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.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say sexual harassment is a problem in this country, and about a quarter of women report having been harassed at work, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The wide concern may help explain slipping ratings for Republican presidential contender Herman Cain, who is fighting allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances when he ran the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
By a ratio of more than 2 to 1, women who say they were harassed at work have unfavorable views of Cain. By an even larger margin — nearly 3 to 1 — they say they are apt to believe Cain’s accusers rather than the businessman.
Cain’s plea that he’s being falsely targeted hits on a fear for many men: In the poll, 25 percent of men say they worry about being unfairly accused of sexually harassing someone. About 10 percent of men said they may have at one time done something, even inadvertently, that a colleague may have considered an unwanted sexual advance. But men today are far less apt than they were in 1994 to say they may have acted inappropriately, even if unintentionally. This decline parallels a slip in concern about workplace harassment since the early 1990s.
Reports of harassment have decreased over time, with fewer women younger than 50 now saying it has happened to them.
Overall, about one in six Americans say they have been sexually harassed at work, including 24 percent of women and 9 percent of men.
The percentage of women saying they have been sexually harassed has fallen from 32 percent in a 1994 ABC News poll, a shift driven almost entirely by younger and more highly educated women.
Seventeen years ago, nearly four in 10 women ages 18 to 49 said they had been sexually harassed at some point. Now, one in four say so. Similarly, 25 percent of college-educated women in the new survey report experiencing harassment, compared with 42 percent in 1994.
There has been a corresponding dip in the number of men younger than 50 expressing concern about being falsely accused and a big drop in the number who think they may have harassed unintentionally. Only 7 percent of men younger than 50 report acting in a potentially inappropriate way, down from 27 percent in 1994.
One number that has tilted in the opposite direction since the 1994 survey is the percentage of people experiencing harassment who say they reported it to their employers.
Still, nearly six in 10 women who said they have been harassed at work said they never reported it. Asked why, 29 percent said they didn’t think it was sufficiently important, 22 percent said they were concerned about the consequences and 19 percent said they didn’t think it would do any good. About three in 10 said it was something else.
Polling director Jon Cohen and polling manager Peyton M. Craighill contributed to this report.
The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL(R)) and The NAWL Foundation(R) released the results of their sixth annual Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms. The Survey is the only national study of the nation's 200 largest law firms which annually tracks the progress of women lawyers at all levels of private practice, including the most senior positions, and collects data on firms as a whole rather than from a subset of individual lawyers.
For the first time since the Survey began in 2006, there was a noted decline in the number of women entering big-firm practice.
"Women lawyers already leave big-firm practice at a greater pace than their male counterparts, and this narrowing of the pipeline at the entry level, however slight, only further decreases the pool of women available for promotion," said NAWL President Heather Giordanella, Counsel at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.
The Transportation Equity Network's report, The Road to Good Jobs: Making Training Work, presents the first-ever compilation of data from all 50 states on their use of on-the-job-training and apprenticeship programs to boost job access for minorities and women in the federal highway construction field.
From the study summary:
With voices on all sides calling for job creation through infrastructure spending, how do we ensure job access for those hit hardest by the recession? That's the focus of TEN's latest study, The Road to Good Jobs: Making Training Work.
The new study presents the first-ever compilation of data from all 50 states on their use of on-the-job-training and apprenticeship programs to boost job access for minorities and women in the federal highway construction field.
The Road to Good Jobs: Making Training Work finds that most states are doing a poor job of using proven training programs to boost highway construction job access for minorities and women, though unemployment rates for minorities are nearly double those of whites, and female unemployment is ticking up while male unemployment is dropping.
Among the study's key findings:
Four states—Illinois, Indiana, Connecticut, and Minnesota—succeeded in increasing the percentage of both women and people of color in training programs from 2008-10.
Only two states had at least 50% women in OJT/apprenticeship programs from 2008-10: Maine (75%) and North Dakota (55%).
Community organizing by TEN members to push for broad use of OJT and apprenticeship programs led to top rankings and breakthroughs in Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, and Illinois
Indiana and Illinois were standout states in terms of the overall increase in the use of OJT/apprenticeships from 2008-10, surpassing more populous states such as California and New York.
The Road to Good Jobs: Making Training Work provides detailed rankings on which states are using training and apprenticeship programs to make real progress toward equity and diversity in highway construction, and which states are failing to recruit and train women and minorities. The study also describes the steps necessary to improve states’ progress, and provides local, state and federal policy recommendations.
