What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What Have The Parties Done For You Lately?

Cynthia Ruccia

Hope everyone's had a GREAT holiday so far!!!!  All of this time off has gotten me thinking about things, and I've decided to close out 2011 with one more post. So here's my question to you------what have the parties done for women lately?

If you're a Democrat, you'll immediately say that the Lily Ledbetter Act was passed 3 years ago. And you might even mention that we now have a third of the Supreme Court justices that are women. And if you're a Republican, you'll probably remind us that 2010 was a real renaissance in the Republican Party when so many more Republican women than ever were elected.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Holidays To All!!!!!

Cynthia Ruccia

I just want to wish everyone a happy holiday!!! I'm taking a break for the holidays, but I'm looking forward to continuing our conversation about how to get women parity at the top in the new year!! It's been a weird year for women, this 2011. We've seen too much sexism in all of the wrong ways and places, but we've also seen women doing amazing things from a 62 year old Diana Nyad continuing to try to do an  historic swim with a never say die attitude, to a Hillary Clinton effort to get women in all countries involved in public service at the highest levels, to Michele Bachmann running for president and fighting tooth and nail to make a comeback.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Feminists Have Become Anything But Progressive

Cynthia Ruccia

What will it take for people to stop looking back when it comes to women's progress? As a country we are stuck in a time warp of old assumptions that have completely gridlocked women's upward mobility. It's so bizarre!! People continue to assume that women are so far ahead and that we live just a step away from a feminist paradise because we have made so much progress.

It is a pile of garbage to buy into that idea. Yes we have made progress from the 1950's--------women now live a life that women back then could only dream about. Fine. Pat yourselves on the back for taking a leap forward. But a 60 + year victory lap? How lazy can you get!!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Still Can't Get Excited About 2012

Cynthia Ruccia

Well, the picture says it all about how I'm feeling about the 2012 elections---------it's just one big yawn. The presidential election season feels like a chess game where I already know all of the moves. 2008 destroyed my enthusiasm for any other election it seems. Not to belabor the point, but my hopes in 2008 were raised in such a way that any presidential election from now on without at least several women in the running will just seem BORING.

Apparently our little experiment in 2008 with a woman running for the top slot was just too much for the culture to bear and as it stands right now, the one woman currently in the hunt has lost her steam and can't seem to get her mojo back.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Little Flag Waving

Cynthia Ruccia

Animated American flag with glitter free 4th of July clipart image, click for an alt size of this patriotic American clip art glitter flag graphic

I'm going to depart from my usual topic of women's parity to do some flag waving. I've been pretty disheartened by the talk of imminent calamity facing our country and I'd like to offer up an alternate narrative.

Yes we are in a recession. Yes it is the worse recession many of us have faced. But let's face it------most of us have lived in unprecedented good times, and many of us wouldn't really know hardship if it hit us in the nose. You can study the statistics and paint a story of our country finally facing its twilight days as a first rate power. Lots of people are doing just that. I've lived through five recessions as an adult, and every single time people have talked about the fact that we are facing the end just like the downfall of the Roman Empire. One party claims the other party is fiddling as Rome burns.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Women Who Should Be President

Cynthia Ruccia

Today I'm writing about some newsworthy events in the lives of two women who should be Presidents of the United States. And in a different era, they would be recognized for the content of their character and not have the subliminal (and not so subliminal) sexism thrown in to roadblock them. Our country would be greatly served by having these women at the helm of leadership. They have both been proven leaders all of their lives having both their careers capped off by stints as U.S. Secretary of State. I am sad every day that these women aren't my presidents.

First of all, let me begin with Hillary Clinton. I still wish she'd run for President again, naive as it sounds. I am aware of the difficult thicket of politics that she would have to negotiate to go at it again. I am aware that if she waits she will be 69 years old in 2016, and if Obama loses the 2012 election (and anything could happen no matter what you think about the Republican field at this moment), the path to a Hillary Clinton presidency looks impossible. But in U.S. politics (and in life) anything is possible. So a part of me continues to hope.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Women's Parity-----It Won't "Just Happen"

Cynthia Ruccia

I've heard it repeated too many times that women are getting ahead these days and that as a result it can be assumed that it is just a matter of time before our vision of women's economic parity becomes a reality. The idea is that we are on a glide path to parity and we can just sit back and wait because the result is inevitable. I get totally exasperated when I hear this kind of thinking because although I would love for it to be true, I just can't go along with it.

