Association for Psychological Science: A new study published in Psychological Science tested the assumption that women are less willing to take risks than men. The research showed that when negative stereotypes about women (and positive stereotypes about men) were present, that people tended to stick to the behaviors dictated by the stereotypes--for example, women were more cautious and men took more risks.
"Anecdotally, many people believe that women are more risk averse and loss averse than men—that women make safer and more cautious financial decisions. And some research has supported this, suggesting that the gender differences may be biologically rooted or evolutionarily programmed.
But Priyanka B. Carr of Stanford University and Claude M. Steele of Columbia University thought that these differences might be the result of negative stereotypes—stereotypes about women being irrational and illogical. So they designed experiments to study how women make financial decisions, when faced with negative stereotypes and when not. Past research has shown that being faced with negative stereotypes about one's group can hamper intellectual performance, and Carr and Steele reasoned it could also affect financial decision making.
When the negative stereotype about women was not hinted at, there were no gender differences in financial decision making. Both men and women were moderately risk averse and loss averse. But when the negative stereotype was brought up, gender differences emerged.
Women made more cautious financial decisions: They were more likely to forgo lucrative opportunities so they could avoid risks and losses. Interestingly, when negative stereotypes about women (and therefore positive stereotypes about men) were relevant, men became more risk seeking. The stereotypical cues encouraged behavior that stuck to the stereotype. This suggests that earlier findings and anecdotes about differences in decision making between the sexes may actually be the result of gender stereotypes (and not the basis for them).
Reducing and removing negative stereotypes about women can leave both men and women free to make decisions they think are best. She says, 'Our argument is that people's decision making and financial choices should not be burdened by stereotypes being placed on them.'"
CNN: This year is the first election year since 1979 that women have not increased their numbers in Congress. The Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics shows that there has been no significant growth and that women make up only 17% of elected officials in Congress.
"In fact, this election year will mark the first time in nearly three decades that women have not increased their ranks in Congress. There are currently 73 women in the House and 17 women in the Senate.
It's not that women didn't try this year. Walsh's research shows a record-breaking 262 women ran in primaries for the House, well more than the high-water mark of 222 in 1992, the so-called 'Year of the Woman.' But many female candidates didn't make it to the general election.
Walsh said she will be doing more research to try to figure out why so many women ran for office this year, yet so many lost. Whether it was simply a matter of how competitive their races were or where they sat on the political spectrum or perhaps if any gender bias was a factor are all questions being explored.
Whatever the reason, Jennifer Lawless with the Women and Politics Institute at American University said the United States ranks 90th in the world when it comes to the number of women in national legislatures. Part of the reason is because many other countries have quotas to ensure a significant number of women are serving.
Women's Media Center: Rush Limbaugh. Glenn Beck. Sean Hannity. Bill O’Reilly. Not only are these individuals some of the most influential conservative pundits, they are also the most highly paid media figures in modern history. Newsweek’s writers, who compiled a list of the 50 highest paid media personalities, report that Limbaugh rakes in $58.7 million per year, Beck earns $33 million, and Hannity and O’Reilly follow up with incomes in the 20s. As the writers point out, the most highly paid media figures are also the most influential ones, and, interestingly, these figures are overwhelmingly conservative. In fact, only 7 out of the top 25 pundits were progressive.
These individuals are overwhelmingly male as well. Out of the top 50 pundits on the list, only nine are women, and only one woman—Sarah Palin—graces the top 10 portion of the list. Rachel Maddow, #32, is the only queer woman on the list and Condoleeza Rice, #36, represents the only woman of color on the list. Sarah Palin earned $14 million this year, while the rest of the women on the list made less than $10 million. While any salary in the millions is a significant chunk of change, it’s important to wonder why women in the media are earning significantly less than their male counterparts.
