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.
Imagine what it is like to be serving your country and less than a quarter of your constituents look like you. That is the reality for African-American women in politics.
Illinois Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Chicago) was the youngest African-American woman to be appointed to the Illinois Senate and she said sexism was evident, but being intimidated by others has disappeared.
“There has always been some general disrespect and resistance to treating me as an equal. I overcame most of this, but it has been a process of working hard to gain respect.” Ligthford said. “In focusing on my mission to improve education, I have felt some negative feedback, but I don’t see it as negative anymore. I see it as my job and I have grown in that way.”
Women only make up 17 percent of all members of the U.S. House of Representatives, 16 percent of U.S. senators, 16 percent of all governors and 24 percent of state legislators according to a 2008 Pew Research study.
Even with this reality, in 2012 nearly three quarters of African-American women say right now is a good time to be a black woman in America, according to a 2012 nationwide study from the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation.
The 1970s ushered in two significant milestones in the evolution of women’s fitness -- the passage of Title IX legislation in 1972 and the invention of the sports bra. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX, Champion Athleticwear, recognized as the founder of sports bras, hosted a special event today in New York City featuring Olympic gold medalist Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, who now serves as the board chair of the Women’s Sports Foundation.
A national survey commissioned by Champion shows a significant improvement in women’s participation in sports and fitness. In the survey, 100 percent of women ages 18 to 24 said they were encouraged to play sports, compared with 75 percent for women ages 25 to 34 and just 45 percent for women ages 55 and older.
During the anniversary event, Champion traced the evolution of sports bras from the very first prototype created in 1977 by Hinda Miller, Linda Lindahl and Polly Smith by sewing together two jockstraps to the latest fabric and design innovations debuting in 2012. What began with the original Jogbra, has expanded to more than 19 different Champion sports bra silhouettes designed for all type of fitness activities, levels of support and sizes.
For spring 2012, Champion introduced the new Champion Sweetheart Neckline Sports Bra and the Champion Seamless Adjustable Sports Bra, both launching at retail stores nationwide this month. In addition, the brand previewed more new sports bra styles planned for late summer and early fall.
As Augusta National Golf Club prepares to host the competition next week, it faces a quandary: The club hasn’t admitted a woman as a member since its founding eight decades ago, yet it has historically invited the chief executive officer of IBM, one of three Masters sponsors. Since the company named Rometty to the post this year, Augusta will have to break tradition either way.
IBM holds a rarefied position at the Augusta, Georgia, course. The company has a hospitality cabin near the 10th hole, beside co-sponsors Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and AT&T Inc. (T) The companies’ male CEOs have been able to don the club’s signature green member blazers while hosting clients. Non-members, who don’t wear the jackets, must be accompanied by a member to visit the course or play a round.
“They have a dilemma on many levels,” said Marcia Chambers, senior research scholar in law and journalist in residence at Yale University Law School. “If there’s been a tradition of certain CEOs, then they should look at this new CEO in the same way. The only thing that makes her any different is her gender.”
On a sunny afternoon in late March, before an audience of 1,200 students at the Tec de Monterrey’s satellite campus just outside of Mexico City, Josefina Vazquez Mota, the first female presidential candidate in the country’s history, talked about her campaign. “Michelle Bachelet [the former president of Chile] gave me some great advice, she said ‘never put on a mustache to govern, govern as a woman.’”
Since Lord Davies’ independent review of women on boards a year ago (February 2011), the impetus to seek out female talent for the boardroom has never been greater. FTSE 100 companies appointed 26 women to their boards in the first eight months of 2011, a jump by 227% from the whole of 2010. Of these 26 appointments, 31% were women with financial services backgrounds, i.e. the most in-demand demographic.
This paper considers why women from the world of alternative investments could be appropriate for publicly quoted corporate boards. Working with senior members of 100 Women in Hedge Funds, we have conducted a study into the potential among women in alternatives for board. Of the 100 participants, 85% felt they were ready for a corporate board role within five years or less and 58% within two years or less.
Clyda S. Rent, Ph.D. is recognized as a successful leader, speaker, strategic planner, executive coach, and marketer. She played primary roles in the successful turnaround efforts of two significant higher education institutions. She served as a university president, vice-president, or dean for over two decades and on corporate boards. Rent was named by Working Woman magazine as One of the Nation’s Ten Most Admired Managers and in 2000 was honored as one of eleven for the International Women’s Forum award, Women Who Make a Difference. Rent is Co-founder and Principal of Rent Consulting Group, LLC in Charlotte, NC. The firm focuses on executive search, leadership, strategic planning, and executive coaching for leaders in higher education and health care sectors. Her coaching/mentoring clients include leaders and aspiring-to-next-level leaders from dean to president from major colleges and universities and health care organizations.
Lorna Duphiey Edmundson, Ed.D., President Emerita of Wilson College, is recognized as an effective leader, fundraiser, and facilitator of sustainable growth and change in higher education. Dr. Edmundson helps educational institutions build on their distinctions; strengthen finances and planning; create ethnic, racial and gender equity; encourage women and students of color to pursue the sciences; diversify and internationalize campuses; and forge international partnerships. She served as President of Wilson College from 2001-2011 and has held leadership roles at Columbia University, the American University of Paris, Marymount College, Trinity College, and Colby Sawyer College. Dr. Edmundson was honored with the Athena International Leadership Award, an Honorary Degree from Rhode Island College, and an Honorary, Lifetime Membership in Rotary International. She is featured among Asian and U.S. leaders in Women at the Top, by Cheung and Halpern.
Women have moved into top jobs at some of America's biggest and most recognized corporations including IBM, Pepsico and Archer Daniels Midland. But in their shadows, at the second tier of big U.S. companies, it's a different story.