empowering women, girls and their families to achieve equal opportunities in their personal and professional lives


Posts Tagged: Women



I became employed in 1987 by Pratt & Whitney at the Middletown plant and started attending my Union’s monthly meetings.  I would listen to legislative issues and reports that Lori would give.  I was impressed with her knowledge of politics and the role they play in our daily lives.  To this day she still amazes me with her knowledge and caring about women’s issues, politics that affect working families and gay rights.

Lori went to work at the CT AFL-CIO as their Secretary Treasurer and was the chief lobbyist representing the Unions of Connecticut.  She would tackle some of the most important issues we were facing at the time, a living wage, healthcare for all, firefighter and police medical issues of hypertension, Family Medical Leave, Gay Rights, and raising the minimum wage for working families, just to name a few.  Lori has represented women within our workplaces to erase the wage discrepancies between men and women, always working to raise us toward the glass ceiling. 

Lori is capable of tackling any issue that is thrown at her.  She is very humble and does not always take the credit that is due her.  Lori represented many of our Union members when she was still in the shop at Pratt.  She fought hard for what she believed was fair and just for our members.  She was a shop steward, recording secretary and then vice president of our Local before she went to work at the State Fed.  She came from a family of three older brothers, where her mother and father both worked.  Lori has a drive to always do what is fair for the underdog.  She also hates to take credit for all of her endeavors.  She would much rather see her friends and colleagues get credit for what she has helped them with.

Whenever I think of Lori, friendship and commitment comes to mind.  Lori has a fierce commitment to always remember her family and friends in all she does.  Nothing means more to her than family.  Lori is always committed to helping along her family and friends by mentoring and assisting in whatever the issue may be. 

Lori has long been committed to raising the status of women, be it in the workplace or within our personal lives.  She fights hard to ensure women are treated with fairness and as equals, in all we do.  She believes women must be on an equal footing with their male peers.  Lori has been an advocate of women for as long as I have known her, always guiding, mentoring and supporting us. 

Lori is a very humble person.  She hates to receive accolades as she feels she “didn’t do anything special that someone else wouldn’t do, too.”  Lori has been such a huge help within my own career.  I have been so fortunate to have such a caring and loving friend in my life, both with work and my personal life.  I am so proud of all her accomplishments!

Shirley Dickes is the Recording Secretary of C.A.N.E.L. Lodge 700 and the 2009 recipient of the CWEALF Maria Miller Stewart Award “One Woman Makes a Difference.”

CWEALF’s Generating Girls’ Opportunities (G2O) initative engages girls, parents, and teachers in expanding girls’ educational opportunities.
Read more on our website!

CWEALF’s Generating Girls’ Opportunities (G2O) initative engages girls, parents, and teachers in expanding girls’ educational opportunities.

Read more on our website!

For Women’s History Month, we asked CWEALF staff and volunteers what inspires them. In case you missed it, check out our Facebook for the captions to go along with these pictures.

Who inspires YOU?

For Women’s History Month, we asked CWEALF staff and volunteers what inspires them. In case you missed it, check out our Facebook for the captions to go along with these pictures.

Who inspires YOU?

Happy 14th Anniversary as Executive Director, Alice!

In case you missed Dr. Pritchard’s “Reflections From the Current Executive Director,” check it out here!

Don’t forget to attend tomorrow!

Don’t forget to attend tomorrow!


Did you read our recent post, Breaking Down Barriers to Women in Politics and become frustrated by the lack of ladies in politics? This absence is due to multiple systemic factors that make it more difficult for women to run for political office, such as implicit bias. Luckily, two upcoming events are targeted to assisting women interested in breaking down those barriers to be involved in politics.

On Wednesday March 12th, the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) is hosting Women’s Day at the Capitol entitled “Journalism & Gender: When Women Report on Politics and Public Policy.” The day will begin with networking at 9:30 followed by a welcome from constitutional officers.  Next, a panel of female political reporters will share their experiences in the field.  Lunch is provided after the panel, another opportunity for attendees to network with one another.

After PCSW’s program, participants have the opportunity to learn how to manage a political campaign or run for a political office.  Specifically, CT NOW is hosting an informational forum with Patti Russo, Executive Director of the Yale Women’s Campaign School at 1:45 in the North Lobby of the LOB. CT NOW is offering two full scholarships* to cover the cost of attending the annual summer session. The Yale Women’s Campaign School tuition costs $1,250 and runs from June 9-June 13, 2014. The informational forum will allow participants to learn more about the Yale Women’s Campaign School, how to apply for the scholarship, and ask questions.

*Please note: Eligible women for the full scholarships are pro-choice, pro-marriage equality and interested in holding office in Connecticut.

Written by Nikki Seymour. Nikki is a first year Master’s in Social Work (policy concentration) student at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work and a Research & Evaluation intern at CWEALF.

"When a pipeline leaks, we don’t blame the water. We fix the pipe and design the next one to leak less. Why do we blame women who leave STEM fields?"


Frances Hocutt (via scigrrrl)

Interesting question!

