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Posts Tagged ‘Women’s Issues’

Hillary Clinton delivered the closing keynote speech to the Professional Business Women of California yesterday.  In her remarks, she stepped up to defend Congresswoman Maxine Waters, whom Bill O’Reilly had insulted, and journalist April Ryan, whom Sean Spicer insulted in yesterday’s press briefing.

Interesting that he said it’s a full five-day week of press briefings. This administration is briefing-shy.  The State Department is not offering daily briefings, either.

Full Remarks and Q & A here:

 

Transcript from Time.

Hello! Thank you, thank you all so much. It is great to be back in San Francisco, a place that has a big big spot in my heart and to be able to speak with all of you this afternoon.

Please be seated and you can jump up and down its been a wonderful but long day I hear.

I want to thank Anne not just for her kind introduction but for exemplifying the kind of creative entrepreneurial leadership that she has demonstrated and that so many of you are also part of. I want to thank Alexandr Roddy for her leadership and all she’s done and to make this event such a success.

I am thrilled to be out of the woods and in the company of so many inspiring women and there is no place I’d rather be than here with you other than the White House. (Cheers)

But lets remember what brought all of us here for the 28th convening of this event. Back in the 1980s my friend Congresswoman Jackie Speier started bringing together groups of women for networking and professional development, for support. Now that might not seem radical at all today but at the time it was pretty revolutionary and Jackie Speier herself exemplifies a life of commitment and service. She has to be in Congress for votes but lets show our appreciation for her visionary leadership with a round of applause she can hear all the way back in D.C.

Because just look at what you represent. The Professional Businesswomen of California is now the largest women’s organization in the state which probably means its the biggest in the country — I don’t know that but it seems reasonable to assume if you’re the biggest in California.

But your members are transforming the way we do things, the way we deliver healthcare. You’re running cities and Fortune 500 companies. You’re making Oscar-nominated films and leading in every industry from finance to fitness, empowering the next generation of women and girls and taking on some of the toughest problems that we face. That’s why I was thrilled that the theme for this year’s conference is “inclusion now” because that is spot on.

There’s never been a more important woman than the woman who stands up and says not just for herself but for everybody else, “we want diversity and inclusion in everything we do in our country.”

And in fact, its not only the right thing to do, its the smart thing. You understand this. These are not just buzzwords to throw around or boxes to check. The best way to solve problems is to bring together a wide range of people to crowdsource solutions. And guess what? Bringing different perspectives and experiences into professional offices brings not only fresh ideas but higher revenues. And I’ve been saying for a long time, as many of you have, that advancing the rights and opportunities of women and girls is the great unfinished business of the 21st century. (Cheers)

And some days, I admit, it seems like it may be even more unfinished than we hoped. Because while we women have made strides in education and careers, there’s still a woeful lack of women in the upper reaches of science and technology, business and education, not to mention politics and government. Women’s representation in the current administration in Washington, for example, is the lowest its been in a generation. But even in a state like California, that is ahead of the curve in so many ways, the number of women serving in the state legislature is at a twenty year low. And women in the private sector, particularly women of color, still struggle for representation in the c-suite and boardroom.

But I am here today to urge us not to grow tired, not to be discouraged and disappointed, not to throw up our hands because change isn’t happening fast enough. Or to even take a pass because we think we’ve done our part. We need more women at any table, on any conference call or email chain where decisions are made. And a big part of that is encouraging more women to run for office and pushing the private sector to do a lot better than it currently is.

But even that’s not enough. We can’t stop there. We need to reset the table so women are no longer required to accept or adapt to discrimination or sexism at work. We need to think beyond corporate boardrooms, beyond corridors of companies or elected bodies, beyond our own lives and experiences to lift up women of all incomes, experiences and backgrounds in every corner of our country. And a crucial part of solving these problems is recognizing that as important as it is, corporate feminism is no substitute for inclusive concrete solutions that improve life for women everywhere. Because as challenging as it is to climb the career ladder, its even harder for women at the margins unable to get on or stay on even the lowest rung. And for too many women, especially low-wage workers, basic things, like a livable wage or a predictable work schedules or affordable childcare are still way out of reach.

We know from decades of data that encouraging women’s full participation is both right and smart. This data comes not just from our own country but from across the world. When I was Secretary of State I made it part of my mission to try to educate governments that including women in the economy was not only good for them and their families but poverty went down and gross domestic product of the entire county went up. And companies with more women in upper management do achieve higher profits.

Yet we also know, many of us from our own lives, that women still face barriers that hold us back. I meet talented women everywhere I go who are squeezing every minute out of their 24 hour day. They love their jobs but they can’t escape the nagging feeling that its a lot harder than it should be to get ahead. I bet just about everyone in this room has had the experience of saying something in a meeting that gets ignored. Ten, twenty minutes later a man says the same thing and everyone thinks its genius. And I think we should pool our respective reactions so that you have right at your fingertips exactly what to say. Nice thought. Little slow on the uptake but good idea.

And where everyday sexism and structural barriers were once blatant, today they’re sometimes harder to spot but make no mistake, they’re still with us. Just look at all thats happened in the last few days to women that simply were doing their jobs. April Ryan, a respected journalist with unrivaled integrity, was doing her job just this afternoon in the White House press room when she was patronized and cut off trying to ask a question. One of your own California congresswoman, Maxine Waters, was taunted with a racist joke about her hair. Now too many women, especially women of color, have had a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride. But why should we have to? And any woman who thinks this couldn’t be directed at her is living in a dream world. (Applause)

I mean, its not like I didn’t know all the nasty things they were saying about me. Some of them were actually quite creative, ones I hadn’t heard before. But you just have to keep going. And even when sexism and exclusion are out in the open, its sometimes hard to believe they could possibly be deliberate. Recently, photos have been making the rounds on social media showing groups of men in Washington making decisions about women’s health. Decisions to rip away coverage for pregnancy and maternity care, or limit access to reproductive healthcare around the globe. We shake our heads and think, how could they not have invited any women to the table? Well, a provocative opinion piece in the New York Times this week argues that it may not be an oversight at all but an intentional signal: don’t worry, the men are in charge of everything.

My favorite sort of take on these pictures, maybe you saw it, was the one of dogs sitting around an oval table and the caption was discussing feline care, I liked that. But it is a cruel irony that stereotypes and bias run rampant even at companies that pride themselves as being forward thinking. More and more women have been sharing stories of their experiences in Silicon Valley. Stories of consistently being asked to take notes in meetings or get the coffee, of being undermined, interrupted and criticized in a way that never seems to happen to their male colleagues. Those may seem like small things, but over time they take a toll, don’t they?

And for some women, the hostility is even more direct, like the Uber engineer who spoke out about her experiences with sexual harassment and spurred the company to publicly admit to addressing this problem. It is disheartening to hear women at the highest level of their profession say things are no better for the young women beginning their careers today. Women hold just a quarter of computing jobs in the U.S. and that number has gone down instead of up. Women are hired at lower numbers in the tech industry and leave at more than twice the rate men do. And for women of color, the situation is even worse.

Beyond issues of bias and discrimination, the game is often still rigged against working women in major ways. What kind of message does it send the world that the United States is the advanced economy with no national paid family leave policy? And less than 15% of workers have access to paid family leave, and those benefits are concentrated among the highest-income workers. You know, it was actually a little better before people knew what was going on. I remember I was a young law partner when I was pregnant and that was a long time ago and my partners just didn’t want to talk about it. I’d walk down the hall, getting bigger and bigger, they’d turn their heads (laughter), and Chelsea came early.

You know, I kept raising the idea of well what kind of time off do I get? Well it never happened before, so nobody was talking about it. So Chelsea comes early, I have her late one night, next morning, early morning, my phone rings and its our managing partner. He doesn’t say congratulations. He doesn’t say hope you and the baby are fine, he says when are you coming back to work? I said, well I don’t know and just out of the air I said I don’t know, maybe four months. Well he had no idea, because he had never talked about it with anybody before. I said, you know, I can probably, you know, pick up some work and do some things in a couple months, but lets say 4 months. That was the beginning of our paid leave policy. (Cheers).

But then I was discouraged to read a recent survey that despite the progress in some industries, companies on the whole are actually offering less paid time off then they were a decade ago. And for too many companies that do offer family leave, it doesn’t apply to fathers or LGBT couples or adoptive parents, and thats kind of strange for people in California because you’ve had more than a decade of evidence that offering paid family leave doesn’t hurt business; in fact, it helps companies compete for top talent and to retain employees. The benefits outweigh the costs. So why is it that companies still aren’t doing all they can to support working parents? As a candidate for President, I put out a comprehensive plan, I don’t expect you to remember that, in fact there was a recent study showing none of my plans were really publicized or talked about, so that gives me something for speeches for at least a decade. (Applause).

Obviously the outcome of the election wasn’t the one I hoped for, worked for, but I will never stop speaking out for common sense benefits that allow mom and dads to stay on the job. After all, I think its fair to say no good idea has ever become a reality overnight. As our friends in startups know, it takes time and hard work. And I’m heartened by the fact that even as we struggle at the federal level, cities and states across the country are looking to California and a few other places to pass paid family leave.

There are a growing number of businesses in the country that are leading by examples. Companies from Salesforce to Gap are making real commitments to their employees by guaranteeing equal pay and paid family leave, respectively. And we’re seeing exciting initiatives across industries like the EDGE certification program, which was designed to help companies measure and hold themselves accountable for creating a more equal workplace. Google it, EDGE, and see what you can do to advocate for it within your own company.

The private sector can and must be an engine of change on these issues, especially in a place like Silicon Valley. Because when you’re on the cutting edge of how people work and learn you have both an opportunity and an obligation to institute workplace policies that help employees meet their responsibilities at home and on the job. And then leaders in other industries will take notice and try to match what you do. After all, you’re the people who figured out how to put computers in the palms of our hands and you have the tools and the creativity to take on big problems like implicit bias and make the case for those in elected office to follow suit.

So despite our stumbles and our setbacks, we’ve never been better positioned to take on this vital work. In fact, I don’t think our country has ever been better positioned to take on the challenges of the future. Where some see a dark vision of carnage, I see a light shining on creativity and opportunity. (Cheers)

Now, we saw that in real time the day after the inauguration when millions of women and men from all walks of life marched for women’s equality, visibility and inclusion. It was the biggest march in our country’s history and I delighted at every sign I saw quoting my 1995 speech that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.

Now, afterwards, there were plenty of people as you might expect, who wondeed whether that level of energy and enthusiasm could be sustained and whether it would make any difference. Well I am here to tell you. Last week we saw the first indication that the answer to both of those questions is yes. When Congress and the administration tried to jam through a bill that would have kicked 24 million people off their health insurance, defunded Planned Parenthood, jeopardize access to affordable birth control, deprive people with disabilities and the elderly and nursing homes of essential care, they were met with a wave of resistance. People who had never been active in politics told their stories at town hall meetings, flooded the congressional switchboard with calls speaking out for affordable health care. These were not only activists and advocates, they were people who had something to say and were determined to be heard. Yes, some were new to the fight and others, like Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi have been on the front lines for years. And when this disastrous bill failed it was a victory for all Americans. (Cheers)

But let me let you in on a little secret. The other side never quits. Sooner or later, they’ll try again. We will need to fight back twice as hard, not for the sake of politics but because these are bad policies that will hurt people and take our country in the wrong direction. You know, there’s a little mantra I’ve been repeating to myself lately, a little silly, the kind of thing that pops into your heads when you take a lot of long walks in the woods. But as I think about the outpouring of activism we’re seeing, despite all the noise and the nonsense, four words keep coming back to me: resist, insist, persist, enlist.

We need to resist actions that go against our values as Americans, whether that’s attacking immigrants and refugees, denying climate change or passing bogus laws that make it harder for people to vote in elections. We need to resist bias and bullying, we need to resist hate and fear. And we need to insist on putting people first, including by working together to make healthcare more affordable, to build on what works, to create better and more upwardly mobile education and employment ladders. To insist that we can do better. That’s who we are. We’re always pushing towards that more perfect union. And then we need to persist, as we saw so dramatically in the Senate when Mitch McConnell went after Senator Elizabeth Warren and said, nevertheless she persisted, in being told she could not read a letter from Coretta Scott King. So we need to persist to approach future challenges with the passion we’ve seen these last few months and then bring that to the voting booth in 2018. To tell yourself, to tell your friends and your colleagues, no matter how you vote, show up and vote for goodness sake. Be there. Make sure your voice and your vote count.

And we need to enlist, enlist in this effort, get in the arena. Now that can mean many things. Running for office, which I hope some of you will actively consider. Starting and running a business, which many of you have done and are doing. But a business that takes care of its employees. Mentoring and championing other women and girls, giving time to volunteer outside of work. Standing up and speaking out. There’s not just one way to do this, there are so many – there’s something for everybody here to become involved in. So sure, the last few months haven’t been exactly what I envisioned, although I do know what I’m still fighting for. I’m fighting for a fairer, big hearted, inclusive America. The unfinished business of the 21st century can’t wait any longer. Now is the time to demand the progress we want to see and to work together to make it real in our own lives, in our businesses, in our government, in our families, our country and the world. And I’ll be right there with you every step of the way. Thank you all very much.

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The morning after the inauguration of the least popular incoming president in modern history, millions boarded all manner of transportation to head to their nearest (or dearest) Women’s March. Many flew or took trains or buses to Washington, DC for the march there. Others went to cities near them.

The numbers are not in yet but there are estimates – almost all of which exceeded expectations.  Washington, DC expected 200,000. Estimates are that a half a million showed up. In New York City, the crowd was so large that for hours the march could not move appreciably for lack of space. The same thing happened in Chicago where organizers transformed the march into a rally – no space for people to march! Reports are that the same thing occurred in Los Angeles.

Portland ME police estimated this to be the largest demonstration they had ever encountered. Boston organizers think 150,000 attended there. People tweeted pictures of crowds in Denver, Nashville, Asheville, Atlanta, Sioux City, Phoenix, of a human chain across the Golden Gate Bridge. Across the nation they marched – in the rain in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and in the snow in Boise and Anchorage.

There were marches and demonstrations in all 50 states and on every continent, including Antarctica. Look at this map!
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Here are a few of my favorite images from the day starting with a sea of pink pussyhats in the nation’s capital.

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Paris put its message in lights.

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The Brits displayed their characteristic reserve. They had the best signs.

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My favorite Brit marched and spoke in New York and declared herself a New Yorker.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

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Helen Mirren posted “this is amazing!” (Instagram / @helenmirren

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A human traffic jam in Los Angeles.

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A human chain across the Golden Gate Bridge.

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In blinding snow in Anchorage.

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In Boise.

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Antarctica!

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Some awesome folks!

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They weren’t all Democrats!  Ana Navarro posted this selfie!womens_march-01-21-17-15

A note from a flight attendant who had to work to a passenger who was attending.

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The human traffic jam on NY’s 5th Avenue that lasted for hours.

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In Detroit.

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New York City.womens_march-01-21-17-19

This woman tweeted that she wasn’t ovary-acting.

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 How bad is it?
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One guy we know brought his best friend along for his first day as a private citizen.

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His predecessor tweeted her support.

Thanks for standing, speaking & marching for our values . Important as ever. I truly believe we’re always Stronger Together.

‘Hope Not Fear’ Indeed. And what a beautiful piece by Louisa Cannell. 👊👊🏻👊🏼👊🏽✨

I stand w/ Nora Harren, a 17-year from Boise, ID, & every person marching for our values today. Onward! ✊✊🏾✊🏽✨

There are many more wonderful images of the day here and here.

Here is a report on estimated numbers and the size and scope. These numbers are expected to be revised upwards.

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On the sidelines, this day, Donald Trump attended the National Prayer Breakfast and visited CIA HQ in Langley, VA to tell them what a yuge inauguration he had (it looked like a million – a million-and-a-half people to the guy who saw imaginary thousands in Jersey City celebrating the fall of the towers) and how spectacular the weather had been (it rained – George W. Bush struggled with a plastic poncho).  Later his Press Sec stormed into the White House press room to scold the media for telling the truth about the paltry attendance yesterday. He said this was the largest inauguration ever. Period. He took no questions and left in a huff.

The rest of the country and the free world was busy having a lovely Saturday all together.  No incidents, no arrests, and according to actress Ally Sheedy, a patrol officer told her how wonderful everyone looked.  Madonna dropped the F-bomb twice and they cheered. Everyone was included – babies in strollers and seniors in wheelchairs. It was a great day in history!

Oh! And THIS!

 

Crossposted at The Department of Homegirl Security.

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Hillary Clinton with her daughter Chelsea in 1984.Mike Stewart — Sygma via Getty Images

We’ve made progress, but have a ways to go.

When I was pregnant with my daughter Chelsea, I asked about the maternity leave policy at the law firm where I worked. I was surprised to find out that we didn’t have one. I soon learned why: No woman who worked in our office had ever come back to work full-time after having a baby.

Well, I wanted to come back. I loved what I did. And it was important to me to contribute to my family’s finances, especially now that we were having a baby.

Finally, as my due date approached, I decided to take matters into my own hands. When Chelsea was born, my employer agreed to grant me four months off to be home with her. I’d still earn an income, though it would be smaller; part of my income was determined by the fees I generated for the firm, which would fall to zero while I was on leave. That made sense to me. And it meant a lot that I could have that time with my new daughter, knowing that my job would be waiting for me when I came back.

These kinds of situations are commonplace today, with more women entering the workforce than ever before. Today, nearly half of all full-time employees are women. Through our contributions, talent, insights, and very presence, we’ve changed the workplace forever. There’s no going back to the days when women were fired for getting married or pregnant, or were excluded from entire professions. Thank goodness.

Bill and Hillary with their daughter Chelsea in 1980.Courtesy of Hillary for America

But let’s be real. We still have a long way to go. Our policies just haven’t kept up with the challenges women and families face today.

Too many women still aren’t paid fairly. On average, women earn 20% less than men do for full-time, year-round work. Women of color earn even less. And when a working mom or grandmother earns less than she deserves, she’s not the only one who pays the price. Her children or grandchildren — whoever’s counting on her salary — do, too.

Women also make up the majority of minimum-wage workers, which means they make as little as $14,500 a year for full-time work. That’s below the national poverty line. Many of those women are raising kids on that income. Raising the federal minimum wage would do a lot for those families.

Meanwhile, even though the number of women running companies, labs, universities, and philanthropies is growing, it’s still too small. So is the number of women serving in elected office. That means women aren’t always included in decision-making, and their needs and concerns aren’t always reflected in government policy or workplace norms.

And we’re making it too hard to balance work and family. That’s true for all parents, but especially mothers. Women are breadwinners in more households than ever, yet they still do the lion’s share of childcare.

Many are feeling the squeeze. I’ve had moms break down in tears as they describe the heartbreak of returning to work just a few days after delivering their baby, because they don’t have paid leave at their jobs. Staying with their child for a few months would mean losing too many paychecks, maybe even their job.

In April, I met a mom in Newton, Iowa, who held her four-and-a-half-month-old in her arms. She said to me, “I’m counting on you to know what it’s like to be a working mother. Please help us working mothers and fathers have more time with our babies.”

I’m not going to let her down.

One thing we can do is invest in affordable childcare. Right now, childcare is more expensive than college tuition in many states. Let’s make sure no family has to spend more than 10% of their income on childcare by making historic investments in childcare assistance and providing tax relief to working families.

Let’s finally join every other advanced economy in the world and guarantee paid leave. I’m proposing 12 weeks of paid medical leave to recover from a serious illness, and 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for a new child or a sick relative. After all, moms and dads both deserve to spend time with their babies.

Let’s encourage employers to adopt family-friendly work policies, like flexible and fair scheduling and tele-work, so parents can both work and be there for their families.

Let’s raise the minimum wage. No one who works full-time should be forced to raise their kids in poverty.

And at long last, let’s finally ensure equal pay for women. It’s time for Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act — which I cosponsored when I was in the Senate — to give women the tools they need to fight discrimination in the workforce. We also need to promote pay transparency so that women have the information they need to negotiate fairly for their wages.

These aren’t just women’s issues. They’re economic issues and family issues. And they need to be a top priority for our next president. If we’re going to build a globally competitive workforce, we can’t afford to leave any talent on the sidelines. We can’t keep short-changing working families.

I’ll never forget what it was like to be a mom at work. It wasn’t easy. And I was lucky: I had financial security, a supportive employer, and affordable childcare. Too many families don’t. I’ve met so many parents stuck in impossible situations, at their wits’ ends trying to make it all work. It just shouldn’t be this hard to work and have a family.

As president, it’ll be my mission to bring our economy and workplaces into the 21st century, so all of our contributions are respected — both women’s and men’s — and families can thrive.

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee for president and a former secretary of state.

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Hillary Clinton’s Full Statement on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt:

The Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is a victory for women across America. By striking down politically motivated restrictions that made it nearly impossible for Texans to exercise their full reproductive rights, the Court upheld every woman’s right to safe, legal abortion, no matter where she lives.I applaud everyone who flooded the Texas Capitol to speak out against these attacks on women’s health, the brave women and men across the country who shared their stories, and the health care providers who fought for their patients and refused to give up.

Our fight is far from over. In Texas and across the country, a woman’s constitutional right to make her own health decisions is  under attack. In the first three months of 2016, states introduced more than 400 measures restricting access to abortion. We’ve seen a concerted, persistent attack on women’s health and rights at the federal level. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has said women should be punished for having abortions.  He also pledged to defund Planned Parenthood and appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Today’s decision is a reminder of how much is at stake in this election. We need a President who will defend women’s health and rights and appoint Supreme Court justices who recognize Roe v. Wade as settled law. We must continue to protect access to safe and legal abortion – not just on paper, but in reality.

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This must read  is addressed to her Wellesley sisters by a Wellesley grad, but I see it as having a broader scope. Here is why.

