Re:Gender works to end gender inequity by exposing root causes and advancing research-informed action. Working with multiple sectors and disciplines, we are shaping a world that demands fairness across difference.
EIGHTEEN MONTHS INTO my job as the first woman director of policy planning at the State Department, a foreign-policy dream job that traces its origins back to George Kennan, I found myself in New York, at the United Nations’ annual assemblage of every foreign minister and head of state in the world. On a Wednesday evening, President and Mrs. Obama hosted a glamorous reception at the American Museum of Natural History. I sipped champagne, greeted foreign dignitaries, and mingled. But I could not stop thinking about my 14-year-old son, who had started eighth grade three weeks earlier and was already resuming what had become his pattern of skipping homework, disrupting classes, failing math, and tuning out any adult who tried to reach him. Over the summer, we had barely spoken to each other—or, more accurately, he had barely spoken to me. And the previous spring I had received several urgent phone calls—invariably on the day of an important meeting—that required me to take the first train from Washington, D.C., where I worked, back to Princeton, New Jersey, where he lived. My husband, who has always done everything possible to support my career, took care of him and his 12-year-old brother during the week; outside of those midweek emergencies, I came home only on weekends.
As the evening wore on, I ran into a colleague who held a senior position in the White House. She has two sons exactly my sons’ ages, but she had chosen to move them from California to D.C. when she got her job, which meant her husband commuted back to California regularly. I told her how difficult I was finding it to be away from my son when he clearly needed me. Then I said, “When this is over, I’m going to write an op-ed titled ‘Women Can’t Have It All.’”
She was horrified. “You can’t write that,” she said. “You, of all people.” What she meant was that such a statement, coming from a high-profile career woman—a role model—would be a terrible signal to younger generations of women. By the end of the evening, she had talked me out of it, but for the remainder of my stint in Washington, I was increasingly aware that the feminist beliefs on which I had built my entire career were shifting under my feet. I had always assumed that if I could get a foreign-policy job in the State Department or the White House while my party was in power, I would stay the course as long as I had the opportunity to do work I loved. But in January 2011, when my two-year public-service leave from Princeton University was up, I hurried home as fast as I could.
A first-of-a-kind study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders finds damaging eating disorders are common among women 50 and older — and 62% of those surveyed say their weight or shape has a negative impact on their lives.
A first-of-a-kind study looking at older women finds damaging eating disorders are common — and 62% of those surveyed say their weight or shape has a negative impact on their lives.
Historically, eating disorder research has focused on teens and young women, but the study out Thursday in the International Journal of Eating Disorders shows 13% of women ages 50 and older struggle with the problem — some for the first time in their lives. Eating disorders are more common in women than men and include purging, binge eating, excessive dieting and excessive exercising.
The researchers surveyed 1,849 women online from across the nation in attempt to find out how older women feel about their bodies and to estimate the prevalence of eating disorders. There are 53 million women in the USA older than age 50, the authors write, noting previous studies have reported a lower risk for eating disorders as women mature.
"The disorders have serious physical as well as emotional consequences," says lead author Cindy Bulik, director of the eating disorders program at the University of North Carolina. "Part of my goal is to make this an issue all doctors need to be aware of regardless of a women's age. Many think eating disorders end at age 25. They exist at every age, we're finding."
"We’d love to have a gender lens, but we’d have nothing to invest in.” I rocked back on my heels, absorbing this statement from the head of the Africa division of a large social investment fund.
Yet he is not alone. Two years ago, when I first talked with the head of a domestic fund investing in women entrepreneurs, she said, “Jackie I don’t have a gender lens.” Her concern was that a “gender lens” made her appear soft, not return-focused.
For the last two years, I’ve led Women Effect Investments, a field building initiative for gender lens investing. In the process I’ve discovered multiple challenges talking about gender in the investment world. It surfaces concerns about quotas and quality, culture and stereotypes. It is seen as soft, unnecessarily feminist, or limiting. I see a huge opportunity in transcending these concerns. Given women’s centrality worldwide to economic development, health, education, and a strong civil society, investing with a gender lens illuminates opportunities and highlights risks. Take, for instance, the need for electricity in maternity clinics or the challenges that emerge when loan officers are all men. If more investment vehicles employed a gender lens, we could accelerate change for everyone.
To clarify what I by lens—I mean the point(s) of view by which we can analyze investments. There are at least three different lenses that highlight investment opportunities, and they can and often do overlap.
