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Looking Back at 2009. The National Organization for Women-NYS was there for YOU! Want to make that last minute, tax deductible donation? Donate to the NOW-NYS Foundation. Your donation will help us continue our work in 2010 and beyond!

YoungFeminists

One voice can make all the difference!
Looking Back at 2009. The National Organization for Women-NYS was there for YOU! Want to make that last minute, tax deductible donation? Donate to the NOW-NYS Foundation. Your donation will help us continue our work in 2010 and beyond!



                     


 It's not to late to donate to a great cause.
The National Organization for Women-NYS Foundation


The NOW - New York State Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to advancing the rights of women through financing and conducting charitable and educational programs.

These programs include the promotion of social welfare by defending women's rights, as well as the enhancement of the status of women and girls through education and leadership training.

The NOW-NYS Foundation is funded entirely through charitable donations from our members and other committed women's rights activists.  Please donate to the Foundation today and support our critical mission!!

All contributions to the NOW-NYS Foundation are tax-deductible.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Marcia A. Pappas
President
NOW-NYS Foundation
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WIC Guidelines Add to Breastfeeding Push

YoungFeminists

Womens eNews
Covering Women's Issues -
Changing Women's Lives


Thursday, December 31, 2009

TODAY'S UPDATE

Families who set their holiday tables with help from WIC vouchers this year may be serving more fresh fruits and vegetables as a result of new nutritional guidelines that are also designed to encourage women to breastfeed, Kimberly St. Louis reports today.



Story follows announcements.


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WIC Guidelines Add to Breastfeeding Push

By Kimberly St. Louis
WeNews correspondent
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Families who set their holiday tables with help from WIC vouchers this year may be serving more fresh fruits and vegetables as a result of new nutritional guidelines that are also designed to encourage women to breastfeed.
(WOMENSENEWS)--Shopping for meals can take extreme planning, saving and strategizing when costs are high and funds are low.
Just ask Karly Michelsen from Layton, Utah, who has a husband and two young children.
This year she has been able to experiment with fresh tropical fruit, such as papaya and pomegranate, and include more fresh vegetables, without breaking the family's food budget.
How'd she do it?
Michelsen and her children are among the approximately 9 million participants who receive monthly government food packages through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (up to age 5), commonly known as WIC.
As of Oct. 1, the guidelines for the food packages changed emphasis. Now there's more fresh fruit and vegetables, less infant formula. There are also special incentives for women who breastfeed exclusively for six months, in line with the government's latest health recommendations.
In the past, all WIC infant food packages included larger amounts of infant formula, except for mothers who fully breastfed. Now infants will receive less formula and more jarred fruit and vegetables.
Under the new rules, mothers of infants receive different packages depending on whether they breastfeed exclusively, partially-breastfeed or depend entirely on formula. Mothers and children receive cash vouchers specifically for purchasing a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Monthly Allowances Adequate

Even though the monthly vouchers are only worth about $8 per woman or eligible child, Michelsen said they made a big difference to her food budget.
"I am very happy with the changes WIC has made," Michelsen said. "Before, they gave you pieces of a meal, now they give you ingredients for a full meal, such as tuna and bread instead of just tuna. I also am happy with the fruit and vegetable vouchers. Living in Utah especially makes it difficult to buy the expensive fresh fruit and vegetables which in the past made us have to do without them unless there was a sale."
The cash value of vouchers varies, depending on whether a recipient is a child or a woman and whether or not the woman is pregnant. Values also range depending on a child's age.
The guidelines provide groundbreaking support for breastfeeding.
Women who choose exclusive breastfeeding receive an enhanced food package, with more food to help them meet their higher caloric needs. Fully-breastfeeding mothers also continue to receive food packages 12 months after delivery.
"I breastfeed my children until they are 1 year old," said Michelsen. "I start them on rice and oatmeal baby cereal at 4 months of age. WIC provides the baby cereal."
Michelsen said WIC didn't influence her decision to breastfeed, but it did enhance her sense of confidence about the choice. "I have been in the WIC program for almost four years and they have always promoted breastfeeding."
Karla Shephard Rubinger, executive director at the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, a physician membership organization New Rochelle, N.Y., says WIC is an important voice for breastfeeding and the new incentives could spread the health benefits of breastfeeding to more women and children.