Although I appreciated all of the work that my predecessors had done for me and my generation of women, I did not fully comprehend the extent of what they had gone through in order to lift me up onto their shoulders so that I might see further and reach higher than they were ever permitted. I also did not appreciate how incredibly dangerous it is for women to live in a world where sexism is alive and well, but people believe it to be dead. When people believe sexism to be dead, they become less vigilant about losing all of the gains we have made towards equality. When people believe sexism to be dead, women who are victims are made out to be liars. When people believe sexism to be dead just because it has become more subtle, women, like myself in those taxi rides, become silenced.

Esther Jang has authored a persuasive essay that Hillary supporters may find useful in speaking to women of any age, but especially the young,  who are either Bernie supporters or are fence sitters  – the “I-don’t-know girls.”  No matter who we are or how old, we all stand on shoulders of giants.

For women in particular, as we are about to embark on Women’s History Month, a visit to the struggles of the past is more than useful and instructive.  It is essential.  As Esther Jang points out, there is deadly danger in the assumption that the work is  complete.

One issue, recently, that highlights the urgency of a Hillary vote: Zika.  When the Pope says OK to birth control, you have to know that we are dealing with a crisis of potentially monumental proportions.

In case you missed it last night, this.

Add Zika to the equation.  News flash to young women:  It is not your moms, aunts, and grandmas whose future is threatened by this crisis.  It is yours.

One candidate has fought all of her adult life for women’s rights.  One candidate is experienced, qualified, and equipped to deal with this crisis as it grows.

Nothing is a done deal. The struggle remains.  Esther Jang provides reasons to be on the right side – no matter whether or where you studied, hope to study, or what you do or plan to do.  Please read this and share it widely – broadly, even!

 

When standing on shoulders of giants, please consider…

Dear Wellesley sisters,

A few weeks ago, I got into a taxi and started chatting with my driver about politics. He asked me who I would be voting for, and when I replied, “Hillary,” his immediate reaction was, “Is it just because she’s a woman?” I wanted to say to him, “Are you supporting ____ just because you both have dicks?” but I refrained and continued my ride in silence.

A few weeks before that, I got into a taxi and my driver asked me what I did. When I told him that I worked for Venmo, his immediate reaction was, “You do UX or Design, right?” I wanted to say to him, “No. Also, our Head of Engineering is a woman,” but again, I refrained and continued my ride in silence.

Now that I have lived a handful of years outside of Wellesley, I find myself being silenced by the sheer exhaustion of having to deal with this type of subtle sexism every day.

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Saying “some woman some day”  is a cop out.  There has never in our history been a candidate like this one.  This woman. NOW!

Parenthetically: (Let’s dispense with the notion that propaganda is, by definition, false and/or negative. There are many models of propaganda and a long history. The epistemic model assigns no positive/negative valences.  This post, by the epistemic definition, is propaganda.  It is intended to persuade.)

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Please join Hillary in helping the Flint Child Health & Development Fund if you can >>>>

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It is the media.  It is not the mainstream media, and it is not some post-hip sobriquet like the lamestream media which, face it, along with Repugnican, wingnut, Freeper, Faux News, and a host of other tired old terms has passed its hour to be purged from the language.  It is the media’s job to report.  As citizens, our job is to communicate among ourselves on what and how they report, which is another reason to avoid slangy terms.  There is nothing hip or particularly communicative about acting like teens speaking in adult-proof code.

Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message.”  All of the media, these days, seem to be sending one message which, so far, only theSkimm has actually articulated.

 

theSkimm makes it easier to be smarter.

We’re the daily e-mail newsletter that gives you everything you need to start your day. We do the reading for you – across subject lines and party lines – and break it down with fresh editorial content.

We read. You Skimm.

The idea is arguable, no laughable, that consuming what has been read and broken down for you makes you smarter.  At least theSkimm comes out and says it has put your veggies in a KitchenAid with apples, pears, and high fructose corn syrup.  All of the media do it, and it is a little like reading Lamb’s Tales but not as elegant or as much fun.  At its worst, it leaves huge information gaps that abound among the electorate and presents an exercise in frustration for those who prefer their asparagus and brussels sprouts whole and unadulterated.

There was a time, in the early days of this blog,  so,  not that distant in the past, when I could go to media sources and find an entire interview to post.  Today, a mere seven plus years into this work, all I can find are media bytes.  Little 1.5 – 3.5 minute spoonsful.  As theSkimm unabashedly tells you,  it is all cut up and pre-chewed for you – like baby food.  Unfortunately, they are the only ones telling you that,  leaving the impression that you are getting the whole story from other sources, but that is not the case.  Most of what you find today is Gerber’s in another guise, and it no longer seems to matter whence the source – there no longer is a mainstream.  The media has achieved true social, if not economic, democracy.