In this Harvard Business Review piece, Anne Kreamer, a woman who knows a thing or two about breaking a few glass ceilings having been the Executive VP of Nickolodeon and Nick at Night, asserts that it is just a matter of evolution that women will soon be running things as soon as the current crop of men at the top retires.

These kinds of assertions are always based on three factoids:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Feminism and its Persistent Blind Spot

Cynthia Ruccia

Not to belabor the point, but I am still stuck on the current blindness of feminism. I know, I know. You might think that at this point I would just GET OVER IT, "it" being my sense of betrayal of the women's movement to its own message. Many are tired of the harping on this hypocrisy. Some are tired because they are so profoundly unhappy about it that they have dismissed the whole issue because it seems too big to fix, too intractable to ever change, too much patriarchal history. Can't say I blame them-------it is almost too huge to contemplate when looked at from that prism. Sigh----I get that. I mean thousands of years of women getting the short end of the stick, it would seem impossible for any of us to make a difference.

But I think that what keeps me going right now are all of those women (and men) who approach this hypocrisy from a peculiar blindness. These folks are choosing not to see the problem at all. Oh, I don't mean the problem of women's inequality. That problem is obvious. Just check out the stats in the right column. Without question, women haven't achieved equality or parity. The numbers are practically indisputable.

No, the blindness that keeps me going is the blindness that refuses to see how diminished the concept of feminism has become, and how that diminishment has totally roadblocked any efforts for women to get ahead. I define getting ahead by those stats in the right column. Weren't we women supposed to start running a proportionate share of things at some point?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Not Feeling Too Excited........

Cynthia Ruccia

I just haven't had much to write about lately. And since I'm about to write some nice things about Sarah Palin I have to brace myself for the following:

1) I will lose Facebook friends
2) our Facebook Women Win Too site will lose a few likes
3) I will open myself up for being called a dumb ass and worse
4) I will be accused by some dimwits of setting back the entire course of women's rights for the rest of time by saying something nice about Sarah Palin

Sigh------it is all just so TIRESOME. And actually, it has become BORING. People who like Palin for any reason whatsoever will get stereotyped by the very people and forces that make it so very difficult for women to run for office. And let me be clear-----those forces are alive and well on both sides of the aisle. People on the left have martyred Sarah Palin and her ilk, and people on the right have done the same for any woman on the left who dares stand up and thinks she can be a power player. And truth be told, people on the left do it to the women on the left (Hillary Clinton anyone?), and people on the right do it to women on the right (Sarah Palin or whomever-----take your pick).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Calling Out Some BLATANT Sexism

Cynthia Ruccia

On this blog, I am always encouraging everyone to speak up whenever something sexist is said. The idea is that if we call out sexism aggressively wherever and whenever we find it, we can help restore the sense of shame people should feel for promoting sexism in the first place. It would be an interesting piece to write to put forth the reasons why we don't spend more time speaking up, but today I am just going to put my money where my mouth is and call out a nasty piece of sexism.

On the op-ed page of my hometown paper, The Columbus (OH) Dispatch, there was this column by a New York Times writer Frank Bruni entitled "Culture of Political Gossip Limits Candidate Pool."  Mr. Bruni has had a distinguished career as a writer, and you can read his bio here. He spent a long stretch from 2004 until recently as a food critic, and I'm thinking that he either grew out of touch with the mainstream while chowing down, or he's just been blinded by the old boys club way of looking at women. I'm guessing more of the latter than the former. Whatever.......

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Two Steps Forward-----Two Steps Back

Cynthia Ruccia

For me, this past week has been fascinating in its extremes. On the one hand, we saw a huge leap forward for women, something to celebrate and feel enormous pride. On the other hand, we saw some of the same shameful sexist hijinks that truly are getting old and need to stop. Really!!! Let me explain.....

On the bursting with elation front, we saw a first in the history of the world. President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil became the first woman to open the debate at the U.N. General Assembly. She used the occasion to champion women calling the 21st century the "women's century" and trumpeting women's economic equality as the key to prosperity. Here's a transcript of her speech. The only thing better than women being in charge is women using their platform to uplift other women. Although women have had a mixed record of bringing other women into the executive suite, it is so frigging awesome to see what happens when things go right on that accord, and this week gave us a potent example of how the world could be if women ran things in proportion to their numbers. So everyone take a victory lap on behalf of President Rousseff's magnificent historic moment. Let's shout, sing, and dance in advance of President Rousseff's forecast, that women will finally be able to take their rightful place in the 21st century, and that such fabulous events as hers will become boringly routine.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just Who Speaks For Women These Days Anyway?

Cynthia Ruccia

Today's post has been floating around in my mind for awhile------I just didn't know it!! What prompted my awareness was this article on Politico.com entitled "No Criticism From Women's Groups" by Ben Smith which reported on the remarks by Anita Dunn in the new book by Ron Suskind. In it, Dunn and other women who have left the Obama administration talk about a hostile work environment for women in the Obama administration. Smith turned to various women's groups to comment and NO ONE was willing to say anything. Not one of FIVE women's groups deigned to comment on such an allegation. Not the National Organization for Women, Emily's List, Women's Campaign Forum, Women's Media Center, nor the Susan B. Anthony List. NONE of them. If these groups aren't willing to discuss an important issue such as whether our current president has fostered a difficult working environment for women AS REPORTED BY THE WOMEN WHO WORK THERE, just who are these groups and why does anyone bother going to them to give a quote representing women's points of view?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Female Equality Matters

guest post by Kathlene Mullens

The Glass Ceiling isn't a woman's problem. It's an everyone problem. Women are filling over half of jobs these days, more and more households are headed by women, still more are co-led by women, and all children are born to women (with many having fathers involved as well). This makes the not-improving reality of the gender-based wage gap a problem for every child ever born in this country as fewer dollars in mom's pocket are fewer dollars for the child and the rest of the family, whatever form that family takes.

That's a pretty profound problem.

Many laws and regulations fill the books demanding that groups like Federal contractors- who do billions of dollars of work for the United States Government each year- achieve gender parity in advancement, pay, hiring and subcontracting. After being in place for decades, these rules have had ample runway to be implemented and are still far from where they should be. These firms can figure out massively challenging problems like "how can we build a smart bomb" but simple things like "how can we advance the women in our workforce and pay them fairly" seem elude some of them. Laws are not getting us where we need to be, nor are regulatory bodies. Lawsuits are giving some one-off victories here and there. Even the Federal Government has been unable to achieve a state in which women have parity in pay and percentage of leadership roles. Given the failures of so many efforts in this space, I fully support leaving these measures in place and working to enhance their effectiveness but recognize that there has to be a better way.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"She Will Have a Hard Time Winning...
Because She's a Woman"

Cynthia Ruccia

While I was on my elliptical this morning with Morning Joe on the tube, I heard these words slip out of someone's mouth during a discussion about Elizabeth Warren's chances of beating Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race in 2012. WTF???? Will it never end?

As I got to thinking about it, I realized that at least it was better than saying "she's too shrill," or "she's too divisive," or "she's way out there," or whatever the code words are these days that one uses to minimize women. At least these men talking about Elizabeth Warren are just telling the truth-------women DO have a harder time getting elected. As the statistics in most of my pieces always mention, women hold less than 20% of the federal legislative seats, 24% of the state legislative seats, etc. You can check out the stats and their links over in the right column under the 2008 sexism videos. But these are the same men that are IN THOSE SAME VIDEOS who were promoting the noxious sexism of the 2008 campaign-----the same people calling day after day for Hillary to quit, who giggle incessantly over Sarah Palin while they imply that she's a ditz, etc. You can watch those videos too. The sexism of MSNBC is a subject for another day.

Monday, September 12, 2011

How About We Make These Presidential Candidates Work Harder For Women's Votes?

Cynthia Ruccia

As this presidential season progresses, I am noticing more and more that we women are not exactly asking for anything from our politicians that would actually help us break the persistent glass ceilings that we women confront on a daily basis. There are alot of reasons for this state of affairs which I have outlined in other pieces. But for sure, if we are going to vote for these presidential contenders, I believe we ought to make them work a little harder for our votes than we are making them work. So why aren't we demanding more?

