Re:Gender works to end gender inequity 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.
You’re familiar with the stereotype: humorless, ever so slightly imperious, Birkenstock-wearing brown-rice enthusiasts. These are the women of NPR, forever etched into America’s collective consciousness by Alec Baldwin, Ana Gasteyer, and Molly Shannon in a classic Saturday Night Live skit known as “Schweddy Balls.” Despite its reputation for earnestness, the organization seems to be in on the joke. Even Nina Totenberg, the longtime justice reporter whose legendarily soothing voice almost surely provided inspiration, laughs about it. “I like that Saturday Night Live makes fun of us,” she says. “It’s better to be noticed than not noticed at all.”
Today Totenberg is the dean of the Supreme Courtpress corps; NPR progamming reaches an audience of nearly 23 million—a 70 percent increase from 1998, the year the skit first aired—and has more foreign bureaus than any other American broadcast network. But it hasn’t always been that way, and Totenberg knows what it means to go unnoticed. She joined the fledgling broadcaster in the early 1970s, when it was carried by just 90 stations (that number has since increased a hundredfold). It was a period in which most news outlets were openly hostile to the very notion of hiring a female correspondent. “All of us have stories of being told, outright, ‘We don’t hire women’ or ‘We have our woman,’” she says.
In part, Totenberg says, NPR had no choice: salaries were so low that few men were willing to take jobs there. The inadvertent result was a roster of young female talent now considered among the most respected names in radio: Totenberg, Cokie Roberts, Linda Wertheimer, and Susan Stamberg, a group affectionately known as the “Founding Mothers.” “It was a novel experience, being looked after [by colleagues] and not being hit on,” Totenberg says. The Old Girls’ Club, as she calls them, sat in a corner of the newsroom the men referred to as “the fallopian jungle,” and swiftly became the broadcaster’s earliest stars. In 1972, Stamberg became the first woman in the country to anchor a daily national news show.
Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched the Agency's new Policy on Gender Equality and Female Empowerment.
Citing its importance, Dr. Shah stated, "We know that long-term, sustainable development will only be possible when women and men enjoy equal opportunity to rise to their potential. But today, women and girls continue to face disadvantages in every sector in which we work, and in other cases, boys are falling behind. With this policy, we can ensure our values and commitments are reflected in durable, meaningful results for all."
USAID Deputy Administrator, Ambassador Donald Steinberg, Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Development, and other senior White House officials participated in the launch.
ICRW conducted an evaluation of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative in India to identify early results of the program on women entrepreneurs’ business skills, practices and growth. 10,000 Women, launched in 2008, aims to provide 10,000 women who run small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with high-quality business and management skills training. Research shows that these women are often underserved, in terms of access to business or management training and entrepreneurial networks, despite the enormous potential they have to help grow economies in developing countries.
This brief presents a summary of ICRW’s initial evaluation of the India program, which shows how the 10,000 Women program — in combination with a number of other factors — is making a difference in graduates’ businesses and lives.
For the past twenty years Moroccan women, from the liberal camp to the Islamist, have campaigned for equal rights for women. Their struggle has borne many triumphs and is gradually beginning to change the lives of women throughout the country. But how will they face the new challenges presented by Morocco's first Islamist-majority government?
In the Moroccan parliamentary elections of November 25, 2011, for the first time in Morocco’s history, an Islamist faction, the Justice and Development Party (PJD) won 40 percent↑of the seats in the government, giving it the majority in Morocco’s legislative body. Since then the leaders and members of Morocco’s liberal/secular women’s movement have been on alert. In January 2012, when Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane (PJD) revealed the appointments of his cabinet, much to the chagrin of the liberal women’s movement, only one woman was given a ministerial position. Bassima al-Hakkaoui, former MP and member of the PJD and, now, the Minister of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development, is the first hijab-wearing Islamist political figure to serve in the Moroccan government. Maguy Kakon, Social Center Party parliamentary candidate in 2007 and 2011, claims that while it may be too soon to tell exactly what the PJD government’s agenda will be, women are preparing “to fight to keep their hard-earned rights” that they fear may soon come under attack.
In 2008, Goldman Sachs launched 10,000 Women, a $100 million philanthropic initiative, which at the time, was the largest in Goldman’s history. The goal of the five year program is to provide business and management training to 10,000 underserved female entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Four years ago this month, Goldman Sachs invited me to attend the launch of 10,000 Women, a $100 million philanthropic initiative, which at the time, was the largest in Goldman’s history. The goal of the five year program is to provide business and management training to 10,000 underserved female entrepreneurs in developing countries. Why? Goldman’s own research (and that of many others) shows that female education is a driver of macroeconomic growth. Moreover, there was (and still very much is) a stark need to expand access to business education for women in emerging markets. When Goldman launched 10,000 Women, there were only 2,600 women attending MBA programs in all of Africa, a continent of 900 million people. Calestous Juma, a professor of international development at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, has estimated that if African women were given equal access as men to vocational training and technology, the continent’s economy would expand by at least 40 percent.
10,000 Women’s focus is very much on nurturing small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a sector of the economy with significant economic growth and employment potential. Aninteresting report from the International Finance Corporation notes that while there are roughly “8 to 10 million formal women-owned SMEs in emerging markets (representing 31 to 38 percent of all SMEs in emerging markets), the average growth rate of women’s enterprises is significantly lower than the average growth rate for SMEs run by men.” The report identifies several factors that have hindered the growth of women-owned businesses, including: institutional and regulatory issues, lack of access to finance, relatively low rates of business education, risk aversion, concentration of women’s businesses in slower growth sectors, and the burden of household management responsibilities. 10,000 Women addresses each of these issues, teaching its graduates how to recognize and navigate their legal environment, how better to access loans, prepare business plans geared for higher growth, and juggle a business with their family life. While the program does not provide credit directly, it has formed several public-private partnerships to do so. In Liberia, it is working with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; in Tanzania with the Government of Denmark, CRDB Bank, and the U.S. State Department; in Peru with the Inter-American Development Bank and Mibanco.
The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology released a new report that outlines four key areas where companies should focus their recruitment efforts to increase access to a range of technical talent available in a highly competitive environment. Solutions to Recruit Technical Women is the first in a series of reports offering solutions companies can employ to improve the recruitment, retention, and advancement of technical women.
From York, the first black man in what's now Montana, to Geraldine Travis, the state's first black legislator, the African-American men and women who shaped Montana's history encountered both prejudice and opportunity.
"I think people are surprised there was an African-American population here and that it was as large as it was," said Ellen Baumler, interpretive historian for the Montana Historical Society.
Baumler said she never thought Montana had much prejudice. Then for an oral history project, one of her students interviewed two members of Helena's black community.
"That was a real eye-opener for me," she said. "One of the men said he grew up in two worlds, with two sets of rules, one for home and one for out in public. While on the surface, it didn't look like there was much discrimination, he wasn't allowed to go to certain places, like restaurants and barbershops."
On the other hand, the black community wasn't segregated as it was in much of the country. Experiences were mixed across the state and through the years.
The NAACP, founded in 1909, and the National Urban League, founded in xxx are the most visible organizations, but in 1935 both the National Council of Negro Women (led by Dr. Height from 1957 to her death in 2010) and the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs were founded. Even earlier, in 1896, the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs was established. Mary Church Terrell was the organization’s first president and this group, still operating, is the oldest organization that works for the benefit of black women and families.
Until 1960, most African American women worked as maids, domestics, or private household workers. The National Domestic Workers Union was founded in 1968 by Dorothy Lee Bolden, who started working at age 12 for about $1.50 a week. The organization was dedicated to professionalize domestic work, providing training and advocating for fair working conditions. This was yet another example of African American women coming together to improve their lives and those of their families.
There is a rich history of African American sororities and fraternities. Among the sororities, Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded at Howard University in 1908. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated was also founded at Howard in 1913 by women who broke off from AKA to emphasize their commitment to scholarship, service, and sisterhood. Delta women marched in the Women’s Suffrage March in 1913, despite discouragement from white women who did not want to mix race matters with suffrage issues. (Full disclosure – I’m a Delta). Two other black women’s sororities, Zeta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho, are organizations that also focus on service. All of the black women’s sororities are committed to uplifting the community and to providing scholarship assistance to students.
There is a crisis of representation in the media. We live in a racially and ethnically diverse nation that is 51% female, but the news media itself remains staggeringly limited to a single demographic.
The media is the single most powerful tool at our disposal; it has the power to educate, effect social change, and determine the political policies and elections that shape our lives. Our work in diversifying the media landscape is critical to the health of our culture and democracy.
Consider the Following Statistics
According to the Global Media Monitoring Project 2010, 24% of the people interviewed, heard, seen, or read about in mainstream broadcast and print news were female. Only 13% of stories focused specifically on women and 6% on issues of gender equality or inequality.