Parents, science and girls

eec-sigt-logoScience: It’s a Girl Thing! is using the power of social media to connect with parents and educators about how to foster girls’ interest in science and technology, and why that is important.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the program offers Web-based and easy-to-use resources for conducting science activities at home. It builds on everyday science that parents already know. Just as children are natural scientists, parents are natural teachers.

Science: It’s a Girl Thing! includes a series of short, entertaining and educational videos and free downloadable PDF activity cards for parents to use in working with their daughters. To access the free activity cards, visit It’s a Girl Thing on Facebook or via its Web site.

Caster Semenya

I surely don’t know whether Caster Semenya is biologically a male or female,whether she is intersexed or genetically other than a traditional XX. But, I am certain that she identifies as a girl and has been raised by her family as a girl. I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to be a teenager and have the world discussing your sex and gender.  But it does bring to the forefront many of the issues we discuss in Women’s Studies classes. What does make one a woman or man? Who decides if you are male or female?

Just as most of us have never been asked to show our birth certificate to prove where we born when we claim U.S. citizenship (unless we are at the passport office), I’m sure few of us have been asked to raise our skirts or lower our pants to show our genitilia. But Caster must do it for the world. Why? Because she runs so fast- how could she possibly be a girl.

I don’t really have anything wise to say about this. It just has disturbed me that this young woman must go through this. I read she has to see a psychologist, genetisist and many other professionals. Maybe they should test all of us so we can walk around with M’s and F’s on our forehead to make the folks happy who seem to have a need to “really” know. Just telling them what we think about ourselves obviously isn’t enough.

Why don’t more women bike?

woman bikingIn 1896, Susan B. Anthony said she thought bicycling did more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. Now bloggers have taken up her cry.

It seems an effort to get more women biking — and thus narrow the gender biking gap — is heating up the blogosphere. Discussion centers on everything from gender-based biking statistics to biking fashion.

As one blogger puts it, women ought to be able to ride and look good doing it.

The larger problem, however, is the lack of gender parity regarding Olympic competition, including cycling. Currently, there are seven men’s events and only three for women.

British Cycling started organizing for parity after the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. But now Olympic organizers say the only way to even things out is to eliminate some men’s events.

Sounds like one of the same old arguments made to oppose Title IX, right?

Read more about it

Get smart: Get trained to help women negotiate salary

equityAs a women’s studies instructor, one thing that has surprised me is that young women don’t know how to negotiate salary when they are offered a job.  In fact, the idea of negotiating either doesn’t occur to them or it scares them to death.

That’s why I’m going to $tart $mart Training on Saturday afternoon at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware. The training is offered by AAUW Ohio and the Wage Project to ensure that women graduating from college start their careers knowing how to negotiate for fair and equal pay.

It will be offered from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Conrades Conrades-Wetherell Science Center on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. The cost is $50, payable by cash or check. Walk-ins are welcome.

Read more about the training and the AAUW Ohio Leadership Workshop of which it is a part.

Learn more about the Wage Project.

This week’s news from Women’s Media Center

WMC_logo_300dpiWhere Are The Women In Tech And Social Media?
Fast Company: When you look around the room at a tech or social media conference what do you see? Are the panels filled with a diverse group of tech and social media experts? Chances are they are probably filled with white men…Women make up approximately 50% of computer and social media users. By not filling panels with diverse speakers, we tend to give conference attendees only male perspectives on tech and social media.Deeds Throws Abortion Gauntlet
Washington Post: Surrounded by female activists and lawmakers, Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds on Monday launched an assault on his opponent’s record of working to restrict abortions, calling it evidence that the Republican has the wrong priorities for the state.Women Dominate ‘High Status’ Jobs 
BBC: More women than men in the UK now work in high status professions, research by the University of Cambridge has shown.

Newspaper War Raises A Question: Who Keeps The Tweeps?
City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul: In the ongoing battle between the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press, the Strib scored a hit recently when word let out that it had drawn PiPress Capitol reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger across the Mississippi… That raised a question in the twitterverse: What happens when a reporter who authors a respected Twitter page moves to the competition?

Hillary Clinton In Congo: Tempers, Human Rights, And Media Cliché

Huffington Post: Media reports regarding Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo have so far focused on her testy remark to a Congolese student at a town hall meeting in Kinshasa on August 10. This has been a colossal waste of time when the Congolese, especially women and children, are watching the sand run out of the hourglass.

Janet Napolitano On The Border, Immigration And More 

LA Times: The Homeland Security secretary talks about immigration reform, overhauling Bush administration policies and changes in detention policy.

The Olympian Force Behind A Revolution

Washington Post: Eunice Kennedy Shriver, 88, a member of a political dynasty who devoted her life to improving the welfare of mentally disabled people and founded the Special Olympics to showcase their abilities, died Tuesday at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Mass. She had had strokes during the past year, a family spokesman said.

Dreams From His Mother

NY Times: President Obama’s late mother, Ann Dunham Soetoro, was famous for the good cheer and optimism that she preserved in the face of a complex and challenging world. I knew Dr. Soetoro as a friend and colleague for many years before her death from cancer in 1995. Though I only met her son once, briefly at her memorial service, I’ve watched him as he’s taken on the hardest job in the world, and often found myself wondering how her worldview might have shaped him.

50 Best Law Firms For Women
Working Mother: These are turbulent times for law firms. But for working-mom lawyers, who’ve long sought more flexibility, this may be just the moment they’ve been waiting for.

Femicide: There’s Not Enough Outrage

Toronto Star: `There’s not enough outrage,” lamented one women’s rights activist at a candlelight vigil for the three women cut down last Tuesday night in a Pittsburgh-area aerobics class… But, as Toronto author Brian Vallee points out in his 2007 book The War on Women, nobody counts the dead, nobody connects the dots, nobody calls out the problem. No, no, we say… They were just loners, losers, crazies with guns. There’s not enough outrage.

New Nuns And Priests Seen Opting For Tradition 
NY Times: A new study of Roman Catholic nuns and priests in the United States shows that an aging, predominantly white generation is being succeeded by a smaller group of more racially and ethnically diverse recruits who are attracted to the religious orders that practice traditional prayer rituals and wear habits.

Muslim Women Uncover Myths About The Hijab

CNN: What the Muslim high school senior wants you to understand is that she doesn’t wear the hijab, the head scarf worn by Muslim women, because she is submissive.

Anger Greets Suu Kyi Conviction

BBC: World leaders have reacted with anger and disappointment to the conviction of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for violating security laws.

Congo’s Rape Epidemic Worsens During U.S.-Backed Military Operation
Washington Post: For the women of eastern Congo, a U.S.-backed Congolese military operation meant to save them from abusive rebels has turned into a nightmare of its own. An already staggering epidemic of rape has become markedly worse since the January deployment of tens of thousands of poorly trained, poorly paid Congolese soldiers, with people in front-line villages such as this one saying the soldiers are not so much hunting rebels as hunting women.

Papua Better Protecting Women Against HIV/AIDS
The Jakarta Post, Indonesia: Papua has intensified its campaign promoting the use of female condoms, after reports emerged of an increase in HIV/AIDS infections among residents.

Breast-Feeding Linked To Lower Cancer Risk

NY Times: There is new evidence that breast-feeding is associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer among a group of younger women who are at particularly high risk: those with breast cancer in the family.

Don’t Judge This Book By Its Cover: Bloomsbury Deny ‘White-Washing’ Character

Independent, UK: Bowing to intense pressure across the internet and from literary enthusiasts, the US publishers of the latest novel by Justine Larbalestier, who writes for young adults, have agreed to change the cover design from a white girl to a black girl, to reflect the race of the central character.

Billie Jean King Gets Official Recognition As Agent Of Change

The Progressive: On Aug. 12, tennis legend Billie Jean King will be duly recognized for her role as a game-changer of history. This is the day President Obama will bestow on her the Medal of Freedom… King’s most memorable battles were not fought on the tennis court. She lived as an out lesbian before it was remotely fashionable to do so. She fought for equal pay for women athletes, and by extension, women in general.
Women Boxers Hope To Send Message To IOC
USA Today: Women’s boxers compete in 13 weight classes at their world championships. If the International Olympic Committee’s executive board decides Thursday to add women’s boxing to the 2012 Olympic program, they will compete in, at most, five weight classes.


About the Women’s Media Center:
The Women’s Media Center (WMC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization making women visible and powerful in the media. The WMC ensures that women are represented as they are: powerful newsmakers, informed experts, and sought-after media professionals.

One wise Latina woman on her way to Supreme Court

Sonia SotomayorWhen Sonia Sotomayor is sworn in Saturday, she will become the third woman Supreme Court justice and the first Latina.

She will also make history in another way. The ceremony itself will be the first open to TV cameras in the court’s history, according to an Associated Press story.

Sotomayor was confirmed by a 68-31 Senate vote Thursday. Most of the votes in favor of her confirmation came from Democrats, who voted unanimously to confirm. All but nine Republicans voted against her. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) broke ranks and voted for Sotomayor.

The historic confirmation is generating lots of buzz, including tweets pro and con on Twitter.

The nasty tweets made me cringe, but the positive comments made me smile. I, for one, am happy to have one wise Latina woman — who grew up in a Bronx housing project as the daughter of Puerto Rican parents — sitting as a Supreme Court justice.

And, of course, behind Sotomayor is another strong woman, her 81-year-old widowed mother, Celina Sotomayor, a nurse. She owned the only encyclopedia in the Bronx neighborhood where Sonia grew up, and over the years, she served as a sort of one-woman social agency for her friends and neighbors.

Sonia Sotomayor is quick to acknowledge her mother’s strong influence.

“I have often said that I am all I am because of her, and I am only half the woman she is,” she said when President Obama appointed her to the high court.

You can read more stories and commentary about Sotomayor’s confirmation at the links below:

Todays news links from the Women’s Media Center

WMC_logo_300dpiFreed Journalists Home In U.S. After N. Korea Pardon
AP via NPR: Two American journalists freed by North Korea returned home to the United States on Wednesday for a jubilant, emotional reunion with family members and friends they hadn’t seen in nearly five months.

Governor Cuts Program That Aids Battered Women
San Francisco Chronicle: The swipe of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s sharp blue pencil that eliminated a domestic violence program from the state budget could leave some battered women with less help, advocates said Tuesday.

Threats Cloud Afghan Women’s Political Ambitions
NPR: Women in record numbers are seeking office in Afghanistan’s presidential and provincial elections later this month. The participation is a major change in a country where women weren’t even allowed to attend school eight years ago. But the election milestone masks a far darker reality for women in Afghanistan: Many female candidates and voters are facing oppression, threats of violence and fraud.

Women’s Media Group Protests Washington Post Video
AlterNet: The Washington Post produced a sexist and racially insensitive video; video gone, but still no apology.

Hot Story To Has-Been: Tracking News Via Cyberspace
NY Times: A database, at, will eventually enable researchers to search for key people, places and events – from Michael Jackson to the Iranian elections – and find out precisely when, where and how frequently they are covered…    

All-Female Daily Wins UN Literacy Awards
Inquirer Global Nation, Phillipines: A newspaper produced entirely by women in rural India is among the winners of this year’s Literacy Prizes awarded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) for innovative programs designed to teach marginalized populations how to read and write.

World Pulse: A Magazine, A Movement, And A Mentor
Push the Future: World Pulse was founded in 2003 by Jensine Larsen, a young journalist covering indigenous movements and ethnic cleansing in South America and Southeast Asia, with a commitment to address international women’s issues. “We deliver a message of empowerment,” Casas explains. “We have no political agenda, nor are we are a humanitarian agency…We are simply a venue for the voices of women across the world to be heard.”

New York Tops Mag’s List Of Best Places In U.S. For Women To Have A Career – And Child
NY Daily News: Working moms can have it all – especially if they live in New York. A new study by ForbesWoman magazine found the city is the best place for a woman to have kids and a career.

Catholic Sisters Queried About Doctrine, Fidelity
AP via Google: A Vatican-ordered investigation into Roman Catholic sisters in the U.S., shrouded in mystery when it was announced seven months ago, is shaping up to be a tough examination of whether women’s religious communities have strayed too far from church teaching.

Politics Distorts Facts On Impact Of Abortion Coverage
RH Reality Check: Researchers found that the ban on federal Medicaid coverage of abortions for poor women-commonly known as the Hyde amendment-does have considerable impact: One in four women who would have an abortion if it were paid for by the government instead continue the pregnancy to term.

More Women Managing US Farms
Voices of America: Traditionally in the United States, women played important roles on the family farm helping their father or husband.  But a recent Census shows the number of farms run by women is rising.  Many of these women were drawn to farming from totally different careers.  They now enjoy bringing healthy and flavorful foods to local markets.  

Police Beat Women Opposing Sudan Dress Code Trial
AP via Yahoo! News: Sudanese police fired tear gas and beat women protesting at the trial Tuesday of a female journalist who faces a flogging for wearing trousers in public.

U.N. To Japan, Switzerland: Improve Rights Record
Women’s eNews: Some of the nations that have signed a U.N. convention to end discrimination against women are in New York and facing compliance review. At least two of the developed countries on the list–Japan and Switzerland–have room for improvement.

U.N. Urges Governments To Tap Women To Fight Global Downturn
Reuters: Governments in the Asia Pacific should come up with more stimulus projects that help drive an economic recovery by tapping into the female labor force, rather than just creating construction jobs that mainly employ men, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday.

Labour Imposes Women-Only Lists In Half Seats Left By Retiring Mps
Times Online, UK: Labour has imposed women-only shortlists on more than half of its seats left vacant by retiring MPs, an analysis by The Times shows.

Breast Cancer: Study Of Radiation After Mastectomy Includes Chinese For First Time
NY Times: Women in Asia have traditionally enjoyed relatively low rates of breast cancer, but that is changing in China…Now, for the first time, a large international breast cancer study will recruit up to 200 patients from Beijing and six other Chinese cities to participate in a randomized clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of radiation therapy after mastectomy.

Health Professionals Debate Screening For Intimate Partner Violence
LA Times: Many doctors and hospitals have implemented procedures to screen women for intimate partner violence. The practice, however, is controversial. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force makes no recommendation on screening because of a lack of evidence that it can do much good.

10 U.S. Hospitals Turn ‘Baby-Friendly’ In 2009
Women’s eNews: During World Breastfeeding Week, Women’s eNews finds 10 more U.S. hospitals picking up the “Baby-Friendly” certification so far this year. That means they have met international health standards for encouraging breastfeeding and more.

Beyond Punishment: What Really Matters About Chris Brown’s Sentence
Huffington Post: Today, millions of us will watch R&B star Chris Brown chat up Larry King after he receives his sentence for brutally beating his very famous girlfriend. Smart money says that King will put to him the question that captivated so many of us when his plea deal was announced in June: did the court let him off too easy? Once again, it will be the wrong question.

‘Hung’ Co-Creator Laments The Lack Of Funny Pretty Women Over 35
NPR: As part of a New York Times Magazine profile of Anne Heche, who appears on the HBO drama Hung, the show’s co-creator, Colette Burson, talked about how lucky they were to cast Heche and said, “We auditioned a lot of people…It is incredibly difficult to find beautiful, talented, funny women over 35.” Zoiks.

Female Iraqis Take On Tradition In Wrestling Ring
NY Times: It doesn’t happen much in the Arab world, but a coach here decided in January to start an all-female wrestling team, the first ever in Iraq. The wrestlers love it and already dream of competing in the Olympics.

From ‘Gladiator’ To Headliner, Carano Has Chokehold On Fame
NY Times: At 27, Gina Carano has become the face of women’s mixed martial arts, fighting her way to respectability in a male-dominated sport that has yet to secure its own respectable place in the mainstream.