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Hillary Speaks on Libya, Egypt; Recognizing Unions; War on Women Continues

March 22, 2011

HILLARY DISCUSSES THE U.S. MISSION IN LIBYA

Speaking to the press in Paris, where she attended a meeting of coalition partners, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the goal of the U.S. mission in Libya:

"It is to protect civilians and it is to provide access for humanitarian assistance. If you read the very comprehensive resolution that the Security Council passed, it is focused on protecting civilians from their own government."

"...with all of the activities that Colonel Qadhafi engaged in the past, we in the United States had a very clear interest in trying to contain him and prevent him from taking both direct and indirect actions against us and our people as well as many others..."

Read Hillary's full interview here.

...SPEAKS FOR WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Secretary Clinton has spoken out for the women of Egypt, who played a critical role in their country's revolution. At the Women in the World Summit this month she recognized and applauded their participation:

"The world was shocked anew in January when a 23-year old Egyptian woman named Sally Zahran was clubbed to death in Tahrir Square. But nothing could stop the people of Egypt – women and men – from claiming their rights and taking control of their destiny."

"So in recent weeks we have seen women on the front lines of progress in Egypt and Tunisia. Some of the earliest organizers of the April 6 Youth Movement and other Facebook and Twitter campaigns that helped galvanize Egypt and Tunisia were smart, wired, and committed young women."

...AND FOR WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD

Referred to as "advocate in chief for women and girls worldwide," Secretary Clinton spoke about her responsibility and commitment to advancing the rights of women and girls around the globe in a recent edition of Newsweek that describes The Hillary Doctrine: "I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st century," she said. "It is why I mention the issue in every setting I am in, and why I mention it with every foreign leader I meet."

REMEMBER THE TRIANGLE FIRE, SUPPORT TODAY'S UNIONS!

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City where more than 500 people, most of them young Jewish and Italian immigrant women, worked long hours for low wages in unsafe conditions. Having no escape from the fire, workers jumped from the building to certain death. This tragic incident would change the course of labor laws in America.

A young social worker, Frances Perkins watched the fire in horror. She worked with union organizers for safer workplaces and better conditions for working people, and was eventually appointed Secretary of Labor by President Franklin Roosevelt.

Today – one hundred years later – labor unions are again under attack. Some new laws would prevent unions from working for safe working conditions! As our new Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said in recognizing the Triangle anniversary, "In 1911, more than 100 workers were estimated to have died on the job each day. In 2010, 4,340 workers were killed on the job — and more than 3.3 million were seriously injured."

For more information abut the Triangle Fire and the brave women and men who led the fight after the fire, check out this virtual walking tour by the Jewish Women's Archive.

ON THE LINE WITH SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND

On Tuesday, March 15 we hosted Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on our fifth members-only conference call.

She spoke about many of the important policies she has championed, including women's health, repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the 9/11 First Responders Bill. And she spoke about her leadership in repealing the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, saying, "All loving couples, all committed families should have the rights and benefits guaranteed under the federal law...There is no room for discrimination here in America."

"What the 9/11 health bill taught me," Gillibrand said "is that our democracy is founded on a very specific principle, the principle that when regular people rise up and demand action from the government, it is the most powerful thing that happens in American government."

"Most people thought 'Kirsten, good luck, you're just going to have to figure out how to minimize the damage to your career when you fail.' But we never took that as the outcome; we always said 'we're going to fight this to the very end.'"

To gain access to this call, and our previous four calls we have hosted, become a member!

REPORT ON THE WAR ON WOMEN'S HEALTH

The War on Women continues. Discussing the latest legislation from the House of Representatives, Senator Gillibrand said that they are trying to "cut all funding for family planning, for early childhood education, for nutrition for women and infants, for pre-cancer screenings, for mammograms, for pre-natal care; it’s really egregious."

In addition to voting to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, the House of Representatives is expected to pass H.R. 3, which is a direct attack on choice in private health insurance plans. This bill would add a new tax on individuals who choose to pay for a plan that covers abortion services, therefore requiring small businesses to pay taxes on health insurance benefits. It would also require individuals to report their private health care decisions explicitly to the IRS!

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY 2011

This year marked the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day, a day to recognize the progress we have made around the world and to commit to the work left to be done.

The U.S. Department of State commemorated this with its 2011 International Women of Courage Awards hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with special guest First Lady Michelle Obama. They honored 10 women who are advancing peace, advocating for education opportunities for boys and girls, and offering legal services to underserved populations, all while enduring harassment, threats and torture. They are the faces of International Women's Day. Click to watch the full video.

International Women of Courage Awards

CARE, which focuses on supporting women in their work to end poverty, commemorated International Women's Day with a conference featuring First Lady Laura Bush, Melinda Gates and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shaw. Click here to read about the events.

OUR THOUGHTS ARE WITH JAPAN

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan and everyone affected by the terrible disasters there. Please click here to find out how you can help.

A CONVERSATION WITH JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR

Raised in the Bronx by parents from Puerto Rico, Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Department of Labor hosted Justice Sotomayor for a conversation about role models, family and overcoming challenges.

"You can't get anywhere unless you can persuade people with your words," Justice Sotomayor said.

Read about the full interview here.

JOIN US!

Listen to our five previous members-only calls and join the ones to come! Become a member today. In every No Limits newsletter, we try to give you up-to-date information about the issues that matter. Our website, videos, and Facebook and Twitter outreach help spread the word, and members-only conference calls bring us the latest policy information.

THE LAST WORD

"The American people are a generous, giving, compassionate people. They believe that our foreign aid budget is about 20 percent of our overall budget and that all we have to do to balance the federal budget is basically eliminate foreign aid. Well, it’s our fault they believe that. That is not the fault of somebody sitting somewhere in our country who thinks that. It is our fault. We have to make the case, and it is a case we can make and convince those who care about what goes on in the rest of the world to also be our partners."

— Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Global Partnership on Maternal and Child Health, March 9, 2011.

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