First of all, as I wrote in this piece, Women's Rights Are Held Hostage to Party Rhetoric, we women have had the same old agendas for 30 years that we have presented to our politicians. That agenda has revolved around the abortion issue (which I have also written about in Taking On The Third Rail Of Feminism), and that issue has grown to represent something else entirely to our politicians. I don't need to go into the ways that the Republicans and the Democrats tend to be different on that subject. The problem is that whatever side you take on the issue, as long as the politicians talk the talk, we don't make them walk the walk. What that means is that if what they say sounds good to us, we vote for them. But when it comes time to do something about the issues the we have deemed "women's issues" nothing ever gets done.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Labor Day Wish For Women

Cynthia Ruccia

happy labor day

I hope you're having a restful Labor Day weekend. I've been walking and thinking alot about Labor Day this year and what the day means for women. This whole line of thought started with a friend of mine challenging me to consider all of the women who are not engaged in the type of career I am. I am very lucky to be an Independent Senior Sales Director with Mary Kay for 27 years. After spending 15 years as a musician, I decided to go this route so I could make great money, stay at home with my children, and help other women make some of their dreams come true. It has been the perfect combination of factors for me, appealing to all of my professional needs. I have felt very fortunate every single day to be part of a great company that allows me to make a living, put my family first, and appeal to my desire to help women lift themselves up by their bootstraps in a very negative, sexist working world. Oh sure, I've had to put up with the naysayers who don't think this kind of work is remunerative. I have been accused of being in a cult and am always having to answer questions about why my work isn't just a big scam. But once I explain to people that I have won 15 pink Cadillacs, put my children through college, and helped other women to do the same, they shut up and learn a thing or two about this corner of the working world.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Did Someone on MSNBC Defend Michele Bachmann?

Cynthia Ruccia

OMG!!! Will wonders never cease? This one goes under the category of "even a blind squirrel gets an acorn every once in awhile!!" I must confess to those of you who know me that, OK----true confessions here (I am SO embarrassed!!!)----------I WATCH MSNBC IN THE MORNING (Morning Joe) while I'm working out!! There, I've said it!! And please don't love or hate me for it.

MSNBC and Fox and I have a special relationship. When I was your run-of-the-mill Democrat of 40 years standing, I really loved MSNBC. I felt it was like home base. They said everything I wanted to hear, and I thought it was high time that there was a lefty opinion station for people like me. I'd work out and watch---perfect combination. But as we were leading up to the 2008 presidential race, I underwent my metamorphosis (see the details of that metamorphosis here), and the more that station revealed how sexist it was (see youtubes to the right of the columns for proof of that statement), the more I was too enraged to watch MSNBC anymore. It was too much adrenaline to get a decent workout---I was just furious all of the time. MSNBC was (and still is in my book) one of the biggest purveyors of misogyny around. I just can't stand it!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why No One Listens To The Feminists Anymore

Cynthia Ruccia

The short answer? Because they're fighting the last war instead of the current war. I keep hearing military critics and historians say that one persistent problem is that we always fight the next war using the lessons of the last war and that we make alot of mistakes because of that.

The longer answer is a matter of how the movement itself has become a parody of itself, a shameful parody of what it purported to be. I read this toxic piece of garbage from the longtime, respected feminist writer Katha Pollitt and to me it embodies everything that has gone wrong with feminism.

I came of age during the formation of the second wave feminist movement of the late 60's and early 70's. I went to Barnard College at Columbia University starting in 1970, a school which was a hotbed of liberal and radical thinking and a place where much of the political fomenting of the age was occurring. I had already been deeply politically involved, and it was natural for me to have fallen hard into the women's movement as it was developing at the time. You can read more about that in my last post. I came to revere the Gloria Steinems and the Betty Friedans and the other heroines of the time. We were going to live a life that our mothers and grandmothers could only dream of if they could bring themselves to even think like that. And together we women linked arms and willed in a new era of opportunity for women, equal opportunity. A world where women would have the same opportunities to make a great living, go to school and study whatever profession we wanted, have legal protections against crimes against us. We were going to hold at least 50% of the CEO positions, 50% of the legislative positions, and we were going to elect a female president of the United States. At least that was what I thought was going on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why I Did What I Did in 2008--A Look Back

Cynthia Ruccia

As we embark on a new presidential campaign season, and as all of the calls for Hillary Clinton to run again grow louder with each passing day, I find myself reflecting back to the unbelievable life-changing experience I and so many others had in 2008. I thought it might not be a bad idea to revisit the path that brought us where we are today to better understand how to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead in the days and months to come. And enough time has passed to put some perspective on how the events of 2008 turned so many diehard Democrats into Independents, Republicans, etc. I still look back in wonder how the unbelievable happened to me, a person married "til death do us part" to the Democrats, a person who wasn't just a supporter but an activist, a candidate, a paid political consultant, an elected central and executive committee member, a prolific fundraiser, a supporter of all things Democrat, a person who wouldn't even allow my children to buy non-UAW made cars, who ended up leaving the party in disgust. I know many of you will see yourselves in my story.

If there is anyone reading this story who chooses to resort to knee jerk name-calling, you are missing an important opportunity to expand your thinking a little bit. If you want to start in with the "racist," "bitter old woman," "get over it you lost," kinds of labels, we've been called all of that and more in an effort to shut us up. It didn't work then and it won't work now. And if you are someone who assumes that if I don't sound the platitudes and mantras of the left than I am a creature of the right, you have a rigid mind that might benefit from taking a deep breath and trying to hear what is actually being said. It is a cautionary tale with important lessons that we can all learn.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Parity At Last---At Least On This Fall's TV Schedule

Cynthia Ruccia

I woke up today to see in my local paper, The Columbus Dispatch, a front page link to an article from the Contra Costa (Calif) Times about how more than half of the new Fall shows on the networks revolve around a female lead!! Something to celebrate!! Oh I suppose we could grouse about the portrayals in some of these shows such as the one about the Playboy Clubs and other such 50's themed shows. But maybe it isn't such a bad idea to show a new generation what it was like for women before the second wave feminists had their say.

Also, according to the article, more female-themed shows mean more women employed not only in front of the camera but also behind the camera. It's also a long way from the barely nuanced performances of women from not long ago. So although it isn't perfect (see the previous post about a discussion of perfection), it's a milestone all the same!!

Here's the link to the article.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Any Woman---Just Not THAT Woman

Cynthia Ruccia

I wrote a post the other day when Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll that caused quite a stir. Although alot of people agreed with me in concept, I also received vile, vitriolic responses laden with violence, character assassination, and frankly, the worst responses that human beings can conjure up. It was quite a display of the dark side of the human character.

Before we go any further to those of you who haven't read much of my stuff before, please note carefully and absorb what I am about to say-----THIS IS NOT A PIECE ABOUT MICHELE BACHMANN. THIS IS NOT A PIECE SUPPORTING MICHELE BACHMANN. OK? For those of you who viscerally HATE Michele Bachmann, I want to make that perfectly clear. For those of you who strongly disagree with Michele Bachmann, please note one more time---THIS PIECE IS NOT A PIECE IN SUPPORT OF MICHELE BACHMANN. OK everyone? I say this a couple of times because if you're one of those who hate or just don't like Bachmann, I'd still like you to be part of this conversation and not close your mind just yet.

My real point today is I keep asking myself why it is that we demand a level of perfection from our female candidates that we don't demand from the male candidates? We do, IMHO, elect flawed men to office all of the time. We may not like what these men stand for, but there is a level of acceptance about these men that somehow we are able to live with them in office, leading companies, etc. that we don't afford to women. For many, women just have to be, well, perfect in every way or they're not worth anything. I want to take issue with that whole idea today.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Trouble in the Sisterhood

Cynthia Ruccia

As we 21st century feminists continue to redefine what feminism is and what we need to do to finish breaking all of those glass ceilings, I am continually confronted by one ugly truism----------and that is that we women are often our own worst enemy. How we got to be this way can be difficult to define, but I'm going to take a stab at it.

First and most importantly, we women often have a very hard time celebrating other women's success. We just get flat out jealous. I consider this jealousy thing partly to be human nature. However, the bigger part is that women have to share a smaller piece of the power pie. By this I mean that since men run practically everything, they hold most of the power pie. They get to choose which women they will give a small slice to, and as a result lots of great women don't get a chance to partake. As a result it leaves us in the position of fighting over what little share we get and resenting the "chosen" female. It seems to me that if we women worked together to gain parity, many of our problems would just go away. In truth, if the pie equals 100 parts, and women have 50 parts of it, we wouldn't be fighting over the 1 or 2 pieces of it. We'd have absorbed the fact that since lots of us can participate, we would have much more room to maneuver and lots fewer reasons to be jealous. Seems simple to me. But it is a huge problem.  

Michele Bachmann Kicks Ass!!!!

Cynthia Ruccia

I am jumping up and down unable to contain the glee in my heart tonight having just learned that Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll. And I noticed that not everyone is jumping up and down with me. "What are you thinking?" some of you are saying to me with a look of total disbelief on your faces. "Michele Bachmann?------C'mon Cynthia----have you lost your friggin' mind?"

Noooooooooooo, I have not lost my mind. I am absolutely thrilled that Bachmann won tonight, and you should be too. Now I'm asking those of you who don't understand my point of view to please give me the courtesy of hearing me out. If you can't hear me out then you must be happy that the United States ranks #70 in the world in female representation in government. You must also be thrilled that we women hold 2.7% of the CEO positions in the Fortune 1000. You are definitely bursting with pride that we hold 24% of state legislative seats and only 6 governorships, that we hold 20% of senior management positions and that there are more companies than ever that have no women in senior management positions. If those statistics make you happy, knock yourself out celebrating them.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Abortion & 21st Century Thinking

Anna Belle

Last week Cynthia wrote a brave piece on abortion, which she referred to as the third rail of feminism. This is an apt metaphor. As with the "third rail" of a railway train, the third rail of feminism is electrifying and potentially fatal. But if we carry this analogy one step further, we can begin to see our way to thinking about the topic of abortion from a 21st century perspective. Instead of being bystanders stumbling upon the third rail and getting burned, as the metaphor is usually interpreted, we can see it from the perspective of the inventor or technician, who understands the value of the rail, and works to keep it a safe, useful, and functioning part of our society. To make this transition, we need to rethink what we've been told and what we've chosen to accept about abortion in America today.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

21st Century Feminism----A Call to Action

Cynthia Ruccia

We women's rights and women's equality supporters have a golden opportunity right in front of us these days. I've been writing about it for several years now in a wide variety of venues, and I've decided it's time for us to act. The action right now is phase 1, the first step in our march towards finally achieving the kind of economic and power parity we have longed for and has eluded us.

If you've read my stuff, clearly you will understand that I am not advocating a legislative solution. If we start acting by demanding that new laws be passed, we're going to gain absolutely nothing but derision, and we will end up in the same stalled place we are right now. In my piece Women Are Held Hostage By Party Rhetoric, and also in pieces about sexism from the left and sexism from the right, it is pretty clear that going the legislative route will cause the left and right to take up their positions throwing tomatoes at one another, and our intent will get chewed up in a partisan brouhaha. Worse, say we do put a piece of legislation out there, it could get repeatedly tabled while "more important things" are dealt with. As long as a piece of legislation has been drafted and submitted, it becomes a great thing for people to hide behind saying that they're working on women's stuff while doing absolutely nothing and blaming the inaction on the other side. Taking that approach would be insanity-----it has rarely worked in our favor of late.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Shout-out To The Men

Cynthia Ruccia

I'm not writing a long post today, but it's going to be sincere and heartfelt. I want to recognize the many, many men who support women's economic and power parity. Our movement has been mischaracterized as being populated by a bunch of man-haters. We've often been accused of alienating men who want to fight on our side. At the very least, we treat the men in this struggle as minimal allies, as people who need to just get out of the way and if they can live with that mini status, then they can join us.

I'm here to say today that if we have given that impression, we have been wrong. It can be easy for us to minimize our male supporters because our enemies are often, well, male. The obstacles in our path are, well, mostly men.

But it would be wrong to assume that all men are the same. I'm here to tell you ladies, that that is simply NOT true. For instance, a poll was run recently that said that while 8% of men said they would never vote for a woman for president under any circumstances, 12% of the women polled said the same thing. Clearly we seem to have a bigger problem with women!!! Who'd have thought that?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Taking on the Third Rail of Feminism

Cynthia Ruccia

I'm taking on the hottest topic in feminism-land. Everyone's afraid to talk about it and to face it head-on, but hey, SOMEONE has to do it, and I'm either just brave enough or stupid enough to do it. How badly will I get burned? Not at all I believe because if this topic isn't addressed, we women will get to spend the next 30 years the way we've spent the last 30 years and that is making 75% of what men make for the same work, ranking 70th in the world for female representation in government, holding 2.7% of the CEO positions, and holding around 24% of state legislative positions and 6 governorships out of 50. You call this equality? We are around 51% of the population, and you say we'll get there eventually? At this rate maybe by 2500 women will make what men make, and all of the other things will be equalized. Maybe.

There have been many things written about why women are in this state. Some people blame it on the Mommy track, others say it is because women don't speak up enough for themselves. I could go on and on about the theory of the day. They probably all have grains of truth to them. Some people believe that the young generation will fix everything because that generation is more used to different gender roles. Could be, but I certainly don't have a crystal ball and at any rate, I'm not willing to hope I live to be one hundred to see how that all turns out.

So what's the third rail of feminism?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Other Stuff Besides The Debt Limit Carnival......

