The Obama White House is no place for a woman, at least according to a new book by journalist Ron Suskind. In addition to some supposedly vicious disputes between the President’s economic advisers, Suskind paints a picture of a male-dominated environment, hostile to the opinions of its female members. The book includes a quote from former White House communications director Anita Dunn saying, “This place would be in court for a hostile workplace. Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women.” Yet Dunn denied this statement in an interview today insisting, “The president who is someone who when he goes home at night he goes home to a house full of very strong women. He values having strong women around.”
September 18, 2011 3:43 PM
October marks the beginning of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and with it a slew of pink products from shoelaces to Snuggies. While $6 billion a year goes to breast cancer research and awareness campaigns, how much of that money is actually going to real research in comparison to the amount going into corporate sponsorships, ad campaigns, and merchandise deals? In the October issue of Marie Claire, writer Lea Goldman explores these questions, pointing out charity scams like the one pulled off by the Coalition Against Breast Cancer. Last June, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit against the “sham charity”, which for 15 years “served as a personal piggy bank” for the group’s insiders, who pocketed almost all of the $9.1 million they had raised in the passed five years. For those of us who are concerned about whether or not our donations are actually going to research, Goldman offers a tip: “Skip the pink ribbon merchandise” which is “overrun by slick profiteers exploiting the public’s naive assumption that all pink purchases help the cause.” In reality, they don’t.
September 18, 2011 3:36 PM
Echoing her 1995 address in Beijing in which she famously said “women’s rights are human rights,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s declaration at the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation's (APEC) Women and the Economy Summit in San Francisco on Friday underscored the necessity of women’s powerful presence in the global economy. She heralded women’s progress over the years, but said there's plenty of room for improvement. In the agriculture industry, for example, women farmers have less access to resources and training than men. “When resources are allocated equally and efficiently, women and men are equally productive in agriculture,” Clinton said, adding, “Unlocking the potential of women by narrowing the gender gap could lead to a 14 percent rise in per capita incomes by the year 2020 in several APEC economies including Russia and Korea.” Clinton cited studies on women’s investing and consumer productivity. Clinton’s declaration concluded that the beginning of the 21st century marks the Participation Age when “we don’t have a person to waste… and we certainly don’t have a gender to waste” if we want to make full potential of the world’s economic opportunities. “In pursuing the promise of the Participation Age, let us remember that by harnessing the economic potential of all women, we boost opportunity for all people.”
September 16, 2011 5:14 PM
Barnes & Noble CEO Leonard Riggio will personally finance a national book tour for Liberian activist Leyhmah Gbowee’s first book, Mighty Be Our Powers, tells the powerful story of Gbowee’s struggle to organize women to bring peace to her native Liberia. The partnership is unusual, as publishers usually foot the bill for book promotion expenses. Riggio said he first heard of Gbowee when she was featured in the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell. “If you met her and she said, ‘I need some money to help me get my message out,’ ” he told the New York Times, “I guarantee you would write her a check.” The idea for Gbowee’s book was conceived by Daily Beast/Newsweek editor-in-chief Tina Brown, and it was published by the Daily Beast’s Beast Books imprint.
September 16, 2011 5:13 PM
An initiative to criminalize forced marriage has been taken off the British government’s agenda: despite encouragement from the Home Affairs Committee to enforce existing protection orders against forced marriage with the promise of criminal punishment, it doesn’t look as if a new forced-marriage crime will be created any time soon. In a report on the matter, frustrated members of Parliament argued that “the lack of criminal sanction also sends a message, and currently that is a weaker message than we believe is needed.” Speaking to Parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron said he’d consider criminalization, but according to the BBC, his office’s written response to the committee’s appeal denies that the current law is insufficient.
September 16, 2011 5:12 PM
This year's fall television lineup might feature more female producers, directors, and stars than ever before, but watching the shows, you'd have a hard time believing there had ever been a feminist movement, writes Washington Post's Hank Stuever. "It's all bunnies, baby dolls and broads," writes Stuever. NBC's The Playboy Club and ABC's Pan Am revel in nostalgia for the patriarchal era rather than critiquing it, while NBC's sitcom Whitney breaks down social norms only to rebuild them more rigidly in the last minutes of an episode. Whitney Cummings' other show, 2 Broke Girls, features two women who could be the granddaughters of the bunnies and stewardesses. But, says Stuever, "I doubt the older generation would be all that impressed with what they call progress."