Better Support for Breastfeeding

"The food and nutritional support that they get for breastfeeding is better than if they don't breastfeed," Rubinger said. "And they get a trained staff so that they'd know about it. It should be a very important change."
Women who decline to breastfeed receive infant formula along with breastfeeding information packets.
Partially-breastfeeding women receive one can of formula in the first month and can receive up to four cans in the first six months.
"WIC encourages mothers to breastfeed by issuing only one can of powder to supplement breast milk," said Cecilia Richardson, staff and nutrition programs director at the National WIC Association, based in Washington, D.C.
The new food packages are supposed to align as closely as possible with national dietary standards issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2005, which calls for diets with less fat, lower cholesterol and more whole grains and fiber.
WIC participants will now receive vouchers for one dozen eggs a month, down from two or two-and-a-half dozen in 2006.
In addition to promoting fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, the new guidelines are also designed to give WIC state agencies the flexibility to accommodate cultural food preferences.
Those who are lactose intolerant or have cultural preferences in New York State, for instance, will be able to substitute one quart of soy milk or a pound of calcium-set tofu for one quart of milk.
Participants also have the option to substitute whole-grain bread for whole-grain rice, corn tortillas, barley or bulgur. WIC is also offering more canned fish items, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. Canned beans also are now available.

EBT Cards Well Received

WIC participants pick up vouchers in person at distribution centers either monthly or every three months.
Some states issue the vouchers as paper receipts, but many counties have begun providing plastic electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, cards that can be swiped through transaction gadgets at authorized stores.
Alethia Carr, director of Michigan's Bureau of Family, Maternal, and Child Health, based in Lansing, Mich., said her state implemented the changes in August. EBT cards were used in three counties and were well received and will be used statewide in May.
The changes in the food basket have been brewing since 2003, when the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies reviewed them with an eye to cost-neutral changes based upon scientifically-sound nutrition information. Two years later they released public recommendations.
"The goal of the study was to improve the quality of the diet of WIC participants while also promoting a healthy body weight that will reduce the risk of chronic diseases," says the institute's Web site.
In order to be eligible for WIC, participants must have an income level that is at or below 185 percent of the poverty level or receive Medicaid, the public health insurance system for low-income people.
The program, subject to an annual congressional funding authorization, is administered at the federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and by 90 WIC state agencies.
In 1992, the secretary of agriculture established a national breastfeeding promotion program to foster wider public acceptance of breastfeeding in the United States and to assist in the distribution of breastfeeding equipment to breastfeeding women.
Kimberly St. Louis is an editorial intern at Women's eNews through the New York Arts Program. She is a senior at Ohio Wesleyan University studying journalism and politics and government.

Back Up Your Birth Control: New Year's Eve biggest night of the year for birth control accidents

Jerin


header
 Did you know that New Year's Eve is the biggest night of the year for birth control accidents? Condoms break. Pills can be forgotten - that's why this year Back Up Your Birth Control is launching a New Year's Eve campaign - Don't Drop The Ball.

The Don't Drop The Ball campaign reminds women that if you have a birth control "oops," emergency contraception (EC) is available at the pharmacy and can help prevent pregnancy if taken within 120 hours.

Check out our web video - watch it, repost it, and share it with your friends.


grandma video


Then, visit DontDropTheBall.org, where you can send your girlfriends a funny morning-after message from our cast of crazy New Year's Eve revelers. It will give them a good laugh. And more importantly, if one of your friends does have a birth control accident on New Year's Eve, it will remind her that EC is available.

In order to address the increased need for EC in the days following New Year's Eve, we'd love your help in disseminating this campaign. Please send the video and website out to your lists, share on Facebook, post on your website or blog, and forward to all your friends!

Here's to helping women prevent unintended pregnancies in the new year!

The Back Up Your Birth Control Team.




Why Does Time Magazine always choose men as Person of the Year?

Jerin

From Marcia Pappas, NOW-NYS President.



