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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976
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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976 - Page 6. May 1976. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. May 10, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2571/show/2560.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(May 1976). Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976 - Page 6. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2571/show/2560

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976 - Page 6, May 1976, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed May 10, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2571/show/2560.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date May 1976
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 6
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File Name femin_201109_517f.jpg
Transcript Portia's Law by Patti O'Kane The celebration of American Motherhood known as Mother's Day is upon us, and for the feminists of today - mothers and non-mothers alike - this holiday has special significance. Perhaps in reaction to traditional attitudes about woman's "natural" role as wife and mother, feminists have taken a long, hard look at our country's adulation of "mom and apple pie," and in the process have done much to expose ; the hypocrisy of those who "revere" motherhood while penalizing and handicapping women who choose to become mothers. While women now have the freedom to decide against pregnancy, women who do have children continue to be subjected to discriminatory practices that relegate them to the status of second class citizens and cut them off from full participation in the life of the community. Women are punished for bearing children (even for the possibility they may have children) in all facets of economic, political and social life. But nowhere is the discrimination more pervasive or the effect more devastating, than in the economic sphere. Viewing biology as destiny, social and psychological theories have insisted that woman's place is in the home. But despite such conditioning, today more than 43 percent of women over the age of 16 wish to work or must work outside the home. At least half of these working women are of childbearing age, and more than two-fifths of the women have minor children. Discrimination because of pregnancy in the hiring of women, in the terms and conditions of their employment, in the granting to women of benefits, insurance coverage, and disability payments is a problem that affects millions of women. Discrimination persists despite the protests of women workers, despite the fact that women are entering the labor force in large numbers, despite the fact that women are filing law suits, and despite the fact that IT IS AGAINST THE LAW. "Before the company hires her...you should make sure she is not pregnant," was the caption to an ad in a 1970 issue of the Journal of Occupational Medicine for a pregnancy test to be given to job applicants. Employers say they don't want to hire a pregnant woman, because they assume she will drop out to have her baby and never return. Today, employers have become more subtle and instead of refusing to interview her, they deny the woman employment for "reasons unrelated to her pregnancy," or they ask all women applicants detailed questions concerning their plans and capabilities for producing children. One woman, fed up with the constant "fishing" for pregnancy information, told a prospective employer that she was sterile, and got the job. (When later she did become pregnant, she praised the wonders of modern medicine!) Law seminar held To increase the interest of women in the legal profession, the Women's Law Caucus of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University, sponsored an all-day seminar on April 24 entitled "Minority Women in the Law." According to Iris Jones, law student and coordinator of the program, "more women, particularly minority women, are needed in the field. With the majority of criminal offenses and convictions attributed to minority as well as the growing number of female offenders, more minority women are needed to meet these legal demands." The morning panel session centered around ' 'Personal" Perspectives of Women in Law," with presentations by the Honorable Rosemary Saucillo, attorney Zinnetta Burney, attorney Veronica Morgan, and Florence Coleman a third year law student at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law. The speakers stressed the dedication and determination women must have to compete with their male counterparts in the male-dominated legal profession as well as the asser- tiveness and ambition needed to succeed in the field. Coleman, the third year student, emphasized to incoming students the hard work and study I sometimes find it difficult to believe that after becoming mothers, women don't leave the work force in the great number cited by employers. When you think about it, why should a woman return to a job when she has been forced to takeJa long, unpaid leave, both before and after the birth of the child, when her company insurance policy pays little if any of her hospital and doctor expenses, when she is not sure her job will be waiting for her. That the majority of women do return to work after childbirth proves the seriousness of their commitment to gainful employment in the face of employers who create and per petu - ate the myth that childbearing and childrearing are prima facie disqualifications for work. Employers who feel that the two functions are synonymous - and who cite both to disqualify pregnant women from employment - have failed to make the crucial distinction between "bearing" children and "rearing" them. Gestation is and always has been a function of the female sex alone. Changing social patterns will not alter this biological fact. But childrearing, though traditionally accepted as a woman's job, can be done by involved in preparing for a career in law. She pointed out that though women are in the minority in the field, their advancement potential is not limited. "Your most viable trait," said Coleman, "is to always be well-prepared and have excellent expertise in the area." Following the panel discussion, workships were held that covered requirements for admission to law school and information on the Law School Admissions Text. Aspects of financial aid and other special programs for incoming students were also discussed. In the afternoon a mock trial of an actual Houston rape case was staged by the law caucus. The prosecutor was Linda Compian and defense attorney was Gwenn Pierre, both law students at the TSU Thurgood Marshall School of Law. The presiding judge was Criminal Defense Attorney Carolyn Hobson of Houston. The jury was comprised of various law students and members of the audience. In addition to increasing the number of minority women admitted to the law school, the women's law caucus is also concerned with increasing the number of female faculty members. At present, the law faculty at TSU is all male with the exception of one female. AILENE ENGLISH men as wel 1 as by women, can be shared between parents, and ca" enlist the services of persons and institutions outside the home. Our social consciousness is just beginning to perceive this simple fact, and while it is becoming less common for companies to refuse to hire or automatically fire women as soon as they become pregnant, employers have shown •by their paltry and discriminatory maternity leave benefits and policies that they still have little understanding of the differences between child- bearing and childrearing. Because maternity benefits and conditions of maternity leave remain the major problems of pregnancy discrimination, special attention must be given to the manner in which pregnant women are penalized in regard to the leave insurance, and disability policies maintained by companies for their employees. Sixty years ago there was no such thing as maternity leave. Pregnant workers were unceremoniously fired. In 1915 the New York State Commission of Education rendered a precedent- setting decision that allowed married teachers a maternity leave of absence as an alternative to resignation. Establishment of the principle of maternity leave was a major victory for working women. It is the implemention of that principle that creates problems. Maternity leaves have been patterned to reflect Victorian attitudes about pregnant women: that they are delicate and need to be protected, that they lose their normal ability to work, that they are embarrassing to look at, and that their presence is risky and disruptive. Thus, some employers require women to take a leave at a certain stage in their pregnancy (often when they begin to "show"), women who have had babies are required to wait a specific period of time before they are allowed to return to work. Other employers require women in "high risk" occupations to go on leave rather than be transferred to another department, while most employers require pregnant women to submit elaborate statements from their doctor that they are able to work both before and after childbirth. The regulations differ from company to company, but what is especially significant to the woman affected by these mandatory leave policies is that, almost without exception, maternity leaves, whether voluntary or involuntary and regardless of duration, ARE UNPAID. Not only are these leaves unpaid, but they are not uniformly or consistently applied. Employers are unable to agree on when pregnant women should stop working. Within the same company, employees may be subject to different leave Continued on page 12 THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME Made to order Contemporary Furniture in your choice of material At Environment Ltd. we custom make contemporary furniture... odd shapes... odd sizes. All for those few odd people who care enough about their living environment to surround themselves with the truly unusual. If you're odd enough to desire the ultimate in creative, custom made contemporary furniture, come by Environment Ltd. Odds are you'll love it. — environment ltd. 5701 Richmond Ave. (Just off Chimney Rock) 784-1500 Houston, Texas