MAKERS: Women Who Make America TONIGHT!!!!!

Watch MAKERS Preview on PBS. See more from Makers: Women Who Make America.

It’s finally here! Tonight’s the night! Though the OSCARS were on Sunday, for me the big must watch premiere  is airing on PBS ( check for your local time) this evening and is MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA. I first heard about this project a number of years ago at a special gathering for the purpose of raising funds for this incredible endeavor.  The idea was that there was no one place you could go to to watch and listen to the stories of incredible women, women who have made history.  There was a sense of urgency as many of the women who were icons of the feminist movement in the United States were aging, and in some cases had already passed, and the stories had to be collected before we lost another women leader.  As it turned out that very evening Gloria Steinem was scheduled to talk about the effort but instead was at the bedside of Wilma Mankiller, the first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation, who would pass away that very day.  Though she could not be there, Gloria called us, and we all huddled around the phone as she shared what an incredible woman Wilma is, was, and how we simply MUST support this project.  I did. Many did.  And tonight as I watch this program I will be thinking of Wilma, and so many others that will not be featured in the film because they are no longer with us.

 

The MAKERS is about Trailblazers. It is about women who have changed the world as we know it, both known and unknown. For the first time they have come together  to share  their unique stories in this amazing documentary. It includes women like Madeline Albright, the first female secretary of state,  Erin Brockovich, the environmental activist whom the self titled movie was inspired by, and Brenda Berkman, the first NYC female firefighter. The three-hour documentary film, which is narrated by the incredible Meryl Streep, takes an in-depth look at major milestones for women from the victory of Roe v. Wade to the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment, from consciousness-raising about advertising imagery to the admission of women in sports. The women at the forefront of it all, the women who raised children but also stepped out of the typical female homemaker roll and became “Makers” of a movement, the women’s movement.

Check out the articles in the New York Times and the San Fransisco Gate for their reviews of the film.  The SFGate says, “”Makers” doesn’t focus exclusively on the female iconoclasts or major media events of the last half century. The other “side” gets equal time, not just out of fairness but because if there is one thing above all that the women’s movement should have taught us, it is that women are individuals who differ on thought, action, philosophy, politics and ambition.”

Join the conversation on twitter by tweeting #MAKERSchat and @MAKERSwomen and like them on Facebook to spread the word about this amazing doc!

Though I am beyond excited about the documentary I am more excited about the platform where all these stories live in greater detail.  If you have not yet visited MAKERS.COM then be sure to click now! Dozens of women in many categories are profiled, including many of my friends, mentors and other SUPERSHEROS!  This platform is a gift to all of us.  If anyone ever asks you “Where are the Women Leaders?” Take them to  MAKERS.

I offer my personal congratulations to all the people who made this possible with a special shout out to Dyllan McGee, Executive Producer.  Dyllan… thank you for your passion, your commitment, your perseverance, your talent, your brilliance, your warmth.  You just made history girl and we all so very grateful.
Thank you AOL for making this as big as it is, and all the other sponsors!!!

One Billion Rising – February 14th

I was about to sit down to write a blog-post about ONE BILLION RISING when I read the post by my friend Laura Moore. Rather than doing my own, I asked her if I could re-post her fantastic blog, as I could not do it better myself! That said, I have to add a quick note.

There are many joys in the work that I do and one of them is coming to know incredible women who share a common passion, the empowerment of women and girls. It was many, many years ago that I first met the amazing Eve Enlser.  Words cannot possibly describe how special she is. How purposeful she is. How giving she is. How creative she is. How powerful she is. Who else would have thought to organize a global awakening, a global dance party, to bring awareness and action to the fact that one billion women and girls will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime?  Together, let’s rise up to say enough is enough and commit, truly commit, to ending it. Where will you be on the 14th? If you are not taking it to the streets with your sisters then you have some plans to change. Don’t miss this. Be part of history. Be part of this movement.

Blog Post Written by Laura Moore

According to a 2003 study by UNIFEM, now known as UN Women, and a 2008 study conducted by the UN Secretary-General, one in three women worldwide will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. Given the current population of the world, that translates to one billion women who will be sexually or physically assaulted. One billion women. When I first heard that statistic it made my blood run cold. One BILLION women.

American playwright and activist Eve Ensler has taken that number as a call to action, and has organized One Billion Rising in response; a V-Day initiative that demands an end to violence against women through a day of action, dance, and rising up against the rape culture that permeates our societies and allows these crimes to continue. On February 14th, 2013, the 15th anniversary of V-Day, women and men from over 197 countries will raise their voices and declare that one billion women is one billion too many. The violent and horrific attacks on women that occur every day in every country of the world must stop, because the destruction of women’s bodies and souls is destroying the very foundations of our humanity.

