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.
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:
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.
Critics of Title IX often say that it has harmed male athletics in its insistence on increasing opportunities for females in school sports. Here, from the report (with footnotes removed), are some myths about how the law has affected school athletics:
What the Law Says
Title IX requires that schools treat both sexes equally with regard to three distinct aspects of athletics: participation opportunities, athleticscholarships, and treatment of male and female teams.
Myth 1: Title IX requires quotas.
Title IX does not require quotas; it simply requires that schools allocate participation opportunities in a nondiscriminatory way. The three-part test is lenient and flexible, allowing schools to comply even if they do not satisfy the first part. The federal courts have consistently rejected arguments that Title IX imposes quotas.
The findings of the fifth annual Financial News Women in Finance survey are sobering: Of the 650 female respondents to the survey, all of whom work in the financial services industry, two thirds said their gender made it harder for them to succeed and a similar proportion said they felt they needed to work harder than male counterparts in order to be viewed at the same level of achievement by managers.
Ruth Grant, a litigation partner and co-chair of the diversity committee at law firm Hogan Lovells, said: “There is a mismatch between what’s being done and outcomes. There is a difference between management having projects and structures that they put in place and actually embedding those ideas into the corporate culture and how the business makes them part of the daily life and DNA of an organisation.”
The survey results are a timely reminder that, while top-level management of financial firms is largely convinced that change is necessary and has begun to implement programmes, there is still more that needs to be done. The challenge, particularly in depressed market conditions, is keeping gender diversity on the priority list.
Helena Morrissey, chief executive of Newton Investment Management and founder of the 30% Club, which has had notable successes encouraging chairmen to bring more women into board roles, said: “There has been a very long, slow burn over the understanding of gender imbalance, but a sharp pick-up and growing momentum for change over the past 18 months. The financial services sector, and especially bigger companies, are trying very hard, partly in an attempt to rehabilitate their reputation. It is a paradigm shift for many people.”
Financial firms do appear to be making more of an effort. This year, 38% of survey respondents said their company had no diversity programme or women’s networking forum, less than the 46% who responded similarly last year. Whether the shift is due to more companies launching programmes is arguable but, certainly, there is increased awareness and communication within firms to promote uptake of such initiatives.
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:
Name It. Change It. is a non-partisan project of WCF Foundation, Women’s Media Center, and Political Parity.
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.
Desire and gender are brought alive through the ways lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and intersexed people use their bodies; desire and gender are made poignant and meaningful by the ways we construct or deny our erotic passions and gendered identities in the course of daily life. People will take risks—facing marginalization, isolation, and even violence—to identify and act upon their desires. And they will live out their unique understanding of gender—no matter how dangerous or costly the results. This report represents the integration of joint efforts by the Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW) and Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ), beginning with activist and academic convenings that took place from 2005-07 under the name “Desiring Change,” and culminating in a daylong gathering in 2007 with 21 social justice organizations.
A Sunday New York Times article by David Streitfeld has the feminist and tech worlds up in arms. Reporting on a sexual harassment suit filed by a junior partner in a venture capital firm, Streitfeld begins by proclaiming that “MEN invented the Internet” (those CAPS are his). I came across Streitfeld’s article after a friend suggested I check out tech journalist Xeni Jardin’s Twitter feed. Jardin’sresponse to Streitfeld:
WTF: “MEN invented the internet.” I’m sorry, did NYT just breeze past half a century of women in computer technology?
Herein lies the issue: Though Streitfeld primarily covers Ellen Pao’s lawsuit, he undermines his piece by leading with an emphatic and incorrect statement about men as sole inventors of the Internet. I’m not certain if Streitfeld was being tongue-in-cheek or if he simply has a narrow view of Internet history. But his article does incite, albeit unintentionally, necessary dialogue about the roles women–and racial and ethnic minorities–have played in Internet innovation. While some apparently assume that men alone developed the Internet, a quick glance at the Internet Hall of Fame’s 2012 inaugural inductees and the Early Internet Leaders list prove otherwise. (I also recommend reading History of the Internet).
In reality, the genesis of the Internet was a collaborative effort. It took decades of developments in computer programming and network technology. We can’t let the current cult of tech fandom around “white” men–such as Steve Jobs, whom Streitfeld name checks–obscure the women and the racial and ethnic minorities from around the world who contributed to the birth of the Internet.
Click through the slideshow for a firm-by-firm breakdown of the numbers.
The FEM Study: METHODOLOGY
All the data for assets under management comes from the National Venture Capital Association, which sent us their latest list from Thomson Reuters, current as of Q1 2012. The list included private equity firms that also do venture capital investing, which we attempted to identify and omit. However, some may still be included in the final list of 71 firms.*
Next, we went to each firm’s website and tallied up the number of partners and managing directors, noting how many were women. Obviously, the structure is different at different firms. For consistency, and to give firms the greatest benefit of the doubt, we counted anyone as a partner who had “partner” in his or her title, including venture partners, founding partners, administrative partners and other variations. We also included managing directors, who are senior partners. We did not include vice presidents, principals or associates. When partner titles were unlisted or ambiguous, we called and asked for the numbers.
We then calculated, for each firm on the list, the percentage of partners who are female. Rather than call it POPWAF, we decided to call this number the Female Equality Metric, or FEM. (At first we called it the Kleiner number, but decided to reserve that term for “number of discrimination lawsuits filed.”)
A firm with all male partners has a FEM of zero. A firm with all female partners (LOL, JK) would have a FEM of 100. If you think gender diversity is important, a low FEM is bad and a high FEM is good. If you think women should stay at the receptionist’s desk and out of the corner offices, a low FEM is good and a high FEM is bad. And if you think Silicon Valley is a meritocracy, as does Greg McAdoo of Sequoia Capital, which coincidentally has zero women partners, then you’ll probably dismiss these numbers as meaningless.
But page through this list of venture capital’s heavyweights, and it’s striking to see how few women have made it to the upper ranks. Also striking was the perfect 100 POFR, or percentage of female receptionists, at the 26 VC firms we called. We paged through team page after team page—the staff at a venture capital firm is almost universally called the “team”—where men’s faces lined the top rows and women’s faces appeared further down, if anywhere. “We have female administrative assistants,” explained one woman who picked up the phone, when asked whether any of the partners and managing directors were women.
We’ve seen this movie before and the ending still stinks.
The sex-discrimination lawsuit by Ellen Pao against the Silicon Valley venture-capital firmKleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers may be the gender and workplace story of the moment. But let’s get one thing straight: This doesn’t describe anything that’s new. It seems to happen routinely. Just yesterday, at a hearing in London, a lawyer for Latifa Bouabdillah, a former Deutsche Bank AG director, said the woman’s male colleagues were paid bonuses “double or triple that of the claimant” for the same work.
Swap out Pao for Pamela Martens, who led the class-action “Boom-Boom Room” lawsuit against Smith Barney in the 1990s, or Allison Schieffelin, who sued Morgan Stanley in 2001, or Carla Ingraham, who sued UBS AG in 2009, and you wind up with some combination of the same old complaints: coworker come-ons, power meetings for guys only, higher pay for men and retaliation against the uppity women who have the nerve to complain.
In the venture-capital world, where you get more than the usual share of people who are prone to thinking their every experience is novel, there is shock over news that a highly qualified woman has filed a suit against a celebrity firm. But sex discrimination isn’t the iPad, folks. It’s more like the electric typewriter.