Archive for the ‘Women We Love’ Category

August 23, 2007

Author and Activist Grace Paley Dies at 84

This news deviates a bit from our usual coverage here at Our Bodies Our Blog, but I wanted to note the death of celebrated writer Grace Paley, a feminist and political activist.

Paley, who described herself as a “combative pacifist,” died Wednesday at her home in Thetford Hill, Vt. She was 84. According to her husband, the playwright Robert Nichols, she had been battling breast cancer.

Here’s an excellent New York Times archive featuring reviews of Paley’s work and articles by and about her. Maud Newton has a reflection and more links here.

A new book of Paley’s poetry is scheduled to be published early next year by Farrar Straus & Giroux. It is tentatively titled “Fidelity: A Book of Poems.”

July 2, 2007

Double Dose: Parental Notification Repealed in N.H., When Bikini Waxes Go Bad and A Favorite Columnist Starts a Blog

N.H. Becomes First State to Repeal Parental Notification Law: New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signed legislation last week repealing a law requiring that a parent be notified before a minor has an abortion. “The 2003 law never took effect because of a court challenge, and the repeal took effect immediately,” reports the Washington Post. “I strongly believe parents should be involved in these decisions, providing important support and guidance. Unfortunately that is not possible in every case,” Lynch said.

HIV Testing and More: RH Reality Check has published a package of stories about HIV testing. Plus, The Choice of Sex Selection marks the first post in a series looking at sex selection in India.

Sing it Loud: More than 1,000 activists attended SisterSong’s national conference in Chicago last month on women of color, sexuality and safety. “At a time when HIV and other sexually transmitted infections disproportionately affect African American and Latina women, the gathering stressed the importance of talking openly about sex instead of allowing societal taboos to prevent conversations about risks and safety,” writes Jeff Fleischer at Women’s eNews.

“Everyone is telling us what not to do, but who’s telling us what to do?” says Loretta Ross, the national coordinator for Atlanta-based SisterSong, a collective of some 80 organizations focused on reproductive health for women of color. “‘Just say no’ ain’t worked for drugs, sex or politicians.”

My Mother’s Symptoms: The American Cancer Society and other groups recently identified a set of symptoms that might point to ovarian cancer. The symptoms were all too familiar to Agnes Krup, who writes at Women’s Voices for Change about losing her mother to ovarian cancer 20 years ago.

Sick Children, Working Moms: “Guilt-ridden mothers share stories of sending ailing kids to day care or school out of fear that staying home with them would result in discipline on the job,” writes Ellen Bravo at The Nation. “These stories don’t surprise me. But what was startling was hearing how many kids drag themselves to school sick to keep a parent from losing pay or getting fired.”

How to Pee Standing Up: Rachel at Women’s Health News does it so we don’t have to. Here’s her review of the P-Mate, a portable urinating device.

OUCH: Tara C. Smith of Aetiology reports on an article in the August issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases about what can happen when a bikini wax goes bad — and, as Smith notes, “it’s every bit as bad as you think.” it’s quite a revealing piece (no pun intended). “The paper,” writes Smith, “is as much about the psychology of beauty and the lengths one will put themself through as it is a report of the infection.”

Walk With Your Work: I’m pretty much tethered to my computer desk/laptop, so this walk-and-work set-up, as reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, sounds kind of cool. Or it’s a reminder I should really get outside more. (Via Spine-Health)

And Another Thing: That would be the name of Katha Pollitt’s new blog at The Nation. Good times ahead …

May 24, 2007

21 Leaders for the 21st Century

Women’s eNews held its sixth annual 21 Leaders for the 21st Century gala earlier this week.

Check out the amazing honorees — “Seven Who Will Not Be Stopped,” “Seven Who Exert the Power of Their Voice,” and “Seven Who Stake Our Claim to the Future” — and read editor Rita Henley Jensen’s preview of the event.

Video interviews with each of the 21 Leaders will be posted on the Women’s eNews website next month.

May 12, 2007

Double Dose: The Mother’s Day Edition

What Do You Get for the Mother Who Doesn’t Have Everything?: An increase in the minimum wage, for starters, writes Lauren Seemeyer at, a new blog by the National Women’s Law Center.

Global Commitment to Safe Motherhood: “Mother’s Day is bittersweet for those of us who work in the field of maternal health,” writes Jill Sheffield, founder and president of Family Care International, at RH Reality Check.

Everything Conceivable: The Washington Post’s Liza Mundy had an incredible story published in last week’s magazine section about the relationship forged by two families after an open adoption. Mundy and Ann Goldfarb, the adoptive mother, and Hava Leichtman, the birth mother, participated in an online discussion on Monday with readers.

Mundy is also the author of a new book, “Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction Is Changing Men, Women, and the World,” which is reviewed here by Debora L. Spar, a professor at Harvard Business School and author of “The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception.” Plus: Here’s an interview Mundy did with Salon.

A Third Gender in the Workplace: That’s how mothers are treated, writes Ellen Goodman. “On Mother’s Day 2007 there is still a deep-seated bias that puts the image of a ‘good mother’ at odds with that of an ‘ideal worker.’”

How to Handle “The Return”: For the past five years, Amy Joyce has written the “Life at Work” column in the Business section of The Washington Post and she also hosts a weekly online chat about people’s lives on the job. So she knows a thing or two about the pressures involved in deciding when and how to return to work after giving birth. But now that she’s about to have her first child, it’s all personal. A terrific column by a great columnist (whose work will surely be missed).

Happy (Feminist) Mother’s Day!: “In the seemingly never-ending debate about women’s place in society, I am grateful to these male role models who value ‘women’s work’ so much, they freely chose it for themselves,” writes Ruth Conniff at The Progressive.

The Mother’s Day Gift I Want: “For more than half a century, the media have used Jewish mothers as convenient targets for a humor that, while sometimes affectionate, easily veers into misogyny and anti-Semitism. Scapegoating the Jewish mother as a colossal maternal tyrant represents a failure to understand the complexities of motherhood that ultimately harms all women,” writes Joyce Antler, author of “You Never Call! You Never Write!: A History of the Jewish Mother” and founder and former director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Brandeis University.

Web Offers Mother Lode of Data: Websites offer advice on everything from shopping for strollers to political activism on behalf of family-friendly policies. Just as important is the chance for parent-parent contact, notes Eleanor J. Bader in this Women’s eNews essay.

Childless — And OK With That: Also at RH Reality Check, Lauren Drummond celebrates “all the choices about our bodies and motherhood that we have in this country.”

Plus: A new University of Florida study looks at how important motherhood is for women’s happiness in midlife. The study of nearly 6,000 women between the ages of 51 and 61 will appear in the June 7 issue of the International Journal of Aging and Human Development.

“Contrary to warnings we hear about being lonely if you don’t have children, our study finds that childless women and mothers generally report similar levels of psychological well-being in their 50s,” said Tanya Koropeckyj-Cox, lead author and a UF sociology professor. “Whether you are socially integrated or have concerns about paying the bills – those things play a more direct role in shaping psychological well-being among women in midlife.”

May 4, 2007

Mother’s Day Articles, Events and Trivia

Mother’s Day is May 13, and we’re already hearing about publications and events worth noting. But first, a quiz:

When did Mother’s Day begin?
1. In 1858, when Anna Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker, organized “Mother’s Work Days” to improve the sanitation and avert deaths from disease-bearing insects and seepage of polluted water.
2. In 1872, when Boston poet, pacifist and women’s suffragist Julia Ward Howe established a special day for mothers — and for peace — not long after the bloody Franco-Prussian War.
3. In 1905, when Anna Jarvis died. Her daughter, also named Anna, decided to memorialize her mother’s lifelong activism, and began a campaign that culminated in 1914 when Congress passed a Mother’s Day resolution.

Head over to the National Women’s History Project for the answer …

Fem-MOM-ism: RH Reality Check is running a Fem-MOM-ism series that celebrates motherhood from political, personal and global perspectives. New articles include “Feminist Reflections on Motherhood,” by Amy Richards; “Global Commitment to Safe Motherhood,” by Jill Sheffield, founder and president of Family Care International; and an interview with China Martens on punk parenthood.

For What It’s Worth: If stay-at-home mothers were paid, their salary would be $138,095, according to the latest research by (reported by Reuters). Mothers with full-time jobs outside the home would pick up an additional $85,939.

“Women, Work and Family Across the Life Cycle”: Eastern Massachusetts OWL is hosting a Mother’s Day Celebration Tuesday, May 8, on the UMass campus in Boston. Guest speaker is Suzanne Bump, Massachusetts secretary of labor and workforce development, who will address work-related issues of midlife and older women in Massachusetts and the new administration’s agenda for women.

Our Bodies Ourselves is one of the sponsoring organizations. The event begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Healy Library (11th floor). For more information, call 617-287-7305.

April 18, 2007

Past, Present and Future

Sometimes we appreciate a work of historical scholarship because of the new perspective it offers on the past, sometimes because of the added depth it provides to figures and events with which we are already familiar, and sometimes because it gives context to the struggles of the present.

A recent release from the University of Illinois Press promises to do all of the above.

Feminists Who Changed America: 1963-1975,” edited by Barbara Love, acts as a “Who’s Who” of second-wave feminism, chronicling the achievements of over 2000 feminist pioneers, including many of the original founders of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective: Joan Ditzion, Jane Pincus, Judy Norsigian, Paula Doress-Worters, Nancy Hawley, Wendy Sanford and Norma Swenson, as well as many of our contributors and supporters.

For more historical perspective, make your way over to “Our History” — a brief but fascinating look at both the development of OBOS and the modern women’s health movement. Originally published in the Journal of the American Women’s Medical Association, it provides not only a sense of where we came from but also an inspiring call to action.

Founders of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, circa 1975

March 1, 2007

Rose Bernstein: Boston-Area Social Worker

This being women’s history month, I’d like to write about women whose names are not well known, but who have left their mark in ways both big and small. I came across the obituary of a Boston-area social worker, Rose Bernstein, whose early advocacy on behalf of single mothers — and her empahsis on the importance of the role of the unmarried father — made her a trailblazer in her field. Bernstein died last month, on Cape Cod, at the age of 98. From the Boston Globe:

Long before unmarried women with babies were described as single moms, clinical social worker Rose Bernstein was on a mission to erase the words “born out of wedlock” from popular use.

“Rose helped to shift the stigma of the ‘out of wedlock’ mother to the concept of helping unmarried mothers and fathers,” said her colleague Catherine Sherry-Paré of Dennis. [...]

In the introduction to her 1971 book, “Helping Unmarried Mothers,” Mrs. Bernstein points a finger at social agencies for inflicting lasting emotional damage on single mothers.

“Society sees to it that by action or by implication, a woman who is having a child out of wedlock will come away from the experience with an inferior sense of herself as a mother, whether she keeps her baby or relinquishes him for adoption.”

A New York City native and Cornell grad, Bernstein earned a master’s in education from City College of New York and a master’s in social work at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She was the social worker for the first Boston Big Sisters organization, and in the 1940s and 1950s she worked at Crittenden Hastings House, a home for unwed mothers, now Crittenden Women’s Union, and for United Community Services.

Bernstein lived in the Boston area until 1971, when her husband retired as professor at the Boston University School of Social Work and the couple moved to Dennis, according to the Globe. There, she continued to work in private practice and as a mentor to social workers. The Boston Herald notes that Bernstein “participated in a number of peace and civil rights demonstrations. She and her husband also co-founded Cape Cod Family and Children Services,” now Cape Cod Human Services.

“Rose could relate to anyone of any age with brilliant intuitiveness, warmth, and generosity of spirit, renewing others by her very presence,” said Sherry-Paré. “She conveyed a great sense of warmth and flair and looked like everyone’s Jewish grandmother.”

Bernstein also volunteered in schools in Dennis and Yarmouth. About a dozen years ago, school officials overreacted to her allowing kindergarteners to climb in her lap, and asked her to stop, fearing it could be interpreted as inappropriate. Bernstein at this time must have been around 85 — woudn’t the main danger be kids climbing on her? — but in any case, her colleagues advised her not to turn away the children. That year, according to the Globe, Benstein was the school district’s volunteer of the year.

February 22, 2007

Wimbledon to Offer Equal Prize Money to Women

Ending a 123-year tradition, the All England Club, organizers of the Wimbledon tennis championships, announced that from now on women will be awarded the same prize money as men — prompting Tom Zeller to note, “And Only 34 Years After Billie Jean King Beat Bobby Riggs!” A robust debate on equal pay follows in the comments section.

Plus: Over at Women’s Voices for Change, Frances Fergusson, a member of the presidential search committee that selected Drew Gilpin Faust as Harvard’s new president, talks about what Faust’s appointment means for women and the pervasive glass ceiling in the corporate world.

Fergusson recently stepped down as Vassar’s president, after having led the Poughkeepsie, N.Y. college for 20 years.

February 12, 2007

Meet Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s New President

The New York Times today has a profile of Drew Gilpin Faust, who on Sunday was selected as Harvard’s new president — the first woman to lead the school in its 371-year history. Sara Rimer writes:

“One of the things that I think characterizes my generation — that characterizes me, anyway, and others of my generation — is that I’ve always been surprised by how my life turned out,” Dr. Faust said in an interview Sunday at Loeb House just after the university announced that she would become its 28th president, effective July 1. “I’ve always done more than I ever thought I would. Becoming a professor — I never would have imagined that. Writing books — I never would have imagined that. Getting a Ph.D. — I’m not sure I would even have imagined that. I’ve lived my life a step at a time. Things sort of happened.”

Sunday morning, she said, she found herself lying in bed thinking in near disbelief, “Today I think they’re going to vote for you for the president of Harvard.”

Looking at coverage in other papers, the Christian Science Monitor discusses gender imbalance across academia. Ben Arnoldy writes:

A current Harvard dean, she will not only sit at the pinnacle of higher education, but will oversee a budget on a par with top corporations. Of the 20 female CEOs in the Fortune 1000, only one runs a firm with assets greater than Harvard’s.

Despite the 50-50 leadership split at the Ivies, only 20 percent of US colleges and universities are run by women. Dr. Faust’s appointment could have a lasting impact on the gender imbalance among faculty at Harvard, and in the leadership ranks across academia, experts say.

“This is a crack in the glass ceiling, in the sense that to have as prestigious an institution as Harvard expand their notion of suitability for the presidency, sets an example for the rest of academia that’s hard to ignore,” says Margaret Miller, professor of higher education at the University of Virginia.

AP writer Jesse Harlan Alderman writes (via the Boston Globe) that in Faust, “Harvard not only has its first woman leader, but a president who has candidly discussed her feminist ideals in a memoir, ‘Shapers of Southern History: Autobiographical Reflections.’”

Born Catherine Gilpin in the Jim Crow era, to a privileged family in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Faust writes that a conversation at age 9 with the family’s black handyman and driver inspired her to send a letter to President Eisenhower pleading for desegregation.

She then began to question the rigid Southern conventions where girls wore “scratchy organdy dresses” and white children addressed black adults by their first names.

“I was the rebel who did not just march for civil rights and against the Vietnam War but who fought endlessly with my mother, refusing to accept her insistence that ‘this is a man’s world, sweetie, and the sooner you learn that, the better off you’ll be,’” she writes.

The Globe also ran a story on the highlights of Faust’s career that discusses more of her writings and research.

January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins: Raise Some Hell

I was so saddened to see that Molly Ivins has died. I knew this week she was very ill from the breast cancer she has fought for years, but she was such a huge and important force that her death still comes as a surprise.

Just today I came across this post at The Latest Obsession that served as a reminder of how Ivins always cut through the crap and left readers feeling smarter and more politically engaged (and often enraged) than they might have been five minutes earlier.

As any reader of Ivins knows, she was very much against the U.S. war in Iraq. Her final column, “Stand Up Against the Surge,” is available here. “We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders,” wrote Ivins. “And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous.”

Her longtime editor and friend, Anthony Zurcher, has already posted a very moving tribute that reads in part:

Shortly after becoming editor of Molly Ivins’ syndicated column, I learned one of my most important jobs was to tell her newspaper clients that, yes, Molly meant to write it that way. We called her linguistic peculiarities “Molly-isms.” Administration officials were “Bushies,” government was in fact spelled “guvment,” business was “bidness.” And if someone was “madder than a peach orchard boar,” well, he was quite mad indeed.

Of course, having grown up in Texas, all of this made sense to me. But to newspaper editors in Seattle, Chicago, Detroit and beyond — Yankee land, as Molly would say — her folksy language could be a mystery. “That’s just Molly being Molly,” I would explain and leave it at that.

But there was more to Molly Ivins than insightful political commentary packaged in an aw-shucks Southern charm. In the coming days, much will be made of Molly’s contributions to the liberal cause, how important she was as an authentic female voice on opinion pages across the country, her passionate and eloquent defense of the poorest and the weakest among us against the corruption of the most powerful, and the joy she took in celebrating the uniqueness of American culture — and all of this is true. But more than that, Molly Ivins was a woman who loved and cared deeply for the world around her. And her warm and generous spirit was apparent in all her words and deeds.

The Berkeley Daily Planet, a newspaper in Berkeley, Calif., yesterday announced the launch of the “Molly Ivins Festschrift.”

A festschrift is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a volume of writings by different authors presented as a tribute or memorial especially to a scholar.” Academics are wont to create festschrifts on the occasion of a revered colleague’s 60th birthday, for example. Molly’s already 62, but no time like the present to catch up with what we should have done two years ago. And we might call it festschrift if we could reliably remember how to spell or pronounce that German word, but let’s just call it the Molly Ivins Tribute Project.

The idea is that her colleagues in the opinionated part of the journalistic world should take over her campaign while she’s sick, creating a deluge of columns about what’s wrong with Bush’s war and what should be done to set things right. It would be nice if a lot of these columns could be funny, since skewering serious subjects with humor is what Molly does best, but that’s not required.

Here at the Berkeley Daily Planet we’ve set up a special mailbox to receive the offerings, We’ll publish them as they come in, at least one every day if possible, in our Internet edition, We’d like them to be contributed free of copyright, so that any publication, print or online, can take them off the web and re-circulate them to their own readers. The best ones we’ll also run in our Tuesday and Friday printed papers. A good length would be 600-800 words, which would work for most publications. And of course, columnists under contract should just write pieces to run in their regular outlets.

Readers, please take on the job of forwarding this call for contributions to any good columnist you read regularly, and to any publications which might circulate the results.

Let’s hope it continues; it’s a terrific way to celebrate the legacy of a woman who will always be remembered for her salty words and the power of her pen.

When I married, we used books by our favorite authors instead of numbers to identify the guest tables. Those sitting at the table with Ivins’ “Nothin’ But Good Times Ahead” were delighted with their luck. I will miss her dearly.

January 25, 2007

Do You Know Maude?

“She was not your average, beautiful heroine,” says Bea Arthur, the actress who played the title character in “Maude,” the ground-breaking television sitcom. “But I felt like Cinderella … It was one of the first times on television that a woman was seen as the head of the family instead of the usual fumbling male.”

Maude Findlay first appeared as a character on Norman Lear’s “All in the Family” as Archie Bunker’s sister-in-law and true foil — a liberal, outspoken woman. In the spin-off series that ran on CBS from 1972 to 1978, Lear centered the story around her, not shying away from her feminism.

Writing for the Museum of Broadcast Communications, Kathyrn Fry explains, “Strong-willed, intelligent and articulate, the liberal progressive Maude spoke out on issues raised less openly on Lear’s highly successful All in the Family. While questions of race, class and gender politics reverberated throughout both, certain specific issues, like menopause, birth control and abortion were more openly confronted on Maude.”

