Category Archives: Of Women

About and For Women

Abortion and Political Football – by Deborah Levine

(Originally appeared in The Chattanooga Times Free Press)

I hate the idea of abortion. I hate everything about it and I know I have plenty of company. No one has warm fuzzy thoughts about abortion. Whether you’re pro or anti-abortion, the term evokes pain and suffering as well as sorrow and mourning, Abortion has been a political football for as long as I remember, but the game has become more intense than ever.

Abortion was just a whisper in high school back in the sixties when a friend got pregnant at sixteen. She had the baby, dropped out of school, and never returned. It wasn’t an uncommon story since Roe vs. Wade didn’t became law until 1973. Birth control pills weren’t even a whisper because while legal in 1965, it was only for married couples. Unmarried women weren’t allowed to purchase birth control until 1972, another seven years.

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Stopping Sex Bias on Wikipedia – By David B. Grinberg

International Women’s Day was March 8. 
Women’s History Month ended March 31. 
Equal Pay Day was April 2.

Yet Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia, continues to marginalize women on its English language pages and among its staff. This conclusion is not theoretical but unequivocal. It’s based on academic studies, public statistics and anecdotal evidence.

Wikipedia’s data is daunting, according to the Wikidata Human Gender Indicator.
To wit:

• Less than 18% of 1.6 million English Wikipedia bios are about women, up from 15% in 2014.

• Put another way: of about 1,615,000 bio pages, fewer than 300,000 are about women.

• Meanwhile, men account for about 90% of all English Wikipedia’s volunteer editors.

Wikipedia’s brand image is more reflective of 1920s paternalism than 21st century modernism. The San Francisco-based nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees Wikipedia, has a noble mission: Democratize the free flow of information and knowledge to diverse populations worldwide.

But is English Wikipedia practicing what it preaches?

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 Sadie Hawkins Day: An Example of Cultural Delusion – by Eileen Meagher

Sadie Hawkins Day!  I didn’t know anything about it. The vibrations though with which the name permeates our culture and whatever the holiday celebrates have always seemed a wee bit strange and but also lighthearted.  It is celebrated on November 13th and since today is November 13th I feel oddly compelled to inform myself of the wisdom or lack of wisdom passed on by this “Holiday.” It would appear to be a very American holiday, but the Scots and my Irish ancestors might argue with that since they celebrate something comparable on February 29th called of course “Leap Year.” But that is another story!

The Sadie Hawkins Story

The American story is that Al Capp, a famous and brilliant cartoon artist of the last century,3 depicted in his daily cartoon, Lil Abner, the trials and tribulations of a hillbilly town called Dogpatch.  The most powerful and the richest man in Dogpatch was named Hezekiah Hawkins who had a daughter named Sadie and at the advanced age of 35 she had not married.  Sadie was also “the homeliest gal in all them hills” and her father was scared that she would spend her life at home as a spinster, a terrible and humiliating fate for any woman in Dogpatch.

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Fiona Citkin: Women Immigrants’ Success in the US

Fiona Citkin is Managing Director of Expert MS Inc. Originally a professional educator from Ukraine, Fiona came to America as a Fulbright Scholar studying languages and cultures. She holds 2 doctorates, speaks 3 languages, and has published several books,  including the award-winning Transformational Diversity. For her latest book, How They Made It in America , she interviewed 100 immigrant women and profiled 18 of them in this book.

CLICK below to hear her podcast…

Gritty Women – by Dr. Deborah Levin

By default, women famous for their accomplishments are highlighted throughout Women’s History Month.  Society looks to prominent women as role models exemplifying idealistic aspirations of achievement.  Often, their humble beginnings are overlooked as emphasis is placed on successes and outcomes.  With few exceptions, famous women did not begin their lives as famous people.  Their experiences, family upbringing, life-learnings, challenges, and accomplishments cultivated into opportunities at the right time.  Famous women made history by taking action.  One should never assume history is past tense.  History continues evolving and growing organically, providing new opportunities to add accomplishments.

Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, explains extremely successful individuals demonstrate unusually high levels of resiliency and hard work.  These individuals have an intrinsic understanding of their desired goals and are determined to achieve them.  Gritty people combine hard work, resiliency, and drive with a sense of direction.

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Ordinary Women Accomplishing Extraordinary Things – by Dr. Cynthia R. Jackson

Ordinary women with extraordinary backgrounds have a diverse lifestyle to achieve astonishing things in life. Women’s History Month pay tribute to these illustrious, ordinary women. Most ordinary women intentionally seek everyday activities and experiences that are diverse and have impactful outcomes. I am an ordinary woman with extraordinary accomplishments. I grew up in the slum area of inner-city Houston, Texas, but still had the determination and resilience to graduate high school with honors, the top 10 of my class.  Thereafter, I pursued and obtained my Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Houston.  I was the first member of my entire family to attend college.

I enlisted into the military as an active duty Army soldier, truck driver (18-wheelers and 5-ton vehicles). While on active duty, I pursued and obtained my Master of Arts in Education and Doctor of Educational Leadership. After transitioning from the military, I became a Department of Defense high school physics and chemistry teacher, while obtaining a Master of Divinity degree in Biblical Studies. I have a diverse educational and professional background, as an ordinary woman, accomplishing extraordinary things in life.

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How to Balance Your Day as a Mom and an Entrepreneur – by Rae Steinbach

Starting your own business is hard work. It’s even harder when you’re a mother. Finding the time to grow your business while also raising children is an intimidating task. If you’re looking to generate a business plan that focuses on coworking ideas, an on-demand product, or simply selling products over the internet, it may seem like you simply don’t have the time when you’re also focused on raising your children.
However, it’s certainly not impossible. Many women in your situation have gone on to become successful entrepreneurs. They simply knew how to manage their time effectively.
These tips will help you do the same. If you’re trying to balance the responsibilities of being a mom and a business owner, keep them in mind.

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Seeing Beyond the Label: Patriarchy – by Sharon Riegie Maynard

What we are facing in the United States, and really throughout the world, is a crisis in consciousness, a clash of value systems. Values are that which one believes. Values are the impetus for thoughts, attitudes, and actions and yet we seldom have conversations about the underlying reasons for the actions and cultures. It was over 20 years ago that Paul H. Ray created a platform to gather information as to the values held by the citizens within the U.S. This research study, which has been repeated several times, hold some key information to conversations around the problems being seen.

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Working from Home: A Game Changer – by Elaine Spector

After over 21 years of working in an office, I finally had the opportunity to take a leap of faith to work from home. Many people have questioned me about the move, and how I am fairing. My response is simple: “It is a game changer.”

Like many Americans, I’ve spent a majority of my working life in a brick and mortar office. On a typical morning, I would take a quick shower, eat a hurried breakfast, and dash to my car in a futile attempt to beat the traffic. I have been in the law practice for 21 years, most of which were spent living and working in Washington, D.C.- a city notorious for its congestion. After a move to Baltimore, I continued to commute to D.C. for seven excruciating years.

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Moving on from Just One Woman – by Deborah Levine

NOTE: Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

There’s a spotlight today on the women attempting to transform longtime invisibility into success, money, and power. How’s that working for us? There’s been a disappointing 25% decrease in the number of women CEOs in the Fortune 500 in the past year. Several corporate women CEOs earn as much, and sometimes more, than their male counterparts including Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, Debra Cafaro, CEO of real estate investment trust Ventas, and Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors. Unfortunately, women make up only 5% of CEOs in the Fortune 500. Astonishingly, only one Fortune 500 company has both a woman CEO and a woman chair of its Board of Directors. Just one.

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