The Daily Rundown — The latest news affecting women & girls in our region.

— The Washington Post is previewing the book Notes From the Cracked Ceiling: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and What It Will Take for a Woman to Win.  The book takes a look at the 2008 election along with the careers of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  Click here to read more about Anne E. Kornblut’s book.

— A Pentagon-appointed task force has released a report that criticizes the military’s efforts to prevent sexual abuse.  The report points out that deployment involves “unique stresses” that may make victims reluctant to report abuse, or that allow predators to believe that they won’t be held accountable for misconduct.  Click here to read more.

— A Washington Post writer took some kudos and criticsm from readers after a story about how working moms handle child care.  Click here to find out why some readers were so upset.

The Daily Rundown — The latest news affecting women & girls in our region.

— Earlier today the Senate voted “to reinvent the nation’s health care system, passing a bill to guarantee access to health insurance for tens of millions of Americans and to rein in health costs as proposed by President Obama.”  Click here to read more about the vote.

— The District’s largest needle exchange program is running out of funds.  At times, Prevention Works has been unable to provide its clients with new, clean needles.  This Washington Post article details how the cash flow problem has been “simmering” for awhile now.

— After a D.C. street proves impassable even for snow plows, a city employee arrives with a Christmas tree and gifts for a snowbound family.  The Washington Post has more on the “random act of kindness” here.

— To perform your own act of kindness, or give a last-minute gift, please make an end of year donation to Washington Area Women’s Foundation.  Click here to change the lives of women and girls in our community.

The Daily Rundown — The latest news affecting women & girls in our region.

— Parents consider cutbacks but still feel compelled to fill kids’ stockings.  Read about their choices by clicking here.

— Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says job growth should resume by springtime.  Click here to watch his latest interview.

— President Obama visited a Boys & Girls Club in Northeast D.C., where he was schooled on what kids really want for Christmas (for many, iPods and video games are more desirable than bikes). Click here to read more.

Please feel free to comment below, or join the conversation on Facebook at

A Gift That Really Gives Back to Us All — A Donation to The Women's Foundation

Well, the final countdown is here!  We’re way past 12 days ’til Christmas (although there’s still a little time left until Kwanzaa) and, if you’re like me, that “monster snowstorm” we just had put you way behind in the gift-gathering process.  If you’re still looking for the perfect gift, I have a suggestion: contribute to Washington Area Women’s Foundation on behalf of someone on your gift list.  No book, or sweater, or fruitcake, or gift card could possibly be better than giving someone the knowledge that they inspired you to make a donation on their behalf.  Your gift will let that person know that she/he is the reason that someone’s life will change in the New Year.  Just click here to get started and be sure to fill out the “tribute name” field.

Your donation could help a woman buy a home for her family with a little help from Capital Area Asset Builders.  It could help Interstages give middle school girls the support and the confidence they need to become outstanding women.  Your donation could go to an organization like Vehicles for Change, which helps families get cars so they can go to work and school and doctor’s appointments.  That donation could make sure A Wider Circle continues to provide the “health, hope, and human connection” that gets a homeless woman and her children out of a shelter, and furnishes their home with beds and a crib.

A donation to Washington Area Women’s Foundation is not the kind of gift that is available at the mall, or that is wrapped up and placed under a tree.  But it is the type of gift that embodies the spirit of the holidays and gets us all a little closer to peace on earth.

We realize this is a difficult year for some people to make donations, no matter how badly they might want to.  That’s why we’re also offering you the opportunity to tell someone how much she means to you and educate her about what The Women’s Foundation does.  Based on our Be That Woman video, our free holiday eCards are a way for you to show your appreciation to someone who has been an inspiration in your life.  And by bringing someone new into The Women’s Foundation family, you might inspire her to learn more about what we do and how she can help.

Please click here to make a donation.

Click here to send holiday eCards.

The Daily Rundown — The latest news affecting women & girls in our region.

— An early morning vote in the Senate put Democrats two-thirds of the way to their goal of passing a healthcare reform bill before Christmas.  Republicans will continue to try to delay voting on the bill.  The last vote is scheduled to take place tomorrow afternoon.  Click here to read more details.

— A local free health clinic is being profiled on Huffington Post for helping a D.C. family with health issues stay afloat.  Read more here.

— For the newly unemployed, one of the hardest changes they face is getting used to the routine of not having a routine.  The Washington Post has the details.

— This weekend’s winter snow didn’t stop dozens of kids from celebrating the holidays.  They attended a party thrown for 120 homeless children in the District.  You can read more by clicking here.

Got something to say? Comment below, or join the conversation on Facebook:

The Daily Rundown — The latest news affecting women & girls in our region.

— Some residents of an Alexandria public housing complex are upset over orders to relocate.  This Washington Post article details the difficulties that some residents are facing, and explains why they have to relocate.

— Three local residents, including a D.C. AIDS activist, were named Rhodes Scholars over the weekend.  Click here to find out who they are.

— “From an economic standpoint, will 2010 be the year of the woman?”  Nomi Prins takes a look at that possibility in a blog post on Huffington Post.

— A handful of schools, including one in Washington, are working to improve early education by experimenting with new cirriculums to teach math to preschoolers.  Some have found that preschoolers are able to learn simple division.  Click here for details.

Have something to say?  Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook:

The Daily Rundown — The latest news affecting women & girls in our region.

— Later today, Mayor Adrian Fenty will sign legislation that legalizes same-sex marriage in Washington, DC.  After the bill is signed, it goes to Congress for review.  To read about the historic location that was selected for the bill signing, click here.

— First there’s the biggest shopping day of the year.  Then, the biggest online shopping day of the year.  But did you know there’s a biggest giving day of the year, too?  It’s coming up soon!  For details click here.  And to give to The Women’s Foundation, please click here!

— And, this has nothing to do with our region, but the girls in this Daily Show clip were too smart and sassy to pass up!  They definitely have more sense then certain adults who are creating political chaos in this country….

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Obama’s Socialist Christmas Ornament Program
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Too Many Warts on This Frog: Relationship Issues in "The Princess and the Frog"

Tiana and Prince Naveen in Disney's "The Princess and the Frog"

Earlier this week, I went to check out Disney’s newest animated movie The Princess and the Frog.   I actually had no real interest in seeing a G-rated movie (it’s been years since the last time I saw one) but I was curious and was willing to make the sacrifice because a) I wanted to support Disney’s first movie featuring a black princess, and b) if there was anything to complain about, I wanted to know immediately.  Overall, I don’t have too much to whine about, but I did have one huge problem with the movie that had more to do with the frog than the princess.

To give an overview of the plot: the movie takes place during the Jazz Age in New Orleans, where Tiana is working hard to make her dreams a reality.  She wants to open her own restaurant, and she’s working two waitressing jobs to save up enough money for a down payment on a building.  Meanwhile, her childhood friend Charlotte, who has always been spoiled by her wealthy father, only has dreams and aspirations to marry a handsome prince.  Enter handsome prince Naveen of Maldonia, who is visiting New Orleans for unspecified reasons.  Naveen gets lured into some voodoo mischief by Dr. Facilier, the “Shadow Man,” and is turned into a frog.  Mistaking Tiana for a princess, Naveen convinces her to break the spell by kissing him.  Tempted by the idea that he’s really wealthy and will give her money for her restaurant when he’s human again, she kisses him and is turned into a frog herself.  The two then embark on a journey through the bayou to find a priestess who can break the spell.

Since The Princess and the Frog is about as subtle as an Adam Sandler movie, the main lesson was easy enough for a small child to figure out: working hard is enjoyable, rewarding, and will allow you to follow your dreams, man or no man.  But a man can – and probably should – be part of your dream, too.

I went into the movie appreciating the fact that Tiana didn’t look like all the other Disney princesses, but she had a few other qualities they didn’t have either.  First, for her, work is neither punishment nor did she feel the need to sing happily while cleaning up after other people (she does sing while cooking for others, but it’s happening in her own imaginary restaurant, so I was ok with that).  She seems courageous, and doesn’t need rescuing.  She sings better than all the other Disney princesses (thanks to the voice of Anika Noni Rose).  Her only flaws appear to be that she works too hard, doesn’t have fun, and is accused of being a “stick in the mud.”  I also really enjoyed her childhood friend, Charlotte, a bright, energetic, spoiled man-eater, who does something unexpectedly charming by the end of the film.

