Skip navigation

Weekend Reading on Women's Representation April 21, 2017


Hello friends and allies,

The Federalist ran a fascinating blog by Patrick Fletchall titled "When Pushing Women's Advancement, Big Businesses Are Hypocrites" - the entire piece is very worth reading but here is a teaser:

To be clear, the issue isn’t that companies don’t make a priority of hiring women. Many companies like Bank of America, Target, and Moss Adams have initiatives specifically to hire and support women. Instead, the challenge is the trickle of women who have been able to break the ceiling into executive-level management.
Why is this important? As I’ve mentioned, I think these ad campaigns are great. They hit me right in the feels. But we shouldn’t kid ourselves that executive leadership in corporate business have all of a sudden decided to started seeing women’s intrinsic rather than profitable value. These ad campaigns represent consumer-product companies telling women what they think they want to hear, without changing their executive structure to practice what they preach.

The message is further complicated by the fact that it affirms certain life choices for women while ignoring the millions of women who choose to be the chief operating officer of their homes. Commercials are fine and awareness is nice, but until women have a seat at the table, these campaigns are a case of “Do as I say, not as I do.” By all means, dream big, princess—as long as you don’t dream of being an executive at Disney. If you do, you’re buying exactly what they’re selling.

BuzzFeed provides yet another reminder that women's under-representation has deep roots in many sectors by profiling women composers in the film industry - the reports that women made up only 3% of the composers in the top 250 films of 2016. While US News & World Report featured a piece about the low rates of women in the computer science industry in Oklahoma.

Continuing on this theme of women's equality in other sectors, the Harvard Crimson editorial board wrote a very strong piece critiquing wage and hiring disparities in athletics at Harvard:

Sadly, this wage gap is not the only barrier to gender equality in Harvard athletics: the head coaches for all men’s sports teams are male, while the head coaches for half of all women’s sports teams are also male. We call on the Athletics Department to investigate this lack of gender diversity so that Harvard can work towards more parity while maintaining high quality coaching.

We urge the University to re-evaluate the system by which coaches’ wages are determined so that the wage gap shrinks and the coaching staff better reflects an equal emphasis on men’s and women’s athletics. This is especially important when Harvard next looks to hire new staff. It is critical that the University re-commit to equality on all fronts—athletics cannot be an exception.

The Korea Herald reports that the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family in South Korea is planning on increasing women's representation in government and the public sector this year. I am impressed that South Korea has a Ministry of Gender Equality and am interested that they use the term 'ratio' instead of 'quota' to describe their goal - might Americans be open to the concept of a ratio - let's find out!
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said that the government will raise the ratio of female civil servants ranked at grade 4 or higher to 15 percent by the end of this year. The share of women in senior government posts above grade 4 had risen from 9.3 percent in 2012 to 13.5 percent last year. The nation's civil service system is comprised of nine grades, with grade 9 the lowest and grade 1 the highest.

In addition, the government will push up the ratio of women in various central government committees to 40 percent. Five years ago, the corresponding ratio stood at 25.7 percent.
The ministry said female members at 442 committees established under 42 central government agencies accounted for 37.8 percent as of the end of last year, though the current law stipulates a ratio of over 40 percent.

Brittany Bronson provides a response to the question we have all heard so many times "What Happens When Women Legislate?" in her piece this week in The New York Times. She notes:
The state legislature is a testimony to what many who study gender inequity in politics theorize to be true: Increased gender representation directly translates into better consideration of women in the drafting of law and policy.

Studies also show that although female politicians have a wide range of positions, they often are more compassionate, better at working across the aisle and more willing to compromise, qualities intricately bound in successful policymaking.

An increased presence of women in elected offices will not only advance gender equity, it will subsequently help men, because women lawmakers are proving to be, across all the issues — women’s or not — more productive lawmakers.

The Geena Davis Institute shared this article - 25 new films by female directors - that seems like something positive we can all share on our social media sites!

She Should Run shared this good piece about Karen Handel - the republican woman who has advanced to the runoff in the special election in Georgia while Dave Daley, FairVote's new senior communications fellow, has a great piece that explains why ranked choice voting would be a better way to run elections like this!

IGNITE launched a terrific new program Writing Our Rights that is a must-buy for every young (and old) person you know!
Hope you can plan an event on May 10th - even if it's just in your living room - to host a screening of the film 50/50 - signup here!

And finally, TIME magazine reports on one man's reaction to the 'fearless' girl statue that may be all you need to feel motivated to go back to work on Monday!

From my garden to yours - whatever form it may take,

Continue Reading

Read More