Tag Archives: equality

Science Reveals How the Brains of Social Justice Activists Are Different From Everyone Else’s

“…People who are more sensitive to the ideas of fairness and equity are driven by logic, not emotion, according to a recent University of Chicago study published in the Journal of Neuroscience…

The research suggests that human rights and environmentalist organizations could get more public support by appealing to people’s sense of logic and reason rather than to their emotions. Efforts to combat global warming, for example, saw a surge in public support after scientists and statisticians began publishing data about how much sea levels and temperatures would rise instead of sad polar bears on a floating iceberg.

Perhaps your activist alter-ego was more level-headed than you thought.”

 

FACTS PEOPLE.

 

 

(My bolds are applicable to those thoroughly depressing commercials about abused animals and hungry children.)

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June 26, 2014 · 9:20 pm

Abortion bill sponsor said what?

By Donna Brazile, CNN Contributor

updated 3:37 PM EDT, Sun June 16, 2013

 

“Editor’s note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of “Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pot in America.” She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.

(CNN) — “The stupidity is simply staggering,” Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania, told Roll Call. He was referring to the political miscalculation of anti-abortion forces in the House Judiciary Committee who insisted this week on reviving the culture wars, years behind us, still again, with yet another proposed abortion bill.

This bill, championed by Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks, sought to ban abortions after 20 weeks nationwide, with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. “I’ll be very frank: I discouraged our leadership from bringing this to a vote on the floor,” Dent said.

My e-mail box was flooded with headlines that began “This again?” and “This … is the GOP’s idea of outreach to women? Really?” and “He said what?” The latter referred to a remark by Franks, chairman of the committee, that “incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” as a justification for the bill ignoring rape and incest victims.

 

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee were apparently willing to allow the time when an abortion is legal to be reduced by one month. They sought to add exceptions for rape, incest and the woman’s health — all of which were rejected by Republicans on the panel.

But it appears the House Republican leaders, recognizing a train wreck, added the language to the bill anyway to avoid an embarrassing defeat. The bill will also include an exception for a medical emergency in which the woman might die. This new altered version goes before the Rules Committee on Monday. There are, by the way, 22 Republicans on the Judiciary Committee. All men. Not a single woman.

It’s hard to avoid inflammatory remarks when discussing rape. And the line between inflammatory and insulting is thin. It’s also porous. So if Franks thought he had to address the issue of rape, he should have done so judiciously.

His remark says to women impregnated by rape: You don’t count. There aren’t enough of you to matter. That’s not just insensitive; it’s immoral.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, first pounced on the statement’s factual inaccuracy. “I just find it astonishing to hear a phrase repeated that the incidence of pregnancy from rape is low,” she said. “There’s no scientific basis for that.”

Then Lofgren, one of five women among the Democratic minority on the committee, added, “And the idea that the Republican men on this committee can tell the women of America that they have to carry to term the product of a rape is outrageous.”

It might be that Franks’ argument, such as it is, echoed a comment by Missouri Republican Rep. Todd Aiken, who claimed during his Senate campaign last fall that women’s bodies have a built-in mechanism to prevent impregnation from “a legitimate rape.” Aiken’s candidacy went into a tailspin from that misinformed remark, and never recovered.

Fact checkers have pointed to studies that indicate Franks’ claim is as suspect as Aiken’s. One study by St. Lawrence University found that pregnancies resulting from rape were higher than from other instances.

Franks later walked back his low-pregnancy-from-rape argument, saying he was not claiming it was harder to get pregnant from rape. Franks apparently based his claim on there being fewer pregnancies from rape than from consensual intercourse. Even so, that’s a “Duh, do the math” excuse.

GOP aides now say Rep. Marsha Blackburn will be managing Franks’ anti-abortion bill. Given her record — “no” votes on major equality or women-protection legislation and “yea” for issues like ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood — that’s hardly an improvement.

And it misses the point. It’s not the who, it’s the what — the argument itself does not stand.

During the Judiciary debate, Franks said, “When you make that exception, there’s usually a requirement to report the rape within 48 hours. And in this case that’s impossible. … And that’s what completely negates and vitiates the purpose for such an amendment.”

So, Franks’ argument then became a technical one, that if a rape wasn’t reported, a decision after 20 weeks to abort was made too late. But why is it too late? Does psychological trauma have a timetable? Each case of rape that produces a pregnancy is as individual as the woman who was raped. And the ordeal — psychological, emotional, physical, spiritual — is not term-limited.

The issue of abortion raises real and poignant moral questions. Franks made many remarks that show his obvious, deeply felt, conviction that abortions after 20 weeks are wrong.

But majorities in Congress and of Americans, also with deep conviction, came to a different conclusion: They feel compelled to support exceptions for rape, incest and health.

Franks’ outrageous comment and the viewpoints of other Republicans on the Judiciary Committee illustrate that when one party becomes so narrowly composed that it represents a particular religious culture, we’re headed to what people in other countries face when a ruling party begins making laws from religious theology, without regard to a democratic, secular society — thus excluding other religious viewpoints and dismissing those who suffer as too few to matter.”

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June 18, 2013 · 5:29 pm

The Problem with ‘Boys Will Be Boys’

Posted: 05/06/2013 12:26 pm

 

“This post was originally published inRole/Reboot.

For months, every morning when my daughter was in preschool, I watched her construct an elaborate castle out of blocks, colorful plastic discs, bits of rope, ribbons and feathers, only to have the same little boy gleefully destroy it within seconds of its completion.

It was obvious that this little guy got massive joy out of doing this. The first time, my daughter just stared in amazement and I tried to help her rebuild. Second time: sadness. Third time: The Injustice! “Why did he do that again?” Fourth time: Royally Pissed Girl wanted to know why his parent didn’t stop him. And what about me? Fifth time: She was ready with some ideas about stopping him.

During the course of this socialization exercise, we tried several strategies and his parents engaged in conversation with us, but mostly me. One or the other of them would occasionally, always after the fact, smile and apologize as they whisked him away. Figuring out what they would say next became a fun game:

“You know! Boys will be boys!” 

“He’s just going through a phase!”

“He’s such a boy! He LOVES destroying things!”

“Oh my god! Girls and boys are SO different!”

“He. Just. Can’t. Help himself!”

No matter how many times he did it, they never swooped in BEFORE the morning’s live 3-D reenactment of “Invasion of AstroMonster.”

I tried to teach my daughter how to stop this from happening. She asked him politely not to do it. We talked about some things she might do. She moved where she built. She stood in his way. She built a stronger foundation to the castle, so that, if he did get to it, she wouldn’t have to rebuild the whole thing. In the meantime, I imagine his parents thinking, “What red-blooded boy wouldn’t knock it down?”

She built a beautiful, glittery castle in a public space.

It was so tempting.

He just couldn’t control himself and, being a boy, had violent inclinations.

She had to keep her building safe.

Her consent didn’t matter. Besides, it’s not like she made a big fuss when he knocked it down. It wasn’t a “legitimate” knocking over if she didn’t throw a tantrum.

His desire — for power, destruction, control, whatever- – was understandable.

Maybe she “shouldn’t have gone to preschool” at all. OR, better if she just kept her building activities to home.

I know it’s a lurid metaphor, but I taught my daughter the preschool block precursor of don’t “get raped” and this child, Boy #1, did not learn the preschool equivalent of “don’t rape.

Not once did his parents talk to him about invading another person’s space and claiming for his own purposes something that was not his to claim. Respect for my daughter and her work and words was not something he was learning. It was, to them, some kind of XY entitlement. How much of the boy’s behavior in coming years would be excused in these ways, be calibrated to meet these expectations and enforce the “rules” his parents kept repeating?

There was another boy who, similarly, decided to knock down her castle one day. When he did it his mother took him in hand, explained to him that it was not his to destroy, asked him how he thought my daughter felt after working so hard on her building and walked over with him so he could apologize. That probably wasn’t much fun for him, but he did not do it again.

There was a third child. He was really smart. He asked if he could knock her building down. She, beneficent ruler of all pre-circle-time castle construction, said yes… but only after she was done building it and said it was OK. They worked out a plan together and eventually he started building things with her and they would both knock the thing down with unadulterated joy. You can’t make this stuff up.

Take each of these three boys and consider what he might do when he’s older, say, at college, drunk at a party, mad at an ex-girlfriend who rebuffs him and uses words that she expects will be meaningful and respecte, “No, I don’t want to. Stop. Leave.”

