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.
Are women really on track to become “the richer sex” and replace men as primary breadwinners in American families, as recent headlines suggest? Not quite. The notion that women are outpacing men on the job has become a popular media narrative over the past few years. But the data on which it’s based don’t hold up.
Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that, in fact, we’re in the middle of a “mancovery”—while women are slipping backwards. Between June 2009 and June 2011, women lost close to 300,000 jobs, while men gained more than 800,000. “We've never seen a recovery like this,” the National Women's Law Center's Joan Entmacher told NPR, “where two years into the recovery women are doing so much worse than men and are actually losing ground.”
Still, the popular perception is that women are soaring. Much is made of the “fact” that more than 40 percent of American women are their family’s breadwinner. In her recentTime magazine cover piece (adapted fromher new book, The Richer Sex), for example, journalist Liza Mundy cites 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics data saying that one in four women outearn their spouses. This claim was picked up by scores of media outlets.
But look a bit more closely at the numbers, and the picture doesn’t seem so rosy for women. Which women are advancing? Andwhich men are backsliding? The answers are important if you are going to talk about who’s getting “rich.”
Heather McTeer lost her long-shot bid to unseat Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson in Mississippi's March primary. But she hopes her attempt encourages other women in the South to run for office — whether for a seat on the school board or in Congress.
"Women need to see other women running," said McTeer, former mayor of Greenville, Miss. "Regardless of what it looks like, we have a voice, and a voice that absolutely must be heard."
McTeer is helping to recruit women to run for elective office in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee for a group called She Should Run, which says its mission is to dramatically increase the number of women serving in public leadership.
It's just one of the groups, both national and local, that have stepped up efforts to recruit more women in the South to become political candidates. The region the Census Bureau identifies as the South is represented by 22 women in Congress.
There was a demonstration outside of Facebook’s New York office on Wednesday, organized by the women’s rights group UltraViolet, to protest the social media giant’s decision to appoint an all-white, all-male board ahead of its IPO. The group attempted to deliver a petition, signed by over 53,000 people, demanding that women be added to the board.
“Facebook is going to launch one of the largest IPO’s in history this summer, a success built largely on the participation of women – 58% of their users are women and the vast majority of sharing on the site is done by women – and yet zero people on the board are women.” said UltraViolet co-founder Shaunna Thomas.
Protesters argued that the decision to appoint an all-male board, was bad for the company and for users. Marie Wilson of the White House Project, an non-profit working to advance women in business, stressed the positive effects of women on boards, “We know the difference women make on boards in terms of long-term thinking that’s needed for the future and the value they bring in terms of what they want when they get on boards.” With the involvement of women, the board would better understand and serve its mostly female users, she argued.
Yale School of Management Assistant Professor Victoria Brescoll finds that even women in power purposely curtail how much they speak in a group because they’re aware, whether they like it or not, that being too outspoken can be off-putting.
Now an assistant professor at the Yale School of Management, Brescoll has recently published a paper in the Administrative Science Quarterly that looks at how much men and women who hold powerful positions talk in group settings. Her study found that while men who have high-power positions tend to talk much more than men without very powerful jobs, the difference in how much women in high- and low-power roles talk in group settings, on average, turns out to be insignificant. While that may not be surprising to many, Brescoll wanted to find out both why it happens and illustrate its actual occurrence in the real world.
Her hypothesis? Women — even those in power — purposely curtail how much they speak in a group because they’re aware, whether they like it or not, that being too outspoken can be off-putting. “When men talk a lot and they have power, people are like ‘oh, that’s fantastic, I’d vote for him.’ But when women do it, they are seen as being too domineering, too presumptuous. Women perceive this, and that’s why they temper how much they talk.” Or as Stanford professor Bob Sutton put it in a blog post about Brescoll’s work, “The blabber mouth approach works for guys, but backfires on women.”
To examine this question, Brescoll designed three studies.
Two female lawmakers, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, and Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said Sunday that the dearth of women Secret Service agents might have contributed to the scandal linking agency personnel to prostitutes in Colombia. And they credited a female Secret Service supervisor, Paula Reid, for bringing it to light.
Two female lawmakers, both of them members of oversight committees, said Sunday that the dearth of women Secret Serviceagents might have contributed to the scandal linking agency personnel to prostitutes in Colombia. And they credited a female supervisor in the agency for bringing it to light.
The lawmakers, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, and Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, were asked on the ABC program “This Week” about a report describing a female Secret Service supervisor, Paula Reid, who ordered the crackdown on agents working in Cartagena, Colombia, ahead of a visit by President Obama last weekend.
“She acted decisively, appropriately, and I can’t help but wonder if there’d been more women as part of that detail if this ever would have happened,” said Ms. Collins, ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
Approximately a dozen women’s presses are actively publishing in the U.S. today, down from about 30 during the 1990s, when feminist publishing and bookselling were at their peak. There are, additionally, several women’s presses sporadically publishing, and a few others putting out regional titles with limited distribution.
While fewer presses specialize in feminist books, those doing so are holding their own in the marketplace, and a few are thriving. Most of the presses contacted by PW reported that sales are steady, while Aunt Lute Books reported a 20% increase in sales this past year, and Seal Press reported a 23% increase.
Several of these publishers are maintaining their viability by redefining what it means to be a feminist press or expanding their operations. All are focusing on publishing books that do well in backlist, such as Seal’s fall 2012 release of Lynn Fairweather’s Stop Signs, a title about domestic violence that the press hopes will generate the same kind of sales as a related 1982 release, Getting Free (100,000 copies), did.
Shari Graydon ofr Informed Opinions, a Canadian initiative to build women’s leadership through media engagement, discusses the Alberta election between two female candidates for Premier, Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith and the Conservatives’ Alison Redford.
North of the 49th parallel, we’re experiencing our own gender-inspired game-changing political election, albeit in a less dramatic, more Canadian kind of way.
Women have led parties into elections here since 1988 and Canada now boasts four female premiers. But never before has the race to watch been between two women. Since the start of the Alberta election, polls have been putting Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith and the Conservatives’ Alison Redford neck and neck.
Suddenly, “the best man” has double the odds of being a woman. How might this change the political conversation?
A new study, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that black women are expected to act assertively in the workplace.
Researchers say this behavior is also condoned for white men, while black men and white women are often penalized for being too forceful.
The study is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Researchers determined that rather than being viewed as a combination of black men and white women, aggressive black women are accepted in work settings.
“Traditionally, women have been assigned to a more subordinate role,” said Robert W. Livingston of Northwestern University, who co-wrote the new study with Ashleigh Shelby Rosette of Duke University and Ella F. Washington of Northwestern.
Rosette explained that according to prevailing cultural norms, men are expected to occupy dominant roles, while women are typically prescribed to more communal roles.
Historical research has shown that when people think about a prototypical leader, they tend to think about a white man. If women behave in a way that is at odds with these prototypical roles – more dominant and less communal, for example – they will be perceived in a negative light.
In a reversal of traditional gender roles, young women now surpass young men in the importance they place on having a high-paying career or profession, according to survey findings from the Pew Research Center. Two-thirds (66%) of young women ages 18 to 34 rate career high on their list of life priorities, compared with 59% of young men. In 1997, 56% of young women and 58% of young men felt the same way.
Pew Research Center Report, April 2012 by Eileen Patten and Kim Parker
An Huffington Post analysis of the films competing at the 2012 Cannes festival finds that none of the 23 movies eligible for awards like the prestigious Palme D'Or were directed by women. And just two of the films chosen for the "Un Certain Regard" category, reserved for movies by young filmmakers, had female directors.
With the international media assembled in Paris Thursday to find out which movies made the cut for this year's prestigious Festival du Cannes, festival president Gilles Jacob began with a heartfelt ode to the glorious history of Cannes and the film industry.
The lack of female representation is especially disappointing on the heels of last year's Cannes, which was heralded as a high-water mark for gender parity in the history of the festival. Four of the movies in competition last year were directed by women.