Hello NOW Sisters:

Again, Time Magazine has awarded "Person of the Year" to another man.  I am attaching a picture of  who I think should be Person of the Year.   Feel free to circulate.  A few if us f(eminist sisters) got together and decided to design our  own Time Magazine cover.  I designed this.
Marcia Pappas
History of Time Magazine: The tradition of selecting a Man of the Year began in 1927, with Time editors contemplating newsworthy stories possible during a slow news week. The idea was also an attempt to remedy the editorial embarrassment earlier that year for not having aviator Charles Lindbergh on its cover following his historic trans-Atlantic flight. By the end of the year, it was decided that a cover story featuring Lindbergh as the Man of the Year would serve both purposes.[2]
Since then, individual people, classes of people, an invention, and a planet have been selected for the special year end issue. In 1999, the title was changed to Person of the Year [3] in an effort to be more inclusive.[citation needed] However, the only women to win the renamed recognition as an individual so far were those recognized as The Whistleblowers (2002) and Melinda Gates (jointly with Bill Gates and Bono in 2005). Before that, four women were granted the title as individuals, adapted as Women of the YearWallis Simpson in 1936, Soong May-ling (Madame Chiang Kai-shek) in 1937, Queen Elizabeth II in 1952, and Corazon Aquino in 1986. Several classes of people comprise of both men and women, or women only, namely Hungarian Freedom Fighter in 1956, U.S. scientists in 1960, Twenty-Five and Under in 1966, The Middle Americans in 1969, American Women in 1975, The American Soldier in 2003, and You in 2006.




From Twitter 12-30-2009

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Nepal's Widows Reject Govt's Remarriage Proposal

YoungFeminists

Womens eNews
Covering Women's Issues -
Changing Women's Lives


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

TODAY'S UPDATE

Check our breaking news throughout day: http://www.womensenews.org/latest-news
Check out Commentoon by Liza Donnelly

By Liza Donnelly
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Nepal's Widows Reject Govt's Remarriage Proposal

By Danielle Shapiro
WeNews correspondent
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Nepali widows and their advocates are pushing back at a government proposal to pay engaged couples for a widow's remarriage. Not only is the law like a new form of dowry, they say, many widows feel better off staying single and earning their own incomes.
Protest against Nepali government's remarriage proposalKATHMANDU, Nepal (WOMENSENEWS)--The government has proposed helping widows here by paying engaged couples about $670 when they marry and the wife is a widow.
But Women for Human Rights, single women group, a leading local advocacy organization for widows based in Kathmandu, isn't pleased.
Last summer, shortly after the government announced the idea, the group staged a protest that drew about 1,500 participants to sound off against the government's proposal.
Rajin Rayamajhi, a lawyer with Women for Human Rights, likened the proposal to "buying and selling a woman."
Many single women, as widows here prefer to be called, are illiterate and only 2 percent have higher education. Rayamajhi said the proposal would be difficult for many to understand. This makes them vulnerable to men who would marry them for the money and then leave, taking all the funds.
She also slammed the payments for increasing the risk of violence and trafficking once widows were again under the control of a husband. Critics further say that the proposed legislation encourages a different kind of dowry, though the Nepali government has been trying to eliminate that system, and advances the notion that a woman's security and empowerment is dependent on marriage and men.
Women for Human Rights filed a case with the Supreme Court in October against the Nepali government, the prime minister and the finance minister to compel their withdrawal of the policy. In November, the court ordered the government to demonstrate why the legislation should not be withdrawn.
Lily Thapa, 49, the founder and executive director of Women for Human Rights, stressed that independence for widows is their first priority. Her organization has won several cases that secure citizenship and property rights for single women, including one in the Supreme Court in early 2009 that allowed widows to inherit from their deceased spouses, even if they remarry.

Independence Encouraged

"We encourage very young widows to get remarried," Thapa said, "but before that we encourage her to be independent on her own."
While waiting for the government's response, Thapa has met with policymakers and continues to lobby them to use the funds for skills training, job placements, health care for widows and free education for their children instead.
Her group also hopes to get the government to give the poorest widows monthly allowances regardless of age. As the law currently stands, only widows over the age of 60 get just under $7 each month.
When a woman's husband dies, in many parts of Nepal the loss she suffers is much more than just a spouse.
Single women are not to wear jewelry or bright colors, especially red; they are not to eat meat or seasoned food; not allowed to participate in celebrations; and often not even allowed to touch other people. Their increased dependency on living relatives makes them more vulnerable to, and often the victims of, verbal, physical and sexual abuse and frequently their property and inheritance rights are violated. The practice of Sati, where women were ritually burned on their husband's funeral pyres, was outlawed a century ago.
"One minute you have everything and the next it's gone," said Thapa, whose own husband died 20 years ago while serving as a physician with the United Nations in the first Iraq War. She was left with three sons aged 4, 9 and 10.
Almost immediately her relatives forcibly removed her treasured diamond nose ring, which she'd worn since receiving it at 14 from her parents as a gift for completing high school. She was made to wear colorless clothing and at her brother's wedding she was not allowed to help with the preparations. As a widow, she was considered bad luck.

Never Wanted to Remarry

Today Thapa again wears a nose ring, bracelets and brightly-colored clothes. She hasn't remarried and said she doesn't want to. She is not alone.
In the 15 years since Women for Human Rights began, the group has established 225 single women's groups across 52 of Nepal's 75 districts. In all, it has organized about 44,000 widows. Thapa said that 99 percent of the single women she has met in that time would prefer not to remarry.
Close to 70 percent of widows in Nepal are between 20 to 35 and have, on average, three to four children. Thapa said they worry primarily about their children and whether a second husband would properly care for them. Often, she said, stepchildren are not treated well or rejected by second spouses. Second marriages are also considered taboo, so even if a woman did want to remarry she would still encounter stigma for her choice.
"I don't have an interest," Bhagawati Satyal, 28, said of remarriage last month through a translator. Her husband died accidentally in 1999 after falling from the roof of a hotel where he worked in Kathmandu. "If I remarry, I'll have to again be dependent on my husband. Now I am independent."
Satyal now works with Women for Human Rights in the Single Women Entrepreneur Group preparing catered lunches for sale. She said she earns enough to support herself and her 10-year-old daughter, as well as to help her in-laws and their small farm.
The elderly couple, who Satyal said stigmatized her after her husband's death, have since come to live with her instead of their remaining son because she can better provide for them.
Dale Davis, Nepal project director for the Centre for Development and Population Activities, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that works to improve the lives of women and girls in the developing world, said that after marriage traditionally Nepali women move into their husband's homes, becoming part of his family.

Arranged Marriages a Factor

In a country where arranged marriages are still the norm, it is not customary to secure another marriage if a woman's husband dies, Davis said.
She reiterated Thapa's observation that for many single women the practical challenges of caring for children and insuring their livelihoods--not remarriage--are paramount concerns, especially for less affluent or poorly educated village women.
"Now that they have lost their breadwinner," she said in a telephone interview, "survival is the most important issue."
Satyal said she hoped a government proposal to assist widows would focus more on their children.
"I thought they would bring something beneficial to my children," she said. "I felt the policy commodified single women and tagged them with 50,000 rupees. Is my price only 50,000 rupees?"
Renu Sharma, president and founder of the Kathmandu-based Women's Foundation of Nepal, a nonprofit advocacy group formed in 1988, said that with job opportunities single women will have better chances of rebuilding their lives and overcoming cultural discrimination. Her organization currently houses 20 single women in its shelter for victims of violence.
"If women are skillful, can get a job and be independent, then society will accept her," Sharma said in a recent telephone interview.
For some women, however, remarriage is beside the point. What matters more is earning broad social recognition that even as single women they are equal, capable and free to live their lives as they wish.
"Marriage is not the only thing," said Rekha Subedi, 31, another member of the Single Women Entrepreneur Group. "Even by living single we can do something by ourselves.
Danielle Shapiro is a freelance journalist based in New York City.

