"Happy" Women's Equality Day

Aug 26 2014 Published by under Feminist Musings

94 years ago, the 19th amendment to the Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote. Our fore-mothers fought for this right, believing that without political power any other rights could be denied. They also believed that with political voices we could achieve true equality.

Their belief in the vote sustained them through public humiliation, beatings, starvation, jail, forced feedings, and a number of other indignities.

Despite the passage of nearly a century, women still have not achieved full equality. We make less than 80% of our male counterparts in similar jobs. We are underrepresented in the best -paid careers, and even when we enter those fields we are marginalized. Corporate boards, congress, and other decision-making bodies rarely demonstrate gender equality, despite the evidence that more women in those positions increases profits and other measures of efficacy.

Today we see rights we thought were won under attack. It's time we used that vote, the political voice our ancestors fought for. Learn the issues and make your choices. Run for office, or at least support those you like in whatever way you can.

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"Happy" Women's Equality Day

Aug 26 2014 Published by under Feminist Musings

94 years ago, the 19th amendment to the Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote. Our fore-mothers fought for this right, believing that without political power any other rights could be denied. They also believed that with political voices we could achieve true equality.

Their belief in the vote sustained them through public humiliation, beatings, starvation, jail, forced feedings, and a number of other indignities.

Despite the passage of nearly a century, women still have not achieved full equality. We make less than 80% of our male counterparts in similar jobs. We are underrepresented in the best -paid careers, and even when we enter those fields we are marginalized. Corporate boards, congress, and other decision-making bodies rarely demonstrate gender equality, despite the evidence that more women in those positions increases profits and other measures of efficacy.

Today we see rights we thought were won under attack. It's time we used that vote, the political voice our ancestors fought for. Learn the issues and make your choices. Run for office, or at least support those you like in whatever way you can.

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Half-a-Century of Discovery

May 22 2014 Published by under Women in Medicine, Women in Science

Today I posted over at Academic Women for Equality Now (awenow.org), another website and blog I run. The topic was Nancy Hopkins' amazing baccalaureate address at Boston University in which she proclaims unconscious bias as one of the most important discoveries of the past 50 years.

Click on over for a quick summary and a link to the full text of her speech; I suspect it will resonate with most of my readers.

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Yes, It Matters

Jan 31 2014 Published by under Feminist Musings

Vacation planning can brighten up an otherwise tedious period of time when the weather is less than ideal and work is, well, work. The other day a hotel site greeted me with the following choices for my title:

Required field, no less

Required field, no less

This web site insisted that I pick a title, either Mr (which is inappropriate for my gender identity), or a female title that immediately tells them my marital status. I declined and ended up booking the same hotel through another site.

Most web sites will let me opt out of a title. Some insist on it, but provide appropriate options like Ms. I can also choose Dr. at many sites, one that is completely appropriate as well. Some sites go a little crazy, including everything you can imagine: Honorable, Reverend, Sir, Dame, Marchioness, and every military rank ever.

Now, if someone calls me Mrs. Lane in real life, I don't get snitty. I just answer*. I do use my married name personally and professionally, and there is no sense being rude to people. When a web site asks for my personal information so they can contact me, they better give me an option I like, including the option to not identify a title. After all, why do they need to know my gender and marital status to book my hotel room?

I used to ignore such things, but over time I have realized that labels can be quite important. I have learned that ignoring such things means they never change. In the 21st century, why should a woman's identification include her marital status?

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*Unless they call me Mrs. James Lane. Then they will get politely corrected.

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Are New iPhones Girly?

Sep 22 2013 Published by under [Information&Communication]

Sometimes a piece of online writing presents something so brilliant yet unexpected that it deserves quoting. A prime example was found in The Macalope Weekly. The Macalope is a mythic creature (part man, part mac, part antelope) that writes for MacWorld, mostly addressing the Apple-bashing that has occurred since forever (but accelerated now that Apple makes so many things that people want). The release of new iPhones has brought out all sorts of Apple criticism, including this (Quotes within the quote have been italicized and greened):

Guess who’s back! That’s right, it’s our old friend, Dan Lyons! Aw, Dan, we missed you.

