- Stories & Articles by Sonia
Articles and Stories by Sonia Pressman Fuentes
- Sonia's write-up of her experiences with Hurricane Irma in Sarasota in September of 2017 appeared in the Cornell Alumni Magazine of July/Aug. 2018 in the Class Notes for her class, the class of 1950, on page 69.
- On March 20, 2018, Mary Wilson, president of the Greater Orlando, FL chapter of NOW, put the following write-up by Sonia on her blog.
- In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2018, The Forward newspaper shared its readers' stories.
- Sonia participates in a one-hour webinar set up by the National Women's History Project (NWHP) on Jan. 13, 2016. 1) Click here to read about NWHP. 2) To listen to the oral comments and see the written comments, click on "webinar archive" toward the bottom of your screen. On the "webinar archive" screen, it is, however, very difficult to move the written comments up or down. 3) To get a clearer view of the written comments and to be able to move them up and down easily, click on "Chat Log." 4) Click on "Final PowerPoint Presentation" if you would like to see that.
- Sonia's article on the second wave of the women's movement: its origin, accomplishments, and the problems that remain--both in the U.S. and globally--appeared on June 14, 2015, on the website of the Institute for Science and Human Values.
- Sonia's write-up appeared on the Facebook page of the Red Star Line Museum commemorating the 81st anniversary of the arrival in the U.S. from Germany, via Belgium, of Sonia and the rest of her immediate family. (May 1, 2015).
- On Feb. 8, 2015, Sonia's article about her life went online on the website of Encore.org, a website that features articles by people about the second half of their lives.
- "The Night My Father Ran Away from His Own Wedding," the first chapter of Sonia's memoir, and "A Visit to Piltz," her article about her 2001 trip to the shtetl [village] in Poland where her parents were born, are on the website of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which opened in 2014 in Warsaw. Click on "Show More" at the bottom of each screen until you come to the screen with Sonia's two stories.
- "My Jewish Weekend in Sarasota," sent by Sonia to her friends, Nov. 16, 2014.
- "History Without Hitler?", Op-Ed in the New York Times and its international edition, October 26, 2014. This Op-Ed was written by Sonia's friend, Timothy Ryback, and edited by Sonia.
- "End of Life Issue," October 16, 2014.
- “Top 18 Issues Challenging Women Today,” The Shriver Report, May 5, 2014.
- Sonia’s letter of April 16, 2014, to Bishop Frank J. DeWane, bishop of the Venice, FL diocese, is on the blog of Bridget Mary Meehen.
- "Eighty-five Years Old in Sarasota County, Florida," write-up submitted by Sonia on April 12, 2014, on her life as a senior woman, to Marjorie Penn Lasky, who is writing a book on senior women today and how their lives differ from those of senior women in the past.
- “The Second Wave of the Women’s Movement—Past, Present, and Future,” Women You You Should Know website, March 26, 2014.
- Sonia reminisces about her three British feminist friends, March 25, 2014.
- Three-part series by Sonia in the Sullivan County Democrat, a newspaper in the Catskill Mountains of New York State.
- Sonia’s submission to the book Mother Knows Better - Sense and Nonsense from American Moms by Patti Murphy is one of over two hundred momisms in the book.
- Sonia’s article about the travails of The Forward after Superstorm Sandy appeared in Der Bay (Vol. XXIII, No. II, Mar.-Apr. 2013, p. 12).
- NOW (National Organization for Women) Founder Sonia Fuentes Gives Back To Education.
- "A heart-healthy diet is easier to adhere to than it may seem, especially with plenty of grocery and restaurant choices in Sarasota," December 7, 2012. (To see this article, which first appeared in the online Sarasota News Leader, once the large picture appears, scroll down to the article.) On April 27, 2015, the article was published on the website of Vegan Everyday Stories. On May 22, 2015, a shortened version of the article appeared on the website of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.
- “A Journey of Discovery,” Sonia’s article about her September 2011 week’s trip to Germany exploring Jewish life in Germany, published in two parts.
- "Finding My Identity as a Feminist" - This article appeared in the online magazine, Identity, on September 21, 2011.
- "My Story" - This article appeared in HavaMag, Issue 4, August, 2011.
- To access the article:
- Click on the arrow to the right until it takes you to the Table of Contents on the left.
- Click on the first item in the Table of Contents, which is the article about Sonia, on page 10.
- When you come to the article, double click on each page to make the type readable.
- To access the article:
- "First Woman: Sonia Pressman Fuentes," appeared at the end of July 2011 in Ms. JD, an e-zine for women law students and lawyers.
- “Judging Our Future: Supreme Women Move Up,” about the increasing percent of women judges on the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts, went online in the Café section of On the Issues e-zine on December 21, 2010. In February of 2012, the article was added to the featured news & comments section of the website of Cornell University’s Avon Global Center for Women and Justice.
- "Advancing Rights: 1964 Marks the Beginning of a New Era" - This article was published in On The Issues Magazine, Café section, on August 25, 2010, in celebration of Women’s Equity Day, the 90th anniversary of suffrage, August 26, 2010.
- Sonia has written articles for Scitable, a website for women in science, or been introduced as a resource on women and employment law for Scitable, as follows:
- Sonia decries American women’s ignorance of the legal rights they have achieved since the early 1960s and lists those rights. (August 13, 2013)
- Sonia discusses breast implant ruptures and leaks. (Mar. 21, 2011)
- "Sonia Pressman Fuentes on Pregnancy Leave, Parental Care Leave, and the Law" - Sonia explains the law on leave and benefits in connection with pregnancy, delivery, and post-delivery. (July 28, 2010)
- Correction to posting of June 3, 2010, introducing Sonia as Scitable’s resource on women and employment law. (June 4, 2010)
- Sonia is introduced as Scitable’s resource on women and employment law. (June 3, 2010)
- "My Life After Divorce" - Sonia discusses her life after divorce for a “Divorce and Women’s Success” series. (2010)
- "A Negative Experience, A Positive Outcome" - The lucky day Fuentes was fired. (2009)
- "First Wedding at the Fontainebleau," an unpublished anecdote, November 23, 2008.
- Added as a Luminary on inspiremetoday.com, Oct. 2009, and updated in Nov. 2013.
- “If You Build It, They Will Come—The Birth of A Yiddish Club,” published in Der Bay, The International Anglo-Yiddish Newsletter (Vol. XVII, No. 9, Nov. 2007). Sonia starts a Yiddish Club in Sarasota, FL. Also published in the Gantseh Megillah. (Nov. 14, 2007, Issue 8.10)
- "My Fortuitous Escape from the Holocaust and My Life Thereafter" - This article is published on a Web site called "Women and the Holocaust." (2006)
- “A Love Letter to Ostuni” (2005)
- "My Visit to Piltz" - A sequel to "A Visit to Piltz." (2005)
- "Three-hour Tour Turns Unforgettable" - This article, by Fuentes, recalling the saga of her trip to the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford estates in Ft. Myers, FL, appeared in The East County Observer, a newspaper in East Manatee and Sarasota Counties, Florida, January 16, 2003.
- "I Lucky Everything: The Story of a Real `Miss Saigon'" - Along with a manicure, a reminder of how immigrants revitalize our nation. (2002)
- "A Visit to Piltz" - This article is about Fuentes' August 2001 journey to her parents' birthplace, a village called Piltz in Poland. (2001)
- In 2000, Sonia lectured on “How Being an Immigrant Shaped My Life” at Cornell University and thereafter gave varying versions of that talk at other venues. Articles on that subject have appeared in: 120 HIAS Stories, a book published to commemorate the 120th anniversary of HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) (July 2002), Women in Judaism, a Multidisciplinary Journal (April 2006), the Sarasota-Manatee Jewish News (January 2007), the website of the Museum of Family History, and Der Bay, the newsletter of the International Association of Yiddish Clubs (Vol. XX, No. 1, Jan. 2010).
- "How I Built a Life in Retirement" - Sonia had a difficult time adjusting to retirement, and then she entered the best years of her life. (2000)
- "How I Published My Memoir: A Lawyer-Feminist's Story" - This is the story of the six years Fuentes spent in researching, writing, publishing and marketing her memoir and making the transition from being a lawyer to a writer and public speaker. (Also see: "How I Got Published in South Africa) (2000)
- "A Seder in Shanghai" - Fuentes participates in a seder in a most unlikely city, Shanghai, China. This piece appeared previously in JoyZine and on Harry Leichter's website. (1999)
- "HUD Goes to the Moscow Trade Show" - This article was originally published in Sparks 28. March - April, 1999. (1999)
- Breast Cancer and Ruptured/Leaking Breast Implants - The story of Fuentes' experience with breast cancer. (1998)
- "Three United States Feminists: A Personal Tribute" - This article is about Fuentes' most memorable encounters with Alice Paul, the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray, and Catherine East (1998). Later that year, a slightly different version of this article was published in Moondance.
- “Representing Women,” a 17-page article, originally published in Frontiers, a Journal of Women Studies (Vol. 18, No.3, Nov. 3, 1997), by the Washington State University Press, is available by emailing Sonia at email@example.com and asking her to email it to you or by purchasing it at jstor.org. This was Sonia’s first published article about women’s rights.
- "House of History" - A history of the Sewall-Belmont House, one of the oldest houses on Capitol Hill, is the story of the current headquarters of the National Woman's Party. (1996)
- "Magnolias" - A Washington, DC, love story. (1996)
- "Family Past Unfolds Like Detective Story" - Research Leads to Ship's Records, a Movie and Snapshots. (1995)
- “Impressions: The Status of Women in Southeast Asia,” published in the Common Law Lawyer (no longer in existence), Sept.-Oct. 1978. (To enlarge the print on machines using Windows, hold down the control button of your computer while moving the wheel of your mouse. If viewing through Adobe Acrobat, enlarge the text with the plus button, or use the percentage dropdown list.)
Sonia Pressman Fuentes
Advancing Rights: 1964 Marks the Beginning of A New Era
by Sonia Pressman Fuentes
On August 26, we'll be celebrating the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote. It's a good time to review what rights women have secured since August of 1920.
Actually, women secured no additional rights in the 44 years after suffrage was ratified. Then in 1964, the first federal law prohibiting gender discrimination became effective, the Equal Pay Act which required equal pay for equal or substantially equal work without regard to gender. In 1965, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became effective, prohibiting sex discrimination by employers, employment agencies and labor unions, as well as discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today enforces both federal statutes.
The EEOC issued a number of decisions which are part of the fabric of our lives today but were revolutionary then. Among its rulings, subsequently affirmed by the courts, were holdings that:
• All jobs, by and large, must be open to men and women alike;
• An employer cannot refuse to hire or promote a woman because of the preferences of her co-workers, clients or customers;
• Employers cannot use sex-segregated classified advertising columns in newspapers nor, for the most part, state a preference based on gender in ads;
• Employers cannot ask pre-employment inquiries of members of one gender unless they ask the same questions of the opposite gender;
• Men and women doing equal or substantially equal work are entitled to equality in pay and all other benefits, including sick leave, annual leave, pension and retirement benefits;
• A woman qualified to do a job cannot be refused employment or fired because she is married or pregnant;
• A woman is entitled to receive the same sick and personal leave and benefits during pregnancy, delivery and post-delivery as employees who request sick or personal leave and benefits for other comparable reasons;
• State protective legislation that restricted the weight that women could lift, the jobs they could perform and the hours they could work was superseded by Title VII;
• State protective legislation that provided benefits for women, such as benches and rest periods, could be harmonized with Title VII by providing the same benefits to men;
• Sexual harassment on the job was prohibited.
In addition, other laws came into effect that expanded opportunities for women.
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act which first became effective in 1993, employees are entitled to 12 weeks of job-protected leave each year in connection with the birth or adoption of a child; the serious illness of a child, spouse or parent; or the inability of an employee to work because of a serious health condition.
Executive orders required federal government contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to hire and promote women or risk the loss of government contracts.
Discrimination based on sex or marital status in the sale and rental of housing and the granting of credit was prohibited.
Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, educational institutions that receive federal funds were prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sex against students and employees. This includes the requirement for equality in school athletic programs and the prohibition of sexual harassment of students by other students or by faculty and staff.
The effects of these changes spilled over to every area of our society. Laws changed women's rights with regard to abortion, divorce, alimony, child custody, child support, rape, jury service, sentencing for crimes, appointments as administrators and executors of estates, and admission to places of public accommodation, such as clubs, restaurants and bars.
The courts played a significant role in this legal revolution, too. They affirmed the decisions of the EEOC and other federal, state and local agencies and issued decisions setting forth additional rights. A leading example was the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion.
As the result of these new laws, executive orders, court decisions and action by women's rights organizations like the National Organization for Women (NOW), we have seen profound changes in our society.
Today, women are found in large numbers in professional schools and in the professions, and, to a lesser extent, in executive suites and legislatures. They work at a host of technical and blue-collar jobs previously closed to them. The percent of women in the military rose from less than two percent in the 1960s to 14 percent in 2009, and the variety of their assignments has increased substantially.
Women have run for vice president on both major party tickets and we have had our first woman attorney general of the U.S. Women currently constitute 17 percent of Congress. In January 2007, Nancy Pelosi became the first woman Speaker of the House.
For the first 192 years of its existence, no woman served on the U.S. Supreme Court. Starting in 1981, four have been confirmed: Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. When Justice Kagan takes her seat this October, for the first time in history 33 percent of the Court will be female.
This is not to say we've achieved nirvana. The problems facing women today in the U.S. and the world are manifold and immense: violence, poverty, hunger, homelessness and maternal mortality, to name a few. But on this anniversary of our first right -- the right to vote -- it is good to remember where we were and how far we've come.
August 25, 2010
Sonia Pressman Fuentes, Sarasota, Fla.
This article appeared in “On the Issues” e-zine, Café section, in celebration of Women’s Equity Day, the 90th anniversary of suffrage, August 26, 2010.
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