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Sunday News Update: September 14, 2014

BC Logo_SquareWelcome to Brain, Child’s Sunday policy update where we look at  issues impacting women and children with Valerie Young, Public Policy Analyst for Mom-mentum (Formerly known as NAMC)  National Association of Mothers’ Centers.

Congress cleared the way this week to open debate of the paid family leave bill known as the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMILY) Act.  Maybe the looming midterms prompted some Senators to switch their votes since the issue came up last April.  More good news – four members of the US House signed as co-sponsors of the bill.  So three cheers for Rep. Nolan of Minnesota, Rep. Quigley of Illinois, Rep. Cummings of Maryland, and Rep. Kaptur of Ohio.  If you live in their districts, feel free to send them a tweet of appreciation.  (@USRepRickNolan; @RepMikeQuigley; @RepCummings; @RepMarcyKaptur)

A scant few days before her New York wedding, journalist Bryce Covert interviewed me and Riane Eisler about how economic measures of productivity like GDP could be expanded to include women’s unpaid labor, and how that could drive down women’s poverty and improve women’s status.  Watch for more on this topic, as the Caring Economy Campaign makes a real push for social wealth economic indicators later this fall.

And here is a headline that just warms my heart.  “New research finds female voters get more informed and engaged in politics if they’re represented by a woman in the U.S. Senate.”  Women vote more than men, but are less informed about politics, and less likely to participate in the political process.  However, if at least one of a state’s two senators is a woman, the tables turn. Sandra Fluke writes about why women are so needed in public office in The Huffington Post:

If we are ever going to begin to address the disparities with wages, healthcare, and education that women face, we need more women at decision-making tables where these important policies are being discussed. When women don’t have a seat at the table, we miss out on the conversation about access to contraception, reproductive healthcare, and other family wellness policies. Women are disproportionately caregivers for our families, whether it is young children or aging parents or sick relatives, so healthcare policy profoundly impacts women.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was everywhere on TV this week plugging her new book, encouraging women to get involved in the issues which affect our lives, and revealing that there is no place a successful woman of distinction and ability can go and escape stupid comments about her looks, note even the US Congress.   Both highly informative and wildly entertaining, her appearance with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show is not to be missed.

I published two posts this week you may want to read – one is related to mothers’ tendency to blame themselves,  and the other is a piece on how essential it is we are willing to tell the truth about our lives on my blog Your (Wo)Man in Washington.

Follow Valerie on Facebook at Your (Wo)Man in Washington, and on Twitter @WomanInDC, and find a weekly blog post at

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