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Showing posts from March, 2010

Women's History Month: The End...Or is it?

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1776: Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John, who is helping write the Declaration of Independence: "Remember the ladies...[we] will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice." * The end of my favorite and least favorite month. On Facebook, I started the month off by quipping that March is the month where so many of my friends spent half their time in airports traveling around the country spreading the gospel of women's history. And making most of their money. I know far too well the pressures that colleges and universities are under and that the market for speakers is super tight. My campus has leaned towards local speakers since the last Governor decided to balance the budget on our backs. If we do cobble together enough money it's just for one speaker, not the 2-3 from years ago. And why do so many awesome feminists make most of their money this month? Because they aren't thought of outsi

Women's History Month: Thoughts on feminist leadership & succession plans

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1932: Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic* A few weeks ago I was honored to share time and space with two amazing feminists. There were a lot of things we said on that panel that still are churning in my head, but I want to ramble on about one of them. We were asked why some women of color don't embrace the label "feminist" and we talked about the historical racism in the feminist movement that is still not fully discussed. We see women of color call themselves feminist and for some white feminists, that means we're good. But we're not.  Then Courtney said that sometimes the most feminist thing a leader can do is realize that it's time for them to step aside. We were discussing leadership changes, yes in light of last year's NOW election, but leadership overall. She talked about the strategic move to "elect" Samhita as executive editor for Feministing. As she said, they a

Update on "Who Wants to be the Democrat LT. Gov Nominee?"

As I reported to you last week , Illinois Democratic Party bosses/leaders were set to pick a new candidate for Lt. Governor after the first one went down in flames. So who did they choose? Shelia Simon. I don't know Shelia Simon. The only thing I know about her is that her dad was one of our most beloved U.S. Senators and inspired me as a kid. She was also in one of Obama's campaign commercials. Charles Thomas does an excellent job wrapping up what this means to us ordinary folks. Yup, here in Illinois the Dems aren't scared of nepotism . First of all, I think that Gov. Quinn's naming Shelia before the Central Committee could even meet was crappy. We had 15 other candidates headed down to Springfield as the media was reporting that the vote would end up being Simon versus Turner . Newbie with a family name versus a man with experience. White woman versus Black man. Southern Illinois versus Chicago. I'm sure there were a million ways they were pitted against e

Women's History Month: Traveling into women's history

Today's Women's History Tidbit: Amy Sedaris, Lucy Lawless and Jennifer Capriati were born.* This was originally posted on the AWEARNESS blog.  USA Today ran an excellent piece...called, "10 great places to honor our foremothers." It was a nice surprise as I took that short plane trip from Cleveland to Chicago. Despite the fact that I read about the ten places on a plane , I am actually quite the road trip gal. I like having time to stare out the window, read a good book or knit another scarf. I love checking off one more state visited, even if most of the time I spend is in a family restaurant eating pancakes. The Arizona Women's Heritage Trail fits my definition of a dream vacation. I'm lucky to have been in Jane Addams' Hull House many a time. No matter how often I go there for an event, I am still awed at the history of the place. And the one trip I want to make out of all of them is up to Seneca Falls, to where it all start

Women's History Month: Are Women Athletes Winning or Losing?

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1982: Louisiana Tech defeats Cheney State, 76-62, to win the first NCAA Women's Basketball championship.*  This was originally posted on the AWEARNESS blog. Hot on the heels of the American & Canadian women hockey teams thrashing their international competition is a renewed conversation about whether or not women's sports has matured quickly enough . Some even ponder whether or not it will ever be truly competitive. As I have written before, women athletes are in a constant damned if they do, damned if they don't position. We can be strong, but we need to be feminine . Those with families are pushed out in front in a way male athletes are rarely treated ... well, unless they are lesbian . Now the questions being raised surround the notion that women's sports have limited potential for success. That of all the girls playing basketball, only one dynasty has emerged, and for some reason that's bad

Women's History Month: That stripper pole is someone's office!

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1900: Effa Manley is born in Philadelphia. From 1935 to 1948 she will run the Newark Eagles, a Negro Leagues baseball team, which she co-owns with her husband.* She is the first woman to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.** This was originally posted on the AWEARNESS blog.  At least that's what Quansa Thompson is trying to claim. She's a smart cookie exotic dancer from Washington, DC who is suing her former "employer" for not paying her and her fellow dancers a wage. I put employer in quotes in this context because the owner of the club claims that "he treats dancers as if they were patrons, charging them $20 admission, then letting them keep whatever they earn without any additional fees." No matter what your stance is on strippers or exotic dancers, I hope that you agree that they are working. They are providing entertainment that draws people in to pay real money to enter an establishment and

Women's History Month: Heartache

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1973: London Stock Exchange allows women members for the first time. * My heart's been aching the last few days. First came the news that the genius Mikhaela B. Reid was retiring from political cartoons. Why? She lists all her reasons and yes the market for political cartooning sucks, she's tired, she's expecting a baby (but she admits she's still be retiring even if lil M wasn't on the way) and she's burnt. I get that. TOTALLY. But I still cried when I read her good-bye on her blog. Part of it is the very real fact that we don't have a mechanism to fully support creative folks like her, thus they can either skimp together a meager living or work themselves to the bone 24/7 to get thru the "real job" and the "creative job." I cried because while the baby isn't the primary reason, there is the real fact that babies just slow you down. They just do. How fast you get pull out of the pit stop

Women's History Month: Lt. Mom

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1971: Sheryl Swoopes, the WNBA's Most Valuable Player and Defense Player of the Year in 2000, is born in Brownfield, TX. As my fellow Illinoisans know, we've had one hell of a period of political drama. The one that I'm trying to keep track of us is the search for a Democrat Lieutenant Governor candidate or as I've started to call it "Who Wants to Be Lieutenant Governor?" The process has included accepting applications , a public poll ( still on! ) and now we're on to the interview round. For transparency sake, my friend Megan Drilling is currently in 3rd place in the poll. That means she is one of 17 people asked to interview for the position on Saturday in front of the state Democratic bosses. I stumbled upon this video of one of the applicants, who sadly didn't move on to the next round. I love, love that Rayne talks up her parenting as a strength and her social media skills. We can talk all w

Women's History Month: Ada Lovelace Day 2010

For Finding Ada 2010 , I would like to talk about Engineer Your Life. It's a website that is geared towards girls, but anyone can visit and learn, and focuses on why a career in engineering is rewarding and fun. They have a list of 10 reasons why you will love your career in engineering. Parents and those of you lucky enough to have an impact on young people's lives, please encourage them to visit this site. There is still such a stereotype that engineering is just about rockets and bridges. I blame years of physics and calculus classes for reinforcing this view. As we saw in Minnesota a few years ago, bridges are important. But we don't quite teach that in our schools. We also don't teach our children that engineering touches our lives and will shape the future. That is why we need to point them to the area about finding their dream job. There is a stereotype, that bears fruit in real life, that girls are more likely to be drawn towards careers that clearly ben

Women's History Month: It Could be Bunnies!

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1882: Emmy Noether goddess of mathematics was born.* Tell the FDA to Act on Emergency Contraception from Center for Reproductive Rights on Vimeo . * Source: The San Diego Supercomputer Center presents "Women in Science: A Selection of 16 Significant Contributors"

Women's History Month: Batter up! Hear that call!

This weekend's Women's History Tidbits: March 20, 1991: Supreme Court rules unanimously employers can't exclude women from jobs where exposure to toxic chemicals could potentially damage fetus.*  March 21, 1943: Cornelia Ford , military pilot , died when another plane on the same air ferry mission clipped her plane's wing, crashing her plane.**  March 22, 1893: Senda Berenson, the "Mother of Women's Basketball," organized and officiated at the first women's basketball game.*** I've been busy writing up a grant for work all weekend. OK, crunching numbers in Excel for the grant...but that means I was too busy with work to write here. Plus Senor Feminista & I went out for dinner & a movie with friends on Saturday. In lieu of a real post, I bring you the one song in the world that makes me cry like a baby: The official song of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Batter up! Hear that call! The time has come for

Women's History Month: The Fly Girls are Finally Golden!

