Fall 2017 Newsletter


In this issue…


CWLC Speaker Series: Champions In Sports


CWLC’s Trainings and Community Outreach


Weighing In: CWLC’s Amicus Briefs


California Report on Women, HIV and Sex Work


Welcome CWLC’s New Board Member, Stacey Armato



CWLC Speaker Series: Female Athletes Leading The Way


Photo: Betsy Butler, Violet Palmer, Amy Poyer, Lauren Fendrick, Gwendolyn Oxenham  and Sue Enquist.


On October 25, 2017, CWLC held a Speaker Series on Women in Sports which discussed the barriers female athletes have faced in achieving success in sports. The esteemed panel shared their belief that the implementation of Title IX has created a more equitable playing field for female athletes. The panelists also highlighted some of the challenges women and girls still face in achieving full equality in sports.

Sue Enquist, UCLA’s softball coach from 1980 to 2006, moderated the panel and spoke about her experiences growing up and playing sports before and after the passage of Title IX. A softball player and coach at UCLA for 26 years, her personal knowledge on the importance of Title IX and the opportunities it created for girls over the last 45 years was inspiring.

USA Olympic beach volleyball player Lauren Fendrick shared her perspective about the importance of athletics in her life, and her experience competing professionally due to the doors Title IX opened for her. Lauren underscored the importance of Title IX by discussing how fortunate she and every woman currently in professional sports is because of the struggles and sacrifices women before them made toward equality.

Gwendolyn Oxenham, author and filmmaker, discussed her experience playing Division I soccer at Duke University and her dream to play soccer professionally. She spoke about the lack of a U.S. women’s professional soccer league when she graduated in 2004, even though a men’s professional soccer league had been in existence in the U.S. for many years. Gwendolyn talked about her travels and being able to see first-hand how sports benefit women and young girls around the world. 

Violet Palmer shared her experiences as the first female referee in the NBA. Breaking that glass ceiling came with its fair share of challenges, including rancor from not only players but colleagues. Nevertheless, she persisted and because of her exceptional ability, she gained the admiration of the NBA staff and players. She also discussed how she personally benefited from the passage of Title IX, which created athletic scholarships for women and other opportunities earlier generations did not have.

CWLC appreciates our panelists’ participation as well as their willingness to share their experiences. We congratulate them and all women working to make positive change. CWLC continues to build our expertise by working with schools, students, parents and coaches to ensure female athletes are afforded the same opportunities as boys and we appreciate your support of our work to ensure equality on the playing field.

Photo: Amy Poyer, Lauren Fendrick, Violet Palmer and Gwendolyn Oxenham.



Changing Culture, Supporting Victims Symposium

On December 5th, CWLC’s Senior Staff Attorney Amy Poyer served as Chair of the Public Policy Exchange’s symposium Changing Culture, Supporting Victims: Tackling Rape and Sexual Harassment at Universities and Colleges. The symposium featured two insightful panels of diverse experts addressing problems and proposing solutions surrounding campus sexual assault. The panels, titled Developing an Effective Response to Tackling Rape and Sexual Harassment at Universities and Colleges Across California, and Supporting Victims and Creating a Safe Space Through Awareness, Communication and Collaboration were each moderated by Amy who led a robust group discussion after each panel. To learn more about the event, please click here. To learn more about CWLC’s work combating sexual violence, click here.


Housing Clinics: Addressing Economic Inequality

Starting in June, CWLC began hosting free legal housing clinics on the third Saturday of every month in Venice. Together with our partners, Venice Community Housing (VCH) and housing attorneys in Los Angeles, our clinics provide a forum for beach city residents to receive free legal housing assistance and learn about their rights.

The majority of people seeking assistance at these clinics are aging women. Unfortunately, lifelong pay inequity hurts women and families, and contributes to economic insecurity and housing concerns. As women age, this situation worsens because women have made less than their male counterparts, saved less for retirement and often had to take time off to care for family members. Women represent 40% more of the over-65 population than men and make up 33% of the homeless population.

If you or someone you know needs assistance with a housing matter, please attend our next free legal housing clinic on Saturday, December 16, 2017, at the Venice Community Housing Corporation in Venice from 10:00a – 12:00p. Click here for more information.

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Sparks and their #WeAreWomen Campaign

CWLC was thrilled to support the Sparks #WeAreWomen Campaign for the third year in a row. On August 27, CWLC staff, board members, and supporters watched the Sparks beat the Minnesota Lynx. The #WeAreWomen Campaign recognizes women who work hard for positive change, and awards scholarships to young girls. CWLC congratulates the Los Angeles Sparks on the #WeAreWomen Campaign and continuing to be champions for women and girls. Congratulations too on another amazing season. Go Sparks!

