women | KERA News

women

Lauren Johnson speaks at a rally for legislation to address the issues affecting women in the criminal justice system.
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Texas incarcerates more women than any other state. The number of women in Texas prisons has ballooned since 1980, growing by nearly 1,000% – twice the rate of men. 

Susan Morrison was two years old when her dad left.

Her mother, Eleanor, was left to care for Susan and her two siblings. The experience led Susan on a journey to change the Texas Constitution to make sure other kids didn't have the same experience she did growing up.

Remember the planned redesign of the $20 bill that was going to include the first African American woman to appear on U.S. currency?

Well, don't expect to see Harriet Tubman on your $20 any time soon.

Gaby Gemetti thought she was failing. After having a second child, she struggled to be a good mom and also a good employee.

"I felt like I wasn't a good mother," she says. "I was waking up in the middle of the night thinking about, 'Oh, my presentation,' or just work in general."

So, even though Gemetti was moving up the management ranks at a top tech company in Silicon Valley, she gave up the job four years ago to stay home in Santa Clara, Calif. As hard as it was, Gemetti's decision was particularly driven by her son's needs, when he started requiring regular therapy.

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

Lori Lightfoot officially became Chicago's first black female and openly gay mayor on Monday. She immediately laid out a four-point plan for safety, education, stability and integrity during her 40-minute inauguration speech.

Halima Aden, a Somali American and Muslim model, is the first woman to pose in a burkini for Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, which hits newsstands Wednesday.

"Growing up in the States, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab," Aden says in a video for Sports Illustrated, as she models several colorful head-to-toe swimwear designs. "Don't be afraid to be the first."

For the eight-and-a-half years she spent in prison, Kristan Kerr looked forward to one thing every month: a visit from her daughter, Chloe. Visit by visit, she watched Chloe grow from a toddler to nearly a teenager.

"I just watched her grow all the way up," Kerr says. "One visit, she couldn't read, and then the next visit she was reading something to me."

Convicted for aggravated robbery in 2011 – she was the driver — Kerr says she wasn't making good choices back then, and it meant missing out on a lot.

Many women have a hard time admitting — even to themselves — that they're being abused by their husband or partner. Suzanne Dubus' first husband hit her, but still, she didn't initially identify herself as a victim of abuse.

"I attributed it to alcohol," Dubus says. "I knew that his father abused his mother. And I thought, 'Well, this is just poor learning, and I can help him with this.' "

At a gallery in Seoul's fashionable Gangnam district, the walls are lined with stark black-and-white photographic portraits of young women. Some smile, some stare at the camera impassively. Some are naked. All have short hair and no makeup.

It's the third such exhibition by South Korean photographer Jeon Bora, who seeks to document women who reject the country's standards of beauty and the social pressure to conform.

The women liken this pressure to a corset and have dubbed their movement, which began last year, "escape the corset."

From Texas Standard:

Many more women and young children are migrating to the U.S. than in years past. But the academic research about their experiences is limited.

Decrying the sorry state of salary and support for women's hockey, around 200 female players announced Thursday they won't play the game at the professional level across North America, until they get a league with "the resources that professional hockey demands and deserves."

U.S. soccer coach Jill Ellis has named the 23 players who will play for the women's national team in the 2019 Women's World Cup in France next month. The U.S. team will look to defend its championship from the last tournament in 2015, when it defeated Japan in the final.

From Texas Standard:

Texas news outlets often report on death penalty stories, given that the state leads the nation in prisoner executions. But rarely do reports tell the stories of women on death row. Those women are housed in a prison in Gatesville, and as I wait for the guards to bring over inmate Linda Carty, I notice the room is very different from the crammed spaces where I’ve interviewed men on death row. There’s still glass separating us, but this room is spacious and well-lit.

Eight Democratic presidential candidates participated in the She the People presidential forum at Texas Southern University in Houston on Wednesday. The event was billed as the "first-ever presidential forum focused on women of color" – a key demographic within the Democratic Party.

Dallas County Republican Chairwoman Missy Shorey.
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Dallas Republican Party Chairwoman Missy Shorey has died. She was 47, according to multiple media reports.

Shorey was a local trailblazer – the first woman elected to lead the Dallas GOP in 2017. She was reportedly considering a bid for Congress next year against U.S. Rep. Colin Allred of Dallas for the Texas 32nd District.

Virginia Hall is one of the most important American spies most people have never heard of.

Her story is on display at the CIA Museum inside the spy agency headquarters in Langley, Va. — but this is off-limits to the public.

