Taking Action: IVAWA

Imagine a world where bruises and broken bones no longer keep mothers from caring for their children…

Imagine a world where girls can get an education without being abused on their walk to school…

Imagine a world where women can go to work without fearing violence in the work place….

Imagine a world without violence against women.

  

 

With your help this world can be a reality.

Support the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA – H.R. 4594, S. 2982) today!

HOW TO TAKE ACTION

Senators and Members of Congress will be returning to Washington, D.C. in mid-November for a short “lame-duck” session of Congress. They will only be working on legislation for about two weeks before they adjourn for the year. It is critical that we work our hardest to see that the I-VAWA gets passed this year, since waiting until next year means we have to start all over again with a new Congress.

The recent video of a woman being stoned to death in Pakistan or the daily reports of even more horrific acts of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo remind us of the urgency of our work!

Please contact your Member of Congress and ask him/her to help pass the International Violence Against Women Act when they return to Washington, D.C. in mid-November. Here is a direct link to an action alert you can send right now http://capwiz.com/fvpf/issues/alert/?alertid=16531596.  This will give you the quick background and language to help you better explain the bill and allow you to connect directly to your Member or Senator.

In addition, many of you have personal relationships with both your own elected officials as well as those in leadership. If you have personal relationships with any of the following or know those who do, please reach out to them in the next two weeks and let them know how important it is to you that they schedule a vote on the I-VAWA. Specifically, we are speaking about: Senators Kerry (D-MA), Lugar (R-IN), Schumer(D-NY), Reid (D-NV) and Durbin (D-IL). In the House, Congressman Berman (D-CA) and Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl) are also critical as they chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

(Source: Women Thrive Worldwide)

Fannie and Freddie and $259 billion

On February 25th, 2008 I wrote my first OPED about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (click here from FB)The piece was called Quickfixonomics, and appeared on the Huffington Post. At that time I criticized the government for increasing their loan limits as their balance sheets were already a complete mess. I cannot imagine how much THAT MOVE contributed to the $259 BILLION in total expected losses that were reported yesterday. $259 BILLION. Can you all please think about that number. This is not TARP, this is not WALL STREET, these losses are the result of government creating agencies to make homes more affordable for Americans. I have written dozens of blog entries about these two and it is truly just heartbreaking. Now what? is really the question. The truly sad thing is these losses will likely continue and go higher. They have no way to hedge their portfolio that I can think of against decreasing home prices and defaults. Given they own and guarantee trillions of mortgages, and home prices have decreased on average around 30%, it likely means this number is going to be much, much higher.

Now I really hate playing the blame game but this makes be angry. Years and years ago when Fannie and Freddie were printing money for their shareholders and bringing down mortgage rates it was all good, and so they kept expanding their portfolios because as a publicly traded company, that was what they were suppose to do. By buying trillions of mortgages they ‘crowded out’ other natural purchasers of bonds, perhaps forcing them in to investment strategies and products that were not optimal. ( think Alt A, subprime mortgages, and the like) I have done this rant before in one of my other dozens of entries on these mortgage giants but every time I see another headline about how much money they have lost I lose it. $259 billion. THIS WAS AVOIDABLE. The responsibility for oversight of these organizations was by people that are still in power today, like Barney Frank. I would argue that if Fannie and Freddie did not exist in the form they did, we would not have had this financial crisis. Were they the only players? No of course not. But go down the path of imagining the financial world, and especially the securitized world, without the likes of them, and I don’t think you would end up where we are. Note that no other country has the likes of Fannie and Freddie, and they did not experience a financial crisis like the US did.
$259 billion and rising. It is all just so sad. Regarding this foreclosure mess. My gosh.. I don’t even know where to start. I am really worried this will all lead to the next inning of financial market chaos.
For all the blogs I have written on Fannie and Freddie go to my web-site and search Fannie.

Closing the Gender Gap: The Business Case for Organizations, Politics and Society

 

Last week I had the honor of attending a conference (click here from FB) at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government which brought together over 100 though leaders to discuss the research that supports the positive economic value of gender diversity. It truly was a ‘who’s who’ of researchers in the field, including many of the people we quoted in out “Women in Fund Management” Study. A partial list includes:

Barbara Annis – Author, Leadership and the Sexes

Hannah Riley Bowles – Associate Professor Harvard Kennedy School, extensive research on gender in negotiations and the attainment of leadership positions.

Iris Bohnet – Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, extensive research on the role of gender in decision making.

Robin Ely – Professor at Harvard Business School, research on race and gender relations in organizations.

Morten Huse – Professor of Organization and Management of BI Norwegian School of Management, published widely on the topic of women and diversity on boards of directors.

Herminia Ibarra – Faculty of INCEAD, and expert on professional careers and leadership development.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter – Professor at Harvard Business School and listed as “one of the most powerful women in the world.” ( pictured left)

Mona Lena Krook – Assistant Professor of Political Science, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. An expert in Quotas for women in politics.

Terrance Odean – Hass School of Business and an expert in behavioral economics.

Scott Page – University of Michigan, Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science and Economics.

My takeaways in brief:

– The evidence for investing in women and girls in the developing world is conclusive and compelling. Create and fund programs that provide for economic their opportunity and security.

– Quotas Quotas Quotas. I am absolutely in favor of quotas for boards of directors of publically traded companies. Representatives were at the conference from Norway sharing how almost no one wanted it, but they did it, and it is having very positive impact. ( they have a 40% law) So many other countries are doing it and it is THE THING we can do to create huge positive change.

– The benefit of gender diversity in groups is nuanced. It is not just add women and better outcomes; it is about creating an inclusive environment which leads to better outcomes. This is the main reason why diversity programs have failed to deliver. We are adding women without changing the culture. PS – an inclusive culture is better for men too!

– Change has and always will be about power. Women have so much more then we are using. We continue to be asking permission when we should be demanding change. The research supports that change is good business.

– Overall there is just a huge and significant amount of research that makes the business case for women. I knew that, but this gathering solidified it for me. Even where there was not absolutely conclusive research of a diversity bump, it does not matter. Show me the other research that says conclusively that excluding women or keeping them a minority leads to better outcomes. The fact that in 2010 we still have to PROVE that we deserve a seat of the table is crazy. I mean really?!? Really?

It was a joy to meet the researchers that do the work that fuel my arguments and my passion. Hopefully soon I will have an updated research list of all their work but for now many of their studies are listed or quoted in the resource section of my website.