Cynthia Ruccia

Enough said about the goings on in D.C., the media, etc. right now. It is a carnival show of the largest order, and I am starting to tire of its tawdriness. Believe it or not, there are other things going on, some of which I'd like to comment on.

First of all, let's take up the case of Elizabeth Warren, the founder of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She was supposed to head up this almost-cabinet post. However, it was recently announced that her nomination was being withdrawn because she couldn't be confirmed by the Senate. Instead, another person, Richard Cordray, was nominated. Many, including myself, were enraged by this turn of events because we feel that the President should have stood up for Warren's nomination. As it stands, Cordray will run into exactly the same obstacles in the Senate as Warren had. Now how do you explain why Warren was thrown over for a man with the same problems? As Rep. Barney Frank summed it up, part of the reason was due to gender bias. But I see it as something even worse. No matter what anyone says, a case can be made that this president has been tone deaf when it comes to women's issues, and this turn of events makes that case even stronger. With women starting to leach away from Obama's base, it would be strategically important to make a stand for the Warren nomination. I believe that by not standing up and fighting for Elizabeth Warren and this nomination, President Obama showed us once again that women's advancement just doesn't matter all that much. Contrast that with our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who brings a women's rights angle into practically every trip she makes.

I have a personal vignette to add to this story. I had run for the U.S. House in 1994 and 1996, and when 2000 rolled around, the party asked me to run for county treasurer. After some time to think about it, I decided to go for it. Richard Cordray, the man that Obama has put forth in place of Elizabeth Warren, had been asked to run for county commissioner on the same ticket. He and I had a bunch of meetings to put an outline together about how we would run our campaigns together, pooling certain resources to our mutual benefit, particularly on our media campaign. At the very last minute, another candidate came forward to run for county commissioner and Cordray grabbed my spot for county treasurer without ever even discussing it with me. He just basically stole it from me and never brought it up to me ever again.

Monday, July 25, 2011

As Promised----Sexism From The Right

Cynthia Ruccia

In my previous post, I talked about the sexism coming from the left with a promise that a discussion about the sexism on the right will soon follow. I've had alot of time to ponder these two views of sexism, and I am somewhat surprised with what I can define. You see, although there is the same sexism on the right that you find on the left, it is of a much simpler variety.

The right has approached women's issues completely differently. Issues that the left calls "women's issues" have been framed on the right in a context of cultural issues rather than gender specific issues. Where the left calls abortion, for instance, a woman's issue, the right puts abortion in a basket with other cultural issues. Whereas the the left has had an agenda that it calls women specific, for the right those same issues are in a totally different context. Forgive me for sounding repetitive, but it is necessary to say it a few times to understand that the arguments being framed in these two ways makes the debate completely asymmetrical. On abortion, for instance, if one sides says it is about women having control over their own bodies and the other side says it is a moral argument about murder, where is there enough common ground to even have the debate? Thus the enduring nature of that debate because it can't be resolved on the terms that the two sides stake out. It is a lopsided asymmetrical debate. The problem for the left is that it staked its stand on women's issues on this debate where the right hasn't.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Running Up Against The Brick Wall Sexism of the Left

When I speak with my cohorts fighting the sexism battle since 2008, we always come to the same exasperating place, and that is the current blindness on the left to their hypocrisy on sexism. Now before I continue, to those who I and many others are calling out on the carpet, sexism is also present on the right. I'll address it another day. But yes, it is YOU, the people on the left, to whom I speak today.

Let me state clearly----I am NOT a conservative. I have NOT joined the Republicans. I am a proud Independent. What that means to me is that I can see the points of view of both sides without needing to marry myself to one or the other. To hear what we 21st feminists have to say, it will require thinking outside the box. To move gender parity ahead, we will need forward thinking, something that should be easy for a liberal.

However, many men and women on the left are so tied up in their ideology, much of it blindly in my humble opinion, that they are unwilling to see beyond themselves. This fact is a real tragedy since there are many smart, well educated folks on the left who are not using their intelligence to think beyond certain parameters. The leftist ideology has calcified causing creative thinking on feminism to have stopped dead in its tracks since the 80's. Let me put a couple of examples on the table.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sexism....Should We Talk About it or Not?

I want to write about something that can become an explosive topic between women and that is whether we should be talking about sexism or not. I will tell you right up front that I come from the school of thought that we must speak up or we will be trampled for sure. I believe that if we don't speak up we will forever be held back by people's prejudices and stereotypes and women's advancement will be so slow as to be almost imperceptible. I also believe that people should be ashamed for being sexist. I know that that sense of shame is there, but it is in a constant battle with the sexists who like to cruelly make fun of women. In people's "sheeple" need to go along to get along, we often let sexist remarks pass because of fear of the blowback that it brings to us.

However, that doesn't mean that the other side of this argument doesn't have its points to make. I can think of several of them and they are worth discussing. But up front let me say that if my choice is silence or going too far, going too far is the better of the two options. But since there are many shades of gray to this argument, let's explore some of them.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

All Women Win Today

When all women win all men win and all humanity wins!!!!  I'm sitting here watching the women's World Cup Finals with tears on my eyes. Yes, I could be crying because the U.S, lost. But that's not my story.

I had to work today, and all of the men in the house where I was were glued to the women's finals. When I got home, my facebook feed was all about men and women's reactions, minute by minute, to this same game. I walked into my house and my husband is screaming at the top of his lungs mesmerized by the women competing.

Yes we've seen this all before, women's soccer, women's basketball, women's tennis, women's golf. But it does appear that the critical mass of women in sports is getting truly closer to parity in a meaningful way.

Yes it's heartbreaking for our U.S. team to lose. I see the sad faces of the players. But we will avenge this loss, and when the World Cup returns in 4 years, the whole world will be watching, men and women. We women are not a curiousity. We play, we compete, and we are awesome. And the whole world knows it!!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Are We Women All In Our Own Private Bunkers?

Cynthia Ruccia

July 11, 2011

I am struck by all that I have read this week and have come to the conclusion that we women are all stuck in our own private bunkers doing the best we can in solitude. We are somehow going along, living our lives, somehow handling the pervasive sexism that surrounds us in our own singular ways in order to get by.

The news of the past week included the continuing sliming of Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, the New Yorker Magazine article about Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, the lead article in yesterday's New York Times Magazine about Sheila Bair and the continuing references to Brooksley Born, and finally the tragic but amazing story coming out this week about Jayce Dugard with a two-hour lead-in last night on ABC.

The tie-in for all of these references is that here we have in all of the cases (except Dugard-----that is a special curcumstance all its own) searing examples where the stereotyping of women has lead to not only diminishment of all of us women, but a horrible economic collapse that could possibly have been avoided had the women been listened to.

My theme here today is sexist stereotyping and the consequences when we don't stand up to it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Some Post - 4th of July Patriotism

Cynthia Ruccia
July 7th, 2011

My new daughter-in-law, Bridget Ruccia, is a brand new Second Lieutenant in the Air Force, and since my son, Michael, has brought her into our lives, I've been to a number of Air Force functions. I'm reminded at these events why being an American is so special, an emotion of patriotism that wells up in me every time. It can be so easy in the course of our daily lives to forget about our love of country. I remember feeling it as a kid so long ago. But it is important to remember as we continue to fight for what we believe in (for me these days it is women's rights, women's power, and women's parity) in a country where fighting for what we believe in is a way of life unique to the United States.

Anyway, I wanted to post this wonderful article about Bridget (and a little of Michael) from the Ohio State University Lantern to share that special feeling with you!! Be sure to watch the youtube and READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH for a surprise ending......

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Women Rights Are Held Hostage to Party Rhetoric

Cynthia Ruccia
July 5, 2011

Well, I'm baaaaaack!!! I had to take a bit of a hiatus, but I'm doing well. Thanks to everyone for your continuing good wishes and support. It has meant alot!!!

Anyways, now that the presidential campaign season is heating up, all of the endemic sexism is being exposed AGAIN. Not that it wasn't there all along mind you. It's just that at this point in our country's history, something about women being serious candidates for president seems to bring out the worst in us as Americans. The thought of a woman holding all of that power makes otherwise decent people go completely cuckoo.

It's been written about alot, all of the stereotyping-------you know, whore, witch, bitch, ditz, dangerously stupid, etc. It's a big problem, but at least Palin and Bachmann, the current possible and hopeful, have decent strategies for plowing right through it. I don't know if they will ultimately be successful in their missions, but I believe that their strategy of dealing with it head-on is much more effective than Hillary's strategy of ignoring it. That, btw, is not a partisan comment. Hillary courageously dove right in as a real pioneer and the "let the chips fall where they may" strategy was a necessary starting point. Brava to her for her iron will and steely determination!!!!