Infamous. Thoughtless. Careless. Mark Bernstein on recent editorial decisions at Wikipedia: "The infamous draft decision of Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) on Gamergate is worse than a crime. It’s a blunder that threatens to disgrace the internet." [more inside]
Women of color are a principal force behind one of the most important components of America’s current marketplace and our nation’s future economy: entrepreneurship. Today, women of color are the majority owners of close to one-third of all women-owned firms in the nation. Increased access to business capital—including microenterprises, venture-capital-funded firms, and crowd funding—has helped the number of women entrepreneurs grow substantially. But women of color face significant obstacles in starting their own businesses, leading to the question of why so many of them turn to entrepreneurship. The growth of women of color as business owners is part of a long-term trend, but the question of why this trend is occurring is often left unanswered. Looking at the alternative to entrepreneurship—the traditional workplace—sheds light on some of the reasons.
The lethal combination of being a woman and having an opinion is a recipe for a troll cocktail. Modeled after Jimmy Kimmel's Celebrities Read Mean Tweets, this short YouTube video shows how women who challenge the status quo are treated online on a daily basis. [more inside]
The most recent episode of the Ruby Rogues podcast — #179 Accountability and Diversity with Meagan Waller — is a treasure trove of insights and info about unconscious biases, diversity, employment, culture, tech, and more. The podcast page features a timestamped topic outline of the discussion, as well as many links to the Ruby community websites, projects, studies, conferences, and controversies they discuss… [more inside]
Through original interviews, conversations, surveys, projects, diagrams and drawings from over six hundred contributors – including Miranda July, Cindy Sherman, Elif Batuman, Mac McClelland, Lena Dunham, Molly Ringwald, Tavi Gevinson, Rachel Kushner, Roxane Gay and Sarah Nicole Prickett – Women in Clothes explores the wide range of motives that inform how women present themselves through clothes, and what style really means.Feeling inspired? Answer the book's inaugural survey here. A selection of completed surveys, sorted by author or by question, can be found at the Women in Clothes website. [more inside]
This is Science Magazine; this is one of their featured front-page stories (date stamped 17 September 2014 8:00 am): "The top 50 science stars of Twitter", by Jia You. The list has 46 men and 4 women. [more inside]
Pratchett's Women: nine essays (by Australian fantasy author Tansy Rayner Roberts) on the portrayal of women in the Discworld books [more inside]
We can’t close gender gaps when we spend endless hours counting calories instead of cracking glass ceilings. We can’t gain self-assurance when body dysmorphia is so abundant.11 years on, Vanessa Garcia tells her 24-year-old eating-disordered self “Your time is precious. Get help. Do it now. You have too many important things to do.” [more inside]
"Hollywood's pathological fear of being political has made them blind to the changes that women's friendships have undergone over the last forty years. We're so far past women's relationships revolving around men that no one is even offended by the suggestion that women have relationships that don't revolve around men. Bridesmaids was a smash among women AND men, and so was [Paul] Feig's follow-up, The Heat, another female driven, non-romantic comedy." (Hat-tip: Mick LaSalle) [more inside]
WYNC's Manoush Zomorodi investigates the gender gap in tech and computer science, and finds a number of people working towards bridging that gap, from childhood to university: completely restructuring a required computer science course to make it more welcoming to female university students, celebrating women in computing history (and recognizing that computer science wasn't so male-dominated, and making children's books and toys (even dollhouses!) for kids to explore programming concepts on their own. She also noticed that the majority of female computer science students in the US had grown up overseas - possibly because computer science isn't a common subject in American high schools. This is slated to change: a new AP Computer Science subject is in the works, with efforts to get 10,000 highly-trained computer science teachers in 10,000 high schools across the US. If you want to join Mindy Kaling in supporting young girls entering computer science, tech, and coding, there's a lot [more inside]
Michel Martin, in her last week as host of NPR's "Tell Me More," responds to conversations about work/life balance such as Anne-Marie Slaughter's much-commented 2012 "Why Women Still Can't Have It All", (previously) where "the discussion too often ends where it began: with privileged, mostly white women at the forefront." [more inside]
Attack of the purse snatchers: gender and bag policies in U.S. comic book stores
What could a clerk at a comic book store possibly say to a new female customer to make her feel as alien and unwelcome as possible? Would it be some sort of overtly sexist slur, or an inappropriate comment about her appearance? Or could it perhaps be something as presumably innocuous as: "I’m going to need to take your bag before you go any further."
Margaret Perry's review of Women in Pants provides an interesting overview of those women (in the Western world) who chose to wore pants in the 19th and early 20th centuries when the standard gender norm dictated dresses for girls and women. R.S. Fleming has a great collection of Victorian women-in-pants images, particularly in non-American military garb. See also: Welsh pit miners, women fighting in the US Civil War (and support-staff), this cattle thief/gunfighter, some cowgirls, and Dr. Mary Walker - here she is in more traditionally masculine dress (second picture). In France, the artist Rosa Bonheur had to get permission from the police to wear pants (picture) while sketching in public (her license), while adventurer/archaeologist Jane Dieulafoy got a lifetime exemption to wear pants from France. [more inside]
Trans women writers Jeanne Thornton, Imogen Binnie, Red Durkin and Casey Plett read from their recent works for Talks at Google. [more inside]
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn "Stop interrupting me." "I just said that." "No explanation needed." [more inside]
After Koovagam, India's Largest Transgender Festival: "Some of the transgender women you see on the street were training to be lawyers or engineers," says Rangeela, who is one of a handful in her circle who did not drop out of school. "I hope in that in 10 years those people can go on with their careers and not be stuck into a life of prostitution." [more inside]
Women make up roughly half of the 42 million Pashtun people in the borderland. The kind of hardship they know is rare. Some are bought and sold, others killed for perceived slights against family honor. But this doesn’t render them passive. Most of the Pashtun women I know possess a rebellious and caustic humor beneath their cerulean burkas, which have become symbols of submission. This finds expression in an ancient form of folk poetry called landay. Two lines and 22 syllables long, they can be rather startling to the uninitiated. War, drones, sex, a husband’s manhood—these poems are short and dangerous, like the poisonous snake for which they’re named.
A new study suggests that dads who equally divide household chores with their wives tend to have daughters whose career aspirations are less gender-stereotypical. The study results suggest that even when fathers publicly endorse gender equality, when there is a traditional division of labor at home daughters are more likely to see themselves in traditionally female-dominant jobs.
The first Women in Science Writing: Solutions Summit took place at MIT on June 13-15. Here's a brief roundup, with plenty of links and stats that look at gender bias and harassment in science journalism.
Who really controls Hollywood? Now it can be told! (SLFOD)
A study (pdf) released by the nonprofit Stop Street Harassment shows that 65% of American women have experienced some form of street harassment – 41% of women were subject to physically aggressive harassment in public like being flashed or fondled. Men also report being harassed (and men who identified as LGBT were much more likely to be harassed than heterosexual men). No matter who was being harassed, men were most likely to be the harassers.
Whether it's the constant fretting over Miley Cyrus' influence on school girls or the growing (and troubling) tradition of Purity Balls, it's clear that society has a fascination with young women's sexuality — especially when it comes to controlling it. But what are we actually teaching today's girls about sex? Fueled by outdated ideals of gender roles and the sense that female sexuality is somehow shameful, there seem to be certain pernicious myths about girls and sex that just won't die. That sex education in America has gaping holes in its curriculum hasn't helped much, either; in a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report just 6 out of 10 girls said that their schools' sex ed program included information on how to say no to sex. This lack of personal agency was reflected in a forthcoming study by sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University as well, which found that many young girls think of sex simply as something that is "done to them." Knowledge is power, and we can promote a healthier relationship with sex by encouraging a more open dialogue, teaching girls to feel comfortable with their sexuality and, most importantly, emphasizing that their bodies are theirs and theirs alone. [more inside]
Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain. "The pain of women turns them into kittens and rabbits and sunsets and sordid red satin goddesses, pales them and bloodies them and starves them, delivers them to death camps and sends locks of their hair to the stars. Men put them on trains and under them. Violence turns them celestial. Age turns them old. We can’t look away. We can’t stop imagining new ways for them to hurt." [more inside]
Do movies that pass the Bechdel Test make more money than movies that don't? Walt Hickey, writing for Nate Silver's new fivethirtyeight site, examines the data.
In a study and trial somewhat breathlessly reported as Norwegian troops get unisex dorms, the Norwegian Armed Forces has tried out unisex dorm rooms with two women and four men to a room, and consider the experiment a success, with better unit cohesion and lower rate of sexual harassment as results. [more inside]
Talking gender to Africa
International donors have sought to improve the social, political and economic position of women in Africa through an approach known as “gender”. This donor-driven strategy is failing. The jargon of gender programmes is ambiguous and easily misunderstood. It fosters inaction and lip service on the part of patriarchal African governments and civil servants. Gender has become the preserve of the educated elite. The voices of African women have been lost.[more inside]
Britain's elite sportswomen fear that the way they look is judged to be more important than what they achieve in their sporting careers. [more inside]
This is The Big Picture, an official television report of the United States Army, produced for the armed forces and the American people. Now to show you part of The Big Picture here is Master Sargent Stuart Queen
The series consists of ~822 documentaries produced by the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service from 1951 to 1971 to educate both soldiers in uniform and the American public about military concerns as well as things like historical battles, world geography, famous soldiers, the latest weapons, space exploration, strategic objectives, peaceful initiatives, and the life of a soldier. Being a product of the Federal Government it belongs to the the American people, and is thus freely available to all to copy and distribute. Most can now be viewed on archive.org[more inside]
For the first time, three women, identified as Pfc. Julia Carroll, Pfc. Christina Fuentes Montenegro and Pfc. Katie Gorz will graduate from enlisted infantry training today, having passed the two month course at the School of Infantry-East at Camp Geiger, a satellite of Lejeune. However, they still won’t be allowed to serve in an infantry unit, until the Marine Corps finishes its study of women in combat, in two more years' time. [more inside]
Last week, Time magazine put out a feature on the Gods of Food, a series of articles on 60-some-odd empire-building chefs who the magazine thinks are influencing and leading cuisine today. Beyond the statistical problems with the article ... some folks had the temerity to point out that this culinary Mount Olympus was basically a bunch of white dudes. Actually it was all dudes, not a single woman deified. Eater's interview with Time's food editor Howard Chua-Eoan about the story. Amanda Cohen's scathing takedown of the clusterfuck. The New York Times' Room for Debate feature asking leading female chefs about underrepresented women in food media. Eater's latest piece on the question of gender bias in food journalism. [via]
When DNLee was approached to write blog posts for Biology Online, she quite reasonably asked about the terms of the agreement. When she turned them down, their response was...somewhat less than reasonable. And when DNLee posted to her blog about it, Scientific American – who hosts her blog as part of their science blog network – responded in perhaps the most tone-deaf manner possible. [more inside]
Last summer, researchers at Yale published a study proving that physicists, chemists and biologists are likely to view a young male scientist more favorably than a woman with the same qualifications. Presented with identical summaries of the accomplishments of two imaginary applicants, professors at six major research institutions were significantly more willing to offer the man a job. If they did hire the woman, they set her salary, on average, nearly $4,000 lower than the man’s. Surprisingly, female scientists were as biased as their male counterparts. A wonderful long article by Eileen Pollack where she talks to her former mentors, the study authors, and the other female science professors at her alma mater. NYTMagazine, worth reading especially for the absence of glib simple answers. (Previously, of course.)
The words and phrases that distinguish men and women on Facebook. A word cloud visualization taken from a new study exploring personality, gender and age in language used on social media, published in PLOS ONE. [more inside]
Jennifer Sky, a former model/actress, recently published a NYT op-ed about her recurring role as Amarice in Xena: Warrior Princess, stating, "Gender was not relevant in the Xenaverse." Her perspective has been met with some contention.
In 1999, officials in Vienna, Austria, asked residents of the city's ninth district how often and why they used public transportation. "Most of the men filled out the questionnaire in less than five minutes," says Ursula Bauer, one of the city administrators tasked with carrying out the survey. "But the women couldn't stop writing."
To my daughter's high school programming teacher: "I spent 16 years raising a daughter who had all the tools and encouragement she needed to explore computer programming as a career. In one short semester, you and her classmates undid all of my years of encouragement."
. . . when half the population is ignored: At the Movies, The Women are Gone Also: Joss Whedon pissed off about lack of female superheroes in films. Female roles in 2012 blockbuster films drop to lowest level in five years.
Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that work is performed entirely by young men. For this reason girls are not considered for the training school.
"Women get flustered under fire. They're too fragile, too emotional. They lack the ferocity required to take a life. They can't handle pain. They're a distraction, a threat to cohesion, a provocative tease to close-quartered men. These are the sort of myths you hear from people who oppose the U.S. military's evolving new rules about women in combat. But for women who have already been in combat, who have earned medals fighting alongside men, the war stories they tell don't sound a thing like myths" [more inside]
Chako Paul City is a women-only city in the north of Sweden, established in 1820 by a wealthy widow. It is "a place that is respectful of women's love, but with a rule that men cannot enter"; the few who have tried have found themselves beaten half to death by the formidable Amazonian sentries at its gates. It has a castle, and its main industry is forestry, with a sideline in lesbian tourism. Of the 25,000 women, from all over Europe, living in Chako Paul City, those wishing to seek male company are allowed to leave, but may only reenter after having bathed and undertaken several other measures to avoid negatively affecting the mental state of the other residents. [more inside]
'Feminism' has often been seen as a Western concept, but African women are increasingly redefining it to suit their own purposes. This, in turn, is influencing the rest of the world.
The Everyday Sexism Project collects user-submitted reports from women to document their day-to-day experiences with normalized sexism, including sexual harassment and job discrimination. Entries can be submitted at the site, in an email to founder Laura Bates or to their twitter account. [more inside]
Today, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will announce that the Pentagon has lifted its 19 year old ban on women serving in combat roles in the military. [more inside]
"The Reconstructionists, a collaboration between illustrator Lisa Congdon and writer Maria Popova, is a yearlong celebration of remarkable women — beloved artists, writers, and scientists, as well as notable unsung heroes — who have changed the way we define ourselves as a culture and live our lives as individuals of any gender. Every Monday in 2013, we'll be publishing an illustrated portrait of one such trailblazing woman, along with a hand-lettered quote that captures her spirit and a short micro-essay about her life and legacy."
The New York Times asks seven 'experts': Does makeup ultimately damage a woman’s self-esteem, or elevate it? [more inside]
"...the first decade of the 21st century can be viewed as a singularly male-dominated era in American cinema."
New York Times Magazine "Hollywood Issue": Hollywood’s Year of Heroine Worship. Accompanied by an online web series of 13 original, short films: Wide Awake, each starring an actress whose performance helped 'define the year in film.' [more inside]