Based on Boy #1’s parents blanket gender essentialisms and explanations, my daughter and the kids around her could easily have come to the conclusion that all boys went through this phase, are so different from girls, cannot control themselves, and love destroying things. But, that’s not the case. Some do. Some don’t. There are also lots of girls who are very interested in ripping things apart systematically.

I have one of those, too. “Destructo Girl” was our nickname for this daughter. Given the slightest opportunity,she would grab whatever toy either of her sisters was playing with and run, giddy with power, to the top of a landing only to dash whatever was in her hand down two flights of stairs. She beamed with joy as it clattered and shattered. But, we figured just because she could do it, didn’t mean she should and eventually she understood that, even if she wanted to and it was fun, she couldn’t continue to violate her sisters’ rights as citizens of our household.

“Girls will be girls?” I don’t think so. Nor do we say things like, “She just can’t help herself.” I have heard parents of daughters so inclined say things like, “She’s just so rambunctious!” But, in my experience, most people assume girls, as a class, can control themselves better, faster, more completely, and that boys have a harder time. There are many studies that indicate the reasons why this might be true, including the fact that we teach girls to delay gratification more and also to put their needs last. But, it does not appear to be innate.

Boy #1? Yes, maybe he had impulse control issues. Maybe it would take a lot of time to teach him about self-control, like Daughter #2. Maybe it would take even longer to teach him about personal boundaries and other people’s rights. Maybe he had genuine problems with all of those things that needed to be addressed in more thorough ways than morning time social interactions.

But that boy — and many others like him — never got the benefit of the doubt. This behavior gets rewarded or not, amplified or not, sanctioned tacitly or not. Both on individual and cultural levels. To be clear: I’m not saying that there is causality between knocking down blocks in preschool and assaulting people later. I am not saying that all boys with bad manners, poor impulse control, ADHD or other behavioral issues will be rapists or abuse spouses. I’m saying the world would be a different kind of place if children were taught to respect other children’s rights from the start. Rights to be, to do, to look certain ways and not others. And that teaching children these things has profound implications for society. Anyone who has studied or worked in the field of domestic violence can tell you that the “overarching attitudinal characteristic” of abusive men is entitlement and the belief that they have rights without responsibility to or respect for others. Similar attitudes feed our steady stream of sexual assault and rape.

In general, I’m a strict non-interventionist when it comes to other people’s children, unless I am explicitly responsible for them and their safety. But, one morning, when it really became clear that Boy #1’s parents were utterly useless as people who could teach their son to be aware of others, empathetic and yes, kinder, I picked him up and moved him away from my daughter. I asked him gently if he understood the word “forever.” He said yes. Putting him down, I added that he was to stay away from my daughter and her castles for that length of time. So far, so good.”

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June 14, 2013 · 4:11 pm

Sergeant Accused of Secretly Filming Female Cadets

Is there a right response to an episode like this? Or is it just a symptom of an underlying societal disease?

 

 

By 

Published: May 22, 2013

“WASHINGTON — A sergeant first class on the staff of the United States Military Academy at West Point faces charges for allegedly videotaping female cadets without their consent, sometimes when they were in the shower, according to Army officials.

The Army is contacting a dozen women to alert them that their privacy may have been violated and to offer support or counseling as required, officials said.

The suspect, Sgt. First Class Michael McClendon, faces charges under four articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for indecent acts, dereliction in the performance of duty, cruelty and maltreatment, and actions prejudicial to good order and discipline. Sergeant McClendon, who had been assigned to the school since 2009, was transferred to Fort Drum, N.Y., after charges were filed on May 14, Army officials said.

During his tenure at West Point, Sergeant McClendon served as a “tactical noncommissioned officer,” described in academy personnel documents as a staff adviser “responsible for the health, welfare and discipline” of a company of 125 cadets. The person in the position is expected to “assist each cadet in balancing and integrating the requirements of physical, military, academic and moral-ethical programs.”

The student body at West Point numbers about 4,500 cadets; just over 15 percent are female.

The allegations at West Point, the nation’s oldest and most prestgious military academy, came in the midst of growing outrage in the armed services, in Congress and even from President Obama over reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military — and at the failure of official efforts to reduce the problem and protect victims. They also come as the Army has begun integrating women into a number of combat positions, bringing added demands for fair and equal treatment of those in uniform.

