Re:Gender works to end gender inequity and discrimination against girls and women 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.
Karin Kamp asks "Is there an upside to the so-called 'war on women'? Could it be mobilizing a new generation of women leaders?" She interviews some prominent women representing the interests of other women to find out.
Women's issues have been all over the media lately, and not for all the right reasons. Birth control, abortion rights, the Rush Limbaugh Sandra Fluke 'slut' comment controversy, Hilary Rosen's comments on Ann Romney never working a day in her life -- it's really enough to make your head spin. (At least we have one more woman on Forbes' list of billionaires, thanks to Spanx inventorSara Blakely, which had The Story Exchange staff cheering.)
I overheard some young women talking about these issues on the train the other day and that got me thinking... Is there an upside to the so-called "war on women"? Could it be mobilizing a new generation of women leaders? I decided to contact some prominent women representing the interests of other women to find out. Here's what they told me.
Two female lawmakers, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, and Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said Sunday that the dearth of women Secret Service agents might have contributed to the scandal linking agency personnel to prostitutes in Colombia. And they credited a female Secret Service supervisor, Paula Reid, for bringing it to light.
Two female lawmakers, both of them members of oversight committees, said Sunday that the dearth of women Secret Serviceagents might have contributed to the scandal linking agency personnel to prostitutes in Colombia. And they credited a female supervisor in the agency for bringing it to light.
The lawmakers, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, and Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, were asked on the ABC program “This Week” about a report describing a female Secret Service supervisor, Paula Reid, who ordered the crackdown on agents working in Cartagena, Colombia, ahead of a visit by President Obama last weekend.
“She acted decisively, appropriately, and I can’t help but wonder if there’d been more women as part of that detail if this ever would have happened,” said Ms. Collins, ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
An Huffington Post analysis of the films competing at the 2012 Cannes festival finds that none of the 23 movies eligible for awards like the prestigious Palme D'Or were directed by women. And just two of the films chosen for the "Un Certain Regard" category, reserved for movies by young filmmakers, had female directors.
With the international media assembled in Paris Thursday to find out which movies made the cut for this year's prestigious Festival du Cannes, festival president Gilles Jacob began with a heartfelt ode to the glorious history of Cannes and the film industry.
The lack of female representation is especially disappointing on the heels of last year's Cannes, which was heralded as a high-water mark for gender parity in the history of the festival. Four of the movies in competition last year were directed by women.
Asia Society and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy deliver “Rising to the Top?”, a study that highlights the current socio-economic landscape for women in China and the region. The report discusses gender gap issues and presents policy recommendations to ease gender inequality.
A new CNN/ORC International poll shows that most Americans now think the number of women in the workplace is a good thing for children of working mothers, which is a significant change from attitudes on that topic in the 1980s and 1990s.
The CNN/ORC International poll also indicated that nearly nine in ten Americans approve of mothers of young children working outside the home, even if their husbands can support their families. Six in ten women, including six in ten mothers of children under the age of 18, said they would prefer to have a job outside the home.
The Globe and Mail article discusses the International Football Association Board's unanimous recommendation to rescind the hijab ban first introduced by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association in 2007.
This rule had resulted in the banning of individual female players in FIFA-sanctioned games – including the forfeit of an Olympic qualifying match by the Iranian women’s team. Some (the Quebec Soccer Federation, for instance) used the FIFA edict as a pretext to ban the hijab from the soccer field for non-FIFA events.
The ban reversal followed intense lobbying by Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, a FIFA vice-president, who sought to allay safety concerns by working with Cindy van den Bremen, a Dutch designer of sports-safe hijabs, for a dozen years. Montrealer Elham Seyed Javad (who created a hijab for female martial arts athletes in 2008) has also submitted a design for consideration by FIFA. Muslim women, for whom soccer is a passion, welcomed the IFAB decision. After all, the “beautiful game” is the most universal of sports, encompassing cultures and nations.
Those who fought to have FIFA include hijab-clad players should also lobby Saudi Arabia to allow women to be part of its Olympic national team. Last week, the Saudis confirmed their opposition to sending Saudi women to the London Games. This, despite the Olympic Charter: “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, sex or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”
Congrats, ladies! By today you’ve earned the same as men did in 2011. That gap means that the typical woman working full-time, year round, makes about seventy-seven cents for every dollar a typical man does, and those missing twenty-three cents can really add up. In a year a woman loses $10,784 to a man—enough to buy about 2,700 gallons of gas. It can add up to a loss of $431,000 in pay for the typical woman over a forty-year career. No small chunk of pocket change.
This issue hasn’t gone unnoticed. The first thing President Obama did after settling into the West Wing was to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, which expanded the statute of limitations on lawsuits over equal pay. Yet Ledbetter did little to actually change the gap: it stood at seventy-seven cents when the bill was passed at 2009, where it stands today.
But this high holiday of gender inequality is not the day to get dragged down in pessimism! After all, it can’t be totally out of reach to change this thing that’s barely budged in fifty years, amiright? In the spirit of moving forward and focusing on real solutions, here are some quick steps we can all take to make the gap disappear:
Goldman Sachs and MetLife have announced that they will release gender and racial demographic data on their workforce. John Liu, New York City’s Comptroller who also serves as an advisor and trustee for the city's pension funds, has been working for months to convince the companies the funds invest in to disclose their work force diversity.
The information is available and has been since 1964, because under the Civil Rights Act of that year, companies with 100 workers or more have had to report the data on race and gender annually to the U.S. Department of Labor. The problem has been, they were not under any requirement to release that data to the public, or even to local governments such as New York.
“Transparency is key for ensuring equal pay as well as equal opportunity for workers of all backgrounds,” said Beverly Neufeld, president of New York Women's Agenda & Director of the Equal Pay Coalition NYC. “This agreement creates that and underscores just how much willing and interested leaders in government and in business can do together to address inequality in the workplace.”
And there’s a lot of inequality, especially in the higher ranks at companies where the lack of diversity is greatest.
Although social and political efforts have been made to close the wage gap and in turn the wealth gap, recent Census data still indicates that women earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. For women of color the gap is even wider: Black women earn 69.5 percent, and Hispanic women 60.5 percent, compared to the earnings of their white male counterparts.
The wage story is just as unequal for single mothers: They make less than men, less than married women, and less than women without children. Adding race to the equation, single mothers of color are hit hardest by the wage gap. Studies show that single mothers of color are much more likely to live in poverty and face significant barriers to creating wealth. Lower wages can often prevent families from engaging in asset- and wealth-building mechanisms such as pension plans because of fewer job benefits and resources. Lower earnings can hinder families from investing and saving their money, a key strategy for building wealth. Additionally, wealth not only impacts economic security but long-term retirement security as well.
While it’s recognized that the racial wealth gap is widespread there is a critical need to understand the intersection of race and gender in accumulating wealth.
Even that 73 percent number is too rosy, because it only looks at a snapshot of mothers and men employed in a given year.
But mothers also spend more years out of the workforce than anyone else, usually to care for family. So the financial impact of mothers' employment patterns becomes clear only when we look across the years. The lifetime earnings of women are just 38 percent of the lifetime earnings of men.
Now that's a gap.
One of the reasons more women drop out of the workforce is because United States income tax policy is designed specifically to encourage them to drop out.