Bi-weekly Brief: January 6th, 2015
Brought to you by Women's Campaign Fund
Nancy Drew for Congress?
A recent UN report outlines the “missing rights” of women in the United States, one of just seven countries that hasn’t ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. So many rights have gone missing-- equal pay, paid family leave, access to contraception-- it’s hard to know where to start solving the mystery. The first place I'd look is Congress since, as the report points out, the U.S. is just 72nd in the world for women’s representation in politics. If you want to help WCF help more women find our missing rights there, donate today.
The city that never sleeps (because the baby is up again)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Rosa DeLauro are trying to pass a national paid family leave bill, but in the meantime President Obama urged states and cities to follow his lead in expanding paid family leave for public employees. Cities that have taken him up so far include Pittsburgh, Austin, Kansas City, Mo., and most recently New York City, where 20,000 city workers can now get up to six weeks of paid time off if they have or adopt a child. Hopefully Sinatra was right and if paid family leave can make it there...
Pretty expensive in pink
As if the wage gap weren’t bad enough, new research shows how women are also the victims of a gender price gap. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs compared 800 products with male and female versions-- meaning they were identical except for packaging. It found that women are consistently charged more for toys, clothes, hair care products... even canes and back braces. In other words, just being a woman is taxing… literally.
The World Bank has announced a new strategy to address gender inequality, and one key focus will be addressing or working around laws that purposefully shut women off from economic opportunity. For example, many countries prevent women from doing certain jobs-- and it’s not just the poor or traditionally religious countries you might expect. In Argentina women are barred from loading and unloading ships; in Russia, women aren’t allowed to do 456 different jobs, including woodworking and driving certain trucks; and France prohibits women from moving more than 45 kilograms in a wheelbarrow. It all sounds like 45 kilograms of BS to me.
Be the nerd you wish to see in the world
When a commenter on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s page said she tells her granddaughters to “date the nerd in school, he may turn out to be a Mark Zuckerberg,” he responded brilliantly. "Even better," he wrote, "would be to encourage them to *be* the nerd in their school so they can be the next successful inventor!" I couldn’t hit the like button fast enough.
A sensei for female code ninjas
Meanwhile Reshma Saujani is already well ahead of Zuckerberg. In 2012, she started Girls Who Code, which so far has provided high-quality computer science education to 4,000 girls from low-income areas in 29 states, with the support of major tech companies like Google, Twitter, and yes, Facebook. And if that wasn’t enough to make MsRep swoon, guess what she says helped her develop the resilience and confidence to start training an army of lady hackers... running for Congress!
Soon everyone will want to play like a girl
There are tons of “best of” lists this time of year, but this one might be my favorite: 11 stories from around the world of female athletes kicking butt in extreme or lesser known sports. Here’s my dream: one of the Girls Who Code makes a video game based on the surfer girls in Bangladesh or the all-girl boxing club in Pakistan or the Speed Sister racecar drivers in the Middle East (so many choices)… which Hong Kong’s all-woman gaming team wins at their next world tournament.
Putting the eh in equality
Here’s another contender for best year-end list: 8 countries that made feminist breakthroughs. It also happens to highlight one of the year’s best quotes about women in public service. When newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked why he appointed a cabinet with an equal number of men and women, he replied with just three words: “Because it’s 2015.”
And one more for the road… to more women in office in 2016
If you still haven’t had enough year end lists, check out these 35 inspiring feminist moments from 2015. Like the woman who made it says, here’s hoping next year’s list is even longer.