A new paper by researchers at Texas Christian University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas at San Antonio and Arizona State University examine the "lipstick effect" and find that the more insecure the economy, the more money women spend on beauty products.
Although consumer spending typically declines in economic recessions, some observers have noted that recessions appear to increase women‘s spending on beauty products—the so-called lipstick effect. Using both historical spending data and rigorous experiments, we examine how and why economic recessions influence women‟s consumer behavior. Findings revealed that recessionary cues – whether naturally occurring or experimentally primed – decreased desire for most products (e.g., electronics, household items). However, these cues consistently increased women‘s desire for products that increase attractiveness to mates —the first experimental demonstration of the lipstick effect. Additional studies show that this effect is driven by women‘s desire to attract mates with resources and depends on the perceived mate attraction function served by these products. In addition to showing how and why economic recessions influence women‘s desire for beauty products, this research provides novel insights into women‘s mating psychology, consumer behavior, and the relationship between the two.
If, as many maintain, women could have such a tonic influence on the markets, why are there so few women traders? Why are women not pushing their way onto the trading floors, and why are banks and hedge funds not waving them in? Women make up at most 5 percent of the traders in the financial world, and even that low number includes the results of diversity pushes at many of the large banks. The most common explanations ventured for these numbers are that women do not want to work in such a macho environment, or that they are too risk averse for the job.
There may well be a kernel of truth to these explanations, but I do not place much stock in them. To begin with, women may not like the atmosphere on a trading floor, but I am sure they like the money. There are few jobs that pay more than a trader in the financial world. Besides, women are already on the trading floor: they make up about 50 percent of the sales force, and the sales force sits right next to the trading desks. So women are already immersed in the macho environment and are dealing with the high jinks; they are just not trading. Also, I am not convinced women are as easily put off by a male environment as this explanation assumes.
There are plenty of worlds once dominated by men that have come to employ more women: law and medicine, for example, were once considered male preserves but now have a more even balance between men and women (although admittedly not at the top echelons of management). So I am not convinced by the macho environment argument.
What about the second-mentioned explanation, that men and women differ in their appetite for risk? There have been some studies conducted in behavioral finance that suggest that on computerized monetary choice tasks women are more risk averse than men. But here again, I am not entirely convinced, because other studies, of real investment behavior, show that women often outperform men over the long haul, and such outperformance is, according to formal finance theory, a sign of greater risk taking. In an important paper called “Boys Will Be Boys,” two economists at the University of California, Brad Barber and Terrance Odean, analyzed the brokerage records of 35,000 personal investors over the period 1991–1997 and found that single women outperformed single men by 1.44 percent. A similar result was announced in 2009 by Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research, which found that over the previous nine years hedge funds run by women had significantly outperformed those run by men.
The results of a study carried out by the researchers of the Inserm unit 1018 (Centre for research in Epidemiology and Population Health) and published in the International Journal of Cancer show that the risk of developing breast cancer is higher among women who have worked at night.
The study, carried out in France and named the CECILE study, compared the careers of 1200 women who had developed breast cancer between 2005 and 2008 with the careers of 1300 other women.
Breast cancer is the number one cause of female mortality. It affects 100 out of 100,000 women per year in developed countries. Each year, more than 1.3 million new cases are diagnosed, 53,000 of these in France.
The risk factors of breast cancer are varied. They include genetic mutations, late first pregnancy, low parity or hormone therapy, but other causes of breast cancer such as way of life, environmental or professional causes have not yet been completely identified. In 2010, based on experimental and epidemiological work, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified work that disturbed the circadian rhythm as being "probably carcinogenic." The circadian rhythm, that regulates the alternation between wakefulness and sleep, controls numerous biological functions and is altered in people who work at night or who have disrupted working hours. Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain the observed links between night work and breast cancer: exposure to light during the night, that eliminates the nocturnal melatonin surge and its anti-carcinogenic effects, disturbed functioning of the biological clock genes that control cell proliferation, or sleep disorders that can weaken the immune system.
Alyssa Rosenberg highlights the fifteen most offensive listings in Thomas Delatte’s “100 Hottest Olympians” post for Bleacher Report.
As someone who writes about popular culture, I have to shake my head and laugh rather than vigorously bashing it into my desk. Such is the case with Thomas Delatte’s “100 Hottest Olympians” post for Bleacher Report, a piece so sexist, so insulting, so foolishly written, and that reflects so poorly on the writer that it’s astonishing that someone thought it passed muster. The concept is simple: help heterosexual dudes spot attractive women at the Olympic games (God forbid women admire the bodies of any competitors), and remind them that the important thing isn’t that these women have trained their entire lives to prove that they’re preeminent in their fields, but they’re available to be ogled by viewers at home. Along the way, Delatte reveals that he doesn’t know much about a lot of Olympic sports, but that he’s a gold medal contender in the field of condescending grossness. What follows are the fifteen (out of one hundred profiles) most astonishingly awful things Delatte has to say about female Olympians from around the world, in no particular order:
From being treated as a quiet, supportive half of society, women who want to start a business in India now find the country to provide one of the most fertile environments based on indicators such as business confidence, motivation, financing options and other sources of support.
The finding is part of Dell Women's Global Entrepreneurship Study conducted across 450 women entrepreneurs from US, UK and India commissioned by Dell.
It reveals that 71 per cent of woman entrepreneurs in India have a branding in market for their businesses and eight in every 10 woman entrepreneurs are hiring which indicates an expansion spree in their individual businesses as well as increase in employment opportunities too.
"When I started my business I didn't even know how to write a business proposal for getting a loan sanctioned. But I was born to be a businesswoman and hence I could reach this stage without looking back," says Rita Singh, MESCO Steel Group who has been awarded the "Best Woman Entrepreneur of the decade" by FICCI.
Another entrepreneur Ishita Swarup, who owns a shopping portal 99 labels says, "Women have become more experimental and are slowly shedding their inhibitions of taking risk. I frequently meet women who want to start something of their own but are afraid of taking the plunge and always advise them to just make a plan and hit the market. Over thinking should be kept for handling crisis if there are any."
A state lawmaker who says she was barred from speaking in the Michigan House because Republicans objected to her saying "vagina" during debate over anti-abortion legislation performed "The Vagina Monologues" on the Statehouse steps — with a hand from the author.
Eve Ensler, whose groundbreaking play about women's sexuality still packs theaters 16 years after it debuted, oversaw Monday night's performance by Democratic state Rep. Lisa Brown, 10 other lawmakers and several actresses.
Capitol facilities director Steve Benkovsky estimated about 2,500 spectators — women and men — watched the play in downtown Lansing from lawn chairs and blankets. Billed on Facebook as the "Vaginas Take Back the Capitol!" event, the combination play and protest included political signs and chants of "Vagina! Vagina!"
Ensler, who flew in from California, where she's overseeing production of her new play, said she was thrilled to be involved and likened the punishment meted out by the Republican leadership of the state House to "the Dark Ages."
"If we ever knew deep in our hearts that the issue about abortion ... was not really about fetuses and babies, but really men's terror of women's sexuality and power, I think it's fully evidenced here," Ensler told The Associated Press by phone Monday before arriving in Lansing.
"We're talking about the silencing of women, we're talking about censoring people for saying a body part," she said. "Half of these people who are trying to regulate vaginas, they can't even say the word."
Brown made her comments during debate last week on legislation that supporters say would make abortions safer but that opponents say would make it much harder for women to get abortions. While speaking against a bill that would require doctors to ensure abortion-seekers haven't been coerced into ending their pregnancies, Brown told Republicans, "I'm flattered you're all so concerned about my vagina. But no means no."
Brown was barred from speaking in the House during the next day's session. House Republicans say they didn't object to her saying "vagina." They said Brown compared the legislation to rape, violating House decorum. She denies the allegation.
The Girl Scouts have set a goal of increasing membership by 1 million in the next five years, said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO for Girl Scouts of the USA. Hispanic membership, which has risen 55 percent in the past decade, would be a key driver of that growth.
“To be here today to talk about where we are now as a movement brings me almost to tears, because for 100 years, we have taken our mission to heart,” Chávez told about 300 people gathered at SeaWorld for a Hispanic community breakfast.
Before her speech, Chávez chatted with a group of scouts who served as color guard during the morning event. Chávez gave each girl her personal patch, which bears her name and nickname, “Eagle 1.” The girls said they couldn’t wait to add them to their uniforms.
“She said that only the girls who meet her get the patch,” said Melanie Kellis, 10, of Troop 5260.
Just a week ago, Chávez was in Washington, D.C., where thousands gathered on the National Mall to celebrate the Girl Scouts centennial.
She also met with President Barack Obama in the White House. Chávez pointed out to him that several Cabinet members and 70 percent of the women in Congress had been Girl Scouts. She also told him that the U.S. currently has 59 million Girl Scouts alumni, a number that seemed to surprise him.
“Absolutely, Mr. President. Not only that, they vote,” Chávez remembered saying to Obama.