Wednesday
Apr022014

4/2/14 - Celebrating Equal Pay Day for Women: Mothers make 71 Cents on a Man’s Dollar -- Time to Celebrate?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Celebrating Equal Pay Day for Women
Mothers make 71 Cents on a Man’s Dollar -- Time to Celebrate?

Connecticut River Valley Students Partner with MotherWoman to Storm Northampton’s “Arts Night Out” and Advocate Equal Pay for Women.

Contact: Liz Friedman, MotherWoman Program Director 
Cell: (413)-658-2341, Office: (413)-387-0703, Email: liz@motherwoman.org

For Photo Op Contact: Leigh Edwards, Policy and Advocacy Intern 
Cell: 978-895-3827, Email: advocacy@motherwoman.org

Northampton’s “Arts Night Out”, taking place on April 11, 2014, will be filled with Connecticut River Valley Students from Mount Holyoke and other campuses, advocating and educating on Equal Pay Day. Equal Pay Day is a symbolic day that illustrates how far into the year a woman must work to earn the same amount made by a man in the previous year. This year’s Equal Pay Day will be April 8th, 2014, and on the 11th the student advocates will be talking with Northampton attendees of Arts Night Out about Equal Pay Day, and the social issues that inhibit women from being paid equally to their male counterparts. They will be dressed in Americana attire, will hand out balloons, and distribute flyers that highlight the disparities that unequal pay perpetuates. The flyer will contain a link to an online survey regarding policy issues, and those who participate in the survey will be entered into a raffle.  MotherWoman, a local non-profit that works to support mothers and their families, through advocating for public policy, is sponsoring this Equal Pay Day event, while working alongside students in the valley to raise awareness about this pressing issue. 

In 1963, John F. Kennedy passed the “Equal Pay Act” which aimed to end any and all wage discrimination based on a person’s gender, and ultimately promoted equal pay for workers, male and female. Since 1963, the gender wage gap has improved, but has yet to be eradicated entirely. 

Women’s median full-time earnings are 77% of a man’s median full-time earnings; black women’s earnings are 64%; and Latinas earnings are 54%. These disparities in median full-time earnings for women stem from the fact that women are discriminated against, often have to work less due to family responsibilities, and are pigeonholed into the low-wage job sector. On average, women will lose $434,000 during their lifetime due to the wage-gap. This wage-loss could feed a family of four for 37 years, purchase 14 new cars, or could buy two homes.

Women in the United States are burdened with the majority of family responsibilities, and in countries that promote progressive, family-oriented social policies, like paid maternity/paternity leave, flex time and job protection, the wage gap is strikingly lower. Mothers, specifically single mothers of color, are more likely to experience poverty than any other demographic, and this is likely because they are the demographic least supported by policies within the United States. Poverty is known to have detrimental effects on children, as they are more likely to experience malnutrition, will be exposed to a lower-quality education, and are more likely than a child who doesn’t grow up in poverty, to experience poverty themselves. The lack of affordable daycare/assistance, no mandatory maternity leave/paid maternity leave, and no option for paternity leave, often leave women fending for themselves, and their children.

Leigh Edwards, a student at Mount Holyoke College and the organizer of the Equal Pay Day Celebration commented, “In the US, motherhood is treated as a hobby, and leaves no safety net for women once they have children. It’s scary to know that if I ever decide to become a mother, through whatever means, there will be no safety net to help protect my family. If policies were in place that allowed women more options and flexibility for their families, such as affordable or universal childcare, paid maternity/paternity leave, the wage gap would decrease.”

The low-wage job sector is an integral part of our functioning economy, and 2/3 of this low-wage sector is comprised of women workers. These positions are drastically underpaid, and according to The Center for American Progress, 27% of the gender wage gap can be attributed to this occupational segregation and inadequate compensation. The Council of Economic Advisors argues that if the minimum wage were raised to a living wage, this part of the gender age gap would decrease by nearly 5%.

According to the Center for American Progress, increasing the minimum wage to just $10.10 per hour would affect 58.6% percent of Massachusetts’s women. That figure accounts for almost 301,000 women in Massachusetts, many of whom are single mothers supporting their families. 

Shannon Koehn, MotherWoman’s Executive Director stated, “Perhaps we will see the day when womanhood and motherhood will no longer hinder a woman’s financial progress. This is why MotherWoman is in full support of social policies like the Living Wage and Earned Paid Sick Time legislation in Massachusetts, as well as paid maternity and paternity leave.”  Both the Living Wage and Earned Paid Sick Time legislation will be on the ballot for Massachussetts’ voters to weigh in on in November 2014.

MotherWoman is spearheading the Equal Pay Day event in Northampton, on April 11, 2014. This event will aim to educate the public on myths about the wage gap, and highlight that policies like paycheck fairness, living wage and earned paid sick time, have a direct impact on decreasing the wage gap. 

MotherWoman
MotherWoman serves mothers and families through support groups and training with community leaders and professionals to facilitate groups for mothers across the region. MotherWoman trains medical, mental health and social service professionals about postpartum depression and anxiety. They have developed and continue to host county-based multi-disciplinary coalitions in implementing their nationally recognized Community-based Perinatal Support Model. MotherWoman engaging mothers, fathers and caregivers in taking action on policies that impact families. http://www.motherwoman.org

Thursday
Mar062014

3/6/14 - MotherWoman Brings Perinatal Depression Intervention to Communities Across the Commonwealth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 6, 2014

Contact:
Liz Friedman
MotherWoman Program Director
liz@motherwoman.org
413-658-8231 

MotherWoman Brings Perinatal Depression Intervention to Communities Across the Commonwealth

HADLEY, MA— MotherWoman has been partnering with communities across Western MA for over the past 6 years to address perinatal emotional complications, like perinatal depression and anxiety, so that mothers can receive the care and treatment that they need.  MotherWoman has supported coalition efforts at Baystate Medical Center as well as Berkshire, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties.  These coalitions address the barriers to care for mothers experiencing perinatal emotional complications by providing communities with education, professional training, resource development, triage protocols and screening for mothers.  Because of MotherWoman’s success throughout the Western MA region, MotherWoman has been invited to bring their successful Community-based Perinatal Support Model© (CPSM) to communities across the state.  MotherWoman has issued a Request for Proposal (see below for details) to expand their current Community-based Perinatal Support Model© (CPSM). The primary purpose of this proposal is to engage communities in improving resources, care, and treatment for mother’s experiencing perinatal emotional complications. MotherWoman is a non-profit organization aimed at creating community safety nets for mothers at risk for or experiencing perinatal emotional complications through creating community safety nets, impacting family policy and promoting the leadership and resilience of mothers.  MotherWoman has received  funding for this project from the Massachusetts Psychiatry Access Program (MCPAP). 

“MotherWoman is thrilled to bring the CPSM to new communities across Massachusetts. The CPSM has demonstrated great success within the communities already implementing it. We know that when communities implement the CPSM they are able to address barriers to care like stigma, lack of training, and public education by helping care providers join together in identifying the needs of women with perinatal emotional complications.  MotherWoman is committed to providing mothers and families with the care and treatment necessary for recovery in communities across the Commonwealth” said Shannon Koehn, Executive Director of MotherWoman

Research shows that 10 – 20% of mothers experience perinatal emotional complications. These numbers drastically increase when additional risk factors like poverty, domestic violence, addiction and teen pregnancy are taken into consideration. When undiagnosed and untreated, perinatal emotional complications can have severe negative effects on mother, infant and birth outcomes, including infant low birth weight and social, emotional and cognitive developmental challenges to babies and children. This results in an increase in medical expenses, visits to the ER and loss of income to families

“When I had my baby 2 years ago I remember feeling lost with no one there to understand what I was going through or offer any help. Everyone just kept telling me what you feel is normal; you will get over it in time. This program makes me hopeful for future moms and that they will receive the support they need to be healthy for their families and themselves,” explained a mom close to the program.

This implementation of the Community-based Perinatal Support Model© in communities statewide is funded by the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP) for Moms. With the increased interest in perinatal emotional complications across Massachusetts and the rapid growth of MotherWoman, the capability to roll out this model across the state, with the support of MCPAP, for Moms is a momentous step forward. 

“We know MCPAP for Moms, which is a psychiatry referral program for providers caring for mother and children benefits from partnering with communities to gain the highest level of success. Therefore, we find it important to incorporate programs like the CPSM that promote community coalitions and active involvement of community leaders. There is no wrong door. We want every woman to get the services she needs,” said Dr. John Straus, Senior Executive of MCPAP.

Communities that are selected will participate in the Community-based Perinatal Support Model© which will provide them with resources and training to create community coalitions which in turn will expand professional trainings for providers, identify and expand community resources, and ultimately create a system of care that allows for easy referral for mothers when they need it the most. The CPSM has three main goals:

1. To increase knowledge of perinatal emotional complications among all service care providers (mental health, human service, medical) and introduce communities to the Community-based Perinatal Support Model©.

2. To create integrated, community-based safety nets for mothers at risk for or experiencing perinatal emotional complications through the implementation of the Community-based Perinatal Support Model©.

3. To increase access to mental health care for women and families through a network of statewide support groups.

“We must address barriers to care for Postpartum Depression. MotherWoman's CPSM does an outstanding job of breaking down these barriers, and I'm thrilled to see it expanding across the state," said Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst), Chairwoman of the Special Legislative Commission on Postpartum Depression.

 

Who can apply?

Eligible grantees are communities in Massachusetts ready to work together to build an active coalition to address perinatal emotional complications and pursue goals to improve care and treatment. The community must be dedicated to the mental well-being and health of mother’s and families.

For more information about the CPSM RFP and how to apply, go to www.motherwoman.org or email cpsm@motherwoman.org

About MotherWoman

MotherWoman’s mission is to support and empower mothers to create positive personal and socialchange for themselves, their families, their communities and the world. MotherWoman also addresses the socio-economic issues facing American mothers by advocating for family-friendly policy. MotherWoman seeks to create a culture that understands and de-stigmatizes screening and treatment of perinatal emotional complications. MotherWoman promotes evidence-informed models in prevention, detection, and treatment of perinatal emotional complications by addressing barriers to care. MotherWoman, is committed to ensuring that ALL mothers in the the Commonwealth have information and education, access to resources, and proper care when faced with perinatal emotional complications. MotherWoman has successfully trained many medical and mental health professionals, as well as Support Group facilitators, within various communities across the state to implement this vision.

MotherWoman builds a culture of support for mothers and families by:

  • Training community leaders and professionals who facilitate groups to support and empower mothers to become strong and resilient leaders.
  • Training medical, mental health and social service professionals about the need for integrated support for maternal emotional health.
  • Using their nationally recognized Community-based Perinatal Support Model© to develop regional multi-disciplinary coalitions.
  • Working with partner organizations to educate parents and caregivers on policies that impact families.

About MCPAP for Moms:

MCPAP for Moms is an exciting new statewide program designed to bridge the gap between mothers and their limited access to mental health resources and support needed to address perinatal depression. It is an expansion of the successful Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP), which has improved child mental health care in Massachusetts by offering pediatric primary care providers rapid access to child psychiatry consultation, education, and care coordination. MCPAP for Moms aims to promote maternal and child health by building the capacity of providers serving pregnant and postpartum women and their children up to one year after delivery to effectively prevent, identify, and manage depression.

 

For more information:
Liz Friedman
MotherWoman Program Director
liz@motherwoman.org       
413-658-8231

Thursday
Dec052013

12/5/2013- Webinar Teaches About Comprehensive MotherWoman Perinatal Support Groups

For Immediate Release

Webinar Teaches About Comprehensive Maternal Safety Nets

Contact: Liz Friedman, MotherWoman Program Director Office: (413)-387-0703 liz@motherwoman.org

Praeclarus Press and the Simkin Center at Bastyr University are co-sponsoring a new webinar, “Who Will Catch Me?,” based off of the MotherWoman Perinatal Support Group Model to help prevent postpartum depression. The MotherWoman model supports and empowers mothers to create personal and social change by building community safety nets, impacting family policy and promoting the leadership and resilience of mothers. The webinar will be presented by Annette Cycon, LICSW and Liz Friedman, MFA.

The MotherWoman philosophy puts forth that: 
"Mothers are powerful. Together we can change the world. When mothers are valued and supported, we are more successful in all areas of our lives, benefiting our children, families and communities. Creating communities of genuine respect and non-judgment for all mothers increases our collective power. Laws and policies that support families benefit everyone."

In this webinar participants will learn about the many ways in which perinatal support groups are an effective treatment modality for mothers who are struggling in the perinatal period. They will also learn the basic components of the MotherWoman Group Model© based on the principles of SEE: Safety, Education and Empowerment. Learn how support groups can transform the lives of mothers and provide essential protection from the inevitable challenges of motherhood.

Annette Cycon, LICSW is the Founder and Director of Training of MotherWoman. She has designed and led MotherWoman groups for over 10 years, and, with Liz Friedman, has designed and leads the MotherWoman Facilitator Training. Cycon holds a Bachelors degree cum laude in Psychology and Philosophy from Clark University and a Masters degree in Social Work from Catholic University. She has been a clinical social worker specializing in child and family issues, women’s issues, trauma and recovery, and facilitated the Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse support group at the Everywoman’s Center at UMass.

Liz became a mother in 2002 and experienced a severe postpartum emotional crisis. Liz founded the Postpartum Support Initiative of MotherWoman in 2004, and with Annette Cycon, transformed the MotherWoman Support Group Model into a powerful tool for mothers with postpartum emotional complications. Annette and Liz developed the MotherWoman Facilitator Training to train professionals and lay leaders in how to run successful MotherWoman groups. Liz was instrumental in bringing the issue of postpartum depression to Representative Ellen Story (MA State House, Amherst) and was invited to join in drafting Postpartum Legislation in MA. Liz was an outspoken advocate on behalf of this legislation and in August 2010, the postpartum depression Legislation was signed into law.

Sign up today for reserve your spot to attend this live webinar December 9, 2013 1:00 p.m. EST.

MotherWoman serves mothers and families through support groups and training with community leaders and professionals to facilitate groups for mothers across the region. MotherWoman trains medical, mental health and social service professionals about postpartum depression and anxiety. They have developed and continue to host county-based multi-disciplinary coalitions in implementing their nationally recognized Community-based Perinatal Support Model. MotherWoman engaging mothers, fathers and caregivers in taking action on policies that impact families. http://www.motherwoman.org

Praeclarus Press is a small press dedicated to women's health based in Amarillo, Texas, founded by health psychologist, Kathleen Kendall-Tackett. We offer books, e-books, webinars, white papers, and artwork, all designed to educate providers and empower women to take control of their health. 

Thursday
Dec052013

11/27/2013- MotherWoman Cited in Maternal Rights Case

For Immediate Release

MotherWoman Cited in Maternal Rights Case

Contact: Liz Friedman, MotherWoman Program Director Office: (413)-387-0703 liz@motherwoman.org

In December 2012, Sara McKenna, then 7 months pregnant, moved from California to New York to pursue her education at Columbia University. Bode Miller, the biological father, brought a case against McKenna for kidnapping the child (still in utero) by moving.  Months later, a New York court ruled in favor of Miller, who took the child to California, where a judge granted custody to Miller. Both state rulings sparked major legal battles with women’s rights advocates and lawyers spearheading the appeals.

 On November 14th, 2013, a court determined that McKenna did not kidnap her in utero child to another state, and ultimately allowed McKenna to regain custody of her child, who is now nine months old, until the next court appearance.

 "The referee's decision had far-reaching implications for pregnant women, effectively stripping them of fundamental constitutional rights," said Sarah Burns, Professor of Clinical Law at NYU Law and Director of the Reproductive Justice Clinic.

While the Reproductive Justice Clinic and the National Advocates for Pregnant Women spearheaded this court case, a number of organizations were asked to support McKenna in an amici curia brief. MotherWoman agreed to support this brief and was subsequently cited in the court proceedings. MotherWoman was one of twelve organizations listed in the court brief along with the New York Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood of New York City, and Choices in Childbirth.

Executive Director Shannon Koehn said “MotherWoman’s inclusion in these briefs is a huge milestone for us.  Constitutional rights cases surrounding maternal issues are a growing in the United States. As an organization whose mission is to support and empower mothers, MotherWoman’s position on this case helps impact a wider conversation fighting for maternal justice.”

Program Director Liz Friedman said, “It’s outrageous to think that a woman can be denied her selfhood and autonomy while pregnant, and that the courts would uphold such a decision. The overturning of this case is a victory for us all, protecting women’s basic constitutional rights at the intersection of our motherhood, womanhood and personhood. A pregnant woman must have authority over her own movements and not be subject to control by the biological father or the state while pregnant.”

MotherWoman serves mothers and families through support groups and training with community leaders and professionals to facilitate groups for mothers across the region. MotherWoman trains medical, mental health and social service professionals about postpartum depression and anxiety. They have developed and continue to host county-based multi-disciplinary coalitions in implementing their nationally recognized Community-based Perinatal Support Model. MotherWoman engaging mothers, fathers and caregivers in taking action on policies that impact families. http://www.motherwoman.org

The National Advocates for Pregnant Women works to secure the human and civil rights, health and welfare of all women, focusing particularly on pregnant and parenting women, and those who are most vulnerable to state control and punishment - low income women, women of color, and drug-using women. http://www.advocatesforpregnantwomen.org

 Link the Court Brief: http://www.law.nyu.edu/sites/default/files/Docket%20%23%20V-9682-13%20%20S%20A%20McK%20v%20S%20B%20M%20--%209-26-13.pdf

Monday
Oct212013

10/21/2013- This Halloween “Rosie The Riveter” Takes To The Streets In Western MA In Support Of Earned Paid Sick Time And The Living Wage

For Immediate Release

THIS HALLOWEEN “ROSIE THE RIVETER” TAKES TO THE STREETS IN WESTERN MA IN SUPPORT OF EARNED PAID SICK TIME AND THE LIVING WAGE

Contact: Liz Friedman, MotherWoman Program Director Cell: (413)-658-2341 Office: (413)-387-0703 liz@motherwoman.org

For Photo Op Contact: Jessica Avery, Advocacy and Policy Intern (413)-388-1240 advocacy@motherwoman.org

This Halloween, students, community members, workers and parents will take to the streets dressed as Rosie the Riveter to petition door to door on behalf of the Earned Paid Sick Time and the Living Wage ballot initiatives. MotherWoman, a local non-profit committed to ensuring that all parents have the support they need, is organizing a neighborhood canvass to collect signatures from Amherst, South Hadley, and Northampton residents. MotherWoman is partnering with students at several local colleges on this initiative. Students from UMass, Amherst, Mt. Holyoke, and Smith College are excited to do their part to ensure that these initiatives are on the 2014 ballot.

