Harriet the Spy

   

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Bi-weekly Brief:
 April 28, 2016
Brought to you by Women's Campaign Fund 

Ready for all of them
This year could be a record-breaking year for women in politics, and not just because of the presidential race. In New York Magazine, Ann Friedman points out that it’s a shame we’re not hearing more about the 27 women running for Senate, 216 vying for House seats, and 6 running for governor. (For comparison, in 1992, the “Year of the Woman,” there were just four female senators elected.) Help WCF get the word out and the women in (office) and donate today.


Women everywhere are speechless
Not only are women underrepresented on the campaign trail, they’re underrepresented in campaign speeches too. Textio analyzed the content of this year’s presidential stump speeches and found that when candidates tell stories about Americans they’ve met along the way, they’re almost always about men. I’m sure Donald Trump doesn’t meet many women out there, given what he’s said about us, but what’s up with the rest of them?


Does it have a snooze button?
Equal Pay Day is a national holiday each April when advocates “celebrate” the extra four months the average woman would have to work to earn as much as the average man. This year it fell on April 12, and if you’re looking for the perfect belated gift, check out the 79% Work Clock, which has an alarm you can set to ring after 79% of the workday is done. Because as long as you’re being paid 21% less, it’s only fair that you go home 21% earlier, right?


Mind the gap
Meanwhile, researchers have looked into why the gender pay gap exists and found that the single biggest explanation is the lower pay in fields that tend to have more women. Even more interesting (and by interesting, I mean depressing) is that when more women enter a field that was previously dominated by men, wages drop, presumably because women’s work isn’t valued as highly. Hmm… maybe that’s why our current politicians are so lousy at recruiting women to run for office: they’re worried about a pay cut.


A woman’s place is on the money
Last week, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced a plan to replace slaveholding Indian remover Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the twenty dollar bill… fourteen years from now. In the meantime, the back of the ten dollar bill will be redesigned in 2020 to include leaders of the women’s suffrage movement to mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment. I’m glad to see women will finally make it onto paper currency, but should we really have to wait that long to get change for a twenty?


Harriet the spy
Speaking of Harriet Tubman, we’ve all heard about how she guided hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. But did you know that she also worked as a spy during the Civil War, leading Union gunboats on a mission to liberate 750 slaves deep in Confederate territory? Or that after the war she became known as a philanthropist and outspoken advocate for women’s right to vote? Yet somehow one of history’s most kickass ladies has only even appeared in a major feature film once… in a movie where Abraham Lincoln was fighting vampires.


Goodnight, sweet Prince
Prince helped shatter all sorts of stereotypes in popular culture, and one of the biggest was the dumb but longstanding idea that women can’t rock. He constantly used his fame and talent to elevate female musicians and performers, from the women in his backing bands like The Revolution and 3rdeyegirl, to the artists he wrote songs for and collaborated with, like Stevie Nicks, Chaka Khan, Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae, and The Bangles to name just a few. May he rest in peace… and purple.


Designing woman
Recently the world also lost renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the only individual woman to win the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honor. As the first female “starchitect” she was an inspiration in a field that is still 75% male-- a fact you might have guessed if you’ve ever wondered why every building has such a long line for the women’s room.


When in doubt, go to the library
How am I only now just learning that Emma Watson has started a feminist book club?! As Hermione Granger said, there are more important things than books and cleverness, like friendship and bravery-- I’m so psyched that she’s inviting us to join a group that combines all of them.


 

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