In fact, in November of the show’s second season, Maude finds out she is pregnant at age 47 and decides to have an abortion. This is in New York state, where abortion had already been legalized. To understand the significance of that moment to this day, check out this terrific “Timeline of Abortion Stories in U.S. Popular Media,” or read what I wrote about taboo TV topics back at Ms.

So, I’m thinking you should get to know Maude, if you don’t already. And it’s soon going to be very easy. The first season DVD will be released March 20.

“Nearly 35 years after its debut in fall 1972, viewers may find Maude: The Complete First Season (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, $29.95) tame,” writes Gary Strauss in USA Today, adding that Maude’s story lines were incredibly controversial at the time.

Which pleased Bea Arthur, who went on to be one of “The Golden Girls.”

“I liked the fact that we touched on just about everything untouchable,” said Arthur. “It was so very different and not what people expected.”

January 3, 2007

21 Leaders for the 21st Century

Women’s eNews has announced its 2007 list of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. “From a peacemaker who returned to her native Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban to help women run for political office to a Dominican woman who walked down the East Coast in a wedding dress to increase awareness about domestic violence, this year’s 21 Leaders for the 21st Century demonstrate the risks that women are willing to take to make change in the world,” writes Irene Lew.

Check out the list here. Honorees include Shelby Knox, whose advocacy of sex education became a national story when the film “The Education of Shelby Knox” aired on public television; Marisa Rivera-Albert, president of the National Hispana Leadership Institute; Bushra Jamil, founder of Radio Al-Mahabba in Iraq; and Jane Mansbridge, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and author of the introduction to the sexuality section of the first edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”

There’s one man among the mix: Jackson Katz, co-founder of the Mentors In Violence Prevention (MVP) program, a violence prevention initiative aimed at professional and college athletes. His most recent book is “The Macho Paradox.”

January 3, 2007

Author and Feminist Press Adviser Tillie Olsen Dies at 94

From Tillie Olsen’s obituary in The New York Times, written by Julie Bosman:

A daughter of immigrants and a working mother starved for time to write, Ms. Olsen drew from her personal experiences to create a small but influential body of work. Her first published book, “Tell Me a Riddle” (1961), contained a short story, “I Stand Here Ironing,” in which the narrator painfully recounts her difficult relationship with her daughter and the frustrations of motherhood and poverty.

At the time of the book’s publication Ms. Olsen was heralded by critics as a short story writer of immense talent. The title story was made into a film in 1980 starring Melvyn Douglas and Lila Kedrova.

Ms. Olsen returned to issues of feminism and social struggle throughout her work, publishing a nonfiction book, “Silences,” in 1978, an examination of the impediments that writers face because of sex, race or social class. Reviewing the book in The New York Times Book Review, Margaret Atwood attributed Ms. Olsen’s relatively small output to her full life as a wife and mother, a “grueling obstacle course” experienced by many writers.

“It begins with an account, first drafted in 1962, of her own long, circumstantially enforced silence,” Ms. Atwood wrote. “She did not write for a very simple reason: A day has 24 hours. For 20 years she had no time, no energy and none of the money that would have bought both.”

Olsen won a Ford Foundation grant in 1959, the first year it was awarded; a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1975; and a citation for Distinguished Contribution to American Literature from the American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1976, according to the Times.

Less than two months ago, the author Scot Turow discussed on NPR his great admiration for Tillie and why “Tell Me a Riddle” remains one of his favorite stories: “[A] revelation on two levels: because of its insight and evocation of lives I knew, and because it demonstrated to me how a subject near-at-hand could be elevated to great art.” An excerpt of “Tell Me a Riddle” follows Turow’s piece.

November 30, 2006

Best Holiday Gifts Ever: Center for New Words Auction

Is there someone on your shopping list who deserves a once-in-a-lifetime gift or opportunity? (Maybe that someone is you?) Head on over to the Center for New Words online auction, where fab items like these can be yours for the right bid:

KATHA POLLITT edits your manuscript

Novelist THISBE NISSEN names a character in her next book after you

Former Head Writer for Six Feet Under JILL SOLOWAY edits your script

Original art from an ALISON BECHDEL strip

Dinner for 4 at EAST COAST GRILL planned personally with chef CHRIS SCHLESINGER

A SHOOTING SCRIPT from the hit series SCRUBS, signed by all the lead cast members

Original cartoon art by MIKHAELA REID

Legendary cartoonist JENNIFER CAMPER designs your tattoo

MICHELLE TEA reads your tarot cards

An evening of conversation with CYNTHIA ENLOE, Curious Feminist

Go to a movie with Bitch co-founder LISA JERVIS


A KICK-BIKE and a kick-bike lesson from GILDA BRUCKMAN

A signed limited edition broadside from MARGARET ATWOOD

A day at the beach in Oak Bluffs with JILL NELSON

DOROTHY ALLISON records your outgoing voicemail message

Performance/Public Speaking coaching w/JACLYN FRIEDMAN

All-access Pass to WAM!2007

And there’s more … AND all the proceeds go to support Center for New Words, where women’s words matter.

The auction ends Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m. Good luck!

November 10, 2006

Friday Double Dose: Nancy Pelosi, Tammy Duckworth, Bella v. Betty and More

Before Rep. Nancy Pelosi was the Voice of the Majority, she was the Pride of Baltimore.

College-Age Women Should Get the HPV Vaccine: Apparently there’s been some confusion over who is eligible for the HPV vaccine Gardasil, which vaccinates against the cervical cancer-causing strains of human papillomavirus responsible for 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases. The vaccine is encouraged for women between the ages of 18 and 26, despite early promotion about it being best for girls under the age of 12.

“One source of the confusion about vaccinating women is that vaccines are usually only administered before exposure and some women at the older age of the recommended age bracket are already sexually active and have been exposed to the virus. However, HPV has dozens of strains, so the vaccine may be effective against strains that have not yet infected the women,” Hannah Seligson writes in Women’s eNews. “Part of the confusion also stems from the vaccine’s primary population target, those who qualify for childhood vaccination programs.”

Now women just have to figure out how to afford it. The vaccine costs about $360 and few insurers are picking up the tab.

Listen Up: Planned Parenthood’s blog posted an audio interview with Eve Gartner, PP’s senior staff attorney who argued Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood before the Supreme Court Wednesday. The interview was recorded just after oral arguments were heard.

Choosing One’s Gender: Via The New York Times, “Separating anatomy from what it means to be a man or a woman, New York City is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.”

Women We’ll Miss: Jane Bundy, 83, wrote groundbreaking book on rape; Ellen Willis, 64, journalism professor and cultural critic who founded the feminist group Redstockings and co-founded No More Nice Girls; Helen Dewar, 70, Washington Post Senate reporter.

Quote of the Week: “Losing a campaign is no fun, but it’s not like losing a limb. That’s a lot more no fun.” — Iraq war veteran and Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth, who lost a close House race Tuesday to Republican Peter Roskam. Duckworth’s legs and her right arm were destroyed when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter she was co-piloting.

The New Yorker on “Bella v. Betty”: “In a year of all-too-public reconciliations (ranging from Tom and Brooke to Paris and Nicole), word of a rapprochement between the followers of the late Betty Friedan and those of the late Bella Abzug has been relatively slow to spread. It all started, inauspiciously enough, with Friedan’s death, in February,” writes Kate Julian.

Shop and Support: Girls for Gender Equity is celebrating it’s fifth anniversary by holding an Online Charity Auction through Nov. 12. Get a start on your holiday shopping and by visiting eBay.

General Information: The Center for American Progress has a good section on women’s health and rights. Here’s a recently published five-part series on the 30-year-old Hyde Amendment, which denies federal Medicaid money for abortions (except in the case of rape, incest or danger to the mother’s life). * Don’t forget the Hyde — 30 Years is Enough! Campaign.