Well, we missed laughing at you is what we missed. So, that’s … well, that’s not really the same as missing you at all.

“Is Apple Designing Products to Appeal to Women?” (tip o’ the antlers to nostrich).

Sure! Men, too!

Has Apple become a brand that’s primarily targeting women?

Has HubSpot regretted hiring Dan Lyons yet?

The new operating system interface introduces translucent elements, as well as a palette of lighter, softer pastel colors.

For the ladies! Bow-chicka-wacka-wacka …

[opens can of Colt 45 malt liquor]

One of the harshest critics, tech blogger Jim Lynch, called the software “an estrogen-addled mess designed for 13 year old girls” and complained that “the manly, solid colors and design found in iOS 6 have been chopped off.”

Not that that’s incredibly sexist or anything.

(Also, “chopped off”? NICE.)

But Lynch’s tirade prompted some pundits, including Jim Edwards at Business Insider, to wonder whether Apple is indeed making a concerted effort to target women.

Will using iOS 7 make men sterile?! Teach the controversy, Business Insider!

Edwards isn’t hating on the new operating system; he just points out that the new software contains colors some would consider feminine.

Like white. And blue. Of course green. Is there a color that reminds you more of a woman than green?

Edwards also points out that the new low-end iPhone 5c comes in five bright colors, but “the new colors do not include ‘masculine’ shades like burgundy, navy blue, or Lincoln blue.”

Patton orange. Dwayne-Johnson yellow. Mixed-martial-arts red. Personally, the Macalope won’t even look at an operating system if it doesn’t have Lincoln blue.

(What the heck is Lincoln blue?)

For what it’s worth, I brought up this subject among my immediate colleagues at HubSpot, who are mostly women.

An now he’s got to go to “remedial sensitivity training,” whatever that is. Ugh. So stoopid.

They found the topic irritating …

Are you sure it was the topic they found irritating?

… asking things like, “What exactly does that even mean to say that a design is feminine? And even if Apple is trying to sell to women, why is that a problem, since women control so much spending power?

Also “Why are you in the ladies room?”, “How did you get hired here again?”, and “What’s the number for HR?”

Anyway, one of our colleagues has been using the beta version of iOS 7 for a while. She says she loves it.

Case closed! If you do not have lady parts, iOS 7 is not for you!

What the Macalope loves about this “stir” is that apparently these bros—who are oh-so-sensitive to color hues that the slightest lightening of them makes them rush to their blogs—were fine for years when they thought Apple was just marketing to men. Now that they think Apple’s marketing to women we need to have a big discussion about it.

The Macalope’s been using iOS 7 for a while now, so here’s a simple tip for iPhone users concerned about their strategic testosterone reserves: Just use a dark wallpaper, perhaps something in a Vin-Diesel gray or a Pabst-Blue-Ribbon blue. That’s an easy way to return a more masculine tone to your now tremendously girly portable computing and telephonic device.

Oh, and also, get over yourselves. That’s harder, but probably more important.

By the way, when the term "Lincoln Blue" is entered into Google, you get a bunch of stuff about Lincoln automobiles in various hues of blue, mostly a pastel shade I would have called "baby blue."

So masculine...

Anyway, the Macalope takes on a number of other criticisms of the new iPhones and iOS 7. I just loved the whole discourse about color and women.

 

 

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Floral Hardware

Jul 25 2013 Published by under Feminist Musings

Click for source page

Once again, I have encountered folks complaining about feminization of tools with pink or floral patterns on hammers, screwdrivers, and toolboxes.

When I first encountered these items in a craft store, I also felt this way. How condescending that we women need girly designs on our contraptions to feel comfortable!

I had purchased my own screwdriver and hammer to keep in my utility drawer for household repairs. That way I did not have to muck about in a toolbox in the garage, especially in extremely hot or cold weather. Unfortunately, my husband and son discovered my tools, and their convenient location, and started using them. They inevitably ended up in my husband's garage-based toolbox rather than my utility drawer.

I bought myself floral tools.

There is now no question about whose tools these are and where they belong. Sure, I could have inscribed my mark with a Sharpie, but the boys would not have noticed that, even with bright 1-inch letters. Flowers and girly colors cannot be ignored, though, and my tools make it back to my drawer now.

In general, I dislike the "pinkification" of all toys marketed to girls. On the other hand, I refuse to believe that anyone might doubt my abilities because I wear pink shoes.

And no one can doubt the power of my blue floral hammer.

 

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What I Am Reading: Hilarious Travels Edition

Jan 12 2013 Published by under What I'm Reading

Caitlin

Caitlin Moran: Champion of pubic hair

The last 3 days involved a trip to San Antonio including some airport time. To make the time go faster, I downloaded How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, a Brit described as a mash-up of Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler. The description is apt, and time just flew!

In bits beginning with her 13th birthday, we hear of Caitlin's roots as the eldest of 7 or 8 (you lose track after a while) home-schooled children in subsidized housing to her budding discovery of womanhood and feminism.  She discusses all aspects of womanhood, including shoes (I disagree; there are comfortable walkable heels) and vaginal maintenance. Another chapter addresses her girl-crush on Lady Gaga, the best description of the appeal of the Monster-in-Chief I have read. In addition to chapters on falling in love and childbirth, another addresses her abortion. She provides a powerful prochoice viewpoint that everyone should read.

My favorite chapter involves sexism. She gets a publishing job with a music rag in the 1990's, and describes her difficulty recognizing sexism. When it's "Sleep with me or get fired" or "If you really want that promotion, you'll provide some benefits," it's easy to see the issue. Things tend to be more subtle now, and often not recognized for several hours. Your having tea a few hours later, and you suddenly realize that a comment earlier that day was sexism. What do you do now? Some issues are so subtle, they aren't even lobbed at you; they just extend like an invisible force field that prevents you from moving on. This led to my favorite quote in the book, one I shamelessly shared with any friend, acquaintance, or stranger who would listen:

It's difficult to see the glass ceiling because it's made of glass. Virtually invisible. What we need is for more birds to fly above it and shit all over it, so we can see it properly.

Looking for a fun read? Inspirational stories? And you don't mind profanity, drug use, and wanton masturbation? Find a copy of this book fast; you'll ROFL till you wet your pants (as a nephrologist, urination is a good thing) and be given food for thought as well.

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Last Week's Travels

Nov 20 2012 Published by under Feminist Musings

Last week I flew to Portland, Oregon, for the third annual congress of Vision 2020. Our group wants to drive women to full equality by 2020, the centennial of the 19th amendment granting women US voting rights.

We have some distance to cover in the next 8 years.

The congress did include a screening of this video; I think you will enjoy it!

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Book, Paper, Blog

This week a perfect storm descended on me, including a book, a paper, and a blog post:

All of these deal with the ongoing gender bias in our society, but particularly in our workplaces. Yes, men are at fault, but we XX folks are not blameless, either. My full thoughts on the integration of these readings is over at Academic Women for Equality Now. Please read that post, then get the book and peruse the other materials online.

Now think about how we can overcome these subtle, less blatant issues. Comment here or at awenow.org or at Zuska's place. We need to work together instead of against each other!

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A Brief Interlude

Apr 30 2012 Published by under Women in Medicine, Women in Science

First, a hearty thanks to all who read my posts from Experimental Biology. Blogging a meeting was a challenging yet fun experience. It enhanced my experience, and I hope it gave those "reading at home" some new information.

I flew home on Wednesday and went out again on Thursday for a committee meeting in Washington, DC, arriving back in Oklahoma on Friday about midnight. I am now covering the inpatient service until Thursday...when I leave town again.

I have another post or two from EB waiting for me to organize my material.

In the meantime, I finally solved a problem over on my site Academic Women for Equality Now. I wanted to share a 10+ MB PDF that contains women leadership scores for every college of medicine (COM) in the US. That file exceeds the upload/download capabilities of my web host. Today's post over there provides links to access the file in Google Docs. I hope you will all click on over and download the file. If you work at a COM in the book, please share it's status with your leadership. I hear a lot of COM deans et al state that their place is doing fine. They have female faculty and some in leadership positions. Until they see where each COM stands in relationship to the others in the country, they can't really know how they are doing.

Stay tuned; I will be back with more science and other stuff later in the week.

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