Latest from OWL

OWL is Headed to the Hill(s)! Mark your Calendar for May 8 and Join Us!

Mark your calendar for 11:00 a.m., Thursday, May 8, when OWL will release its annual Mother’s Day Report at a briefing on Capitol Hill in room 188 of the Senate Russell Building. This year’s topic is Long-Term Care: Managing Our Future—a critical issue. We’re observing the report’s release with a briefing on the Hill, lending OWL’s voice to the recent outcry for a long-term care system that works.

Please click here for details.

Posted by Mark on 04/18 at 09:01 AM

Happy Birthday to OWL Board President Margaret Hellie Huyck

OWL is delighted to wish Board President Margaret Hellie Huyck a Happy 75th Birthday.

Click here to share in Margaret’s reflections upon the occasion.

Posted by Mark on 04/10 at 07:47 AM

April 8 is Equal Pay Day

April 8 is Equal Pay Day.  OWL Executive Director Bobbie Brinegar was honored to be among those in attendance at the White House today when President Obama undertook two executive actions to help combat pay discrimination and strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws.

To read more click here.

Posted by Mark on 04/08 at 08:50 AM

OWL Director Invited to Luncheon for Janet Yellen

OWL’s executive director, Bobbie Brinegar, was among the guests at a luncheon hosted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in honor of first female Fed Chair, Janet Yellen on March 25th.  “It was a privilege for OWL to be represented at the event,” said Brinegar. Click here for photos.

Posted by Mark on 03/27 at 09:17 AM

Peggy Wrightsman Parolin Joins OWL Board of Directors

OWL National has announced the appointment of Peggy Wrightsman Parolin to its Board of Directors.

Wrightsman Parolin is the Director of Licensing Acquisitions-Editorial for Hallmark Cards. In her work, she has partnered with Disney, Warner Bros., Peanuts, Marvel, DreamWorks, Lucasfilms, The Simpsons, Garfield, and other clients to bring relevant, meaningful content to social expression products that evoke laughter, tears and memories, reminding millions what it means to be human.   

To continue reading, click here.

Posted by Mark on 03/15 at 12:28 AM

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
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