“The Army is committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of our cadets at the Military Academy at West Point — as well as all soldiers throughout our Army,” Gen. John F. Campbell, the Army vice chief of staff, said on Wednesday. “Once notified of the violation, a full investigation was launched, followed by swift action to correct the problem. Our cadets must be confident that issues such as these are handled quickly and decisively, and that our system will hold those responsible accountable.”

The Army made no announcement of the charges against Sergeant McClendon, but provided details after The New York Times learned of the inquiry from several current and former members of the West Point community who said they were alarmed by the allegations and wanted to learn of the academy’s plans to investigate and prevent future violations.

If proven, the violation of privacy and trust alleged in the filming of female cadets could have a significant negative impact on whether the Army is seen as an inviting career for young women.

George Wright, an Army spokesman, said the service and the academy would “rebuild trust through our response.” He said the Army was committed to “providing the full range of support to those whose privacy was violated,” as well as “keeping them updated on the case.”

“The Army will ensure the military justice system works through to its proper conclusion,” Mr. Wright said.

Some details of the alleged violations remain unclear. Officials said some images appeared to have been taken in the showers, while others were taken at different locations, perhaps through windows. And complicating the inquiry, according to officials, was that some images may have been taken consensually.

According to military service records, Sergeant McClendon joined the Army in 1990 and trained as a combat engineer. He deployed to Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and from 2007 to 2009, and was awarded a Bronze Star.

In recent weeks, allegations of sexual harassment and assault against women in the miltary have prompted vows from the Pentagon’s highest officials that they will confront the problem.

“It is time we take on the fight against sexual assault and sexual harassment as our primary mission,” Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, wrote in a message to all of his service personnel last week. “It is up to every one of us, civilian and soldier, general officer to private, to solve this problem within our ranks.”

General Odierno wrote that “recent incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment demonstrate that we have violated that trust.”

“In fact,” he added, “these acts violate everything our Army stands for. They are contrary to our Army values and they must not be tolerated.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was briefed on the case Wednesday morning and was described as “concerned and disturbed” by the allegations. He signed an order on Friday requiring the military to review and recertify each person assigned to programs for preventing sexual assault and assisting victims.

The order requires a “review of credentials and qualifications of current-serving recruiters, sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates,” and it imposes “refresher training” for the approximately 25,000 people who are assigned to these programs.

Mr. Hagel’s decision came after Mr. Obama summoned the Pentagon’s senior leaders to the White House, telling them that the levels of sexual assault across the armed services were a disgrace that undermined the trust essential for the military to carry out its mission effectively.

Mr. Hagel has acknowledged that the issue has reached a crisis. The Pentagon found that an estimated 26,000 assaults took place last year.

“We’re losing the confidence of the women who serve that we can solve this problem,” said Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “That’s a crisis.””

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May 22, 2013 · 6:55 pm

Lean In, Dad

April 2, 2013

By CATHERINE RAMPELL

“I happen to be an educated young woman who loves her job, sometimes gushingly, occasionally annoyingly. And yet, even in this enlightened age, I’ve had two relationships end — at least in large part — thanks to that clammy-palmed discussion in which couples plot hypothetical milestones and life goals. The gentlemen in question said that, somewhere in our semicharted future, they expected me to quit my job. At least for a couple of years, anyway, in order to be the kind of hypothetical mother they wanted to raise their hypothetical kids, if that hypothetical day ever came.

I don’t pretend to know how common this situation is, and how many other young women have found themselves in it. But it clarified not only the choices that future mothers must make about their careers, but also how early in their careers they must begin to think about them. And while fairness and feminism may urge us to find better ways for women to balance work and life — Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter have certainly made impassioned cries — the most convincing argument seems to be an economic one.

In the United States, women represent not only a majority of college graduates but also a majority of advanced-degree holders. But the lack of policies facilitating the work-life balance — like paid maternity leave and flexible work hours — has millions of them underemployed. It’s hard to quantify exactly how much human capital is being wasted, but one clue lies in a study by economists at the University of Chicago and Stanford. It estimates that 15 to 20 percent of American productivity growth over the last five decades has come from more efficient allocation of underrepresented groups, like women, into occupations that were largely off-limits, like doctors or lawyers. Even more efficient allocation of women’s talents would, presumably, drive further growth, which will become even more critical in the years ahead. By 2050, there are projected to be just 2.6 working-age Americans for every American of retirement age. (In 2008, it was 4.7.)

