#1432: WWII Women, A Petition To Honor A Suffragist, Homeless Hospitality

Jan 4, 2017

On this week’s 51%, reflecting on old times and new. First, we meet two women from World War II. We hear about a petition to award a suffragist with a presidential honor. And a West Coast priest hopes her program for homeless hospitality serves as a model. I’m Allison Dunne and this is 51%.

During World War II, some 350,000 women served in the U.S. Armed Forces, both at home and abroad. Records show that by the time war was over, more than 2 million women had worked in war industries. Some volunteered as nurses or members of home defense units, while others enlisted as full-time members of the military. Two women of "The Greatest Generation" from upstate New York speak with 51%’s Dave Lucas about the roles they played during the war.

Support continues to grow for President Obama to award a suffragist with ties to the Hudson Valley a Presidential Citizens Medal. More than 1,000 groups and individuals have signed the campaign’s petition for the New York native and Vassar College graduate to be the recipient.  

As we experience the shortest days of the year, we take a look at the therapeutic aspects of daylight. One researcher found that light therapy dramatically improved symptoms in patients with dementia. This comes with the backdrop of several studies saying a higher percentage of women suffer from dementia than men. Lilia Fuquen reports.  

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — This news out of Iowa… A former Drake University student has sued the university claiming it discriminated against him by failing to consider his allegations of sexual assault by a female student but believing her allegations against him. The case centers on a night of drinking in October 2015. The university determined the male student made his allegations against the woman in retaliation for her complaint. But the man's lawsuit, filed this month, says the university never investigated his claims. The lawsuit alleges violations of John Doe's constitutional due process rights and federal sex discrimination laws. The university says it disagrees with his depictions of the facts and will prove its commitment to fairness. It's among several recent lawsuits claiming federal guidance pushing aggressive pursuit of campus sexual assaults has resulted in bias against men.

More and more people are being priced out of their homes. Combine that with a hangover from the 2008 recession - the income gap is bigger than ever, and people have a harder time finding financial help and services. The face of homelessness is changing, in ways that are not easily addressed by any one group or agency. More people have resorted to living in their vehicles, but that is a tough life filled with challenges. In Washougal, a young woman priest at a small church has invited some of these “car campers” to stay, until they can find more stable housing. Barb Seaman brings us the story.  

The council for the Homeless in Clark County worked closely with St. Anne’s to get the program started. Guests need to go through an application process and get background checks before being taken in. Reverend Smith hopes that this will serve as a model, and more churches will open up their properties as well.

ELLENTON, Fla. (AP) — The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus has its first female ringmaster. Feld Entertainment Inc. is the parent company of the Florida-based circus. The company said in a statement that Kristen Michelle Wilson will be the first-ever female ringmaster in its 146-year history. Wilson’s new role begins in January and her first performance will be in her hometown of Orlando, Florida. She will become the 39th ringmaster in Ringling Bros.' history. Wilson has a professional background in theater and singing. A ringmaster typically introduces each act in the circus.  

And that's our show this week. Thanks to Patrick Garrett for production assistance. Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock. Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio. If you’d like to hear this show again, sign up for our podcast, or visit the 51% archives on our web site at wamc.org. And follow us on Twitter @51PercentRadio  

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