Tampons and Pads Will Be Free in New York City Schools and Prisons

Tampon (Lydia's Lunchbox)

Tampon (Lydia’s Lunchbox)

Last year, the New York City council voted in favor of providing free tampons and pads to women in public schools, shelters and correctional facilities. The measure passed unanimously, and the program will be the first of its kind.

It’s expected that the city will spend $2.4M for menstrual supplies across the public facilities. Within shelters, an estimated “2 million tampons and 3.5 million pads” will be distributed for the 23K women, costing $540K annually.

Here’s how it would work for public schools:

Dispensers will be installed in the girls’ bathrooms at 800 schools, reaching 300,000 students at an initial cost of $3.7 million and $1.9 million annually thereafter.

The bill was created by New York City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. Regarding why the bill was important, Ferreras-Copeland said, “Menstrual hygiene products are as necessary as toilet paper and should be treated as basic bathroom supplies.”

There’s also the fact that menstrual products are a necessary expense for women of childbearing age. This expense, which has been dubbed the “tampon tax” (though it refers to all types of menstrual products), takes a chunk (around $100 per year) out of women’s already diminished paychecks. Lately, there’s been some pushback on this price of being female-bodied: Last year, five women sued the state of New York to abolish the tampon tax.

No word on when the bill will become law, and the program can begin.

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13K Women Interested in Running for Public Office

Women's March (Social Work Blog)

Women take part in a protest against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Lott – RTX2PDGE

Ever since Donald Trump became the president-elect in November, women have felt compelled to act out. The Women’s Marches that took place all over the world on January 21 were a great example. Now, some women are interested in taking their civic duty further by running for office.

NY Mag‘s “The Cut” estimates there are 13K women interested in running for public office. They arrived at this number by looking to different organizations that help women run for public office: VoteRunLead has 3.5K women interested, EMILY’s List has 4K+, and She Should Run has 8K+ interested women.

As the article points out, it’s unlikely that all of these women will run. It’s also probable that other women will join these organizations later. It remains to be seen how (or even if) this will impact the 2018 midterm elections, but it certainly looks like #thefutureisfemale.

Single Women are the Most Powerful Voting Demographic

A single lady's ring finger (NY Mag The Cut)

A single lady’s ring finger (NY Mag The Cut)

Single women are a force.

Granted, they’ve always been a force to be reckoned with. But now they’re becoming a powerful voting bloc that could decide this election.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed. Author Rebecca Traister’s book All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation focused on this demographic and how its members are shaping and redefining social norms when the book was released earlier this year. One of Traister’s sources, Page Gardner, predicted that “there could be more unmarried women in the electorate this year than married women — and they vote super left.”

Single Women On The Rise (NPR)

Single Women On The Rise (NPR)

This trend gained steam in 2012. Single women comprised 53% of the voting population, and supported President Barack Obama at around 55%. Compare this to men, who supported Obama at around 45%.

And beware, these single ladies are selective with their votes: The results of the American Women Web survey in the Elle March 2016 issue found that 86% of single women, and 84% of overall women, would not vote for a candidate that was anti-women. This wasn’t partisan, since 73% of Republican women agreed with that statement.

Season 2 of Netflix’s “Jessica Jones” Will Only Feature Woman Directors

Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones (IndieWire)

Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones (IndieWire)

Hey Hollywood, you know all that bluster about how you can’t find female directors/writers, etc.? You know how you keep saying you want to diversify but you just can’t? Even though you’re trying really hard? Well, “Jessica Jones” is calling your bluff and raising it.

The Netflix series, which focuses on the Marvel character of the same name (played by Krysten Ritter), has been praised for its depictions of sexual assault and female friendship, among other aspects. And now showrunner Melissa Rosenberg has thrown down the gauntlet and declared that no one shall sit in the director’s chair unless their chromosomes are of the XX variety.

This isn’t the first time a TV series has hired solely women directors to direct its episodes. That would be “Queen Sugar,” co-produced and written by Ava DuVernay (who’s the first Black woman to direct a $100M movie). And that happened earlier this year.

No word yet on who’ll be gracing the director’s chair for the second season of “Jessica Jones” (and also no release date), but I can’t wait to find out.

But one thing’s for certain: Your move, Hollywood.

 

 

Texas Planned Parenthood Will Now Provide Low-Cost IUDs

IUD (NY Mag)

IUD (NY Mag)

It’s one small step forward, but it’s still a step for womankind. Earlier this month, the Greater Texas branch of Planned Parenthood announced that they would now offer intrauterine devices (or, as they’re more commonly known, IUDs) to women who would otherwise be unable to afford them. This benefit is due to a $2M donation from the Boone Family Foundation and the Harold Simmons Foundation, with each foundation donating $1M.

This isn’t the first time a large donation to Planned Parenthood has made more birth control options possible. Colorado also received a donation earmarked for providing free IUDs. The program resulted in a 42% drop in teenage abortions, and 40% drop in overall teen pregnancy rates.

Texas’ program will begin in September. The IUDs will be available on a sliding scale fee-basis for 1K women per year.

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Helen Mirren’s Stripper Shoes, 2013

Helen Mirren's stripper shoes (The Cut)

Helen Mirren’s stripper shoes (The Cut)

In 2013, Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren showed up to the LA premiere of “Red 2” wearing an elegant emerald dress…and clear, extremely high stripper shoes. She referred to the shoes as her personal leg-lengthening trick, and has apparently owned them for years.

I love seeing an older woman who hasn’t been shoved aside and told that she’s irrelevant, and is instead living her life with gusto and enthusiasm. (Also, I love Helen Mirren.) It’s rare to see, but I always hope more people follow suit.

 

Thursday Trends: Same-Sex Couples Reflected in Advertising

Tiffany's first ad featuring a gay couple (Adweek)

Tiffany’s first ad featuring a gay couple (Adweek)

Advertisements are finally getting with the times, and featuring more diversity than your run-of-the-mill straight white couple.

Last month, jewelry giant Tiffany’s debuted a new print ad for their wedding rings. But this ad had one thing different: it prominently featured a gay couple. And apparently the two men are a couple in real life, and were photographed on their own New York stoop.

This was the first time Tiffany’s has used a same-sex couple in their advertising. But it won’t be the last: Just this week, the brand used the same couple in a TV-spot ad. (The ad also features straight and interracial couples.) It signals that the 178-year-old brand recognizes that love comes in many forms, and they want to be all-inclusive. (And it’s a smart business move.)

Other brands in recent years have featured same-sex couples. Preppy retailer J. Crew used a gay couple in their catalog in spring 2011, and Gap used another couple on a billboard the following year. Incidentally, neither sets of couples are professional models: In the case of the J. Crew couple, one of the men was a designer for the brand. (It seems there’s also a side-trend of using real people.)

Lesbian couples are also increasingly represented. In 2012, JC Penney featured a lesbian couple with their children in a catalog pegged to Mother’s Day. Last year, condom brand Durex used two women being playfully affectionate with each other in an ad for a massage gel. This year, Hallmark showed an ad featuring a real-life lesbian couple describing their feelings for each other in the run up to Valentine’s Day.

It’s clear that things are changing. Even “The Onion” got in the action, with a (mock) article claiming that jewelry company Zales created an ad featuring a polyamorous triad. (But the article did rightfully call out that we, as a whole society, aren’t quite there yet.)

Hopefully this follow its natural progression, and  will eventually lead to more ads featuring same-sex couples with families. It’d be great to see future print and online ads and commercials where we see a family with two dads or two moms, NBD.

After all, this would make complete economic sense for these companies: In 2012, “Adweek” reported that the LGBT market is estimated to be worth around $743B+.