As black women watch Michelle Obama on the national stage, they search — sometimes nervously — for nuances often lost on the larger culture. How she handles criticism, how she raises her children, even her style of dress, has the potential to counter negative stereotypes.
In a nationwide survey conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, black women described themselves as relating to Michelle Obama and sensing that she understands them. Nearly eight out of 10 black women say they personally identify with the first lady, and when asked to give a one-word description of Obama, among the words most commonly used were “intelligent,” “strong” and “classy.”
In follow-up interviews, black women say the first lady’s racial and gender identity are essential to the deep connection they feel they have to her. They call her a role model, someone familiar to them — like a sister or aunt.
That emotional stake makes watching Obama navigate the world stage both “thrilling and terrifying,” says Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor of political science at Tulane University who has written aboutthe first lady’s impact on black women.
There is no doubt that the ability to attract, motivate, and retain a talented pool of employees is crucial to any company’s success. Representing about 50% of the total U.S. labor force, female employees are an important force driving not only firm performancebut also our national economy. Interestingly, findings from marketplace polls and academic research suggest that women place more importance on the role business needs to play in society when selecting their employers, and that women seek power and leadership in the workplace not so much for personal gains, but to make a difference and make the world a better place. Given the fact that corporate social responsibility (CSR) occupies a prominent place on the global corporate agenda in today’s socially conscious climate, we collaborated with Hewlett Packard to explore the effect of CSR on retaining and motivating female employees.
Imagine a time with equal representation of ALL women on boards, at the CEO position and in the c-suite. There'd be no more talk of "breaking the glass ceiling." There would be no glass ceiling. Nor would there be talk of "being the first." The presence of strong female leaders would be the norm.
In 1965, affirmative action was established. It was amended in 1967 to ensure that women and minorities were provided opportunities to be considered for job placement. In theory, it served as the catalyst for creating opportunities. Unfortunately, not everyone was ready to meet the new employee requirements. As a result, even in the 21st century women are still struggling to find their place and voice in corporate America.
According to The Atlantic, in 2010, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. For every two men that got a college diploma last year, three women did the same. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women now hold 51.4% of managerial and professional jobs -- up from 26.1% in 1980. They make up 54% of all accountants and hold about half of all banking and insurance jobs. About a third of America's physicians are now women, as are 45% of associates in law firms -- and both those percentages are rising quickly.
The pink elephant in the living room that isn't being talked about is this: White women have been the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action. So much so that their presence at mid- to senior-levels dramatically outpace women of color by 4 to 1. In Fortune 500 companies, 2010 numbers show that white women held 12.7% of board seats as compared to women of color holding 3% of the board seats.
After years of progress, the number of female lawmakers in the U.S. slipped in the last election cycle. Leslie Bennetts on a new drive to change that—and why the country will be better off for it.
From the Daily Beast:
“Women are 51 percent of the population, but we have flatlined at 17 percent in Congress, with 17 women in the Senate, six women governors, and 23 percent of state legislators around the country,” says Tracey Hyams, director of Political Parity, a non-partisan coalition of leaders who have joined forces to increase the number of women in office.
In the last election cycle, frustration turned to alarm as women’s representation actually lost ground. “There was a net loss of 81 legislative seats for women,” reports Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. “It was the first time we’ve gone down in 30 years.”
As the debate over American market capitalism takes center stage in thepresidential campaign, it’s a good time to focus on the relationship between economic growth and our senior population, since the greatest social movement of the coming decades will be our aging citizenry. As we work to harness the potential of this changing demographic group, presidential candidates might consider an interesting parallel with the integration of women into economic life in the last half of the 20th century.
Women's economic empowerment met steady opposition early on, based on the mistaken view that females would take jobs away from males. But as history has shown, an economy that includes women is an economy that grows. And a growing economy has room – and the need – for new entrants. If American market capitalism teaches anything, it is that we need to prevent barriers into economic life for people of all genders, races, and ages, and indeed, to help make these new entrants part of the very engine that drives growth. If it was never true that women would take men’s jobs, it’s equally untrue that keeping an aging workforce active will not take younger generations’ jobs, as has been documented by Axel Boersch-Supan in his groundbreaking work onintergenerational cohesion. He concludes, “…We find no evidence that the burden of population aging…is systematically related to broad array of indicators of intergenerational conflict”.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced the formation of an Insurance Diversity Task Force to consider and make recommendations about diversity in the insurance industry, including the diversity of corporate governing boards and procurement from diverse businesses.
"Insurance is a $125 billion industry in California," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "I am hopeful this task force will help us identify, measure and increase what the insurance industry procures from California's minority- and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses."
According to the Small Business Administration and the Center for Women's Business Research, diverse business enterprises constitute one of the fastest-growing segments in the U.S. economy, with minority-owned businesses generating an estimated $1 trillion in annual revenue. MBEs also employ nearly 6 million workers, while women-owned businesses employ about 19 million people and generate $2.5 trillion in annual sales. Further, with more than 25 million veterans in the country, 1 in 7 small businesses are veteran-owned.
"Expanding small businesses - especially diverse and disabled veteran-owned businesses - will help turn our economy around,'' added Commissioner Jones. "The goal of this task force is to make it easier for the insurer community to contract with these talented enterprises."
Task force members will identify and promote insurance companies that are doing a good job on diversity issues, examine the diversity of insurance company governing boards, identify actions the Department of Insurance can take to encourage insurance companies to utilize diverse suppliers, and make recommendations for changes to the law. Commissioner Jones recently requested voluntary supplier diversity data from the top 200 insurance companies. Assembly Bill 53, authored by Assembly Insurance Committee Chairman Jose Solorio, would require top insurance companies to report their diversity efforts.
If you are a gay college student, when you apply for jobs, should you let it show on your résumé, or should you hide it? And what if your main achievements have been with an LGBT group? Should you include them on your résumé?
From the Huffington Post:
These are tough questions when you consider this sobering map from Freedom to Work showing that employers in a majority of states can legally refuse to interview you just because you are gay, lesbian, or transgender.
Data from a recent study indicate that if you want the job, then no, you shouldn't be out on your résumé. In what has been dubbed the first major audit study to test the receptiveness of employers to gay male job applicants, Andras Tilcsik, a Harvard researcher, suggests that men who identify as gay on their résumés have less success in getting selected for job interviews.
There is virtue both in being out in the workplace from day one and in changing the system from the inside. But it is crucial to not discount the importance of an LGBT-friendly work environment to making you comfortable and, ultimately, successful.
A recent report from the Center for Work-Life Policy, "The Power of Out," has shown that "for gay and lesbian employees ... a climate that fosters inclusiveness and openness is critical both to the longevity of their tenures and their ability to perform well on the job."
About two-thirds of Americans now believe there are “strong conflicts” between rich and poor in the United States, a survey by the Pew Research Center found, a sign that the message of income inequality brandished by the Occupy Wall Street movement and pressed by Democrats may be seeping into the national consciousness.
The share was the largest since 1992, and represented about a 50 percent increase from the 2009 survey, when immigration was seen as the greatest source of tension. In that survey, 47 percent of those polled said there were strong conflicts between classes.
“Income inequality is no longer just for economists,” said Richard Morin, a senior editor at Pew Social & Demographic Trends, which conducted the latest survey. “It has moved off the business pages into the front page.”
The survey, which polled 2,048 adults from Dec. 6 to 19, found that perception of class conflict surged the most among white people, middle-income earners and independent voters. But it also increased substantially among Republicans, to 55 percent of those polled, up from 38 percent in 2009, even as the party leadership has railed against the concept of class divisions.
The U.S. military is no longer a men’s club — almost 15 percent of today’s active-duty troops are women. But when it comes to military and veterans’ medical care, women soldiers remain a step behind — both on the front line, and back home.
While military and Veterans Affairs officials said they’re making steady progress, government and American Legion reports have raised concerns about a lack of women’s health equipment in field hospitals, a lack of privacy in military and VA medical centers, and the need for more expertise in women’s care among health care providers.