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.
First, thanks to Anne-Marie Slaughter for peeling the band-aid off an open wound of American womanhood. It’s our dirty little secret: balancing work and family is still impossible for elite American women because of the way we structure work, family, love, marriage, careers, masculinity, and dignity.
Yes. It’s that bad. Fifteen years ago, when I began to write Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflicts and What To Do About It, I thought that all we needed to do was to reshape work and careers. The key problem for women, I pointed out, is that workplaces still are designed around an ideal worker who starts to work in early adulthood and works, full time and full force, for forty years without a break, taking no time off for childbearing, childrearing, or anything else. The result is a clash of social ideals. The ideal worker norm clashes with the norm of parental care: the widespread and uncontroversial sense that children need and deserve time with their parents.
The solution is to reshape workplaces around the values we hold in family life. Careers need to be more flexible, such that career breaks do not spell career doom. Hours expectations need to be more flexible, such that a failure to work “full time” does not derail one’s career. Face time needs to end, allowing people to work when and where they need to, so long as the work gets done. Each of these ideas has subsequently been further developed. Here are twogood examples.
The debate over this proposed legislation reveals serious flaws in reasoning about the impact of public efforts to promote fair pay. Recent academic research suggests that many women are underpaid for the same reason that many chief executives may be overpaid — because the labor market doesn’t work according to the standard textbook model based on impersonal forces of supply and demand.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would have required employers to give a “business” reason for paying men and women different wages for equal work. It would also have prohibited retaliation against employees who revealed wage information.
Criticisms of the proposed legislation took several forms. A common claim was that it would do more harm than good, because pay discrimination is not the most important cause of gender disparities. Conservatives are not the only ones who insist that women are paid less primarily because they choose to devote more time to family responsibilities than men do. The New York Times columnist Eduardo Porter recently articulated a similar argument.
But pay discrimination and choices to take time out of paid employment are complementary rather than competing explanations of gender differences in pay. Women who are paid less — or who anticipate fewer opportunities for promotion — than their male counterparts are more likely to drop out of paid employment. Their choices represent, in part, a response to discrimination.
If a woman does drop out for a while, an employer who pays her less is off the hook. Case law shows that a lower level of experience on the job is typically considered a bona fide “business” reason for paying someone less. In herdiscerning analysis of the impact of the Equal Pay Act passed in 1963, a University of Maryland law professor, Deborah Thompson Eisenberg, points out that the Paycheck Fairness Act would have simply codified majority interpretations of that law.
What does birth control have anything to do with reducing global emissions?
Everything, women around the world would say, because they know how closely linked reproductive health is to issues ranging from poverty and food security to climate change and beyond. This message was precisely what female leaders brought to the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, but not many were listening, least of all the Vatican.
“The only way to respond to increasing human numbers and dwindling resources is through the empowerment of women,” said Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway and former director-general of the World Health Organisation.
“It is through giving women access to education, knowledge, to paid income, independence and of course access to reproductive health services, reproductive rights, access to family planning,” she elaborated, adding that no other way existed to change the current “pattern of human consumption”.
Female leaders have long been trying to tell the world that sustainable development is not just about deforestation, climate change and carbon emissions. Equally as important to sustainable development are gender equality and human rights, which include sexual and reproductive rights.
But the reality is that globally, 215 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using effective methods of contraception. More than two and five pregnancies are unplanned, and approximately 287,000 girls and women die each year from pregnancy-related causes. The world has a ways to go to ensure that women have access to full reproductive rights and health.
A provision in the 2010 health care law requiring contraceptive coverage for women without copays has gotten most of the press.
But much more is at stake for women if the Supreme Court overturns the health care law. Starting in 2014, the law bars insurance practices such as charging women higher premiums than men, or denying coverage for pre-existing conditions that could include pregnancy, a Caesarean-section birth or a sexual or a domestic violence assault.
Parenthood is not the end of the road for teen moms. Quite to the contrary, motherhood can serve as an educational motivator for many young women. Unfortunately, educational barriers and discrimination often thwart this drive and determination. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is the landmark law that bans sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities. Despite Title IX’s prohibition against sex discrimination, there are schools across the country that continue to bar pregnant and parenting students from activities, kick them out of school, pressure them to attend alternative programs, and penalize them for pregnancy-related absences.
This Study of Rabbinic Compensation by Gender is undertaken by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (“CCAR”) as a service to CCAR rabbis and all the congregations, organizations and communities which they serve and in furtherance of the Reform Movement’s long-standing commitment to economic justice.
This study relies upon the data collected in the 2010-2011 Study of Rabbinic Compensation. That study was conducted by an independent actuarial firm, Buck Consulting, LLC, a Xerox Company (“Buck”), with the assistance of the Reform Pension Board (“RPB”), for the CCAR in partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism (“URJ”). Gender material for this study was computed and analyzed by Mayeri Research/The Internet Poll (New York).
"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.
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.
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: