Latest from OWL
Women Missing from Political Talk Shows
The hardest thing to see is usually what’s missing.
With that in mind, take a moment to stop and consider what you probably didn’t see on the Sunday morning political talk shows yesterday.
The answer is women.
In fact, analysis by Media Matters shows that women represent a mere 25% of all guests on Sunday morning television news shows. When it comes to solo interview guests, women comprise only 15% of the total.
If the guest list for these programs is understood as an indication of whom ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and NBC recognize as power players, women aren’t faring too well. And, we certainly don’t seem to be rising in their esteem—women’s representation has increased a less than significant percentage point since 2008.
That’s why OWL was proud to join 23 other women’s organizations in asking the presidents or CEO’s of the major networks to immediately address the disparity in representation on political talk shows.
To continue reading, please click here.
Posted by Mark on 02/03 at 08:59 AM
Carol Gardner Joins OWL Board of Directors
Carol Gardner, the creator of Zelda Wisdom, was elected to the OWL Board of Directors at its January 27 meeting.
The author of 13 books, Gardner has a life story that exemplifies both the OWL spirit and the resilience of women over 40. Gardner was 52, recently divorced, depressed, and in debt when the then four-month-old Zelda, an English bulldog, came into her life. As Gardner tells it, her divorce attorney had advised her to either get a therapist or get a dog. Choosing the latter made a world of difference in her life. It wasn’t long before Gardner leveraged her own background in advertising and Zelda’s good looks to build a hugely successful greeting card business.
Gardner, who is adamant about “giving back” currently serves on the boards of several other organizations, including World Affairs Council, the Portland Symphony, Portland Art Museum, Emanuel Hospital, and the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center (OHSU).
OWL Board President, Margaret Huyck welcomed Gardner to the board saying, “Carol joins us at an exciting point in OWL’s history. We’re delighted to have her on our team.”
Posted by Mark on 02/02 at 07:08 PM
OWL Director Meets with Potential New Mascot
Washington, DC is not characterized by bipartisanship these days, but there’s been someone in town who has everyone united in their enthusiasm—and she has a special significance for those of us at OWL’s national headquarters.
The snowy owl was first spotted in DC on Wednesday night, just a few blocks from OWL’s office on K Street. Her unexpected appearance set Twitter abuzz, and had people from both sides of the political aisle, er, flocking to have a look.
When the owl reappeared outside the offices of the Washington Post yesterday, OWL’s Executive Director, Bobbie Brinegar was on the scene with camera in hand almost immediately. As Brinegar noted in an interview with Washington City Paper, OWL has been considering a new mascot, and this head turner, whom she has named “Shulie”, seems just about perfect for the role.
Click here for a link to the Washington City Paper story.
Click here to see Brinegar’s photos.
Posted by Mark on 01/25 at 09:05 AM
OWL Director Attends Conference on the Status of American Women
We at OWL have been especially excited about the attention which Maria Shriver and the Shriver Report have focused upon the status of American women with this week’s release of A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From the Brink.
The discussion which Ms. Shriver has initiated continued today with a daylong conference at the Newseum, in Washington, DC.
Sponsored by The Atlantic, the event gathered key leaders together to ask, “Why are millions of working women, who are now the core of the American economy and the core of the American family, more economically vulnerable than ever before, and what can we as a nation do about it?”
OWL’s executive director, Bobbie Brinegar was among the attendees and thanked Ms. Shriver for her remarkable efforts.
Click here for photo.
Posted by Mark on 01/15 at 08:58 PM
The Shriver Report Looks at “Women on the Brink”
One in three American women live in, or on the brink of, poverty.
The average American woman earns 77 cents for each dollar the average American man makes.
Millions of American women are “one missed paycheck, one sick child, one broken down car away from losing it all.”
These are just some of the disturbing and disturbingly persistent facts about the status of American women shared in Maria Shriver’s The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink, released this week in partnership with the Center for American Progress. The 400-page, comprehensive report also includes essays from Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Beyoncé, Eva Longoria, LeBron James, Jada Pinkett Smith, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Sheryl Sandberg.
It’s been 50 years since Shriver’s father, the late Sargent Shriver, led President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Speaking with David Gregory this Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Maria Shriver lauded the successes of many of the programs her father helped to establish, including Head Start, Vista, Job Corps, and legal services for the poor. She also provided a frank look at the new face of poverty in America, noting that “Two thirds of all minimum wage workers are women and that 70% of those women don’t have one sick day.”
To read more, and for a link to download your copy of the report, please click here.
Posted by Mark on 01/14 at 09:14 AM
Looking Forward to 2014
By Janna Starr
Secretary, OWL National, and President, The Arc Oregon
The great Dr. Gunnar Dybwad, came to the United States in the 1930’s as a refugee from the Hitler regime in Germany. He went on to become a professor at Brandeis University and a leader in the U.S. disability rights movement. Dybwad spent more than half a century working to improve life for people with disabilities and traced the history of the disability rights movement in his 1999 book, Responding to the Challenge. In his later years, he traveled extensively, extolling the movement’s magnificent accomplishments. Dybwad systematically and scientifically observed that history shows a steady upward curve in the quality of life for people who experience disability. He had the charts and graphs to prove it, and he challenged all of us to accept and celebrate our successes. That positive attitude, the notion of taking the good with the good, somehow made the overall battle easier.
So, as we end 2013 and move into 2014 let’s take a lesson from the life of this great scholar and look at the successes – and the potential—of our voice, the voice of midlife and older women, as we work for equity and quality of life for midlife and older women everywhere. To read more, click here.
Posted by Mark on 12/30 at 01:53 PM
Resolve to have “The Conversation” in 2014
OWL’s Hyde Park Illinois Chapter will start off the New Year with a program that examines a resolution that many of us have been putting off: to have “the conversation”—about our wishes for end of life—with family and friends, as well as our primary care physician.
It’s a subject that has been getting a great deal of attention lately. In a recent Chicago Tribune column, journalist Barbara Brotman wrote about how she was planning to have “the conversation” with her spouse and young adult children over the holidays. An AARP Bulletin included a blurb on “death and dining,” that provided a link to The Conversation Project’s Death Over Dinner website (Death over Dinner.org).
The Conversation Project was founded by Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Ellen Goodman. Describing the program in a recent interview on NPR’s Morning Edition, Ms. Goodman explained that the project stemmed from her own experience providing end of life care for her mother. She realized that there were critical issues and decisions that she and her mother had never addressed in conversation. She started The Conversation Project to encourage other families to discuss these issues before it is too late. In the NPR interview, Goodman stated, “we’ve learned that when people do have these conversations with the people they love, they experience less depression, less sorrow, less guilt afterwards. So, The Conversation Project is not only for people to express their wishes, but it’s for their survivors. It’s for their families.”
Talking is key and the Conversation Project’s website (www.theconversationproject.org) offers suggestions for planning a dinner at which to begin this important discussion. It also provides links to relevant articles and videos.
For a link to The Conversation Project’s Starter Kit, please click here.
To listen to the NPR interview with Ellen Goodman, please click here.
Posted by Mark on 12/29 at 09:42 PM
Disability and Illness Cited as Reasons for Voter Non-Participation
In a recent blog post for The Bipartisan Policy Center, BPC’s Matthew Weil noted that illness and disability may be keeping a disproportionate number of America’s seniors from the polls. According to Weil, 14% of non-voters recently surveyed cited illness and disability as preventing their participation in the 2012 presidential election. This percentage rose to 42% among non-voting respondents over the age of 65.
Weil goes on to observe that, “we also learn from the data that simply having any disability makes it less likely an American will be registered to vote in the first place compared to those not having a disability (69.2% to 71.5%) and less likely that they will participate (56.8% to 62.5%). ...States and local jurisdictions have many ways to assist voters with disabilities, from accessible voting machines and polling places, curbside voting options, web-interfaces for completing absentee ballots, among others. Now that policymakers know who isn’t voting but can be assisted, they must incorporate available, workable solutions into the process to reduce the number of Americans who report that disability and illness keeps them away from the polls in 2014.”
To read Weil’s full post, please click here.
Posted by Mark on 12/28 at 07:16 PM
A Few of Our Favorite Things…
The team of OWL National would like to share some of our favorite images of the holiday season here in Washington, DC. We thank you for your support in the past year and wish you all the best in 2014!
To view the full-sized collage, please click here.
Posted by Mark on 12/21 at 08:29 PM
OWL Executive Director Attends Conference on Entrepreneurship for People Over 50
There was a time when it was assumed that people over 50 were looking forward to quiet retirements. As OWL’s Executive Director Bobbie Brinegar knows, those days are gone. To read more, click here.
Posted by Mark on 12/03 at 04:37 AM
Brinegar Discusses Priorities with Senators
OWL-National Executive Director Bobbie Brinegar was one of a select group of leaders in aging advocacy invited to meet with Democratic Senators on Capitol Hill this week.
Posted by Bobbie Brinegar on 11/09 at 12:04 PM
Considering “What’s Next: Wise Activism for the Future”
OWL members and friends gathered at the JFK Library to discuss the future and celebrate Mary Catherine Bates’ latest book.
Posted by Margaret Huyck on 10/24 at 04:22 PM
Puzzled about health-care costs? You’re not alone
By Jeanne Pinder
Founder, CEO of clearhealthcosts.com bringing transparency to the health-care marketplace by telling people what stuff costs.
Puzzled about health-care costs? You’re not alone.
While the latest news cycles on health care have been dominated by the Affordable Care Act and questions about whether the health-insurance exchanges will open as scheduled on Oct. 1, for a lot of people that topic is a sideshow.
This is true because whether you are insured or not, the underlying costs of health-care procedures continue to rise, creating perhaps the biggest problem we face as a nation.
In our work at clearhealthcosts.com our mission is telling people what things cost in health care, a traditional mystery. Shouldn’t you know that your MRI could cost as little as $450 or as much as $1,900, or even $6,000, for the same procedure in the same city? Shouldn’t you be able to know other health costs, too? People are calling us the kayak.com of health care and the Zillow of health care.
We’re using tools like shoe-leather reporting, crowdsourcing, curation and sourcing of pricing databases, and data visualization to help people with clear, actionable information about prices.
Not long ago, questions about prices were an abstraction. Most people had health insurance, often with a policy characterized by the $20 co-pay, where everything cost just that.
But now, the situation has changed dramatically. Insured people face higher deductibles, greater out-of-pocket costs, higher co-pays and more choices about insurance. As the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, comes into full effect, the demand for knowledge about prices will only increase – if people are choosing coverage of 60 percent, 70 percent or 80 percent coverage, they’ll want to know, 60 percent of what? Read more.
Posted by Bobbie Brinegar on 09/30 at 11:09 AM
The Broken System of Long-Term Care in America
Donna L. Wagner, PhD, OWL Policy Chair and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
College of Health and Social Services, New Mexico State University
If you’re helping an older parent or spouse meet long-term care needs, join the crowd. One out of five workers in the United States spends an average of 20 hours a week caring for elder family members. These unpaid services have an estimated value of $230 billion a year—$20 billion more than the $210 billion that Medicaid pays each year for long-term care.
Providing these unpaid services imposes high indirect costs on employers, in the form of reduced productivity, absenteeism, a workforce whose own health is compromised by neglect and stress, and higher turnover, as workers leave their jobs to devote themselves to caregiving. All told, these problems cost U.S. employers $33.6 billion a year. Read more.
Posted by Bobbie Brinegar on 09/24 at 02:13 PM
When D.C. Gets it Right: a Victory for American Families
By Donna Wagner, Ph.D., OWL Public Policy Chair & Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at
New Mexico State University
Almost two million direct care workers who have been disenfranchised from the labor market by being categorized as “companion” workers and thus exempt from the Department of Labor regulations that protect the majority of American worker have won a victory.
Starting in January, 2015, these workers will now be afforded the protections of other American workers including minimum wage and overtime protections. These workers are the nation’s long term care system; providing ongoing care and assistance to millions of disabled and frail adults. Half of these workers are minorities and 90 percent are women.
The rule issued by the Department of Labor yesterday fulfilled a promise made by President Obama two years ago that American workers should be entitled to a fair day’s pay for their work. Those workers who are employed directly by the household of the person needing assistance and not providing medical services remain exempt from the regulations. Read more.
Posted by Bobbie Brinegar on 09/18 at 02:31 PM
The Different Faces of Caregiving
By Robin Strongin, OWL National Board member (this post originally appeared at Disruptive Women in Healthcare.)
September 2013 marks not just one, but two important milestones. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I would say it was Beshert.Disruptive Women turns five this month while my dad turns 80.
The prototypical New Yorker through and through, some of my fondest memories of my dad include him bringing me and my picket sign to Gracie Mansion in New York City during the big teachers’ strike in the 1960s when I was five; him rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers until they took their extended road trip to the West Coast and then laboring as a NY Mets fan (there was the Carvel ice cream cake in 1969, the year the Mets won the World Series); and his tireless devotion to his career of teaching kids and running schools in some of the toughest neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
In addition to the standard aches and pains of a body that has weathered eight decades of life adventures, my father has struggled with Crohn’s disease most of his life and remained strong in the face of multiple other chronic diseases, a broken hip and a great deal of pain. For someone accustomed to mobility and self-sufficiency, his recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease has caused its share of humbling and frustrating situations. But he is not alone, as all of us – his children, my mother and their friends – have stood hand in hand experiencing these life changes with humility and frustrations of our own. Read more.
Posted by Bobbie Brinegar on 09/11 at 01:08 PM
Women Like Me
By Susan Scanlan
I joined the feminist movement when I was young and ardent. Forty-one years later, I’m still ardent. And planning to model my Golden Years on Tish Sommers, who taught us to rage about a lot of things, including “the dying of the light.”
As a 20-something, I watched 60-ish Tish transform a NOW task force to the Displaced Homemaker’s Network to the Older Women’s League, bringing pride and recognition to a generation of discounted mothers and wives. Because of her example, growing a movement or galvanizing the grassroots seems a perfectly suitable next career for this aging Baby Boomer.
Did you know Tish was a dancer? Her life-long activism was sparked during a performing tour of Nazi Germany. I’m thinking of a return to tap dancing to see where a heel-toe-shuffle might take me in retirement.
If someone had told me 40 years ago—or even 20 years ago—that American women would still be fighting for fair pay and affirmative action and reproductive rights, I would have accused them of smoking the drapes. So I can’t abandon this agenda in my golden years. Read more.
Posted by Bobbie Brinegar on 09/04 at 10:34 AM
50 years later…who knew?
By Bobbie Brinegar, Executive Director, OWL National
50 years ago…half a century… five decades… and as so many of the speakers at the March on Washington reminded us this past weekend, the dream of equality and justice in our country is still far from realized.
Who knew it could take so long for that “bright day of justice” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned 50 years ago to emerge? We had less experience then. Some of us were there. Some of us were there in spirit. Some of us were just little children. Some of us weren’t even around yet. Later, as we grew to know that world of which our leaders spoke, and as we ourselves began to watch so many face those same barriers of hatred, intolerance and bigotry, we realized that while our motivation was strong and our goals clear, we didn’t really know how long the struggle would go on. After all, Dr. King had told us that very day, that “…it would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.” Read more.
Posted by Bobbie Brinegar on 08/26 at 02:45 PM
By Ann Lewis, Former Director of Communications for President Bill Clinton; Co-Chair, President’s Commission for Celebration of Women in American History
As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, 2013, we think of powerful images, like the massive parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC in 1913, and two years later on Fifth Avenue in New York, ensuring the issue of women’s suffrage got national attention; suffragists with banners, outside the White House gates, reminding President Wilson that while America was fighting a war for democracy in Europe, American women were denied democracy at home.
Other images deserve attention as well – women in rural communities who traveled miles to hear Susan B Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton speak, and then went back and told their neighbors what they’d heard. Women with no legal right to money of their own, who saved pennies and nickels to give to suffrage. Women who were told that politics was so corrupt they couldn’t win – but went on organizing precincts, lobbying , and working the polls. Read more.
Posted by Bobbie Brinegar on 08/26 at 12:13 PM
Where the lines blur: thoughts on aging, disability and equality
By Janna Starr, OWL National Board Member
Somewhere along the line in my career of working around and with many people with many different kinds of disabilities, we began to say candidly, “It’s always open enrollment for disability” – meaning of course, that as far as any of us knows, we could encounter something in life – an accident, an illness or an event of some kind – that could put us among the ranks of those with disabilities at any time. And we frequently followed the “open enrollment” statement with something like “… and if we are fortunate enough to be around so long, we will likely all experience some level of disability at some time in our lives,” especially as we grow older. At that point, thoughts switch from “Gee, I hope I don’t ever get a disability” to “Gee….really? ….all of us?” Aging, it seems,is where the lines blur. Read more.
Posted by Bobbie Brinegar on 08/23 at 09:22 AM