Saturday, February 7, 2015

North Carolina's 'Commitment' to Women's Civil Rights Marked by ERA Introduction 2015

By Marena Groll
Guest Commentator

The introduction of the ERA will mark North Carolina’s commitment to civil rights, which was supposed to create equal economic opportunity.  Women are 51.3% of the North Carolina population, according to the latest U.S. Census figures. 
Groll, June 2014 Bennett College, Greensboro

As recent history has shown, pay equity for women remains a significant problem. Although there are laws on the books against discrimination in pay, the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, effectively relegating women to an unequal or lower class of citizen.  This inequality compromises women by affording them lesser redress and a lower standard of judicial scrutiny under the Constitution to challenge sex discrimination.

Women continue to be targets of sex discrimination due to systemic failings threatening our very survival. We are physically injured, abused and raped in epidemic numbers and yet this violence is not taken as a serious, egregious violation of our constitutional rights, resulting in further threats to survival and that of our spouses and children.

These are not the only forms of injustice we endure. Moreover, existing laws designed to protect us from the injustice of sex discrimination are not comprehensive or fully inclusive and can be rolled back by a simple congressional vote. Therefore, women cannot continue to be asked to wait for their civil right to equal constitutional protection to become a priority. It must be a priority now.

February 2014 Action Opportunities for Asheville Women

Asheville NOW Chapter Meeting Feb. 8

 The Asheville NOW chapter's second Sunday meeting is tomorrow, February 8, at the YWCA on South French Broad. Chapter officers and members of the executive committee will meet at 2 p.m. Current dues paying members are welcome to attend. The general membership meeting is open to members, supporters, and friends. It convenes at 2:30 p.m. Networking will follow the meeting.

Women Civil Rights March in Raleigh Feb. 14

Marena Groll with NC4ERA has invited Asheville NOW women and supporters to a civil rights march in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. The organization champions the soon-to-be introduced legislation to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in this session of the General Assembly. The march at HKonJ is Feb. 14, in Raleigh. Supporters will join this historical step forward gathering at 9:00 am near the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts at the corner of 2 East South and Wilmington Streets. For more information and directions, email, or follow @NC4ERANOW on Twitter. Use these hash tags freely to help with topic trending: #equality #ERA #women #ncnaacp #HKonJ

Women's Power Hour, at Avenue M, Asheville, Feb. 19

The Asheville NOW hosts its first Women's Power Hour at Avenue M, on Merrimon Avenue, at 6 p.m. on Feb. 19. This issue-based meeting offers opportunity for women leaders to network, build relationships, and create transformation in our public, professional, and private lives. The guest of honor will be author Cynthia Drew. The event is sponsored by Asheville NOW. February's topic will be: Examining A Woman's Worth: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Workplace Conditions, and NC's Unresolved Issues . 

In honor of February as Women's History Month, and in advance of International Women's Day on March 8, we'll take a closer look at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, New York's deadliest workplace accident, on the threshold of its 104th anniversary of March 25.

Nearly 150 individuals perished in the avoidable tragedy - rendered all the more poignant in light of North Carolina's own industrial past. The exploited workers killed that day were mostly young women, recent immigrants of Jewish and Italian descent.

President Obama referred to the fire as " The Triangle factory fire was a galvanizing moment, calling American leaders to reexamine their approach to workplace conditions and the purpose of unions." The current Fair Wages debates regarding women and workplace conditions make this a particularly relevant look at this unresolved issue in our nation's and state's present labor challenges.

At the event, women will meet and greet Asheville author Cynthia Drew,, who will talk about her novel, "City of Slaughter," which is set against the dramatic backdrop of this historic event.
Drew teaches Creative Writing at UNC-Asheville's Reuter Center and her award-winning short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies.

The author worked for several years in New York City's garment district. She will answer questions following the screening of a respected History Channel documentary on this critical event. For more details, please sign up on our website to receive our communications in your in-box.

Women's Advocacy Day Legislative Action, Raleigh, Feb. 24.

Make plans NOW to attend Women's Advocacy Day in Raleigh with the local chapter. For this event, non-member supporters are welcome to participate in the event alongside our members. Please review the information here and at right, following the instructions to join us in Raleigh.