I have always greatly admired and respected Eve Ensler, because in writing The Vagina Monologues, she dared to put on stage all that is wonderful, complicated, joyful, and horrific about being a women in today’s modern world. She wrote bluntly, yet compassionately, about women’s dreams and aspirations, our fears and our insecurities, and in doing so, she gave women the world over a chance to find their voice, to stand up, and to be heard. Not content with mere performance, Ensler took the money generated from The Vagina Monologues and created V-Day, a worldwide movement that fights for the rights of women and girls all over the world; a movement that has been a monumental force for change in the journey towards gender equality over its 15 year history. Sadly, recent global events show that true gender equality has a long way to go.

Maybe that is why Ensler writes on the website for One Billion Rising that she is over it, because after years of advocacy, education, and activism, women and girls in every country still live in fear of being raped, beaten, or assaulted every day. I don’t blame Ensler one bit for being over it, because I’m over it too. I’m over being told that I don’t have any sense of humour when I take offence at sexist jokes. I’m over having my opinions and actions invalidated because of my gender. And more than anything, I am over reading these horrific statistics and wondering when the odds will turn against me. One billion women is a disgusting and inexcusable number, and the time to stand up and demand a better world for women and girls is now. On February 14th, stand up with One Billion Rising, make your voice heard, and demand that one billion women will not have suffered in vain.

New Report: “The Road to Equality for Women in the U.S.”

MFWlogo_web_281pxThis week while in New York City I attended a breakfast to launch a new report by the Ms. Foundation called “The Road to Equality for Women in the United States” As you all know I am a research on women and girls junky, and so this was like an instant shot of ‘fire me up drug.’

This new study focuses on three important areas: Economic Justice, Reproductive Justice and Safety, and proposes a benchmark for the status of women today.  It can serve as a guide to critical policy changes to help women overcome the challenges that impact us all. This study reflects the Ms. Foundation for Women’s new strategic direction, which seeks to develop a sharper focus for greater impact and to bring about change on a larger scale. This research report is more compelling and powerful evidence that (and see my  TEDxWomen talk) narrowing gender gaps is good for business, good for economic growth, good for everyone. Here are the key statistics from the report:

Economic Justice: “The world we want: An America where all women have full economic parity”

  • Over a lifetime of work, the average woman earns about $380,000 less than the average working man.
  • Of families headed by single mothers, 28.7 percent- 4 million of them- lived in poverty compared with 13 percent- or 670,000- of those headed by men.
  • Wage data indicate that African American women can expect to earn only 68 cents, and Latinas only 59 cents for every dollar earned by a man; by contrast white women earn 82 cents.
  • 43 percent of single women with families are classified as poor.
  • In 2008, the average cost of full-day care for an infant was equal to 41 percent of the median income for single mothers.
  • 94.6 percent of child care workers are female, with an average income of $20,350, or about 120 percent of the federal poverty line for a family of three.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 20 of 821 occupations reported by the agency have lower average wages than child care workers.

Reproductive Justice: “The world we want: An America where women have full decision-making authority over their bodies and unfettered access to health care.”

  • Women of color experience maternal mortality rates nearly four times those of whites.
  • The incidence of cervical cancer for Latinas is almost twice that of non-Latina white women, and black women and Latinas have the highest mortality rate from cervical cancer, a highly preventable disease (85 percent of women who die from cervical cancer never had a pap smear).
  • In families with a new baby, 12.9 percent become poor in the month the child was born; this figure increases to 24.6 percent for female-headed households.
  • 87 percent of U.S. counties, home to 35 percent of women of reproductive age, have no abortion provider.
  • The U.S. teen pregnancy rate continues to be one of the highest in the industrialized world.

Safety: “The world we want: An America that protects women and girls from child sexual abuse, rape and assault.”

  • Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than other women.
  • 18 to 20 percent of female students suffer rape or another form of sexual assault during their college years.
  • 90 percent of child sexual abuse cases are not reported.
  • Female managers experience 137 percent more sexual harassment than women without supervisory authority.
  • Today, a woman serving in Iraq or Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow service member than to be killed in the line of fire. Nearly on in three women is raped during her service, according to a Veterans Affairs Administration study.
  • In 2000, sexual assault among youth aged 12 to 17 was 2.3 times higher than for adults. Adult retrospective studies show that one in four women and one in six men were sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • When it comes to women and girls with developmental disabilities, as many as 83 percent are the victims of sexual assault at some point in their lifetime.

 

HUGE thanks to the Ms. Foundation for this incredible work.  I join you in celebrating 40 years!!!!!!! as a foundation and a leader in funding and supporting grass roots women’s organizations. I invite EVERYONE to the Gloria Awards (see video of her talking about it here) on May 13th 2013 to celebrate! With a special shout out to awardee Lauren Embrey, one of the most incredible women I am honored to know and call a friend. (and Women Moving Millions Board Member!)