Friday Round Up: Why Are There Y Chromosomes Edition

No, this Friday Round Up isn’t only about the weenier-than-almost-anyone-ever Rep. Anthony Weiner. I start there because how can I not? But we’ll quickly move on to the meta-picture of gender power.

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She’s Doing It: Victoria Pynchon “She Negotiates” to Improve Dispute Resolution

Ever meet someone you instantly know is a force of nature and will be a great friend forever? I met Vickie Pynchon –attorney, mediator and arbitrator, partner in the She Negotiates Consulting and Training firm, prolific blogger, and author of A is for A**hole: the Grownups’ ABC’s of Conflict Resolution–during the worst icy snowstorm I’ve ever witnessed in New York City.

I’d blown off a chance to meet

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One Way Women Should Not Change How We Think About Power

young anthony weiner

Had you noticed? Today is the 51st anniversary of the U. S. Supreme Court Griswold v Connecticut decision legalizing birth control for married couples under the Constitutional principle of a right to privacy. Nah, probably not.

Figure the odds that anyone is going to pay an iota of attention today to the Griswold anniversary or the new poll that also found voters angry about the Republicans’ attempts to defund Title X family planning services for low income women. Not when they have Weinergate. Talk about someone who has not just lost but thrown away his privacy!

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Friday Roundup: Will Women Leaders Carpe the Chaos?

Earlier this week, I came across an article titled “Why ‘Female’ Skills Are Worth More.”

This week’s roundup reflects the news that in the current financial chaos, with a little help sex scandals here and there, women are taking important leading roles in journalism, finance, and government. It’s a really big deal that the New York Times has its first female executive editor–check out these takes on Jill Abramson’s appointment:

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ANNOUNCING She’s Doing It: 9 Ways Highlights You

Today I begin a new series on the 9 Ways Blog, “She’s Doing It.”

As I’ve traveled the country talking with people at bookstores and speaking events, and as I’ve heard from hundreds of you via social media and e-mail, I sense a movement on the rise.

This week’s woman who makes no excuses is Linda Brodsky M. D. because she’s Expediting the Inevitable.

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Friday Roundup: Splitting the World Open

In the newsletter I sent out this past week, I began with this quote from the late feminist poet, Muriel Rukeyser:

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.”

This week’s Roundup links to a selection of articles, each of which represents a way that women are using their “power to” by simply telling the truth, which is so often the most difficult thing of all. And we are seeing the world split open as these women challenge millennia of gender-based oppression rooted in sexual abuse, assault, harassment, and even verbal disparagement of women. Check them out and share your thoughts. I’m especially interested to know whether you feel as I do that despite the pain of seeing and knowing these horrific acts, the fact that they are coming out in the open–the truth-telling–is splitting the world open in ways that ultimately are positive.

Statement/petition from to unite people around the world in support of the alleged rape victim of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Sign on!

French feminists could care less that Strauss-Kahn is a fellow countryman, and are protesting his actions, loud enough for the entire world to hear. Please check out the great protest pictures in this Gotham article.

Join the Nobel Women’s Initiative today by going to the UN Action Stop Rape Now website and download the sample letter asking your elected official for increased action against sexual violence in conflict.

For more information on rape as a weapon of war, please read this great article by NYC writer Anna Louie Sussman.

The response of the Women’s Media Center and many feminists around the country to Ed Shultz and his sexist remarks is right on the money: men have no right to use sexist language to keep women in their place, regardless of their political affiliation.


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Friday Roundup: April Was Sexual Abuse Awareness Month but May Brings It Front and Center

I’ll get to Arnold Schwarzenegger later. For now it’s enough simply to observe that over the past few weeks, the world has been cracked open to reveal–and we hope come to revile–the sexual hubris that has enabled so many men to feel entitled to power over women’s bodies. I’ve made the “power over” versus “power to” distinction in No Excuses. What more direct way to rob women of their power to?

There are many kinds and facets of sexual abuse and assault. This week’s roundup is a sampling of recent news about some of those facets. Why do I feel hopeful? Because now there are names for this abuse of power. Because when you name it you can fight it. Because young women know it’s wrong and they aren’t going to take it any more. That’s what’s cracking the world open. It’s not just the way things are any more.

IMF Head Arrested for Sexual Assault: What Happened, What it Means.

Military Veteran Opens Up About 1970s Sexual Assault.

Rape isn’t a “sex scandal.”

Wear jeans for more than comfort.

Peace Corps-50 years, more than 1,000 rapes?

And let me end with a particularly heartwarming success story from Hollaback, an organization that fights street harassment around the world:

We’ve Got Your Back

Back to Arnold…Nah, I’d really rather think about Maria Shriver, his wife.