My biggest problem with the movie was Prince Naveen.  The man is triflin’.  He doesn’t really appear to have any redeeming qualities other than being handsome and a good dancer.  He’s never worked before, doesn’t have any money because his parents cut him off for partying too much, and is a womanizer.  Example: his part of the song When We’re Human includes the lyrics “A redhead on my left arm/ A brunette on my right/ A blonde or two to hold the candles/ That seems just about right.”  Ick.  Throughout most of the movie, he does nothing that would lead anyone to believe that he is mature, sensible, or even capable of taking care of himself.  And, of course, Tiana falls in love with him.  Girrrrl…

I don’t want to complain too much.  The movie has a lot of good messages, but I really wish Prince Naveen wasn’t such a fixer-upper.  We all have our fantasy partners, but it wouldn’t have killed Disney to have given the guy other positive attributes aside from hair that flops in his face (what is up with that, anyway?), and an ability to have fun.  Hard work is important, but so are love and relationships, and I think it’s critical to give girls positive messages about that, too.  Messages that let them know they should be equal to their partners, that you can’t change someone, and that the most rakish, irresponsible man is NOT marriage material.

I walked away from the theater feeling that, no matter how hard Disney tried to break the mold, they still stuffed poor Tiana back into the “married and lived happily ever after” princess role.  But I guess that’s impossible to avoid.  In all the Disney princess films I’ve seen, the princess comes from a vulnerable, meager background while the prince is handsome but has serious character flaws (hey, Aladdin was an indigent criminal and The Beast was, literally, a vicious animal).

Perhaps my standards are too high for a movie that has a trumpet-playing alligator and a talking, Cajun firefly, but I’ll still wish on “Evangeline” for a movie with a prince who’s charming enough to deserve a princess.

The Daily Rundown — The latest news affecting women & girls in our region.

— A Prince George’s County woman who has been battling HIV and breast cancer may be evicted from her home today because a DC program that was supposed to pay a portion of her rent often sent the money in late.  You can watch her story by clicking here.

— A suspected serial rapist accused of attacking women along the east coast since 1997 has apparently struck again in the Washington, DC region.  Click here for more details.

— Citigroup, Inc. has suspended home foreclosures for the holidays, giving temporary relief to about 4,000 borrowers.  The suspension will last until January 17th.  To read more, click here.

Want to sound off on any of these stories?  Leave a comment below.  Or join the conversation on Facebook:!

Weekly Round-Up: News and Analysis on Women and Poverty (Week ending December 11, 2009)

The latest news, analysis and opinion on the state of low-income women and their families from Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity.

Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, a national foundation-led initiative, is excited to collaborate with the Women’s Foundation to bring you the latest news and analysis on women and poverty.  

Spotlight is the go-to site for news and ideas about fighting poverty.   

For daily updates and links to past articles, check out “Women and Poverty.” It’s a new section of our site with a comprehensive collection of recent news and analysis on women and poverty.   

Along with these daily updates, continue to visit the Washington Area Women’s Foundation for our weekly rundown of the top news stories on women and poverty every Friday.  

Here’s this week’s news: 

  •  A House and Senate Appropriations conference committee approved legislation that would allow the District of Columbia to use local tax dollars to help low-income women pay for abortions, according to the Washington Post.
  •  The Wall Street Journal highlights the story of Linda Conti, who worries she will have to rely on Social Security since unemployment is forcing her into early retirement.
  •  The Washington Post reports that 20 women from a District of Columbia domestic violence shelter were treated to the manicures and other beauty services as a way to help them feel beautiful and confident.
  •  Dianne Wells tells the Sarasota Herald Tribune about how she and her teenage daughter are behind in paying rent for the apartment they now live in after a period of homelessness.

To learn more about Spotlight visit  

To sign up for our weekly updates with the latest news, opinion and research from around the country, click here.  

The Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity team