Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Philadelphia NOW in 2010

For more than 40 years, the National Organization for Women (NOW) has stood for feminist values, effecting change at the local, state and national levels. Much has changed since NOW's founding in 1966, but too much has stayed the same.

A women's movement is as necessary today as it was then. Women make up 50% of the labor force yet continue to earn 78 cents for each dollar earned by a man. Women of color earn less. Women are more likely to work part time jobs, or for small businesses, or be self-employed, most often without access to affordable health care. Women are systematically penalized financially for bearing children, for being the primary caregivers in their families, for taking care of sick relatives.

In 2009, with House passage of Stupak's amendment, women learned again that it's not enough for legislators to be female, or Democrats, or Progressive; it is only too easy to sacrifice women's health care access for the sake of compromise for a lawmaker whose commitment to a woman's right to privacy is not personal. While women will benefit from almost any measure the US Congress enacts for health care reform, especially the prohibition against gender rating by insurance companies, it will be at the expense of rolling back hard-won gains.

As a member of the Raising Women's Voices Coalition, Philadelphia NOW continues to fight the anti-abortion language added to both House and Senate Health Insurance Reform bills. Philadelphia NOW is committed to endorsing pro-choice, feminist candidates at the local level and, in partnership with Bucks and Montgomery county chapters, regionally, to ensure women's issues are foregrounded for the candidates we send to Harrisburg. If you are a member of Philadelphia NOW, your membership supports feminist issues of particular relevance to Philadelphians like:

* Finding remedies to health access inequities for women in Pennsylvania;
* Increasing access to maternity care for women in Philadelphia;
* Ending the shackling of pregnant prisoners in Pennsylvania;
* Protecting essential city services like libraries and recreation centers, which so many families depend on;
* Combatting racism wherever it is encountered;
* Fighting for equal rights for all without regard to sexual orientation;
* Celebrating Philadelphia's cultural diversity;

Join us on Monday, January 11th for our first meeting of 2010. Your support of Philadelphia NOW makes a difference.

Caryn Hunt

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