When I posted, two days ago, about Fareed Zakaria’s stroke of genius in dividing his interview with Helen Mirren in two and asking her how she would portray Hillary Clinton, I gave credit where it was not due.  That was not Fareed’s fault entirely, although he did supply the mini-clip of the conversation.  Throughout yesterday, additional stories about Dame Helen’s remarks arose, and I added one of those to that post.  Nothing I read or posted prepared me for the whole, real story.  Nothing rectified my initial misconception.

Who, then, had the brainstorm and should have received the credit?  It was not the interviewer.  It was Dame Helen herself who brought up the subject of Hillary Clinton, along with her own appetite to play that role should a script appear.   She did insert a disclaimer that there was some self-interest,  but that was not really why the subject came up.  The topic was roles for women on stage and screen.

Dame Helen has long been an advocate for broader, deeper, more complex longitudinal portrayals of women in drama.  In an age when sustainability is a buzzword and even, somehow, an area of academic pursuit, female actors have less sustainable careers than their male counterparts, and, as Mirren points out, ever has it been so.  The Bard did not provide much in the way of roles for mature women which is why Mirren portrayed Prospero as Prospera in Julie Taymor’s fantastic production of The Tempest.  It is a matter of taking on and refitting the male roles for the mature woman.  She stopped short of suggesting she would ever play Lear.  Here is how Hillary and 2016 actually entered the conversation.

ZAKARIA: Over the span of a 50-year career in acting, Helen Mirren has done a lot of things. She has done everything from high Shakespearian theater to the scandalous 70s film of “Caligula,” played everything from a queen to a Mossad agent, and won everything from an Oscar to a Tony to an Emmy. But the one thing she has never played is a Bond girl. Is she bitter? Not Dame Helen.

ZAKARIA: You said we’ve all sat and watched as James Bond has become more and more geriatric. While his girlfriends —

HELEN MIRREN, ACTRESS: Get younger and younger. That was the case for a while, wasn’t it? I mean, it was like embarrassing. I thought it was ridiculous.

ZAKARIA: But do you think it’s — is it a big problem in Hollywood that men get cast for roles well into their 60s and 70s, and for women it’s more of a struggle?

MIRREN: It is more of a struggle. But even Shakespeare did that to us, you know. As you get older, even the Shakespeare roles become — that’s why we have to start stealing the men’s roles, you know. Doing like I did “The Tempest,” Prospero. And it’s great that a lot of women are, you know, doing Hamlet, doing “Henry V.” I’m a sure there will be a female Othello soon. And I love that. I think it’s absolutely great. Because, why not.

Video >>>>

But it’s changing. I’ve always said, don’t worry about roles in drama — well, do — moan and complain, and I do. But really spend your energies on changing roles for women in real life, because, as night follows day, as the roles for women in real life change, they will change in drama. And I really hope that we’re going to see a female president in the next — when are the elections?

ZAKARIA: 2016.

MIRREN: 2016. Oh, not till then. A while. Oh, next year! So I hope we see a female president next year. That would be absolutely fantastic, and that would make a huge difference to the understanding of what women can be.

ZAKARIA: Do you think you could pull off the accent for Hillary Clinton?

MIRREN: She would be a wonderful person to play. Somewhere down the line, someone will do a story. Because she has had — well, it was an extraordinary trajectory, and the brilliance, brilliance at handling her world.

helen-mirren-honored-hollywood-walk-of-fame-03And what unbelievable challenges she’s had over the years.

ZAKARIA: If you were to compare the two, the queen and Hillary, what is the defining character of Hillary Clinton that you, as somebody playing her, imagine to be playing her, what would you be trying to capture?

Video >>>>

MIRREN: That’s a very interesting question. I mean, the enormous intelligence, the brain that I think is very, very, very fast-moving. And I think the incredible tenacity. The queen of — Elizabeth Windsor, I call her, is — it’s a different — hers is I just — put my head down, I do what I’m supposed to do, I do it as well as I can, and I don’t argue, and I don’t complain, and I just do it. Hillary is much fiercer than that. It’s, you know, she is a lioness of a kind. A lioness. And the — Elizabeth Windsor is not, you know. I don’t know what animal she is. I’ll have to think about that one.