(via gender-and-science)

Source: scigrrrl


In recent years, several measures have been taken to advance gender equality in today’s workforce and political environment.  For Connecticut, the 2013 election became a historical turning point for women as many prevailed in highly contested political races within the state.   While this defining moment promises future success for female leaders, women still remain widely underrepresented in leadership roles.  Presently, women constitute only 14 percent of the state’s Congressional Delegation, 29 percent of the Connecticut General Assembly, and 25 percent of municipal governing bodies.  What’s striking about these statistics is that studies show that women tend to fare well against men in political campaigns. The existing disparity among female representation in politics can be attributed to a variety of societal factors that impact a woman’s decision to pursue a political seat.  Nonetheless, women are vital to the political arena as they provide a perspective unique to their male counterparts. 

Women face a range of barriers regarding their political involvement.  The most prevalent is the gender bias within American society, which urges women to take on more of a domestic identity than professional or community leader.  This implicit bias often shapes a woman’s political and occupational experience and work availability which ultimately impacts their success within the political arena.  These factors contribute to the common lack of political ambition among women and girls.   

Furthermore, while women fare well against men in political campaigns, women are often presented with obstacles during the campaign process.  These include bias within political party recruitment, securing fundraising sources, and fewer network connections within the “political pipeline.”  Studies show women are less likely to be considered during political party recruitment and endorsement.  Without party endorsement, candidates are frequently put at a disadvantage.  In addition, men and women candidates usually raise comparable campaign funds; however, women are more likely to have difficulty attracting funders from traditional sources.  These factors derive from the limited access women have to political networking.  With fewer women in politics than men, female candidates lack networking and mentoring opportunities.  This again disempowers women from seeking and obtaining political leadership positions.

Having more female leaders within Connecticut would not only encourage young women and girls to pursue non-traditional professions, it would also benefit the productivity and functionality of our governing bodies.   In fact, female political leaders are more likely to advocate for women’s rights and social justice issues and offer a different perspective in addressing public policy.  To learn more about how CWEALF works to promote women in policy and leadership, read our recap on the 3rd Annual Women’s Policy Day.

Nina Candels is a CWEALF social work intern from the University of Saint Joseph, who is specializing in policy and the Campaign for a Working Connecticut.


Ana is the mother of a seven year old son who sought CWEALF’s assistance during her divorce. A stay at home mom during the marriage, Ana was mentally and verbally abused by her ex-husband, and not allowed to control any of the family’s finances. She also faced a language barrier during the proceedings, as she and her ex-husband met in Mexico. After being referred to CWEALF and our Community Advocate, Ana was able to go to court and obtain an alimony award that helped her pay her rent, and an increased child support award. For Ana, alimony means being able to get back on her feet and providing a better life for herself and her son.

On Wednesday, January 29, 2014 the Alimony Commission of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Law Review Commission held a public hearing on the topic of reforming the state’s system of awarding alimony.  The Commission was created by Public Law 2013-213, and tasked with studying the fairness and adequacy of Connecticut’s current system of alimony orders.  Public Law 2013-213 indicated that the Commission should collect empirical data pertaining to alimony in Connecticut, and present its proposed recommendations to the General Assembly by February 1, 2014.

Currently in Connecticut, alimony orders are calculated using a case-by-case method. Judges are required to consider and balance a number of factors including the age, health, occupation, earning capacity, and education of the parties involved in the divorce. In recent years, several attempts have been made to standardize this case-by-case methodology into a set process by imposing a guideline or formula for calculation. Reducing the determination of alimony orders into a simple formula or set of guidelines would be harmful for the financial and emotional security of many women, men, and children, and therefore CWEALF opposes this change. Any proposed formula would likely not take into account the lost earning potential of women who voluntarily leave the workforce to care for children, or the difficulties of maintaining primary custody of a child with inadequate child support payments.

Additionally, an alimony formula would negatively affect victims of domestic violence. Victims with few economic resources could be forced to stay with an abusive spouse in order to stretch their marriage to a sufficient length to obtain alimony payments under the formula. Further, because every marriage is unique and cannot simply be boiled down to a numerical calculation, we support keeping the current system for alimony awards as is, allowing for judicial discretion. In a public meeting on February 4, 2014, the Commission agreed it would not recommend guidelines for awarding alimony orders to the Law Review Commission.

The Commission also focused on issues of cohabitation involved in sustaining alimony orders. Proposals have been made to amend Connecticut’s alimony laws to include a presumption that alimony can be modified or terminated once a former spouse moves in with another person after the divorce. Such a presumption incorrectly assumes that an alimony recipient is bettering their financial circumstances by moving in with someone; further, it would prevent former spouses from moving in with friends or family to help pay the bills or provide care and support. CWEALF supports leaving all modification decisions in the hands of a judge, cohabitation or not.

There is no standardized form of divorce, so it doesn’t make sense that there be a standardized way of determining alimony orders. Each marriage is unique and complicated, and CWEALF supports a model of alimony awards that allows experienced judges to weigh critical factors against each other in making alimony determinations in each distinctive situation.

Photo by Rawle C. Jackman, “Mother & Child.” 03/29/2011. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Kaitlyn Fydenkevez is a legal intern at CWEALF, and a second year law student at the University of Connecticut School of Law. You can read more from her at kaitlynfydenkevez.com/blog/.

CWEALF’ Generating Girls’ Opportunity (G2O) Initiative will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year! Here’s an overview of the work that has been done so far.

CWEALF’ Generating Girls’ Opportunity (G2O) Initiative will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year! Here’s an overview of the work that has been done so far.