Monday, March 30, 2009

Teal campaign to raise awareness of sexual violence at UC Davis

See the Women's Resources and Research Center website for details of their April activities, with special attention to issues regarding sexual violence against women.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Some gendered implications of "pink slips"

Two NY Times stories in the past few days have used the term "pink slips" -- and not in reference to an item of women's lingere. "Pink slip" is, of course, a colloquialism for a notice of termination from employment. While there is nothing inherently gendered about a "pink slip" as far as I know, both stories nevertheless have gendered implications.

The first was in today's paper and is titled "Fighting over Child Support after the Pink Slip Arrives." In it, Julie Bosman reports on the great number of parents--mostly fathers--who are seeking to reduce the amount they pay each month to custodial parents (mostly mothers) in child support. They are seeking these reductions either because they have lost their jobs, changed to lower-paying jobs, or simply anticipate a reduction in income. The individual stories featured are very sobering. Of particular interest to me is one judge's apparent tendency to reduce the amount of child support because he figures a custodial parent is better receiving less--sometimes much less--than nothing at all, which is what might happen if a father becomes homeless, etc.

In the other story, "When the Stork Carries a Pink Slip," Lesley Alderman points out that neither laying off a pregnant woman nor laying off a woman on maternity leave is a violation of federal law. All the employer has to do is articulate some basis for the decision other than the pregnancy or maternity leave. Here's an excerpt from the story:
To be sure, it is illegal to dismiss someone or refuse to hire her specifically because she is pregnant, according to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But few employers are foolish enough to cite pregnancy as the reason for firing or not hiring someone.
On the whole, the impact of the economic downturn on women is not a pretty picture.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No NCAA women's bracket for Obama

The fact that Obama didn't complete a bracket for the women's tournament was called to my attention by an alum of the feminist legal theory class.

Thoughts on this?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Women at work ... as always, or again, or ????

Don't miss Judith Warner's column this week. She comments on the media's newfound/re-discovery of women who don't work outside the home, but she wisely comments that they're missing the real story about working women. Here's an excerpt:
Increasing numbers of working class women now — in a downturn where 82 percent of the job losses have been among men – have become their family’s sole wage-earners, it’s true. But their husbands, very often, are holding their own at home just fine. For while the stereotype has long been that working class men won’t do “women’s work,” Coontz said, the truth is that in recent years they’ve had a better track record than the most high-income men in sharing domestic duties.
I know that will make you want to read more.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Am I the only one who saw this odd commentary?

I must be mis-reading this because I think it says Michelle Obama lacks ambition and has stayed away from intellectual heavy-lifting:

Anyone out there see it differently? Maybe it's some kind of personality typology and I'm missing it?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A tale of solidarity among women

Read Nicholas Confessore's story in today's NYT, "Old Clinton Hands Line up Behind Gillibrand." It reports that many Hillary Rodham Clinton staffers and supporters are now working with or for Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy for New York after Clinton resigned to become Secretary of State.

The story features this quote from Karen Finney, who was a deputy press secretary for HRC in the White House and who is now an advisor to Ms. Gillibrand: “Kirsten has inspired the band to get back together ... It’s nice to be working for another great woman from New York.”

Here's an excerpt from deeper in the story, amidst many examples of women supporting Gillibrand:

Ms. Gillibrand’s back-to-back campaigns will also provide an outlet to the energies and enthusiasms of Mrs. Clinton’s ardent grass-roots supporters, especially in feminist circles.

One member of Ms. Gillibrand’s kitchen cabinet, for example, is Ann Lewis, a longtime Clinton confidante and a senior adviser on the presidential campaign. Ms. Lewis recently launched, a Web site and blog, to allow Mrs. Clinton’s supporters to network and stay in touch.

One Clinton supporter who spoke on the condition of anonymity said:
Hard-core Hillary supporters are fully expecting [HRC] to run again in 2016 ... That is one reality. Kirsten is a more local reality. But for folks in New York, she gives them a focus.

Monday, March 9, 2009

How did Michelle Obama get on Maureen Dowd's good side?

Read Dowd's column, "Should Michelle Cover Up?" here. Yes, we're talking about covering up her biceps, among a wide range of weightier topics that Dowd hits on in the column.

Here's an excerpt:
I love the designer-to-J. Crew glamour. Combined with her workaday visits to soup kitchens, inner-city schools and meetings with military families, Michelle’s flair is our depression’s answer to Ginger Rogers gliding around in feathers and lamé.
* * *
Her arms, and her complete confidence in her skin, are a reminder that Americans can do anything if they put their minds to it.
I'm purposefully omitting the next sentence, in which Dowd (of course) slams HRC.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Grassroots efforts create greater safety for Afghan women

Read Kirk Semple's story about how women's shelters are taking hold in Afghanistan. Here's an excerpt from a local women's advocate:

“Simply put, this is a patriarchal society,” said Manizha Naderi, director of Women for Afghan Women, one of four organizations that run shelters in Afghanistan. “Women are the property of men.”

* * *

Women’s shelters have been criticized as a foreign intrusion in Afghan society, where familial and community problems have traditionally been resolved through the mediation of tribal leaders and councils.