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1989: Japan's Midori Ito captures the Ladies World Figure Skating Championship in Paris. She is the first woman to land a triple axel in international competition.* This originally was posted at the AWEARNESS blog. My third, last and happiest update on the women of the WASPs... They finally got their gold: Can you pass a tissue? Look at that photo...those hands. Delicate as my late grandmother's, yet you know the history behind them. Those hands are representative of "1,100 young women, all civilian volunteers, [who] flew almost every type of military aircraft -- including the B-26 and B-29 bombers -- as part of the WASP program." Some women were too short for the program but somehow slipped through by standing tip-toe. Yet because the women were civilian volunteers working to support the government, the government did little to support the 38 who died in the line of duty: [26-year-o

Women's History Month: Translating the F-Word:Defining Feminism in a Multicultural Society

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1964: Speed Skater Bonnie Blair is born in Cornwall, NY. She will compete in three Winter Olympics, winning five gold medals and a bronze.* TONIGHT!!  Come on out and discuss feminism with us! This panel discussion will examine feminism through the lens of race, class, gender, and sexuality, discussing both their work and their personal experiences. Panelist will include: Siobhan Brooks, Postdoctoral Fellow of Gender Studies at Lawrence University. Courtney Martin, award-winning author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters. * Source: 2010 Women Who Dare Engagement Calendar from the Library of Congress

Women's History Month: Support the Reproductive Health & Access Act

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1910: Charlotte Gulick and Luther Gulick establish Camp Fire Girls, the first nonsectarian organization for girls in the United States. * For over two years reproductive right and justice activists have been working towards passing a comprehensive reproductive health bill. Now we have HB 6205, The Reproductive Health and Access Act which is in the Illinois House RIGHT NOW! The anti's are saying terrible things about the bill, it's lies. Wanna know the truth head on over to the bill's campaign myth-debunking page.  So what's our next step? CALL! EMAIL! You need to reach out to your Illinois House representative and tell her or him why you want them to vote yes on HB 6205. It's no lie, our health depends on it! * Source: 2010 Women Who Dare Engagement Calendar from the Library of Congress

Book Review: Enlightened Sexism by Susan J. Douglas

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 2001: Annika Sorenstam sets an LPGA 18-hole scoring record (and ties the men's PGA record) when she shoots a 59 in the second round of the Standard Register ING tournament in Phoenix, AZ.*   Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message that Feminism's Work is Done by Susan Douglas falls flat to connect to the audience Douglas targets. Douglas attempts to unveil the contradictions in society, especially pop culture, that allows us, men and women, to believe we live in a post-feminist world but in fact do not. She fails to convince me, despite believing it, due to her contradictory examples. Douglas' definition of enlightened feminism is brilliant: A response, deliberate or not, to the perceived threat of a few gender regime. It insists that women have mead plenty of progress because of feminism - indeed, full equality has allegedly achieve - so now it's ok, even amusing, to resurrect sexist stereotypes of girls and women.&

Women's History Month: Why I hate parking garages

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1905: Actor, writer and director Margaret Webster is born in NYC, where she will found the American Repertory Theatre and become the first female director of the Metropolitan Opera House.*   Damned if we do, dead if we don't. That's what I was thinking the other day as I was reflecting on the ever continuing death and disappearance of women and girls in our world. Chicago's hand gun ban is in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Those who want it reversed include people who live in some of the roughest neighborhoods of Chicago and believe that owning a gun is the only way to truly protect themselves and their families. I was thinking this while in the shower, where I feel the safest. Then as I was parking in a public garage, I was thinking of how much I hate them. They remind me that I'm a woman. That I'm vulnerable. That I need to park in a well-lit spot so that I'm not hidden and big baddies have less space to hide

Book Review: Sexism in America by Barbara J. Berg, Ph.D.

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1972: A small group of young Jewish feminists under the name "Ezrat Nashim" presented a manifesto entitled "Jewish Women Call For Change" at the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly convention.* Sexism in America: Alive, Well and Ruining our Future is an excellent feminism 101 book. It might bore those of us who have been keeping up with how sexist our society still is despite our many successes. Dr. Barbara J. Berg does a fab job at summarizing so many parts of our society in short and succinct chapters. Some chapters were so short, I was like, "That's it?" But it's not the length of the chapters, but the information she crams in there without feeling like I was being lectured at. Despite my statement that this is a primer text, I still would recommend this book to us vets. Why? Because Berg pulls a Nancy Drew, digging up items that I'm sure some of us have forgotten or just plain misse

Women's History Month: Migraine Mania!