Read it at The Washington Post
September 16, 2011 5:05 PM
Denmark’s general election marks the beginning of a new era in Danish politics. Not only will Social Democrat Helle Thorning-Schmidt become the country’s first female prime minister, her center-left cabinet will replace the right-wing government that’s held power for 10 years. Thorning-Schmidt ran on a bid to raise taxes, increase government spending, and lift some of the current conservative administration’s austerity measures.
September 16, 2011 9:20 AM
Some alarming statistics from a 2010 Census report: 42.2 percent of single mothers and their families in the U.S. are impoverished, and a whopping 85 percent of all single parents in the country are women. Poverty rates among single mothers are up nearly four percent from last year alone and ten percent from the millennium, according to the report. More unsettling data revealed that poverty rates among single women in the U.S. are significantly higher than those in other high income countries. "The ever-increasing plague of poverty in America warrants an equally strong response,” said Legal Momentum President Elizabeth Grayer, calling on Congress to reform its Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, the benefits of which are primarily aimed at women.
Read it at Legal Momentum
September 15, 2011 3:25 PM
After winning a major discrimination suit brought by female employees that escalated to the Supreme Court, Wal-Mart is offering a condolence prize: a multibillion-dollar women’s initiative. The new program will involve buying $20 billion worth of products from female-owned businesses; training women worldwide to work in factories and retail; asking corporate partners to promote more women; and donating $100 million to women’s nonprofit groups. The world’s largest retail employer, Wal-Mart may still face lawsuits over gender-based pay discrimination in lower courts. The company’s stock price jumped five cents when the initiative was announced Wednesday.
September 15, 2011 12:18 AM
Liberian activist Leyhmah Gbowee’s first book, Mighty Be Our Powers, published by the Daily Beast’s Beast Books imprint, tells the powerful story of Gbowee’s struggle to organize women to bring peace to her native Liberia. For 14 years, Gbowee lived in refugee camps—always trying to make a life, but she realized she had to take action. In 2003, Gbowee began organizing women into peace demonstrations, drafted her own treaty and even demanded a meeting with the president to present it to him. Gbowee once led a sex strike, during which Liberian women withheld sex to show their opposition to their fighting. "And although peace did not happen the day she did that in July, it did turn the tides," said The Daily Beast’s Tina Brown about Gbowee’s struggle.
September 14, 2011 9:01 AM
What about innocent until proven guilty? Indian actress Nikhita Thukral has been banned for three years by the Kannada Film Producers’ Association over an alleged affair with popular action star Darshan. Never mind that Thukral has denied any romantic link with Darshan, calling the ban “ridiculous.” The association, which controls Kannada language films, accused Thukral of spoiling “the domestic harmony of a fellow actor.” How the “domestic harmony” was spoiled was that Darshan was arrested on domestic violence charges last week after his wife alleged that he had beaten her and threatened her with a gun, though she later withdrew the complaint. The argument was reportedly over the alleged affair with Thukral. So, Thukral has been told by the association to apologize “for her behavior” and to promise to “just work in films and not get involved in domestic affairs of fellow actors.” Perhaps the association should do the same?
September 14, 2011 8:56 AM
Having women at the top brings more women at the top, according to a new report by Corporate Women Directors International. The group’s 2011 survey found that companies with a female CEO have twice as many women on their boards as companies with a male CEO. Boards of companies with women CEOs were 22.3 percent women, compared to 9.8 percent for companies with a man at the helm. Companies with female CEOs also have double the number of women in management: 24.3 percent compared to 12.2 percent.
Read it at Corporate Women Directors International
September 12, 2011 9:50 PM
Among the thousands of innocent victims honored during the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks were 10 women known to be pregnant when they died. The number may be higher, counting women who didn’t yet know they were pregnant, or hadn’t yet shared the news with others. The women's names have been carved on the National Memorial at the World Trade Center site in New York, now open to the public, with the phrase "and her unborn child."
September 12, 2011 9:27 PM
Talk about not learning from others’ mistakes: the young women’s outfitter Forever 21 is still selling a girl’s T-shirt that reads “Allergic to Algebra,” a week after JCPenney came under fire for a similar anti-education tee for girls . And it appears to be just one in a grand collection of shirts with messages like “Skool Sucks” and “F=Fabulous.” JCPenney pulled and apologized for its sexist tee after an online petition drew attention, but Forever 21 has not yet commented on their shirts.
September 12, 2011 9:17 PM
Hormonal birth control may alter the memory of women who take it, according to researchers at the University of California. Contraceptives don’t make women more or less forgetful, but they changed the nature of memory: women on birth control were more likely to remember the “gist” of an emotional event, while the non-users were more likely to remember details. "It's a change in the type of information they remember, not a deficit," one of the researchers said.
September 12, 2011 9:07 PM
Fearless pilot and auto racer Betty Skelton died on Aug. 31 at her home in Florida, a friend confirmed. Skelton was known as the “First Lady of Firsts” for her numerous airplane and stock-car records set in the 1940s and 1950s. According to the Smithsonian, she holds "more combined aircraft and automotive records than anyone in history.” She was the first woman to perform the daring “inverted ribbon cut,” which requires the pilot to fly upside down to slice a ribbon, and the first woman to drive an Indy car. Skelton was 85 years old and had cancer.
September 12, 2011 8:57 PM
Having your virginity discovered by co-workers isn’t as hilarious as Steve Carrell made it seem. Former NYU nurse Kristen Haight is suing nearly the entire staff of the school’s Langone Medical Center for incessant harassment that stemmed from a widespread rumor that the 41-year-old had never had sex. Haight claims that her co-workers took their prying to the next level when her medical records were made public, revealing that she has endometriosis. Not only was her health and sex life the topic of wide-spread office gossip, Haight insists she was pushed into sick leave and subsequently fired.
September 12, 2011 8:47 PM
Bangladesh may be celebrating the 40th anniversary of its independence from Pakistan, but to the women raped three decades ago by the Pakistani Army, the wounds of the 1971 war of secession are still fresh. Some of these women have been honored with plaques noting their bravery but, as Laily Begum, one of the 200,000 women raped as Pakistan resisted Bangladeshi freedom, argues, a small plaque is not a substitute for justice. Unfortunately, justice may now be hard to achieve, as decades have erased forensic evidence—and a fear being shunned urges many women to keep their stories quiet.
September 12, 2011 8:37 PM
The results of a recent University of Texas study suggest women are being diagnosed with such hereditary diseases as ovarian and breast cancer at much earlier ages than their mothers and grandmothers. Researchers posit that this shift merits a change in the suggested age of cancer screenings. However, those behind the study do point out that the comparison between today’s generation those before it was based mostly on assumptions of when the cancer first appeared, as accurate data for the older women was largely unavailable.
September 12, 2011 8:27 PM
Britain's House of Commons has defeated a proposal to bar abortion providers from counseling women, in a vote of 368 to 118. Conservative legislator Nadine Dorries had proposed the ban, saying that counseling shouldn’t be offered by non-statutory abortion providers like ++Marie Stopes International++ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Stopes_International, an NGO focused on sexual and reproductive health, and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which are paid to perform abortions. Critics of Dorries said the proposal was designed to provide more opportunities for independent groups, some of them influenced by pro-life organizations, to offer counseling.
September 12, 2011 8:07 PM
As if adolescent girls didn't already have enough on their plates, a new study suggests climate change will make life harder for young women in developing countries. The nonprofit Plan U.K. and the British Department for International Development issued the report, which zooms in on 500 million adolescent girls in the developing world. Young women, the authors say, are often responsible for tending to livestock and looking after the house, so they often leave home later than boys when a natural disaster hits—if they leave home at all. The report says young women accounted for 90 percent of deaths from a 1991 cyclone in Bangladesh and 80 percent of deaths from the 2004 tsunami in Asia. Their workload is also likely to increase with the earth's rising temperatures that will make water and wood harder to obtain.
August 2, 2011 9:54 PM