The UN Commission on the Status of Women has New York hopping with powerful and, yes, ambitious female leaders from around the world this week. Each is making women’s history in her own way.
Today, I share just a few images of events I’m attending.
Are you attending? If so, please share your impressions.
Television anchor and entrepreneur Joya Dass and I celebrated the launch of IMPACT 21 Leadership with its founder Janet Salazar. Joy and I both participated in a lively panel discussion of women’s emerging power globally and locally.
“Making women visible and powerful in the media,” the mission of the nonprofit New york and D.C. based Women’s Media Center http://www.womensmediacenter.com/, was on full display Monday night June 4. The evening’s centerpiece was the premiere of “Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding,” starring the incomparable Jane Fonda as a marijuana-growing and selling, tie-dye-wearing, sexuality-embracing, moon-howling grandmother who never left the 1960’s.
Catherine Engh is a feminist and an aspiring writer particularly interested in the ways that girls and women are represented in fiction and television. She wrote this piece for 9 Ways–it’s a great example of No Excuses Power Tool # 8: Employ Every Medium. Plus there are some useful tips on how to be a media activist.
Catherine also likes to do as much yoga as is possible–perhaps she’ll write about that next.
Why Television Needs more Leslie Knopes
Recently, I couldn’t help but notice that many of my favorite television shows are about men. Don Draper, Nucky Thompson, Walter White, Hank Moody and Vincent Chase are just a few male lead roles that come to mind.
It is not news that stories about the identity struggles of white men sell. Thus, they are more commonly aired than shows that explore women’s lives and choices. Though women are more likely to watch entertainment programming than men, the majority of those involved with television creation are male. Women’s Media Center reported that in the 2010-2011 year,
Honoree and CBS News Chief Foreign Corespondent Lara Logan talks courageously about being assaulted in Tehrir Square with WMC’s founding president Carol Jenkins.
“Employ very medium” is No Excuses Power Tool #8, and the honorees of the Women’s Media Center first ever Media Awards gala fundraising event November 30 lead the way. I’ll post the video that event chair and filmmaker extraordinaire Donna Deitch created for the event when it’s available, so please check back for it. Meanwhile, here is Marianne Schnall’s first hand report about the evening, originally posted here on the WMC blog.
I’m proud to serve on the board of an organization that is tackling one of the most important issues of the day with the big vision of making women visible and powerful in the media.
Check out the WMC’s Facebook album if you’d like to see more pictures from the Media Awards, including Arianna Huffington, Sheryl Sandberg, Business Media Award Recipient Maggie Wilderotter, Carol Jenkins Young Journalist Award Recipient Yanique Richards, and many others!
Yesterday afternoon I went to the Women’s Media Center office in New York to do a short video interview about the future of feminism. This set me to thinking once again about how much unused power women have in our hands, as I continue my search for the practical power tools and tips that can help us get past our resistance to power…
“Men, their rights and nothing more; women their rights and nothing less.” ~ Susan B. Anthony, 19th Century Women’s Rights and Suffrage Leader
In celebration and in reflection of Women’s Equality Day, this week’s Round Up collects some wonderful reading about it. Not only about the time when women achieved the right to vote via the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on August 26th, 1920 but also frank and honest discussions about where women are today in this journey and about the work ahead. Here’s a great timeline from the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership, headed until her untimely death last week by my friend and dedicated leader for women’s equality, Nora Bredes.
Panel at the University of Rochester’s Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership. With Susan B. and Elizabeth Cady Stanton pictured in the background, and the late Nora Bredes at the podium moderating panelists Jennifer Lawless (Director of the American University Women and Politics Institute), Allida Black (Founder of the Eleanor Roosevelt Project) and me (in my Susan B Anthony costume–she always wore black with a red scarf) in October, 2010.
The invitation to today’s Phoenix-Scottsdale National Organization for Women (NOW) “Equality Day Feminist Convergence” depicts a quaint sepia photo of suffragists picketing the White House. It telegraphs “old.” After all, the event celebrates the 91st anniversary of the date in 1920 when women’s right to vote entered the U.S. Constitution.
But, remember, in the decades at the beginning of the 20th century those purple and white sashes and those picket signs wielded by (purposefully) demurely dressed women were new media in action.
Fittingly, attendees at the Arizona event will have a contemporary victory to celebrate, one involving media activism squarely in the suffragist tradition. But this one is powered by e-mail and concerns itself with very modern day attire. Tight jeans to be exact…
The Caucus started giving “Good Guys” awards back in 1971 as a way of recognizing and encouraging the then-rare men who joined in efforts to get women elected and appointed to political positions. Later, the great feminist and late Congresswoman Bella Abzug (D-NY) created an award to memorialize her supportive spouse, Martin–the Martin Abzug Supportive Spouse Award. I’m proud to say that my husband Alex Barbanell received this award a decade ago. In his acceptance speech, he revealed that he is my chief cook, bottle washer, and sex slave…
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.
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.
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.
The Women’s Media Center Board and special guests. From left to right: Jodi Evans, Jewelle Bickford, Jane Fonda, Gabourey Sidibe, Julie Burton, me, Carol Jenkins, Robin Morgan, Marlo Thomas, Gloria Steinem, Jamia Wilson, Michaela Monaha.
Before she began her remarks at the podium, Jane Fonda pointed her digital camera at the 500 women and a few men packing the Paley Center auditorium on April 20th. We’d all paid somewhere between $50 and $5,000 to see D. A. Pennebaker’s 50-year old documentaryJane.
The film tracks Jane’s dismal flop in her first Broadway play at age 23. Afterward, we were to hear the actress discuss women’s self image with Preciousstar Gabourey Sidibe in a panel moderated by feminist star Gloria Steinem.
But first, Jane’s blog had to be fed, so she snapped her photo. She does her own blogging and a good bit of her own tweeting, and those social media are always hungry for content. I could relate. After posting at least daily during Women’s History Month, I have not been feeding my 9Ways blog properly. Today I begin anew with a promise to post at least twice a week so we can keep the conversation about women’s relationship with power that was started with the launch of No Excusesgoing.
But back to the evening’s program…Widely divergent in age and race, Jane and Gabourey found their key differences to be in their relationship with power, the locus of their power (inside versus looking outward for affirmation), and their concern about body image. Most notably, Gabby expressed love for herself whereas Jane still obsesses about her weight and appearance.
As Jane reported in her blog afterward: “Gabby was really amazing. I wish I had recorded some of the things she said. So wise and strong.”
The screening and panel discussion were a benefit for the Women’s Media Center, a nonprofit dedicated to making women visible and powerful in the media. Women currently make up only 16 percent of the expert “talking heads” on news and public affairs shows, and 3 percent of the top level positions that decide what the stories will be. I’m honored to serve on the WMC board to support women employing every medium to get their messages out and change those dismal statistics to 50/50.
What stories about women do you see in the media you watch or read?
How has the prevailing media narrative affected your self-image and sense of power?
I’m interested in your thoughts. Please share them here.
Wednesday, Oct. 2-Nov. 13, 2013Gloria will teach a 6-week online course "9 Practical Leadership Power Tools to Advance Your Career".This is a Take The Lead event in partnership with Arizona State University Online. Participants will receive a certificate to enhance their resumes along with practical skills and understanding of power dynamics in the workplace. Don't miss this opportunity and register today!