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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 military is falling short in providing equal health care for women on the battlefield even as public pressure grows to allow them a broader role in combat, an Army task force led by female officers concluded.
"The health issues and uniform issues are areas that if we are going to be expanding the role of women (in combat), or even maintaining the current role, we need to do a better job at, so that women are equally served," says Army Col. Anne Naclerio, a pediatrician who leads the task force.
None of the health problems outlined in the report would bar women from serving in combat but instead create unnecessary physical discomfort, Naclerio says. The Army treated about 450 women for urinary tract infections in Afghanistan last year, according service data.
Basic improvements are needed to help women avoid higher rates of urinary tract or vaginal infections, stress-related menstrual difficulties and the chafing, bruising and bleeding caused by ill-fitting body armor designed for men, the task force's report says.
Since reporting to their boats in November, 25 women who broke one of the Navy's final gender barriers have gone on patrol and been accepted among their crews.
"The men adjusted to us being there, and we adjusted to them," said Lt. j.g. Megan Bittner of the USS Ohio gold crew. "It was quick. There were no big problems. No stumbling blocks along the way. It was just learning as a junior officer how you fit on the boat."
The Center for Talent Innovation released a new report, the “Sponsor Effect: UK” that was released last night at the House of Commons at an event keynoted by Theresa May, the British Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities.
Women enter the white-collar workforce in the UK in far greater numbers than men: 57 females for every 43 males. Yet as employees in large corporations move from entry-level to middle management, and from mid- to senior-level positions, men advance disproportionately. Across sector and occupation, women are simply not breaking through to leadership positions in numbers commensurate with their weight in the talent pool.
Why? According to the new CTI study the reason is straightforward and has nothing to do with a lack of accomplishment or ambition—or a paucity of childcare or flextime. Rather, British women tend not to have sponsors—powerful champions willing to take a bet on a young talent, go out on a limb for him/her and advocate for the next promotion. Sponsors are the people that propel and protect high performing employees through the treacherous shoals of upper management.
The study found that UK men with sponsors (as opposed to those without) are 40 percent more likely to move up the ladder at a satisfactory clip, while this “sponsor effect” for UK women is even higher—52 percent.
You'd think that since 1916—the year a woman was first elected to U.S. Congress—there would have been some serious progress.
Women in the workforce, after all, have been on a steady rise.
Not so in Congress, where women hold less than 17 percent of seats to this day, according to the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics. In 2010, the number of women elected to the House actually declined.
Palmer and Southern Methodist University professor Dennis Simon have been studying the political glass ceiling for over a decade. Voters, they said, mostly aren't to blame for the lack of progress. But they shared five other very real reasons more women aren't in Washington:
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Together, we will work to end sexist and misogynistic coverage of women candidates by all members of the press—from bloggers to radio hosts to television pundits.
Widespread sexism in the media is one of the top problems facing women. A highly toxic media environment persists for women candidates, often negatively affecting their campaigns. The ever-changing media landscape creates an unmonitored echo chamber, often allowing damaging comments to exist without accountability.
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