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No run up to this interview prepared me for Dame Helen being the one who brought up Hillary and the election.  Everything that was out there – and ended up in the earlier post – led me to think it all Fareed’s idea.  These two videos are all that CNN offers.  Not the entire interview.  Only these.  Important content has been skipped,

The real story was much deeper than an interviewer with a campaign cycle agenda.  It was a woman  with a much bigger agenda, changing the roles of women in the world.

Why did I not know that this was Helen’s subject to raise?  Because of the piecemeal nature of reportage.  The story was cherry-picked for me by the host and by those who wrote about the interview in advance having seen it in advance.  This was not at all about a smart anchor raising a brilliant question, as the promos had me believe.  It was about a brilliant female leader perceiving the value of expanding the roles of women in general and, as an example and role model, promoting one brilliant woman in particular.

Why was that not the message we all received as we looked forward to this interview?  Because the media adulterated it, masticated and strained it for our consumption, just like baby food, and all the good stuff stayed in the strainer and went into the compost bin.

This was less about Helen Mirren wanting a role and therefore wanting Hillary Clinton to ascend to that role than it was about Helen Mirren wanting to boost all women and recognizing Hillary’s ascendancy for its value in that social revolution.

Maybe the fault in the previews had something to do with men having provided all the promotional reports I saw about this interview. Not that they necessarily meant to, but they edited out those crucial first words on the subject.  Men are used to Hillary being brilliant and fierce and many men support her.  Is it possible that, to more men than I would hope, this was somehow scary?  “Spend your energies on changing roles for women in real life.”   Why was that part of the story excised?

Thank you, Dame Helen Mirren for your wise advice.  You are one of the most brilliant people around, and I cannot imagine two better role models and leaders for women than you and Hillary Clinton.

We women, especially,  should be wary.  When we see clips of Hillary, we miss some of the context.  That original clip of Helen lacked important context.  So much of the time all we see, and all I can find, are the little pre-digested bytes, bits,  and pieces.  I have always tried to find full transcripts and videos of Hillary’s speeches and remarks, but even at her campaign site they are few and far between.  All the information comes in memes, clips, and shorthand.  If the medium is the message, as McLuhan said,  we are all being shortchanged.

APB, Media!!!   We do not really need you to do the hunting for us. Lionesses come in prides!  We hunt.  We have teeth!  We can rip the meat off the bone and chew it for ourselves.

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Christine Quinn comes from a very personal place to explain in language anyone can understand, without a lot of frills,  Hillary’s evolution on marriage equality.

Christine Quinn on Hillary Clinton & Marriage Equality

Christine Quinn

Clinton has come to understand same-sex marriages the same way most Americans have evolved regarding the reality that everyone deserves marriage equality

Today, we have a woman running for President of the United States who fully supports marriage equality. She is also likely to be the only nominee running for president that does. That is something all Americans should be thrilled about. Her position is clear and rock solid, and they way she came to that conclusion is the same way most people do, including some of my own family members. Like most Americans, her position is one that evolved and developed from personal interactions with LGBT Americans and their families, and through a long and deep soul searching. I know a little bit about this process: It’s how my father came to support my right to marry and then eventually walk me down the aisle when I married my wife.

Read more >>>>

The media likes to present the process of coming to new terms on old issues as flip-flopping.  It is not.   I saw my own father, who was employed by the defense industry, evolve on the Viet Nam War.   Quinn describes the process perfectly.  It is deeply personal, and while there often is a material or concrete side to the question there is usually a profoundly spiritual or abstract personal one as well.

Don’t we want leaders who reflect on important issues that affect people’s lives?  While some in the media preoccupy themselves with some calendar where they tick off days since Hillary Clinton has responded to a question from the press, Hillary Clinton is on the road listening to Americans – to our concerns, our aspirations,  our perceptions,  and our positions.  She will respond to the noisy media who pretend to be the voice of the people in due time after she has spent some time listening to us and reflecting upon what she has heard.

05-14-14-TW-03

Evolving is not flip-flopping.  It is a process.  Where do you stand?  How do you feel?  What is your position?

  • On marriage equality?
  • On pay equality?
  • On arms and ammunition control?
  • On capital punishment?
  • On the role of women in civil society?
    • In business?
    • In government?
    • In making their own health decisions?
  • On hundreds of other issues and questions….

Have these positions remained stable for you or have they changed over time?  Most of us have probably gone through some changes.  Why should Hillary Clinton be any different?  Would you even want a leader who neither listens nor reflects?

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