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.
"We’d love to have a gender lens, but we’d have nothing to invest in.” I rocked back on my heels, absorbing this statement from the head of the Africa division of a large social investment fund.
Yet he is not alone. Two years ago, when I first talked with the head of a domestic fund investing in women entrepreneurs, she said, “Jackie I don’t have a gender lens.” Her concern was that a “gender lens” made her appear soft, not return-focused.
For the last two years, I’ve led Women Effect Investments, a field building initiative for gender lens investing. In the process I’ve discovered multiple challenges talking about gender in the investment world. It surfaces concerns about quotas and quality, culture and stereotypes. It is seen as soft, unnecessarily feminist, or limiting. I see a huge opportunity in transcending these concerns. Given women’s centrality worldwide to economic development, health, education, and a strong civil society, investing with a gender lens illuminates opportunities and highlights risks. Take, for instance, the need for electricity in maternity clinics or the challenges that emerge when loan officers are all men. If more investment vehicles employed a gender lens, we could accelerate change for everyone.
To clarify what I by lens—I mean the point(s) of view by which we can analyze investments. There are at least three different lenses that highlight investment opportunities, and they can and often do overlap.
Alyssa Rosenberg highlights the fifteen most offensive listings in Thomas Delatte’s “100 Hottest Olympians” post for Bleacher Report.
As someone who writes about popular culture, I have to shake my head and laugh rather than vigorously bashing it into my desk. Such is the case with Thomas Delatte’s “100 Hottest Olympians” post for Bleacher Report, a piece so sexist, so insulting, so foolishly written, and that reflects so poorly on the writer that it’s astonishing that someone thought it passed muster. The concept is simple: help heterosexual dudes spot attractive women at the Olympic games (God forbid women admire the bodies of any competitors), and remind them that the important thing isn’t that these women have trained their entire lives to prove that they’re preeminent in their fields, but they’re available to be ogled by viewers at home. Along the way, Delatte reveals that he doesn’t know much about a lot of Olympic sports, but that he’s a gold medal contender in the field of condescending grossness. What follows are the fifteen (out of one hundred profiles) most astonishingly awful things Delatte has to say about female Olympians from around the world, in no particular order:
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.
The Girl Scouts have set a goal of increasing membership by 1 million in the next five years, said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO for Girl Scouts of the USA. Hispanic membership, which has risen 55 percent in the past decade, would be a key driver of that growth.
“To be here today to talk about where we are now as a movement brings me almost to tears, because for 100 years, we have taken our mission to heart,” Chávez told about 300 people gathered at SeaWorld for a Hispanic community breakfast.
Before her speech, Chávez chatted with a group of scouts who served as color guard during the morning event. Chávez gave each girl her personal patch, which bears her name and nickname, “Eagle 1.” The girls said they couldn’t wait to add them to their uniforms.
“She said that only the girls who meet her get the patch,” said Melanie Kellis, 10, of Troop 5260.
Just a week ago, Chávez was in Washington, D.C., where thousands gathered on the National Mall to celebrate the Girl Scouts centennial.
She also met with President Barack Obama in the White House. Chávez pointed out to him that several Cabinet members and 70 percent of the women in Congress had been Girl Scouts. She also told him that the U.S. currently has 59 million Girl Scouts alumni, a number that seemed to surprise him.
“Absolutely, Mr. President. Not only that, they vote,” Chávez remembered saying to Obama.
The military is falling short in providing equal health care for women on the battlefield even as public pressure grows to allow them a broader role in combat, an Army task force led by female officers concluded.
"The health issues and uniform issues are areas that if we are going to be expanding the role of women (in combat), or even maintaining the current role, we need to do a better job at, so that women are equally served," says Army Col. Anne Naclerio, a pediatrician who leads the task force.
None of the health problems outlined in the report would bar women from serving in combat but instead create unnecessary physical discomfort, Naclerio says. The Army treated about 450 women for urinary tract infections in Afghanistan last year, according service data.
Basic improvements are needed to help women avoid higher rates of urinary tract or vaginal infections, stress-related menstrual difficulties and the chafing, bruising and bleeding caused by ill-fitting body armor designed for men, the task force's report says.
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."
