Posted by: cmwever | April 17, 2020

Demanding Equal Pay = AntiFeminist??

I came across these two videos after talking to a friend of mine about this class:

https://youtu.be/hsIpQ7YguGE 

(please watch – they’re only 5 min each!)

The first the video is Mitlon Friedman talking about why demanding equal pay is actually anti-feminist. Friedman was an American economist and won the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize for his work. In this video clip, Friedman explains that if there are sexist employers, the only leverage women and minorities have in this situation is to cost less. If employers want to continue their act of discrimmination in the hiring process, they will have to eat the cost of hiring only/more men because men cost more. Once this consequence of only/mostly hiring men is taken away, there is no longer an incentive to hire women or minorities. Friedman explains that this does not mean the pay inequality should stay, but the way to start the natural process of equal pay – the way to get your foot in the door, would be to accept a lower salary. Again, this perspective is coming from the economist, so this is purely from the view of cost. 

Friedman continues to say that once a woman/minority has been hired (with a lower salary than a male counterpart), they can gain skills and knowledge, which leads to more productivity, and a higher income.

The video then talks about the wage gap itself. Is it sexist? Christina Hoff Sommers, an author and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Prager University. In this video, she breaks down how the 77-cents-to-the-dollar calculation for the wage gap is not accurate. Then, referencing scholarly articles and research, shows that the gap is truly only a difference of about 7-cents, or 93-cen. Why there is still a wage gap is uncertain, but these numbers are significantly smaller than what is generally assumed. 

Do you agree with Friedman’s claim that wanting equal pay hurts women, more than helps? Why or why not?

After watching Sommer’s video, do you think the wage gap is sexist? What did you think the wage gap was before watching this video?

What factors do you conjecture contribute to the calculated 7-cent gap?

How do you view the wage gap? How do you think it should be fixed? Should it be fixed or should we be taking the Friedman route?

Posted by: justineswalton | April 16, 2020

Women vs. Women

We’ve discussed before the importance of women leaders helping and lifting up other women leaders and being a strong force of support. We’ve also noted this does not always happen.  I personally wanted to do more research on why so often women are pitted against one another and feel they need to compete with each other on top of competing against a male-favoring society. To understand this topic more, I read through a Forbes article written by Dr. Shawn Andrews that was published this past January.  She explains some reasons behind why this happens and put names to phenomenons I didn’t realize I knew about.

First, she talked about the “power dead-even rule”. I had never heard this term before, but it explains something that I have seen and felt happen in real life. This is basically an invisible law for female “culture” that asserts the self-esteem and power of two women in a relationship must be dead-even.  It is a power-balance that both women must perceive the other woman to be on equal footing with their individual power. This is a subconscious rule that women are conditioned to adhere to. When the power of balance is shifted, say one woman gets promoted, the two will have behaviors driven to ostracize the other.  The woman who is seen to have “less” power may gossip about the other one to keep the dead-even power balance. This explains why some women find it difficult to support other women. Personally, I think about pressure I have felt in the past to feel ill towards other women who seemed to tip the power-balance of this invisible rule. I remember hearing phrases growing up that a girl would only be mean to you and start rumors about you because “she’s jealous of your confidence”. Maybe this thing I heard when I was little was actually referring to this “power dead-even rule” without knowing it.

Andrews explains a few other reasons why women don’t support other women in her article that I encourage you all to read, but they are pretty much in line with things we have talked about before in class or have gathered from our readings.  At the end of her article, Andrews concluded on a positive note that these sentiments are changing and more and more women are understanding the importance of helping other women and taking it on as part of their duty. She notes that women of younger generations are more inclined to help one another instead of belittle and compete with one another, which I found a hopeful take-away.  

I am curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on this issue of women not supporting women.  Do you feel this is accurate based on your experiences? How does society condition women to follow the “power dead-even rule”?  Do you feel that women from older generations are less likely to help other women or younger generations based on personal experience and research?  How can we come together to support one another as women instead of letting a male-favoring society pit us against one another? 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2020/01/21/why-women-dont-always-support-other-women/#16f4611f3b05

Posted by: danashaw16 | April 16, 2020

Avoiding the Glass Cliff in Tech

There is a very large gap between men and women in the technology industry.  Women make up 47% of all employed adults in the United States, but in 2015, only 25% held computing positions.  Of that 25% only 5% are Asian, 3% African American, and 1% Hispanic.  This seems to be one of the largest gender and race gap that we have seen this semester.  The number of women receiving degrees in computer science is actually declining.  In 2016, only 19% of women earned bachelor’s degrees in computer science, compared to 27% in 1997.  Once women do receive jobs in this field, 20% said that their gender made it harder for them to succeed because of the male dominated workplace.  However, I came across an article about a very successful female CEO.

Lisa Su, became Advanced Micro Devices’ (AMD) first female CEO in 2014.  The company is was founded in 1969, meaning that it took them 45 years to hire a female CEO.  When she took the position of CEO, AMD was at an all time low.  They were losing billions of dollars and had cut 15% of their workforce.  Analysts were pronouncing AMD “uninvestable.”  However, Su was not afraid of the challenge, and began to slowly change how the company was run.  When she started, HR and the communications team wanted to put together a mission, vision, and value statement.  However, Su knew that would take months and the company couldn’t afford to wait.  Instead she outlined three objectives for the company, “To build great products, deepen customer relationships, and simplify everything we do.”  The simple message stuck with the employees more than a 10-point value statement would have. 

Su credits her leadership style to her management training programs and her mother, an entrepreneur.  Lisa started by managing smaller teams, and now oversees a large, global organization.  She emphasized the importance of communication, and everyone working towards the same goal.  She has an “open-door policy” where anyone in the company can message her to ask questions or address concerns.  She receives insight from lower levels, on what is working for the company and what is not.  Su also stated, “One of the most important things for a CEO is not to get insulated.”  She knows she needs to talk to her staff, interact with customers, and read reviews on AMD’s products.  She also believes in a culture of learning.  She motivates her staff by using the 5% rule or becoming a little better each time.  She stated that asking for 50% feels like asking for the impossible, which in turn would lead to less productivity and low morale.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90229663/how-amds-ceo-lisa-su-managed-to-turn-the-tech-company-around

https://www.cio.com/article/3516012/women-in-tech-statistics-the-hard-truths-of-an-uphill-battle.html

Some questions to ponder:

What do you think of Su’s journey to the CEO position?  How would you categorize her leadership style?  Do you think the company could have been turned around by a man, or was a woman what the company needed? Why?  How do you think her actions differ from the way a man would have run things? How do you think Su avoided being “thrown off the glass cliff?”

Posted by: mackenzienowak | April 9, 2020

Soaring Towards Equality?

I was on LinkedIn the other day and I came across a post that was commending a company that offers full scholarships to women that want to become pilots. I don’t know why I was so shocked by this, but I was. Subconsciously I think I was amazed that there had to be scholarships to encourage women to want to become pilots. Then I started to think, when have I ever come across someone that encouraged me to become a pilot? When was I ever asked if I wanted to be anything other than a nurse or teacher when I was a little girl?

After seeing this post, I began researching similar programs. There are many companies that offer scholarships to women who want to become pilots. While it doesn’t necessarily mean they offer many scholarships, they are still offering something. Additionally, I noticed a post online from Southwest in which many of their female employees were pictured in a video. Not only were the women stewardesses, they were officers! The fact that I am twenty years old and amazed by this was pretty cool. Not only did they employ women in these amazing jobs, here they were taking the time to commend them for their work.

One company, CAE, had an entire section of their website dedicated to “encouraging women to pursue their dreams as professional pilots.” This company really stood out to me because of the different programs, as well as scholarships they offered. Among the programs included mentoring, lists of participating airlines and cadet training programs.

What do you think of programs like this that encourage women to enter traditionally masculine fields? How do you feel about the scholarships offered to women? Are there enough? Did you have a similar reaction to these programs?

https://www.cae.com/civil-aviation/become-a-pilot/our-pilot-training-programmes/cae-women-in-flight-scholarship-program/

Regardless of what your opinion of Kim Kardashian is, or her true reasons as to why she chose to study law (good press, etc), it is easy to agree that the work she is doing is pretty amazing. So far, Kim has helped to release 17 people from prison, some wrongfully convicted, others sentenced to extreme and outrageous sentences. Originally, I wanted to focus my blog post around her journey from being one of the most famous business women/entrepreneurs, to becoming a lawyer. However, after searching “Kim Kardashian Lawyer” into Google, I found something more engaging. The first hit of this search told the story of the woman behind Kim’s new career. I felt that it was important to highlight her and focus on a female leader who may not get as much attention. 

Jessica Jackson Sloan is the legal “superwoman” who is teaching Kim Kardashian the ropes. This all began when Kim spent over a year campaigning for criminal justice reform, after outrage sparked over Alice Marie Johnson, who was serving a life sentence for a first-time, non violent crime. Johnson was pardoned a month after Kim met with president Trump, thus sparking her passion for justice. She decided to sign up for a four-year apprenticeship under Jackson Sloan’s guidance. 

Sloan is an avid campaigner for criminal justice reform, and has worked closely with the Trump administration towards prison reform and clemency. She even founded a bipartisan initiative towards fixing the mass incarceration problem in the United States. Since pairing with Kim, they have worked on over a dozen more cases. 

Sloan has an unconventional background. Before working in law, she was a high school dropout with a baby and a drug addict husband. At 22, she watched as he was sentenced to six years in prison, ultimately gauging her interest in law. After seven years in college and law school, while working multiple jobs and bringing her daughter to class. Once she was qualified, she immediately followed her passion and went to work with death row inmates in San Francisco. Her main goal was to tell the “story” of these inmates’ lives, in the hopes that they would receive freedom and justice. She also wanted to bring to attention the unfair mass incarceration rates of African Americans in the United States. Sloan wanted to show that these inmates were human, and deserved a second chance at life, that they should not be disposed of and ignored by society. 

Although Kim Kardashian is a big part of Jessica Jackson Sloan’s work with her criminal justice reform, it is important to give Sloan equal, if not higher, recognition. If Sloan had not powered through her troubled past and achieved her dreams, there would be many still serving a life sentence behind bars. 

Article: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/meet-legal-superwoman-teaching-kim-kardashian-lawyer/#comment

If you are interested in watching Kim’s speech at the White House: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz-oGxLVJpY

Questions to consider:

  1. Had you heard of Jessica before? Why do you think that she has not received as much attention regarding these cases as Kim Kardashian? 
  2. Why do you think that people are so negative about Kim becoming a lawyer? Do you think that it is due to her celebrity status or because she is a woman?
  3. How did Sloan’s story of trying to better her life (going to school for 7 years, working many jobs, and taking care of her child) relate to some of the things we have read for class?
  4. How could society better praise and give recognition to female lawyers who are lost in the depths of negative comments?
Posted by: gracieladaisy | April 9, 2020

Trying not to fall off the “Glass Cliff”

Throughout the class we have touched on topics like “The Labyrinth” and “The Glass Ceiling” in terms of the difficulties that women face trying to get to top positions within their organizations and society as a whole. I have always thought that these concepts were interesting and while looking to more on these concepts I stumbled upon something called, “The Glass Cliff”. 

“The Glass Cliff” is the phenomenon where women are elevated to positions of power when things are going poorly in a company and therefore have a higher likelihood of failure and have a greater risk of falling (Stewart, 2018). According to a study done at Utah State University, they stated that one of the reasons that women and minorities are promoted to these positions during a crisis is that there is a perception that women possess stereotypical qualities that allow them to better navigate the culture in struggling companies (ie. they are more democratic, cooperative, and loyal than their male counterparts). Another reason for this large increase in women in promoted to executive positions during these times is that their male counterparts don’t want it, therefore many women and minorities feel it may be the only shot that they get at reaching their executive goals. In a study done by Harvard Business Review, it stated that when a man-led company was in crisis, 69% of the students interviewed would put a woman CEO in charge. Whereas if the company was not in crisis , 62% of the students would rather have a male CEO. 

Now, why would a woman take this kind of position in the first place? As stated above, many women feel as though this may be the only opportunity to gain this sort of position, and are therefore willing to take that large risk. In another research study at Utah State University, they found that many women who take these risky positions have also been known to take risks in their career prior, many are characterized as being committed to their communities and feel that they could be uniquely equipped to make a difference. It was also found that women CEOs excelled in managing complexity and were perceived to be inspirational, which is very useful when a company is in trouble. However, many times these risks aren’t always met with rewards or great turn around stories. A report found that women leaders are more likely to be forced out of their positions than men, “women walk into bad situations and then they’re given a shorter leash to fail”. Then if/when they do fail, women are not likely to get future opportunities than their male counterparts. 

Women face so much hardship when trying to reach the top, but how can you know if you are breaking the glass ceiling, or really being placed on a glass cliff?

Questions:If you were given a promotion in a company during a time of crisis, would you take it? Why or why not? What do you think are some factors in taking these positions?Do you know of any companies or situations where this phenomenon can be seen? Did the women in these positions fall of the “Glass Cliff”? 

https://www.vox.com/2018/10/31/17960156/what-is-the-glass-cliff-women-ceos

https://www.anneloehr.com/2019/05/23/how-women-leaders-can-navigate-the-glass-cliff/

Posted by: madeleinesauter | April 9, 2020

Women with Disabilities

Women with disabilities have the highest rate of unemployment in the world, with nearly 75% unemployment and an increased wage gape for those that are employed. Women living with disabilities also are more likely to experience sexual abuse and gender-based violence. These women are more likely to experience maltreatment and exploitation, including forced sterilization, and that is just for women with disabilities who are able to access healthcare.

Though we rarely address this population specifically in discussions about marginalized persons.

I think a great deal of what hinders women with disabilities from becoming leadership, aside from the neglect of their needs and making many opportunities literally inaccessible, is that disabilities, much like women, are treated as if they are all the same. While this is obviously not the case for women, disabilities are just as complex and nuance. They may be physical or mental or both, and the ability level of those living with disabilities may very greatly. As a result, in order for the needs to be met and accommodations made, it is a necessary for each person with a disability to be considered individually. Trying to have people with disabilities fit in the same mold as those without disabilities is setting up everyone for failure. Excellent leadership may exist among women with disabilities though without understanding and acceptances of the differences that exist, that leadership with be overlooked and subsequently unable to fully develop.

Creating spaces that are accessible, both literally and figuratively, for women with disabilities is essential to combat the systemic inequality that is keeping women with disabilities out of leadership opportunities. There are a number of organizations that are working towards promoting the leadership development of women with disabilities, though lack of awareness and funding make these organizations, usually nonprofits, less successful than they could be if society took more interest in closing this gap in equality.

Although it isn’t something that has been addressed in the articles I have linked, I cannot help but assume with the knowledge I have about the significant impact of representation that the media portrayal of women with disabilities, or lack thereof, is hindering disabled women from making it into higher positions and achieving success. The ways they are portrayed, the verbiage we use, the storylines surrounding women with disabilities all contribute to the misunderstandings and misconceptions

What do you think are the leading issues around women with disabilities gaining access to leadership opportunities? What do you think are steps that could be taken to alleviate these issues?

https://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/gender-equality-and-womens-empowerment/women-disabilities

Women with Disabilities Leading Change

Posted by: emmagmiller11 | April 3, 2020

Human Trafficking: Hurting the Future Female Leaders

*Disclaimer: this blogpost contains some sensitive information related to human trafficking

Human trafficking remains one of the biggest issues facing our young women today. According to the International Labor Organization, around 4 million people globally are trafficked and 99% of people forced into sexual exploitation are females (Kelly, 2019). To understand that number better, that would be like if the entire population in the country of Moldova (Eastern Europe) were survivors of human trafficking (“Total population by country 2020”). This is a shocking and upsetting fact, one that few people are aware of because trafficking occurs covertly and usually is hidden by seemingly “innocent” businesses. However, the human trafficking problem is creating massive problems for our society and I believe it could be one reason for keeping women out of leadership positions in the future. If our young girls are faced with dangers as insidious as this, then we need to combat the injustice so they can grow up to become champions of justice and leaders of change.

The reason I think human trafficking is threatening the futures of our young girls is because of the prevalence of the internet and how this has changed the “face” of trafficking. Because of how quick and easy internet access is, more and more girls are being cybersex trafficked online, even from hundreds of miles away. According to International Justice Mission, the world’s largest anti-slavery organization, cybersex trafficking is “the live sexual abuse of children streamed via the internet” (“Cybersex trafficking FAQs”). I don’t think I have to go into detail for it to be understood the level of trauma that so many young girls are enduring in our day and age. Young girls are being exploited against their will and are forced into terrible situations. Another thing to note is that prostitution and sex trafficking are not the same thing, however a girl can be trafficked and forced into prostitution; this might account for why 46% of trafficking victims are involved in prostitution (Deshpande & Nour, 2013). The way most traffickers get these girls is through “debt bondage” which convinces girls that they owe money to the trafficker and must find a way of paying them back, thus putting them in a very vulnerable place (Deshpande & Nour, 2013). This is not the only way that traffickers find victims but lower socioeconomic status certainly can play a part in whether a girl is targeted. Data show that girls who are more vulnerable or seemingly vulnerable are more likely to be targeted for trafficking (Deshpande & Nour, 2013). This does not mean that a person is responsible for being a survivor of human trafficking and no person is ever at fault of ending up in situations such as these. Traffickers are clever and know how to take away someone’s options until they feel they have no choice.

Now that we have established the problem of human trafficking, I can talk about why I believe it has an impact on women becoming leaders. I think that with the larger presence of social media, other various factors, and the fact that women are often misrepresented or demeaned in the media is having a major impact on the wellbeing of girls. I do not want to demonize the media or blame certain movies/companies/advertisements for these problems because I think it is a lot of factors working together; I do think media representation of females has a role here though. According to an article from the journal “Social Media + Society”, men and women both experience the psychological impact of sexualized media such as how bodies are represented however women see more of an impact (Davis, 2018). The article states, “the portrayal of each gender in a social media environment can be problematic, especially when this portrayal is occurring in the realm of sexuality” such as depicting male body parts as stronger than female ones (Davis, 2018). Sexualizing women (and men) in the media can have detrimental effects on how people view each other’s’ bodies and abilities (Davis, 2018). After we watched the documentary Miss Representation, I thought a lot about the implications of what we had seen and how these disturbing facts reflected my own life experience. One Forbes article I found recounted a quote from the film that struck a chord with me: “Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step towards justifying violence against that person” (Ettus, 2011). This quote summarizes what I believe to be the connection between an increase in human trafficking and the negative media portrayal of women: acceptance of violence in the media against women. If girls do not believe that they have value, this could lead to fewer girls gaining the confidence to take on leadership roles in our society. This is my opinion and there are people who do not believe the same things, but I think it’s possible that there is a connection here.

I know how heavy this topic is and I would love to hear what other people think about this. Women who have been trafficked are never at fault for their circumstances; it is the trafficker who has done this injustice against them. In a TIME article I found, a woman named Windie Jo Lazenko talks about her story as a survivor of sex trafficking and how she is now using her career as a social worker to help other women escape these situations. I found the article and accompanying video very informative and encouraging, especially because Lazenko shows so much compassion to the clients she meets with.

What do you all think? Is there a connection between human trafficking and how the media portrays women? If there is, why? If there is not, why? Does media have an impact on young girls? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Baker, A. (2019, January 17). She Survived Sex Trafficking and is Showing Women a Way Out. Retrieved from https://time.com/longform/windie-jo-lazenko-sex-trafficking-survivor/

Davis, S. E. (2018, July 13). Objectification, Sexualization, and Misrepresentation: Social Media and the College Experience – Stefanie E Davis, 2018. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2056305118786727

Deshpande, N. A., & Nour, N. M. (2013). Sex trafficking of women and girls. Reviews in obstetrics & gynecology, 6(1), e22–e27.

Ettus, S. (2011, October 25). 25 Alarm Bells for Women: Sounds from Miss Representation. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthaettus/2011/10/21/25-alarm-bells-for-women-sounds-from-miss-representation/#31b6f0b76240

Kelly, C. (2019, July 29). 13 sex trafficking statistics that explain the enormity of the global sex trade. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2019/07/29/12-trafficking-statistics-enormity-global-sex-trade/1755192001/

(n.d.). Cybersex trafficking FAQs. Retrieved from https://www.ijm.org/documents/Cybersex-Trafficking-FAQs.pdf

(n.d.). “Total population by country 2020”. Retrieved from https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/

TIME Article: https://time.com/longform/windie-jo-lazenko-sex-trafficking-survivor/

Posted by: mariamcquade | April 3, 2020

I want to “have it all” but I don’t want kids

Can I still have it all if I want a big career and I don’t want kids? In the past week or so, we have been reading articles about the idea of “having it all” and if that is possible. In the midst of reading these articles I found myself asking these questions. 

In Tina Rodia’s article for the Washington Post called she asks the question of why the idea of ‘having it all’ has become a narrow definition of professional mothers (Rodia, 2015). Rodia writes on how the concept of “having it all” is inherently classist, because it does not recognize that everyone may not be able to have children, and may face many barriers to education necessary to continue career growth. Why has this definition of “having it all” become something in which women are once again placed into a box, into a specific category of what being a woman looks like? While there is definitely nothing wrong with wanting to be a working mother, it creates an issue when the idea of “having it all” only applies to a specific type of woman, almost inherently saying that women who do not want those things are less of a woman. 

While previous definitions of being a successful woman may have included staying at home, taking care of the family, and the house, have we only transferred to a new definition that a woman who has it all has to be a professional mother?  In 2017, 3.8 million babies were born in the United States, which is the lowest the birth rate has been in three decades (Dvorak, 2018). Dvorak, in an article from the Washington Post, argues that this change in birth rates is due to the fact that women in the U.S. have more choices than ever before. When women have more choices, and the workplace is making it increasingly more difficult to be a working mother, will more women in the coming years choose to not have kids? 

Do you think that the idea of “having it all” only allows for one type of woman? Do you think that “having it all” is inherently classist? Do you think that more women of our generation will decide that they don’t want kids? 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/01/15/how-the-idea-of-having-it-all-makes-women-feel-terrible-about-themselves/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/the-child-free-life-why-so-many-american-women-are-deciding-not-to-have-kids/2018/05/31/89793784-64de-11e8-a768-ed043e33f1dc_story.html

Posted by: juliamerritt1 | April 2, 2020

Women Supporting Women

Women should support other women. This is just a fact. Yet, society has taught females that in order to be successful, you must be competitive because having a position at the top is so scarce. So many films portray this aspect of women competing and tearing down other women as if it is their only option to the top. Other films like “Mean Girls” simply show these female characters completely tearing down, and bullying other girls for things like popularity and power. Not to say that the film wasn’t enjoyable, but it definitely doesn’t send the right messages to younger girls. Things need to be done to reverse this stereotype and that begins with women supporting other women. Women feel enough criticism from men, they don’t need even more from women. 

I found an article by Forbes explaining the benefits of women supporting women. Forbes says that for women, more power and change will come from collaboration. The stereotypes society creates that pin women against each other need to be removed from society so that women can be seen in a better light and be more able to make change. Research has shown that while both genders benefit from having a network of connections, women who have an “inner circle” of close female contacts are more likely to be promoted, have more authority, and get higher pay. This may be because the relationships being formed are authentic and the women joining together are going through, or have gone through similar obstacles and are able to work through these challenges together. Interestingly, there was no link like this with men and the composition of their “inner circles”. I thought that this was really interesting especially because men’s inner circles didn’t really have an effect on their success. The article also suggested advice to women looking to find their close network of female professionals.

There has been a shift in society to push for girls supporting girls. A lot of celebrities have voiced their opinions on this matter and organizations have been launched with this very goal in mind. There are tons of books, podcasts, and films pushing for women to be friendlier to other women so change seems very possible. Women alone have the ability to have so much power, but it seems like together they will be able to make an impact. Some questions to leave you with: What other movies can you think of that show the stereotype of women having to compete with other women for an executive position? What changes do you think should be made so that women will support other women?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/shelleyzalis/2019/03/06/power-of-the-pack-women-who-support-women-are-more-successful/#7d4254951771

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