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Twice As Well Archives

Sexual Assault Awarness Month Comes to a Close: Conclusions?

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Demonstrators with Rape Victim Advocates gather at Daley Plaza on April 29, 2011 to protest the silence that surrounds sexual violence.

This past January, a Toronto police officer told a group of citizens that the key to women avoiding sexual assault was to not dress like "sluts."

The remark sparked justified outrage; Slutwalk Toronto was born, and on April 3, over 1000 protesters took to the street to spread the message that "being assaulted isn't about what you wear...but using a pejorative term to rationalize inexcusable behaviour creates an environment in which it's okay to blame the victim."
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Combating Sexual Assault on College Campuses

When navigating the exciting choosing-a-college process, few parents or students likely take into consideration the number of sexual assaults reported by that university; bottom line, we trust our institutions to keep us and our loved ones as safe as possible. But recent events at USC, Yale, Notre Dame and other institutions raise the question: are schools looking out for their own best interests or their students when it comes to reporting sexual assaults and other related incidents?

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YWCA Reaches Out To Survivors of Sexual Violence

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Support and encouragement can be one of the most helpful things to a survivor of sexual violence, and YWCA makes it their goal to do just that. Offering many support services Jeanette Castellanos Butt and her team at YWCA Metropolitan Chicago work to give survivors the resources they need to rise above sexual violence.

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Angela Rose "Shatters the Silence"

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Today, Angela Rose is a crusader for victim's rights. As founder of PAVE (Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment), a multi-chapter, national non-profit, she transverses the country on a mission to shatter the silence that surrounds sexual assault.

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A Look Into Sexual Assault Legalities with CAASE

Fighting for women and their rights can at times be an uphill battle, but this is the battle that Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Legal Director at Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), fights every day. She gives a voice to the women and men who have survived sexual assault. 
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On a Mission for Survivors

When Denise Rotheimer's daughter, Jasmine, was 11 years old, she and her 14-year-old cousin went to a sleepover at their aunt's house. There, their 22-year-old cousin, Michael DeSario, lured them into a game of truth-or-dare, spiked their juice with hard liquor and committed an act of sexual violence against them.
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When It Comes to Charlie Sheen, We're All #Losing

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This past Saturday in Detroit, audience members who paid $150 to see Charlie "Tiger Blood" Sheen take the stage turned against him within 20 minutes, booing his attempts at entertainment. The 5,100 seat Fox Theatre went from sold out to only a few hundred patrons as Sheen paraded his "goddesses" around and shouted, "I've already got your money, dude," in response to hecklers. 

I'd like to say that guests who left the show had the good sense to abandon a sinking ship; unfortunately, they already had the bad sense to buy tickets in the first place. So let's call it a wash. 

One could be fooled into thinking the negative Detroit reaction signals a turning of the tides against Sheen. But I'm not really holding out hope.
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Sexual Assault Awarness Month Interview Series

Today is the first day of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, founded in 2001 to "promote a degree of national unity in voice and action regarding SAAM activities, to encourage interaction and feedback from across the nation, and to build momentum based on previous years' activities."

Ten years later, the statistics are still shocking:

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Racist Anti-Abortion Billboards Hit Chicago

Anti-abortion billboard enthusiasts Life Always have made their way to Chicago, with the first of 30 planned billboards going up yesterday at 5812 South State Street. Known for their "The most dangerous place for an African-American woman is in the womb" billboards, one of which was taken down in New York City after public outcry, the group is now targeting Chicago's own African American community under the guise of "caring" about babies. In black, red and green, the billboards feature an image of Barack Obama next to the words, "Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted."

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CARE Conference, Day Three: Hitting Capitol Hill

Last week, CARE celebrated International Women's Day with its annual CARE Conference and Celebration. Since I was busy planning this little shindig, I asked fellow CARE Media Initiative Member, and CARE ambassador, Janet Davies, host of 190 North on ABC-7, to keep a diary of the conference, celebration and day of lobbying on Capitol Hill. Here, Janet will share her thoughts on the event, which took place March 8-10. Read about Day 1 and Day 2 here and here.

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Day 2 of the CARE Conference with Janet Davies

Last week, CARE celebrated International Women's Day with its annual CARE Conference and Celebration. Since I was busy planning this little shindig, I asked fellow CARE Media Initiative Member, and CARE ambassador, Janet Davies, host of 190 North on ABC-7, to keep a diary of the conference, celebration and day of lobbying on Capitol Hill. Here, Janet will share her thoughts on the event, which took place March 8-10. Read about Day 1 here.

