American Association of University Women
Instead of blindly applauding Twitter for finally making some measure of progress, now is the perfect time for some serious reflection on why it took so long for Twitter to add some level of diversity to its board, areas still in need of improvement, and the barriers to full female participation on the technology sector.
Breaking news: Twitter just announced its first female board member.
This is a moment for the public to cheer, and also, as this WaPo piece suggests, to reflect on the face of American technology and what that says about culture, discrimination, and stereotypes.
What do you think?
Nelson Mandela, Inspiration To World, Dies At 95
He was born a second-class citizen in South Africa; he died one of the world’s most respected men.
To one of the most dedicated fighters for justice and equality: thank you.
From AAUW: @womenshistory: #HappyBirthday chemist Ellen Swallow Richards! 1st female to be admitted to @MIT, she also co-founded @AAUW in 1881. http://t.co/frDFjdkbQq
Honoring our founder today. Ellen Swallow Richards was one cool trailblazer.
- Show your support for computer science education. Sign this petition urging leaders in your state and community to make computer science education available to every student at every school.
- Encourage your governor, city council, and mayor to proclaim Computer Science Education Week in your state and community.
- During the week of December 9–15, organize an Hour of Code event.
Here’s to Gloria Steinem, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom today. Ever an inspiration, she called the honor “a medal for the movement.”
Could she be any more amazing?
One week until our Student Advisory Council retreat and we are not the least bit excited.
Today is Thanks Birth Control Day — a moment for us to recognize everything birth control has allowed women (and men) to do: go to school, travel, pursue a specific career, and plan healthy families. So tell us — what has birth control done for your life?
Where Are the Women Economists? Here’s One You Should Know About
The nomination of Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve is a major victory but reminds us that much remains to be done if women are to achieve parity in the field of economics. Only one woman has received the Nobel Prize in economics, and the most recent recipients were exclusively male. News like this can be disheartening to read. But it also serves as a counterpoint to places (like AAUW) where women have long been recognized for an impressive array of academic fields and backgrounds, and economics is no exception.
During the 1940s, Mabel Newcomer, respected economist, was an AAUW board member. Newcomer, pictured above on the far right, was an economics professor at Vassar College for 40 years, from 1917 to 1957, and also vice president of the American Economic Association — the first woman to hold the position.
So this is pretty exciting.
The New York Times recently revealed that Marvel Comics is introducing a new superhero. Instead of your typical Peter Parker or Superman, fans will meet Kamala Khan, a teenage Muslim girl whose family originates from Pakistan and resides in Jersey City. Besides fighting off supervillians, Kamala will deal with a conservative brother, a paranoid mother, and a father who wants her to become a doctor.
Sana Amanat, an editor at Marvel, is quoted in the Times saying, “I do expect some negativity, not only from people who are anti-Muslim, but people who are Muslim and might want the character portrayed in a particular light.” Kamala will joins the ranks of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Burka Avenger, another Pakistani female superhero.
Holiday Gift Guide for Girls: The 2013 Edition
The holidays are fast approaching, and it’s time to find that elusive perfect gift for the girl(s) in your life. When so many gifts marketed to girls are highly gendered, promoting stereotyped and objectified images of girls, holiday shopping can be a frustrating experience. That’s why, for the second year in a row, we’ve created a list of gifts that defy stereotypes, encouraging girls (and why not boys, too?) to explore the whole range of hobbies and careers including sports, science, and engineering.
1. Future Scientist Onesie
This onesie from Toward the Stars featuring a woman scientist encourages girls to dream big from day one. Toward the Stars has numerous options for gifts that resist gender stereotypes and promote positive messages for girls. ($16.50, Toward the Stars)
2. Ten Thousand Villages Twin Girl Doll
These cute and soft dolls for your little girl to hold are handmade by the women of Zimbabwe’s Batsiranai Craft Project, which works to support mothers with disabled children. For every doll purchased, a girl in Zimbabwe will receive an identical doll. ($28, Ten Thousand Villages)
3. Pattern Blocks Puzzle
These pattern blocks are not just beautiful and colorful — they also teach kids important spatial awareness skills that will help them grasp math concepts more easily in the future. Boys are encouraged to learn spatial skills in their play much more than girls are, but it doesn’t have to be that way. These pattern blocks are from Bella Luna Toys, a woman-owned company that uses all-natural, eco-friendly materials. ($18.95, Bella Luna Toys)
4. Barbie Computer Engineer
Our regular readers might be surprised to see that Barbie made our list. But as of recently, Barbie has a new profession: computer engineer. Girls can play the role of a network specialist and visit Barbie’s website for more information about this career that’s definitely not just for boys. ($14.99, Toys R Us)
5. Wikki Stix Activity Set
Wikki Stix are all about unlimited creativity. This kit for kids as young as 3 lets girls create shapes, practice letters, try out the activities in the accompanying guidebook, and pack their Wikki Stix up into a handy bag for portable play. ($16.95, Wikki Stix)
6. GoldieBlox and the Parade Float
Did you love GoldieBlox last year? Goldie is back with her friend Ruby in a new play set that teaches spatial skills, engineering principles, and confidence in problem-solving. Featuring diverse images of girl engineers, GoldieBlox and the Parade Float can be combined with creator Debbie Sterling’s previous GoldieBlox set for even more creativity. ($19.99, GoldieBlox)
7. LEGO Scientist
The new LEGO character Professor C. Bodin made history for the company this year in a way that may surprise you: She is LEGO’s first female scientist character. With the scientist minifigure set, girls can see themselves as future scientists just like this little professor. (Minifigures bags, $2.99 each, LEGO)
8. Rookie Gear Soccer Ball
Sports are a great way to encourage girls to be active, confident team players. This child-sized soccer ball is just right for a girl’s first game. ($19.99, Spalding)
9. The Princess Knight
Tired of all the princesses in the media who wait to be saved by Prince Charming? Get the princess fan in your life this book about a brave, smart, and self-reliant princess who defies stereotypes and rescues herself. Beautiful illustrations by Kerstin Meyer accompany this book by Cornelia Funke. ($16, Barnes and Noble)
10. Little Passports
Know a girl who loves to travel? The Little Passports interactive game lets kids travel the world from their computer, learning history and geography on the way. Plus, girls and boys will have fun while they learn. (Monthly subscriptions run from $11.95 to $13.95, Little Passports.)
11. Rainbow Loom
You may have already heard of Rainbow Loom, one of this year’s most popular toys, but did you know that it’s defying gender stereotypes? Girls and boys alike love using these colorful bands to create bracelets to share, and they might just learn a little bit about geometry and creating strong structures while they’re at it. ($16.99 starter kit, Rainbow Loom)
12. Snap Circuits Alternative Energy Kit
Like Toward the Stars, A Mighty Girl is a store all about positive and empowering gifts for girls. Curious and environmentally-conscious girls will enjoy this hands-on kit that lets them explore the power of electricity and renewable resources, and do real science experiments in their homes. ($49.00, A Mighty Girl)
13. Geek Dad
At AAUW, we truly appreciate the great fathers and other men in our lives who encourage us to follow our dreams. Now geek dads (and granddads, uncles, brothers) can share these simple and fun projects with their daughters, and show them their potential as future scientists. ($16.99, ThinkGeek)
For the girl in your life who is curious about the extraterrestrial world, this app for iOS lets kids explore the night sky in real time on smart phones and tablets, learning about constellations as well as the galaxies and planets that surround us. A fun activity for the whole family. ($16.99, iTunes store)
Ages 13 and older
A great gift for the girl gamer in your life, Portal puts the player in the role of Chell, a woman who decides to escape from the laboratory where she is confined. Chell must solve a series of puzzles for an artificial intelligence agent that becomes increasingly bizarre and malicious. Portal is rare among video games in that all the characters and voice actors are female — it creates a world where being female is the norm, which is refreshing in the male-dominated world of gaming. ($9.99, Steam)
16. Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things
Engineering is one of the most male-dominated careers out there. Getting girls interested early can help even the balance. Now girls can learn to think like engineers, finding inventive and creative ways to use everyday objects around them, with this book recommended by the National Science Teachers Association. ($8.23, Amazon)
Artist Puts Disney Princess Filter On 10 Real Life Female Role Models
Some of the commentary around this series of inspiring women re-imagined as Disney princesses glossed over the artist’s statement about them quite a bit. The artist, David Trumble, intended the series to make viewers uncomfortable:
“I drew this picture because I wanted to analyze how unnecessary it is to collapse a heroine into one specific mold, to give them all the same sparkly fashion, the same tiny figures, and the same homogenized plastic smile.”
Still, it must be said: Ruth Bader Ginsberg as a Disney princess is kind of the coolest thing ever.
Boston aims to be first city to erase the gender wage gap - The Boston Globe
Boston has the best-educated women of any major US city, and now Mayor Thomas M. Menino is trying to make it a better place for them to earn a living. The goal: to make Boston the first city to eliminate the wage gap between men and women. Menino plans to announce this initiative Thursday, when he rolls out a compact signed by 38 employers that have committed to ending pay disparities.
So we’re all moving to Boston, right?