Jan 27 • 9M

Promising Experiments in Bringing Economic Parity to Black Women

Minimum Wage Increases and Guaranteed Income

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Welcome back Chaise Lounge readers! It’s always good to see you and let you know how much I appreciate you opening this link. It was hard to choose what to feature in this week’s newsletter, so I hope that my choices interest you. As always, let me know what topics you want to know more about, and I will do my best to find the information you want. Now let’s get to it!


In economics

Increasing the minimum wage does not harm the business climate

Carolina Forward, studied the data surrounding the minimum wage increase that Virginia instituted versus the lack of an increase in North Carolina. They wanted to see if the arguments that chambers of commerce have against wage hikes are valid. These arguments include: sending jobs to neighboring states, layoffs, suppression of job growth, and stymying the business climate. When comparing the two states’ overall growth and the growth in the hospitality & service industries where low wage workers cluster, the states were similar in terms of growth with Virginia performing slightly better. Given that women, especially women of color, make up a large majority of low-wage earners, this is valuable data proving that increases in the minimum wage are a net positive.

Something to pay attention to

The Georgia Opportunity and Resilience Fund is running an experiment in providing a guaranteed basic income for 650 Black women in Georgia. The program is called In Her Hands , and the women will receive $850/month for 24 months. The project will distribute $13 million to women who are facing the most severe income insecurity. The project came about as a result of a task force that studied the causes of economic insecurity in the old Fourth Ward of Atlanta. To learn more about the project, listen to this episode of The Takeaway.


In Politics

President Biden signs executive order making sexual harassment a crime in the Uniform Code of Military Justice

Yesterday, President Biden made history by signing an executive order making sexual harassment a crime in the military. Before this change, the military did not have a mechanism for charging the crime. The order defines harassment as making unwanted sexual advances, demanding sexual favors where the recipient is in fear of losing their job, and the unwanted sharing of intimate or pornographic materials. With one in every 16 women and one in 143 men experience sexual assault within the military services according to a Rand Study, any tools to stop this behavior before it leads to assault is welcome.

New Hampshire ups the ante for the worst proposed abortion law

A new bill proposed in New Hampshire would give any man who claims paternity the right to block a woman from obtaining an abortion. The man does not have to prove paternity and must cover the cost of all pre-natal care not covered by insurance and give $250/month for “adequate nutrition”, but the compelled financial donations end after the baby is born. A judge has to hear the case within 14 days. If passed, these delays could lead to a woman’s inability to safely obtain an abortion. It also means that any man who decides that he wants to block women from having abortions can get an injunction, including an abusive partner.

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In Health

Reproductive rights activist takes abortion pill live on air

On the 49th anniversary of the passage of Roe v. Wade, Fox 2 Detroit invited anti-choice advocate Rebecca Kiessling and pro-abortion advocate Jex Blackmore to debate. While on air, Blackmore showed the audience abortion pills and took one on air. She said that this would be her third abortion. Kiessling, visibly upset, claimed that the abortion pill could be reversed, which is medically unsafe. Blackmore directed those in favor of abortion rights to support the work of Share Abortion Pill Information and Shout Your Abortion. While some states are pre-emptively outlawing the mailing of abortion pills, it is hard to see how they can realistically keep this genie in the bottle.

Meta blocks advertisements for women’s health products

It is hard enough for women to access information about their reproductive systems. With women’s health clinics subject to picketing by anti-choice protesters to constantly fluctuating Congressional funding, it’s no wonder women have a hard time getting the information they need. But Meta (Facebook’s parent company) is making it even more difficult. Facebook has a long history of blocking advertising for products related to women’s reproductive health. A study by the Center for Intimate Justice found that over 60 companies that address women’s health have had their advertisements rejected by Facebook on a consistent basis. While Facebook denies that the use of the word vagina is banned, they are unable to give these companies clear reasons as to why their ads are blocked and sometimes their accounts are closed. At the same time, there are advertisements for products for men’s sexual pleasure that somehow pass the Facebook screeners. While Meta, of course, has the right to deny advertisers the right to post on their platform, the pattern of denials here is suspect.

iPhone and a vaginal laser
Joylux.com vaginal laser light

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Brave Women

Nineteen year old circumnavigates the world solo

Zara Rutherford, 19, flew 32,000 miles in five months becoming the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe solo in her tiny airplane. From flying through hurricanes in Florida and wildfires in Seattle to difficulties with Chinese airspace and Russian visas, Rutherford persisted. I invite you to read the entire New York Times article to learn more about this young woman’s incredible journey.

Two whistleblowers

I recommend that everyone listen to this podcast about Reality Winner. To be honest, because her case happened during the beginning of the Trump administration, my attention was split in so many directions, that I did not know much about her case. If you are in the same situation, please educate yourself about her case. We know that the former president would do anything to hide his misdeeds and lies, and unfortunately, she fell into his list of enemies receiving the longest sentence of anyone charged with the same crime.

The New Yorker interviewed Dawn Wooten, who you may recall is the nurse who first told the public that immigrant women in custody in Georgia were receiving hysterectomies against their will. In the interview, we learn about all of the difficulties that Dawn and her five children have faced. She was fired from her job and had great difficulty finding a new one. They had to move from place to place, she lost her truck, and of course, the case has not been litigated yet. Unlike Frances Haugen, who blew the whistle on Facebook, Wooten is a low-wage earner with five children. We owe her more than just gratitude. It seems that whistleblower laws need to be beefed up to not only protect the whistleblower from retaliation but also from financial ruin.


Just for fun

I saw this video on Twitter and thought it was so clever. I hope you enjoy it too!