2015 Resolution

Resolutions Submitted for Action Convention, May 7, 2015
By the Resolutions Committee

Chair: Cathy Litofsky. Committee: Rochelle Bohrer, Carol J. Caplan, Sheila Derman, Arlene Mazer, Jo-Ann Orlinsky, Sonia Maltinsky, Betsy Narrow, Betty Seidel, Eve Vogelstein, Frada Wall, Helene H. Waranch, Lynda Weinstein

Israel

The Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations of Maryland, along with most Jewish organizations, has had a long-standing position supporting the democratically elected government of the State of Israel. For many years, the American Jewish community has been in agreement and has created strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress and with the U.S. administration for Israel and her right to exist. Currently there are major discords and shifts within the Jewish community as well as with the U.S. administration on Israel.

Therefore The Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations of Maryland in convention assembled on May 7, 2015 resolves:
  • To continue to support the democratically elected government of the State of Israel in their quest for peace and the right to exist
  • To urge our constituent organizations and the Jewish community to support Israel's right to exist regardless of differing opinions
  • To urge President Obama and the U.S. Congress to continue its joint and unchanging support for Israel in every way, including foreign aid, to enable peace and security for her citizens and throughout the region.

RESPECT AND EQUALITY FOR WOMEN

Background
On May 21, 1969, Shirley Chisholm gave an "equal rights for women speech" in Washington, D.C. She so eloquently spoke about the grim reality of a woman college graduate and her "frustrating and demeaning experience" during the interview process. She said: "If she walks into an office for an interview, the first question she will be asked is, 'Do you type?'" She continued to talk about the prejudice behind that statement and wondered why it "was acceptable for women to be secretaries, librarians, and teachers, but totally unacceptable for them to be managers, administrators, doctors, lawyers, and members of Congress." Shirley Chisolm would be happy to know that today in the 113th Congress there are 79 women in the House and 20 in the Senate.

It would pain her, however, to know that women in all states make $10,291 less per year than men, on average, according to Expert Market. Other recent research paints an even more discouraging picture. In 2013, women made just 78 percent of what men were paid, on average, according to the Census Bureau. The gender pay gap has narrowed since the 1970s. But at the current rate, it will take 75 years for women to have equal pay, a July report from Oxfam found.

Women pay $1 billion more each year in individual health insurance costs even though they tend to take better care of their health than men, according to a 2012 report released by the National Women's Law Center. By law, under the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, all health insurance providers must stop pricing women differently starting in 2014 — but so far in the vast majority of states, insurance providers are still taking a little extra from their female policy holders and in many cases are not making provisions for or providing reproductive health options.

If you're in the top 10 percent of earners, you're overwhelmingly likely to get paid sick days in addition to your high wages. If you're in the bottom 10 percent of earners, you have just a one in five chance. That means that the less you can afford to give up a day's pay, the more likely you are to have to do so if you or your child get sick.

The Federation of Jewish Women's Organization has a long-standing history of support for women's issues and wishes to reinforce equality for women.
Therefore, we urge our constituent organizations to continue to lift their voices in support of respect and equality for all women and to express their views to elected officials. Be it resolved that The Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations of Maryland assembled in convention on May 7, 2014, urges its member organizations to:
Fight for implementation of economic equality, which includes pay equity without barriers
Demand that women receive comprehensive health care and enable them to make educated choices based on gender equity in medical research and in health care programs
Call for the enforcement of the Women Against Violence Act, acknowledging the rights of the victim, providing informed treatment and prosecuting perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law
Accept a woman's right to make her own choices with regard to her professional, personal, medical and spiritual life

TRAFFICKING OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Background
Human trafficking is the exploitation of persons for commercial sex or forced labor. The growth of commerce in human beings, particularly women and young girls in many areas of the world is astounding. Since last year we have learned the following:

  • Human trafficking is a $32 billion dollar industry internationally and is the second largest criminal industry in the world behind drugs
  • 83% of U.S. victims are U.S. citizens
  • It is estimated that 60% of women and children in the human trafficking trade in the United States come from foster care, group homes and/or court-required programs
  • Twelve is the average age at which human trafficking begins in Maryland. These women are forced into a life of slavery and torture in a sex industry often related to organized crime
  • Forced labor involves occupations such as domestic maids, nannies, agricultural workers, hotel housekeepers, prostitution workers, and nail salons employees. These professions have a large number of undocumented workers who are forced to work below minimum wage, required to work off a debt to pay for costs related to their room and board, often in substandard conditions.
Be it resolved that The Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations of Maryland assembled in convention on May 7, 2014, urges its member organizations to:
Fight for implementation of economic equality, which includes pay equity without barriers
Demand that women receive comprehensive health care and enable them to make educated choices based on gender equity in medical research and in health care programs
Call for the enforcement of the Women Against Violence Act, acknowledging the rights of the victim, providing informed treatment and prosecuting perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law
Accept a woman's right to make her own choices with regard to her professional, personal, medical and spiritual life The Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations of Maryland reaffirms its position and is opposed to human trafficking of any kind and encourages nations worldwide to enact legislation and to adopt and enforce strong penalties against those who traffic women and children.
Furthermore, The Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations of Maryland encourages action to be taken on the local, state and national level to include a multi-pronged approach:
  • Offering services to victims
  • Educating the community at large
  • Providing information to at-risk young women and their families
  • Advocating legislation to aid victims and to fully prosecute perpetrators
VOTING RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES

Background
2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), an act of Congress that addresses discrimination against minorities in voting. The VRA has been amended five times to protect the voting rights of all Americans.

The right to vote encompasses more than the ability to cast a ballot. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) makes clear that this right includes "all action necessary to make a vote effective." Three principles are at work here: (1) all Americans should be able to vote, (2) voting should be free and easy, (3) all votes should count equally.

Since the nullification of the VRA in 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court, individual states are now free to pass laws limiting a citizen's right to vote with voter ID laws (including when and where individuals can register), restricting third party registration, and regulating early and absentee voting. All of these have an adverse effect on the voting process and voter turnout.

In February 2015, a bipartisan group in Congress introduced the Sensenbrenner-Conyers Bill, known as the Voting Rights Amendment Act, to address discrimination in the voting process. This bill includes a new pre-clearance formula to replace the one the U.S. Supreme Court struck down in 2013. It applies to all states and jurisdictions with voting violations in the past 15 years, creates uniform transparency requirements to keep communities informed about voting changes and provides for the Department of Justice to put election observers in place if there is concern about discrimination at the polls. Therefore, be it resolved that The Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations of Maryland calls for:
  • Swift action to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015
  • Constituent organizations to educate and work with their members to oppose all efforts on the state and federal level to limit access of historically disenfranchised populations
  • Endorsing and working for electoral reforms that increase access to registration and voting for all members
  • Speaking out against voter suppression efforts
Be it further resolved that The Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations of Maryland, assembled in convention on May 7, 2015, encourages its members to participate actively in non-partisan campaigns that seek to increase voter turnout for the 2016 elections.

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