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Just how difficult is it to be a working parent in the U.S. these days? huffingtonpost has this sobering chart.
The U.S. lags significantly behind other developed countries in key areas such as paid maternity or paternity leave (it’s one of just three countries with no such provision— the other two are Oman and Papau New Guinea), paid family and sick leave, and affordable early childhood education. As a result, notes reporter Laura Bassett, the percentage of women participating in the workforce is relatively low:

In 1990, the U.S. had the sixth-highest female labor participation rate among 22 of the world’s wealthiest countries. Today, the U.S. ranks 17th.

Meanwhile, the White House Council of Economic Advisors has this new report on working families, part of the Obama administration’s ongoing campaign to explore ways of using federal workplace policy to improve the lives (and incomes) of parents and children. Yesterday, the White House hosted a daylong summit on working families, where President Obama told the audience,

“Family leave, child care, workplace flexibility, a decent wage — these are not frills, they are basic needs. They shouldn’t be bonuses. They should be part of our bottom line as a society. ”

Find video of that conference here.

(Infographic by Alissa Scheller for The Huffington Post.)

Just how difficult is it to be a working parent in the U.S. these days? huffingtonpost has this sobering chart.

The U.S. lags significantly behind other developed countries in key areas such as paid maternity or paternity leave (it’s one of just three countries with no such provision— the other two are Oman and Papau New Guinea), paid family and sick leave, and affordable early childhood education. As a result, notes reporter Laura Bassett, the percentage of women participating in the workforce is relatively low:

In 1990, the U.S. had the sixth-highest female labor participation rate among 22 of the world’s wealthiest countries. Today, the U.S. ranks 17th.

Meanwhile, the White House Council of Economic Advisors has this new report on working families, part of the Obama administration’s ongoing campaign to explore ways of using federal workplace policy to improve the lives (and incomes) of parents and children. Yesterday, the White House hosted a daylong summit on working families, where President Obama told the audience,

“Family leave, child care, workplace flexibility, a decent wage — these are not frills, they are basic needs. They shouldn’t be bonuses. They should be part of our bottom line as a society. ”

Find video of that conference here.

(Infographic by Alissa Scheller for The Huffington Post.)

LEGAL DOCKET: Obama’s Stunning Record on Transgender Rights

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The Associated Press has a good piece looking at Barack Obama’s  unprecedented — and surprisingly wholehearted — support of transgender rights. As reporter Lisa Leff points out, Obama is the first president to:

  • say “transgender” in a speech
  • name transgender political appointees
  • prohibit job bias against transgender government workers
  • invite transgender children to participate in the annual Easter egg roll at the White House

The Obama administration has made it easier for transgender people to:

  • seek access to public school restrooms and sports programs (under Title IX, the 1972 law that bans gender discrimination in education)
  • obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (by applying the non-discrimination provision of the ACA to investigate federally funded health plans and care providers discriminate on the basis of gender and gender identity).
  • receive treatment at Veteran’s Administration facilities
  • obtain sex-reassignment surgery under federal government–contracted health plans and Medicare
  • update their passports

Meanwhile, in his first term, Obama signed the first federal civil rights protections for transgender people in U.S. history (in the form of the Matthew Shepard Act, a bill banning hate crimes).

"[Obama] has been the best president for transgender rights, and nobody else is in second place," Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Even more remarkable is how little fanfare (and push back) these advances have drawn. In some cases — for example, Obama’s recently announced plans to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity — policies haven’t been singled out as trans-friendly because they benefit the entire LGBT community. But as Leff notes, the muted roll-outs also reflect a concerted strategy.

[T]ransgender rights groups and the administration have agreed on a low-key approach, both to skirt resistance and to send the message that changes are not a big deal, said Barbra Siperstein, who in 2009 became the first transgender person elected to the Democratic National Committee.

"It’s quiet by design, because the louder you are in Washington, the more the drama," said Siperstein, who helped organize the first meeting between White House aides and transgender rights advocates without the participation of gay rights leaders.

Meanwhile, religious conservatives have been powerless to stop the changes because they result from executive orders rather than legislation. But the Traditional Values Coalition’s Andrea Lafferty suggests that opponents of transgender rights will make their voices heard in the midterm elections.

"There are other people who are concerned about these things, definitely. I think America is just overwhelmed right now…. Everybody is going to have to take a step back, and that step back is going to be this November."

(Image via ABC News)

Vox​ reminds us that despite all the recent progress the transgender community has made — on health care, Medicare, and discrimination in education and the federal workplace — the military has not been so accommodating. The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell didn’t end the ban on transgender soldiers, who can be ejected from the military without a medical review, regardless of their ability to serve. Transgender soldiers also can’t access the military health system to get the care they need. For more on their plight, see this recent report from the Palm Center think tank at San Francisco State University.

Vox​ reminds us that despite all the recent progress the transgender community has made — on health care, Medicare, and discrimination in education and the federal workplace — the military has not been so accommodating. The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell didn’t end the ban on transgender soldiers, who can be ejected from the military without a medical review, regardless of their ability to serve. Transgender soldiers also can’t access the military health system to get the care they need. For more on their plight, see this recent report from the Palm Center think tank at San Francisco State University.

The late Mildred Loving in 2007, remembering her marriage to Richard Loving and the landmark legal case that struck down state laws banning interracial marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Loving v. Virginia was issued on June 12, 1967.
In her later years, Loving became a strong proponent of same-sex marriage.
freedomtomarry has the full text of Loving’s comments here. Image via LovingFilm.com The late Mildred Loving in 2007, remembering her marriage to Richard Loving and the landmark legal case that struck down state laws banning interracial marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Loving v. Virginia was issued on June 12, 1967.
In her later years, Loving became a strong proponent of same-sex marriage.
freedomtomarry has the full text of Loving’s comments here. Image via LovingFilm.com The late Mildred Loving in 2007, remembering her marriage to Richard Loving and the landmark legal case that struck down state laws banning interracial marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Loving v. Virginia was issued on June 12, 1967.
In her later years, Loving became a strong proponent of same-sex marriage.
freedomtomarry has the full text of Loving’s comments here. Image via LovingFilm.com

The late Mildred Loving in 2007, remembering her marriage to Richard Loving and the landmark legal case that struck down state laws banning interracial marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Loving v. Virginia was issued on June 12, 1967.

In her later years, Loving became a strong proponent of same-sex marriage.

freedomtomarry has the full text of Loving’s comments here. Image via LovingFilm.com

For much of India’s history, the lower castes, especially the Dalits (once known as untouchables), have been routinely raped by the landowning upper castes…. 90 percent of rape victims in 2007 were Dalit women.


While attacks against Western tourists and women in urban centers have attracted a great deal of attention, rapes of lower-caste women routinely fail to provoke an outcry…. We will never be able to address India’s rape crisis if we remain blind to the machinations of caste discrimination.”

From "India’s Feudal Rapists," by Amana Fontanella-Khan, in nytimesheadline
When [my son] Noah asks me one day, ‘What happened? What was it like when I was born?’ I could have answered, ‘Well, Stephen Strasburg hung me a breaking ball that day, son. I slammed it into the right field corner.’ [But instead, I can say,] I am the one who cut his umbilical cord.
Daniel Murphy, the Mets second baseman ridiculed by some sports commentators for missing the first two games of the season to attend his son’s birth in April, at the White House Working Families Summit, via Slate