As the Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women's (PCSW) Events & Special Projects Director, Michelle Noehren leads and directs all agency events, such as public hearings, Women’s Day at the Capitol, Pay Equity Day and Women’s Policy Day. In addition, she is an active part of the PCSW’s legislative team, manages the PCSW website and social media, is the co-chair of the CT Campaign for Paid Family Leave and represents the agency on several coalitons including the CT Campaign for Toxic-Free Kids. In 2013 she was selected as CT’s Most Inspirational Mom by gomom.me and in 2014 she was selected as one of the CT Women's Education & Legal Fund's 40 Women for the Next 40 Years.
Blog Post List
August 4, 2014
After the White House Summit on Working Families in June, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) developed a new grant designed to help states study the economic feasibility of creating a system of paid family leave. The grant announcement stated that up to five states may be selected for this opportunity and that the application must be submitted through the Governor’s office by the end of July. My co-chair of the CT Campaign for Paid Family Leave and I jumped at the chance to encourage our state to apply. Our governor agreed right away to work with our Connecticut DOL in drafting the grant and...
July 1, 2014
“I had to drive the school bus with the H1N1 virus. I am the sole provider for a family of four, so losing that one week of income was horrible.” – Wanda, Connecticut “As a union stewardess I saw a manager tell a bus monitor that she "didn’t care that she’d have to find another family member to take her kid with a heart problem to the doctor." – Patricia, Connecticut Wanda and Patricia’s experiences are far too common among employees without access to critical workplace policies like paid sick days. Workers shouldn’t have to choose between their jobs and taking care of themselves or a sick...
May 8, 2014
It’s a sad day for those of us in Connecticut who feel strongly that more needs to be done to protect children from toxic chemicals. A bill that would have tasked the Department of Public Health (DPH) with developing a list of chemicals of high concern to children was never called for a vote on the floor before the end of legislative session. Advocates, led by the CT Campaign for Toxic-Free Kids , have been working to get this bill passed for several years. This year the bill had the support of over 40 legislative co-sponsors, DPH and thousands of concerned citizens who called and emailed...
May 6, 2014
MN.jpg Mother’s Day is fast approaching and I’ve been seeing more and more ads in my Facebook feed for Mother’s Day gifts. I’m not interested in a new necklace or a massage (OK a massage does sound nice…). The best gift I could possibly receive is the knowledge that the products I buy in the store for my family are safe and toxic-free. There’s a lot going on nationally around the issue of toxic chemicals in consumer products and right here in my home state we have an opportunity to really take a stand in support of creating a better Connecticut for our children. There’s a bill waiting for...
April 22, 2014
One of my favorite quotes relating to environmental health is this: First-environment.png 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...
February 5, 2014
Twenty-one years ago I was only 11. While I was too young to be involved in the fight for family and medical leave (FMLA), I still wholeheartedly appreciate everyone who worked so hard to win this important law. Over the past several years I’ve had many experiences with our current FMLA law. I know first-hand how important it is to have this law in place and the peace-of-mind it provides to employees who are eligible to take it. But the reality is that it's unpaid leave and that, in essence, is a challenge for most workers. My sister, who has several chronic illnesses, had to take unpaid...
January 15, 2014
I can remember vividly the day that I first realized there are toxic chemicals in cosmetic products. I was in shock and quite frankly quite pissed off. It was (and still is) crazy to me that there is very little regulation of the chemicals used in products we use on our skin & hair, let alone the products we give our children (like toys, bubble bath, play furniture and the like). Now that I'm helping with the newly branded CT Campaign for Toxic-Free Kids and am doing a bit of their social media, every time I post a link on our Facebook page about a new study that shows yet again that...
March 7, 2013
I remember very clearly the day I first learned that the vast majority of chemicals used in consumer products are unregulated by the government. Until that point I believed (as many people mistakenly do) that if I could buy it in a store it must have passed safety testing. Boy was I wrong. Out of the nearly 80,000 synthetic chemicals in commerce, less that 5% have ever undergone testing. Needless to say, that very day I cleared out my shampoo, body lotion and makeup for safer alternatives I found using the Skin Deep database . Then I got pregnant with my first child. When I was pregnant I did...
October 5, 2012
Do you believe that there is a reason babies are colicky? That it might not be gas, or nutrition, or your breast milk? That maybe it’s something that little girl or guy is going through, emotionally?
August 21, 2012
As busy moms, sometimes it's nice to stop and think about all the lessons we've learned throughout our lives because it can help keep us focused on what's important to us. Over at CTWorkingMoms.com we started a new blog series titled Things I've Learned and each day one of my 24 bloggers posts up her list. It's fun, inspiring and empowering to follow along and read about the lessons other moms have discovered for themselves. Below is my list. I strongly encourage you to post a comment here on MomsRising.org to tell me what some of your life lessons are (so far anyways!). Since I’m 30 – here...
August 16, 2012
Excellent news! Johnson & Johnson has now committed to removing a wide host of known toxic chemicals from their products by 2015. Earlier this year the company committed to removing these unhealthy and dangerous chemicals from baby products, but they now have plans to move past that original promise to include all of their personal care products. This is huge, like really, really huge.
June 21, 2012
This was a gathering of Goddesses. Shedding our shirts and revealing the places where we grew humans (and one was actively growing) felt so freeing, inspiring, and powerful it is hard to put it into words. Thankfully the smiles on our faces, the laughter to the point of tears, and the energetic joy radiating from each of us speaks for itself.
May 21, 2012
I often times sound like a broken record to my close friends and family. Give me any political issue and I’ll show you exactly how money in politics plays a significant role in its outcome. I’ll spare you my long lecture about how the role of money in our political system degrades the health of our democracy (maybe I’ll hold that for another Working Mother post) and get right to what’s been on my mind. I truly believe that one of the biggest issues facing our country is the government’s failure to protect us from environmental toxins. There’s been more and more news about BPA found in the...
May 8, 2012
This blog was written by Kris-Ann Race for the Special Needs Tuesday column at www.ctworkingmoms.com . When Max (my son) was diagnosed with Epilepsy, we went into a tailspin. We didn’t know what our future held and what his development would be like. Of course, everyone who knew us wanted to help and offer kind words. I know everyone meant well, but there are things that people said to us, or still say that don’t quite sit well with me. I thought it might be helpful to offer a few things I would recommend you not say to a family with newly diagnosed special needs. 1. God wouldn’t give you...
May 4, 2012
Late last year I went out for drinks with a group of moms with kids similar in ages to mine. (I’m sure I had puke on my shirt somewhere.) And I listened to them talk about how wonderful life was. How the transition from one to two wasn’t that big of a deal at all. And I actually said, “REALLY?!” What the hell was wrong with ME, then?
April 24, 2012
MomsRising does a great job of creating a community of support for women. We at www.ctworkingmoms.com strive to create a similar sense of community and work to foster an environment of respect, honesty and encouragement. We just started a new series based off of our blogger Stephanie Wright's recent post titled, This is me . In her post, Stephanie talks openly about her parenting style and the truth about who she is as a mom. So many of us were inspired by her post that each one of our 21 work-mom bloggers will post up a similar blog over the next few weeks. It's so important for moms to be...
April 4, 2012
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s motto, located right on their website homepage, is “protecting and promoting your health” however their recent decision not to ban the use of BPA in food products sends the message that they are more concerned with protecting the pockets of the chemical industry than they are making sound rulings that support our health and development. Sure, that might sound harsh but that’s how I, as a concerned mother, feel about their recent decision. BPA has been banned in my state of Connecticut in certain products including baby bottles and the lining of baby...
March 7, 2012
Have you ever wondered if your work day is anything like other working mothers days? Recently, my website www.ctworkingmoms.com followed the working day of each of our work-mom bloggers (15 of us!) and we found it fascinating to see how alike our days actually are. (Credit for this terrific idea goes to our blogger Christa Allard) A few themes we discovered: We are all, very, very tired at the end of the day. We often use the TV to entertain our kids while we get ready for work in the morning and/or try to prepare dinner at night. Working moms are heroes! Seriously. It's amazing how much each...
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