Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Ticking Clock On Pay Discrimination

By Barbara Arnwine

Look around your office. Do you know what your co-workers are really being paid? Probably not. A recent survey found that only 10 percent of companies have pay openness policies. And if you were paid less by your employer simply because you are female how long do you think it would take to find out? Probably not until you’ve been working there a long time, maybe years.

That is exactly what happened to Lilly Ledbetter. Her employer, Goodyear, kept compensation information confidential and it wasn’t until decades after the fact she found out that she was being paid less. By the time of her retirement, she was paid $3,727 monthly, while the lowest paid male doing the same job was paid $4,286. Taking her employer to court, a jury found that she received raises less frequently than her male colleagues because of her gender. The jury awarded her damages for this intentional discrimination, but on appeal to the Supreme Court earlier this year, a majority tossed out the award because Ms. Ledbetter failed to file her claim within 180 days of her employer’s discriminatory decisions – decisions she didn’t have reason to suspect until long after they were made.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Putting Women Back in the Debate

By Martha Burk

August 26 is Women’s Equality Day. Most Americans don’t even know what it is, and aside from commemorations by a few female leaders on Capitol Hill, it is hardly noticed. But it marks one of the most important days of the last century for women -- the day the final state ratified the 19th Amendment in 1920 -- and women were granted the vote.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Women Don't Make The Cover

Apparently news and business magazines aren't for the ladies. At least not the covers.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

How Gender And Race Affect Media Coverage

One of today's banner stories on is actually a pretty good article that compares which missing persons cases receive media coverage (white women, especially those who are young and attractive) with those that don't (men, women of color of any age or level of attractiveness, and everyone else).

The article compares the stories of Stepha Henry, a 22-year-old black woman who disappeared while on vacation in Florida in May, and the well-covered case of Jessie Marie Davis, a 26-year-old pregnant white woman who disappeared from her Canton, Ohio, home in mid-June.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Look Who’s Talking About Imus II

As posted earlier, since it looks like Don Imus has settled with CBS and (reportedly) will walk away with $20 million, this will likely spark another round of media scrutiny. We at the National Women’s Editorial Forum hope that this time the cable news networks will be actually talking to more than just the usual cast of white men about Imus and his original reasons for being fired. (Here is our original analysis of the breakdown of who was booked to talk about Imus the last time).

I apologize for the late notice but Jennifer L. Pozner of WIMN’S Voices has said she’s been booked to appear on Fox News Live around 12:30 P.M. today to discuss the Imus situation. [UPDATE: Apparently the segment was bumped for breaking news.]

In other Imus-related news one of the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team members that he so causally maligned has filed a lawsuit against him.
Kia Vaughn, star center for the Rutgers Women's Basketball team, has filed a lawsuit against Imus for libel, slander and defamation -- the first civil suit to be filed against the former radio host. Vaughn is asking for monetary damages of an unspecified amount.

No excuse for Imus

With word arriving today of a settlement reached by disgraced radio host Don Imus with his former employer, CBS Radio, we offer this encore posting of a commentary by Maretta J. Short, president of the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), on the false analogy between Imus's actions and those of rappers. (Click on the bar below to hear Maretta.)

--Adele M. Stan

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Birmingham Blues And Birmingham Strength

Marcy Bloom at RH RealityCheck offers another account about Operation Save America's "Siege of Birmingham" and their attempts to shut down the same abortion clinic that was bombed in 1998 by the terrorist Eric Robert Rudolph.

In Marcy's account, Jeff Lyons, husband of Emily Lyons, one of the victims of Rudolph's bombing, recounts that terrible day:


Thursday, August 09, 2007

More on Mostly Male Netroots

There’s still a lot of talk in the wake of YearlyKos about the issue of white male bloggers being the loudest voices of the netroots movement.

In addition to my colleague Adele Stan’s take and Shireen Mitchell of Digital Sisters, Inc., now Boston Globe syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman has written about it, quoting Adele and NWEF Advisory Committee member Garance Franke-Ruta.


Preparing a New Generation for Self-Government

By Annette Boyd Pitts

Most Americans do not understand our most basic constitutional principles and are disengaging from civic and political life. Voter turnout, especially among young voters, continues to reflect an indifference to the importance of participation in American democracy.

In December 2005, the Florida Bar conducted a poll of Floridians to determine public knowledge of basic democratic principles. The results reinforced a national poll conducted by the American Bar Association. Fewer than 60 percent of adults could identify the three branches of government, even in a multiple choice test; and less than half understood the concepts of separation of powers and checks and balances.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Diversity at the Yearly Kos (Netroots) Convention

Guest blogger Shireen Mitchell looks long and hard at the demographics of the blogosphere.

WASHINGTON, D.C.--With the close of the 2007 Yearly Kos convention, a gathering of bloggers and Internet activists that took place last weekend in Chicago, a vigorous debate was sparked over the convention’s demographics, which, as reported in yesterday’s Washington Post, reveal a largely white, male population. Among the 1500 registered progressive participants in the conference, an estimated one percent was Latin American, about three percent was African American and Native Americans comprised about 0.2 percent.

In a more perfect world, the blogosphere would represent the diversity of the overall population in order to bring a variety of issues and voices to the attention of our country’s lawmakers. Unfortunately, due to various issues that include, but are not limited to, socio-economic class, education, culture, gender, sexual orientation and other issues that hang up communications in most societies, getting equal platforms to engage these other communities takes more work than many are willing to endure. As a result, you get a blogosphere that reflects the demographics -- predominantly white and male –- that characterize the political conversation in other media.


Shireen Mitchell is the executive director of Digital Sisters, Inc.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Blogging the Yearly Kos Convention - more Saturday

Prez Candidates Too Busy for Women Blogger Convention Make it to Male-Populated Conference

CHICAGO--Last weekend, as I wrote here, only two of all the presidential campaigns deigned to send representatives to the BlogHer conference, a non-partisan gathering of women bloggers whose organizers had invited all the presidential candidates to either appear before attendees, or send surrogates. The two campaigns whose leaders understood the significance of the gathering were those of Democrats John Edwards and Hillary Clinton, both of which sent surrogates. (Edwards sent his highest-powered representative: his wife, Elizabeth.)

What a difference less than a week makes. Or perhaps it's the gender of the participants. For here at the Yearly Kos conference -- a gathering of progressive bloggers whose white, male contingent appears to comprise the majority of attendees, all of the Democratic candidates appeared, together on a stage in a forum moderated by Matt Bai of the New York Times Magazine and Joan McCarter of Daily Kos.

For the record, when the candidates were asked, via e-mail, by blogger John Pontificator if, upon winning the election, they would appoint an official White House blogger, all except Mike Gravel* said they would. (Gravel said he would do his own blogging.) Clinton thought a few seconds before raising her hand, and said, "Why not?" Then Edwards announced: "I will have an official White House blogger, and her name is Elizabeth Edwards."

--Adele M. Stan

*Thanks to Cheyanne for fixing my spelling.

For more on how women bloggers get missed -- and dissed -- by candidates and media, check out Jennifer Pozner's piece at Women's Media Center.

Blogging the Yearly Kos Convention - Saturday

Blogging While Female

CHICAGO--This morning, Garance Franke-Ruta, who blogs at TAPPED and on her eponymous blog, The Garance, conducted a panel called "Blogging While Female," which featured Jessica Valenti of Feministing, Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon and Gina Cooper of The Daily Kos. Each of the women addressed the experience they've had with online "trolls" and stalkers, usually men who use the comments sections of blogs to attack women writers, usually in sexualized ways.

Following an appearance she made on the Web-based TV program, Blogging Heads, Franke-Ruta received, she said, some 57 comments on her blog concerning whether or not she should have worn a barrette in her hair.

On a far more ominous note...


Friday, August 03, 2007

Blogging the Yearly Kos Convention - Friday

Feminist Bloggers Poised to Combine Resources and Strength

CHICAGO--Here at the Yearly Kos conference, progressives of many stripes who normally convene in the blogosphere have gathered together in the physical space of the sprawling McCormick Place convention center to learn of the latest trends and create strategies for working together.

Yesterday, a gathering of feminist bloggers, in a discussion moderated by Tracy Van Slyke of Media Consortium and Jessica Clark of American University, took on the matter of how organizations that advocate for women in media are often unaware of each others' projects and wind up duplicating each others' efforts. Coming on the heels of last week's BlogHer conference, what I'm seeing is an ever-widening circle of women bloggers, reporters and media-reform advocates who gave begun to connect and inter-connect their efforts. When this happens, the ability to coordinate with each other as we strive together to crack the commentary continuum could truly leverage the impact of women in media, both mainstream and not.