Kay SteigerMar 16, 2007
MALE SLUSH FUND . The California Supreme court denied to hear an appeal on a sex discrimination lawsuit , supporting the claim by former clinical psychiatry professor at UCLA. Janet Conney , who worked at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, was awarded nearly $3 million in 2004 for her allegations that male colleagues made disparaging comments about her appearance and the department discriminated against her for promotions and pay raises because of her gender. Additionally, court documents show that the department directly funded the salaries of men, but women were required to earn their salaries through seeing patients. This all happened as recently as 2001. Conney left academia and maintains a private practice in LA. The American Association of University Women, who provided funding to help Conney's cause, maintain that her case is emblematic of the disparities in pay and the discrimination against women that still occurs at universities and colleges. This is why pay disparity is...
Kay SteigerMar 13, 2007
HELPING VETERANS . Last week I wrote about eligibility problems with National Guard and Reserve benefits, but the reality is that, even if they are eligible, veterans often have trouble navigating the complex rules and application procedures. Yesterday NPR reported that some county-level organizations are helping veterans with the complex paperwork necessary to claim benefits. It sounds like claiming benefits is akin to doing your own taxes -- you do it on your own at risk. It's important to remember that legislation is only the first step toward ensuring all vets get the benefits they're entitled to. We should also be thinking about execution. -- Kay Steiger
Kay SteigerMar 08, 2007
Jeremy Wilson entered the Minnesota National Guard less than a year before September 11, 2001. He wanted to find a way to serve as his grandfather had in World War II while still getting a college education. During the first few years of his service, he served a tour in Italy. Now, he's serving an extended tour in Iraq. Between training for deployment and the time spent overseas, he's spent more than half his time in the Guard on active duty -- which means he barely had time to finish college. He had hoped to enter law school this fall. Then came the announcement of the surge, and Wilson was one of the thousands of troops who received notice that they would be serving longer or more tours of duty in Iraq. Law school would have to be delayed yet again. Wilson, who is a family friend of mine, is getting what even his National Guard commanding officers have called "a raw deal." Many of the troops now "surging" into Iraq are reservists -- troops that, before the war, mostly served weekend...
Kay SteigerMar 07, 2007
WHERE'S MY 20 CENTS? Sen. Clinton recently re-introduced paycheck equality legislation timed to women's history month, presumably to curry favor with women voters. It's well documented that women still earn roughly 80 percent of what men earn, and the legislation is designed to close loopholes worked into the 1963 Equal Pay Act. While requiring businesses to pay women salaries equal to those of men is an admirable goal, I have my doubts as to the effectiveness of devoting effort to this kind of legislation. For many reasons, pay equality is a complex issue, saturated with disproportionate family obligations , slow institutional changes, and the secret nature of salaries. Many women don't even realize that they're making less than their male counterparts because salaries are not something culturally kosher to discuss. The American Association of University Women views this as a pet issue, and openly endorses the Paycheck Fairness Act. Interestingly enough, AAUW supplies very good...
Kay SteigerMar 06, 2007
THE RIGHTS STUFF. Via Women's E-News , a group called MADRE , which focuses on international women's rights, is releasing a report that shows rapes in Iraq, once considered a taboo, are on the rise, as are "honor killings," the tradition of killing a woman who has been accused of bringing shame to her family. The group says that by declaring Islam as the national religion in Iraq, as well as cutting corners on women's rights to more quickly push democracy, women have been exposed to new levels of violence. The executive summary of the report emphasizes that politicians are viewing such gender-based violence as a largely private matter, falling outside the realm of politics. Essentially the state is turning a blind eye to the human rights violations of women in favor of attempting to quell general sectarian violence (not that that effort is working out). The full report will be released today . -- Kay Steiger