"She was the most highly decorated female civilian during World War II," said Janelle Neises, the museum's deputy director, who's providing a tour.

Domestic violence is common among adults, and women are most frequently the victims. In fact, nearly half of women killed by homicide in the United States are killed by their former or current intimate partners.

Now a new study finds that this kind of violence also poses a risk to the lives of adolescent girls.

The study found that of the more than 2,000 adolescents killed between 2003 and 2016, nearly 7 percent — 150 teens — were killed by their current or former intimate partners.

Megan Stack, a former foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, gave up a life of covering war and natural disasters when she had her first child in Beijing.

She quickly hired a nanny and soon realized how dependent she was on this woman — something she writes about in her book Women's Work: A Reckoning with Work and Home.

Stack spoke with NPR about the book — and the difficult decision to write about her own family.

John Raoux / Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Baylor lost a star player, then the rest of its 17-point lead. But the Lady Bears, led by the ever-poised Chloe Jackson, kept their composure.

Updated at 12:49 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives approved legislation renewing the Violence Against Women Act with new provisions that restrict gun ownership and expand transgender rights.

The National Rifle Association opposed the bill — putting GOP lawmakers in a tough position of voting against a measure protecting victims of domestic and sexual violence or opposing the politically powerful gun lobby.

The vote was 263 to 158, with 33 Republicans joining all but one Democrat to pass the measure. One GOP member voted present.

Updated Wednesday at 8:35 a.m. ET

Lori Lightfoot has won Chicago's mayoral election, which capped a historic campaign between two African-American women who branded themselves as progressive and independent in a city known for its political machine.

After eight years of rule by Rahm Emanuel — a centrist Democrat who previously was a White House chief of staff and congressman — the results of Tuesday's balloting mean Chicago will now be led by a mayor who has never held elected office.

It's been 20 years since Carolyn DeFord, a member of the Puyallup tribe, last saw her mother, Leona Kinsey in La Grande, Ore.

DeFord was raised by Kinsey in a trailer park in La Grande. She remembers her mother as independent and self-sufficient, working odd jobs to scrape by.

Beto O'Rourke got lots of attention from his campaign kickoff in Keokuk, Iowa. And thanks to some of his comments, not all of that attention was good.

At the start of his speech, O'Rourke referenced a call from his wife, Amy, "who's back in El Paso, Texas, where she is raising, sometimes with my help, Ulysses, who's 12 years old, Molly, who's 10, and their little brother, Henry, who is 8 years old."

To some Democratic voters, that seemed like a flip acknowledgment that he was handing off parenting duties to his wife while he pursued his political dreams.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

That is not one small step for women.

History was supposed to be made Friday when, for the first time, two female astronauts were scheduled to do a spacewalk together outside the International Space Station. However, one of the astronauts was switched out this week because of a lack of "spacesuit availability."

Sex work is illegal in much of the United States, but the debate over whether it should be decriminalized is heating up.

Former California Attorney General and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris recently came out in favor of decriminalizing it, as long as it's between two consenting adults.

There are 111,616 incarcerated women in the United States, a 7-fold increase since 1980. Some of these women are pregnant, but amid reports of women giving birth in their cells or shackled to hospital beds, prison and public health officials have no hard data on how many incarcerated women are pregnant, or on the outcomes of those pregnancies.

Years from now, when people look back on the aftermath of Russia's attack on the 2016 election, a key part of that history will have been written by women.

Most of the federal judges in Washington, D.C. — who have been quietly managing the grand jury process and presiding over arraignments and guilty pleas for nearly two years — happen to be women.

"I find that I am bored with anything I understand," Karen Uhlenbeck once said - and that sense of curiosity is part of why she won the prestigious Abel Prize, from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Uhlenbeck, an influential mathematician who was for decades a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and who has sought to encourage women to study mathematics, has become the first woman to win the Abel Prize — often called the Nobel Prize of math.

From Texas Standard:

As the 2019 legislative session continues, Texas Standard is talking with members about some of the bills they’ve filed, and what they hope their legislation will accomplish.

State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, filed HB 311, which would exempt feminine hygiene products from state sales tax.

Emma Haruka Iwao grew up fascinated by pi. Now, she's computed over 31 trillion of its digits.

Iwao set the newest Guinness World Record for the most accurate value of pi on Thursday. The Google employee and her team calculated 31,415,926,535,897 digits of pi – crushing a 2016 record by trillions of digits.

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