when pigs fly … expect the unbelievable

Archive for May 2012

According to a poll released this week, 1/3 of American women believe there is a concerted effort under way to limit access to reproductive services. Almost 50% of American women have felt strongly enough that there is some sort of effort to limit access to reproductive services or to limit reproductive rights that they have taken some kind of action — ranging from  trying to influence the opinion of another to donating money to support a backlash to the limitations that they perceive.

The recent poll indicated that currently women do not think of reproductive issues as forming a “one issue” campaign; they are more interested in the economy.  Of course they are, because most attempts to belt-tighten aim at social programs first.  There is a possibility, however, that reproduction may become a “one-issue” favorite in the fall. This is because 31 percent of women believe there is a wide-scale effort to limit reproductive services, including one-quarter of Republican women, 36 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of independent women and 35 percent of all American men.

Kaiser Family Foundation, which conducted the poll, said 36 percent of Catholic women believe there is wide-scale opposition to reproductive rights vs. 20 percent of Evangelical women.Fewer than one in five conservative women perceive a broad movement, compared to 43 percent of liberals and 30 percent of moderates. The polling data has a 5 percentage point margin of error for women’s responses.

Interestingly, the UN GDI has indicated that women in America are “at risk” for women’s rights because of evangelical movements in the United States.  Of course, “at risk” is not significant — women who live in countries that are “strongly at risk” must obtain the approval of a husband or male relative/guardian in order to obtain a driver’s license or passport.  But it starts one thinking….doesn’t it?

 

his week

Courtesy of the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women’s Annual Report 2008:

  • The average child support payment is less than $600 a month.
  • Single-parent families represent 11% of the families in Mississippi but 65% of the families living in poverty.  Eighty-five % of these parents who retain custody of children are women.
  • Forty-two (42) % of Mississippi’s children live in a household with only one parent

As many of you know, Mississippi has statutory child support guidelines which Chancellors’ follow in ordering child support from non-custodial parents. This statute is found at 43-19-101 MS Code Ann. (1972).   This legislation was due to be reviewed for appropriateness every 4 year beginning in 1994 (e.g., 1994, 1998, 2002, etc.) but the Commission was unable to find any report.  After allowing for certain deductions from income (which are statutory), the rate applied to net income of the non-custodial parent in order to determine child support is:

14% of net income for 1 child

20% for 2 children

22% for 3 children

24% for 4 children

26% for 5 or more children.

There is certainly no “one size fits all” way to distribute income from custodial and non-custodial parents for appropriate support of their children.  Nor is there much of a way to enforce that the funds are being expended by the custodial parent in the best interests of the child.  But poverty is poverty and we in Mississippi have more than our fair share.  We can lift up the next generation only by lifting the current generation from poverty and generating interest in and support for education that will sustain these children in a manner that will allow them to live out of poverty as adults.

I have no answers.

You may not be interested in signing up for the RTSV group; you may be a little tame for that.  But it does not follow that you should do nothing.  For example, Mississippi has a Commission on the Status of Women that is open to ALL women in this state.  The Commission was created in 2001 by HB 797.  Commissioners are political appointees:  4 appointed by the Governor, 3 appointed by each of the Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House and Attorney General.  The Commission’s vision is the improvement of the overall quality of life of women in Mississippi, particularly in the areas of education, health, economics, political participation and race relations.

In accordance with the legislation under which it was created, the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women is empowered to:

  • Conduct research and study issues affecting the status of women;
  • Advise and consult with the executive and legislative branches of government;
  • Publish periodic reports documenting the status and concerns of women;
  • Act as an information center on the status of women;
  • Serve as a liaison between government, private interest groups, and the general public regarding the status of women;
  • Recommend policies and make recommendations to public and private groups and persons concerned with any issue related to improving the status of women;
  • Promote consideration of qualified women for all levels of government positions;
  • Assess programs and practices in state agencies as to how they affect women; and
  • Report annually to the Governor and the Legislature on the Commission’s activities and findings.

You can obtain more information on the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women by visiting http://www.msstatusofwomen.org or contacting the executive director at mscomstatusofwomen2@gmail.com.

I will post the date and time of the next meeting so you can plan to attend.

I’ve got to tell you…this has great appeal.  RTSV stands for Rock the Slut Vote, a group created by Susan McMillan Emry.  Catherine Cooney at Times suggests that RTSV is the sequel to Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” comments about the Georgetown law student who testified before congress about contraceptive rights; it’s “The Sluts Strike Back”, she says.

This follows on the remote heels of something I absolutely missed in Toronto last summer.  Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Toronto for an “organized ‘slutwalk'” — after a Toronto constable told a safety class that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

Emry’s website was created March 22.  Take a look if you are remotely interested.  It might surprise you.

We are fast approaching the second Ready To Run seminar to be held in Jackson.  It will be held on June 22-23.  Please log on to http://www.stennis.msstate.edu if you are interested in more information.

Research demonstrates that in order to change an agenda, a minority group must have a presence in a legislative body which exceeds 30%.  With respect to women in government, a few patterns persist that must be changed.  For example, there is no place in the world where women enjoy equal representation with men in government.  There are only 22 countries in the world where women represent 25% or more of elected legislatures.  And these are primarily countries that enforce explicit policies promoting equality — most notably in Scandinavia.

Recent studies suggest that when women are elected in sufficient numbers they introduce different perceptions of the norms for appropriate governance. But in only a few countries have women achieved a “critical mass” of elected representation.

FIRSTS:

FIRST woman prime minister in the world:  Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Sri Lanka (1960)

FIRST black woman prime minister of an independent state:  Elisabeth Domitien, Central African Republic (1975)

FIRST country to have a majority of female government ministers:  Sweden (1999)


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