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Women in the News + One-Third of Women's Jobs Deemed 'Essential'

April 20: Badass women and the news that affects them

Photo courtesy of GoodStudio

Company Culture

  • Ahead of Land O’Lakes’ (3.6 stars) 100-year anniversary next year, the Minnesota-based farmer cooperative has finally given its logo a much-needed update. Most notably, the new design will no longer feature the image of a kneeling Native American woman that critics have long denounced as a caricature of indigenous women. In a statement, Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford did not address the removal of the woman from the design and instead touted the brand’s shift to featuring farmers more centrally in its packaging. CNN 

  • Next month, Apple (3.5 stars) and Google (3.8 stars) are set to launch a series of updates to their smartphone operating systems that will use Bluetooth signals to track potential COVID-19 cases. The companies claim that this “contact tracing” technology will disappear as soon as the pandemic ends, but experts worry that the implementation of such an advanced tracking tool could yield lasting privacy concerns for smartphone users. Vox

  • According to a report published on Thursday by the Athena Coalition and Hedge Clippers, two workers' rights organizations, Amazon (3.0 stars) has failed to comply with CDC guidelines on how to clean facilities with coronavirus cases. More than half of the company’s 110 warehouses in the U.S. have reported cases of the virus, and the report’s authors warn that the number of cases in Amazon warehouses is likely to exponentially increase in the coming weeks if the company continues to neglect CDC recommendations. VICE

In the News

  • Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tina Smith (D-MN) are introducing a proposal to address the crisis facing the nation’s child care workers. Their plan would set aside $50 billion in the next coronavirus relief package to go toward providing hazard pay and other support to child care workers still caring for the children of essential workers, to help shuttered providers keep paying their staff while they are closed, and to bolster the industry beyond the pandemic. Vox

  • According to a New York Times analysis, one in three jobs held by women has been deemed essential, and nonwhite women are more likely than anyone to work an essential job. One of those women was Leilani Jordan. Jordan, a 27-year-old grocery store worker with a disability, told her mother she wanted to keep working at Giant Food so she could continue to help people during the pandemic. Giant Food was not at the time providing its employees with gloves, hand sanitizer, or masks, and Jordan contracted the virus and died. After her death, Giant Food presented Jordan’s mother with a certificate honoring her daughter’s six years of service to the store, as well as her last paycheck: $20.64. Jordan’s story illustrates the great risk that our essential workers face every day to keep the American people fed, despite a lack of employer protection and shamefully low compensation. CBS

  • A Justice Department report found such widespread and rampant sexual abuse of inmates at New Jersey’s only state prison for women that it concluded the prison had violated the inmates’ constitutional protections from cruel and unusual punishment. Inmates have complained for decades about the sexual abuse they faced at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton, N.J.—the problem wasn’t merely a few sadistic bad actors but a systemic disregard for the safety of inmates that went all the way up to its administration. It’s a disturbing trend playing out in prisons across the country, as similar investigations begin to take place in states like Mississippi and Alabama. NY Times

Around the World

  • Canada: Sixteen people are dead after a gunman disguised as a police officer went on a rampage across Nova Scotia Saturday in what is now the deadliest shooting event in the country’s history. Officials say the suspected shooter, a 51-year-old man, is also dead, but they do not know his motives for the attacks. Mass shootings are rare in Canada, and fairly stringent gun control measures were implemented after a university shooting left 14 dead in 1989—possession of an unregistered handgun or rapid fire weapon is illegal, and gun training, as well as universal background checks, references, and personal risk assessments are required to obtain a fireman. The Associated Press

  • Poland: Poland has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, with the procedure being illegal except in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal abnormalities, or risk of death to the mother. However, the reintroduction of a bill to limit even those exceptions has abortion rights activists concerned that the Polish government will take advantage of the quarantine, when people cannot take to the streets in protest, to restrict abortion rights even further. The Guardian

  • Brazil: As COVID-19 hits Brazil, the government is scrambling to find a way to protect the Amazon’s indigenous tribes. The country’s 800,000 indigenous citizens are especially vulnerable to dying of the virus due to their lack of access to hospitals in the Amazonas regions and to PPE. Not to mention the fact that President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the threat coronavirus poses and fired Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta. Bloomberg

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By Mitra Norowzi

Contributor

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