Does It Matter That Girls Don’t Want To Be President?

What do you want to be when you grow up? Shortly after the 2012 U.S. general elections, pollsters asked kids specifically about growing up and getting one job:  president. Fifty-four percent of 12-17 year olds said they think they could be president – but 8 of 10 said they have no interest in the job. Boys are more apt than girls either to say that it's too much responsibility or too much work. Girls were 15 points more likely than boys to say they're not interested in the country's top job because of other career plans or a disinterest in politics. (ABCNEWS/Weekly Reader What happens when no one wants the job? We seem to have a serious candidate shortage in America, and not just for the presidency but at all levels. (Heck, look at New York where Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Wiener are running -- again.) The pipeline looks grim. Younger generations now say that they want no involvement in government (running for office or working in the public sector) but instead, want to make a difference through local nonprofits. “Analysts warn of a dangerous downward cycle: perceptions of [U.S.] government as dysfunctional and … [Read more...]

In America, How Well Are We Caring For One Another?

“I was privileged to participate in the great humanizing movements of the last century, but I can’t recall a time when the issues were so basic, so interconnected. I believe that we are at the point now, in the United States, where a movement is beginning to emerge.” – Grace Lee Boggs (1915 - ) Called a freedom fighter, a feminist, a civil rights leader, a community organizer, a philosopher and an American revolutionary, Ms. Boggs has played a role in every great social movement in America since the 1930s. Today, it seems Americans are wrestling simultaneously with a plethora of fundamental issues.  A few being debated: Do we all share responsible for ensuring our nation's children get to eat every day? Should humans be allowed to marry one another? May we keep anything private from our government? Is a living wage for all something we value? Does democracy mean that every citizen is encouraged to vote regardless of class, race, or age? Do we have the right to kill one another when we perceive a threat? May women be trusted to make their own medical decisions? So basic, so interconnected. What would you add to this list? With all these questions … [Read more...]

As Women Gain Power, Will We Lose Empathy?

“I am an important person.” Psychologist Jean Twenge studies longitudinal trends in Americans’ mental disposition. In 1950, 12 percent of U.S. teens agreed with the statement, “I am an important person.” Three decades later, 80 percent agreed. The “important person” statement could be regarded as healthy self-worth, high self-esteem. However, psychologists Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson dig deeply into personality types in their book, The Spirit Level, and share interesting findings. They found two distinct “self-esteem” personality types. One group who report high self-esteem also had high levels of happiness, fulfilling friendships and social relationships. The other group with high self-esteem also had a host of antisocial tendencies – including lack of empathy for others. In short, people with this ‘unhealthy’ high self-esteem tend to be insensitive to others, be preoccupied with themselves and their success, and are almost obsessed with their image and appearance in the eyes of others. Elected to Congress = 'Important Person' "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." John Emerich Edward Dalberg … [Read more...]

Being Breadwinner Means Gender Equality?

Awe struck. That’s how I feel about all that women in the U.S. are and do – one of the reasons for the book’s title:  The Flight Patterns of Superwomen. I asked 52 women in 36 states two questions about how they are experiencing life here in the U.S.: How do you feel that ‘Main Street' women are doing in the U.S. today? What would you tell people (any audience you wish) about being a woman in America today that might come as a surprise to them? Top Themes Women’s stories were each unique but the top 5 themes were easy to spot. Woman after woman echoed: We are not treated equally here. American women could and should be doing much better. We need to change. We’re not taking action to change the nation’s culture; we’re not speaking out enough. We take baby steps toward a more just, more equal life but seem to be moving backwards in terms of our reproductive rights and more of us living in poverty. We're not treated equally here but America is still the best place in the world to be a woman. We are exhausted. Breadwinner Moms In May, the Pew Research Center’s report “Breadwinner Moms” validated that U.S. women might be aptly called ‘do-it-all’ Superwomen. … [Read more...]

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