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Advocating FOR WOMEN & GIRLS Blog Area

  • 31 Oct 2022 10:42 AM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)

    On behalf of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs (NFBPWC), as unanimously approved by the Executive Committee members, we formally issue this statement of support for the women of Iran.

    The NFBPWC stands with the brave women of Iran as they protest for their human rights to freely express themselves and wear what they choose.

    We believe an attack on women's rights anywhere is an attack on women's rights everywhere and we abhor the treatment women have faced by the repressive morality police in Iran.

    We are sending our strength to our brave sisters in Iran, know you are not fighting alone.

    Women, Life, Freedom.

    Megan Shellman-Rickard
    President, 2020-2022
    National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs
  • 11 Aug 2022 9:35 AM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)
    Writing an effective letter to government and other officials is one way you can influence policy-makers and educate them on women's rights issues and diverse perspectives.

    Should you email or send a handwritten letter?

    We've noticed that handwritten letters typically receive more attention, so if you are writing about a general topic, send a physical letter if you have the time. If the issue is more urgent, then email is the best option. A physical letter has to endure security screenings that can involve a delay of up to three weeks.

    The NFBPWC OneClick Politics platform provides you with sample letters to make it very easy to do, but just in case you'd like to add your own flare to your letter, here are a few tips that you can use to write them on your own:

    A Professional Beginning: Using a proper subject line and salutation can really help you set a polite and informative tone.

    • Use "Dear Representative Brown" or other office held - Senator or Assemblymember.
    • Use your subject line or first sentence of the letter to clearly state the reason for your letter. 
    "I am writing about HR 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, currently before the Senate. I encourage you to approve this legislation as written on the grounds that ...."

    Informative Yet Not Too Wordy: Identify yourself as a constituent and state your views using common terms. You cannot assume the recipient has a full understanding of certain activism language or references as your do.
    • Focus on key points, make your requests clear, and when appropriate, cite the bill number (HR 8).
    • Explain the potential impact on women -- and you if relevant. It's nice to be able to personalize the issue. So, try to use "I" statements and reference specific examples.
    • A one-page (or less) positive letter is ideal. The goal is to write about one issue and explain how you want the recipient to address your concerns.
    Expect a Reply...but not all will: In closing you'll want to briefly recap your main points and ask how they intend to act / plans to vote. Worst case scenario -- you will only receive a form response or no replay at all. But be prepared to be contacted by the recipient or a staff member! You'll most definitely want to make the time to talk if they do.

    What happens to your letter after you send it?

    The policy-maker/legislator or a member of their staff will read your letter. They will verify that you are a constituent and then route your letter as either:

    • Important correspondence to be dealt with by the recipient.
    • Unique and moving to be shared with the larger decision-making group (like Congress or the Senate).
    • A tally number of the letters received is given during an issue briefing before a vote.
  • 18 Jul 2022 1:25 PM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)

    On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court, on a 5-3 decision, overthrew the 50-year-old Roe v. Wade law which said that women had the right to choose what happens to their body. The 1973 decision was based on the 14th Amendment’s “Due Process Clause” on the right to privacy.

    After this ruling there were many demonstrations in support of women’s right to choose around the country. Many NFBPWC members participated in these demonstrations. One member was Judy Chu, a member of East Los Angeles-Montebello BPW and a member of Congress from California’s 27th Congressional District.

    Judy Chu arrest

    Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Chu was the only member of Congress to take part in the June 30th demonstration in Washington, D.C. For her efforts in protecting women’s right to choose, she was arrested along with 181 others. She was later released.

    Chu is the author of HR 3755 the “Women’s Health Act,’ which passed the House on September 24, 2021, and is in the Senate as S 1975. The Senate filibuster law has stopped it from proceeding. If enacted, it would protect women’s right to choose.

  • 26 May 2022 7:03 PM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)

    The General Assembly is fast approaching! During the GA, the membership will have the opportunity to discuss, review, adapt and vote on the NFBPWC Advocacy Platform for 2022 - 2024.


    Connect with your committee and/or chapter/affiliate members and provide suggestions prior to the General Assembly in order to help shape the platform for our future.

    Platform proposals can be submitted in two ways:

    1. Click here to be taken to an online form to complete

    2. Download and complete the form here and email to as instructed in the form 

    Click here to view the current NFBPWC Advocacy Platform.

    Thank you for all you do for NFBPWC!

    Daneene Monroe Rusnak
    2nd VP of Advocacy 2020-2022

  • 16 Mar 2022 3:15 PM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)

    by 2nd VP Advocacy: Daneene Monroe Rusnak

    On March 15th 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2022, which included the long absent re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

    THANK YOU to those who took action via our digital advocacy platform and beyond! NFBPWC had 97 contacts to Senators through our OneClick politics platform.

    Click here to see a breakdown of the connections made.

    Below are a few key points about the legislation, excerpted from the Department of Justice’s Press Release about the re-authorization:

    In addition to recognizing expanded jurisdiction for American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, the VAWA re-authorization addresses numerous Department of Justice priorities, including:

    • Reauthorizing until 2027 VAWA’s vitally important grant programs, which will allow communities to provide critical services to survivors, as well as the right tools and training to make sure that responses to these crimes are survivor-centered and trauma-informed. 
    • Increasing services and support for underserved populations, including culturally specific communities, LGBTQ survivors, individuals with disabilities, immigrant survivors, older adults, and victims in rural communities, among others.
    • Closing gaps in federal sex crimes statutes and promoting accountability for law enforcement officers, by strengthening the ability to prosecute federal officers who sexually assault or abuse those in their custody, and by appropriately penalizing defendants who commit civil rights offenses involving sexual misconduct, which includes those who commit sexual assault while acting under color of law and those who commit sexual assault as part of a hate crime.
    • Enhancing efforts to reduce homicides through enforcement of federal and state firearms laws, including by enacting the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Denial Notification Act to help state law enforcement investigate and prosecute unlawful firearms purchasers and amending the Gun Control Act to make clear that the firearm prohibitions apply to domestic violence offenders convicted under municipal ordinances.
    • Improving access to justice for survivors by expanding grant funding for legal services and authorizing post-conviction legal assistance to survivors in matters arising out of their domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or sex trafficking victimization.

  • 1 Mar 2022 9:25 AM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)

    Submitted by Linda Wilson, BPW/California

    In 1911 the first International Women’s Day was designated as March 8th, but it was not until 1978 that the California Sonoma School District participated in a Women’s History Week, which included March 8th.

    In 1979 there was a three-day conference at Sarah Lawrence College on women’s history. The attendees learned about the success of the Women’s History Week from the Sonoma School District. That conference provided the seed to start Women’s History Weeks around the country.

    Excerpt from the BPW/Hollywood Susan B. Anthony award ceremony: Recipient Molly Murphy MacGregor, founder of the National Women’s History Alliance.

    Five women, most of them teachers, campaigned for a Women's History Month to "write women back into history.” The leader of the five women, Molly Murphy MacGregor, was a 24-year-old high school history teacher in Santa Rosa, California, in 1972 when she couldn't find an answer in textbooks to answer a student's question about the women's movement. 

    In February 1980 President Jimmy Carter designated the first National Women’s History Week to include March 8th.

    In 1987 the National Women’s History Project (now called the National Women’s History Alliance) petitioned Congress to designate March as Women’s History Month.

    Since 1995 U.S. Presidents have issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as Women’s History Month.

    President Biden’s proclamation for March 2022 reads in part –

    Every March, Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to honor the generations of trailblazing women and girls who have built our Nation, shaped our progress, and strengthened our character as a people. 

    Throughout our history, despite hardship, exclusion, and discrimination, women have strived and sacrificed for equity and equality in communities across the country.

    Generations of Native American women were stewards of the land and continue to lead the fight for climate justice.

    Black women fought to end slavery, advocate for civil rights, and pass the Voting Rights Act.  Suffragists helped pass the 19th Amendment to the Constitution so that no American could be denied a vote on the basis of sex.

    Standing on the shoulders of the heroines who came before them, today’s women and girls continue to carry forward the mission of ensuring our daughters have the same opportunities as our sons.

    Women of the labor movement are achieving monumental reforms to help all workers secure the better pay, benefits, and safety they deserve.  LGBTQI+ women and girls are leading the fight for justice, opportunity, and equality — especially for the transgender community.

    Women and girls continue to lead groundbreaking civil rights movements for social justice and freedom, so that everyone can realize the full promise of America.

    But despite the progress being made, women and girls — especially women and girls of color — still face systemic barriers to full participation and wider gaps in opportunity and equality.  

    The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated those disparities which have disproportionately impacted women’s labor force participation, multiplied the burden on paid and unpaid caregivers, and increased rates of gender-based violence.

    The constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade is facing an unprecedented assault as States pass increasingly onerous restrictions to critical reproductive health care and bodily autonomy.  

    Workers contend with gender and racial wage gaps that can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars denied over the course of their lifetimes.  

    The Congress sent the Equal Rights Amendment to the States for ratification 50 years ago and it is long past time that the principle of women’s equality should be enshrined in our Constitution.

    This Women’s History Month, as we reflect on the achievements of women and girls across the centuries and pay tribute to the pioneers who paved the way, let us recommit to the fight and help realize the deeply American vision of a more equal society where every person has a shot at pursuing the American dream.  

    In doing so, we will advance economic growth, our health and safety, and the security of our Nation and the world.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2022 as Women’s History Month.  

    I call upon all Americans to observe this month and to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2022, with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. 

    I also invite all Americans to visit to learn more about the vital contribution of women to our Nation’s history. 

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.” 

  • 15 Oct 2021 6:39 PM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)

    by Emily VanVleck – NFBPWC Member | Afghan Women Project Committee Member

    This past weekend was the most rewarding since becoming a part of the NFBPWC. Our club, as a part of the National-level Special Project for Afghan Women, has worked tirelessly for the last month and a half to conceptualize and implement a plan to help the displaced women from Afghanistan arriving in the US. This weekend I witnessed firsthand the fruits of our labor. Our chapter collected a donation of over 14,000 head coverings and sewing materials that we delivered to a military base where the newly arrived families are being processed. We were met by an escort who graciously answered questions and referred to the Afghans as “their guests.” 

    I was able to see Afghans sitting outside chatting and playing pickup soccer games across the yard. Our escort told us the soldiers on base love to come and play with the guests and that a soccer tournament had even been established. However, the most special part of this experience was the kids, which there were a lot of! One particular group was very excited to say hello and to give us fist bumps. After the exchanged fist bumps, one of the kids walked up and gave me a hug that absolutely melted my heart. Little did I know that was only the beginning of my blessings. After the first hug, another kid came forward to hug me, then another. Before I knew it, I was getting hugs from the whole group of kids. When it was time to say goodbye I had tears in my eyes and the biggest smile on my face.

    I have never felt so grateful and proud to be a part of an organization. When returning to college, my goal was to help people - this weekend I truly felt I was achieving that goal. It has been an exhausting route to take our project from an idea to what it is today in just over a month. Seeing the families and children waiting to begin their lives in the US made every bit of effort worthwhile. 

    I am inspired by the courage it took our Afghan allies to leave everything they knew behind to start life anew in a strange place. I am inspired by the work our military and various government agencies continue to do to support our Afghan allies. I am inspired by the numerous organizations and individuals who have come together to welcome these newest Americans to our home.

    Above all, I remain inspired by all the women I am privileged to work with at BPW. Meeting that group of kids is something I will never forget, I still cannot believe I experienced such a special moment. What started as a strenuous day of work delivering a donation turned into my biggest source of motivation and inspiration to work even harder.

  • 8 Sep 2021 3:50 PM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)

    A Message From The President

    Dear NFBPWC Members and Fellow Advocates,

    NFBPWC is in direct contact with U.S. top military personnel about the first wave of displaced Afghan people. They are safe and well cared for; receiving housing, food, medical care, and other services. 

    As their visas are being processed and others wait to be resettled, we are hearing first-hand of what we can do to help. Most of the displaced Afghan's left wearing only the clothing on their backs.  And, although women are given access to clothing and supplies at the base retail centers, the clothing designed for female military personnel is inappropriate for those who practice hijab (modest clothing).

    We've been informed that many of the Afghan women are refusing to come out of the barracks because they are embarrassed by what they have to wear and/or can access on the bases.

    NFBPWC is stepping forward to launch the Afghan Women Project -- a mission to provide new, modest undergarments (panties, bras, socks) to displaced Afghan women in the United States.

    Our first step: raise financial donations by October 31, 2021 to pay for the purchase (and shipment) of undergarments.

    Our minimum fundraising goal: $5000 USD


    I ask that you please consider donating as we work to provide this life-changing need. When donating online, please notate your intention by selecting "Afghan Women Project" in the final donation field.

    Thank you for your contribution and your support during this first phase of this project. Stay tuned for details on our progress and the next steps in our plan!

    Megan Shellman-Rickard
    2020-2022 NFBPWC President

  • 24 Aug 2021 9:51 AM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)

    Special Session on Afghanistan (August 24)

    Read the Call for Immediate Action Written Statement to protect human rights and dignity in Afghanistan with special focus on women and girls. 

    > Read Written Statement as PDF

    This a joint written statement submitted by Women's Federation for World Peace International, Biovision Stiftung für ökologische Entwicklung, International Alliance of Women, International Federation of Business and Professional Women, Soroptimist International, Universal Peace Federation, Zonta International, non-governmental organizations in general consultative status, Graduate Women International (GWI), Mothers Legacy Project, National Alliance of Women's Organizations, UFER- Unis pour l'Equité et la Fin du Racisme/ UFER - United for Equity and Ending Racism, Widows Rights International, non-governmental organizations in special consultative status.

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