The study first looks at a number of important metrics such as the percent of women in on-the-job training programs and goes on to rank those states which have done exceptionally well in providing access to women.
William B. Harvey was the first person ever appointed to the position of vice president for diversity and equity at the University of Virginia, a job he held from 2005 to 2009. A recognized expert on diversity issues in higher education, Mr. Harvey is also founding president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. In an interview with The Chronicle, Mr. Harvey spoke about the barriers that still remain, what a chief diversity officer needs to succeed, and who should step up to make a difference.
Note: access to article requires a subscription to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
William B. Harvey was the first person ever appointed to the position of vice president for diversity and equity at the University of Virginia, a job he held from 2005 to 2009. A recognized expert on diversity issues in higher education, Mr. Harvey is also founding president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.
With more than three decades of higher-education experience, he recently joined North Carolina A&T University, where he serves as dean of the School of Education. In a conversation with The Chronicle, Mr. Harvey spoke about the barriers that still remain, what a chief diversity officer needs to succeed, and who should step up to make a difference.
Shaima Jastaina had been sentenced Tuesday to 10 lashes for driving a car in Jeddah. The court ruling came just two days after King Abdullah had announced that Saudi women would, for the first time, be able to stand for office and nominate members of municipal councils. The reform is to take effect only in future elections, the date for which has not been set. However, King Abdullah’s unexpectedly speedy reversal of a court’s order that a woman be lashed for the crime of driving a car could indicate just how serious the Saudi ruler is about enhancing the civil rights of women in the Kingdom.
King Abdullah’s unexpectedly speedy reversal of a court’s order that a woman be lashed for the crime of driving a car could indicate just how serious the Saudi ruler is about enhancing the civil rights of women in the Kingdom.
While not repealing the ban on women driving that was imposed in 1991, the King’s action in overturning a court sentence is a direct challenge to the authority of the religious establishment and will not likely be overlooked in future cases.
With the surprise move, the Saudi ruler may be staking out new ground, and not just as a response to the popular Arab uprisings sweeping the region.
Shaima Jastaina had been sentenced Tuesday to 10 lashes for driving a car in Jeddah. The court ruling came just two days after King Abdullah had announced that Saudi women would, for the first time, be able to stand for office and nominate members of municipal councils. The reform is to take effect only in future elections, the date for which has not been set.
In the 1970s, Irene Dorner was sure that with the surge of women joining her in the working world, the financial industry would start looking pretty equal before long. It didn't seem so far fetched to Dorner, now the CEO of HSBC USA, to expect that by the time she was 40, "the ratio would be 50/50 in all the places that mattered."
It hasn’t happened. While we are no longer in the openly discriminatory era of "Mad Men," when only white males had a serious chance at advancement, the world of banking and finance, like all the well-paying professions, still has what social scientists call a "leaky pipeline." Women enter the lower rungs at roughly the same numbers as (or even in higher numbers than) men, but their ranks thin out the higher you go in terms of pay or position, until women are vastly outnumbered at the top.
The article includes interviews with Julie Castro Abrams, the CEO of Women’s Initiative for Self Employment, a San Francisco nonprofit that provides high-potential, low-income women with the training, support and funding to start their own businesses, and Weili Dai, the co-founder and former chief operating officer of Marvell Technology Group, and the only female founder of a global semiconductor company. It also profiles several of the women who, along with other female inventors, scientists and business leaders, were honored at the 2011 APEC Reception Honoring Women Innovators.
“Women have done great things in the Bay Area — it’s an incubator of innovations, a place where people think of new ways to address challenging problems,” said Janet Lamkin, president of Bank of America California and chair of the Bay Area Council, which spearheaded the formation of the Women and the Economy Summit Steering Committee at this week’s APEC conference. Led by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, it is the single most influential gathering of women from politics, technology, investment, health care and media, brought together to draft policies that will enhance the worldwide economic power of women.
Sharon Vosmek, CEO of Astia — a Bay Area-based incubator of female-led startups — and a U.S. delegate to WES, points out that the female-centered focus of WES is itself unusual and historic, adding that the Bay Area provides an environment for out-of-the box thinking that will allow the development policies needed to meet the various challenges for economic empowerment.
“If you look around the room at most of the economic gatherings taking place around the world, you’ll see mostly men,” Vosmek said. “But since we’re used to doing things differently in the Bay Area, and we’re comfortable with change, it doesn’t surprise me that this is the place for WES.”
Research shows that while women represent 53 percent of new hires, by the time when “individual contributors” are promoted to managers, the number drops to 37 percent, according to Catalyst, a nonprofit focused on expanding opportunities for women in business.
Catalyst also reports that only 26 percent of vice presidents and senior executives are female, and only 14 percent of executive committees, on average, are women. The research also found a 26 percent difference in return on invested capital between companies with 19-44 percent women on the board and companies with zero female directors.
Vosmek also points out the lack of funding granted to startups run by women. She points to a Kauffman Foundation reports which says that even though 50 percent of United States business school undergraduates are women, 37 percent of MBA degrees are awarded to women, and females make up a hefty chunk of those graduating with advanced science or math degrees, less than 10 percent of venture capital goes to companies with female founders.
And according to a U.N. study, collectively the 21 economies of the Asia-Pacific region lose between $42 billion to $47 billion in GDP annually by not tapping into women’s economic potential.
What can be done to unleash the hidden potential of this market? Barbara Kasoff, president and CEO of nonpartisan public policy organization Women in Public Policy, as well as a U.S. delegate to the summit, believes the answer is supporting women-owned businesses.
“The strongest growth worldwide comes from women-owned businesses, and women business owners have survived a tough economy better, because of they way they do business,” Kasoff said. “They’re careful, they’re strategic. And now they’re positioned better to find their way to leadership.”
“In a time when many economies around the world are rocky, and we’re looking for new solutions, and everyone’s looking for an untapped market,” Vosmek said. “I’m here to tell you: It’s women. We are the great untapped market. Get us access to what we need to start and build companies, and we’ll be able to use this solution that’s right in our own backyard.”
Julie Castro Abrams
Microfinancing works, trickle-down doesn’t
Julie Castro Abrams is the CEO of Women’s Initiative for Self Employment, a San Francisco nonprofit that provides high-potential, low-income women with the training, support and funding to start their own businesses. WISE is expanding to New York and Chicago in 2011.
When a potential new business owner comes to you and asks for help, how do you decide if she’s worth your investment? The first thing we give them is a SWOT analysis: That’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. We use this as a tool of assessing the client’s readiness. Is she ready to sit down and write her business plan? Or is this just a dream with a lot of obstacles?
What happens next? A training course that covers everything a small-businessperson needs to write her business plan. Next, we have thousands of volunteers who want to help women start their own business. Maybe we have a group of restaurant owners who meet to go over the business plan of a potential food business, or we connect the businessperson with a mentor in the same field, so she can have someone to talk to as problems arise. Why train women to start their own businesses? Why not job training instead? The population we help is traditionally marginalized; they come to us making $12,000 a year and beset with other difficulties. These are not people who can make money working for someone else. Once these women create their own thriving business, it pays off in many ways. For one thing, once their income rises, they need far fewer social support services. Instead of receiving welfare, they start paying taxes. For another, women who start their own businesses hire locally. Our graduates created 4,300 jobs in 2010, paying an average of $2 over the median for similar jobs.
So there’s a ripple effect. Yes, it’s staggeringly successful, so much so that it makes me frustrated when I watch what’s going on with job creation on a national level. It’s all fine and well to do construction projects, or invest in biotechnology that’s far down the road, but we just hit the highest level of poverty in generations, and we need jobs now. WISE can create a job for a $2,500 investment. Anyone read the news stories about how much each job created by the Economic Recovery Act cost? It’s not $2,500, I can tell you that.
Why tomorrow’s technology needs women’s participation Weili Dai is the co-founder and former chief operating officer of Marvell Technology Group, and the only female founder of a global semiconductor company.
You see a direct link between the technology Marvell enables and working women. What is it? Women can use technology to work without leaving her village and her family. And because technology is helping developing countries compete with advanced countries, globally. The Earth is flat now. If there’s something I don’t know, I can do some Google searches and be knowledgeable in just a few minutes. And I can do that from anywhere in the world, from my home, with my family.
What are the strengths you see in female engineers? From a technical standpoint, they’re very similar to male engineers. But personality-wise, women seem to work more socially. They work well in teams, and it can be easier to build teams around them. It makes sense to me; women have for thousands of years had the responsibility of taking care of their families, so the default is on group activity.
You and your co-founders started Marvell in 1995. Did you think there would be more female technology executives by now? Yes, technology overall absolutely needs more female participation. But I’m hopeful for the future; women engineers tend to make things with great user-interface design. They think about how people use their gadgets, and they have a sense of design and beauty. Moving forward in hightech, it’s going to be less about nerdy code, and more about making things that are easy to use and look great, which hopefully will attract more and more women.
So what do you do to encourage female leaders? Besides, of course, providing an example of a successful woman in technology, I participate in the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership. I’ve had women from China and from Kenya come to spend a couple of weeks with me and learn how our business works.
Female innovation leaders
These women — along with other female inventors, scientists and business leaders — will be honored Thursday at the APEC Reception Honoring Women Innovators.
Nguyen Thi Mai Thanh Chairwoman and CEO REE Corp., Vietnam
When Nguyen Thi Mai Thanh joined the state-owned Refrigeration Engineering Enterprise in 1982, it was, as she has described it, “a small state-run business in poor condition fitted with used machinery, producing mainly ice-cube makers.” Eleven years later, after seeing Vietnam infused with new business energy under the Doi Moi, or Renovation, program of economic reforms and with her own company stagnating, she decided to petition the government to privatize the company.
REE became the first company in Vietnam to be privatized under the Doi Moi reforms, the first company listed on the New Stock Exchange of Vietnam in 2000, and the first Vietnamese company to raise capital by issuing stock.
Dong Mingzhu Vice chairwoman and president Gree Electric Appliances, China
Mingzhu started out at Gree, a maker of air conditioners, as a saleswoman. Assigned to a particularly poor province, she sold so many air conditioners that she caught the attention of higher-ups, and rose quickly through the ranks, becoming president in 2001. Under her leadership, Gree has adopted flexible sales strategies while investing heavily in research and development, a strategy known as “Gree Mode.” The result is double-digit growth every year since 2005, and Gree has become the No. 1 air conditioning manufacturer in China.
Mingzhu’s management principles are widely imitated in China; she also wrote one of the most influential Chinese business books, “Check Around the World,” about her experiences managing Gree. The book was so popular it was even adapted into a television series.
Edita Aguinaldo-Dacuycuy Science- and technology-baseddragon fruit farming, Philippines
Aguinaldo-Dacuycuy didn’t intend to become a farmer. All she was looking for was relief for one of her daughter’s medical problems. After Aguinaldo-Dacuycuy discovered that dragon fruit, a little-known fruit from the cactus family, helped relieve her daughter’s symptoms, she decided to try to grow the fruit in her backyard.
That simple decision has mushroomed into a dragon fruit plantation, REFMAD Farms, where Aguinaldo-Dacuycuy not only grows the fruit, but operates the farm as a kind of science- and technology-based farming laboratory, where various growing methods are tested, and the results are communicated to other farmers.
Dr. Patricia Bath Opthalmologist and inventor, United States
Eye care should be colorblind. But when Dr. Patricia Bath worked in noted New York hospitals in the dawn of her medical career, she noticed that blindness was much more common in poor and minority populations. Her subsequent work to get top-rate medical care to these populations pioneered the trend of “community opthamology” — free or low-cost eye care provided by volunteers.
Bath holds five U.S. patents, including the Laserphaco Probe, a medical device that helps remove cataracts from the eyes with lasers. Bath was the first black female doctor to receive a patent for a medical device, and the Laserphaco Probe continues to be used all around the world.
About 271,000 women have served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars over the past decade, making up almost 12 percent of the force, the Defense Department estimated. As a growing number are exposed to combat, women warriors pose new challenges for a military now more than 15 percent female. In a 2009 survey, most troops of both genders said the equipment used by women in war zones “was inadequate in some capacity,” according to a report by the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. Among the problems, the survey found, were “poor quality or outdated equipment, lack of necessary equipment, tardy issue of equipment, and equipment not sized or designed for women.”
From the article:
About 271,000 women have served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars over the past decade, making up almost 12 percent of the force, the Defense Department estimated. As a growing number are exposed to combat, women warriors pose new challenges for a military now more than 15 percent female.
In a 2009 survey, most troops of both genders said the equipment used by women in war zones “was inadequate in some capacity,” according to a report by the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. Among the problems, the survey found, were “poor quality or outdated equipment, lack of necessary equipment, tardy issue of equipment, and equipment not sized or designed for women.”
For example, soldiers’ backpacks, which can weigh 60 pounds or more, could be altered for women so that more of the weight is carried on the hips and lower body instead of the shoulders, she said.
While the Army has made strides in some areas, it has acknowledged that work remains to be done. There is still no plan to issue body armor tailored for women. The Army is doing long-term research on the issue.
The Army has spent about $620,000 since 2009 to develop its first combat uniform for women, with shorter sleeves, lowered pockets, a shortened button fly and an elastic waistband to accommodate women’s hips, said Army spokeswoman Staci-Jill Burnley.
Researchers at the University of Toronto suggest that racism may affect some female minority groups more deeply than sexism. In the study, participants of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Taiwanese and Japanese descent were assigned one of three hypothetical situations: Sixty participants were assigned to write about a past experience of rejection because of racism, sexism or their personalities. The women assigned to contemplate racism were more likely than those assigned to contemplate sexism to believe that they had been rejected by others because of "something about them" or because of "who they are."
Racism may affect some female minority groups more deeply than sexism, University of Toronto researchers suggest.
Lead author and doctoral student Jessica Remedios, psychologist Alison Chasteen and recent honors bachelor of science graduate Jeffrey Paek say in one study Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Taiwanese and Japanese descent were assigned one of three hypothetical situations.
Sixty participants were assigned to write about a past experience of rejection because of racism, sexism or their personalities.
The women assigned to contemplate racism were more likely than those assigned to contemplate sexism to believe that they had been rejected by others because of "something about them" or because of "who they are."
"This suggests that to these women, racism feels like a personal rejection whereas sexism feels more like the result of others' ignorance," Remedios says in a statement. "We found that Asian women take racism more personally and find it more depressing than sexism."
The findings are published in Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.
Research exploring the perspectives of stigmatized people has examined general processes related to experiencing prejudice. Past work, however, has invoked the assumption that prejudices against different group memberships are experienced in a similar manner. Across three studies we directly compare experiences of racism and sexism among female minorities and show, in contrast, that people respond to different forms of prejudice in distinct ways. In Study 1 we examined the attributions invoked by Asian women to explain prejudice and discovered that participants made stronger internal attributions to explain racism than sexism. In Study 2 we investigated emotional reactions to prejudice and found that Asian women report experiencing more depression following a race-based rejection than a gender-based rejection. In Study 3 we observed that Asian women reported perceiving more racism than sexism in their environments. Implications for advancing theories of prejudice experiences are discussed.
According to a study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, both men and women tend to overlook the more subtle daily acts of sexism they encounter. Things such as calling women "girls" but not calling men "boys" or referring to a collective group as "guys" are forms of subtle sexism that creep into daily interactions. The study helps not only identify which forms of sexism are most overlooked by which sex, but also how noticing these acts can change people's attitudes. The study also goes on to differentiate the way men and women's beliefs change once they become aware of subtle sexism. Women need to "see the unseen," the authors note, to make corrections, whereas men need not only to be aware of the sexist behavior or comments, but also to feel empathy for the women targeted. These results are consistent with other studies which found that empathy is an effective method for reducing racial and ethnic prejudice.
Three experiments were conducted in the United States and Germany to test whether women and men endorse sexist beliefs because they are unaware of the prevalence of different types of sexism in their personal lives. Study 1 (N ¼ 120) and Study 2 (N ¼ 83) used daily diaries as a method to encourage individuals ‘‘to see the unseen.’’ Results revealed that encouraging women to pay attention to sexism, in comparison to attention to other social interactions, led to a stronger rejection of Modern Sexist, Neosexist, and Benevolent Sexist beliefs (Studies 1 and 2) and to negative evaluations of Modern and Benevolent Sexist men described in profiles as well as to more engagement in collective action on behalf of women (Study 2). In contrast, for men, paying attention to sexism did not have these effects. Results from Study 2 suggest, and from Study 3 (N ¼ 141) confirm, that men’s endorsement of Modern and Neosexist beliefs can be reduced if attention to sexism and emotional empathy for the target of discrimination is encouraged. Finally, a follow-up survey indicated that the attitude change in women and men was stable over time. The implications of these findings for interventions to reduce women’s versus men’s endorsement of sexist beliefs are discussed.