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Kate Swift Obit: The Language of Power and the Power of Language

Have you ever heard of Barbara Peabody Smith, who went by her nickname Kate? I hadn’t until I read her obituary last week. Her story is an inspiring reminder of how we can define our own terms. Defining terms by making language nonsexist changes everything–how people think and therefore how people act. Little wonder that this daughter of journalists understood the power of language. But what was groundbreaking about Smith’s life work is that she translated her understanding into the language of political power to secure gender equality laws in her home state.

Guest post by Rosalie Maggio reprinted with permission of the Women’s Media Center.

Award winning author and creator of WMC’s “Hot Button Words” series Rosalie Maggio recalls the journalist and activist who alerted the modern women’s movement to the dangers of sexist language.

Nonsexist-language pioneer Kate Swift, 87, died early Saturday morning after a brief encounter with abdominal cancer. Her generous legacy to the world includes her revolutionary influence on our language as well as her productive activism (she helped effect Connecticut’s marriage equality act, protect prochoice legislation, promote progressive candidates, protest the war on Iraq, and conserve the environment). She also leaves numerous admirers who all somehow numbered themselves among her closest and best friends.

Barbara Peabody Swift, always known as Kate, was born in 1923 to parents who were newspaper and magazine journalists, and she obtained her own journalism degree from the University of North Carolina in 1944. Thereafter, she worked as a newswriter, science writer for the Museum of Natural History, editor for the Army’s information and education department, public relations officer for the Girl Scouts of America, press liaison for the Hayden Planetarium, and, in 1965, director of the news bureau of the school of medicine at Yale.

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Graduation Round-up

Last week my husband and I had the parental gratification of cheering two daughters as they received Bachelor of Science in Nursing pins. The commencement speaker took as his theme their college’s tag line “Find your purpose.” It’s a lofty rhetorical exhortation and the newly minted nurses seemed inspired by it.

It also set me to thinking about the importance of taking the next step–after finding our purpose we must embrace our power to achieve it.

College graduates today are often most worried about very practical matters like whether they can find jobs of any kind, let along jobs that represent the fulfillment of their purpose. Fortunately, for that one graduation day, or at least for a few hours, they can immerse themselves in the joy of accomplishing something significant, and they can feel unlimited. My wish for them is to hold onto that feeling and actualize in their lives as they go forward.

My original title for the book that became No Excuses was in fact Unlimited. Because honestly I believe women are now–or can be–unlimited in every way. So this week’s roundup highlights commencement speeches that emphasize those messages. I’ll start with a few current and past here:

Megan Seely to Sierra College-2010

Gloria Steinmen to Smith College-2007

Ursula LeGuin to Mills College-1983

AAUW’s pick of best graduation speeches-2010

And since it’s still commencement week, would you please share below links to any speeches you hear–or hear of–that inspire you to be unlimited? I’ll add them to the post as they come in.

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“Power Unused, Power Useless” in Women’s Financial Choices, Says Jacki Zehner

Among the many impressive women I interviewed for No Excuses, Jacki Zehner stands out. The youngest woman and first female trader to become a partner at Goldman Sachs in 1996, Zehner is a founding partner of Circle Financial Group. She matches her business acumen and success with her strong commitment to philanthropy, including the Women’s Funding Network and Women Moving Millions groups that focus on women and girls.

But Jacki Zehner doesn’t stop with making and giving money; she’s on a mission to gain gender parity in the financial industry where women in leadership roles have traditionally been few, and to encourage women to invest their money in ways that help other women get a fair shake in the business world. We both spoke at the Women’s Funding Network conference in New York in April. I was honored when she subsequently quoted my belief that “power unused is power useless” in her blog.

I had a chance to talk with Zehner about her latest endeavors to advance women through financial power. Here’s what she had to say:

GF: Women have obviously always worked–whether at home or in the paid workforce, but our work has not always been valued accordingly. Now that we are 50% of the paid workforce, what are the most important one or two things women should do in your opinion to make sure their work is valued at the same financial level as men’s work, individually or collectively?

JZ: Though we are now over 50% of the workforce, we are still the vast majority in lower paid jobs without benefits and make on average only 80% of the male wage. Women at all economic levels have to become more active players to create a better collective financial future. How they can do that varies dramatically – from organizing locally to advocate for change, to funding organizations that fight for our rights in courts, to at the most senior level women CEOS and executives taking the lead in their organizations to finally, truly, drive for talented women to be represented in critical mass. (30%) We have power, we are just not fully using it. (No excuses…right Gloria??)

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Copyright 2010 Gloria Feldt