Add Your Piece

AddYourPiece

By Maggie Cremin

This year, the theme of the Stanford Women’s Leadership Conference is “Add Your Piece: Redefining Success Individually.” Our thought process was that there is no longer just one definition of success. For example, success does not only have to be defined by making lots of money and having a big house and a nice car and being able to provide for one’s family and be the breadwinner. In today’s world success can also be defined by making a difference in someone’s life, improving a community by giving it access to better resources, or it could also be raising one’s children to be good, caring, thoughtful citizens.

The goal of the conference in my mind is to show women that there are infinite ways to be successful, they can be physicists, mercenaries, doctors, CEOs, diplomats, activists etc. (the list goes on and on). Personally I sometimes felt that I could only be successful if I became a doctor or took a position in a male dominated field (such as government). But now, I feel that I can be successful in any field that I am passionate about because I can use my passion and talents to make a difference in that field and help people by contributing to that field.

My hope for the SWLC is that aspiring leaders learn that there are infinite role models to look to for inspiration in creating her/his own path to success. Add your piece to the growing list of incredible women leaders!

To learn more about the SWLC visit our website at: swlc2014.weebly.com

Football, Fandom, and (a lack of) Feminism

By Monica Chin and Annie Kaufman

Super Bowl Sunday, which attracts an estimated 110 million viewers, is one of the most significant days for advertisers nationwide. This means the biggest companies, flashiest advertisements, and most hype. Fueling the conversation about representation of women in these ads, The Representation Project started the #NotBuyingIt trend on Twitter during Super Bowl 2012. The goal was to critique the depiction of women in these multi-million dollar campaigns. This year, The Representation Project came back swinging with their #NotBuyingIt app, which allows users to document sexist portrayals of women in advertising and send direct messages to companies protesting this destructive imagery. The hashtag was used more than 15,000 times during the Super Bowl, attesting both to the widespread use of sexism in advertising and the frustration of viewers across the country. Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 2.47.14 PMWhile such activism advances the fight against sexist advertising, sexism is still rampant and widespread, especially during the Super Bowl. Some companies toned down their blatant sexism this year, but they still rely on shock and insensitivity. GoDaddy avoided the striptease scene, instead choosing to objectify hairless and heavyset men while showcasing its spokesperson, Danica Patrick, in a fake weightlifter body. After Volkswagen implied that female engineers essentially don’t exist, there seemed to be little hope for feminism in this year’s crop of Super Bowl advertisements. Thankfully, one glimmer of hope for feminist advertising remained in the GoldieBlox toy company ad, which encourages young girls to get involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). While their ad attempts to inspire girls to be more than just princesses, some still critique it for telling girls what and what not to do/play with. The other sad truth is that the GoldieBlox ad is the first ever advertisement by a small business in the Super Bowl, a spot obtained through a contest put on by Intuit to support small businesses. The reality is that big media attention is out of reach for most. Out of a plethora of advertisements showcased this Sunday, the only one that was arguably feminist was produced by a small business, not one of the monopolizing companies that rule the media. While this year’s Super Bowl and responses to it created some hope for progress, representation of women in media has a long way to go.Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 2.49.29 PM

Let’s Talk About Birth Control

by Sarah Roberts

Today, one of our staff members entered the WCC moaning tales of uterine woes. In our infinite spirit of staff love and solidarity, we overwhelmed her with suggestions about how to appease the menstrual forces. This eventually led to a room-wide conversation about contraception–complete with stories, IUD-evangelizing, and health provider references.

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Some days, the uterus is not feeling so cuterus.

Unfortunately, conversations like these do not happen enough. Sex negativity and shaming promote a culture of silence about safe sex and contraceptive methods. Birth control is a surprisingly contentious issue given that so many people need it. Birth control doesn’t just help prevent pregnancy (though that is in itself a necessary and basic health issue), it also helps persons with uteri deal with medical conditions like painful periods, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

In the interest of fostering dialogue, here is your quick and dirty guide to birth control:

  • Oral contraceptive pills are one of the most well known form of birth control. The pill works by releasing hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs and the eggs from being fertilized. It needs to be taken daily and is highly effective when taken on schedule. It is also used by many people to lessen the wrath of the great Ovum (i.e. it regulates periods by making them lighter, shorter, and/or less frequent)
  • Ortho-Evra Patch is essentially a hormone-lace bandaid that is stuck on the skin to prevent pregnancy.
  • Implanon Implant involves the insertion of a hormonal rod into the arm. It is highly effective and lasts for three years.
  • NuvaRing is a small bendable ring that is visually reminiscent of the swaggin’ rubber bracelets you saw in middle school. Except instead of putting it on your wrist, you insert it in your vagina. It is very effective, convenient, and low hormone, but it can be expensive without insurance.
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Just for emphasis

  • Depo-Provera is an injection of medroxyprogesterone given once every 12 weeks. It is important to keep in mind that there is a FDA black box warning regarding bone density, so many doctors do not recommend it except in special circumstances.
  • Mirena Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a small t-shaped device containing progestin that is inserted by a clinician. It can be removed at any time if pregnancy is desired, but otherwise it lasts for at least 5 years. Like the birth control pill, this IUD can be used to regulate periods.
  • Copper 7 Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a device inserted into the uterus by a clinician.  It is a highly effective method of birth control that is good for 10 years, and highly recommendable to those weary of hormones. At the same time, it may increase vaginal bleeding.
  • Male and Female Condoms prevent sperm from reaching the egg. A major advantage is they also protect against HIV and some STIs. Even if you are not having sex that can result in pregnancy, condoms and other barrier methods are an important means of protecting against diseases.

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  • Spermicides are gels, creams and foam can be used in conjunction with the male condom, or they can be used alone for birth control. The sponge, cervical cap and diaphragm keep the spermicide near the cervical opening. But, as Miley Cyrus so eloquently put it, nobody’s perfect. They are not very effective when used alone and they may cause irritation of the male and female genitals, which can increase the risk of HIV transmission.
  • Diaphragms are rubber, dome-shaped devices placed into the vagina to hold spermicide around the cervix. The cervical cap fits directly on the cervix. Both are used with spermicide, require female involvement only, and can be inserted ahead of time for those nights when you know you’re tryna.
  • Emergency Contraception (i.e. Plan B) can be taken up to 72 hours after an unprotected encounter. The sooner you take it, the more effective it is.
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Your reproductive system on emergency contraception.

  • Rhythm Method requires that one calculates one’s fertility cycle and abstains from intercourse during ovulation. This is fairly effective for persons with regular cycles.
  • Sterilization is a permanent method of preventing pregnancy.  It works by blocking the tubes that carry the sperm or egg.
  • Abstinence means that you choose to not be sexually active. If strictly adhered to, it is a free and effective method of preventing pregnancy, STIs, and sexually transmitted HIV.

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Here at Stanford, there are several resources for students to obtain contraceptives. Barrier methods like the male and female condom, as well as dental dams, are available at the Sexual Health Peer Resource Center (SHPRC). Students can also reach out to Birth Control Peer Educators to discuss their different options. To compare options on your own, try visiting this website. Birth control prescriptions can be obtained at Vaden Health Center, where emergency contraception (like Plan B) is also available without a prescription.

Diaphragms, sponges, birth control pills, vaginal rings, IUDS, emergency contraception, sterilization procedures, and education/ counseling are all covered under the Affordable Care Act.

Want to learn more? Come to the WCC on Thursday February 6 and Thursday February 13 at noon for the Vagina Dialogues, an opportunity to talk with a gynecologist about your healthcare questions.

Celebrating the Life of Nelson Mandela

By Sarah Roberts

As the world mourns one of the greatest human rights activists of all time, I find myself thinking about the limitations of words. I’m thinking about the way that no eulogy or article can ever feel like enough. Maybe that’s why we hold moments of silence—because deep down we understand that no words of ours will ever do justice to great lives, or great losses. With this in mind, I pay homage to Nelson Mandela using his own striking words, which serve as a reflection of his inclusive efforts and tireless spirit.

While anti-racist and anti-colonialist movements are inherently feminist, Mandela was also a direct champion of gender equality in South Africa. He never forgot women in his fight for freedom.

“Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.”
–State of the Union Address, 1994

While serving as president in South Africa, he passed the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, which included amendments that solidified reproductive rights and legal protection from discrimination, rape, and domestic violence. Additionally, it offered legal protections from discrimination due to sexual orientation (the first constitution to do so), marital status, pregnancy, gender, race, and sex.

“Women and girls need safe environments to learn and to work. At the moment, discrimination and violence exacerbate their lack of access to the very tools they need to make their own rights a reality. If girls do not have a safe and non-discriminatory environment to pursue education or gain employment, the consequences reverberate throughout their lives, denying them the choice and freedom we take for granted.”
–Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award Speech

Mandela sought such emancipation through both legal and nonprofit means. He introduced free pre-natal and post-natal care in the public health system while president. Even after he left office, he continued to work alongside Graca Machel, his wife, with nonprofit organizations to further women’s rights

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
–Speech from the Dock (1964)

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
–Long Walk to Freedom

Mandela made dramatic leaps forward and left behind a legacy that will forever impact South African citizens and the world. Mandela understood that a champion of human rights could not, and cannot, leave anyone behind. To care about human rights is to care about ALL human rights because oppression will always work to perpetuate other forms of oppression. While our words may not properly honor him, our actions just might. As we progress forward, we should remember the wisdom we were lucky enough to be left with and apply it in our activism, our consciousness, and our lives.

Make Everyday Speech Reflect Your Politics

by Tess Dufrechou

In ninth grade I thought that I was the coolest little feminist on the block because I was really into writing “womyn” instead of “women” (until my older brother made fun of me and said I would only make lesbian friends who didn’t shave their leg hair, but that is another story). Then I felt awkward—I was in that conforming age (do we ever leave it?) where I did not want to be the only person spelling womyn with a ‘y,’ so I switched back. Why make a big deal about some small letter that you can’t even hear?  While I am still not sure that “womyn” is an effective form of feminist activism, I do know that grammar and language are not just topics that we learn in dusty old books written by older white gentlemen—they are political tools that we can use for social change.

Systems of oppression, like patriarchy and heteronormativity, seep into and replicate themselves within our language, revealing its influence even in the smallest of grammatical tools, like pronoun usage. Recently a friend was telling me about her acclaimed professor, and I asked “what’s his name?”—automatically assuming that a professor, someone in a position of knowledge and power—would use male pronouns, even though there are many acclaimed professors who are women at Stanford.

Consciously deciding to use language that does not replicate harmful power structures in place can seem frustrating and awkward at first, but will get easier the more we make a habit of asking ourselves simple questions before speaking, like, “did this person identify which gender pronoun they prefer when referring to themselves?”  If you catch yourself making assumptions in your language, correct yourself. Correct your friends. Be that person that corrects someone you don’t even really know, if you feel safe doing so. If you are not sure about which gender pronoun to use when discussing someone, use “they,” or, if appropriate, ask them what they prefer, and remember next time.

Speaking intentionally does not only mean respecting others’ identities and their terms to describe themselves, but also means stating out loud your ‘cis’ identities—or identities that fit in with a perceived societal norm—in order to remind yourself and others that this imposed norm is not a “default” identity that should be assumed. For example, if your gender identity matches the gender you were assigned at birth (called cisgender), you should still introduce yourself as preferring she/her gender pronouns.

Speaking intentionally and politically also does not mean always defaulting to gender neutral language—ignoring gender in situations of relationship abuse and sexual assault, for example, where by far the majority of perpetrators are men, erases a key piece of the problem and cloaks patriarchy behind a lens of gender equality, which can be just as dangerous as assuming gender.

When in doubt, do some research. Look up the implications of the language you use, and always allow people to self-identify when it comes to pronouns. Be kind to yourself as you make mistakes, but learn from them, because sometimes talking the talk can be a part of walking the walk.

If you would like to read more about the historical and present use of “they” as a singular pronoun (replacing he/she), check out this slightly cheeky yet informative article

Have any more helpful tips for socially conscious grammar and language use? Comment below!

Trigger Warning 101

by Sarah Roberts

You may have seen the trigger warnings on articles posted at this blog, or on your Facebook newsfeed. Not sure what trigger warnings are?

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Triggers warnings are an explicit statement that a following piece of media contains descriptions, language, or imagery that some may find disturbing, or ‘triggering’; i.e. likely to induce an extremely emotionally distressing response such as posttraumatic flashbacks, anxiety, or a strong urge to self-harm. They are a vitally important part of maintaining safe and inclusive spaces in our communities.  They empower survivors to decide if and how they want to engage with material.

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Trigger warning should be placed at the beginning of potentially triggering media.  The usual format is the term “trigger warning” followed by a broad description of the triggering nature of the content.  Avoid warnings with too much description because you don’t want the warning itself to be triggering.  For example: “Trigger Warning: Graphic descriptions of sexual violence.”  It is also a good idea to bold or change the font color of the text in order to make sure it is noticed.

Trigger warnings should always be used for content that includes:

  • Graphic descriptions of or extensive discussion of abuse, incest, torture, or violence
  • Graphic descriptions of or extensive discussion of self-harming behavior such as suicide, self-inflicted injuries, or disordered eating
  • Depictions, especially lengthy or psychologically realistic ones, of the mental state of someone suffering abuse or engaging in self-harming.
  • Depiction or discussion of discriminatory attitudes or actions, including but not limited to: hate crimes, hate speech/ slurs, trans* degendering/ anti-trans* views of bodies, and dismissal of lived oppression, marginalization, illness or differences.
  • Descriptions/pictures of war violence.
  • Talk of drug abuse (legal, illegal or psychiatric)
  • Kidnapping (forceful deprivation of/disregard for personal autonomy)

This list is by no means exhaustive.  You should post warnings for anything you feel could be triggering to another person; it is better to be safe than sorry.

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This year at the WCC, we’ve made the decision to include trigger warnings in our blogs, Femtastics Fridays, and events.  We will be warning for all topics mentioned above on our social media forums.  We also intend to engage with speakers about placing content warnings prior to/ during their events.  As a staff, we feel that it is absolutely vital to make the WCC a place that feels available to all people and believe trigger warnings are indispensable to that.

Trigger warnings take very little time but have a huge impact on well-being and the establishment of this campus as a safe space.  It is an important aspect of allowing all people the space to feel respected and secure.  When we do this, we hold to the value of collective empowerment and inclusivity, which is pretty **femtastic**.

d52

P.S. Feel free to comment or email us at wccstaff@gmail.com with TWs you feel should have been included.

10 MUST READS FOR EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE: A PERSONALIZED GUIDE TO BOOKS WE LOVE AT THE WCC

By Greeshma Somashekar

I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on…Barnes and Nobles was a childhood constant and my parents always joked that I should just go live in a library. I love books and I love these books, in particular, for the simple fact that they shed light on different spheres of feminism and the strength of women everywhere. Each of the ten books listed brings something fresh and unique to the idea of female empowerment, and the authors brilliantly weave together narrative, critique, and in some cases, even science. I highly encourage you to give a few of these a chance, if not all of them. Perhaps over Thanksgiving or winter break! Happy reading, everyone!

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Women in Science

If you’ve ever worked in a cell-based research lab, you’ve probably come across the HeLa cell line. It is the oldest and most commonly used immortal cell line in modern research, mainly due to its stability. What most people don’t know is that HeLa stands for Henrietta Lacks, the poor black tobacco farmer whose cervical cancer cells were taken in 1951 without her knowledge. #1-The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot) brings readers to a hard hitting collision between race, ethics, and medicine. What do you think? Should we have full control of the stuff we’re made of?

In #2-Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie (Barbara Goldsmith), Goldsmith uncovers the Marie Curie behind the myth. This complex analysis of the first female recipient of the Nobel Prize is exceptionally personal in its inclusion of diary entries and letter excerpts. I was most intrigued by how Curie handled balancing a spectacular scientific career, a demanding family, and the prejudices of society at the time. This is a beautiful portrait of a difficult subject, and a must read for any lover of biographies or science.

Feminist Literature

#3-The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath) is a book you will not have the heart to put down once you begin. Plath’s narrative parallels her own struggle with mental illness and clinical depression, as conveyed by the metaphorical bell in which her protagonist feels stifled. Themes of confusion about identify, behavior, and morality resonate throughout the novel, and Plath leads you on a haunting yet riveting personal journey.
**Trigger warning: Depictions of depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors**

#4-A Room of One’s Own (Virginia Woolf) is an essay-based argument for a literal space for female writers within a literary tradition dominated by patriarchy. Woolf explores the need for poetic license and the personal liberty to create art. This quick read is a must for aspiring artists of any kind.

Fighting Oppression

A brilliant dystopian novel that speculates an era of declining births due to pollution-induced sterility and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, #5-The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) might actually top my list of personal favorites. Atwood paints a vivid narrative of a totalitarian Christian theocracy that overthrows the government; the protagonist – Offred – is a member of a class of women kept as concubines for the sole purpose of reproduction. It has become a staple in many English literature classes, and if you have not read it already, you must!
**Trigger warning: Depictions of sexual assault**

READ THIS, READ THIS, READ THIS: #6-Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Nicholas and Sheryl WuDunn) will leave you wishing you had known about it earlier. Anyone with the slightest interest in international women’s rights will find this a fascinating account of real stories from women around the globe. Subjects like sex slavery, genital mutilation, devastating childbirth-related injuries, and domestic violence are handled with care and due respect. Nicholas and Sheryl argue that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing the potential of women everywhere. I can’t agree more. For a more detailed description of women’s rights issues, read From Outrage to Courage: Women Taking Action for Health and Justice, by Stanford’s own Prof. Anne Firth Murray.
**Trigger warning: Dialogue about violence against women**

Coming of Age

INTERNATIONAL

#7-The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy) takes your typical family saga and turns it upside down with piercing politics and a forbidden love story that calls into question who we should love, and how, and how much. We meet two fraternal twins whose lives are destroyed by so called ‘love laws’. Set in the southernmost Indian state of Kerala, Roy’s novel studies communism, the caste system, and religious turmoil. This book teaches readers about a very different kind of ‘love’, still practiced in many places around the world.

I first read #8-Leaving Mother Lake: A Girlhood at the Edge of the World (Yang Erche Namu) because it was the required summer reading at my high school, and I am so glad I did. Yang Erche Namu is a well-recognized writer and singer today, but this novel introduces us to her childhood in the Moso country of the Himalayas. This unique matrilineal society has a fascinating culture in which women enjoy full economic and sexual freedom, but girls still face familial tension and are discouraged to leave Moso. I felt so connected to Namu as she searched desperately for ways to spread her wings and take off.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN

#9-I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou) is the 1969 autobiography of the highly esteemed poet and writer Maya Angelou. I was most struck by her struggles with identity, racism, rape, literacy, and sexuality as a girl. This inspirational coming of age story is an American classic for a reason, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
**Trigger warning: Depictions of rape.**

#10-The Bluest Eye (Toni Morrison) is set in the American Midwest during the aftermath of the Great Depression. The story is told from the point of view of young Pecola, who wants so badly to have blue eyes and blond hair so she can finally fit in with her neighbors in small town Ohio. Morrison takes us on a careful study of this inferiority complex and various horrors like incest and child molestation. The storytelling is rough, yet delicate. And I could not stop reading. I think I read this one in a single night, with the help of many, many tissues.
**Trigger warning: Depictions of incest and rape.**

When Leaning In is not enough

By Lan Anh Le

Last April when Lean In’s novelty was stirring up lots of buzz, I attended Sandberg’s book conference at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park. At the event, every guest checked in with an iPad and was directed to a high-ceilinged auditorium. I had just gotten out of class and was wearing the usual tee and jean shorts combination, while all around me, the attendees, mostly female students from the Graduate School of Business (GSB), were wearing business casual and patent pumps.

When Sandberg made an entrance amid the murmurings and applause, she asked the audience, “How many of you want to be No. 1 in your field? What would you do if you were not afraid?” In a friendly and unaffected tone, she told personal stories about being disliked at work for being over-ambitious and guilt about mothering. Then she proceeded to make numerous points about women’s climb up the corporate ladder, backed by anecdotes of how Sandberg herself overcame discriminatory obstacles in the workplace.

I appreciated how Sandberg, a natural and charming public speaker, was so vocal about female empowerment and articulated the emotions that some working women would have in a gender divided world. Moreover, she made her messages incredibly accessible. The advices she offered are pretty clear-cut: don’t waste time on people-pleasing, marry a supportive partner who would help out with housework and parenting, work hard to succeed at the highest professional level, own your own success. 

But at the same time I was disappointed. I don’t mean to undercut corporate feminist dialogues, because they do resonate among many women and contribute certain valuable things to female empowerment. Yet, I was thinking, “here is another privileged and powerful figure trying to empower a demographic that’s also somewhat privileged and powerful.” Sandberg has essentially produced a feminist manifesto that excludes many women who come from different classes, ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientation. Sitting in a room full of silky blouses and patent pumps, I felt almost other-ized for my lack of pretty business casual. I also have never wanted to be “No. 1 in my field,” mainly because I didn’t even know what my major was at the time, but also because being No. 1 has never been too important to me. Female leadership does not equate to being CEO of a powerful corporation. Leadership can be making a difference in your community. It can be designing a public service project, or working with a team to create a powerful work of art. I have never thought of feminism as “owning your own success”. To me, it’s challenging systematic injustice and eradicating gender-based barriers in a collective and inclusive manner, not advancing yourself, and mainly yourself, in the workplace.

That’s not to say that Sandberg does not have a contribution to make. If you’re interested in achieving gender equity in the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, Sandberg eloquently talks about how to not sell yourself short as a woman in the workplace and shares business strategies on how to make it to the top. This is of unquestionably important as women are underrepresented in top-level jobs. However, Sandberg’s approach involves addressing what individual women can do to adapt to and thrive within the corporate world. She suggests that it’s up to the individual to make some psychological adjustments to fit into the system (don’t self-sabotage, don’t cry if a man calls you bossy, do what you would do if you weren’t afraid), while changing that entire system of gendered attitudes should be the goal instead… 

Moreover, the promising glam shot of the female corporate leader should not mislead us into thinking that complete gender balance is being achieved and that all women will have it better. For many women, it’s not as simple as merely leaning in. The situation in which “if you lean forward, you’ll get promoted and then you’ll get paid more and you’ll be able to afford better childcare” only happens when you don’t have to face the more systematic barriers, because you have transcended them, perhaps by being born into a well-off family, being able to go to Harvard and having Larry Summers as your mentor. (Summers, alongside whom Sandberg had worked closely with, is the same person who hypothesized that the shortage of women in certain disciplines could be explained by innate differences in mathematical ability).

What happens when you are held back due to economic and family situations? There is no question that Sandberg has worked hard, but her background has also made it more possible for her to make it to the top. Multi-generational poverty is a real issue, but an issue that was not effectively addressed in Sandberg’s manifesto. Sandberg promotes trickle-down feminism, where those who make it to the top will somehow help to eradicate gender inequalities in general. “If we can succeed in adding more female voices at the highest levels, we will expand opportunities and extend fairer treatment to all.” I read this as a lack of cross-class solidarity. Empowering the individual (and privileged) woman in order to improve overall equality does not sound realistic.

Lean In, for the purpose that it serves, is great but limiting. It would be really awesome if someone as influential as Sandberg used the vast resources they have (a wonderful publicity team, their status in the business world, their ability to get published in The Wall Street Journal) to recognize the needs of people who are otherwise excluded and marginalized and address issues beyond corporate power.

You Go Gurls: Senate Women Lead the Compromise to End the Government Shut Down

By Maggie Cremin

Senator Collins (ME-R) outlined a three-point plan on October 5th to end the stalemate and end the government shut down.  She took her plan to the Senate floor and “dared her colleagues to come up with something better.”  Senator Collins along with two other female Republicans, Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Kelly Ayotte (NH), started a bipartisan committee to negotiate a tentative budget plan.  These women were the “driving forces that shaped a negotiated settlement.”  They acted independently of party expectations and instead focused on re-opening the government for the American people so the American people did not have to worry about what would happen if the government remained in shut down and defected on its loans. 

 

Senators Barbara Mikulski (MD-D) and Patty Murray (WA-D), worked closely with the women Republican leaders to create a compromise that would appeal to both sides.  Of the 13 senators that formed the bipartisan committee, half of them were women!  This is a shocking contrast to the mere 20% of the Senate that women represent.

 

Senator John McCain (AZ-R) “joked at several points in their meetings. ‘The women are taking over.’”  Why is this a joking matter?  Women should exert more power in the Senate! These women are taking the initiative to fully represent the needs of the country, not to mention ending the government shut down when no one else was willing to make an effort to end the stalemate.

 

So basically snaps to the few but the proud women in the Senate for ending the government shut down.  You rock ladies!

 

If you are interested in hearing the three leading Republican women, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Kelly Ayotte, speak click here.

 

 

Five Reasons the Government Shutdown is Especially Bad For Women

By Anna Blue

    So it’s not like any of us didn’t expect it. There’s been so much name-calling and political sassing in Congress in the last couple months that a government shutdown was bound to happen.  Especially after conservative Indiana Representative told the Washington Examiner on October 2, “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

    Since then, there have been too many shenanigans to count: Harry Reid offensively calling Boehner out on his “credibility problem”, Representative Randy Neugebauer assaulting an innocent park ranger for blocking the WWII memorial that he and his fellow Congressmen closed, or even Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s decision to lambast Obama in a Washington Post Op-ED. If all of that isn’t enough evidence for you, then let me give you five super important reasons why this government shutdown is one of the biggest shitshows ever.

 

  1. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children Lost Its Funding. The government program that provides nutritional food for low-income pregnant women and new moms is without the financial means to provide for some of the American women that need support the most. The shutdown is an insult to a long-standing national priority: protecting women’s health.
  2. The End of Labor Department Inspections into Workplace Security and Safety. Without government funding, the Labor Department lacks the resources to continue to monitor private companies for any abuses of sexual assault or worker safety policy. Now for thousands of women facing harassment at work, there are two options: leave work and lose income or put up with a unfriendly or dangerous work environment.
  3. Department of Justice Work Has Been Suspended. Without the oversight of the Department of Justice, several discrimination lawsuits for equal pay and equal treatment filed by women across the country have been suspended for who knows how long.
  4. (Almost) Unfortunate Goodbye to Head Start Program. Head Start is key to supporting low income families and single moms; they provide free preschool to thousands of children every year, leads health initiatives, and aids in parent services to low-income families. Yet, without the 10 million dollar private donation from billionaire Dora Jones on October 10, the program would have been left stranded, dried, and unable to support American women in need.
  5. Postponement of “Non-Disaster” Grants and Lack of Funding for The Department of Veteran Affairs. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the government shutdown has ended disaster preparedness programs for state and local areas, making thousands of families vulnerable to disaster and left without back-up in case of tragedy. The Department of Veteran Affairs recently stated that if the shutdown runs into late October, they will be unable to pay compensation benefits to over 3.6 million veterans, men and women alike, that rely on compensation benefits to support themselves.

 

So, yeah, bad stuff. And there’s even worse to come, for all Americans, if the shutdown doesn’t end soon.