Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation

Advancing justice for women and girls and promoting their spiritual growth

Leaping from Our Spheres

-- The Blog of UUWF's Affiliated Minister

Minimum Wage Is a Women’s Issue

I was a recent graduate in journalism from a prestigious state university, having been living temporarily in my teenage bedroom in my mother’s house with my then husband, a college drop-out at a time when the expectation and assumption was that if we were over 18, we were no longer literally part of our parents’ households. We moved into a modest apartment with thin walls, erratic heat, and monthly rent and utility bills.

He was working low wage swing shift in the credit department of a major furniture dealer 30 miles away, after having done some time at an even lower paying job in a canned food warehouse. I had given up looking for a position even vaguely related to my major and the field I had been trained for, landing a very part-time job as a counter girl (and girl it was) in an ice cream store, handing out samples of apple strudel and rocky road (chocolate and walnuts) ice cream and scooping cones from the bottom of cardboard containers. After only a few days, my hands and arms were cramped and sore and my fingers burned from spending so much time in frost and ice. To this day I cannot imagine tasting, let alone relishing any of the dozens of rotating flavors.

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Snowy Protest Outside Supreme Court

… and the Face of Pro-Choice 2014   This past Tuesday morning I had the opportunity to stand with hundreds of others in a freak late March full out snowstorm (wet cold and pelting) in Washington DC to protest the casebrought by Hobby Lobby, a national chain of c Continue reading

A Real Scandal

A confession: my husband and I (after reading so many rave postings on Facebook by a well-respected UU sister in ministry), have just finished binge watching 40 episodes of the TV program “Scandal” in less than two weeks. This popular series, set in Washington D.C., is a dark and often violent picture of shadow government, White House assignations, torture, assassinations, and monumental corruption. It is engaging and well-acted. It is also cynical and horrifying.

It is a scandalous depiction of our democracy in action. And it is fictional.

In the real Washington D.C. of 2014 next Tuesday (March 25), the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing two cases challenging the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurance companies provide contraception, a preventive health care service, at no cost. The constitutional right to birth control was argued and won decades ago: it is financial access that is at issue here.

UUs rally for social justice

More than 40 for profit companies have sued the federal government because they claim their corporations must follow certain religious laws which in fact trump the health care decision making ability of their female employees. If they work for these companies, contraceptive coverage should not be an option. The cases under consideration by the Court have been brought by Hobby Lobby Inc. (that national chain which sells crafting supplies) and Conestoga Wood Specialties.

This is a real scandal, a situation that should be causing great public outrage as yet another effort to turn back the clock on reproductive justice. This effort to give corporations greater voice in health care decisions than the women who work for them would do just this.

The UU Women’s Federation has been un-wavering and unremitting in its support for contraception — both available and accessible — as a basic human right. We join the Unitarian Universalist Association and other allies in urging the Supreme Court to uphold the rights of women to choose preventive birth control services without economic barriers, and in the process to maintain religious liberty, equality, and economic security.
I will be in D.C. for the hearing: for the rally that morning and to witness the proceedings.

I urge UUWF members and friends to speak out in the ways available to us, and to be with me in body or spirit. To end this scandal.

Law and Order for Special Victims Becomes Real

Hargitay-and-Kym-L-Worthy_Detroit-NewsA recent Associated Press story about the fact that possibly hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits across the country may finally be processed reminded me of the many episodes on the long lived television series “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” where the lack of this evidence leads to dead ends in solving these crimes, most often against women and girls. And how frustrated and indignant the small screen detectives get, including Officer Olivia Benson, played by veteran actress Mariska Hargitay. Continue reading

International Women’s Day and Half the Sky

Half the Sky

Half the Sky

It was during the millennial celebrations at Agnes Scott College, the small all women’s college near our home, that I purchased a bright red t-shirt with black Chinese lettering and underneath it that ancient proverb: “Women are Half the Sky,” made popular by Mao Tse-tung. I loved the sentiment: its bold simplicity. The president of the college then was a China scholar, in fact she returned to China after her time there. This t-shirt and this campaign to lift up women’s power and rights was a natural for her, and for this college that has so much diversity and quite a few international students and scholars.

Over the years of wearing it, often to the gym, I occasionally have been given withering looks for wearing a communist quote on my chest, or comments about how out of reach equality is for women in China, even today. It may not be great, admits Zhang Yue, host of a popular women’s talk show there for many years, but, she reminds us, of the five goals laid out for women a hundred years ago: “Abolish foot binding, educate girls, free marriage, a job, and equality with men, we got the first four. But not the last one.”

This is a good deal more than the women who are half the sky in so many other countries around the world.
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Leaping From Our Spheres

Rev. Marti KellerDon’t miss the “little gems full of both passion and facts” in the Blog of UUWF’s Affiliated Minister, Rev. Marti Keller.

UUWF’s Affiliated Ministry