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Work-life balance isn’t just a women’s issue

Posted by Carol Rose, On Liberty June 27, 2012 04:26 PM

Millions of people – literally – are reading and talking about the Atlantic Monthly article by Princeton Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, entitled, "Why Women Still Can't Have it All," which makes the case that powerful women who think that they can “have it all” are being kept from reaching the upper echelons of power due to structural barriers that make it hard to achieve a work-life balance.

Whatever you think of Slaughter’s thesis, she obviously hit a nerve in our collective zeitgeist: when was the last time so many people were buzzing about a 12,000-word magazine piece?

Even my 85-year-old mother called to talk about it. As a contemporary of Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, Mom has strong opinions about equal rights for women. So I was struck by her response to the article: “It’s time we brought men into this conversation.”

She’s right, of course. Equal opportunity is as much about men as it is about women.

I’d go one step further: achieving work-life balance isn’t just about accommodating people with children – it’s about creating a work- life balance for all of us.

Full disclosure: Anne-Marie Slaughter is a friend and professional mentor. No doubt that is why she mentions the ACLU Foundation of Massachusetts, where I am executive director, and praises our efforts to adopt workplace models that make it possible for everyone – women and men alike – to achieve both professional success and personal fulfillment. Here's the excerpt:

Changes in default office rules should not advantage parents over other workers; indeed, done right, they can improve relations among co-workers by raising their awareness of each other’s circumstances and instilling a sense of fairness. Two years ago, the ACLU Foundation of Massachusetts decided to replace its “parental leave” policy with a “family leave” policy that provides for as much as 12 weeks of leave not only for new parents, but also for employees who need to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition. According to Director Carol Rose, “We wanted a policy that took into account the fact that even employees who do not have children have family obligations.” The policy was shaped by the belief that giving women “special treatment” can “backfire if the broader norms shaping the behavior of all employees do not change.”


So, here’s my question: can we stop talking about this as a women’s issue?

FULL ENTRY

Despite succeeding in court, "show me your papers" has failed in the real world

Posted by Carol Rose, On Liberty June 25, 2012 12:04 PM

Staff attorney Laura Rótolo and legal director Matthew Segal of the ACLU of Massachusetts wrote this guest blog.

Today the Supreme Court struck down several provisions of Arizona's controversial anti-immigrant law, but it upheld the infamous "show me your papers" provision. Although the Court's decision to uphold that provision is a blow against civil rights and liberties, the "show me your papers" provision is likely to be relegated to the dustbin of history anyway.

The "show me your papers" provision requires Arizona police officers to investigate a person's immigration status whenever there is "reasonable suspicion" to believe that the person has violated immigration law. In today's decision, the Supreme Court held that, though states like Arizona can't pursue immigration policies that "undermine federal law," they can require police officers to run immigration checks. The Court did not decide whether the "show me your papers" provision unconstitutionally promotes racial discrimination and profiling, and the ACLU will continue to fight in court to have the provision struck down on that basis.

But, no matter what happens to the "show me your papers" provision in court, the policy behind it is in tatters.

FULL ENTRY

Immigration plan shows that defending rights is smart politics

Posted by Carol Rose, On Liberty June 15, 2012 11:02 AM

It's heartening to see that President Obama is ready to offer immigrants to this country some relief--or at least to their children--by granting work permits to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors and have since led law-abiding lives.

The timing of the announcement is politically important--just days before both President Obama and Mitt Romney are scheduled to address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials' annual conference in Orlando, Fla.

It's also just days before the U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling on the federal government's challenge to Arizona's immigrant-profiling law--aka SB1070. Court-watchers are concerned that, if the court upholds the right to stop and ID people who "look like immigrants," it will create political upheaval in the Latino community and economic chaos for businesses that rely on immigrants to pick crops and work in factories, as has been the case in states with copycat anti-immigrant laws, such as Georgia, Alabama, and others.

Both Obama and Romney are vying for the the increasingly important Latino vote. So, it's not surprising that the plan seems similar to the one proposed by Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, whose name is frequently floated as a potential running mate to Mitt Romney.

Clearly, this plan is more partisan politics than bi-partisan collaboration. It's also important to note that the policy relies on discretion, which might still be used to deport in many cases. But, still, it's good to know that defending human rights and civil liberties can be good for politics--for all political parties.

WTF, Middleborough?

Posted by Carol Rose, On Liberty June 13, 2012 09:23 AM

Matthew R. Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, wrote this guest blog.

Some laws are good, some are bad, and some are just @!#$! ridiculous. A new anti-swearing provision passed by the town of Middleborough falls into that last category.

FULL ENTRY

Two pages for tolerance are not too many

Posted by Carol Rose, On Liberty June 12, 2012 10:52 AM

ACLU of Massachusetts communications director Christopher Ott wrote this guest blog.

Murray Waas and Christopher Rowland report in the Globe today that Gov. Mitt Romney scuttled a guide for stopping bullying in Massachusetts public schools because just two of its 120 pages addressed bullying of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth.

Of course, there are legitimate reasons for concern about some anti-bullying measures, which must walk a line between respect for free speech rights and allowing teachers and principals to ensure their students are safe and can get a quality education.

But this is not the reason the Romney administration gave for blocking this anti-bullying guide.

FULL ENTRY

About the author

Carol Rose is executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. A lawyer and journalist, Carol has spent her career working for and writing about human rights and civil liberties, both in the United States and abroad. More »

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