• Underwood Archives/Getty

    Feminism 3.0

    Whither the Women’s Movement?

    Despite massive gains in the 20th century, the women’s movement has reached a stalemate in the 21st. How to move forward?

    William Barnett, my paternal grandfather, came to America in 1910, and became a union organizer with the International Cap Makers Union.  Although William was enamored with his newly-found freedoms in America, and angered by the horrendous working conditions of his fellow laborers, my grandmother Lottie was not amused.  With four children living in a tenement on the Lower East Side in two tiny rooms, Lottie knew that the only way they could stay in their adopted country was to earn a paycheck.  And when William was eventually blacklisted due to his union involvement, the situation became desperate. 

    Lottie believed, as an Orthodox Jew, that the next thing that happened was divine intervention.  She found two $ 20 dollar bills in the communal washrooms, moved the family to Canada, and advised my grandfather that he was welcome to join only if he intended to stop organizing and get a real job.  Their children became doctors and businesswomen, but all were infused with a sense of justice for the millions who remained in the poverty that their family once knew.

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  • Thomas Tolstrup/Getty

    GENDER GAP

    Girls Love Science. We Tell Them Not To.

    A recent article argued that ‘biology and nature sway females away from science.’ Not so fast.

    How do we get more women involved in science? This is an important and complex topic, but to some, it seems like an unnecessary question. They point to equal treatment under law and policies against discrimination. The opportunities are there, it’s just up to women to take them!

    Or maybe they won’t, because as Mary Kenny recently wrote in The Telegraph, perhaps “females as a whole, are not hugely engaged by science.”

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  • Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (2nd L) holds her son Trig as she stands with her daughters Willow (L), Piper (R) and her husband Todd after her speech to the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, September 3, 2008. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

    MOTHER LOVE

    The New Right-Wing Idol: Working Moms

    In the bloody U.K. Cabinet shakeup, a female minister’s promotion came with the prefix ‘working mother.’ Why are conservatives on both sides of the pond keen to court this constituency?

    The blood on the floor is especially vivid in UK politics right now, spattered over the bodies of the dispatched “male, pale, and stale” ministers suddenly ejected from David Cameron’s Cabinet.

    In their place comes what Britain’s Conservative Party hopes will benefit its electoral chances: a slight increase in the number of female ministers, their promotions reported in glaringly sexist terms in today’s Daily Mail in terms of a fashion parade on the “Downing Street catwalk.” In those women’s shadows comes one of the emptiest, yet telling phrases attached to women in public life today: “working mother.” The prefix was immediately attached to Nicky Morgan, the newly appointed UK Education Secretary.

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  • Daniel Kramer/Reuters

    MASSACRE

    Blame Guns for Domestic Murder Epidemic

    The latest massacre of a family—this time in the Houston suburbs—is another brutal reminder that guns in the home leave a trail of devastation. Women and children must be protected.

    The details are still a little sketchy, but what is known so far is this: In north Harris County, in the Houston suburb of Spring, four children and two adults have been shot and killed (and a fifth child was injured) in a domestic dispute, in what would be just another massacre in the USA. Yet more of our children have been sacrificed to the right-wing Golden Calf known as the firearm, in what seems to be the largest slaughter of children since Newtown. 

    What do we know for sure? We know that from 2001 to 2012, more women in the U.S. were shot to death by an intimate partner than U.S. troops were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We know that in states that have closed the gun-show loophole by passing universal background checks—which of course does not include Ted Cruz’s Texas—38% fewer women are killed by an intimate partner with a gun.

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  • Kena Betancur/Reuters

    Media Pioneer

    Jill Abramson Talks Secrecy and Firing

    Two months after her abrupt exit from the Gray Lady, the former executive editor delivered a speech about how different Obama is from Bush—and why she was dismissed from her post.

    Aside from her unceremonious firing, former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson is perhaps best known for her assertion that the Obama administration is the most secretive of any she has covered, and in 22 years in Washington, that covers a lot of White Houses. She got plenty of grief from President Obama’s top aides in the aftermath, and while other journalists made the same observation, Abramson’s words carried weight, coming as they did from the prestigious newspaper’s first female top editor.

    Two months after leaving the Times, in case anyone is wondering, she isn’t backing down from that assertion, but backing it up with concrete examples and inside anecdotes. “I have heard Obama officials say more than once, ‘You will have blood on your hands if you publish this story,’” she said in a speech Wednesday at the Chautauqua Institution describing her perspective as a key player in the midst of some of the biggest stories of our time pitting press freedom against national security.

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  • Kevork Djansezian/Getty

    OUTRAGEOUS

    40% of Colleges Don’t Investigate Rape

    A stunning new Senate report shows nearly half of schools haven’t looked at a single case of rape and 20 percent don’t investigate all the incidents they report to the feds.

    More than 40 percent of U.S colleges and universities have not conducted a single sexual assault investigation in the past five years, according to a new survey released by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) Wednesday.

    “That is hard to believe, and obviously very problematic,” McCaskill said. These schools, she continued, were either “in denial or incompetent” with regard to sexual assault on campuses.

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  • The Daily Beast

    TICKLES

    Meet the Professor of Hairy Studies

    At Arizona State, Professor Breanne Fahs is encouraging—with the prize of bonus credits—female students to grow their body hair, and men to shave theirs. Is it really, as the prof intends, a radical challenge to gender norms?

    According to a helpful guide produced by the university, diligent students at Arizona State may earn extra credit “identifying any typos in course materials” or participating in charity work “that may or may not relate to the curriculum.” Or a select few can boost their grades by braiding their armpit hair and fighting the patriarchy.  

    Breanne Fahs, a professor of gender and women’s studies at ASU, is offering bonus points to female students who grow their leg and armpit hair for 10 weeks during the semester. And male students (would be unfair to leave them out) seeking extra credit are tasked with shaving every inch of body hair from the neck down. Participants are required to keep a diary of hirsute “experiences,” along with others’ reactions to furry thighs and stubbly chests.

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  • Getty

    Taking on the NRA

    How Pro-Gun Control Is Your Candidate?

    A post-Sandy Hook moms’ gun-control group has put out a new NRA-style questionnaire to gauge politicians’ commitment to gun-safety measures.

    Gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and its parent organization, Everytown for Gun Safety (funded by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg), released a questionnaire today to gauge politicians’ commitment to enacting new gun safety measures. The group says the survey—obviously similar to the National Rifle Association’s—is the first step in their campaign to elect officials who support gun control. Along with candidates’ answers, the group will consider “prior statements, voting histories and co-sponsorships and will use this information to mobilize Americans to support or oppose candidates” in the midterms and beyond, the group said in a statement.

    Since Moms Demand Action’s birth following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., the group has kept the issue of guns in the national conversation—a feat in and of itself considering the tendency of our national interest in gun control to wax with tragedies, and wane in the spaces between them. Moms Demand Action is best known for its social media campaigns to pressure businesses like Chipotle and Target to ban the open carry of firearms in stores, while Everytown has focused on lobbying for gun control measures at the state level and publishing reports on what is implied as the impact of lax gun laws including school shootings and violence against women.

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  • Getty

    Fact Check

    No Rapes On Campus? No Way.

    The problem with the latest federal data on campus rapes? Schools with the lowest rates may actually be the ones doing the least to combat the issue.

    After the Washington Post crunched the federal data on reported forcible sex offenses on university campuses, much of the attention was devoted to the schools with the most incidences of rape and the highest rates. Penn State University had the most total reported cases on campus in 2012 (56) and Gallaudet University had the highest rate of reported offenses per 1,000 students (11.39).

    But these aren’t the schools we should be worried about. I write that even though Penn State is one of the 64 universities currently being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for its mishandling of sexual assault cases. Several other tony schools cited in the Washington Post analysis as having the highest number of reported offenses—Harvard, Emory, Michigan—and rates—Amherst, Wittenberg, and Swarthmore—are also being probed for Title IX violations. No one will deny these schools' sexual assault responses are in need of scrutiny and improvement.

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  • Corbis

    Reality Check

    Hobby Lobby Ignores The Pill’s Many Uses

    Often overlooked in the debate over the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision is the fact that oral contraceptives serve several purposes other than birth control.

    The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling this week legitimizing the religious beliefs of “closely held companies” as an excuse to opt out of paying for employees’ contraception has reignited a uncharacteristic Republican push for over-the-counter birth control pills. Back in 2012, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal declared his support for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ recommendation that birth control pills should be sold without prescription at local drug stores. Ahead of the Hobby Lobby decision, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who is running to unseat Democrat Mark Udall in the Senate, also voiced his support for the over-the-counter sale of oral contraceptives.

    It’s certainly an unexpected cause for members of the party that opposed the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act in the first place. And many reproductive rights activists reacted with more suspicion than celebration to Jindal’s OTC endorsement, wary that it would, in effect, mean charging women for a medication Obamacare said they could have for free. Not to mention that the narrow-minded focus on birth control pills would result in restricted access to the other types of birth control that many women use, such as IUDs and vaginal rings.

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  • The Daily Beast

    DOMINO EFFECT

    Meet the Next 82 Hobby Lobbys

    From Notre Dame to manufacturers, dozens of companies were waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision so they could drop contraception coverage.

    Hobby Lobby is about to get a lot more company.

    Monday’s Supreme Court decision in favor of the company and Conestoga Wood of Pennsylvania for refusing to pay for contraception in health insurance affects far more than the 15,000 employees between them. The Supreme Court’s decision allows closely held companies (corporations with more than 50 percent of stock owned by five or fewer individuals) to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. There are at least 80 other companies fighting to be the next Hobby Lobby.

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  • Shutterstock

    P-town

    The Best Women’s Soccer? Look West.

    If the epicenter of men’s soccer right now is Brazil, for women, it’s Portland, Oregon, where the National Women’s Soccer League boasts the best talent on Earth.

    It’s a secret that’s in plain sight: The best women’s soccer in the world is being played right now in the United States—and I’m not talking about the U.S. Women’s National Team. The National Women’s Soccer League—round three of women’s pro soccer here—not only has the best domestic talent, but also draws premier players from across the world.

    If we export most of our best men, we keep our best women.

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  • Win McNamee/Getty

    WOMEN’S RIGHTS

    SCOTUS Tears Down Abortion Buffer Zone

    The Supreme Court struck down a 35-foot buffer zone law but upheld the right to impose such protections, as long as they don’t infringe upon public spaces. And that’s a good thing, writes Sally Kohn.

    On December 30, 1994, Shannon Elizabeth Lowney was sitting at the front desk at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Brookline, Massachusetts where she worked, just doing her job, when a man named John C. Salvi entered the clinic, pulled a rifle from his bag and fatally shot Lowney in the neck.  Salvi then methodically riddled the rest of the room with bullets, wounding three other people in the clinic.

    After his shooting spree, Salvi left and went to Preterm Health Services, a clinic two miles away, killing receptionist Lee Ann Nichols and wounding two other staffers.

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