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...]

Do You Talk About Gender Equality?

Storytelling. "Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it." --Hannah Arendt No one can pass up a good story. As neuroscience advances, we've learned there's a good reason. Brain scans are revealing that stories stimulate the brain and even change how we act. What stories have captured your imagination and transformed your thinking? Interviewing women across America for The Flight Patterns of Superwomen was a spine-tingling, life-changing experience for me. Stories of pride and accomplishment, struggle and violence, connectedness and discontent poured forth. As I write The Flight Patterns of Superwomen, my heart and mind are focused on sharing Main Street Women's stories in a way that honors them and perhaps even changes how we act in America. In particular, I loved hearing stories in response to my question, "What's the boldest thing you've ever done that helped make you who you are today?" Bold Story Appetizers I back-packed around the world alone. My husband strangled me in front of our children before he left for work that morning. I told my high school adviser I'd only move 300 miles from my family.  Northwestern was 30 … [Read more...]

Is There A U.S. Women’s Movement Today?

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed one of the most far-reaching anti-abortion bills in decades. The "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" would ban nearly all abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization. Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said "[t]his bill is extreme, an unprecedented reach into women's lives..." Where Are All the Angry American Women? At the 2012 Women in the World Summit, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee asked, "Where are all the angry American women?" Gbowee was referring to the lack of women willing to stand up for their reproductive rights, writes Marcia Reynolds in the Huffington Post. Since 2011, over 2000 state legislative bills have been introduced to restrict women's health decisions related to pregnancy terminations. Don't Mess With Texas? Gbowee may be right, there aren't enough angry women in America to impact House action restricting reproductive rights. (Though the bill has no chance of becoming law as the Senate wouldn't pass it and the President would veto it.) Seems there are some angry women -- and men -- at … [Read more...]

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