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.

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.