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Women Around the World Are Bold, Demand Change; TWIF Vol. 83

By Mia Abrahams

1. Trump Unveils World’s Greatest Health Care Plan. Seriously. It’s Tremendous. (But maybe not for women)

On Monday night, the GOP unveiled its replacement for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare aka the reason you fought with your uncle at Thanksgiving last year). This is obviously a complex piece of legislation and there is lots to talk about, but there are a few things we want to (red) flag. First, the bill proposes cutting federal funding to Planned Parenthood. PP currently receives roughly $500 million from the government, (none of which goes towards abortions, btw) and provides services such as cancer screenings, STD tests, sex ed, birth control options, and more. You know, stuff we kinda need. Federally defunding PP would essentially eliminate it as a healthcare option for many low-income and rural women. What else? Well, preliminary reports suggest that between 6-10 million people will lose their insurance under the GOP’s plan, disproportionately affecting women (who are 69% of adult Medicaid enrollees). The new plan will make health insurance easier to purchase for young people (who tend to be healthier and more profitable for the insurance industry). BUT, it will make insurance more expensive for seniors (a population that skews female). For more details on the health-care plan, particularly more sticky things like tax credits (I know, I know, it makes my brain hurt too) check out this wrap up from Teen Vogue. If you are concerned about the AHCA, now is a great time to call your Senator and let them know!

2. Women’s History Month Spotlight: Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005)

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was historic, but before we were all “With Her”, Shirley Chisholm was paving the way for women in politics. Born in 1924 in Brooklyn, Chisholm became a teacher and worked in childcare, before becoming interested in politics. In 1968, against the backdrop of the civil rights era, Shirley Chisholm became the first African-American congresswoman. A champion of education and employment opportunities for women and minorities, and an advocate for immigrant rights, she made history again in 1972 by running for Democratic Presidential nomination. Oh, and she only hired women for her office. A year before her death in 2005, Chisholm said of her legacy:

“I want history to remember me not just as the first black woman to be elected to Congress, not as the first black woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States, but as a black woman who lived in the 20th century and dared to be herself.”

🙌   🙌   🙌  

3. Congresswoman Grace Meng Fights for Free Menstrual Products for All Women

Access to sanitary products should be basic right. Right? Congresswoman Grace Meng of New York thinks so. In February, she introduced the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2017. The bill would provide greater access to free or reduced cost menstrual products for women nationwide. Meng explained to People that despite living in a developed country, many women in her district are unable to afford the monthly cost of tampons or pads. “We’ve heard stories about girls in New York City who are too embarrassed or couldn’t afford these products. Some of them have used a rag; some would just skip school for a few days. And that’s just heartbreaking for me,” she said. Big S/O to Congresswoman Meng for acknowledging that a lack of access to affordable menstrual products prevents women from getting an equal shot at education, and also causes many young girls and women to feel shame.

4. A New Comic Book (For Boys) Breaks Down Period Taboos

In a survey of young Indonesian women, UNICEF discovered a lot of girls were being teased by boys in their class about periods (& period-stains). There are not enough toilets in Indonesia (only 1 per 100 students), so girls aren’t able to change and throw out their pads as they need. To combat this, UNICEF Indonesia has created a double-sided comic book aimed at demystifying what happens when a girl gets her period. The comic is a two-in-one product. Held one way, it’s a guide for boys. Turn it upside down, and it’s a guide for girls!  It explains that periods are a completely normal thing that happen to moms, sisters, cousins, and classmates every month. After a group of kids were given the comic, initial feedback was super positive: The percentage of girls feeling that menstruation should be kept secret fell from 38% to 20%; The percentage of boys who felt it was wrong to bully menstruating girls increased from 61% to 95%.

Photo via @womensmarch

5. Around the World in Women’s Days

How’s your post-IWD glow? We are feeling pretty rosy today in the THINX office! Around the world, women showed up to protest, volunteer, strike, march, show solidarity, and demand gender equality for all. Some of the highlights include:

  • In Paris, women were called on to strike from 3.40pm — symbolically the time of day when Frenchwomen stop being paid (bc of the 26% pay gap with men).
  • In Buenos Aires, women took to the streets to protest violence against women — in Argentina, a woman is killed every 30 hours because of her gender.
  • In Tbilisi, Georgia, women demonstrated under a symbolic “glass ceiling”.
  • Thousands marched in Rome to protest wage inequality and violence against women.
  • An incredible Women’s Day festival  in Thiruvananthapuram, India was devoted to combatting stigma around menstruation, and highlighting options for sustainable menstrual products.
  • About 700 women’s rights advocates rallied in Seoul, South Korea, against gender discrimination and reproductive rights. Fave protest sign? “3 O’Clock, Stop,” a reference to the fact that women are compensated so much less than men that they are essentially working free after 3 p.m.
  • Closer to home, key organizers of the Women’s Strike and March on Washington, including Linda Sarsour, Tamika D. Mallory, Bob Bland, and Carmen Perez, “were arrested  . . . in an act of civil disobedience outside of Trump International Hotel & Towers.” They were later released. 

Miss-Me-Nots

  • Emma Watson spent her IWD hiding feminist books around NYC landmarks, bc she's the freaking best you guys.
  • Meghan Markle, humanitarian, Suits actress and gf of Prince Harry (!!!! I know !!!!) wrote an essay for TIME on the importance of destigmatizing menstrual health to increase young women’s education in countries like India.
  • The Wall Street Charging Bull has competition. For Women's Day, ad agency McCann placed a sculpture, named The Fearless Girl, across from the Bull statue emphasize equality in corporate leadership. 
  • In NYC, a pregnant woman awarded a trophy to the first guy to give up his seat for her on the subway. . .  and she’s 8 months pregnant. Anyone know where I can get a Best No Manspreading on the Subway Award made?

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