Ms.: After four years, the U.N. has created a new office to be called the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), which will begin operating officially in January 2011. UN Women consolidates four formerly separate entities within the UN that work for the advancement of women. The new organization will have two charges: the first is to assist intergovernmental bodies in forming policies and global standards and the other is to help Member States uphold the standards set by these bodies, along with providing the support to do so.
"The UN voted unanimously Friday to create a new office on women to be called the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), which will begin operating officially in January 2011. UN Women consolidates four formerly separate entities within the UN that work for the advancement of women: the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI), and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
Negotiations to form the entity have gone on for four years because of differing opinions between some developed and developing countries, according to the BBC. "
BBC: The Sisters in Islam (SIS feminist group welcomed the decision by the Malaysian government to appoint two new women judges to the Islamic courts. SIS has campaigned for years for inclusion of women in the court system, which it argues does not administer and implement Islamic law fairly and properly in cases involving women.
The decision by the Malaysian government to appoint women judges to its Islamic courts has been welcomed by Muslim feminist groups. The Sisters in Islam (SIS) group based in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, told the BBC it had been pressing for this for many years. The group has long campaigned for reform of the Islamic legal system. It argues that Islam does provide legal protection for women, but that it is not always administered and implemented properly and fairly.
The government announced the two new judges as Suraya Ramli, 31, in the Federal Territory of Putrajaya court and Rafidah Abdul Razak, 39, in Kuala Lumpur. "The appointments were made to enhance justice in cases involving families and women's rights and to meet current needs," said Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Malaysia runs two parallel legal systems - the civil courts for its non-Muslim citizens and the Islamic system.The civil judiciary has long had female judges, covering a range of major cases.The Islamic legal system focuses on family law, frequently tackling issues such as divorce, polygamy and custody battles.
Los Angeles Times: A new study posits the plight faced by widows as a human rights issue, many of whom suffer discrimination and abuse,and are trapped in poverty. The report found at least 245 million widows worldwide, almost half living in poverty, with the highest number of widows in China with 43 million, India with 42.4 million, the United States with 13.6 million, Indonesia with 9.4 million, Japan with 7.4 million, Russia with 7.1 million, Brazil with 5.6 million, Germany with 5.1 million, and Bangladesh and Vietnam with about 4.7 million each.
"At least 245 million women around the world have been widowed and more than 115 million of them live in devastating poverty, according to a new study released Tuesday by Cherie Blair, wife of the former British prime minister.
The most dire consequences are faced by 2 million Afghan widows and at least 740,000 Iraqi women who lost their husbands as a result of the conflicts in their nations; by widows and their children evicted from their family homes in sub-Saharan Africa; by elderly widows caring for grandchildren orphaned by the HIV/AIDS crisis; and by child widows ages 7 to 17 in developing countries, the report said."
From BBC: In the 40 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women in Scotland working full time earn significantly less than male colleagues--about 12% less. Women in management find even more of disparity, earning 55% less than their male counterparts. Researchers think that some of the reasons for the pay gap are stereotyping, discrimination and inequalities in reproductive labor.
From Inter Press Service: Kamla Persad-Bissessar is the first female head of state of Trinidad and Tobago. The 58 year old attorney hopes to build a more inclusive government and has promised the an end to the nation's divisive ethnic politics, saying, "We will all rise. Every creed and race will find an equal space and place."
From the NY Times: At a conference in Beijing, businesswomen discussed how to work effectively with men, and how to increase their ranks in the boardroom. A report released at the conference titled "Accelerating Board Diversity" revealed the "dismal reality of women's lack of access to board appointments." The anomaly was Norway, which, thanks to 2008 quotas, now boast women in over 40% of board appointments. The trend seems to be catching on in Europe as well.
From San Francisco Chronicle: Compensation for female CEOs at the biggest U.S. companies is at a higher rate than ever before. Sixteen women heading companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index averaged earnings of $14.2 million in their latest fiscal years, and women CEO's received a 19% raise in 2009, while men took a 5% pay cut.