The past few day's in Women's History Tidbits: March 11, 1923: Agatha Barbara is born in Zabbar. She will serve as president of Malta from 1982 to 1987.* March 12, 1982: The first games of the first women's NCAA basketball tournament are held. Thirty-two teams will compete in the tournament; in 1994 the tournament will expand to a 64-team field.* March 13, 1986: Four-time champion Susan Butcher wins the first of three straight Iditarod Trail Sled Dog races in Alaska.* The last three days have been migraine mania for me. I won't go into details on how it came about, but suffice to say that it was an allergic reaction to a chemical. But from Wednesday evening until today when I woke up, I was rocking a world class migraine. Thankfully I have a well stocked pharmacy in my home. Of legal drugs people! In light of my migraine mania, I thought it was a great chance to introduce or remind you of two women I consider the Queens of migraines and chronic issues: Paula

Women's History Month: National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1993: Dr. David Gunn is assassinated and is the first of four women's health care providers to be murdered for providing abortions. This is why we show our appreciation today to all the men and women who help make choice possible.*  Can you believe it's March 10th again already? This year the National Abortion Federation is asking us to take a picture or make a video of ourselves holding up a sign of thanks. [PDF] That's all for today's post. Just go say thanks to a provider. Send a few dollars to the National Abortion Federation or to tomorrow's providers at Medical Students for Choice.  Edited to add something Rebecca Turner sent me: A blessing for abortion providers May Goodness bless all who offer professional abortion care and may they have a chance to use their talents and develop new skills and a place to satisfy their innermost desires to be of service to others. May Goodness bless you with energy an

Women's History Month: Why I love Ariel & Belle

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1990: Dr. Antonia Novello was sworn in as both the first Hispanic and woman to be U.S. surgeon general.* When Nobel Savage tweeted that Disney was renaming and reframing the Rapunzel story in a way that "allows" more boys to enjoy it, I thought, BULLSHIT! But as I read the LA Times piece , I started to laugh: After the less-than-fairy-tale results for its most recent animated release, "The Princess and the Frog," executives at the Burbank studio believe they know why the acclaimed movie came up short at the box office....Brace yourself: Boys didn't want to see a movie with "princess" in the title...Disney can ill afford a moniker that alienates half the potential audience, young boys, who are needed to make an expensive family film a success. "We did not want to be put in a box," said Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, explaining the reason for the name change. "So

Women's History Month: International Women's Day

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1911: International Women's Day is first celebrated in Europe. It will receive official UN recognition in 1975.* This post originally appeared at the AWEARNESS blog. Happy International Women's Day! Over the past 18 months I've written for AWEARNESS, I've written a lot about women's rights . For International Women's Day Gender Across Borders wants to know what "equal rights for all" means to me. Equal rights for me means just that, equal rights. As a human being with two X chromosomes I should have the same access to education, jobs and safety as humans with only one X chromosome. That access goes far beyond any city, state or national border too. My activism is rooted in my early education of human rights though working with Amnesty International. The U.S. Congress could pass every law feminists could think of, every judge could believe women when they ask for protection against violence and th

Women's History Month: Weekend in DC

The weekend's Women's History Tidbits: March 5, 1974: Reporter Helen Thomas becomes UPI Whie House buraeu chief* March 6, 1937: Pearl Buck dies. ** March 7, 1938: Race driver Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500 (1977), is born in Iowa City.* As noted last week, I was in Washington, DC over the weekend. I had a grantee meeting and then the rest of the family showed up to take in the sights. My partner & I love DC. We always feel like we're going home when we go there. It's familiar and still takes our breath away. Althou navigating the Metro is still a learning process for one of us. *glare* But we are having a great time trying to instill that love to the kid. While she did get bored walking everywhere, she had a blast at the Air & Space Museum. She made sure we saw Amelia Earhart's plane. She made sure, I didn't remind her, heck, I forgot about Amelia! I'm such a sucker for astronauts that plain old plane pilots

Women's History Month: My history

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1933: President Franklin Roosevelt nominates Frances Perkins as US Sectretary of labor. The first woman in the cabinet, she will serve 12 years and will be the primary figure behind the Social Security Act of 1935. Today I'm in Washington, DC for a NSF grantee meeting. But my great-aunt (my mom's aunt) lives in the area and we're getting together for dinner. I haven't seen her since my mom & I visited San Antonio just before my mom's uncle passed away in 1997. Yeah, a long time. While I'm excited to see her again and at least one of my mom's cousins, I'm also excited to gain possession of a few pictures of my Grandma and some family history. My great-aunt's daughter let me know that she has been doing family tree stuff and would send that info on with her mom. She sent me a preview of the information the other day that I'm still digesting. I won't go into everything, but let me say that whil

Women's History Month: Association for Research on Mothering

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1962: Track and field champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee is born in East St. Louis, IL.* The Association for Research on Mothering is an organization which I've admired from afar. I failed to ante up the membership dues because I felt they were a bit steep for my pocketbook. The Association for Research on Mothering (ARM), founded in 1998, is the first international feminist organization devoted specifically to the topic of mothering-motherhood. Our mandate is to provide a forum for the discussion and dissemination of research on motherhood and to establish a community of individuals and institutions working and researching in the area of mothering and motherhood.  And because York University won't support their work anymore, ARM is closing on May 1, 2010. Talk about a May Day for mothers worldwide.  ARM does some great work on behalf of mothering and mothers everywhere. I reviewed Feminist Mothering almost a year ago.  I've sub

Book Review: Getting Real Edited by Melinda Tankard Reist

Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls edited by Melinda Tankard Reist is a collection of essays/charges against the world-wide phenomena of the pornification of childhood thru advertising, marketing and pop culture. This was a great book to read as the authors are Australian and sometimes I wonder how much of our collective reaction to porn and adult images going mainstream is a reflection of our country's Puritanical leanings. For the contributors to Getting Real , the problem is embedded in not just faux-feminism, but a twisting of feminism by marketers and others to make women believe that if they are "in charge" of their sexuality, then there isn't anything wrong with stripping, making out with other women to turn on men and so forth. About half way thru the book I came across a few statements that made me think, "Wait a minute...This isn't a feminist book!" So I did some investigating of Reist and found that she is part of a wo

Women's History Month: Support Women's Sports

Today's Women's History Tidbit: 1989: Gloria Estefan & the Miami Sound Machine receive the first star on Miami's Calle Oche Walk of Fame.*  Over the weekend I launched my latest project on Facebook. It's called "I pledge to attend one women's sporting event in 2010." Yup, it's that simple. As regular readers know, I'm an avid sports fan and a delusional Cubs fan. I played softball in high school, played volleyball & ran track in middle school and played one year of Little League baseball. I still tease my husband that he got lucky because I don't mind when ESPN is on. During the Winter Olympics, women athletes were garnering a lot of media attention, but don't they always during the run up to and thru the Olympics? But what happens afterward? It's like a vacuum comes and sucks all the energy and love for women athletes away. So how can we try to sustain that love? Then one morning on the way to work the Goddess spoke t

Women's History Month: Chicago Calendars

I really, really want to blog every single day this month! In honor of March 1, 2010, I will point you to all the Chicago area Women's History Month calendars I can get my grubby hands on. If you know one I missed, just let me know & I'll add it. UIC Women's Hertitage Month Chicago Public Libraries   Oakton Community College   Evanston Public Library Concordia-Chicago Gannon Center for Women and Leadership (Loyola) Northern Illinois University Chicago Women's Day Women in Journalism : Saturday, March 6, 11:45 am, Elizabeth Brackett, correspondent for Chicago Tonight and PBS NewsHour. Sponsored by North Shore Leagues of Women Voters. The Glen Club, 2901 West Lake Avenue, Glenview. Information: 847-866-7844 To find out more about Women's History Month, head on over to the National Women's History Project.