Linda Basch: From your perspective, what is the unfinished work of women’s political equality?
Tonni Brodber: In the English-speaking Caribbean women’s participation in political leadership ranges from a high of 13% in Jamaica to a low of 0% in Belize, with many countries like St. Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia hovering at 6.7% and at 5.6% respectively. In the face of such paltry numbers, it almost pains me to say that it is my belief that the unfuinished work of women’s political equality is the lack of quality and diversity.
As the granddaughter of a woman engineer (and also someone who struggles to assemble her Ikea furniture but loves her new toolkit anyway), it was an honor to be surrounded by tradeswomen at the Institute for Women and Work’s panel last Thursday night up at Cornell. We were gathered to discuss how the economic crisis and recovery efforts in New York impact women, particularly tradeswomen. For me, though, it was an education in a history I didn’t even know existed: the history of tradeswomen in the U.S. and their fight for recognition and rights. After 30 years of activism, women still only comprise 3% of the construction labor force. As one panelist said, “do we really believe that men have 97% of the answers?” I think not. Although frustration with this slow-moving progress was evident in the room, the Cornell event was more celebratory than anything else. Susan Eisenberg shared slides from her multi-media installation, On Equal Terms. The theme of the installation: Women in construction—30 years and still organizing. The most provocative exhibit was the bathroom shack, literally a 6 foot by 6 foot plywood replica of a typical bathroom tradeswoman encounter on the job, complete with documented misogynistic and explicitly sexual graffiti.
Mass media is the heart of many current debates; however, the nature of the media remains double-edged. On a positive side, blogging and other forms of on-line communication have become key aspects of today’s feminist outreach. On line gender related activism and strive for change challenge and supplement the mainstream media. For example, check out this post from Racialicious (fyi, the editor of this fantastic blog is one of our panelists):
With the legalization of same-sex marriage spreading like wildfire in the Northeast and exciting progress on hate crime protections (legislation passed the House AND Angie Zapata got justice), what better time to discuss the past, present, and future of LGBT activism?
March 30, 2009 posted by admin Last week, the Insight Center for Community Development convened 75 assets-building experts of color from around the nation for the Color of Wealth 2009 Policy Summit . During the Summit, experts met with members of Congress and policy staff to discuss the gap between people of color and whites in economic security and mobility. While most people are familiar with the stat that people of color are three times more likely to receive a sub-prime mortgage loan than white borrowers, even when qualified for a prime loan, the picture is actually much more stark. As Meizhu Lui, director of the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative at Insight, discusses in her recent Washington Post op-ed, white families are five times more likely to have bank account than families of color. Furthermore, the racial wealth gap is actually widening. Says Lui,
“The gap between the wealth of white Americans and African Americans has grown. According to the Fed, for every dollar of wealth held by the typical white family, the African American family has only one dime. In 2004, it had 12 cents. This is not just a gap. It’s a deepening canyon. The overhyped political term ‘post-racial society’ becomes patently absurd when looking at these economic numbers.”
March 11, 2009 posted by Delores M. Walters* The disproportionate effects of the seized-up economy on citizens of color whether in housing, employment or educational opportunity soundly refutes the idea that “we can put to rest the myth of racism as a barrier to achievement in this splendid country” as the Wall Street Journal claimed one day after Obama’s election. Others take a more moderate stance: “For all our huge progress, we are not “post-racial,” whatever that means. The world doesn’t change in a day, and the racial frictions that emerged in both the Democratic primary campaign and the general election didn’t end on Nov. 4. As Obama himself said in his great speech on race, liberals couldn’t “purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap” simply by voting for him. Perhaps wealth accumulation is the most convincing indicator of racial disparity in America. As Dalton Conley points out, the net worth of African American families is only one-eighth that of White families which is not due to differences in education, earnings or savings rates, but due to the legacy of racial discrimination. Other groups, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, for example, exhibit wealth accumulation rates that mirror the statistics for Blacks, while Cubans mirror those for Whites.
February 28, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network reported the experiences of 2,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) middle and high school students of color who were African American or Black, Latino/a, Asian or Pacific Islander, Native American, and multiracial as part of their National School Climate Survey. The report found that
February 10, 2009 posted by admin My first memory in life is of my mom holding me up as a human shield to try get my dad to stop beating her—possibly to stop from killing her. I was 2-years-old at the time. My book for young women, RESPECT: A GIRL'S GUIDE TO GETTING RESPECT AND DEALING WHEN YOUR LINE IS CROSSED (Free Spirit Publishing, 2005), was born out of a life riddled with disrespect. Like many girls and women I’ve met, I grew up in this home where domestic violence, addictions, incarceration, near poverty and "-isms" from racism to sexism were diminishing my family. But I was one of the lucky ones who discovered the many keys to breaking this cycle. Through following my passions, discovering my mission in life and getting help--among other Steps to Respect--I learned that respect is always within reach because true respect starts on the inside. Now as I travel the country coaching girls and women, I hear a lot of stories just like mine. And as part of this work, I share with them an amazing video made by Jennifer Uribe, our 19-year-old program assistant at Respect Rx (a venture I founded last year). Jen's video includes powerful stats that some girls have heard and some haven't, like:
February 6, 2009 posted by admin Dear Barack and Michelle, I’m writing to you as the parents of beautiful girls, and as people who hold the future of this country in your hands for the next four years. I know that you both take seriously your job as parents as well as the way you can shape public policy to improve your daughters’ lives. Michelle has talked about supporting working parents and Barack has talked about fighting workplace discrimination so Sasha and Malia will not have to experience it as adults. George W.
February 5, 2009 posted by admin [caption id="attachment_1063" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="New Moon Girl"][/caption] The following 5 posts are from members of the Girls Editorial Board ofNew Moon Girls. They all live in Minnesota. Dear President Obama, You are now the president of the United States of America, what I had been wanting to happen since the beginning of the election. I am a supporter of women's rights and equal treatment of women. In this year 2009 there are many things that I would like to see change. Incidents of injustice must stop in the United States, and fairness should be strived for everywhere. In all places people of all races and genders should work together, equal pay and things such as fair promotions should be fought for but unfortunately this does not always happen. I strive to change that. Here are some facts about injustice to women that need to change: