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The CustomFit Workplace blog is part of the Open, Flexible Work blog. It is a place where workers, managers, educators and Human Resources professionals can share their insights and questions. The views expressed in this blogs aren't necessarily representative of the initiative or of policy positions. Interested in blogging? drop us a line

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Sex Education 2.0

By Leslie Kantor, Vice President of Education, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

If your teen is anything like mine, it can be nearly impossible to get him away from his phone! Knowing that it’s such an integral part of their lives, and that teens want to get information on their phones from trustworthy sources instantaneously, Planned Parenthood is giving them both what they want and what they need: an entertaining way to make plans for their futures, learn skills to resist peer pressure, make healthy decisions, and encourage them to talk to you — all while using their phones.  

Planned Parenthood launched nine new tools designed for cell phones — and because they need different information at different ages, there is a set of tools for middle-school aged teens and another for high-school aged teens. They can be used on any phone or computer that can go online and don’t require Smartphone capability. 


Did this mom have to die?

Take Action

The answer is no.

Charlene Dill, a Florida mom of three, died on March 21st while working one of three part-time jobs—and her passing could have been prevented if the Florida Legislature had simply acted in time.

Florida state leaders have chosen not to expand Medicaid health coverage for thousands of Floridians—rejecting 15 million dollars, per day, that would help provide affordable health coverage to people like Charlene.


I’m ashamed of the leadership in my home state—or rather their lack of leadership. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating to read Charlene’s story, because this just didn’t need to happen to her and her family. 

On Earth Day: Help Get Toxic Chemicals Out of Children’s Products

One of my favorite quotes relating to environmental health is this:

It's true. One thing every human being has in common is that we all grew in our mother's bodies. Our mother's womb is the place we first existed and we relied on her (and her body) for nourishment and safety.

But what if, unbeknownst to her, the products she touched and used - common items like shampoo, body lotion and even the very toys she purchased during pregnancy to prepare for our arrival were emitting toxic chemicals that could pass through her umbilical cord into us?

That is the harsh, startling reality these days. Babies today are born with more than 200 chemicals in their bodies. TWO HUNDRED. How is this happening? Why isn't there more of an outcry from the public? Why doesn't the government do more to protect us?

The Story of Play vs Academics

Historically, the approved approach to early childhood education in the US has, for decades, swung between support for whole child development/ play and focus on cognitive development of the child / academics.   

In 1957, when the Russians won the race to space with the launching of Sputnik, the US was traumatized.  Educational policy, dictated by political agendas, suddenly repudiated play and shifted to an overemphasis on the 3 R’s and intellectual skills.  This new focus, carried out through an accompanying emphasis on standardized testing, was not a result of new information from developmental research, but instead, a reaction to Admiral Hyman G. Rickover’s explanation of why the Russians “beat us”.  The admiral, by asserting that young children in Russia were being trained in mathematics while American children were busy finger painting, unwittingly drew a line in the sandbox of early childhood education, pitting academics and play against each other.

No More Junk Ads!

Take Action

What the what!? There is too much junk food marketing in our schools. It's enough to have to deal with junk food marketing pretty much everywhere else. But it certainly shouldn't be reading, writing, and junk food marketing in every hall of our public schools!Join us to get standards for junk food marketing in our schools:, there are still no national standards about what can, and cannot, be advertised to kids in schools. That's right: None. This means that in some cases, kids are offered one snack while being encouraged through marketing to eat another junkier one.Providing healthier snacks at school has been shown to help kids make healthier choices all day long. However, advertisements are powerful.

Exciting New Developments for Domestic Violence Survivors Who Need Help Paying for Health Insurance

Thanks to recent IRS guidance —and an extended deadline (through May 30!) to sign-up for health insurance—domestic violence survivors who are living apart from an abusive spouse can now access subsidies to help them afford the cost of health insurance.  Until now, unless a married couple was legally separated or met very narrow head of household filing status requirements, they had to file their taxes jointly in order to be eligible for subsidies to help them afford health insurance through the Obamacare Marketplaceno exceptions.  The new IRS guidance makes it clear that domestic violence survivors who filed their taxes separately to avoid interactions with a violent spouse can still access these valuable health care subsi

Our kids need to talk about mental health

Txt Msg Action!

Finding ways for our kids to talk about mental illness and mental health is really important.  I live near Washington DC and had to read last week about a local high school with 6 suicides in the past two years. Two of the kids were 15 years old. Imagining the pain of the parents of these kids almost made me sick. It does make me ache.  I'm a mother of a now grown child who was very, very sick with bipolar disorder and anxiety as a teenager so this strikes very close to home.  

