2/23/04 Note: This page is still under construction. Exerpts from the national platform (in red) have been abbreviated in some cases. Points under platform items have been taken from Talking Points and other files on the BPW/USA website, with the following exceptions. 'Morning After Pill' is not found on the BPW/USA website and the points included were taken from http://www.sun.ac.za/reprohealth/emergency.htm (although it appears to have been changed somewhat from the information I found earlier). Points under 'Reproductive Rights' were the speaker's. Full BPW/USA Platform 2003-04.

BPW/Missouri Legislative Day February 21, 2004

Thank you for inviting me to share this day with you.

I was Invited to talk to you about the BPW/USA Platform

Have you wondered how BPW/USA decides what issues to track, lobby on, and support or oppose?

Some members tend to want to lobby on all women’s issues, and I assure you that individual members of the national legislative committee are concerned about a variety of issues. But it’s

v     Important that we ‘brand’ BPW as the leading advocate of workplace equity and work-life issues.

v     We do that by sticking to issues related to our platform.

Formation of Platform

v     Any member, local, division or State Federation may submit issues by Jan. 31 prior to the Legislative Platform Meeting. These are sent to national headquarters.

v     Reviewed by the Legislative Committee, proposed to the Legislative Platform Committee, and then acted on by the National Conference.


v     State Federations can submit Public Policy resolutions to the Public Policy Department no later than 15 days after the conclusion of their State Convention.

v     These are submitted to the National Legislation Committee, and those that are approved are

v     Put before the state delegates, voted on individually, then submitted to the National Conference

v     Resolutions stay in place until they are resolved through legislative action.

Important for each state to send a voting delegate to the Legislative Meetings.




3 sentences (abreviated)

  1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied on account of sex.
  2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce
  3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

15 states  -  need 3 more  -  Missouri is one.Economic Equity


Economic Equity

Ensure pay equity, equal educational and economic opportunities at all stages of life; and promote affordable, quality dependent care to help ensure economic self-sufficiency for women.

Paycheck Fairness Act protects employees who discuss wages with co-workers

v     Requires voluntary guidelines so employers can compare wages

v     Creates an annual award for a business that has made real progress in eliminating pay disparities

Minimum Wage.

v     Nearly 75% of all min wage earners are adults (20 yrs & older)

v     60% are women

v     Among teenagers, more than 50% are in families with below-average incomes.

v     40% of min. wage earners are the sole breadwinners

v     Nearly 50% work full time.

v     Currently, the annual minimum wage earner would make $10,700 ($2,900 below the poverty level for a family of 3.

Distribution of Wealth

v     U.S. has most uneven distribution of income and wealth of any industrialized nation

v     Last 20 years, 80% of income increase in US has gone to the top 20%--Most to top 1%.

v     Avg. CEO makes $5,300/hr.  More than 1000 times the hourly min. wage.

v     In 1998, Avg. CEO earned in 2 hrs. the amount a min. wage earner earns in a year.

v     If Min. wage had kept up the same rate of increase as the avg. CEO salary over the past 5 years, the minimum wage would now be $23/her.

Minimum Wage & Economy

v     90% of businesses surveyed in a Jerome Levy Institute’s study said the 1996-97 min. wage increase didn’t affect their employment or hiring practices.

v     Less than 3% thought another pay increase might affect their hiring practices.

Women-Owned Businesses

v     Majority-owned, privately-held women-owned businesses are 26% of all firms in the U.S.

v     As of 1997, those businesses generated nearly $819 billion in revenues and employed more than 7.1 million workers.

v     Almost 2/3 of the owners reinvested business earnings to foster business growth.

v     Women still have a harder time getting loans, attracting venture capital, and receiving government contracts.

Workplace Balance – Elder Care

v     The Family Leave Benefits Act took effect 8 years ago and has helped 35 million Americans achieve better balance.

v     About 2/3 of Americans under the age of 60 are likely to be responsible for the care of an older relative in the next 10 years.

v     Some will take unpaid leave, 21% will spend between 9-20 hours week providing care, and more than half will be full-time employees.

v     Nearly 2/3 of employees who needed the leave didn’t take it, because they couldn’t afford to.

v     1 in 10 had to turn to public assistance

v     Increasingly, elderly adults are NOT going to nursing homes for care. They are staying in their own homes where they need assistance to manage.

Child Care and Quality Child Care

Flex-Time and Comp Time are ever-increasing issues.

Social Security

v     Continues to suffer from the increasing federal debt and from the shrinking workforce.

v     People losing jobs increasingly are using up their savings and retirement funds

v     Women are hurt the most by a variety of factors, notably fewer working years, time off to care for family members and to raise children, lower wages, and longer lives.

v     Of workers first receiving benefits in 1998 at age 62, 19% of women compared to 70 percent of men had 35 or more years of employment covered by Social Security.

v     The poverty rate among elderly women is 13%. The rate for elderly men is 7%

v     The poverty rates for unmarried are higher than for married women.

v     Divorced women have the highest rate of poverty.


v     The largest support of the bankruptcy bill is the credit card industry.

v     Some provision would give higher claim to credit card companies than to alimony and child-support payments.

v     Some versions of Bankruptcy bills allow perpetrators of violence against clinics to file for bankruptcy to avoid paying judgments against them.

v     Some tenants (usually lower wage earners) could be evicted by landlords just because they had filed for bankruptcy.


v     While it would be a good thing for low-income workers who have not qualified for overtime to have the means of increasing the net pay, there is no assurance that they would be given additional work time.

v     Mid-level wage earners who have been raising their families in some degree of comfort at $60,000, would lose their right to overtime, with no guarantees that the extra hours would no longer be required.

v     This bill would seem to lead to an overall decrease in pay for both categories of wage-earners.


Civil Rights

Ensure equal rights and remedies for women in all phases of their lives; support affirmative action; eliminate sexual harassment and violence against women.

Sexual Harassment

v     It is estimated that from 50-85% of American women will experience4 some form of sexual harassment during their life.

v     Almost 90% of Fortune 500 companies surveyed had received sexual harassment complaints

v     Studies show that women are 9 times more likely than men to quit their uobs

v     5 times more likely to transfer

v     3 times more likely to lose their jobs----because of sexusal harassment.

v     Result:  Loss of income, medical/legal fees, decreased Social Security and pension funds.

  Women’s Health Care

Ensure reproductive choice and full access to all reproductive health services and education, ensure funds for research into and protections for women’s health care needs; and encourage the development of a national health care plan recognizing the special health care needs of women

Equity in Health Coverage

v     Women pay 68% more for medical expenses than men

v     Viagra is covered by virtually all health plans

v     ½ of all pregnancies in the US are unintended.

v     Unintended pregnancies and unwanted pregnancies too often result in neglect, abuse, state control, disabilities, and death

v     The dollar cost of pregnancies (unintended and planned) ranges from $3,000 - $11,000 for uncomplicated deliveries.

v     Annual cost of contraception ranges from $300 - $500.

v     When Federal Employees’ Health Benefits were required several years ago, there was virtually no cost increase due to contraceptive coverage.

v     The most costly programs cost $1.43/month per employee.

v     Failing to cover contraceptives is likely to cost the employer 15-17% more

v     Planned pregnancies cost employers less than unplanned pregnancies.

v     8 in 10 privately-insured adults support contraceptive coverage, even if they have to pay as much as $5.00 per month more in premiums.

v     Approximately that same number believe that mandates should require coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptive methods.

Morning After Pill

v     Prevents unwanted pregnancies

v     Prevents abortions and costs less than an abortion

v     Can be purchased and left in the medicine cabinet in case of emergency.

v     Have you EVER

o       Made love unexpectedly?

o       Been forced to have sex?

o       Had a condom break, slip, come off?

o       Forgotten to take several birth control pills?

o       Awakened to realize you were having sex?

o       Expected your partner to pull out…but he didn’t?

o       Found out later your diaphragm had slipped?


Reproductive Rights

v     Have you ever known of ANYone who was FOR abortion?

v     Have you ever known of ANYone who had to have an abortion?

o       Have you ever known of an adult, accidentally-pregnant married woman with several children whose husband told her he WOULD NOT have another baby?

v     Do you know – or remember – the true stories of years ago when unmarried and married girls and women turned to abortion for oh-so-many reasons?

v     Have YOU ever had to have an abortion?

v     How do you feel about Chinese women who are not permitted to have more than one baby, or about women in India whose unwanted female babies are killed or left to die, or about African women who do not want to have more babies, but whose husbands or partners or rapists may deliberately want them to have more?


I have never known a single woman who was FOR abortion.


I have known women who AGONIZED over the responsibility they felt

regardless of financial circumstances,

regardless of health circumstances,

regardless of age,

regardless of education


as a teen-age girl,

as a woman,

as a wife,

as a mother of other children,

as a child of God


when faced with the MOST DIFFICULT decision of her life—

and was faced with GRAY AREAS that she had always THOUGHT were clearly black and white.

Do you think it helps them for other women  - 

or men  -- 

or government officials  --

to tell them what they must or must not do?


Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Nation, Alice Paul, Lena Madesin Phillips, Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott, Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Such dedicated, feisty, creative, courageous women they were!

We owe them so much  -  and yet, many young women today know nothing--except what they experience now.


In spite of all our gains, we still have a long way to go.


May you have an inspired and exciting journey.