A family leave plan outlined in Donald Trump’s budget proposal suggested six-weeks paid time-off for all new mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents. But according to The Associated Press, the White House is open to revising the policy, and Ivanka Trump recently met with a bipartisan group of experts to discuss possible amendments.
Ivanka Trump, daughter of and adviser to the President, has been advocating for federally-mandated family leave since her father hit the campaign trail. The proposal currently on the table requires states to finance paid leave through unemployment insurance programs, and by adjusting their tax structures — which would in turn result in higher taxes on businesses.
Democrats and Republicans alike have raised concerns about placing such a financial burden on states, and some critics have pointed out that the plan does not include any benefits for those who care for sick relatives.
In the face of such criticism, Trump participated in a meeting to discuss potential improvements. “She said that [the plan] was just a placeholder or a stake in the ground and they’re open to other ideas,” Isabel Sawhill, a scholar at the Brookings Institution who presented Trump with an alternative proposal, told the AP.
No matter what form the plan takes, it will likely face an uphill battle on its journey through Republican-led Congress. This is the first time that a Republican administration has proposed a paid family leave policy, and many within the party favor curtailing government intervention. On Monday morning, Ivanka Trump appeared on Fox & Friends for a lengthy interview during which a host of topics were discussed. However, during the nearly 13-minute conversation, the first daughter and special advisor to the president barely discussed women’s issues, only glossing over the disparity of women and men working in STEM fields, and not even talking about paid family leave at all. Watch part one and part two of that interview.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.
Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed off on a wide-ranging anti-abortion bill that some say flies in the face of a federal court order.
According to the The Huffington Post, Senate Bill 8 (or SB8) collapses an array of abortion rights. For example, the bill bans dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures, a safe method that is often used during second trimester abortions. Pregnancies are only infrequently terminated after the first trimester — just 11 percent of all abortions are performed after the 12th week — but by banning D&E, Texas has effectively outlawed second-trimester abortions.
Physicians face up to two years in prison if they perform a criminalized procedure. But because the Texas legislature rejected an amendment that would limit the scope of people who can be prosecuted under the law, the bill may make it possible to prosecute anyone helping a woman obtain a now-illegal abortion — like friends or family members who drive a woman to a clinic.
The law also prohibits women from donating fetal tissue for the purposes of scientific research, and stipulates that medical facilities must bury or cremate female remains. The latter point is particularly thorny because the Texas federal court deemed a similar provision unconstitutional.
Last year, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services proposed a mandate that would require health care providers to cremate or bury fetuses. Abortion providers sued, arguing that such a provision would impose an undue burden on women seeking an abortion, since it would drive up the cost of the procedure. U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks agreed. In his ruling blocking the mandate, Judge Sparks wrote that the rule would allow the department “to exercise arbitrary, and potentially discriminatory, enforcement on an issue connected to abortion.”
SB8 is disconcertingly similar to the rejected Department of Health and Human Services proposal. “Yes, the regulation was enacted legislatively rather than through an agency, but that makes no difference to the constitutional analysis,” writes Mark Joseph Stern in Slate. “The basic fact remains that, with SB8, Texas passed a law that has already been blocked by a judge.”
Earlier this month, a Palestinian family was involved in a deadly car crash in Hebron. The father was killed, and the mother was critically injured. The couple’s 9-month-old son Yamen emerged with only minor injuries, but because his mother was incapacitated, he had no one to nurse him, as NBC’s Today show reports.
While in a Jerusalem hospital, Yamen’s aunts watched helplessly as the baby cried for hours, refusing to take a bottle. Then an Israeli nursed named Ola Ostrowski-Zak stepped in. Ostrowski-Zak is the mother of an 18-month-old boy, and when she saw Yamen crying, she began to breastfeed him.
Once the child was fed and soothed, Yamen’s aunts reportedly hugged the nurse and said they didn’t think any other Jewish woman would have offered to feed a Palestinian baby. “I was emotional about this sad assumption,” Ostrowski-Zak told the Today show. “I know any Jewish mother would have done the same.”
There is truth to her words. Ostrowski-Zak posted on an Israeli Facebook page, asking for volunteers to feed little Yamen. She received more than one thousand responses, with women offering to drive as far as 70 miles to help the baby.
Read more at Today.
It’s been a turbulent few weeks at Uber. The company recently fired 20 employees implicated in a sexual harassment investigation, canned another person for sharing the medical records of a rape victim, and ignited a hullabaloo over the use of in-office lactation rooms.
The nursing-related nightmare began when Arianna Huffington, a board member at Uber, revealed that CEO Travis Kalanick used company lactation rooms to meditate. “Literally, it was an amazing moment last week when we were in the office and he said, ‘I really need to go meditate in order to be in a place to make good decisions right now,’” Huffington said. “And literally [he] went into a lactation room that happened to be open, because they [Uber] don’t have meditation rooms yet. This is part of the change coming.”
Huffington made the comment to highlight Kalanick’s measured leadership qualities, but people were quick to point out that lactating rooms are designated spaces for women who need to breastfeed, and not for CEO’s in need of some zen.
The Guardian asked several women about their experiences with co-workers who usurp office lactating spaces, and their responses were … interesting. One woman said her CEO often used the lactation room to make phone calls, while another revealed that a female colleague used the space to put on makeup. But the executive who was caught having sex with an intern in a lactation room arguably takes the cake.
Cynthia Hornig and Jen Jones are the enterprising founders of Women You Should Know, a popular website that puts a spotlight on extraordinary women from all walks of life and tells their stories. The site launched six years ago and really hasn’t looked back. In fact, Hornig and Jones looked right ahead to how they could extend the brand and do something that would proactively benefit women. The sister project they launched earlier this year aims to nurture and help raise capital for underserved women innovators. It’s called Women You Should Fund.
“Every day, through our work, we see and cover the incredible things that happen when women-led invention meets the mighty dollar,” Hornig said in a statement provided to Women in the World. “But what we hear over and over is that there never seem to be enough dollars to go around when it comes to helping women get their products, projects, and business ventures off the ground. So we decided to do something about it because now, more than ever, our country is desperate for a more dynamic and diverse ecosystem of women entrepreneurs and leaders.”
With an already established platform that has an audience built in — Women You Should Know pulls in about half a million unique visitors each month, according to a report by Forbes — this next step made sense for the duo. “Most crowdfunding starts and stops with a campaign creator’s personal network or social circle,” Jones said in the statement. And already, at least one filmmaker has used the new platform to crowdsource funding for her latest project. Leah Warshawski said she liked the entire atmosphere Hornig’s and Jones’ budding media conglomerate brought to the table, and she successfully used the new platform to fund her documentary Big Sonia, which centers on a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor. “Personal relationships mean everything to us and the WYSF crew truly makes us feel like a collaborator versus a client,” Warshawski said about her experience with Women You Should Fund.
Read the full story at Forbes.