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CARE Celebrates International Women's Day

Last week, CARE celebrated International Women's Day with its annual CARE Conference and Celebration. Since I was busy planning this little shindig, I asked fellow CARE Media Initiative Member, and CARE ambassador, Janet Davies, host of 190 North on ABC-7, to keep a diary of the conference, celebration and day of lobbying on Capitol Hill. Over the next three entries, Janet will share her thoughts on the event, which took place March 8-10.

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Women's History Month: What's Left to Fight For?

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Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day; it's also the eighth day of Women's History Month. Following these two topics on Twitter over the past week, the response can basically be broken into two camps: celebration of the day by sharing informative links and wishing one another a happy International Women's Day; and skepticism for why a "women's" history month and international "women's" day are necessary.

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UN Foundation's Tamara Kreinin on the Status of Women and Girls in Post-Earthquake Haiti

Ostensibly, my recent chat with Tamara Kreinin, executive director of Women and Population at the United Nations Foundation, was supposed to be about International Women's Day. And while it was, we also got sidetracked into talking extensively about Tamara's recent trip to Haiti. Her observations were too insightful not to share. (For more background on the issues faced by women and children in Haiti, read my interview with CARE President Helene Gayle here.) Here, Tamara talks about how the earthquake has impacted gender-based violence, maternal health and education for girls, as well as how the women of Haiti are increasingly taking matters into their own hands to improve their situation.

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"Edge of Joy" Tells Harsh Truth of Maternal Death in Nigeria

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A newborn in need of oxygen awaits care in a Nigerian hospital

In a hospital in the Northern Nigerian city of Kano, a woman has given birth to twins behind a flimsy sheet curtain. The second birth was severely delayed; with only four doctors employed by the entire hospital, no ob-gyn saw her during the delivery.

She hemorrhages blood onto the floor, a red pool slowly spreading beneath the metal frame of her hospital bed and creeping toward the toes of her caregivers, exposed in their flip-flops. The nurse midwife, Aisha Bukar, paces, while the woman lies expressionless on the bed. Despite the massive blood loss, there's nothing the Aisha can do for the patient, Sakina. In Murtala Mohammad Specialist Hospital, which sees 30 delivers every 24 hours, there is no blood for this mother, and so her husband, Muhammed, has left on his moped to procure her rare blood type from another hospital or a private blood supplier at the price of $68 per pint--or about three-quarters of his monthly salary. Precious minutes tick by as the stain of blood spreads with no source to replenish it. 
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How Have Women Fared in the 2010 Economy?

The Joint Economic Committee has released the top 10 facts central to understanding how American women have been affected by the economy in 2010, pulled from it's report, "Invest in Women, Invest in America" (December 2010). To anyone familiar with these topics, none of this comes as much of a surprise, but it's a good refresher nonetheless. Read on for unemployment stats, wage gap updates and more.

All stats and information from JEC report.

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Where Have All the Princesses Gone?

The other day, I had a conversation (via Facebook, of course) with a college friend about our favorite Disney movies, and how our views of them changed as we grew up. She argued for the strong female lead in "Pocahontas," but I have a hard time getting over the many cultural issues in the film's portrayal of "pilgrims and Indians." I love "Beauty and the Beast" for its book-worshipping, nerdy Belle, but her true love does, at one point, imprison and hold her captive. We both once adored "The Little Mermaid," but, as my friend pointed out, Ariel was both pantless and voiceless when she met the prince. "A half-naked woman who can't talk back," my friend cracked. "Talk about every man's dream." 

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Talking About the Paycheck Fairness Act

112_2713339.JPGIn light of the Senate's plans to hold a cloture vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act this week, WGN-720 AM radio and Mike McConnell invited me on this morning to discuss the bill's implications and the reasons for the gender wage gap. 

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The Morning After (the 2010 Election)

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 02: Voters cast their ballots at Hart's Coin Laundry on November 2, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to electing a Governor and Senator, Illinois voters will be deciding on an amendment to the Illinois Constitution to provide for a special election to recall a Governor and for a special election to elect a successor Governor. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Well, folks, it's over. Rallies summoning somewhere between 87,000 and 600,000 people (depending who's counting), accusations of witch-craft, whore-dom, lies and socialism, a few slaps, and the mid-term elections have come to an end. And mostly I feel....tired. 

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UN Foundation's Tamara Kreinin Talks About Global Strategy on Women & Children


Participants in a UN Foundation program in Ethiopia

"Each year, millions of women and children die from preventable causes," begins the forward to the United Nations Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health, officially introduced on September 22 at the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit in New York. It continues, "The (Strategy) meets this challenge head on. It sets out the key areas where action is urgently required to enhance financing, strengthen policy and improve service delivery."
Curious about both the specifics of the strategy and the outcome of its unveiling, I spoke with Tamara Kreinin, who serves as executive director of Women and Population at the United Nations Foundation. Our conversation, which follows, illuminated both the challenges and cause for hope in this ambitious plan.
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Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act is the Pro-Family Thing To Do

Vice President Joe Biden (R), senior advisor and assistant to the president Valerie Jarrett (C) and equal pay activist Lilly Ledbetter attend a Middle Class Task Force event on work place pay equality in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington on July 20, 2010.  UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

As the Senate waffles on whether or not to take a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act before the November elections, we can expect to see (and have already seen) much rhetoric on the issue from both supporters and opponents. In the House, which voted on and passed the bill in 2009, the 256-163 vote was divided down party lines, with only 10 Republicans voting in favor.

