geographic lottery to win access to paid sick leave,” commented Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Jenny Yang.

Contrary to the “sky is falling” reaction of many private employers, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez noted, in places where earned sick leave has been implemented – including San Francisco, Tacoma Washington, New York City and Connecticut – employers are by a wide margin satisfied.  “When the law into effect [in these places] they had trepidation, but what they saw was that were able to adjust and in fact thrive.” Indeed, customers may be miffed if a waiter sneezes on their plate; other employees can be taken ill because of a worker with a flu could not afford to stay home.

“The beauty of incubators of innovation like Philadelphia, Connecticut, San Francisco, and Tacoma is that we have track record to build on and tremendous confidence that building on this part of the social contract is both good for workers, public health, families and not an undue burden on business.

“Bringing fairness and balance to workplace is really not something that should be seen as expense.”

FACT SHEET: Helping Working Americans Get Ahead by Expanding Paid Sick Leave and Fighting for Equal Pay

Since taking office, President Obama has promoted policies to grow and strengthen the middle class by supporting working families.  Despite tremendous changes that have transformed America and its families over the past 50 years, our workplaces have not kept pace.  In most families today, both parents work and share in the responsibilities of caring for children or other family members. Recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that these efforts have resulted in strong progress for America’s working families.  Today, a record share of private sector workers now have access to paid sick leave, increasing from 61 to 64 percent over the past year.  Furthermore, this increase was driven almost entirely by increased access in low-wage jobs: in just one year, the share of workers in the lowest-paid quarter of occupations that had access to paid sick leave jumped from 31 to 39 percent.  Since the President took office, the number of private sector workers with paid sick leave has grown by 10.6 million.

Despite this progress, millions of Americans still do not have access to even a single day of paid sick leave, so when workers get sick they may have to choose between caring for themselves or paying their bills.  Too many parents must make the painful choice between staying home to take care of a sick child—and losing out on a day’s pay—or sending their child to school sick.  For that reason, President Obama has repeatedly called on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act—which would guarantee most Americans the chance to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave each year—and urging states, cities, and businesses to act where Congress has not.

Similarly, despite a woman’s pay being just as critical for a family to make ends meet, women make less than their male peers.  The President has fought to close that gap, and the first legislation he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, an important step in ensuring that Americans can effectively challenge unequal pay in the courts.  Since then, he has taken numerous other steps to advance equal pay, including issuing a 2014 Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees who discuss their pay, and announcing a White House Equal Pay Pledge that has now been signed by more than 50 of America’s leading businesses.

Similar to the expansion of paid sick leave, progress has been made on the gender pay gap.  In 2008, a typical woman working full-time earned only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a typical man; today, that has risen to 80 cents.  That means that for a woman working full-time, the pay gap has shrunk by more than 10 percent, or about $1200, since the President took office.

Yet much work remains.  Too many women and workers of color are still not paid equally for equal work, with African-American women earning 63 cents and Latina women earning 54 cents for every dollar earned by a white non-Hispanic man.  And 41 million private sector workers do not have access to even a single day of paid sick leave.   Today’s actions mark critical progress to support the needs of working Americans and their families.

EXPANDING SICK LEAVE

Last September, President Obama signed an Executive Order requiring federal contractors (and subcontractors) to allow their employees working on federal contracts to earn up to seven paid sick days each year.  Today, the Department of Labor is finalizing its rule implementing the order.  It takes into account extensive public comments from employers, business associations, small businesses, workers, unions, and worker advocates.  The final rule, which goes into effect for new solicitations issued on or after January 1, 2017, will:

  • Give additional paid sick leave to 1.15 million people working on federal contracts, including nearly 600,000 employees who do not currently have even a single day of paid sick leave.  Workers will earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked on (or in connection with) a covered federal contract, up to 56 hours in a year or at any point in time.
  • Allow workers to use paid sick leave for their own illnesses, preventive care, or other health care needs; to care for a family member or loved one who is ill, seeking preventive care, or otherwise in need of care; and for absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.  Employers may not retaliate against employees for using paid sick leave or require them to find replacements in order to take it.
  • Improve the health and performance of employees of federal contractors and bring benefits packages offered by federal contractors in line with leading firms, ensuring they remain competitive in the search for dedicated and talented employees.
  • Protect public health by reducing the transmission of illnesses in the workplace from sick employees to coworkers or their customers.
  • Respond to employers’ concerns by ensuring coordination with existing “paid time off” policies that give workers a flexible bank of leave; existing collective bargaining agreements; and multi-employer plans. 

