>>North Carolina saw big changes in 2013, and Women AdvaNCe writers offered insight and perspective on the many ways women’s lives were affected. Here’s a look back at the most-read stories that appeared on the Women AdvaNCe web site this year.
1. Get Ready to Rumble, March 25, 2013
Women in Durham donned wrestling masks and capes to bring attention to the gap between working-class people and the people in power. New North Carolina tax laws mean more taxes for the working class and fewer taxes for corporations and the wealthy.
2. Sacrificing for Child Care, April 12, 2013
State budget cuts robbed 1,200 families of childcare subsidies this summer—giving little hope to the 40,000 other North Carolina families on the wait list. Currently 80,000 North Carolina children whose parents make less than $25,000 a year benefit from financial assistance. The budget cuts have taken a toll on childcare centers in low-income neighborhoods—some of which have been forced to close.
3. A Toast to North Carolina’s Female Brewers, May 21, 2013
The Old North State expanded its culinary kingdom this year beyond Cheerwine and barbecue: we officially have more craft breweries than any other state in the South.
Kristie Nystedt of Raleigh has made history as the first president and CEO of a brewery in North Carolina—and she has since been joined by three other female owners of Bombshell Brewery in Holly Springs.
4. Why I’m Being Arrested, June 6, 2013
Sixty-year old Raleigh native, Carol Teal, walks us through her decision to get arrested at a Moral Monday rally. Teal is one of more than 900 North Carolinians who got arrested for civil disobedience at the North Carolina legislature this summer. Moral Monday attendees protested the state government’s decision to cut unemployment benefits, refuse a Medicaid expansion, enact inequitable tax reform, and restrict women’s access to birth control.
5. >> Reproductive Rights Restricted, July 7, 2013
In a move that attracted national media attention, the North Carolina legislature imposed further restrictions on abortion providers. Clinics that provide abortion and other women’s health care services are facing high costs associated with satisfying the new medical standards.
6. NC Teachers Say Goodbye to Pay Raises, Hello to “Stipends”, Aug. 8, 2013
The newly-created Education Innovation Fund awards one-time stipends of $10,000 to teachers who have been deemed “the best” by their peers. North Carolina already ranks 46th in the country for overall teacher pay. With only 1% of teachers receiving the one-time stipend of $10,000 and 25% of our teachers receiving an extra $2,000 annually, where does that leave the other 74%? Some education policy analysts worry that the state is seeing the beginning of an exodus of teachers.
7. The Mood of Women, Sept. 9, 2013
A recent report found that 63% of American women feel that their lives and those of their families have become harder—or much harder—in the last two years. Women worry foremost about the economy, the report found. We worry about affording retirement, family members falling ill, and having enough money to cover our monthly expenses. The fact that women still only earn 77 cents to every dollar men earn certainly doesn’t help.
8. Student Loans Drag us All Down, Oct. 10, 13
Adjusting for inflation, the cost of a four-year college has increased by 44% in the last twelve years while the median household income has dropped by 9%. The government meanwhile has reduced spending on public education, causing colleges to offer fewer and skimpier financial aid packages. Student loans make up the difference. Today’s Americans collectively owe more than $1 trillion in student debt—and it has created a major drag on the economic recovery.
9. Don’t Hibernate, Liberate, Nov. 11, 2013
Women in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland report some of the highest levels of happiness in the world—and it’s no coincidence that these countries treat women as equals. Norway gives both parents 12 months of parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child. Sweden requires that half of all art scholarships and grants go to female artists. To tap into some of that Nordic happiness, we recommend exercise and community activism.
10. It’s about Time: The National Paid Leave Act would Help the US Catch Up with Most of the World, Dec. 12, 2013
The United States stands with Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and Lesotho as one of the only countries in the world without paid maternity leave. The Family Medical Leave Act excludes 40% of the American workforce. In North Carolina, working families have absolutely no guarantee of paid leave and no guarantee of pay when taking time off to care for sick children or elderly parents. A new federal law called the FAMILY Act would change all that. It would create a national insurance program allowing workers to receive a portion of their pay when taking time off for medical or family reasons. Keep an eye out for the progress of the FAMILY Act through Congress in 2014.
Did your favorite post miss this list? Let us know in the comments!