In August 2013, Raise Up Massachusetts presented two ballot initiatives to the Attorney General’s Office: increasing the minimum wage and providing earned paid sick time. The minimum wage increase initiative would stagger the raise beginning with an increase to $9.25 an hour in 2015 and $10.50 an hour in 2016 as well as raise the wage of tipped employees to $4.15 an hour in 2015 and $6.30 an hour in 2016. For all subsequent years following 2016, the Labor Department would consider the consumer index when examining the necessity of a minimum wage increase. The earned paid sick time initiative would allow workers at companies with more than 11 employees to earn 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked with a 40-hour cap for the year. Workers at companies with fewer than 11 employees would have earned, unpaid sick time. 

Both ballot initiatives need 200,000 signatures to be placed on the ballot, so Western MA residents and students will be dressing up as “Rosie the Riveter,” a famous icon for worker’s rights and women’s engagement in factory labor during World War II. They will collect signatures to help make sure that every worker in Massachusetts has the right to earned paid sick time and can afford to feed their family when working full time. Jessica Avery, student at Mt. Holyoke and MotherWoman Advocacy Intern said, “ These two ballot initiatives are vital to Massachusetts workers. These initiatives are about ensuring that workers get what they have earned. All work is meaningful, and that needs to be shown through workers’ benefits.”

Over 1 million workers in Massachusetts do not even have one paid sick day.  Approximately 94,000 workers make minimum wage in Massachusetts, which for a fulltime employee is $16,000 per year, and over half a million workers earn between $8 and $11 dollars per hour.  According to the Living Wage Calculator developed by MIT, the required income of 1 adult for a living wage in Massachusetts is $23,000.  It is nearly impossible to support a family on minimum wage in this state, which means that many fulltime workers are still below the poverty level.  According to Public Policy Polling, 61% of Massachusetts’s voters support the minimum wage increase ballot initiative, and 50% of voters support the earn paid sick time initiative.

According to the Center for American Progress, increasing the minimum wage to just $10.10 per hour would affect 58.6% of Massachusetts’s women. That figure accounts for almost 301,000 women in Massachusetts, many of whom are single mothers supporting their families. Dean Cycon from Dean’s Beans said, “ For over a decade, Dean’s Beans has had paid sick time because it is simply the right thing to do. While many businesses believe it will have negative consequences, our program has actually been very positive! We have a healthier, happier, and more committed work force.”

Raise Up Massachusetts is spearheading this campaign, but a variety of coalitions and organizations are involved with bringing these initiatives to the ballot. MotherWoman along with Berkshire Brigade is ensuring that Western Massachusetts does their share to bring these initiatives to the ballot. The Coalition for Social Justice, Progressive Massachusetts, and many interfaith groups are also working very closely with Raise Up Massachusetts to gather signatures. Joe Lazzerini of Raise Up Massachusetts and the Coalition for Social Justice said, “The outpouring of statewide interest in this campaign has been very impressive. We have received over 70,000 signatures, but are still in need of about 130,000 more.”

The “Rosie the Riveter” Halloween event will take place from 6:30-8:30pm in South Hadley, Amherst and Northampton. If you are interested in participating, want to bring this campaign to your neighborhood or want to learn more about MotherWoman’s policy work, contact advocacy@motherwoman.org or call (413)-387-0703.

MotherWoman serves mothers and families through support groups and training with community leaders and professionals to facilitate groups for mothers across the region. MotherWoman trains medical, mental health and social service professionals about postpartum depression and anxiety. They have developed and continue to host county-based multi-disciplinary coalitions in implementing their nationally recognized Community-based Perinatal Support Model. MotherWoman engaging mothers, fathers and caregivers in taking action on policies that impact families. http://www.motherwoman.org

Raise Up Massachusetts works to ensure that working families are able to earn fair wages and care for themselves and family members when they are sick is essential for Massachusetts’s workers They are fighting to require employers to offer earned sick time and raise the minimum wage. http://raiseupma.org

Info on Ballot initiatives and stat links:

Public Policy Polling: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2013/09/ma-voters-yes-to-minimum-wage-increase-no-to-shutdown.html 

Center for American Progress: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2013/09/washington-named-one-of-the-10-best-states-for-women/