Female Bosses. They’re a type, aren’t they? At least that’s what dueling research findings seem to suggest. You either get the ones who hang with their sisters at some women’s conference and then offload a project to run home to their kids, or some alpha female whose stiletto seems aimed at kicking you back down the career ladder. If they work in a male-dominated industry, they benefit from more slack than guys when it comes to making mistakes, according to research by Christian Thoroughgood of Pennsylvania State University. Linguistics expert Judith Baxter has found they’re not even funny: More than 80 percent of quips from senior women were met with silence in her research, while 90 percent of the men’s jokes got an immediate laugh.
And working for a female boss if you’re a woman? Don’t get the experts started. Women with female bosses report more headaches and anxiety than those who report to men, a University of Toronto study found. German researchers found they suffer higher levels of depression. Maybe that’s because female bosses direct their hostility toward other women more than 70 percent of the time, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute, while men are more inclined to make everyone feel miserable. Then again, consultants Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman surveyed 7,280 leaders last year and found women notably better at mentoring, motivating, and driving for results (PDF). Put them in charge, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has found, and other women in the company end up making more money.
Now comes a June 12 study from Catalyst, a nonprofit group that focuses on expanding opportunities for women in business. As part of its ongoing study of 742 MBA grads, it found that women are not only better than men at helping others—women and men—move up the ladder, but those who sponsored others or developed others earned an additional $25,075 in compensation from 2008 to 2010. Moreover, 73 percent of those mentors are especially inclined to help women, while only 30 percent of the men were.
The Center for Talent Innovation released a new report, the “Sponsor Effect: UK” that was released last night at the House of Commons at an event keynoted by Theresa May, the British Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities.
Women enter the white-collar workforce in the UK in far greater numbers than men: 57 females for every 43 males. Yet as employees in large corporations move from entry-level to middle management, and from mid- to senior-level positions, men advance disproportionately. Across sector and occupation, women are simply not breaking through to leadership positions in numbers commensurate with their weight in the talent pool.
Why? According to the new CTI study the reason is straightforward and has nothing to do with a lack of accomplishment or ambition—or a paucity of childcare or flextime. Rather, British women tend not to have sponsors—powerful champions willing to take a bet on a young talent, go out on a limb for him/her and advocate for the next promotion. Sponsors are the people that propel and protect high performing employees through the treacherous shoals of upper management.
The study found that UK men with sponsors (as opposed to those without) are 40 percent more likely to move up the ladder at a satisfactory clip, while this “sponsor effect” for UK women is even higher—52 percent.
The findings of the fifth annual Financial News Women in Finance survey are sobering: Of the 650 female respondents to the survey, all of whom work in the financial services industry, two thirds said their gender made it harder for them to succeed and a similar proportion said they felt they needed to work harder than male counterparts in order to be viewed at the same level of achievement by managers.
Ruth Grant, a litigation partner and co-chair of the diversity committee at law firm Hogan Lovells, said: “There is a mismatch between what’s being done and outcomes. There is a difference between management having projects and structures that they put in place and actually embedding those ideas into the corporate culture and how the business makes them part of the daily life and DNA of an organisation.”
The survey results are a timely reminder that, while top-level management of financial firms is largely convinced that change is necessary and has begun to implement programmes, there is still more that needs to be done. The challenge, particularly in depressed market conditions, is keeping gender diversity on the priority list.
Helena Morrissey, chief executive of Newton Investment Management and founder of the 30% Club, which has had notable successes encouraging chairmen to bring more women into board roles, said: “There has been a very long, slow burn over the understanding of gender imbalance, but a sharp pick-up and growing momentum for change over the past 18 months. The financial services sector, and especially bigger companies, are trying very hard, partly in an attempt to rehabilitate their reputation. It is a paradigm shift for many people.”
Financial firms do appear to be making more of an effort. This year, 38% of survey respondents said their company had no diversity programme or women’s networking forum, less than the 46% who responded similarly last year. Whether the shift is due to more companies launching programmes is arguable but, certainly, there is increased awareness and communication within firms to promote uptake of such initiatives.
You'd think that since 1916—the year a woman was first elected to U.S. Congress—there would have been some serious progress.
Women in the workforce, after all, have been on a steady rise.
Not so in Congress, where women hold less than 17 percent of seats to this day, according to the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics. In 2010, the number of women elected to the House actually declined.
Palmer and Southern Methodist University professor Dennis Simon have been studying the political glass ceiling for over a decade. Voters, they said, mostly aren't to blame for the lack of progress. But they shared five other very real reasons more women aren't in Washington: