WEAR RED DAY
The annual Wear Red Day event was held at the California State Capitol on Thursday, February 2, 2012 to call attention to the serious nature of heart disease. This year, the Legislative Women's Caucus and the American Heart Association joined together with the San Ramon Valley HeartSafe Community, to help promote heart disease awareness, as well as options for promoting a healthier lifestyle.
The event consisted of critical 'hands-only' CPR and AED training provided by the HeartSafe Community, while health screenings were conducted by Sutter Health and volunteers of the American Heart Association. Approximately 100 people participated in the program. According to Captain Andy Swartzell, EMS Coordinator for the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District, "Saving a life has never been easier, everyone should learn 'hands-only' CPR."
On behalf of the Legislative Women's Caucus, Assembly Member Joan Buchanan presented ACR 91 on the Assembly Floor, a measure that recognizes the month of February 2012 as American Heart Month and February 3, 2012 as Wear Red Day in California. During the presentation, Members and volunteers of the San Ramon Valley HeartSafe Community and the American Heart Association were introduced by Assembly Member Buchanan and honored by the entire Assembly.
The message of Wear Red Day is simple; it is a reminder that heart disease is the number one killer of Californians, causing one in three deaths each year.
WORLD LEARNING VISITOR EXCHANGE PROGRAM
On March 20, 2012, 14 European women participants of the World Learning Visitor Exchange Program met with the Legislative Women's Caucus at a social gathering in the Governor's Council room. These women, invited by the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program, represented Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany, Norway, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Turkey and the Ukraine.
The objectives of the trip were to promote women's leadership in the economy; highlight effective interaction between women in the corporate and entrepreneurial sectors; review public policy for the advancement of women in business; examine models that support expansion of opportunities for women business owners and best practices in creating a corporate culture conducive to women's advancement as well as initiatives to advance women to top levels of corporations, including corporate boards; and highlight mentoring programs and networking opportunities for women.
Attending the event were Senator Noreen Evans who extended a warm welcome to all and Senator Elaine Alquist, and Assemblymembers Betsy Butler, Wilmer Amina Carter, and Alyson Huber. LWC members shared their experiences as legislators and the process by which they were elected to office. The guests also had the opportunity to mingle and share experiences with LWC members and legislative staff.
The Legislature was fortunate to receive a visit from renowned pay-equity activist Lilly Ledbetter on March, 26, 2012. Ms. Ledbetter came to Sacramento at the request of her friend, Assemblymember Betsy Butler. She gave an inspiring keynote address at the Woman of the Year ceremony on the Assembly floor and then was introduced on the Senate floor by Senator Corbett. Later in the afternoon, Ms. Ledbetter spoke about her dramatic experiences as an advocate and signed copies of her memoir, Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond.
Lilly Ledbetter worked as a manager at Goodyear Tires in Alabama for over nineteen years. Toward the end of her tenure there, she received an anonymous note revealing that she was making thousands less per year than the men in her position. Devastated, she filed a sex discrimination case against Goodyear, which she won—and then heartbreakingly lost on appeal. Over the next eight years, her case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where she lost again: the court ruled that she should have filed suit within 180 days of her first unequal paycheck--despite the fact that she had no way of knowing that she was being paid unfairly all those years. In a dramatic moment, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, urging Lilly to fight back.
Lilly did fight. She became the namesake of President Barack Obama's first official piece of legislation. Today, she is a tireless advocate for change, traveling the country to urge women and minorities to claim their civil rights.
Chair: Sen. Noreen Evans
Vice Chair: Asm. Bonnie Lowenthal
WOMAN OF THE YEAR
In 1987, the Legislative Women's Caucus set aside a day in March, during Women's History Month, to host a celebration to honor women. Once again, every Member of the State Assembly participated and honored the unique contributions of 80 special women.
Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell hosted on behalf of the Women's Caucus in place of Vice-Chair Bonnie Lowenthal who was out recovering from back surgery. Lilly Ledbetter shared a keynote address that spoke to all women about the struggles we face as women, wives, mothers, friends and co-workers. Her remarks encouraged women of all ages to pursue a life that benefits others and of the importance of fighting for the women who follow your path. Additionally, the Legislative Women's Caucus and Secretary of State Debra Bowen hosted a reception for honorees, members and guests.
The California Museum was the site for this year's Legislative Women's Caucus Alumnae Dinner. Members, past and present, Republican and Democrat, attended the highly anticipated event. Only 131 women have served in the history of the State Legislature. Former Assemblymember Bev Hansen (number 34), who was instrumental in planning the dinner, was present as well as first time attendee, former Senator, Congresswoman, and Ambassador, Diane Watson (number 25) who shared some great stories about what it was like to be only second female Senator in the Legislature.
Former Assemblymember Leona Egeland-Siadek (number 15) provided everyone with a copy of her updated list of all women who ever served in the Legislature (complete with numerical order of election, years served and, now pictures). If you did not attend and would like a copy for historical purposes or to find out your number, please contact LWC staff.
Over 500 people attend the LWC screening of Miss Representation - a documentary by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Vice-Chair of the Caucus, Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, introduced the film and the director who spoke to the audience at the conclusion of the film. Manatt Phelps & Phillips sponsored the film and CA Medical Association sponsored the reception preceding the film.
In addition to Assemblymember Bonnie Lownethal, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Assemblymembers Beall, Bradford, Campos, Fong, Monning, and Skinner attended. Senator Leno also attended and presented Ms. Siebel Newsom a resolution. Legislative staff from both sides of the aisle, women's studies students, members of PTAs, representatives from CA National Organization for Women, and many volunteers from WEAVE (Women Escaping a Violent Environment) attended the screening. With such a diverse audience being inspired by this film - changing the way media portrays women seems attainable.
STATUS OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN CALIFORNIA
On March 26, 2012, Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles and the Commission on the Status of Women released their much anticipated publication, "The Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California."
Geena Davis, Maria Contreras Sweet, Sandy Gleysteen and college president Ann McElaney-Johnson addressed a large crowd of media, students, and advocates about the great strides women have made despite the striking gender gap that still persists in our state.
The report covers ten critical areas for women: demographics, poverty, education, media and technology, employment, leadership, physical health, mental health, violence, and incarceration.
To access the report, click here: