Women, Work and Worth

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When more women take the lead in business, the financial picture gets brighter. Not just for the ladies at the top, but for the companies that they direct.

The research proves it: Corporations with a consistent female presence on their boards report better returns on sales, invested capital and equity than those whose board rooms lack gender diversity. Still, in the U.S. today, women hold fewer than 17 percent of the seats on corporate boards.

Women are clearly good for business. But is business good to women?

Check out this cool infographic about women and work, and see for yourself.

For instance: When it comes to gender equity, we’ve made huge strides in everything from education (women earn 60 percent of college degrees) to C-suite stature (check out Marissa Mayer’s annual compensation). But, Ms. Mayer and her cohorts aside, women are paid just 78 cents for every dollar a man makes.

Clearly, it’s not enough to quote statistics. How do women build momentum to move toward full equity? The infographic also captures upbeat advice from female CEOs and offers 10 tips to inspire women to go for the brass ring.

Take the long view with a clear snapshot of the progress, the obstacles and the path to women’s leadership.

(This was the guest post by Jason Gilbert – thank you!)

#YesAllWomen, Misogyny, Violence, and Why “Not All Men” Has To Go

safe_image.phpLast Friday night, while most of us were settling in for the Memorial Day long weekend, a young man in California stabbed three young men to death in his apartment, before driving through the streets of Santa Barbara and shooting another three people to death before taking his own life. Another 13 people were injured in the shooting. It later emerged that the alleged killer, Elliot Rodger, had a long history of posting misogynistic rants online, and that he had fantasized about enacting revenge on the women he believed had scorned him his whole life. In a manifesto that emerged online after the killings, Rodger detailed the loneliness he felt from being unable to attract women, and the hatred he felt towards women and the men who were able to obtain sex from them.

This story took the Internet by storm, with many commentators weighing in on the issues of misogyny, violence against women, and how the two are so closely interconnected. This prompted a resurgence of the Not All Men argument that has become a common rebuttal to feminist discussions. What this is meant to capture is  that  Not All Men are misogynistic monsters hell bent on violence.  True. This argument surfaced in a Twitter conversation between writer, Annie Cardi, and another woman who has since made her settings private, with Cardi making the point that while Not All Men are misogynists, all women are victims of misogyny. It was here that the hashtag #YesAllWomen was born.

As of this morning, #YesAllWomen has been used over 1.5 million times on Twitter, and it has been a trending topic for several days now. As of this writing, tweets are still pouring in from women who are sharing their experiences and frustrations with the deeply ingrained misogyny that exists in every culture in the world, and it is heartbreaking to read their stories and know that we still have so far to go before we achieve true gender equality. While feminist activism on Twitter is nothing new, #YesAllWomen has gone mainstream, and more importantly, has drawn men into the conversation in positive and constructive ways. This is important because simply put, the Not All Men argument needs to go. Of course not all men are violent people, and of course the majority of men are wonderful human beings to whom the idea of violently attacking another person is a repulsive thought. We all know this because we all know wonderful men like this, and therefore the constant reminders can stop. We get it. The fact of the matter is that not all men commit violence against women, but some men do. Enough men do that one in three women will be victims of violence in their lifetime, and that’s enough to make EVERY women live in fear of violence EVERY day. So let’s keep #YesAllWomen going, let’s keep talking about this issue, and let’s all strive for the day that #YesAllWomen and #YesAllMen can say they don’t live in fear.

Guest post by Laura Moore

All Hail The Heat

TheHeat2Let’s put aside the politics for a moment that accompanied the release of The Heat last month. Let’s put aside the fact that this is the only female fronted film to receive a wide release this summer. Let’s forget that if it had performed poorly, Hollywood would have used it for years as the shining example of why female fronted films don’t work, despite the fact that stars such as Will Smith, Johnny Depp, and Ryan Reynolds have all suffered massive box office failures this summer, and no one has blamed these failures on the fact that they are men. And let’s disregard the fact that after the supposedly game changing successes of Bridesmaids and The Help in 2011, only 28% of speaking roles in 2012’s 100 top grossing films went to women, the lowest percentage in five years. Let’s ignore all of that and just focus on The Heat as a film for a moment.

Written by Kate Dippold and directed by Paul Feig, The Heat is a buddy comedy about a straight-laced FBI agent, played by Sandra Bullock, who is forced to work with a foul mouthed and unorthodox detective in Boston, played by Melissa McCarthy, in order to bring down a drug kingpin. Jacki and I went and saw this movie last night and I can’t remember the last time we laughed so hard at a film. It’s raunchy, crude, absurd, utterly hysterical, and is the perfect example of how great the buddy comedy genre can be when done well. With a worldwide gross to date of $145 million on a $43 million dollar budget, The Heat is a hit, and in any other situation the story would end there, as just another hit summer comedy, were it not for the fact that the future of female driven summer blockbusters would appear to rest on its shoulders.

This situation is infuriating, and I could write long and passionately about the ridiculous double standards of Hollywood and how far we still have to go to achieve gender parity, but we’ve put all of that aside for this post so we can celebrate The Heat simply as a film. One of the funniest films to be released this year. A film that opened in less theatres than its main box office competitor, but made nearly $15 million more on its opening weekend. The lone female fronted film to open this summer that managed to wade through an ocean of testosterone and became a hit. Now that’s something to celebrate.

By Laura Moore