Do you have interesting stories you would like to share with the world? Contact Tebben Lopez who has created a new website encouraging visitors to contribute content.
“Be Cause is an e-zine presenting topics and issues to cultivate mindfulness and com/passion. The “Be” and “mindfulness” pertains to content that informs and expands our awareness of the world around us. The “Cause” and “passion” encompasses content that incites us to action, that calls us to care about and change things.
These messages are delivered through all platforms of communication by utilizing expository and creative writing, photography, video, audio, drawing, graphic design, painting, etc.
The focus is on content for and about the bettering of our world. By presenting articles, photographs, film, poetry and illustration, be cause aims to encourage a more mindful concept of the global condition and instigate biocentric passion. This includes cultural explorations and appreciations, commentary on humanitarian problems and efforts, and investigations into environmental phenomenon and concerns. To this end, topics can range from the 18th century Enlightenment influence on human rights to NGO efforts in wildlife conservation to the vanguard neuroscientific research on the health benefits of meditation.
As a concerned and passionate individuals who have something they feel needs attention, content contribution is welcome. Topics could be about something that should change or something fantastic that should be appreciated.
be cause is here offer a platform for meaningful contemplation, leading to discussion, that can change the world for the better.”
Here’s one of the stories: http://www.tebbenworld.com/be_cause/senator-hosts-talk-on-sexual-assault/
It’s a cultural marker of sorts when a major Hollywood studio buys the film rights to a self-help book, in this case Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Sony Pictures (SNE) has hired a screenwriter to fictionalize Sandberg’s tale of the lessons she learned adapting to the male-dominated world of Silicon Valley, where she’s risen to chief operating officer at Facebook (FB). The central message is an uplifting one: A killer work ethic and unflagging drive can lead to success, even if men still set the rules of engagement in the corporate world.
A less empowering, but arguably more realistic, view comes from Anne-Marie Slaughter, an international lawyer, ex-State Department official, and former dean of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. No stranger to navigating ultracompetitive work environments, Slaughter argues that women, even when they adhere to Sandberg’s advice, have a difficult time finding a balance between home and the office. The lucky few who scale the peaks of professional stature are wealthy, superhuman, or self-employed. The economic and cultural obstacles standing in the way of equal treatment for women in the workforce are formidable, in her view.
So who’s right? Both arguments are thought-provoking, yet they’re not based on hard data. The current debate over the career challenges facing women is understandably passionate and sometimes ideologically charged. Yet maybe it’s time for data analytics and rigorous social science to play a more prominent role in the conversation.
One data point everyone agrees on is that women and men face huge disparities at the office. In the U.S., female workers are still paid only 77¢ for every dollar their male colleagues make. A mere 4.2 percent of chief executive officers at Fortune 500 companies are women. To my mind, there are several possible explanations for this persistent divide.
The traditional theory about workplace inequality focuses on biology—childbearing, maternity leave, and child care hold women back. Then there are the deeply ingrained cognitive biases that rig the game in favor of men. One of Sandberg’s most interesting observations is that women and men work and collaborate differently, causing variations in career outcomes. These obstacles can be overcome, but doing so will require great effort.
To get a better read on the contrasting styles of men and women in the workplace, I’ve set out over the past year to analyze behavior and career outcomes at three different U.S. companies: a banking call center (more than 10,000 employees), an office products manufacturer (about 10,000), and a pharmaceutical company (about 1,000). A study by my data analytics firm, Sociometric Solutions, measured how people actually collaborate using sensor ID badges. The badges detect conversations and speech patterns using a combination of infrared, Bluetooth, and microphone data. (We ignored the actual content of conversations to protect privacy.) They also contain accelerometers, sensors that monitor physical movement. This data was collected on an opt-in basis and individual information was not shared. All of it was wirelessly transmitted to a base station and then on to our servers for processing.
The tags, worn for at least six weeks by each participant, tracked who interacted with whom. We also looked at e-mail, instant message, and phone call data to get a holistic view of how people were engaging with co-workers. Sociometrics is all about analyzing the patterns of relationships that connect people. In the workplace, interacting with the right people in the right way is vital. That’s why we measure social engagement, or how much people participate in a tight-knit group, and exploration, or how much people interact with different social groups. Admittedly, our three businesses do not constitute an exhaustive sample of U.S. workplaces. And the companies didn’t reveal compensation data about individual employees, though men do dominate their senior ranks. To my knowledge, however, this is the first attempt to analyze behavioral differences between men and women at different organizations using hard behavioral data.
At the call center, the one company where we have quantifiable productivity metrics, women were more productive than men, completing calls on average 24 seconds more quickly. Twenty-four seconds might not seem like much, but that adds up to a 9 percent difference in productivity. No differences in workplace performance or collaborative styles were observed at the company to support the idea that men and women perform or interact differently. Nonetheless, women were disadvantaged when it came to winning promotions and reaching the upper echelons of management.
At the pharmaceutical company my team researched, we were able to model how likely people were to get promoted based on their “exploration” scores. Once again, we found little evidence of contrasting work styles between men and women. When we examined the probability of promotion based on traits such as the ability to interact and lead other groups, there was again no significant difference between men and women. Well, to be precise, women were fractionally (0.2 percent) more likely to be promoted than men based on our model. Yet only 13 percent of top executives at the company are female despite a 50-50 gender split in the overall workforce. Lean In strategies may be great for a Harvard-educated high achiever like Sandberg; they don’t necessarily apply to all women.
What about the “maternity leave” theory? Various studies show that married and single women without children also lag behind male colleagues when it comes to pay and career advancement.
For working mothers, gender bias in hiring and recruitment exacerbates the special challenges they already face. In a 2007 study, Cornell University researchers submitted 1,276 fake résumés for real jobs listed in the classified section of a local newspaper. The résumés were equivalent when it came to educational credentials and work experience, but they varied in personal details about gender and whether or not the candidate had children.
The faux male candidates with kids were the most hirable, according to the study. Next came men and women without kids. The least desirable were women with children. Among job interviewers in the study, women were consciously (or subconsciously) punished for having a family. Subjects told researchers they viewed women as more likely than men to sacrifice work duties for family commitments. At the same time, male candidates with kids were viewed as more responsible and hence more desirable job candidates.
None of this means that Sandberg isn’t right about “leaning in” or that more equitable parental leave policies shouldn’t be encouraged. They’re clearly important to continuing the advancement of women in the workplace. But the cognitive bias is the far greater challenge. Attitudes hard-wired into the minds of men (and women) are very difficult to change. Characteristics admired in alpha male executives—boldness, decisiveness, and intensity—aren’t always valued in female ones. Conflicting attitudes about the primacy of a mother’s role in raising children complicate a woman’s career in ways most men need not worry about.
Business leaders can’t wave a magic wand and suddenly reduce societal bias. Subtle cues such as gender roles in TV shows and films will need to change. Even the language we use makes a difference. Top-Toy, the Swedish licensee of the Toys “R” Us brand, has released gender-neutral toy catalogs including such stereotype-busting examples as boys playing with ironing boards and girls having fun with gigantic Nerf guns. The state of Washington recently started rewriting laws using gender-free vocabulary, replacing “fisherman,” for example, with “fisher.”
Such efforts might seem like amusing cases of political correctness run amok or government overreach. But here’s something not so amusing: Do we really want to tolerate a business culture in which men get bonus points for being fathers and women are penalized for being mothers? Eliminating gender inequality in the workplace will require a sustained and generational effort, not unlike other civil rights movements in U.S. history. It’s all in the data.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Here are some fun facts from National Geographic! http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/11/131122-thanksgiving-2013-dinner-recipes-pilgrims-day-parade-history-facts/
Thanksgiving is almost upon us—but how much do you know about America’s favorite day to eat turkey?
Here’s the lowdown on Thanksgiving history, holiday travel, football, feasting, and more.
Thanksgiving Dinner: Recipe for Food Coma?
Key to any Thanksgiving Day menu are a fat turkey and cranberry sauce.
An estimated 254 million turkeys were raised for slaughter in the U.S. during 2012, up 2 percent from 2011′s total, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
About 46 million of those turkeys ended up on U.S. dinner tables last Thanksgiving—or about 736 million pounds (334 million kilograms) of turkey meat, according to estimates from the National Turkey Federation.
Minnesota is the United States’ top turkey-producing state, followed by North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, Indiana, and California. These “big seven” states produce more than two of every three U.S.-raised birds, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
U.S. farmers also produced an estimated 768 million pounds (348 million kilograms) of cranberries in 2012, which, like turkeys, are native to the Americas. The top producers are Wisconsin and Massachusetts.
The U.S. grew 2.6 billion pounds (1.18 billion kilograms) of sweet potatoes—many in North Carolina, Mississippi, California, and Louisiana—and produced more than 1.2 billion pounds (544 million kilograms) of pumpkins. Illinois, California, Pennsylvania, and Ohio grow the most U.S. pumpkins.
In some homes, 2013′s festivities will feature these traditional ingredients in some truly unusual recipes, thanks to the once-in-a-lifetime convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah popularly dubbed “Thanksgivukkah.”
But if you overeat at Thanksgiving dinner, there’s a price to be paid for all this plenty: the Thanksgiving “food coma.” The post-meal fatigue may be real, but the condition is giving turkeys a bad rap.
Instead, scientists blame booze, the sheer caloric size of an average feast, or just plain-old relaxing after stressful work schedules. (Take a Thanksgiving quiz.)
First Thanksgiving Menu—Pass the Passenger Pigeon?
Little is known about the first Thanksgiving dinner in Plimoth (also spelled Plymouth) Colony in October 1621, attended by some 50 English colonists and about 90 Wampanoag Native American men in what is now Massachusetts.
“We don’t have a lot of information about what was actually on that table,” said Kathleen Wall, culinarian at Plimoth Plantation.
We do know that the Wampanoag killed five deer for the feast, and that the colonists shot various types of wild fowl such as turkey, geese, ducks, quail, or passenger pigeons—which darkened the skies in the millions before going extinct a century ago. Some form, or forms, of Indian corn were also served. “This maize was a new product for them, and they were just learning how to use it,” Wall explained. “They cooked it into porridges much like modern grits.”
Wall said the feasters ate seasonally and likely supplemented their venison and birds with fish, mussels, eels, shorebirds, and nuts, as well as vegetables such as pumpkins, squash, carrots, and peas.
Like many modern holidaymakers confronting a groaning sideboard, the pilgrims were surprised by the amount and variety of food confronting them.
“Almost everyone who came to New England and wrote back [home] talked about the abundance,” Wall said. “Everyone wrote about how rich the country was with fish, fowl, and deer. And the English brought things from their own gardens as well so they could supply themselves for ten months here in New England.”
But much of what we consider traditional Thanksgiving fare was unknown at the first Thanksgiving. Potatoes and sweet potatoes hadn’t yet become staples of the English diet, for example. And cranberry sauce requires sugar—an expensive delicacy in the 1600s. Likewise, pumpkin pie was missing—the first English recipe for the dish doesn’t appear until 1654, Wall said.
Long before the first Thanksgiving, American Indians, Europeans, and people from other cultures around the world had often celebrated the harvest season with feasts to offer thanks to higher powers for their sustenance and survival.
In 1541 Spaniard Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and his troops celebrated a “Thanksgiving” while searching for New World gold in what’s now the Texas Panhandle.
Later such feasts were held by French Huguenot colonists in present-day Jacksonville, Florida (1564); by English colonists and Abenaki Indians at Maine’s Kennebec River (1607); and in Jamestown, Virginia (1610), when the arrival of a food-laden ship ended a brutal famine. (Related: “400-Year-Old Seeds, Spear Change Perceptions of Jamestown Colony.”)
But it’s the 1621 Plimoth Thanksgiving that’s linked to the birth of our modern holiday. To tell the truth, though, the first “real” Thanksgiving happened two centuries later.
Everything we know about the three-day Plimoth gathering comes from a description in a letter written in 1621 by Edward Winslow, leader of the Plimoth Colony. The letter had been lost for 200 years and was rediscovered in the 1800s.
In 1841 Boston publisher Alexander Young printed Winslow’s brief account of the feast and added his own twist, dubbing the 1621 feast the “First Thanksgiving,” though the letter describes a one-time event that was more harvest celebration than thanksgiving, which in the 17th century would have actually included fasting.
But after its mid-1800s appearance, Young’s designation caught on—to say the least. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving Day a national holiday in 1863. He was probably swayed in part by magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale—the author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—who had suggested Thanksgiving become a holiday, historians say.
In 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt established the current date for observance, the fourth Thursday in November.
Since 1947, during the Truman Administration, the National Turkey Federation has presented two live turkeys—and a ready-to-eat turkey—to the president, federation spokesperson Sherrie Rosenblatt said in 2009.
“There are two birds,” Rosenblatt explained, “the presidential turkey and the vice presidential turkey, which is an alternate, in case the presidential turkey is unable to perform its duties.”
Those duties pretty much boil down to not biting the president during the photo opportunity with the press.
The lucky birds once shared a happy fate similar to that of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks—a trip to Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch in California, where they lived out their natural lives. Today the 40-pound (18-kilogram) toms enjoy Christmas at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, then move to a permanent home at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia.
Pilgrims had been familiar with turkeys before they landed in the Americas. That’s because early European explorers of the New World had returned to Europe with turkeys in tow after encountering them at Native American settlements. Native Americans had domesticated the birds centuries before European contact.
A century later Ben Franklin famously made known his preference that the turkey, rather than the bald eagle, should be the official U.S. bird, explaining in a letter to his daughter that it was “a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America.”
But Franklin might have been shocked when, by the 1930s, hunting had so decimated North American wild turkey populations that their numbers had dwindled to the tens of thousands, from a peak of at least tens of millions.
Today, thanks to hunting regulations and reintroduction efforts, “rafters” and “gangs” (never “flocks”) of wild turkeys are back in abundance. (Watch a video of wild turkeys.)
Wild turkeys can run some 10 to 20 miles (16 to 32 kilometers) an hour and fly in bursts at 55 miles (89 kilometers) an hour. Domesticated turkeys can’t fly at all.
When they’re not being the center of a Thanksgiving feast, turkeys enjoy quite a diverse spread themselves. The omnivore birds eat everything from nuts and berries to insects and snakes.
Turkeys digest this diet with what becomes a prize portion for many a human feast—the gizzard. The gizzard is the muscle that enables turkeys to crush and chew their food, helped along by small stones the birds swallow.
On Thanksgiving, Pass the Pigskin
During the Plimoth Thanksgiving—which was not one giant meal but three full days of feasting, Wall explained—sporting events were part of the celebration. Target shooting figured prominently among the male-dominated crowd. And teams took to the field to compete in stool ball. “There are several different versions” of stool ball, Wall explained, “but it’s kind of a proto-cricket where teams throw a ball around and try to keep a stool safe.”
The game has changed, but sports still take center stage for at least part of the modern holiday. For many U.S. citizens, Thanksgiving without football is as unthinkable as the Fourth of July without fireworks.
NBC Radio broadcast the first national Thanksgiving Day game in 1934, when the Detroit Lions hosted the Chicago Bears. Except for a respite during World War II, the Lions have played—usually badly—every Thanksgiving Day since.
For the 2013 game, the 74th, they will take on the Green Bay Packers.
The tradition began in 1924 when employees recruited animals from the Central Park Zoo to march on Thanksgiving Day. Helium-filled balloons made their debut in the parade in 1927 and, in the early years, were released above the city skyline with the promise of rewards for their finders.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, first televised nationally in 1947, now draws some 44 million viewers—not counting the three million people who actually line the 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) Manhattan route.
Thanksgiving weekend also boasts the retail version of the Super Bowl—Black Friday, when massive sales and early opening times attract frugal shoppers.
A National Retail Federation (NRF) survey projects that up to 140 million Americans will either brave the crowds to shop on 2013′s Black Friday weekend or take advantage of online sales, continuing a two-year downward dip from 2011′s 152 million shoppers.
This year, for the first time, the NRF asked those planning to shop if they’ll do so on Thanksgiving Day itself. Much to the chagrin of many retail employees, nearly one-quarter of them said yes.
Online shoppers have their own red-letter day on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday was officially introduced in 2005 by the NRF because retailers noticed that bargain chasers were taking to online shopping venues in large numbers on that day. In 2012 approximately 129 million people opened their wallets on Cyber Monday.
Planes, Trains, and (Lots of) Automobiles
It may seem like everyone in the U.S. is on the road on Thanksgiving Day, keeping you from your turkey and stuffing.
That’s not exactly true, but almost 39 million of about 317 million U.S. citizens will drive more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) from home for the 2013 holiday, according to the American Automobile Association. That’s a 1.5 percent decline from last year.
“For those traveling, the good news is motorists will receive a holiday bonus in the form of lower gas prices, which are at their lowest levels for the holiday since 2010,” AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney said in a statement.
Most states will have stations selling gas for under $3 a gallon, AAA added.
An additional 3.14 million travelers will fly to their holiday destinations, and 1.4 million others will use buses, trains, or other modes of travel.
Wondering what day would be best to stay at home? Wednesday figures to be the busiest day for all modes of travel. The AAA survey found that 37 percent of travelers are planning to begin their trips Wednesday and most (33 percent) will return home on Sunday.
An additional 24 percent, however, will stretch their holiday weekend into Monday, December 2, or beyond. The average Thanksgiving road trip for 2013 clocks in at just over 600 miles (966 kilometers).
Thanksgiving North of the Border
Cross-border travelers can celebrate Thanksgiving twice, because Canada celebrates its own Thanksgiving Day the second Monday in October.
Canada’s Thanksgiving, established in 1879, was inspired by the U.S. holiday.
Dates of observance have fluctuated—sometimes coinciding with the U.S. Thanksgiving or the Canadian veteran-appreciation holiday, Remembrance Day—and at least once Canada’s Thanksgiving occurred as late as December.
But Canada’s colder climate eventually led to the 1957 decision that formalized the October date.
From the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/06/swedish-cinemas-bechdel-test-films-gender-bias)
Swedish cinemas take aim at gender bias with Bechdel test rating
Movies need to pass test that gauges the active presence of women on screen in bid to promote gender equality
You expect movie ratings to tell you whether a film contains nudity, sex, profanity or violence. Now cinemas in Sweden are introducing a new rating to highlight gender bias, or rather the absence of it.
To get an A rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel test, which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.
“The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test,” said Ellen Tejle, the director of Bio Rio, an art-house cinema in Stockholm’s trendy Södermalm district.
Bio Rio is one of four Swedish cinemas that launched the new rating last month to draw attention to how few movies pass the Bechdel test. Most filmgoers have reacted positively to the initiative. “For some people it has been an eye-opener,” said Tejle.
Beliefs about women’s roles in society are influenced by the fact that movie watchers rarely see “a female superhero or a female professor or person who makes it through exciting challenges and masters them”, Tejle said, noting that the rating doesn’t say anything about the quality of the film. “The goal is to see more female stories and perspectives on cinema screens,” he added.
The state-funded Swedish Film Institute supports the initiative, which is starting to catch on. Scandinavian cable TV channel Viasat Film says it will start using the ratings in its film reviews and has scheduled an A-rated “Super Sunday” on 17 November, when it will show only films that pass the test, such as The Hunger Games, The Iron Lady and Savages.
The Bechdel test got its name from American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who introduced the concept in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985. It has been discussed among feminists and film critics since then, but Tejle hopes the A rating system will help spread awareness among moviegoers about how women are portrayed in films.
In Bio Rio’s wood-panelled lobby, students Nikolaj Gula and Vincent Fremont acknowledged that most of their favourite films probably would not get an A rating.
“I guess it does make sense, but to me it would not influence the way I watch films because I’m not so aware about these questions,” said Fremont, 29.
The A rating is the latest Swedish move to promote gender equality by addressing how women are portrayed in the public sphere.
Sweden’s advertising ombudsman watches out for sexism in that industry and reprimands companies seen as reinforcing gender stereotypes, for example by including skimpily clad women in their adverts for no apparent reason.
Since 2010, the Equalisters project has been trying to boost the number of women appearing as expert commentators in Swedish media through a Facebook page with 44,000 followers. The project has recently expanded to Finland, Norway and Italy.
For some, though, Sweden’s focus on gender equality has gone too far.
“If they want different kind of movies they should produce some themselves and not just point fingers at other people,” said Tanja Bergkvist, a physicist who writes a blog about Sweden’s “gender madness”.
The A rating has also been criticised as a blunt tool that does not reveal whether a movie is gender-balanced.
“There are far too many films that pass the Bechdel test that don’t help at all in making society more equal or better, and lots of films that don’t pass the test but are fantastic at those things,” said Swedish film critic Hynek Pallas.
Pallas also criticised the state-funded Swedish Film Institute – the biggest financier of Swedish film – for vocally supporting the project, saying a state institution should not “send out signals about what one should or shouldn’t include in a movie”.
Research in the US supports the notion that women are under-represented on the screen and that little has changed in the past 60 years.
Of the top 100 US films in 2011, women accounted for 33% of all characters and only 11% of the protagonists, according to a study by the San Diego-based Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film.
Another study, by the Annenberg Public Policy Centre at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that the ratio of male to female characters in movies has remained at about two to one for at least six decades. That study, which examined 855 top box-office films from 1950-2006, showed female characters were twice as likely to be seen in explicit sexual scenes as males, while male characters were more likely to be seen as violent.
“Apparently Hollywood thinks that films with male characters will do better at the box office. It is also the case that most of the aspects of movie-making – writing, production, direction, and so on – are dominated by men, and so it is not a surprise that the stories we see are those that tend to revolve around men,” Amy Bleakley, the study’s lead author, said in an email.
The Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Department is getting ready for a fantastic year here at Fairfield University! We welcome back our returning students and are excited to meet the new students on campus. WGSS is looking forward to many exciting events in the coming months.
As you get back into the swing of things, be sure to check out the “Welcome Week” events on campus. Feel free to drop by the WGSS Office (Donnarumma 115) to say hello.
From “Thelma and Louise” to “A League of Their Own,” Geena Davis has been more women in her lifetime than most of us will ever dream of, but stepping into all those different roles has left some lingering side effects for the 56-year-old Academy Award winning actress and Mensa member.
“Playing so many characters that have resonated with women heightened my awareness of how female characters are portrayed—or more frequently not portrayed—in Hollywood,” she says, although in her early years on the screen she was able to shrug off the troubling feeling. But after the birth of daughter Alizeh in 2002, she found herself unable to ignore the disparity for a minute longer.
“Until then I had no idea that there was such a huge gender gap in the programming we’re creating for and showing young children in the United States,” she says. “I was floored. Not only are there far fewer female characters than there are male, but the hyper sexualization of those characters is outrageous.” When she took her theory to the Hollywood community she was shut down: “Directors, producers and studio heads invariably told me that this was a problem that had been fixed long ago.”
But Davis wouldn’t be cowed. Instead, in 2004 she founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which in the ensuing eight years has become the leader in research on gender depiction in the media. Thanks to Davis’s existing relationships within the media and entertainment industries the organization has been able to make great strides in educating and influencing players on the need for gender balance, reducing stereotyping and creating empowering female characters for entertainment targeting young children.
Jacqueline Fuller, Google’s director of charitable giving and advocacy, which awards the grants, which this year totaled more than $23 million, says that while the search giant has been aware of Davis’s work for years, the latest research from the Institute hit home for Google. “Sometimes in looking for projects and organizations to fund we begin with a problem,” Fuller told me. “We had heard the statistics about family films and the representation of women and were struck by that dearth. As Google has been to interested in encouraging young women to pursue STEM careers it was clear to us that if girls aren’t seeing women portrayed in those professions—as scientists, doctors, computer scientists—it would only compound the problem.”
Not only is the gender imbalance alive and well in entertainment targeting children under 11 (just 28% of characters in family feature films are female, 38.9% in prime time and 30.8% in kid’s shows), but what the Institute exposed about the glass ceiling of employment in the media is truly disturbing. Men dominate every sector, comprising 96.6% of family film characters employed in the C-Suite, 100% of chief justices, 95.5% of high level politicians, and 78.1% of doctors. Male actors play 100% of the fictional editors-in-chief in family films. STEM careers are just as glaring. Female actors portray just 26 of the 160 speaking roles where characters are employed in STEM fields.
It’s that final piece of research that aligns the interest of Google with the passion that’s driven Davis for more than a decade. “We really have a long way to go in the work that needs to be done,” she says. “A huge part of the problem of not having enough girls and women going into tech fields is because children aren’t exposed to characters that have these jobs.” The problem isn’t just a women’s issue, she continues. “Girls don’t have characters to aspire to, sure, but boys don’t see these characters either,” she says, “And as a result don’t see women and girls as being competent equals.”
To Google’s delight, Geena Davis has become a self-described “datahead” through her work in media research, and is eager to embrace technology further in the work ahead of her, particularly as the Institute puts the $1.2 million grant to work in 2013.
“Of course we’re thrilled and honored at the award,” she says, “But all of this is about creating tools that will enable us to analyze gender portrayals on screen through software with greater precision and accomplish our goals much more quickly.” Google’s cash, she says, will “profoundly improve [the organization’s] ability to scale up, research more broadly and, most excitingly, help us to expand globally.”
To date the Institute has focused on U.S. films and television programming, which Davis notes comprise over 80% of the media consumed worldwide. (“We are largely the ones responsible for exporting this negative view of women and girls,” she chides). By extending its research around the globe, Davis offers that she might uncover countries that have achieved balance. “How are they doing in England, Scandinavia and India? Maybe there are places where they are creating great content for girls.”
“We had been raising funds for a global study but we would have had to pick and choose where to spend that money,” she says. Google has helped to erase that concern, leaving Davis with nothing but positivity that 2013 will be rich with revealing data—and with luck, progress towards ending the gender gap for women—both onscreen and off.
Here’s an interesting article from the WSJ about a “gender blind” catalog from a Swedish company – happy shopping!
In Sweden, Playtime Goes Gender-Neutral For Holidays
This holiday season, how about a toy gun for the girl on your shopping list, and a doll for the boy?
That vision of gender-neutrality in toy-buying is coming to life in Sweden, where Top-Toy Group, a licensee of the Toys “R” Us brand, has published a gender-blind catalog for the Christmas season.
On some pages, girls brandish toy guns and boys wield blow-dryers and cuddle dolls. Top-Toy, a privately-held company, published 12 million catalogs and owns the BR Toys chain, with 303 stores in Northern Europe.
Sweden’s top advertising watchdog—known as Reklamombudsmannen, or RO—has taken the retailer to task in recent years for catalogs and ads that showcase girls playing with dolls, scrapbooks, and kitchen and beauty toys and boys with guns, cars, trains and tech gadgets. RO also has criticized Hennes & Mauritz AB, owner of the H&M chain, for ads with bikini models who were too tan.
Top-Toy GroupIn a Top-Toy Group catalog in Sweden, left, a boy plays with ‘Fashion Girl’ beauty products.
A comparison of Top-Toy’s Swedish catalogs with their Danish counterparts shows girls have replaced boys in some photos featuring toy guns, and boys have swapped places with girls in photos featuring dolls and stuffed dogs. In one picture in the Swedish catalog, a boy is blow-drying a girl’s hair whereas in the Danish version, a somewhat older girl is blow-drying her own hair.
The Toy GroupIn a company catalog in Denmark, only girls are shown playing with these toys.
Top-Toy also is working on adjusting store displays and packaging to reflect the gender-neutral approach, said Jan Nyberg, Top-Toy’s sales director in Sweden. Boys and girls can now be seen playing together on boxes of “Happy House,” Top-Toy’s own kitchen set.
“We can’t decide what the big toy makers’ boxes should look like as their products are made for the global market, but we can make changes on our own boxes and in our stores,” Mr. Nyberg said.
The Swedish government has been on the front line of efforts to engineer equality between men and women, with generous paternity benefits and plans to spend the equivalent of some $340 million through 2014 on boosting gender equality in the workplace. Last year, the country famously mulled the use of a single-gender pronoun, “hen,” to replace “he” or “she” when a person’s gender is unknown or insignificant.
Anna Molin/The Wall Street JournalAt a Stockholm Top-Toy store, a boxed ‘Happy House’ play set features boys and girls.
In a country of 9 million people, gender equality is seen as a bedrock principle of a productive workforce and a healthy welfare state. Sweden needs women in the labor force to maintain output. State-funded child care structures put in place after World War II have enabled women to return to work after having children, and four different government entities are devoted to the issue.
Mr. Nyberg said the changes reflect cultural trends. “We want our catalog to reflect how kids are playing today,” he said. “It’s important for us to be modern.”
At a BR store in Stockholm Tuesday, images of boys dominated the toy guns and cars section, although images could be found of boys with fluffy pets or playing house.
A saleswoman said she hasn’t seen much difference in store displays but noted employees now are trained to avoid stereotypes when talking to customers. “If someone asks for a present for a 5-year-old girl, we don’t automatically take them to the dolls section,” she said. “Instead, we ask them what her interests are.”
Malin Welin, an insurance saleswoman shopping for Christmas gifts with a 2-year-old son, said she was impressed. “I think it’s amazing that they’ve actually listened to the consumers,” she said. “I didn’t used to shop here as much before they changed, because I didn’t like the way they separated between girls and boys, pink and blue.”
Other retailers have grappled with this issue. Earlier this year, Harrods, the London department store, opened a shop categorizing toys according to theme, not gender.
The role of gender in childhood development has been a hot topic for decades, especially so in the U.S. after studies in the 1970s asked whether children were being biased toward specific behaviors. By the 1980s and 1990s, many parents took to the idea of buying traditionally-female toys for boys and vice versa.
Lisa Wade, a sociologist and professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles, said Top-Toy’s gender-neutral approach is significant because it challenges common ideas about masculinity by putting dolls and hair dryers into the hands of boys. “You may give tool toys to your daughter, [but] you don’t give the lipstick bag to your son,” she says.
In many cases, she says, she suspects the gender-neutral platform is a marketing ploy. “It’s a mistake to think that companies typically do this out of ethical belief,” Dr. Wade said. “Most of the time they are doing it strategically.”
Elisabeth Trotzig, who serves as the ombudsman for RO, applauds Top-Toy. “I’m convinced others will also follow this line,” Ms. Trotzig said. “It’s especially important when it comes to children and young people since they don’t have the same experience and opportunity to evaluate marketing communication.”
Mr. Nyberg says Top-Toy has received positive emails and in-store comments after the change to its catalogs, but not all customers are happy about it. “As always, there are two camps,” he says.
Happy Thanksgiving! Here is a fun article about the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday and the food that was on the first Thanksgiving table!
Outdoors: a mostly authentic Thanksgiving feast is planned by a columnist – The Worcester Telegram
Back in 1621, the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in North America lasted for three consecutive days, most likely somewhere between Sept. 21 and Nov. 11. The exact dates are uncertain. But that otherwise-memorable feast 391 years ago certainly wasn’t the first Thanksgiving here.
Local native tribes, of course, had long before celebrated the bounty of the autumn harvest, as do most hunter-gatherer cultures, vulnerable to capricious natural cycles. They would have little to be thankful for in subsequent years as more displacing Europeans followed the Pilgrims.
Those Pilgrim farmers from Europe, rather inept at survival in wild New England, had difficulty settling on an infertile, forested sand plain. Many died in the process. From the beginning, they needed to scrounge and exploit a weakened population of resident Native Americans.
Journals reveal they resorted early to stealing the natives’ seed corn stashes even before meeting them. Thankfully for the Pilgrims, our region’s Indians, severely weakened by the 1617 typhus epidemic introduced by French explorers, were not only nonbelligerent, but critically helpful, generous and initially much more tolerant and forgiving than the Pilgrims would have been, had Indians tried to settle their land and steal their seed.
Many of the decimated natives’ untended fields were conveniently open for the lucky Pilgrims to plow. The Indians’ hospitality would prove a strategic blunder, accelerating their rapid elimination.
The epic feast in Plymouth involved just 53 Pilgrims and nearly twice as many Wampanoag tribesmen. Accompanied by their leaders, Puritan Gov. Bradford and Chief Massasoit, everyone behaved. The lack of alcohol no doubt contributed to the civility.
Hunters provided all the main courses. Bradford had sent his shooters out fowling for several days earlier. Passenger pigeons, now extinct, were abundant then, as were fishy-tasting sea ducks and herons. Canada geese, mallards, black ducks, grouse and wild turkeys were shot, too, but the latter weren’t the centerpiece of the table as most believe.
The Pilgrim’s feast was lacking until the Wampanoags arrived carrying five deer. Venison and assorted wild fowl — not turkey — were the main entrées of the first Thanksgiving. Considering that back in England all deer belonged to the king, feasting on venison was a novel privilege.
Large fowl like turkeys were typically boiled before roasting, rendering them more tender and creating a much-relished broth. Eels, clams, mussels, oysters, cod, flounder and lobsters were common, the latter surprisingly regarded as unappetizing “bugs.” Having depleted sugar supplies and possessing no oven, they baked no desserts. Breads were made from corn, not wheat. Stuffing consisted of onions, chestnuts and herbs.
The seriously religious Pilgrims didn’t condone wild partying, frivolity or excessive drinking of either beer, the most popular beverage of the time, or aqua vitae, a strong liquor made from distilling wine or beer. They’d have been surprised by our observance of football as part of the celebration. They certainly would have prayed.
We give the Pilgrims credit for establishing our most popular annual tradition, but they only initiated it. Surprisingly, they didn’t continue celebrating Thanksgiving in subsequent years. The permanent establishment of the holiday resulted from later historical events.
Deer hunting back then was exceptional, considering the natives’ excellent success with primitive means. Native Americans clearly had learned to manage the land, periodically burning areas to promote nourishing new growth, which would have attracted and sustained many more deer than shaded, mature forests with little undergrowth.
Indians didn’t need Scentlock clothing, scentless soaps, doe-in estrus urine lures, compound bows, laser range-finders, steel broadheads or any of the dozens of other products hunters depend on today. Nor did they use the 5-foot, 6-inch heavy matchlock muskets of the Pilgrims. They had to be skilled and resourceful, playing the wind, trapping and ambushing. Their lives depended on their hunting success, so kills were always reason to celebrate. There were no anti-hunting or animal-rights factions back then.
My family will try to celebrate Thanksgiving semi-authentically with venison, wild turkey, oysters, quahogs, smoked bluefish and striper, boletus and chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms, and cranberries — all foods we hunted, fished for, or gathered ourselves in the wilds of Massachusetts.
Unlike the Wampanoags who roasted their venison to charred black over a wood fire, we’ll be grilling kebabs of tenderloin and backstrap wrapped in maple-flavored bacon, very careful to cook them medium rare. And we’ll incorrectly enjoy homemade pecan and apple pies for dessert.
I’m thankful my son and I could hunt together and kill deer for our family and friends, and that we still have wild lands to hunt, fish and gather. These opportunities of freedom don’t exist in many other parts of the world.
Thanksgiving is a perfect time for successful hunters to share our bounty, and to thank the many people responsible for the continuance of our tradition — Mass. Fish and Wildlife, sportsmen’s clubs, gun rights supporters, the Nature Conservancy, Trustees of Reservations, the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Committees, our Land Trusts, all the private landowners who share their land with us, and especially our beloved mates who understand and encourage our wild passions.
The leadership development program is a great way to combine the theories of WGS studies with leadership skills. The leadership program will educate students in many areas related to WGS studies including ethics, social justice, and civic engagement.
Fairfield University is pleased to announce the spring 2013 Leadership Development Program offerings.
• First-year students will have the opportunity to enroll in LEAD 101: Redefining Leadership. Students in this program will be studying leadership from a theoretical point of view and applying leadership skills in ways that will support their future careers and as well as their civic identity.
• Sophomore, junior, and senior students will be able to apply for the Leadership Fellows Program. Students selected will be charged with planning and implementing leadership development focus groups, workshops, presentations, trainings, marketing, social media, and supporting LEAD 101. Fellows will be educated in many areas related to leadership development such as StrengthsQuest, MBTI, relational leadership, ethical leadership, group facilitation, social justice, and civic engagement.
More information regarding these programs and other leadership development opportunities at Fairfield can be found online.
Meet Donna Edwards of Maryland, a veteran congresswoman who represents the new face of Democrats in the U.S. House.
Come January, women and minorities for the first time in U.S. history will hold a majority of the party’s House seats, while Republicans will continue to be overwhelmingly white and male. The chamber, already politically polarized, more than ever is going to be demographically polarized, too.
“One thing that’s always been very startling to me is to see that on the floor of the House of Representatives when you look over on one side where the Democrats caucus and you look to the other side and it looks like two different visions of America,” Edwards, 54, a black woman who has served in Congress since 2008, said in a telephone interview.
The visuals will be striking when the House debates whether to overhaul the country’s tax code and considers ways to keep the costs of Social Security and Medicare under control. The white males of the Republican Party will be arguing to reduce benefits while the women and minorities of the Democratic Party will make a case for keeping the nation’s safety net where it is.
With eight races still to be settled, white men had secured about 90 percent of Republican seats and about 47 percent of Democratic seats, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
There will be at least 57 female Democrats in the House, about 30 percent of the caucus. Republicans will have at least 20 women, less than 10 percent of their party’s House majority, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The final tally in a few states could add to that count.
Democratic Hispanics are poised to outnumber their House Republican colleagues 23 to five, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund.
“Latinos took advantage of the redistricting process,” said Arturo Vargas, the group’s executive director. “There will be more opportunities as the elections develop over the next decade.”
Black representatives should number 41 on the Democratic side of the aisle, the Congressional Black Caucus said. That compares with either one or two seats for black Republicans.
“When voters and citizens look at the Democratic Party, what they see is America,” said Edwards.
Republicans, who will continue to set the House agenda, could end up with just one woman heading a committee and a single woman in their top leadership ranks.
On the other side of the U.S. Capitol, women will hold a record 20 Senate seats next year. That includes both Democrats and Republicans.
“About a third of our caucus is going to be women,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters in the Capitol.
“It’s clear we’re the party of diversity,” the Nevada Democrat said.
The Republicans who have majorities in legislatures controlled the redistricting process in enough states to lock Democrats of every color and gender out of contention in dozens of House seats for years to come, said David Wasserman, House analyst for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
“Republicans, in drawing safe districts for themselves, have also boxed themselves in somewhat in their long-term appeal,” he said. Packing minority voters into fewer districts “has reduced their own incentive to reach out to minorities in the electorate. That is not helpful for the party’s brand over the long term.”
Minority babies outnumbered white newborns in 2011 for the first time in U.S. history, census figures show. The U.S. population is projected to become majority-minority by 2042, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Congress lags the general population in terms of how representative it is of the population,” said Kathryn Pearson, an associate professor specializing in American politics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
“You rarely, if ever, see a press conference with Democratic leadership that doesn’t reflect the diversity of the House caucus, and that’s a pretty dramatic change just from Speaker Tom Foley in the early ’90s,” said Pearson, referring to the Democratic lawmaker from Washington State who served as speaker from 1989 to 1995.
Men have been so dominant in the House for so long that it wasn’t until 2011 that Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, ordered that a women’s bathroom be installed off the House floor. Female senators got theirs in 1993.
In the 1970s, when the Democratic leadership decided it was time to put a woman and a black congressman on the House Armed Services Committee, it wasn’t exactly a moment of celebration, said Loren Duggan, Bloomberg Government’s chief congressional analyst.
The disapproving chairman, fellow Democrat F. Edward Hébert of Louisiana, refused to add two chairs, so Democrats Patricia Schroeder of Colorado and Ron Dellums of California had to share a seat at the committee’s organizational meeting, said Duggan.
“The House has come a long way,” he said. “Dellums took over the committee in 1993. Schroeder stayed in the House until 1997 and even sought the presidential nomination. Today, House Democrats are led by a woman and the No. 3 Democrat is a black man.”
Women and minorities are in line to become the top Democrats on almost half of the 22 committees, including powerful panels such as Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform.
Under the Democrats’ seniority system, Maxine Waters of California, a black woman, is in line for the party’s top slot on the Financial Services Committee.
Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, the longest-serving female in the House, is next in line for the top Democratic position on the Appropriations Committee. That would be a first for a woman.
Kaptur, first elected to Congress 30 years ago, recalled in a Nov. 5 interview how, no matter how comfortable former Speaker Tip O’Neill, a Massachusetts Democrat, tried to make her feel, she didn’t think she could pull up a chair when he and her other male colleagues were hanging out in the Cloakroom watching baseball on television.
“If you didn’t know what happened in the major and minor leagues for the last 50 years and quote every major player, you wondered if you could enter into the conversation,” she said. “I just remember how that felt. It’s changed a lot now.”
Analysts at the Cook Political Report and other Washington organizations predict that only one Republican woman has a shot at being elected to a top party leadership position in the House: Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, who’s vying for the No. 4 job, conference chair.
Candice Miller of Michigan probably will become chairwoman of the Homeland Security Committee.
The House majority party’s smaller number of females can present challenges.
Sandy Adams of Florida, the only Republican woman on the Judiciary Committee, was front and center at all the press conferences when the House considered the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, H.R. 4970. She lost her primary, so party leaders have only men returning to that committee.
The Democratic Party’s more diverse caucus sometimes translates into a more disagreeable caucus.
“It can create some tensions within the Democratic caucus with the more moderate-to-conservative Blue Dog members, who are very focused on fiscal responsibility, and, say, the Black Caucus, which sees a generally larger role for government,” Pearson said.
The Blue Dog Coalition has shrunk with every recent election, and Nov. 6 was no different, with the defeat of Democrats Leonard Boswell of Iowa, Ben Chandler of Kentucky and Larry Kissell of North Carolina. The group will have at least 14 members next year, compared with 24 now.
“Their loss of Blue Dogs, who happen to be predominantly white men, means they’re likely to be in the minority for some time unless they benefit from some huge wave, and there’s simply no wave on the horizon,” Wasserman said.
“The redistricting map that has solidified Republicans’ position in the House this year is bad news for Democrats not only in 2012 but for the foreseeable future over the next decade that these maps will be in effect.”
I hope everyone is safe and warm after last week’s storm. I wanted to write you all and remind you about all the great classes being offered that are cross listed as Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies courses in Spring 2013.
BI 71 Identity and the Human Genome, Professor O. Harriott
CO 236 Gender, Sexuality and the Media, Professor D. Gudelunas
EN 162 Irish Women Writers, Professor M. White
EN 171 Literature and the Visual Arts, Professor E. Orlando
EN 200A Special Topics: Edith Wharton and Her Circle, Professor E. Orlando
EN 353 Representations, Professor G. Rajan
EN 372 All About Eve, Professor R. Epstein
EN 374 The Woman Question, Professor E. Petrino
EN 377 Urban Texts and Contexts, NYC, Professor J. Garvey
HI 263 Inventing Themselves: African American Women in U.S History, Professor E. Hohl
HI 366 Women in China and Japan, Professor D. Li
NS 314 Nursing of Women and the Childbearing Family, Professor N. Manister
PO 136 Gender, War and Peace, Professor J. Leatherman
PO 153 Politics, Race, Class & Gender, Professor J. Bogyezka
PO 170 The Battle Over Family Values in America, Professor G. Alphonso
RS 215 Women in Judaism, Professor E. Umansky
SO 142 Sociology and the Family, Professor D. Hodgson
SO 162 Race, Gender and Ethnic Relations, Professor M. Ramlal-Nankoe
SO 169 Women: Work and Sport, Professor R. Rodrigues
WS 299 WGS Studies Internship, Professor D. Gudelunas
WS 301 WGS Studies Capstone Seminar, Professor D Gudelunas
WS 399 WGS Studies Independent Study, Professor TBA
Also, please remember that Seniors must enroll in the Capstone Course (WS301; Thursdays 5-7:30). This class will not meet the entire semester, but will instead be run more like an independent study where students will work on their own project that most appeals to them. Details will be forthcoming, but expect a lot of fun. Juniors can also be enrolled in this course.
As a reminder, all students need six WGS courses (including the Senior Capstone) to complete the minor. Please feel free to come see me (check my faculty webpage at www.gudelunas.com for office hours) if you need any help during the advising period. Also, while I have your attention, let me encourage you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and keep up to date with all the WGS happenings by visiting our blog! While you’re doing that, please encourage your friends to consider a minor that makes a major difference! Good luck with registration!
In a 4-3 ruling last Tuesday afternoon, the Connecticut State Supreme Court overturned the sexual assault conviction of a man who had sex with a woman who “has severe cerebral palsy, has the intellectual functional equivalent of a 3-year-old and cannot verbally communicate.” The Court held that, because Connecticut statutes define physical incapacity for the purpose of sexual assault as “unconscious or for any other reason. . . physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act,” the defendant could not be convicted if there was any chance that the victim could have communicated her lack of consent. Since the victim in this case was capable of “biting, kicking, scratching, screeching, groaning or gesturing,” the Court ruledthat that victim could have communicated lack of consent despite her serious mental deficiencies:
When we consider this evidence in the light most favorable to sustaining the verdict, and in a manner that is consistent with the state’s theory of guilt at trial, we, like the Appellate Court, ‘are not persuaded that the state produced any credible evidence that the [victim] was either unconscious or so uncommunicative that she was physically incapable of manifesting to the defendant her lack of consent to sexual intercourse at the time of the alleged sexual assault.’
According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), lack of physical resistance is not evidence of consent, as “many victims make the good judgment that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent.” RAINN also notes that lack of consent is implicit “if you were under the statutory age of consent, or if you had a mental defect” as the victim did in this case.
Anna Doroghazi, director of public policy and communication at Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, worriedthat the Court’s interpretation of the law ignored these concerns: “By implying that the victim in this case should have bitten or kicked her assailant, this ruling effectively holds people with disabilities to a higher standard than the rest of the population when it comes to proving lack of consent in sexual assault cases. Failing to bite an assailant is not the same thing as consenting to sexual activity.” An amicus brief filed by the Connecticut advocates for disabled persons argued that this higher standard “discourag[ed] the prosecution of crimes against persons with disabilities” even though “persons with a disability had an age-adjusted rate of rape or sexual assault that was more than twice the rate for persons without a disability.”
Members of the campus community are invited to the LGBTQ & Ally Art Show, where LGBTQ artists from the CT area will come together to exhibit their art and connect with the community.
The reception will take place tonight at 7 p.m. at the Barone Campus Center’s Lower Level. All are welcome to the reception to view art unique to the campus for a night of self-expression and creativity. The artwork is already on display if you’d like to check it out but are unable to attend the reception tonight.
The Capstone Students in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program have been working on a range of diverse, community engaged scholarship initiatives
Marissa Tota, Rachel Lang, and Bradley Fay are working with “Project Return”, a youth center in Bridgeport that provides, shelter and basic life-skills training to teens who run away from home
Sara Heogan and Amanda Steiger are working with Dean Suzanne Campbell from Fairfield University’s School of Nursing to create an awareness pamphlet about the benefits of breast feeding on infants.
Caitlin Leist is working on providing a detailed information brief for Scholars at Risk program at NYU on a Turkish professor, who is jailed for being a woman-insurrectionist.
Elaisa Rubio is working with a Legal Office in Stamford that provides free advice and counsel, is in fact a “first defense” on immigration matters as it pertains to labor issues. Her research paper will enable the lawyers to help women in jeopardy, particularly as they caught between employment disputes in the public sphere and the perils of domestic violence, often attributed to machismo attitudes.
Julia Grimm and Kaley Gibson are preparing a feasibility study with Village Gardens in Bridgeport to explore what methods and vegetables are best to be grown by school children in what is considered food-desert areas of this city, and how to sustain the gardens through various crop cycles.
Marissa Lischinsky is preparing a full packet to be used by Deaf-Hope, a San Francisco NGO, for their Capital Campaign. This research covers various aspects—practical, emotional, law enforcement, and societal awareness—in educating communities about the vulnerability of deaf women who are preyed upon because of their disability.
Tanya Rossicone is working with Prof. Rajan on the Impact India 2021 project, and providing supplementary research on literacy rates of girls and women in three major cities in India
Miriam Sanchez is preparing a research document for Latina Power in Massachusetts on the various difficulties that Hispanic girls and women face in education—primary, secondary, and post-secondary, and the difficulties they have in the workplace.
These exceptional students are the founders of The Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons at Fairfield University (GSSC).
The Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons at Fairfield University was chosen and ranked 15th in the MTVU and White House Campus Champions of Change Challenge in April 2012. The students’ work was recognized with an invitation to Washington DC, where they met the President of the United States, who congratulated them for their innovative student-led program aimed at and creating positive change.
Inspired by the Jesuit ideal of working for social justice and upholding the dignity of every human person, GSSC is a ground-breaking, activist and advocacy model for creating a safe space that is inclusive of diverse student populations on Fairfield University’s campus. As a physical space with imaginative and ethical potential, GSSC ensures peer education of our student body about wide-ranging ranging matters of tolerance and acceptance of diversity, and problematic issues surrounding hate crimes, particularly those linked to violence against women and gay, lesbian, and transgender students in a Catholic and Jesuit University. As a student organization, GSSC forges that vital link with many on-campus clubs that work towards social justice and community change.
The program in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies is pleased to honor Amanda Steiger with our first ever award for scholarly excellence. In true liberal arts fashion, Amanda has found linkages between her interests in biology, medicine, women’s health, and social justice both in the classroom and in the global community.
College of Arts and Sciences Annual Student Awards 2012
BCC OAK ROOM
April 24, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Through her past four years at Fairfield, Amanda has immersed herself into a myriad of extracurricular activities and academic projects. As a biology major, she performed various projects, such as a study on student health and the harmful bacteria present within residential halls and academic buildings, and participated in an academic seminar on the biology of cancer which dedicated some of the course load on the study of breast cancer.
Her academic background in science and dream to attend medical school to become an OB/GYN took her to Myanmar this past December on a medical mission trip. While there, she delivered free medical attention to impoverished Burmese women and children alongside doctors and fellow students. A more notable moment of her trip involved the identification of a large tumor in the right breast of a young Burmese woman and the subsequent raising of money from the students involved to pay for the excision of her tumor.
Her passion for women’s health and equality spans from the classroom to the court as a Fairfield University Volleyball team member. While on the team, she participated in programs such as National Women in Sports Day and Girl Scouts of America to promote gender equality within the sports world. Amanda is also involved in the Fairfield University Glee Club, and has repeatedly participated in campus events such as Hunger Clean-Up (captain), Relay for Life (captain), and the Color Orange Ball.
She is currently working on her Women’s Studies Capstone, with partner, Sara Hoegen, which focuses on the choices that women must make when feeding their newborn children. It is titled “To Breastfeed or to Resign: the Correlation Between Maternity Leave and Breastfeeding Efficacy”. Her future plans include more medical mission trips to Haiti and Myanmar, acquiring a Master’s in Microbiology and Infectious Disease, and attending medical school to become an OB/GYN.
On Friday, April 13th the WGS Program hosted our colleagues who teach in Women and Gender Studies programs from across Connecticut and Rhode Island for a day of conversation and networking. It was a great meeting and we are appreciate to everyone who participated and helped produce the day’s events.
GSS Event! This year’s theme of Empowerment will explore the different ways our campus, community, culture, and world empowers women and girls to overcome adversity and to make a difference. The event will focus on a variety of issues women and girls face around topics of gender, sexuality, workplace inequality, political involvement, and economic disadvantages. The day will explore this theme through artwork, music, performances, displays, fundraisers, and of course, food!
This Friday is Women’s Day.
I contacted organizer Marissa Tota who gave me an insider look at putting on this exciting event!
Q. Tell me about planning Women’s Day:
A. Planning Women’s Day has always been an initiative of a few students with the support of Departments such as Women Studies, Diversity and Peace and Justice (this year they were joined by Students for Justice Residential College and Dean of Students).
In the past, these students were seniors from a group called Project Peg, but when this disbanded earlier this year, Rachel and I took it upon ourselves to take the organizing reigns. Both Rachel and I felt that we wanted to make this year’s Women’s Day bigger than ever before by bringing in other student leaders and students groups on campus to help from the beginning planning stages. By bringing in a diverse group of students we felt we could attract a larger population of students to the event, as well as come up with new ideas that enabled students to interact with these different clubs and initiatives.
Q. Why the theme Empowerment?
A. The theme we chose this year was Empowerment because we felt that it was something all students could relate to and plays a central role in the reason why most of the student leaders do what they do- they want to empower others to do the same.
Q. What was planning like?
A. To plan the event we met multiple times as a group to brainstorm ideas, delegate tasks, and ensure we reached out to as many clubs as we could think, as well as come up with creative ways to get students to participate in the different activities at the event. This year, we were also especially interested in involving more men in the planning process as well as attracting them to the event itself.
Q.How do you hope to incorporate men into the event?
A. We hope that through displays that ask men to post what women in their lives inspire them (led by Josh Robichaud and Men to Men), as well as having men sign certificates promising to prevent sexual assault, we can better include them in the event.
Q. What was the inspiration for the slogan?
A. The slogan “She Loves You”, which derives from the Beatles song, is also reminder to both men and women that there are women in all of our lives that love us, and Women’s Day is a day to celebrate and honor those women.
Q. Is there an aspect of the event you are particularly interested in?
A. We are very excited for the performances organized by Jasmine Fernandez which features inspirational women throughout history, in a timeline fashion, from Betty Friedan, and Abigail Adams, to Eve Ensler, and personal pieces written by Performing for Change, that will be performed throughout the day.
“Adrienne Rich, a poet of towering reputation and towering rage, whose work — distinguished by an unswerving progressive vision and a dazzling, empathic ferocity — brought the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse and kept it there for nearly a half-century, died on Tuesday at her home in Santa Cruz, Calif. She was 82.
Widely read, widely anthologized, widely interviewed and widely taught, Ms. Rich was for decades among the most influential writers of the feminist movement and one of the best-known American public intellectuals. She wrote two dozen volumes of poetry and more than a half-dozen of prose; the poetry alone has sold nearly 800,000 copies, according to W. W. Norton & Company, her publisher since the mid-1960s.
Her constellation of honors includes a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 1994 and a National Book Award for poetry in 1974 for “Diving Into the Wreck.” That volume, published in 1973, is considered her masterwork.
In the title poem, Ms. Rich uses the metaphor of a dive into dark, unfathomable waters to plumb the depths of women’s experience:
I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body
We circle silently about the wreck
we dive into the hold. …
We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to the scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
our names do not appear.”
Join us this Thursday (3/22) at 7 PM in the Kelley Center Presentation Room for refreshments and a lively panel discussion on Firsts at Fairfield to mark Women’s History Month. Hear from some trailblazers around campus and celebrate with faculty and students.
Share in a freewheeling discussion among history makers in our midst: Karen Donohue, 1st Female FUSA President; Dr. Patricia Behre, First Female Managing Editor of the Yale Daily News; David Gudelunas, First Male Director of the Women’s Studies Program; Alexa Mullady, Alumna of First Co-ed (all 4 years) Fairfield Class.
If every International Women’s Day event held in 2012 includes girls in some way, then thousands of minds will be inspired globally.
Each year around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. Thousands of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.
Organizations, governments, charities and women’s groups around the world choose different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues.
“Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures” is the 2012 theme of the internationalwomensday.com website and this has been widely used by hundreds of organizations including schools, universities, governments, women’s groups and the private sector. Each year the United Nations declares an overall International Women’s Day theme. Their 2012 theme is “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty”. Many organisations develop their own themes that are more relevant to their local contexts
- Global, United Nations: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
- Canada, Status of Women (Federal Gov): Strong Leadership. Strong Women. Strong World: Equality
- Australia, UNIFEM: Unite to End Violence Against Women
- Australia, Queensland Government Office for Women: Our Women, Our State
- Australia, WA Department for Communities: Sharing the Caring for the Future
- UK, Doncaster Council: Women’s Voices and Influence
- UK, Welsh Assembly Government: Bridging the Generational Gap
- UK, Accenture: Stretch Yourself: Achieving 50:50 in the boardroom by 2020
- USA, IBM: Women@IBM: Success in the Globally Integrated Enterprise
What would your theme for Fairfield Univeristy be?
Here is one of the many interesting videos featured on their website: