WeNews: Congress needs to act now to halt any erosion of recent gains and to finish work on pending legislation that would improve the lives of women and mothers, including the Paycheck Fairness Act and the International Violence Against Women Act.
"The lame-duck session of Congress starts today and Allison Stevens has a checklist of bills to pass before Nancy Pelosi yields the gavel to John Boehner as new speaker of the house. If this work isn't completed before the 111th Congress adjourns for the year, who knows how long it will be before a Speaker who so strongly supports women's and mothers' rights picks up the House gavel again.
One of the first bills on the calendar is the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would put women one step closer to the day when they earn equal pay for equal work. It has passed the House and could come up for a vote next week in the Senate, where it is a few votes shy of the 60 votes necessary to open and close debate.
One bill that has far to go before it is enacted--but that would do some of the greatest good around the world--is the International Violence Against Women Act, or IVAWA, which is focused on helping some of the 1-in-3 women worldwide who are beaten, raped or otherwise abused. Another major item: ratification of the CEDAW or the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women."
The enduring European gender imbalance has led Norway to mandate that 40% of directorships go to women — a legal quota that other governments also are rolling out. It's not going to happen organically. A comparison of surveys indicates that women make up less than 9% of boards in France's leading firms, compared with about 12% in the U.K., 13% in Germany and 8% in Spain. E.U.-wide, women made up less than 10% of top boards in 2009. That trails the 15% figure in the U.S. — where a quota is a nonstarter — and drops to just over 9% once Norway's female board members are factored out.
Balancing the Equation identifies the gains made in science, engineering and technology, the key challenges that remain, the lessons learned, and new issues that must be addressed. A Resource Guide in the report provides the reader with material to pursue further research about successful programs, many of which were established by NCRW, now Re:Gender network members. Also included are Recommendations, which emphasize that an increase in women and girls' participation in all levels of science, engineering and technology requires strong leadership, changes in cultural values and practices, and systemic reform.
Balancing the Equation identifies the gains made in science, engineering and technology, the key challenges that remain, the lessons learned, and new issues that must be addressed. A Resource Guide in the report provides the reader with material to pursue further research about successful programs, many of which were established by Re:Gender network members.