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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
A key part of the law banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage was struck down as unconstitutional by a U.S. appeals court Thursday.
The Defense of Marriage Act -- known as DOMA -- defines marriage for federal purposes as unions exclusively between a man and woman.
At issue is whether the federal government can deny tax, health and pension benefits to same-sex couples in states where they can legally marry. The ruling is a boost for gay rights advocates and the Obama administration, which in a rare move, has refused to defend a federal law in court.
"If we are right in thinking that disparate impact on minority interests and federalism concerns both require somewhat more in this case than almost automatic deference to Congress' will, this statute fails that test," said the three judge panel.
The move to drop the “golden skirt” policy is a sign of ministers’ commitment to strip red tape from companies to get the economy moving.
Ministers said they were “standing up for British business” and were opposing the plans to impose more “burdensome regulation” on companies.
The European Commission launched a consultation in March proposing forcing companies by law to bring in the quotas.
The suggestion for quotas was praised by Prime Minister David Cameron at a summit in Stockholm in March.
However ministers will say the Government is not going to implement the quotas, and instead will merely encourage firms to hire more women in executive positions.
Figures show that nearly 16 per cent of senior positions are now held by women, up from 12.5 per cent last year. If the momentum continues, the number of women on boards will exceed 25 per cent by 2015.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary and Women’s minister, said: “We are encouraging firms to use women’s talents by helping them see the business benefits. But we must allow them to get on with their job.
“Our voluntary approach is reaping rewards. The past year has seen the biggest ever jump in the number of women on boards, and some of the UK's leading companies are now reporting on gender diversity, which will help more women rise to the top.”
The policy calls for prompt investigation and written conclusion of all complaints. And key members of the Montana Board of Regents, hoping to ensure that all the state's campuses comply with federal and state gender equity laws, made it clear that their analysis of the university administration's handling of the situation isn't over.
The U.S. Justice Department earlier this month opened its investigation into the way the university and the city responded to sexual assault and harassment reports, which prompted a second investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.
The university has come under fire for mishandling rapes over the past two years, particularly in the cases involving football team members. The football coach and athletic director were fired in March, mostly without explanation, but a cloud still hangs over the program.
Unmarried women were among Barack Obama’s most loyal supporters in 2008, turning out in droves and delivering 70 percent of their votes to him. When many of them stayed home in the 2010 midterm election, Democrats lost the House and had their Senate majority trimmed.
Now, determined to get single women back, Senate leaders are reshaping their legislative agenda, advancing a bill to bolster workers’ ability to win pay discrimination lawsuits. A similar measure was blocked by Republicans two years ago, and proponents expect it to be rejected again, setting up a contrast between the parties over an issue that especially touches unmarried women.
It will be the third time this year that Senate Democrats will push for votes on policies affecting women, with the other measures focused on insurance coverage for contraceptives and programs for domestic violence victims.
They are aiming to fire up the 55 million single, divorced, separated or widowed U.S. women eligible to vote this year. While 60 percent of all unmarried women cast ballots in 2008, just 38 percent turned out in 2010, said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. Democratic strategists see these voters as critical to helping return Obama to the White House and to retain Senate seats in Ohio, Virginia and other states.
“What is really at issue is their turnout rate,” Lake said in an interview. “Unmarried younger women plummeted in the turnout in 2010, and they came into this election cycle not very interested in the election.”