After 90 years, it’s time for the ERA

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jackie Speier (D-CA)gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court Thursday morning to demand that the Equal Rights Amendment  finally pass.

As Ms Magazine writes, “The congresswomen, along with Feminist Majority president (and publisher of Ms.) Ellie Smeal, NOW president Terry O’Neill and other feminist leaders and activists, called on legislators to codify women’s equality in the constitution. As a reminder of the anti-woman rhetoric that has lately informed public policy, Rep. Speier quoted Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia, “Certainly the constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex, the only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.”

“She continued,

A justice of the Supreme Court has said publicly that the constitution does not prohibit discrimination based on sex, and that is precisely why we need the ERA. Those words should haunt every woman in this country.

“The good news, she said, is that “equality is only 24 words away,” referencing the text of the ERA:

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

“The congresswomen have each introduced ERA-related legislation. In March, Rep. Speier called on legislators to remove the deadline by which states must ratify the amendment (the last deadline was June 1982, and by that date the ERA was just three states shy of passing). If passed, her bill would give those last three states a chance to ratify the amendment. Continue reading “After 90 years, it’s time for the ERA”

The Twitter and Google boy’s clubs

From PC Magazine: “Twitter’s global workforce is about as diverse as those of its big-name peers in the tech biz, which is to say, not very diverse at all. The microblogging site, following the lead of companies like Google and Yahoo, on Wednesday released some raw numbers about the gender and ethnic makeup of its roughly 3,000 employees. As with those companies, it turns out that Twitter’s workforce skews very heavily male and white.images

“To wit, Twitter’s workforce is 70 percent male and 30 percent female. That disparity grows even more pronounced in tech-related jobs at the company, which are held by nine times as many men as women, while leadership roles at Twitter come in at 79 percent for men and 21 percent for women.

“Google, which released its own diversity data in May, reported the same 70-to-30 ratio of men to women among its own roughly 52,000-strong workforce. Yahoo reported last month that the gender diversity among its more than 12,000 employees also skews male but not as much—the company’s worldwide workforce is 62 percent men and 37 percent women.
Facebook also recently released a breakdown of gender and ethnic diversity in its workforce, reporting similar numbers to Twitter, Google, and Yahoo.

“If gender disparities at Twitter and other Silicon Valley companies are striking, the lack of ethnic diversity at those outfits is just as pronounced, if not more so, going by the self-reported numbers.
Before Twitter joined the party, both Google and Yahoo reported that their workforces were predominantly white and Asian— 91 percent at Google (61 percent white, 30 percent Asian) and 89 percent at Yahoo (50 percent white, 39 percent Asian). African-Americans and Latinos combined to make up just 5 percent of the employees at Google and just 6 percent at Yahoo.
Twitter’s workforce came in at 59 percent white and 29 percent Asian, with African-Americans, Latinos, and people with other ethnicities representing just a fraction of those numbers.

“The current numbers may be stark, but Twitter, like Google and Yahoo before it, pledged to work to better diversify its workforce going forward.”[R]esearch shows that more diverse teams make better decisions, and companies with women in leadership roles produce better financial results. But we want to be more than a good business; we want to be a business that we are proud of,” Janet Van Huysse, vice president of Diversity and Inclusion at Twitter, wrote in a blog post.
“To that end, we are joining some peer companies by sharing our ethnic and gender diversity data. And like our peers, we have a lot of work to do.”Van Huysse didn’t lay out any specific plans for enacting more diverse hiring at Twitter but did list some “employee-led groups putting a ton of effort into the cause” at the company. These include affinity groups like WomEng (women in engineering), SWAT (super women at Twitter), TwUX (Twitter women in design), Blackbird (Tweeps of color), TwitterOpen (LGBTQ folks), and Alas (Latino and Latina employees), she said.”

 

More at: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2461300,00.asp

Harassment in the sciences

Most women working in the sciences face sexual assault and harassment while conducting field work, according to a study released Wednesday that is the first to investigate the subject, MotherJones reports:

“The report surveyed 516 women (and 142 men) working in various scientific fields, including archeology, anthropology, and biology. Sixty-four percent of the women said they had been sexually harassed while workingimgres
at field sites, and one out of five said they had been victims of sexual assault. The study found that the harassers and assailants were usually supervisors. Ninety percent of the women who were harassed were young undergraduates, post-graduates, or post-doctoral students.

“Our main findings…suggest that at least some field sites are not safe, nor inclusive,” Kate Clancy, the lead author of the study, said in a statement. “We worry this is at least one mechanism driving women from science.”

“Many university science programs require students to complete fieldwork. Those who do work in the field are more likely to receive research grants. Consequently, women scientists “are put in a vulnerable position, afraid that reporting harassment or abuse will risk their research and a professional relationship often critical to their academic funding or career,” the Washington Post noted.

“The study comes as Congress investigates the response of US colleges to campus sexual harassment and assault. Two out of five colleges and universities have not conducted any sexual assault investigations in the past five years, according to arecent survey by the office of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

“Men vastly outnumber women in the sciences. According to Census data, women make up only about a quarter of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and math fields.”

Women quitting in peak years

As the economy struggles to get back on track, the labor participation rate remains feeble for almost everyone. Still, the losses affecting this group of women — who normally would be in the prime of their careers — stand out imgres-2from the crowd and highlight the challenges facing middle-aged workers who, for whatever reason, find themselves out of a job.

The New York Times reports that “Since the start of the recession, the number of working women 45 to 54 has dropped more than 3.5 percent. There are now about one million fewer women of that age in the labor force than at their peak at the end of 2009. For younger women the rate of decline was about 2 percent — and many of those in their 20s dropped out to return to school or left the work force temporarily to focus on caring for young children.

“Men, too, have been pushed out of the labor market as jobs in the construction and manufacturing industries have been slow to return. But the rate of decline among adult men has largely tracked the curves of the economy and has been spread more evenly across ages. Mr. Shepherdson, who highlighted the drop in working women in a recent report for his firm, Pantheon Macroeconomics, said that even in a slow-growing economy “women’s participation should not have fallen at all, especially among the women in their prime earning years.”

“The fact that more elderly people are living longer may be behind many middle-aged women’s decision to stop working. Most employers do not offer flexible schedules for workers caring for elderly family members. And increasingly, women in their 40s and 50s are sandwiched between caring for aging parents and their own dependent children, including young adults still living at home.

“A Pew Research Center survey conducted in October 2013 reported that 27 percent of the women surveyed had quit their job to care for a child or family member. Sarita Gupta, co-director of Caring Across Generations, an advocacy group for home care workers and patients, said the difficulties can stack up. “Women are falling out of the work force to be primary caregivers to aging parents,” she said, “but as women go out of the work force it means they sacrifice their own financial security.” Continue reading “Women quitting in peak years”

Women writers drinking

If you write a book about alcohol and male writers, as Olivia Laing did, the one question you’ll be asked more than any other is: what about the women? Are there any alcoholic female writers? images-1As Laing writes in The Guardian, “And are their stories the same, or different? The answer to the first question is easy. Yes, of course there are, among them such brilliant, restless figures as Jean Rhys, Jean Stafford, Marguerite Duras, Patricia Highsmith, Elizabeth Bishop, Jane Bowles, Anne Sexton, Carson McCullers, Dorothy Parker and Shirley Jackson. Alcoholism is more prevalent in men than women (in 2013, the NHS calculated that 9% of men and 4% of women were alcohol-dependent). Still, there is no shortage of female drinkers; no lack of falling-down afternoons and binges that stretch sweatily into days. Female writers haven’t been immune to the lure of the bottle, nor to getting into the kinds of trouble – the fights and arrests, the humiliating escapades, the slow poisoning of friendships and familial relations – that have dogged their male colleagues. Jean Rhys was briefly in Holloway prison for assault; Elizabeth Bishop more than once drank eau de cologne, having exhausted the possibilities of the liquor cabinet. But are their reasons for drinking different? And how about society’s responses, particularly in the lubricated, tipsy 20th century; the golden age, if one can call it that, of alcohol and the writer?

“In her 1987 book Practicalities, the French novelist and film-maker Marguerite Duras says many shocking things about what it means to be a woman and a writer. One of her most striking statements is about the difference between male and female drinking – or rather the difference in how the two are perceived. “When a woman drinks,” she writes, “it’s as if an animal were drinking, or a child. Alcoholism is scandalous in a woman, and a female alcoholic is rare, a serious matter. It’s a slur on the divine in our nature.” Ruefully, she adds a personal coda: “I realised the scandal I was creating around me.” Continue reading “Women writers drinking”

Women accumulate larger student debt

When Kristine Leighton graduated from a private college five years ago with a degree in hospitality, she owed $75,000 on student loans.

Each month, she paid the minimum amount of $450 and lived at home with her parents on Long Island, N.Y.

NPR reports that “At first, she was working at a hotel for $10 an hour; money was tight. Even after she got a job in Manhattan making $75,000 a year, she still couldn’t afford to move out. She funneled her earnings into car

payments, credit card bills and debt, and a monthly commuter train pass. The loan payments left little extra

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money for things like an emergency fund.At one point she upped her monthly student loan payments to around $1,800 for almost a year, in an effort to chip away at her debt as much as she possibly could. To prepare for the future.”I was trying,” Leighton says.

“I had this great job, this great career, but I still couldn’t afford to move out of my parents’ house.

“Women have made gains in the workplace but there’s still a wage gap. Although attending college costs the same for both genders, women are more burdened by student loan debt after graduating. They spend a higher proportion of their salaries on paying off debt because, well, they have lower salaries to work with than men — from the very start.After college, with $75,000 in student debt, Kristine Leighton struggled to pay it off and start her adult life. “I was trying,” she says. “But I still couldn’t afford to move out of my parents’ house.”

“A study by the American Association of University Women found that one year after college, nearly half of women working full time, and 39 percent of men, were devoting more than 8 percent of their income toward their debt. That may seem small, but when you are fresh out of college, the combination of living expenses, credit card bills or debt, a 401(k) and a little left over for savings — if you can hack it — adds up. Continue reading “Women accumulate larger student debt”

Equal pay day

President Barack Obama will sign two new executive orders on equal pay for women Tuesday, Politico reports. The executive actions coincide with “Equal Pay Day” — the date that symbolizes

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how far into 2014 women must work to earn the same amount of money men earned last year.

The Huffington Post reports that:”Both executive orders mirror provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which Congress has twice failed to pass. One would prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who share their salary information with each other. The provision is inspired by Lilly Ledbetter, the namesake of the first bill Obama signed on equal pay in 2009, who worked for nearly 20 years at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. before discovering that men in her same job with equal or lesser experience were earning significantly more money than she was.

“The second executive order will instruct the Department of Labor to create new regulations requiring federal contractors to report wage-related data to the government, in the hope that it will hold them more accountable for salary differences based on sex or race.

“Women who work full time in the U.S. make an average of 77 cents for every dollar men make — a number that has remained stagnant for a decade. Researchers who have taken into account factors that may contribute to that gap, including industry, education, college major and location, still find that men get paid 7 percent more than women, according to the American Association of University Women, a non-profit that works to increase equity for women and girls. The gap widens over the course of a woman’s career, especially if she has a college degree. Continue reading “Equal pay day”

Hollywood’s diversity problem

A new study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University has

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confirmedwhat so many critics have long-observed about diversity in Hollywood: even in 2014, it is virtually nonexistent.

Salon reports that the study says that “only 15 percent of the year’s 100 top-grossing films featured women in leading roles, a rate that has barely changed from 2002, when the Center’s executive director Martha M. Lauzen first began to study the numbers. Beyond lead roles, only 30 percent of speaking roles belong to women, which has risen by only a few percentage points in about 80 years. Lauzen explained the findings to the New York Times:

“We think of Hollywood as a very progressive place and a bastion of liberal thought,” she said. “But when you look at the numbers and the representation of women onscreen, that’s absolutely not the case. The film industry does not like change.”

Ms. Lauzen also found consistencies over the last decade in the number of roles given to African-American, Latina and Asian actresses: last year they accounted for, respectively, 14 percent, 5 percent and 2 percent of all female characters. Those figures also have barely wavered from 2002.

Ms. Lauzen attributed the lack of growth in the number of leading female characters to the relative paucity of women in key roles behind the scenes: since 1998, she has found that women have consistently accounted for roughly 17 percent of writers, directors and producers.

“Lauzen’s findings highlight why it’s so important to have diversity not just on screen, but within the staff of a project. This is not just a problem in film, however; it is a problem that encompasses the entire entertainment industry: Offering a comprehensive look at the dismal record of diversity among leading television programmer HBO, the Huffington Post’s Maureen Ryan wrote last week, “If one focuses only on the last dozen years at AMC, FX, Showtime, Netflix and HBO, around 12 percent of the creators and narrative architects in the dramatic realm were women.”

 

More at: http://www.salon.com/2014/03/11/hollywoods_depressing_gender_problem_new_study_shows_its_barely_improving/

 

Not just about girls

If this 5-foot high schooler could create anything, it would be a machine. “The machine would remove the sexist attitudes of boys,” Sophie tells me. Males walk in one end and come out the other free of macho thoughts. imagesShe laughs. As Richard Liu writes on MSNBC.com,

“That was after years of crying. Sophie had a tough childhood. She was the daughter that her parents gave away. Now the 14-year-old fights for gender equality, recently helping a friend with a 32-year-old man who was making advances.

“Sophie is part of Plan International’s “Because I am a Girl” campaign to empower and educate girls about their equal rights to education, health care, and violence-free environments. One of the campaign’s lessons is that the solution is not only in Sophie’s or other girls’ hands. Men and boys have a crucial leadership role in the fight for gender equality. One half of it. A half that is widely untapped.

“Noah, a high school graduate, is one exception. “I am part of society,” he says. “If I change, I change society.” Noah started a group for high school guys to speak out against gender violence. He believes the problem and solution starts with him – that stopping gender violence means stopping boys and men.

“Understanding gender inequality also means understanding political and economic power dynamics that favor men. Men control 81% of Congress. Men hold 95% of Fortune 500 CEO titles. Men occupy 70% of state judge seats. It’s men and boys (soon to be men) in the driver’s seat. It’s men who are obligated to help create change. This isn’t a gender war. Gender equality is not about women fighting men, about women taking from men, or men losing parts of themselves. When men speak out against gender inequality brought on by disadvantageous economic, cultural or legal contexts, it’s a declaration that equality must be the result of a joint – not antagonistic – leadership effort. Continue reading “Not just about girls”

Injuries rise for Olympic women

At the Sochi Olympics, competitors were banned from wearing “Sarah” stickers honoring one of the most famous advocates for gender equity in extreme winter sports. Sarah Burke died of head injuries in 2012 while training for events like The Half Pipe competition, held last night at Sochi.

In a related story about the risks of these new extreme competitions,  the New York Times reports that “Sarka Pancochova, a Czech snowboarder, led the slopestyle event after the first run. On her second trip down the course of obstacles and jumps, she flew through the air, performed a high-arcing, spinning trick and smacked her head upon landing. Her limp body spun like a propeller into the gully between jumps and slid to a stop.images-1

“Pancochova was soon on her feet, and the uneasy crowd cheered. Her helmet was cracked nearly in half, back to front.

“She was one of the lucky ones, seemingly O.K., but her crash last week was indicative of a bigger issue: a messy collage of violent wipeouts at these Olympics. Most of the accidents have occurred at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, the site of the snowboarding and freestyle skiing events like halfpipe, slopestyle and moguls.

“And most of the injuries have been sustained by women.

“Through Monday night, a review of the events at the Extreme Park counted at least 22 accidents that forced athletes out of the competition or, if on their final run, required medical attention. Of those, 16 involved women. The proportion of injuries to women is greater than it appears given that the men’s fields are generally larger.

“The question, a difficult one, is why.

The Winter Games have always had dangerous events. But the Extreme Park, as the name suggests, is built on the ageless allure of danger. All of the events there have been added to the Olympic docket since 1992, each a tantalizing cocktail of grace and peril. Continue reading “Injuries rise for Olympic women”

Oscar’s gender

In an ideal world, there would be no Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.No Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress either. In this hypothetical Hollywood, recognition is bestowed for the most masterful performance of the year—gender regardless.

But as Pacific Standards reports today, “Obviously, we don’t live in that world. Despite all the Jennifer

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Lawrences and Melissa McCarthys, Hollywood is still dominated by a conspicuous gender bias. Swedish cinemas made news in November after several adopted the Bechdel test to identify gender bias in the material of various films—going so far as to exclude failing films from cinema lineups. It’s certainly a problem worth addressing, but perhaps the gravest examples of Hollywood gender bias lie behind the scenes.

“The New York Film Academy compiled this helpful infographic to illustrate some of the more shocking statistics. Among them:

  • In the top 500 films produced from 2007 to 2012, only 30.8 percent of speaking roles are filled by women.
  • Only 10.7 percent of those films featured a gender-balanced cast (half of the characters being female).
  • There are 2.25 working actors for every working actress in Hollywood today.
  • Ninety-one percent of working directors are male.
  • Eighty-five percent of working screenwriters are male.
  • Eighty-three percent of executive producers are male.
  • Ninety-eight percent of cinematographers are male.
  • Only 35 women were nominated for Academy Awards in 2013, as opposed to 140 men. There were no women nominated for directing, cinematography, film editing, original screenplays, or original scores.
  • Seventy-seven percent of voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are male. (Seventy-seven percent!) Continue reading “Oscar’s gender”

Abortion under siege across America

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A three-year surge in anti-abortion measures in more than half the states has altered the landscape for abortion access, with supporters and opponents agreeing that the new restrictions are shutting some clinics, threatening others and making it far more difficult in many regions to obtain the procedure.

  Advocates for both sides are preparing for new political campaigns and court battles that could redefine the constitutional limits for curbing the right to abortion set by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and later modifications by the Supreme Court.

On Monday, in a clash that is likely to reach the Supreme Court, a federal appeals court in New Orleans will hear arguments on a Texas requirement that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals — a measure that caused one-third of the state’s abortion clinics to close, at least temporarily. As the New York Times today reports:

“Advocates for abortion rights, taking heart from recent signs in Virginia and New Mexico that proposals for strong or intrusive controls may alienate voters, hope to help unseat some Republican governors this year as well as shore up the Democratic majority in the United States Senate.

“Anti-abortion groups aim to consolidate their position in dozens of states and to push the Senate to support a proposal adopted by the Republican-controlled House for a nationwide ban on most abortions at 20 weeks after conception.

“I think we are at a potential turning point: Either access to abortion will be dramatically restricted in the coming year or perhaps the pushback will begin,” said Suzanne Goldberg, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University.

“The anti-abortion groups, for their part, feel emboldened by new tactics that they say have wide public appeal even as they push the edges of Supreme Court guidelines, including costly clinic regulations and bans on late abortions.”

More at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/04/us/women-losing-access-to-abortion-as-opponents-gain-ground-in-state-legislatures.html?_r=0

On women Navy SEALS

Last month, three women became the first of their sex to graduate from the Marine Corps’ famously grueling Advanced Infantry Training Course.The Marine Corps was asking a simple question by running small groups through these courses in experimental test batches, two to five women at a

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time: Can the female body withstand the rigors of infantry training? The answer, these women showed, is that it can, as discussed i a recent article in The Atlantic

“So far much of the debate surrounding integration has focused on the physical capabilities of women, as if this were the singular issue. Admittedly the strain of infantry training, or even combat, is relatively easier for a 6-foot tall, 180-pound man, but there are women fit enough to survive these punishing courses. As for combat, well, if we’ve proved anything over the last decade of war, it’s that women can sustain its rigors.

So if the barrier to integrating women into the infantry isn’t a physical one then what is it?

“It’s cultural. And that’s why the infantry may not be the best place to start in military gender integration. Instead, as counterintuitive as it might sound, the military should begin with its Special Operations Forces: elite units such as the Green Berets and SEALs. Although not the obvious move, starting here would likely make for a smoother transition over all.

Without sports ABC gains female viewers

The first initial in the ABC television network stands for “American,” but it might well stand for “asterisk.”imgres

Paul Lee, a top ABC executive, says the network is the most watched by the target demographic, “if you take sports out.” As the New York times reports, “this amounts to a footnote: “not counting sports.”

“Among the four big broadcasters, ABC has competed this fall with no help from the N.F.L. and virtually no help from sports programming at all.

“What does it mean for a network to try to survive on a largely sports-free diet? Mainly, it means building a lifeline to women. Television viewing is widely dominated by women — every broadcast network but Fox has a majority female audience, as do the vast majority of cable networks. The scale is unusually tipped at ABC, where much of its sports programming has moved to ESPN, which shares the same parent, the Walt Disney Company.

“About 62 percent of the ABC audience is female. (CBS is the next most female-skewed at 57 percent.) More strikingly, the top five most popular shows among women are on ABC, as well as seven of the 10 most popular. All of those shows have an audience that is more than 70 percent female. (No. 1 is “Grey’s Anatomy” with an audience just under 76 percent female.) Continue reading “Without sports ABC gains female viewers”

Millennial gender pessimism

About 75% of young women believe the US needs to do more to bring about equality in the workplace,images-1 a new study finds, despite a narrowing pay gap and steady employment gains for women at higher levels of business and government, reports an article in The guardian today.

“Those women remain as pessimistic as their mothers and grandmothers regarding gender equality in the workplace, according to the report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center.

“The study finds that women under 32 now make 93% of what young men earn, aided by women’s higher rates of college completion. But the analysis of census and labor data also shows the gender pay gap will widen for women by their mid-30s, if the experience of the past three decades is a guide.

“That widening gap is due in part to the many women who take time off or reduce their hours to start families. Other factors cited in the report are gender stereotyping, discrimination, weaker professional networks and women’s hesitancy to aggressively push for raises and promotions, which together may account for 20% to 40% of the pay gap.

“Even so, just 15% of young women say they have been discriminated against because of their gender. Continue reading “Millennial gender pessimism”

ADHD labels and gender

A girl with ADHD may be labeled Chatty Cathy — the enthusiastic school-aged girl who is always telling stories to friends. Or she could be the daydreamer — the smart, shy teenager with the disorganized locker, repots WebMD:

“But what happens when she grows up? Or when her ADHD isn’t diagnosed until she’s a woman? Is her experience different from what men with ADHD go through?

“In some people, the signs of ADHD seem obvious — fidgeting constantly, difficulty paying attention in school or at work, and leaving tasks unfinished. For others, particularly those without behaviors problems, ADHD may be more difficult to diagnose.   The symptoms of ADHD may mimic those of other conditions, and sometimes the signs are subtler and harder to distinguish. One psychiatrist, Daniel Amen, MD, believes that to get a truly accurate diagnosis of ADHD, it is necessary to look inside the…

“The issues adults with ADHD have mirror those in the population as a whole, says Stephanie Sarkis, PhD, a psychotherapist in Boca Raton, Fla. For example, she says men with ADHD tend to have more car accidents, suspensions in school, substance abuse, and anger and behavioral issues, compared to women with ADHD. But men are more prone to these kinds of issues in general, regardless of ADHD. Women with ADHD are more prone to eating disorders, obesity, low self-esteem,depression, and anxiety. But they do in the general population, as well.

” These challenges also often play out in different areas of their lives. Men with ADHD may have problems at work, unable to complete their tasks or getting mad too easily at subordinates, says Anthony Rostain, MD, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to see conflicts at home. Kathleen Nadeau, PhD, a clinical psychologist and director of the Chesapeake ADHD Center of Maryland in Silver Spring, says her female ADHD patients, especially mothers, come to her in a “constant state of overwhelm.” Continue reading “ADHD labels and gender”

Who writes for the Times?

This past week 26 men and 10 women wrote for the New York Times. A new blog is keeping track of these numbers, as discussed below:images

“The glaring disparity between men and women writers contributing to large, influential media publications has reared its ugly head once again. But this time, we can watch along in real time.

“Launched this week, Who Writes For The New York Times? tracks the bylines on the Times’ online front page, breaks down the writers by gender and refreshes every five minutes.

Andrew Briggs, the creator of WhoWritesFor (its common designation), credits his inspiration for the site to reading a 2011 study by literary organization VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. “The Count,” as it is called, annually charts gender disparities across media giants such as The AtlanticBoston Review and Harper’s. From i’s beginnings in 2009 to its most recent 2012 report, VIDA has consistently found that men have more bylines, write more reviews and have more reviews written about their work than women do. Briggs explained his reaction to the study and his new site in an interview with The First Bound:

I think that was really the first time the idea of an imbalance in voice occurred to me. I don’t think [The New York Times has] deliberately imbalanced voices, but rather this is the kind of thing that happens when the people in charge aren’t really paying attention. Continue reading “Who writes for the Times?”

White women live shorter lives in the south

Everything about Crystal’s life was ordinary, except for her death, begins a story in today’s American Prospect.images

“She is one of a demographic—white women who don’t graduate from high school—whose life expectancy has declined dramatically over the past 18 years. These women can now expect to die five years earlier than the generation before them. It is an unheard-of drop for a wealthy country in the age of modern medicine. Throughout history, technological and scientific innovation have put death off longer and longer, but the benefits of those advances have not been shared equally, especially across the race and class divides that characterize 21st–century America. Lack of access to education, medical care, good wages, and healthy food isn’t just leaving the worst-off Americans behind. It’s killing them.

“The journal Health Affairs reported the five-year drop in August. The article’s lead author, Jay Olshansky, who studies human longevity at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with a team of researchers looked at death rates for different groups from 1990 to 2008. White men without high-school diplomas had lost three years of life expectancy, but it was the decline for women like Crystal that made the study news. Previous studies had shown that the least-educated whites began dying younger in the 2000s, but only by about a year. Olshansky and his colleagues did something the other studies hadn’t: They isolated high-school dropouts and measured their outcomes instead of lumping them in with high-school graduates who did not go to college.

“The last time researchers found a change of this magnitude, Russian men had lost seven years after the fall of the Soviet Union, when they began drinking more and taking on other risky behaviors. Although women generally outlive men in the U.S., such a large decline in the average age of death, from almost 79 to a little more than 73, suggests that an increasing number of women are dying in their twenties, thirties, and forties. “We actually don’t know the exact reasons why it’s happened,” Olshansky says. “I wish we did.” Continue reading “White women live shorter lives in the south”

The gendered price of success

This is depressing, but not exactly shocking. New research suggests that many men get depressed when women in their lives thrive.

As the story in today’s WebMD reports:  “Men tend to feel worse about themselves when their wives or girlfriends succeed, with their self-esteem sagging rather than basking in the glory of their partners’ accomplishments. That’s the conclusion of a study published online recently in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

“A series of social experiments revealed that men’s subconscious self-esteem bruises easily when their partner succeeds in a task, even if they’re not competing against each other in that task, said study lead author Kate Ratliff.

imgres-1“It makes sense that a man might feel threatened if his girlfriend outperforms him in something they’re doing together, such as trying to lose weight,” said Ratliff, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Florida.

“But this research found evidence that men automatically interpret a partner’s success as their own failure, even when they’re not in direct competition,” she added in a news release from the American Psychological Association. At the same time, a male partner’s success had no effect at all on a woman’s self-esteem, the researchers found.

“We sort of expected that women would internalize the success of their partner and actually feel better if their partner succeeded, but we found that nothing was going on,” Ratliff said. “It could be that women are used to the idea that men are expected to be successful, so when they are it’s no big deal.” The study involved 896 people in five experiments conducted in the United States and the Netherlands. The first experiment included 32 couples at the University of Virginia who took a problem-solving test. Then they were told that their partner scored either in the top or bottom 12 percent of all university students. Participants did not receive information about their own performance.

“The news of their partners’ success or failure did not affect how participants said they consciously felt about themselves, which the study authors referred to as “explicit self-esteem.” But, tests gauging “implicit self-esteem” — a person’s unconscious and unspoken sense of self — found that men who believed that their partner had scored in the top 12 percent had significantly lower self-esteem than men who believed their partner had scored in the bottom 12 percent.

“I want to be clear — this really isn’t the case that men are saying, ‘I’m so upset my partner did well.’ The men aren’t acting different toward their partners. It’s not like the men are being jerks,” Ratliff said. “It’s just hurting their sense of self to be in a relationship with someone who has experienced a success.”

More at: http://men.webmd.com/news/20130830/in-showdowns-between-sexes-male-ego-bruises-easily?src=RSS_PUBLIC

Skin cancer more common in men

imagesCancer Research UK said each year, the most serious type of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, kills 1,300 men and 900 women, a gap expected to widen, reports the BBC.Far more men than women are dying from skin cancer, despite similar numbers being diagnosed with the disease, a report from European scientists suggests.

“A reason could be men delaying seeking help, but biology may also play a part. Prof Julia Newton-Bishop, a Cancer Research UK dermatologist, suspects women have stronger immune systems.German researchers have already identified a gene that appears to make men, but not women, more susceptible to melanoma. Prof Newton-Bishop, from the University of Leeds, said: “Research has suggested the difference between the sexes could be in part because men are more likely to be diagnosed when melanoma is at a more advanced stage.

“But there also seem to be strong biological reasons behind the differences, and we’re working on research to better understand why men and women’s bodies deal with their melanomas in different ways. “Stage for stage, men do less well with this cancer so there’s something very important that this is telling us about how the body deals it. “We think it is something to do with the immune system rather than hormones because pre- and post-menopausal fare the same.” Continue reading “Skin cancer more common in men”