Twenty-three years ago, Anita Hill testified before Congress in the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, who is now a Supreme Court justice. Hill’s testimony brought the term “sexual harassment” into the general American lexicon, and changed the way we talk about gender, power and the workplace. At the time, Hill was vilified by the media and treated horribly by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her testimony, and the hostility she faced, galvanized women and feminists across the U.S. On Friday, a new documentary called “Anita: Speaking Truth to Power” will be released. I’ve seen it, and it’s excellent — go check it out.
Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Hill — one of my personal heroes — and to interview her for Cosmopolitan. You can read the whole thing here. A bit of it:...read more
A must-read by Feministe friend Amanda Hess on online sexual harassment, and how legal mechanisms need to be updated to deal with the reality women face. As someone who has lost countless hours dealing with stalkers and harassers — and actually did see one of them go to jail eventually, although for threatening someone else — it was nice to see a story that didn’t just document the harassment, but that highlighted the sheer ineptitude of law enforcement, the American court system and male-run tech platforms in dealing with it....read more
For U.S. readers who had a long weekend, welcome back to the grind. For everyone else — those who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, those who don’t get holidays off — welcome back as well. To start your Monday, here’s a piece on raising the minimum wage, which we absolutely need to do....read more
Guest Blogger @DrRubidium is an analytical chemist.
Scientist and science communicator @DNLee5 declined an offer to blog for free from biology-online.org and got called a ‘whore’. @DNLee5 posted a thoughtful response on her Scientific American’s blog ‘The Urban Scientist’. A short time later, her response vanished… ...read more
Today, fast food workers across the United States are striking for higher pay. Paltry minimum wages mean that workers are paid as little as $7.25 an hour — not nearly enough to live off of, let alone raise a family. More than 13 percent of fast food workers rely on food stamps to make ends meet, and a disproportionate number of fast food employees are women of color. Willietta Dukes is one woman who will be striking today. She writes:...read more
It’s nice to say that working or not working is simply a matter of personal choice, but in reality it’s a highly gendered one — and one that puts women at a disadvantage when it comes to stability, equality and independence....read more
Last week, Tracy Connelly was murdered in the van where she lived with her partner. Police suspect the killer was a client; Connelly was a sex worker who lived across from St. Kilda Gatehouse. She was also a loving partner and beloved friend to other women in her community....read more
In 1961, Harvard University sent a letter to Mrs. Alvin Richman noting that while she seemed like an excellent candidate for their Department of City and Regional Planning, they did have some concerns about her personal circumstances. Fifty-two years later, award-winning writer and restaurant critic Phyllis Richman has finally taken the time to write Doebele’s requested essay....read more
Too often we are led to believe that work must be something separate from pleasure: that we are to do what we love on the side, in our spare time; that pleasure is an extra-curricular activity, a hobby, a side gig. As if only a privileged few are supposed to do work that is fulfilling and passion-driven. As if pleasure is a luxury, not a necessity.
Know: these are lies....read more
Over at the Guardian, I’m writing about the new stat that 40% of breadwinners in American families are women. With women making up half the workforce, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re an increasing proportion of primary earners. But the 40% stat doesn’t tell the whole story. For starters, the majority of that 40% are single moms — the breadwinners in their families, yes, but not because they’re married to men who make less. Those women make an average of $23,000 per year. The third of breadwinner women who are married to men are significantly wealthier, with a combined family income averaging $80,000. And when you look at divorce and marital satisfaction stats, the happiest couples are those who both work, but where the husband makes more money. Stay-at-home moms have higher rates of depression and marital dissatisfaction, and unhappiness comes in again at the end of the spectrum where a wife out-earns her husband. A strong majority of Americans also believe that the best situation for a child is with a mom who stays home (only 8 percent believe the same about a kid with a dad who stays home). These problems are complex, but traditional ideas about gender play a strong role, and those ideas shape the social policies that leave working parents between a rock and a hard place. Our particularly American gender traditionalism coupled with our idealization of individualism-as-freedom (without recognition that such individualism has generally been a male pursuit, enabled entirely by an unpaid female at-home support system) creates major cultural disincentives to implementing the kids of policies that could actually help families. The full piece is here, and a section is below:...read more
Stories of discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace are all too common, and that’s why we need the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which was introduced in Congress today.
Despite the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act over 30 years ago, which prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, some employers continue to deny pregnant women the minor job modifications that could protect not only a woman’s pregnancy but also a family’s economic security, forcing pregnant women out of their jobs.
The PWFA would make it crystal clear to employers that they can’t treat pregnant women worse than other workers who have certain job limitations and instead must make reasonable accommodations if doing so doesn’t pose an undue hardship on the business....read more