For more information:

Women for Human Rights, single women group
http://www.whr.org.np/
The Women's Foundation of Nepal
http://www.womenepal.org/
Centre for Development and Population Activities
http://www.cedpa.org/

MTA: Students Fight Back Cuts

YoungFeminists




Students across NYC are fighting the MTA's plan to cut student MetroCards.
Can you join them and sign the petition?

"The MTA should use its available funds, not cut services and student MetroCards millions of New Yorkers depend on"


They called it the "Day of Outrage."

Hundreds of New York City students braved the snow and cold last week to march against the planned elimination of free student MetroCards.  Organizing in their schools and online, students from across the city gathered in front of the MTA's headquarters with signs that read: "Save the Students, Not The Bankers" and "No transportation, no education!"1

Students are fighting back, and we need to stand with them.  Outraged New Yorkers have stopped MTA cutbacks before. We can do it again.   Can you sign the petition to save student MetroCards and stop the MTA service cuts?

Over 7,000 New Yorkers have signed already -- help us reach 10,000 before the New Year:

http://action.workingfamiliesparty.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=487

The petition says "The MTA should use its available funds, not cut services and student Metrocards millions of New Yorkers depend on."

Half a million New York City students depend on their free MetroCards to get around. Eliminating them, as the MTA's board proposes to starting in 2011, works out to an almost $700-per-child tax hike on working families.

Educators warn that the end of free MetroCards could be a big step backwards for public education -- limiting the choices of schools available to working-class students and cutting participation in after-school activities.

But the cuts won't take effect until next Summer -- we still have time to show the MTA and the politicians that these cuts are unacceptable.  If students can organize, we can too, and we need to show these young New Yorkers that we're standing with them.

Sign our petition to stop the cuts, and we'll deliver the signatures to the MTA and let the student leaders know that you spoke out:

http://action.workingfamiliesparty.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=487

Thanks,

Dan Cantor
WFP Executive Director

Sources:
1. "Students Protest Proposed MetroCard Cuts" NBC News, Dec. 21

From Twitter 12-29-2009

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Tis the Season for Candor About Gov't Handouts

YoungFeminists

Womens eNews
Covering Women's Issues -
Changing Women's Lives


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

TODAY'S UPDATE

More middle-class people are accepting federal cash supports and food stamps, prompting Mimi Abramovitz to remind us that middle-class and corporate benefits that aren't usually described as public assistance also cost tax payers plenty.


Story follows announcements.


Check our breaking news throughout day: http://www.womensenews.org/latest-news
Check out Commentoon by Liza Donnelly

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'Tis the Season for Candor About Gov't Handouts

By Mimi Abramovitz
WeNews commentator
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
More middle-class people are accepting federal cash supports and food stamps, prompting Mimi Abramovitz to remind us that middle-class and corporate benefits that aren't usually described as public assistance also cost tax payers plenty.
Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's eNews.
(WOMENSENEWS)--What a difference an economic crisis makes.
Now each day the brutal job market is throwing more men, white people and two-parent households into poverty and onto the welfare and food stamp rolls--some for the first time.
The new poor are showing up on the old welfare rolls causing a surge nationwide. Still below earlier peaks, the numbers are reportedly up a soaring 14 percent in hard-hit states such as Ohio, where the director of a community coalition explained that they used to see the same people come in for help, but now it's a lot of newcomers. In Fort Myers, Fla., nearly 40 percent of the 812 welfare applicants in October had never before asked for help.
The food stamp program, which also serves the new poor, is adding some 20,000 people a day. More than 36 million, or 25 percent of the population in 240 counties nationwide--that's 1 in 8 Americans and 1 in 4 children--use the program to stave off hunger, according to The New York Times. A male head of a household who applied told the Time's reporter how his mind had changed.
"I always thought it was people trying to milk that system. But we just felt like we really needed the help right now," he said.

Once Regularly Demonized

For years, women relying on federal cash supports were regularly--and wrongly--demonized as lazy, immoral cheats.
You also heard well-paid pundits such as Charles Murray, resident scholar at the Washington -based American Enterprise Institute, insist that "poverty results from a lack of personal responsibility."
Critics such as Heather MacDonald and Steven Malanga, columnists for the City Journal published by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank in New York City, shared a similar sentiment, saying things like "children of women on welfare become teen mothers and criminals."
Then there was the "welfare queen" slur that Ronald Reagan made viral with his tale of a woman who "ripped off $150,000 from the government, using 80 aliases, 30 addresses, a dozen Social Security cards, and four fictional dead husbands."
These false yet powerful images fueled welfare reform and other policies that penalized poor women in need for seeking federal cash supports, food stamps and public housing.
Today these negative comments have more or less died down as middle-class people in small rural towns, sprawling suburbs and big cities have lost their jobs, savings and homes and turned to the government for aid.

Stigma Fading

As the new poor fill the rolls, the vitriol that used to be sprayed at single mothers who needed public assistance seems to be fading.
Instead of bemoaning the added cost, Sara Murray, a Wall Street Journal columnist, sympathetically declared that "the recent rise in welfare families across the country is a sign that the welfare system is expanding at a time of added need." It was also notable that the longstanding racialized hostility to welfare did not surface when President Barack Obama's stimulus package included dollars for states to meet the program's rising cost.
Faced with the ravages of the economy, Congress destigmatized the food stamp program by changing its name to Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, hoping to attract the new poor.
Going beyond the unprecedented extra welfare dollars in the stimulus package, word has it that Democratic majorities in Congress may also suspend welfare reform's punitive time limits and work requirements when they renew the federal law in 2010. And we can also hope lawmakers will fund supports for practical education and child care, options that can lift many women out of poverty.
As more people come to rely on public benefits, this is a good time to look around and
notice the extent to which many people beyond single mothers routinely get a break from the government but do not think of it in this way.
The former working- and middle-class adults who are receiving extended jobless benefits, "cash for clunkers" and the upcoming "cash for caulkers" do not think of themselves as "on welfare." Nor does the public begrudge them their public assistance.
The same goes for the 52 million seniors who were collecting monthly Social Security checks in 2009. Social Security--a cash assistance program for the middle class as well as the poor--was sold as a repayment plan back in the 1930s. The reality is that the taxes taken out of our wages each week won't repay us. They'll pay benefits to workers who have already retired and it's easy for many beneficiaries to take more out of the system than they ever pay in.

Mortgage Holders Also Take Handouts

Data from 2006 showed there were 35 million middle- and upper-income homeowners who lowered their tax bill with the mortgage interest tax deduction. None of them seem to think they are taking a handout.
Yet the $61.5 billion lost to the Treasury because of the mortgage interest tax break is more than twice the $29.4 billon that the Department of Housing and Urban Development spent on low-income housing and rental subsides for the poor.
The CEOs of banks, auto companies and other corporations regarded as "too big to fail" also accepted "welfare," better known as the $700 billion bailout. Their check was far more than the $585 billion spent for Social Security pensions in 2007.
Yet the execs only complained about the accompanying regulations designed to restrict their irresponsible behavior. Such non-impugned corporate "welfare" is nothing new.
In 2006 alone the federal government provided some $92 billion in tax-funded subsidies--such as the Advanced Technology Program, the Export-Import Bank and the federal crop subsidies among others--to corporate giants such as Boeing, Xerox, IBM, Motorola, Dow Chemical, General Electric and wealthy farmers--up 11 percent from 2001.
None of these upscale recipients suffer public stigma because controversy almost never glares down on them. Most eagerly look forward to collecting their tax-funded government benefits.
As the nation discovers that most people, including single mothers, fall into poverty due to forces over which they have little or no control, there seems to be more sympathy and understanding to go around. Let's hope this generosity of spirit outlasts the current downturn.
And let's also keep better tabs on who's really getting the biggest handouts and then redirect more dollars to those most in need
Mimi Abramovitz, the Bertha Capen Reynolds professor at Hunter College School of Social Work, is author of "Regulating the Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy From Colonial Times to the Present;" the award-winning "Under Attack, Fighting Back: Women and Welfare in the U.S.;" and co-author of "Taxes are a Women's Issue: Reframing the Debate." She is currently writing "Gender Obligations: The History of Low-Income Women's Activism since 1900."

From Twitter 12-28-2009

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