It's perhaps unsurprising, but nonetheless counterintuitive: the Paycheck Fairness Act is, after all, as "pro-family" piece of legislation as we've seen in recent memory.
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UN Summit to Debut Strategy on Women's & Children's Health

French President Nicolas Sarkozy speaks during the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the United Nations on September 20, 2010 in New York.   UPI /Monika Graff Photo via Newscom
This week, 140 countries are gathering in New York for the UN's Millennium Development Goals Summit, which aims to spur progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). While there are sure to be significant conversations around all eight of the goals, pay extra attention on Wednesday, when the new Global Strategy on Women's and Children's Health will be unveiled. In a press teleconference last week, United Nations Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin noted, "If you can put women and children at the forefront of reaching goals, we are more likely to reach them. Without them, we can't reach them." 

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What Happens to Rape Kits in Illinois?

When a crime is committed against you or a loved one, you expect justice. At the very least, you expect that those in the position to pursue justice -- the police, the city, the state -- will do everything in their power to do so. Trained on decades of Law & Order, we expect nothing less than the full, furious force of Mariska Hargitay or Jerry Orbach working doggedly to bring our case to rest and our mind to peace.

As we know, life is not directed by Dick Wolf, and not every crime ends so succinctly. And if that crime is rape, the odds are stacked against you. Nationally, about 22 percent of rapes lead to an arrest; in Illinois, which boasts one of the lowest arrest rates, that number is 11 percent. The reasons for this are vast, but a chief cause is likely the 4,000 untested rape kits currently sitting, until recently forgotten, on the shelves of Illinois police departments.

Welcome to the life of a rape case in Illinois.

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How to Break Into Publishing: Part 2



Last Tuesday, I posted Part 1 of my thoughts on "how to break into publishing," where I talked about the importance of networking, freelancing and gathering information. Let's move on to Part 2, shall we? Again, feel free to leave questions or additional thoughts in the comments.

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How to Break Into Publishing: Part 1

Thumbnail image for 115819__devil_wears_prada_l.jpgAs the managing editor of Today's Chicago Woman and a woman under 30, I'm often asked by people, most often college students and other young women, my secret to success in the industry. How did I "make it" at a young age? How did I get my break? What advice would I give other aspiring writers and editors?

The truth is there is no secret, but what I usually say is this: Getting your "break" in the publishing industry is a trifecta of timing, connections and preparedness. That is:

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The "Choice of the Working Mother" Myth

First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha (L) and Malia watch the cast of Glee perform on the South Lawn during the White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington on April 5, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg Photo via Newscom
The article began, "New data shows that, despite feminists' best efforts, women have still failed to reach equality in the job market."

You just knew it couldn't go anywhere good from there.

Time and time again, conversations about women entering -- and succeeding in -- the workplace are framed as strictly "women's issues." It's a world where, if women haven't gained parity in the workplace, it's the women who have failed, not the workplace.

I call shenanigans.
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Welcome Three New TCW Bloggers!

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This week was pretty exciting, readers: I'm happy to debut three new TCW bloggers for your reading pleasure. Please welcome Pat Pulido Sanchez, Chris Ruys and Kathryn Born. 

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Your Summer Beach Reading List

After what feels like a forever of waiting, summer, in all of its sun-soaked, sweaty glory, is here. In Chicago, there's only one place to head when the heat index just won't stop rising: the beach. And next to your beach blanket, SPF and sunglasses, there's one thing without which any lake-bound tote would be incomplete. I'm speaking, of course, of the summer beach read.

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Sex and the City and the Body Snarking

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I'll admit I've had fun, over the last few weeks, reading the rake-it-over-the-coals reviews of Sex and the City 2. I certainly haven't suffered for lack of options. The critics, once they universally decided that the movie was worthy of their derision, embarked on a contest of one-upmanship for who could come with the cleverest insult puns. Sure, they were entertaining. And as someone who loved the series, hated the first movie and is a little sickened by the idea of the second film, I enjoyed reading them. But as I read, I discovered a pattern. Critiquing a film for its flaws is one thing. But when did the reviews get so....personal? 

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Is Mika Brzezinski's "All Things At Once" a progressive look at work/family balance...or upholding the status quo?

Recently, I interviewed Mika Brzezinski, MSNBC anchor and co-anchor of "Morning Joe," for TCW's May issue. Given that the title of her memoir we were discussing was All Things at Once, a ode to the challenges and rewards of pursing both a demanding career and motherhood--and learning to be okay with the reality that, sometimes, children would take a momentary backseat to work--I was expecting a rather progressive discussion. And while it was, at times, for most of the interview Mika seemed reluctant to fully embrace her thesis.
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CARE National Conference: Hitting the Hill

"If I could go to the poorest country on earth and ask only one question to see if they have a chance, it would be this: 'How do you treat your women?'" 

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CARE National Conference: Hillary Clinton

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The highlight of the CARE National Conference was Hillary Clinton's keynote address. It's hard to imagine a more visible or appropriate figure to take the podium for this speech. Introduced by CARE President Helene Gayle as someone who has "established herself as one of the United States' greatest secretaries of state," Secretary Clinton took the stage to a standing ovation from a group of men and women clearly thrilled to be in her presence.

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Reporting Live from the CARE National Conference: Part 2



Hillary Clinton speaks to the CARE audience

It's the end of Day 1 of my adventure covering and attending the CARE National Conference. If you've been following my Tweets, you know it's been a whirlwind day. I've learned a lot about maternal mortality, childhood marriage, food stability and other issues surrounding global poverty (and have the two notebooks worth of notes to prove it), so for now, I wanted to share a few glimpses of the day:

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Reporting Live from the CARE National Conference!

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Later today, I'll be leaving on a jet plane for Washington, DC to attend the CARE National Conference.* If you've read this, this or this, you know I'm a big fan of CARE and the work they do to empower women and eliminate poverty around the world. I'm looking forward to having my mind and eyes opened at the conference, and invite you to follow along with me.

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The "Moral Challenge of the Century": Sheryl WuDunn Talks About "Half the Sky"

''Half The Sky'' Book Party Sponsored by Reader's Digest and C.A.R.E.
I've written here before about the excellent book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by wife-and-husband duo Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof. If you haven't read the book, I'll just say: read it. Now. I promise it will be one of the most eye-opening books you will ever read.

As a huge fan of the book, I jumped at the opportunity to speak with Sheryl when she spoke last month at Loyola University Chicago's Lakeshore campus. The fact that I interviewed her in the building adjacent to my freshman year college dorm--where I first decided to study political science and women's studies alongside journalism--was just a coincidence, but a wonderful "full circle" moment nonetheless. 
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Why Yes, We Did Get a Makeover (AKA, Why Am I Not Receiving My TCW RSS Feeds?)

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Loyal readers of our Today's Chicago Woman blogs here on ChicagoNow may have noticed things are looking a little different. And, as more than a few have pointed out to me, we're not coming into your inbox as often as we used to. That's because, though only a few months old, our blog team has been expanding rapidly, and we decided it was time for a little facelift. 
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Words of Wisdom from Mellody Hobson


Mellody Hobson

I just got back from the annual Young Women's Leadership Charter School's Girl Power luncheon and find myself, as per usual whenever I interact with this school, feeling so uplifted. Part of that was from the amazing public speaking skills of the young students at the school; part of it was from their incredible success rate (100% of the class of 2010 will graduate, and 89% are headed to college); and part of it was from a fantastic speech delivered by Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson. Mellody's speech centered around quotes that have inspired her throughout her career, and I found them so insightful that I couldn't resist sharing them. 

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Twice As Nice: Two New Bloggers Join TCW!


Not one, but two!

It's a double-whammy, folks: Today we're welcoming bloggers Susan Carr-Templeton and Erin Carpenter to the Today's Chicago Woman team. And I'm pleased as punch to have them! 

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CARE President Dr. Helene Gayle Updates TCW on Women in Haiti

Helene Gayle meets a girl selling groceries at the spontaneous IDP camp at Place St. Pierre, Petionville.

Back in January, I wrote about the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, and the importance of helping women and children in such crisis situations. In early March, I had the chance to speak with Dr. Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE, an international poverty-fighting organization that has been working in Haiti for decades and was among the first on the scene after the earthquake. Dr. Gayle was on the ground in Haiti at the time of our scheduled interview, a fact that, while informing our conversation, presented a logistical difficulty: cell phone reception is spotty at best there, and so it took a few hours, and emails and phone calls between a combo of people here and in Haiti, for us to even make contact. Once we did, though, I found her insight both sobering and hopeful.

Click through to read my Q&A with Dr. Gayle about the continuing situation in Haiti, as well as view a slideshow of CARE's work post-earthquake (all photos and captions courtesy CARE).

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