#FoodFri Tweetchat: If you can't sell it, why advertise it?

Join @MomsRising and @PreventObesity this Friday, 4/18/14 at 1 p.m. EST / 10am PST for #NoMoreJunkAds, our #FoodFri tweetchat focused on creating a healthier school environment.Parents scored a huge victory last year when we won the Smart Snacks rule. Now snacks sold in school vending machines and a la carte lines must meet nutrition guidelines during the 2014-2015 school year.However, no rule is currently in place for what can advertised in schools. Advertising and marketing to children in schools requires special consideration because the food industry is reaching children in an environment where parents have little or no oversight or ability to consent, and because students should have a learning environment that does not include messages that undermine nutrition and health education.Our positions is...

No More Mad Men Pay!

Equal Pay Day was last week—but really, we should be talking about this every day, not just on April 8.

I love the AMC hit show “Mad Men.” But I don’t love Mad Men-era pay. You can’t smoke in the office any more, but you can still pay women less than men.

If women were asked to work for free for three months of the year, it would be an outrage. But that’s essentially what happens to the average working woman, who is paid just 77 cents on the dollar of a man’s pay. That average woman didn’t see her full year of 2013 pay until April 8, 2014—Equal Pay Day.

The Equal Pay Act has been federal law for more than 50 years—but at the current pace of progress, it will take another 40-plus more years to close the pay gap between men and women.

Who suffers because of the pay gap?

—Women: Over a lifetime of work, the pay gap costs the typical working woman more than $400,000.

The Economics of Midlife Motherhood (Part II)

In Part I of this  guest post by Cyma Shapiro, we explored the fundamental economics of choosing midlife mothering.   Here, we listen to experts and midlife mothers weigh-in on this increasingly prevalent life choice.  You can pop back to Part I of this post, if you wish, to refresh your recollection before moving on to Part II.

What price will women pay to achieve motherhood? At what cost will someone over age 40 go to, to fulfill a dream of loving, nurturing and having a family? Does the increasing number of women choosing new older parenting mean that the sheer economics of it all require fundamental changes in our society? With the redefinition of the family model going into the 21st century, will all of this impact and encourage the passing of a (long-awaited) federal Family Leave Act?

I turned to some midlife mothers to get answers:

The Surprising Truth Behind Tax Day: Where Your Taxes Go

If you groan about Tax Day, you’re certainly not alone.

But what if Tax Day was something we could be proud of as members of a democracy? Would you feel differently about paying taxes if you knew they were going to support public services that you, your family, and your community rely on – such as public safety, roads and bridges, schools, health care, social services, and national parks?

Millions of Americans file their federal income tax returns on April 15 each year with no idea what the government actually does with all that money.

Funny video clip?

Take Action!I love those images in magazines as much as anyone else -- you know, the images of the mother lightly skipping through the field of flowers with her laughing children. And yeah, once in a while I’ve had a field of flowers moment, but mostly motherhood is something else, something more real, more gritty, more laugh-out-loud funny, and touching. There is joy, frustration, and funnier-than-I-ever-imagined-possible human comedy in the very long-term project of raising children. Yes, there are also the other experiences: The bloopers. Those moments when our children fall asleep in the spaghetti bowl, or when our pets are extra cute with our kids, or when… you know what I mean! *Do you have a funny--or touching--short video up your sleeve?  We want to feature short video clips from real moms, dads, grandparents, kids, babies, and even pets! Have a funny or touching moment you caught on video like your child refusing to potty train?  The miraculous first steps, the calamity of a teenager’s room, or have a story about a mom who inspired you, sage mom to mom advice?  We want your short video clips!

Years of Eating Dangerously?


Years of Living Dangerously airs this Sunday on Showtime. The first episode, which is highly worth your time, investigates different facets of the climate crisis in Texas, Syria, and Indonesia. The Indonesia segment is spearheaded by actor Harrison Ford who journeys deep into the tropical forest not as a swashbuckling adventurer, but more as a sober statesman, to uncover a paradise mostly lost. Along the way, we learn that Indonesia has the world’s highest rate of deforestation.

Indeed, NASA scientists have determined that a full twenty percent of annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from clearing forest, as much as cars, planes and the entire global transportation sector put together! In Indonesia, tropical forests--the home of highly endangered Sumatran rhinos, tigers and orangutans--are deliberately set ablaze to make room for lucrative palm oil plantations.

Healthy School Fundraisers: A Win for Schools and Students

As more districts experience budget cuts, schools become desperate to find quick and easy methods to raise money for classroom materials and technology. As a parent of three children, I find most fundraising to be tedious and useless. I’d rather perform singing telegrams than try to peddle popcorn bins, cookie dough and candles to family members.
Many of the easy fix-fundraisers, such as dinner nights at popular fast food chains, often promote unhealthy lifestyle choices. Parents feel pressured to participate in unprofitable, unhealthy school restaurant nights. Thankfully, schools have begun to think outside the kids’ meal boxes by offering families a breath of fresh air in terms of raising money.
For decades, big corporations have utilized schools as their profit playgrounds. Under the guise of fundraising, they have pushed soft drinks and high fat foods with little return to the school. While schools earn pennies for products in vending machine, the soft drink companies have gained lifetime consumers.
Thankfully, for the sake of our children’s health, healthy school fundraisers are becoming more commonplace.

4/14 Facebook Chat: Why the Child & Dependent Care Credit Isn't Enough!

Tax Day can bring a lot of emotions.  Ahead of tomorrow, people across the country are in the home stretch of filing taxes.  Myself included -- I have  date with my computer tonight to turn in my taxes!With the cost of child care exceeding the tuition of colleges in most states, the current tax credits aren't enough to help families thrive. Imagine if Tax Day provided much needed relief for the cost of child care?The National Women’s Law Center and MomsRising invite you this Monday, April 14th at 11am PT/2pm ET for a Facebook chat where we'll discuss child care and taxes ahead of Tax Day. We’ll dive into  the lowdown on why the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit isn’t enough and how the Child CARE Act and other efforts in Washington could help families across the country.

OUTRAGE: Senate says "No" to Equal Pay!

Are you kidding me?!? Some members of the U.S. Senate just used a procedural move to BLOCK a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act

We will hold them accountable.

We need 1,000 contributions by midnight tomorrow night to turbocharge our campaign for equal pay!  Join us and pitch in $5 or more right now.

What happened? Because of Senate rules, at least 60 senators needed to vote "yes" on a procedural motion called “cloture” in order to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act up for a vote on the Senate floor.  The Senate voted 53-44 against cloture, blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act from moving forward.

Building Momentum on Unemployment Insurance

We are building momentum!

On Monday, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan bill that will restore federal unemployment insurance benefits to the more than 2 million people that lost these vital benefits since December 28th, when the program expired.

But our work isn’t done yet…

Now it is up to the U.S. House of Representatives to make the final vote and we are this close to getting it passed! We need some MOMentum to get this one to the finished line. The more of us who write to our leaders, the faster this policy will (finally) pass!

I’m sending a letter now. Will you? You can write your U.S. Representative today and tell him/her to “Stop leaving the unemployed out in the cold. Extend unemployment insurance benefits now!” here

An Ode To Rebel Parents

We parents can be such a smug bunch, and the internet only makes it that much easier for us to lob our judgments wherever we see fit:

How dare you take your two young children on a treacherous deep-sea voyage!! -from The New York Times.

What kind of mother are you to allow your 8-year-old son travel to school alone in dangerous New York City???? -from The New York Sun.

You’re traumatizing your kid by demanding that your school change its field trip from going to Marineland! -from

You must be a child abuser to bring your kids to a public protest!! -from Youtube.

The Most Difficult Part of the Fast...

Editor’s Note: More than 1,200 women from 70 organizations are fasting in 35 states for immigration reform that keeps families together and treats women fairly this month. The month of fasting will culminate April 7-9th, 2014 when 100 women will fast in DC for 48 hours.

Click here to sign the petition urging Speaker Boehner to meet with these courageous women in DC in April.

I was honored to participate in the Act. Fast. Women's Fast for Families campaign with a group of advocates across the country to raise awareness of the critical need of immigration reform.

We shared information about the fast on ASISTA's website yesterday and today.

Women Fast for Immigrant Families: A Blog Carnival

Blog Carnival

Today April 8th, 2014 marks the second day of a 48-hour fast by 100 women who have come together in D.C. to urge our elected leaders to vote on an immigration reform bill that is fair and inclusive of women, children and families. The fast in the "Courage Cafe" tent on 4th and Jefferson in D.C. is part of a nationwide movement by the We Belong Together women's coalition, in which 1,500 women in 35 states fasted in 24-hour increments in the last month. Three-quarters of all immigrants to the United States are women and children. 5.5 million children live in mixed status households, which means that they live with the uncertainty of losing their mom or dad any day. Yet, our leaders are stalling, and this is simply unacceptable.

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