CWLC’s Trainings

On November 6, Senior Staff Attorney Amy Poyer represented CWLC at the Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC)’s annual Traveling Trainings series in Fresno, which brings in-person legal trainings to attorneys in rural areas of California. Amy co-presented at two sessions titled Spotting LGBTQ Related Legal Issues and Fair Housing Act Claims for Failure to Reasonably Accommodate.

Spotting LGBTQ Related Legal Issues was presented by CWLC and the National Center for Lesbian Rights and discussed legal issues facing LGBTQ clients including employment and education discrimination, family law matters, and general issues related to cultural competency dealing with LGBTQ clients.

Fair Housing Act Claims for Failure to Reasonably Accommodate was presented by CWLC and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund to address how and when to bring a claim under the federal Fair Housing Act for failure to reasonably accommodate a disability. The discussion included a primer on the federal Fair Housing Act and an in-depth look at specific cases involving reasonable housing accommodations for female veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma.

Both sessions were well attended and CWLC was delighted to have the chance to train California’s legal aid attorneys on these important topics.

CWLC, The Williams Institute and the California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Centers Release HIV Criminalization and Sex Work in California

This year, CWLC supported Senate Bill 239 which took steps to decriminalize HIV. The criminalization of HIV is a practice that disproportionately punishes women and people of color.

In October and in conjunction with the passage of this bill, CWLC in collaboration with The Williams Institute and the California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Centers released HIV Criminalization and Sex Work in California. This report analyzes the application of many of our state’s criminal laws related to HIV by reviewing the arrests made in California from 2005 to 2013 for prostitution and other offenses related to sex work. The report revealed that women of color and HIV positive women were disproportionately punished by California’s criminal laws related to sex work. 

To read the full report, click here.



Breastfeeding Advocacy Day: Working to Ensure the Rights of Nursing Moms

breastfeeding mom and baby

In August, CWLC presented at the Breastfeeding Advocacy 101 Training Day, which addressed breastfeeding in the educational sector. CWLC co-sponsored this event where over 200 participants learned how to advocate for and apply their breastfeeding rights in various settings.

To access CWLC’s trainings related to lactation accommodations and breastfeeding, click here. To learn more about the rights of pregnant and parenting students in California, please visit our website by clicking here



CWLC: Working to End Domestic Violence

CWLC continues to participate in dozens of amicus briefs addressing various areas of gender discrimination, and has also signed on to multiple letters expressing opposition to federal actions designed to marginalize the rights of women and girls.

This fall CWLC filed amicus briefs in two related domestic violence appeals with a third brief to be filed later this month. The briefs were drafted by Pepper Hamilton, who represented CWLC as amicus; this effort was led by Board Member and Pepper Hamilton partner, Pamela Palmer.

The cases address the interplay between the Family Court and Juvenile Court in renewing domestic violence restraining orders. The briefs argue that a domestic violence victim should not be forced to apply for a new restraining order against her abuser but should have the ability, pursuant to the relevant statutory code sections, to transfer a restraining order and renew it seamlessly between the Family Court and Juvenile Court.

We are very proud to report that after oral argument, the California Court of Appeal reversed in published decisions in both cases in which amicus briefs were filed. The appellate court remanded the cases back to the trial court with instructions to evaluate the restraining orders as renewals rather than initial restraining orders. The Court of Appeal noted CWLC’s amicus participation in both of its published decisions. We were proud to have the opportunity to assist these plaintiffs and other survivors of domestic violence.

Click here to read the published opinions and the amicus briefs. We look forward to a similarly positive result in the third in this series of important domestic violence appeals.


2017 Legislative Session

During the 2017 legislative session which ended in October, CWLC sent 28 letters of support for bills addressing gender discrimination in the workplace, domestic violence, health care, increased access for the most vulnerable Californians, and more. CWLC is proud that 15 of the bills we supported in 2017 were signed into law by the Governor, making California a safer, healthier and more equitable state.

Click here to view the status of the bills CWLC supported.

Meet our new Board Member, Stacey Armato

Stacey Armato is an attorney at Atlantic Investors and is a second term Hermosa Beach City Councilmember. She was first elected to the Hermosa Beach City Council in 2016, and was re-elected in November. Ms. Armato also serves on the Board of BreastfeedLA, is a Co-Chair of Winemasters for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and is a member of the Parent Advisory Council for Mattel’s Children’s Hospital at UCLA. A dedicated community advocate and a champion of women’s rights, in 2011 she brought a lawsuit against the TSA for harassment related to breast milk screening at airports. The successful outcome of this suit resulted in the TSA re-writing their breast milk policy and re-training all TSA employees regarding the handling of breast milk at airports. Ms. Armato completed her undergraduate work at USC and graduated from Pepperdine University School of Law. Welcome Stacey!



In order for the California Women’s Law Center to be able to advocate, provide legal services, and conduct educational trainings on behalf of women and girls, we rely on your support. Any donation you can make is greatly appreciated.