December 26, 2013

What do you think the top stories for women were in 2013? To the Contrary panelists weigh in:

Megan Beyer:

Twitter stumbles to IPO with no women on board, Janet Yellin becomes Fed Chair, Pope puts reproductive issues on the bottom of a list topped by social justice issues, US falls to 23 on WEF gender ranking of nations, Senate Women rise up to end the shut down, GM drives automakers to gender enlightened leadership with CEO pick

IWF Sabrina Schaeffer:

Thatcher passing: Look Margaret Thatcher is a role model for our daughters and our sons. As Christina Hoff Sommers wrote immediately after her passing, this was a woman schooled in Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek. And at the same time she was quintessentially feminine.

Dear Abby passing: In our brave new world of gender equality in which women and men are encouraged to act the same, Dear Abby is more needed today than ever before to help men and women better survive the rough waters of romance, courtship, marriage and sex. One thing that was great about her is that she welcomed change as inevitable, rather than a disaster.

Sheryl Sandberg: Demonstrated just how far women have come, and returned the conversation (momentarily) back onto how women can better help themselves. Of course she’s fully embraced the myth of the wage gap, so that zeros it out for me.

Miley Cyrus: Poor Miley Cyrus is confused about feminism. Her twerking and sexualization simply helps reverse the conversation about women back to their bodies rather than her talents.

Maria Teresa Kumar, Voto Latino

I would point to Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In because it sparked a national conversation on women in the workplace and revealed (not meaning too) the increased socio-economic divide amongst everyday working moms and executive level working moms. 

Hadley Heath, IWF

One of the most interesting stories from 2013 was the Pew Research Center study that showed that women are now the sole or primary breadwinner in 4 in 10 U.S. Households. It sparked many discussions about women in the workplace, the American family and the American economy. 

Rina Shah:

In January, the Pentagon ended its ban on women serving on the front lines. Thank goodness they've decided to say goodbye to the 1994 rule which had barred females from certain ground combat units.

This year brought with it the start of a real, national dialogue on the issue of why there aren't more women on corporate boards

Hopefully, other countries will learn something from Sweden -  there, last month, a new feminist movie-rating scale was unveiled. This is a great move for women because so many men/women alike watch movies, and this rating system can help change attitudes as time goes on. The system measures whether or not a film passes the Bechdel Test; to get an "A" , a film needs to have two named female characters who speak to each other about something other than a man.

At the 2013 Glamour Women of the Year Awards last month, Lady Gaga criticized magazine editors for continuing to splash airbrushed celebrities on their covers, and said she wished activist Malala Yousafzai had been on Glamour's December cover in her place.She said, "I do not look like this when I wake up in the morning ... It is fair to write about the change in your magazines. But what I want to see is the change on your covers."

Anushay Hossein:

Bangladesh garments tragedy, Rana Plaza factory collapse. The worst industrial disaster in the country's history exposed to the world the dark underbelly of Bangladesh's garment sector- poor, exploited, underpaid labor, the majority of which, roughly 90%, are women.