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Half the Sky

“Up to 107 million women are missing from the globe today.”

“Every year, 2 million girls disappear because of gender discrimination.”

“More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century.”

“More girls are killed in…”gendercide” in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century.”

These statistics are startling. And only the beginning of a global human rights issues that spans from the depths of India to small town Baton Rouge. Whether the topic be sex discrimination, human trafficking, gender-based violence or education, the idea that women are still being treated as property, objects, lesser-than or inferior is startling.

I recently watched a portion of Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” a multimedia documentary based on the book by the same name that emphasizes the global issues of women’s rights and, thankfully, what is being done to combat the issue.

My sister gave me this book a few months ago, and though I have yet to read it, the documentary was powerful enough to create a deep sense of sorrow and renewed passion for this topic for me.

I focus my research and writing about women in American media, or a young girl’s social development, but the larger women’s rights issues lay heavy on my heart. It doesn’t take a trip to Cambodian brothels for one to see discrimination or violence against women and girls. And one doesn’t have to travel to Vietnam to research education initiatives that encourage girls to stay in school, rather than dropping out at the average age of 14. You see it everyday, in more subtle forms, existing in even the most free and developed countries. But, the authors of this book did make those trips, and are sharing these stories to help raise awareness. I hope you’ll take a look at the trailer, understand the cause and maybe take part.

People may disagree about how or what a woman should be, but no one should disagree that a woman has a right to be.

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Voices of Women Voters | Chapter 2

Healthcare? Economy? Reality TV?

women voters

What is on the minds and hearts of women during this election cycle? Hop over to the Voices of Women Voters page to see the latest installment in this series. Women continue to offer many different and fascinating thoughts, ideas and worries.

{Check it out here!}


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Voices of Women Voters – Chapter 1

Do you ever feel like your voice isn’t being heard? Do you feel the media paints limited pictures of women, and you don’t fit in any of those categories? What are you most interested in about the upcoming presidential election?

women voters

These questions–and more–are what I’m hoping to investigate with my new project, Voices of Women Voters. You may have noticed the new page on the blog, and will be an ongoing project as I look at how women are thinking about politics and representation of women.

Head on over to the Voices of Women Voters page and see the first chapter of this project. I’d love your thoughts, comments or feedback!


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The “You Know What” In The Boardroom

How can I put this delicately…us b***** got to stick together!

There are common stereotypes for women in the workplace. You’re either the sexy secretary, the ball buster in the boardroom, or the wallflower/people pleaser. I’ve encountered every type and often wonder how I will fit into that world. I tend to be a people pleaser, but also expect respect for my ideas and contribution to a project.

I LOVED this article from FastCompany, because I connected with what one of the women had to say about being a woman and being a hard worker. It’s hard for women to navigate the expectations and the differences in being liked, being respected, or both.

success and likeability

Here’s an excerpt:

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, is undoubtedly a mover and shaker. The woman behind Mark Zuckerberg also happens to be the social network’s highest paid exec and has the sort of resume any successful business person (man or woman) would love to have–think chief of staff for the U.S. Treasury and VP of global online sales at Google.

And while it’s clear that she’s deep in the trenches both at home and in the office, Sandberg did say, “There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s work, and there’s life, and there’s no balance,” in an interview for the Makers series from PBS and AOL

That may be why, in that same series of interviews, Sandberg confesses that even though she was voted most likely to succeed in high school, she asked a friend on the yearbook staff to remove the reference because it was “uncool” and admits that for women, success and likeability is a trade-off

That’s brilliant! I was also voted Most Likely To Succeed, and was embarrassed that it was in the yearbook (instead of the coveted Most Involved or Miss THS) because I thought it was “nerdy” or an unflattering title for a dainty girl like me. I didn’t know it then, but even at 17, I was struggling with the trade-off of success and likeability. And the feeling that if I’m a successful woman, I lose my femininity. And even more, little did I know that this struggle has plagued women for decades (insert long diatribe on my current reading selection The Feminine Mystique here, but for time and Jason’s sanity sake, I’ll omit).

The article goes on to discuss the different stereotypes and challenges that women in the workplace face. I think what’s most important is for women to stay true to what they want to be. If you’re not the tough exterior type, don’t be that way, but don’t let people take advantage of you. If you are the tough, go-getter type, good for you–but don’t be afraid to show a softer side when it’s appropriate.

Be who you are, and be supportive of the other women around you. They may not show it, but they are probably going through the same struggle as you.


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How To Pick Up Women…

…in advertising?

This past week, AdWeek released a series of articles on women and how marketers can better embrace the inner goddess of all those consumer-crazy girls out there. The collection of articles include demographic profiles, statistics and stories on brands that embrace women in their natural habitat i.e., sports, blogging, etc.

Read more about AdWeek’s Women Issue

OK, is it just me, or did they just put all women into three categories? Which one are you? The Indie? The Mom? Or the Goddess? What about secret answer number four: the “I have no idea what these crazy people are talking about, I just want to buy my damn 99 cent peanut butter without being defined as a ‘savvy-saver’?” Or the other popular secret choice #5: “I have no clue who I am, but I sure do love Ryan Gosling.”

“Hey girl, wanna buy my product or service?”

My point is that this article, while ambitious in its focus, feels…limited and short-sighted.

Case in point: “…across generations, women have earned unprecedented control of their finances, their careers and their bodies.” Oh okay. So the feminist movement was all about getting better data so marketing could make me feel like I made the decision to choose Oil of Olay over L’Oreal? I HAVE CONTROL! I’M WORTH IT!

Marketing should be authentic. Yes, you need to know your audience. But also understand the nuances that exist within each audience. Women cannot be put into three categories, no matter who is dividing them. I, as a young adult from the South, newly married and a dog owner who likes Cheetos — will be very different from you — teenage girl with her first crush, living in Salt Lake City who likes Cheetos. We both like Cheetos, but our lives are severely different. How do you make Cheetos desirable to us both? By this article’s definition, we don’t even exist because we’re not at the magical 28 age group.

Marketing sometimes needs assumptions, but I think a more valuable tool would be a women’s continuum rather than a trichotomy of description. Women can move up and down that continuum through life stages, make different product choices, and feel free to change her mind. THAT would be a more helpful targeting tool than rigid categories. It could even allow more freedom in creative design and media placement.

What do you think? Do you fit in these categories? Or do you just want to ogle Ryan Gosling?