This action reflects leading practices by major employers, states, and localities throughout the country.  Since the President’s call to action in 2014, four states and more than 25 cities and counties have taken action to expand paid sick leave in their community, and many businesses small and large have adopted similar policies.  For example:

  • Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota passed ordinances in May and September, respectively, requiring businesses to offer their workers an hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.  Both ordinances go into effect on July 1, 2017 with phased implementation periods.  The Twin Cities have a joint population of nearly 700,000 residents, though the ordinances cover anyone who does work within the respective city limits.
  • Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), a nonprofit clean energy consulting company and federal contractor in Vermont, testified in support of Vermont’s new paid sick leave law, passed earlier this year.  VEIC’s founder pointed to the monetary, physical, and cultural value of paid sick leave to employers.
  • Cava Grill, a fast-casual national restaurant brand headquartered in Washington, DC, announced in July that it began offering paid sick and parental leave to its hourly workers, for whom it also raised its starting wage to $13 an hour.  Employees will now receive up to six days a year of paid sick leave, up to four days of paid parental leave, and one day for community service.
  • Microsoft, a federal contractor, took a similar step last year by announcing it would require suppliers with at least 50 employees doing business with the company to provide employees who handle its work with 15 days of paid leave annually (including 5 paid sick days).  In announcing this change, Microsoft pointed to research showing that paid leave contributes to the health and well-being of workers and their families, strengthens family ties, increases productivity, improves retention, lowers health-care costs, and contributes to the health of colleagues.

ADVANCING EQUAL PAY

Today, the EEOC, in cooperation with the Department of Labor, is publishing its finalized revisions to its EEO-1 form, which for the first time will collect summary pay data, broken down by gender, race, and ethnicity, from all businesses with 100 or more employees.  This data collection, which stems from a recommendation by the President’s Equal Pay Task Force and a Presidential Memorandum issued in 2014, is expected to cover roughly 63 million employees and 60,000 employers.

Today’s action will promote improved voluntary compliance by employers with existing equal pay laws.  It will also help EEOC and the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) better focus investigations on employers who are illegally shortchanging workers’ pay based on their gender, race, or ethnicity.

The data will be a tool not only for the federal government, but for employers as well.  It will help employers evaluate their own pay practices to prevent pay discrimination in their workplaces.  The EEOC will also compile and publish aggregate data that will help employers in assessing their pay practices relative to others in the same industry and geographic area.

Businesses have long used the EEO-1 form to report demographic information on their workforces.  With the revised EEO-1, businesses also will report summary data on the range of compensation paid to employees of each demographic group.  Businesses will not be required to disclose individual employees’ salaries.

Employers will first be required to submit pay data for 2017 by March 31, 2018, giving them 18 months to prepare for the change.  This revision does not impact the 2016 EEO-1 report, which is due on September 30, 2016 and is unchanged.  EEOC will be offering webinars and technical assistance to employers, payroll and human resource information system providers, and other stakeholders in preparation for the new submission requirements.

Today’s publication of the revised form comes after the EEOC approved this action by a vote of the Commission, and follows final approval by the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act.  The EEOC is an independent government agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information.

BUILDING ON A RECORD OF SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES

Since taking office, President Obama and his Administration have taken a number of actions to support working families and combat the pay gap, including:

  • Publishing a final regulation by the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. The program provides subsidies to working families and last year provided services for roughly 1.4 million children aged 0-13, most of whom are younger than 5. The rule, which has not been comprehensively revised since 1998, will provide a roadmap to states on how to implement the new law and clarify ambiguities around provisions that deal with eligibility for services; health and safety requirements; and how best to support the needs of parents and providers as they transition to the new law.  It also clarifies that worker organizations can provide professional development to child care workers and contribute to discussions around the rates states set for subsidies.
  • Signing his first piece of legislation as President, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pair Act, in January 2009 making it easier for employees to challenge unfair pay practices.
  • Creating the National Equal Pay Task Force in January 2010 to implement his pledge to crack down on violations of equal pay laws, which included representatives from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and the Office of Personnel Management. The Task Force has issued reports on its progress, including Fighting for Equal Pay in the Workforce, Keeping America’s Women Moving Forward, and Fifty Years After the Equal Pay Act.  In addition, since the creation of the Equal Pay Task Force in 2010, the EEOC has received over 18,000 charges of sex-based pay discrimination, and through its independent enforcement efforts, the EEOC has obtained over $140 million in monetary relief for victims of pay discrimination on the basis of sex.
  • Calling on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, commonsense legislation that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by closing loopholes in the defenses for equal pay violations, providing stronger remedies, and expanding protections against discrimination for employees who share or inquire about information about their compensation at work.
  • Signing a Presidential Memorandum in May 2013 directing the Office of Personnel Management to develop a government-wide strategy to address the gender pay gap in the federal workforce, leading to a report in April 2014 and new guidance in July 2015—which cautioned against reliance on a candidate’s existing salary to set pay, as it can potentially adversely affect women who may have taken time off from their careers or propagate gaps due to discriminatory pay practices by previous employers.
  • Issuing an Executive Order in April 2014 and publishing a Department of Labor rule in September 2015 prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees who discuss or inquire about their compensation.
  • Announcing a White House Equal Pay Pledge, with more than 50 leading businesses signing on to take action to advance equal pay.  By signing the pledge, these companies are committing to conduct an annual company-wide gender pay analysis, review hiring and promotion processes, embed equal pay efforts in broader equity initiatives, and identify and promote best practices that will close the wage gap.
  • Hosting a White House Summit on Working Families in June 2014, highlighting the issues that women and families face, setting the agenda for a 21st century workplace, and announcing of a number of steps to help working families thrive.
  • Hosting the United State of Women Summit in June 2016, highlighting the progress that has been made over the course of this Administration and discussing public and private sector solutions to the challenges that still lie ahead.
  • Signing a Presidential Memorandum in January 2015 directing federal agencies to advance six weeks of paid sick leave to federal employees with new children, calling on Congress to grant another six weeks of paid leave for federal employees, and calling on Congress to pass legislation that gives all American families access to paid family and medical leave.
  • Publishing a final Department of Labor rule in May updating outdated overtime regulations, expanding overtime pay protections to 4.2 million additional Americans, boosting wages for workers by $12 billion over the next 10 years, and allowing workers to better balance their work and family obligations.
  • Issuing an Executive Order in February 2014 requiring federal contractors to raise their minimum wage initially to $10.10 an hour, indexing it, and lifting the tipped minimum wage (which disproportionately impacts women)—and urging Congress, states, cities, and businesses to do the same.
  • Directing the Office of Personnel Management and federal agencies to enhance workplace flexibility for federal employees to the maximum extent practicable, including enshrining a right to request flexible work arrangements.
  • Signing into law the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, which requires agencies to support and establish policies for telework by eligible employees.
  • Calling on Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would require employers to make reasonable accommodations to workers who have limitations from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions (unless it would impose an undue hardship on the employer). The legislation would also prohibit employers from forcing pregnant employees to take paid or unpaid leave if a reasonable accommodation would allow them to work.
  • Finalizing a Department of Labor rule updating its sex discrimination guidelines for federal contractors for the first time since 1978, to align with current law and address barriers to equal opportunity and pay, such as pay discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environments, a lack of workplace accommodations for pregnant women, and gender identity and family caregiving discrimination.
  • Announcing the Department of Labor’s award of $54 million in “Strengthening Working Families” grants to help low- to middle-skilled parents access the affordable, quality child care they need to earn an education, participate in training programs, and compete for better-paying jobs in emergency industries.
  • Expanding access for women to higher-paying jobs through a proposed rule updating equal employment opportunity requirements in registered apprenticeships and through a Mega-Construction Projects (MCP) Initiative at the Department of Labor.

Clinton’s Nomination Makes History – But That’s Not the Best Reason Why We Should Elect Her President

Historic nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton for President by Democratic party, at Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 2016 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Historic nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton for President by Democratic party, at Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 2016 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

I confess, as I was describing to my niece the scene of Hillary Rodham Clinton making history in Philadelphia by being the first woman nominated by a major party to be president of the United States, I welled up with tears. I hadn’t realized the emotion I carried with me from the night before.

My niece, born the year I graduated college, is too young to remember the way it was when women of my age were graduating high school, conditioned to tamp down their aspirations, discouraged from pursuing the best college education or profession (secretary, nurse, teacher were the acceptable paths), legally allowed to be discriminated against in hiring (ads were segregated “male” and “female”), being told in a job interview, ”You can’t handle the equipment,” or by my publisher the day I started at the magazine , “Now you’re not going to leave me to have a baby, are you?” I was still there 12 years later when he let me work from home after I had my first baby, but I left when new owners laid down the law that I was required back in the office (“What do you mean we have an editor working from home? Do you know how many we have refused who would sue?”).

It was during my tenure at that magazine that I recall having sat across a table from Donald Trump at a lunch attended by New York’s movers and shakers. At that time (though not at the table that day, when he sat bored until the conversation shifted to his new, short-lived football team, the New Jersey Generals), he was quoted as saying that “pregnancy is an inconvenience” for employers, and women did not deserve to make the same salary as men because they don’t do the same quality of work, and that he wanted his wives to stay home because he gets angry if he comes home and dinner isn’t on the table.

If Hillary Clinton is criticized for being cold, clinical, intellectual, efficient and strategic, it is partly because that’s what it took for a woman to succeed in what was systemically a Man’s World, a Good Ol’ Boys Club. A woman had to be demonstrably better, harder working than a male counterpart, and then, would be criticized as “shrill,” “bossy” and lots of other more horrible characterizations. As she said in her acceptance speech, she sweats the details, “whether we’re talking about the exact level of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the number of mental health facilities in Iowa, or the cost of your prescription drugs. Because it’s not just a detail if it’s your kid – if it’s your family. It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president.”

My niece can’t possibly appreciate the change in culture that it is a “ho-hum” event to see women doctors, surgeons, university presidents, Fortune 500 CEOs – to have women at the table with Movers and Shakers at all.

My niece can’t possibly appreciate the concept of a “glass ceiling” and what Hillary means when she said in her acceptance speech, “Tonight, we’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union…because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone.  When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.”

It’s not just that a foundational barrier has come down, but that finally, the issues and policies I care about so deeply, that have been marginalized and trivialized will become a priority at the highest seat of power: climate action, gun violence prevention, universal health care, public education, a living wage, paid parental leave and access to affordable child care, a secure retirement (the list goes on). Hillary Clinton isn’t just A woman, but a woman who has been fighting – and winning – for these causes her entire life.

“In America, if you can dream it, you should be able to build it,” Hillary declared. “We’re going to help you balance family and work.  And you know what, if fighting for affordable child care and paid family leave is playing the ‘woman card,’ then Deal Me In!,” Hillary declared.

As Hillary has said, these have been dismissed as “woman’s issues” or “family issues” but they are economic issues, national security issues.”When women succeed, America succeeds.”

“It’s not just her gender, but her a-genda,” a speaker at the Democratic Women’s Caucus declared.

The mechanism that Hillary has found to be successful over the years is forging consensus, finding compromise – that’s a trait that women excel at, which is evidenced from the 20 women who currently serve in the Senate – while male culture formed in sports like football (the jargon which unfortunately too often makes its way into politics), where the objective is to crush an opponent.

“Look at my record,” I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws and treaties and to launch new programs that help millions of people.  And if you give me the chance, that’s what I’ll do as President.”

Indeed, I’ve sat across the table from Hillary Clinton, too – when she was running for Senate and she invited local newspaper editors for an intimate conversation. She was just as interested as listening as she was in making her pitch.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has broken this crucial barrier at a time when women’s rights are under siege – the right wing trying to reverse course and send women back barefoot and pregnant to the confines of their kitchens. The assault on women’s reproductive rights – the right to choose when to become a parent, the right to control their own body and destiny -= has gone into high gear. Donald Trump has said that women who have an abortion should be punished and his VP Mike Pence has said he wants to see Roe v Wade relegated to the “ash heap” of history.

“It’s personal to me,” thundered Wendy Davis, former Texas State Senator famous for her 11-hour filibuster against Texas’ anti-abortion law, at the Women’s Caucus the morning of Hillary’s historic acceptance speech. “[Hillary] knows what it is to be a woman in the United States of America. We’ve had friends in the White House before – … but we have never, ever had anyone who has walked in our shoes, someone who knows and understands to be a woman in America and we have never had the kind of champion we are going to have in Hillary Clinton and It is personal to me, and it should b e personal to every one of you.”

Trump is about building walls. Hillary is about breaking down barriers.

“Hillary Clinton may be our first woman president. But she won’t be the last. Once that barrier falls, it will never, ever, ever be put back up,” declared Emily’s List president Stephanie Schriock. “The women we’ve elected haven’t just brought new voices to the debate. They’ve brought new momentum to the progressive movement. You see, women don’t just fight for women. They fight for families. They fight for fairness. Inclusion. Justice.

“No wonder Republican leaders oppose equal pay for women, and refuse to stand up for working mothers trying to balance career and family. That’s why they’d let your boss fire you for using birth control, and force us to undergo invasive trans-vaginal ultrasounds. They don’t respect women. They don’t trust women. They want to control women.

“They’re afraid of the change we bring, the progress we make, when we get a chance to lead. And they’re terrified of Hillary Clinton. Because no matter what they throw at her, they’ve never been able to stop her. From the Children’s Defense Fund to the Senate, from Little Rock to Beijing, she’s fought for fairness, for inclusion, for justice, and she’s won.

“Now, they’re making their last stand. Not just against her, but against all of us who have worked so hard for so long to make progress in America. They’re panicking. They’re desperate. And that means they’re dangerous. They’ve nominated a man who said women should be punished for having an abortion. Said, ‘Putting a wife to work is a dangerous thing.’ Called us ‘fat pigs’ and ‘animals.’

“He picked a running mate who led the fight to destroy Planned Parenthood, tried to redefine rape, suggested that mothers who work ‘stunt the emotional growth’ of their kids by putting them in daycare. If they win, they’ll erase every ounce of progress we’ve dared to make. But we have fought too hard and come too far to let that happen.”

Clinton’s accomplishments are undeniable.

Is she a perfect candidate or a perfect person? There is no such thing. But frankly, I admire her agenda as exactly what I would have proposed.

She can get it done.

She is being belittled for being a “practical progressive” as if “incrementalism” is somehow synonymous with “sell out.”

“She’ll fight for your day-to-day needs and the long range needs of the country. She’ll fight for the macro issues and the macaroni and cheese issues,” declared U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski:, the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate in her own right and first woman to chair the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. “So you’ll have national security and economic security. So you will have equal pay for equal work, living wages, and health care that’s there when you need it.”

“Hillary Clinton knows that this moment is not just about one woman’s achievement. It’s about what electing a woman President will mean for achieving the dreams and hopes and aspirations of every woman, every daughter, every son, and every family, all across our land, for generations to come,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared.

“This moment is about the landmark progress President Hillary Clinton will achieve for families everywhere yearning for a better life, a better chance, in a better America. Hillary Clinton has a vision rooted in deeply held values. She has a genuine strength that differs profoundly from her opponent’s bluster. She has a gift for strategic thinking, seasoned by knowledge and experience. And she has a connection to hard-working American families forged in her lifetime of leadership and service to others…

“We know what is on the line in what truly is the most important election of our lifetime: for the future of the Supreme Court, for the fate of a planet imperiled by climate change, for the sake of immigration reform, for the promise of an America that rewards hard work instead of those who exploit America’s workers, for women’s reproductive rights, equal rights, civil rights, and to do what is right for our service members, veterans and military families who have given so much for our country,” Pelosi asserted.

Clinton isn’t just any woman, but being a woman very much a part of the skill-set and life-experience she brings. She is a uniquely talented and experienced person. 

“I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman — not me, not Bill, nobody — more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America,” President Obama said in his speech.

And I haven’t even gotten into the horrors of the alternative: a Donald Trump presidency.

–Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

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News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. For editorial feature and photo information, email editor@news-photos-features.com. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Clinton: Trump’s Economic Policies are ‘Too Big a Risk’ for Women & Families

Hillary Clinton, who says “women’s issues are economic issues” has proposed limiting the cost of child care to 10% of income, and blasts Donald Trump’s economic policies as steering even more money to the wealthiest while adding trillions to the national debt and adversely impacting women and families © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Hillary Clinton, who says “women’s issues are economic issues” has proposed limiting the cost of child care to 10% of income, and blasts Donald Trump’s economic policies as steering even more money to the wealthiest while adding trillions to the national debt and adversely impacting women and families © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

 

At a rally in Blackwood, New Jersey, Hillary Clinton criticized Donald Trump for his reckless tax plan that would hand trillions in tax breaks to billionaires and corporations at the expense of working families and seniors. Clinton also questioned why Trump refuses to release his own tax returns – a standard disclosure that’s been made by every major presidential candidate in the last forty years.

“He has released what he calls his tax plan, and it very clearly is his plan, because Donald Trump’s tax plan was written by a billionaire for billionaires,” Clinton said. “He wants to spend $3 trillion – that’s with a T – $3 trillion on tax cuts for people like him who make over a million dollars.  That is $100,000 every month for multi-millionaires.  Now, to put that in perspective, $3 trillion is enough money to make Social Security and Medicare solvent for the next 75 years. It’s enough money to put millions of Americans to work to repair and modernize all of our country’s infrastructure up to world-class standards…

“Now, think about this.  The typical family in America earns $54,000 a year.  It would take that family 24 years of work to earn what Donald Trump’s tax plan will hand out to people like him in just one year.  That is no way to create good jobs with rising incomes for the vast majority of Americans, is it? And the gentleman who called out, what about his tax plan, I hope you’ll keep asking that.

“And what about his taxes?  So we’ll get around to that, too, because when you run for president, especially when you become the nominee that is kind of expected.  My husband and I have released 33 years of tax returns.  We got eight years on our website right now.  So you got to ask yourself, why doesn’t he want to release them?  Yeah, well, we’re going to find out.”​

Clinton has released her tax returns every year since 1977.  The last eight years of Clinton’s tax returns are available on her website, here

Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, participated in a Hillary for America press call to criticize how Donald Trump’s economic policies are too big a risk for American women and families. From his plan to give massive tax breaks to millionaires to his opposition to a federal minimum wage floor, Donald Trump is the wrong choice for women and families, they insisted.

 

“Make no mistake: Trump’s divisive comments about women’s health are a direct threat to our dignity and economic security. But these ideas are not the only risk a Trump presidency would pose for the economic future of women and families around this country,” said Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Trump’s tax plan “gives $3 trillion to millionaires, that’s enough to make Social Security and Medicare solvent for 75 years. Women, who rely disproportionately on Social Security, can’t afford such an irresponsible giveaway.”

Donald Trump still opposes raising the minimum wage because he has maintained, “wages are too high,” and recently said he doesn’t favor a federal floor for the minimum wage, which could leave many workers subject to a lower minimum wage. At a time when two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women, this issue is critical to working families.

The trillions in tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires and corporations laid out in Donald Trump’s tax plan would be an enormous boon for the top one percent of earners, made at the expense of working families, seniors and the health of our economy. His plan would give $3 trillion over 10 years or more than 35% of its tax breaks to millionaires. That giveaway represents enough money which could go to ensure Medicare and Social Security’s solvency for the next 75 years, repair our ailing infrastructure, or raise every person now living in poverty up to the poverty line. Trump would give multi-millionaires in the top 0.1% like himself a raise of $1.3 million a year, or $100,000 a month, Tanden noted.

They offered a clear contrast between Donald Trump’s tax plan “by a billionaire for the billionaires” and Hillary Clinton’s plan, including calling for limiting child care expenses to 10% of income.

“I’m with Hillary because I know that she’s the only candidate who will make fighting for women and families her priority. I’ve worked with her on the macro issues, and I’ve worked with her on the macaroni and cheese issues, and I know she will be a great president. She’s already a great champion for women. The presumptive Republican nominee offers a different vision,” said Senator Barbara Mikulski.

Clinton has continually maintained ““Women’s issues are family issues, economic issues, and crucial to our future competitiveness.

“Too often, these are called women’s issues. Well, I am a proud lifelong fighter for women’s issues, because I firmly believe what’s good for women is good for America. … As far as I’m concerned, any issue that affects women’s lives and futures is a women’s issue.”

Clinton has pledged to:

  • Ensure equal pay for women.
  • Defend women’s health and reproductive rights against attacks.
  • Fight for paid family leave and affordable child care.

America has taken tremendous strides when it comes to expanding opportunity for women—but our fight is far from over. Women still earn less than men on the job. Many women still face barriers to entering and advancing in the workforce, and the ability of women to make their own health decisions is under assault. Hillary believes that issues that affect women’s lives are not just “women’s issues”—they are family issues, they are economic issues, and they are crucial to our future competitiveness. She has been fighting for women and girls her entire career, and she’s just getting started.

Read: This is what it looks like when a presidential candidate truly understands reproductive rights.

As president, Clinton pledges to:

  • Work to close the pay gap.Women earn less than men across our economy—and women of color often lose out the most. Hillary will promote pay transparency across the economy and work to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act—a bill she introduced as senator—to give women the tools they need to fight workplace discrimination.
  • Fight for paid family leave.No one should have to choose between keeping their job and taking care of a sick family member, and no parent should have to go back to work right after they welcome their newborn baby. A quarter of all women in America return to work within ten days of having a child because they have no paid leave. The United States is the only country in the developed world without guaranteed paid leave of any kind. That has to change.
  • Make quality, affordable childcare a reality for families.We need to recognize that quality, affordable child care is not a luxury—it’s a growth strategy. Women are now the primary or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of families with children. But out-of-pocket child care costs have soared by nearly 25 percent during the past decade. We need to make investing in child care a national priority—including supporting on-campus child care and scholarships to meet the needs of the nearly 5 million American college students who are also parents.
  • Increase the minimum wage.The current minimum wage isn’t enough for Americans to meet their basic needs. Because women represent nearly two-thirds of all minimum wage workers, many women are living that reality every day. A higher minimum wage will help close the gender pay gap, lift millions of women out of poverty, and have a ripple effect across our economy. While we work to raise the federal minimum wage, Hillary will also support state and local efforts to go above the federal floor.
  • Defend and enhance Social Security.Hillary believes Social Security is an American success story. She is committed to defending it from Republican attacks and enhancing it to meet new realities—especially for women. The poverty rate among widowed and divorced women who are 65 years or older is nearly 70 percent higher than for the elderly population as a whole. This unacceptably high poverty rate is partly due to an unfair policy: Two-breadwinner families can face steep reductions in their benefits when a spouse dies. It’s time to change that.
  • Protect women’s health and reproductive rights.Women’s personal health decisions should be made by a woman, her family, and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor. Hillary will stand up to Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, which would restrict access to critical health care services, like cancer screenings, contraception, and safe, legal abortion. She will fight to protect the Affordable Care Act, which bans insurance companies from discriminating against women and guarantees 47 million women and counting access to preventive care.
  • Confront violence against women.One in five women in America is sexually assaulted while in college. Twenty-two percent of women experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. American women are 11 times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries. It’s time to address violence against women—and Hillary will put forward bold plans to do that.
  • Promote women’s rights around the globe.As secretary of state, Hillary made it a priority to advance the rights of women and girls around the globe. In far too many parts of the world, women are still held back by social, economic, and legal barriers. One in every three girls in developing countries is married before the age of 18, and laws in 79 countries still restrict the type of work women can do. Hillary knows these laws hold societies back, and that promoting gender equality around the world—from ensuring that girls have equal access to education, to making women safe from sexual violence, to promoting equal economic opportunity—will promote a more just, secure, and prosperous global community.

Clinton has a record of fighting for women and girls throughout her career:

  • After graduating from Yale Law School, Hillary chose not to take a prestigious job at a law firm. Instead, she became an advocate for women, families, and children. She went to work at the Children’s Defense Fund, where she helped expand access to education for children with disabilities.
  • As first lady of Arkansas, she helped start Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.
  • As first lady of the United States, Hillary was a staunch advocate for women and children’s issues. She led the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where she proclaimed that “women’s rights are human rights.” She also advocated for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides leave for new parents or those with a sick loved one, and she worked to increase funding for child care.
  • As senator from New York, Hillary championed access to emergency contraception and voted in favor of strengthening a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. She also championed the Paycheck Fairness Act and co-sponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in an effort to achieve equal pay and help close the wage gap. She fought for legislation to guarantee paid sick leave and paid parental leave for all federal employees.
  • As secretary of state, Hillary made women’s rights a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. She created the now-permanent position of ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues and helped launch the first U.S. strategy on women, peace, and security. She also advanced women’s economic empowerment, championed programs to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, and spearheaded public-private partnerships to improve the status of women and girls.