Other rich countries have figured out ways to keep women in the labor force. While companies like Yahoo and Best Buy bar employees from working from home, the European Union has issued a directive that all member countries must allow parents — men and women — to request part-time, flexible or home-based work arrangements in addition to paid leave. Other developed countries also have affordable, high-quality public childcare. In Sweden, some public nurseries are even available 24 hours a day.

Such policies contribute to these countries’ swollen welfare states and higher tax burdens, but they do keep women at work. Back in 1990, in a ranking of 22 developed countries, the United States had the 6th-highest share of its prime-working-age women active in the work force. By 2010, it had tumbled to 17th place. A new study from Francine D. Blau and Lawrence M. Kahn, both economists at Cornell, estimates that if the United States had the average of other developed countries’ work-life policies, 82 percent of America’s prime-working-age women would be in the labor force, instead of the current 75 percent.

But what kind of employment would they have, exactly? New research suggests that, because it’s primarily women who take advantage of leave and part-time entitlements, work-life accommodations often paradoxically limit career trajectories. Women in Sweden, Finland and Denmark — and other countries held up as paragons of gender parity — are much more likely to end up in traditional pink-collar positions than are their counterparts in the United States. They are certainly much less likely to end up as managers, or in traditionally male professional arenas like law or finance. “In a regime where anyone can go part time, where it’s hard to get rid of people if they do, employers might sort on the front end and not hire people they think are likely to want to go part time, which usually means women,” said Lawrence F. Katz, an economist at Harvard. “There may be no way a woman can credibly commit to sticking around and not going part time.” The U.S., where these policies do not exist, has the smallest gap between women’s representation in the labor force and their representation in senior management positions.

In order to prescribe policies that really allow female workers to “lean in” at work, social scientists are trying to find ones that recast social norms and encourage male workers to “lean in” at home. One area where there seems to be a lot of potential is paternity leave, which still has a stigma in both the United States and Europe. To remedy this bad rap, countries like Sweden and Norway have recently introduced a quota of paid parental leave available only to fathers. If dads don’t take it, they’re leaving money on the table. In Germany and Portugal, moms get bonus weeks of maternity leave if their husbands take a minimum amount of paternity leave. All these countries have seen gigantic increases in the share of fathers who go on leave.

This might not sound like such a big deal, but social scientists are coming around to the notion that a man spending a few weeks at home with his newborn can help recast expectations and gender roles, at work and home, for a long time. A striking new study by a Cornell graduate student, Ankita Patnaik, based on a new paid paternity-leave quota in Quebec, found that parents’ time use changed significantly. Several years after being exposed to the reform, fathers spent more time in child care and domestic work — particularly “time-inflexible” chores, like cooking, that cut into working hours — than fathers who weren’t exposed to the reform. More important, mothers spent considerably more time at work growing their careers and contributing more to the economy, all without any public mandates or shaming.

Paid paternity leave, like paid maternity leave, may sound like a pipe dream, but states (New Jersey, California) and big companies (Ernst & Young, Bank of America) are increasingly offering it and financing it out of their own pocket. They have a vested interest in lobbying Congress to federalize the costs of these accommodations. And that seems only fair. After all, unleashing the full potential of the second sex benefits not only this handful of players but the entire U.S. economy, too.

Catherine Rampell is an economics reporter for The Times. Adam Davidson is off this week.”

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April 9, 2013 · 5:26 pm

He Hasn’t Had It All Either

 

By 
Published: March 17, 2013

“I have not had it all.

I have had a lot. I feel lucky to have had a successful career as a journalist and author while being the primary caregiver of our four children for a decade.

But I definitely did not have it all.

And unlike most people written about in the media who don’t have it all, I’m a male who didn’t have it all.

I, the dad, had to make career “sacrifices” to run the family’s domestic life.

And my wife, also a journalist, made those same “sacrifices.” She anchored the first decade; I did the second.

When asked to climb the editors’ ranks, I declined.

I use the word “sacrifice” in quotes because I don’t think of myself as having made a sacrifice. I wanted to coach my kids’ teams and help with their homework. I wanted to be in the principal’s office by their sides, as they faced a five-day suspension (not a hypothetical, unfortunately).

And I wanted a career where I’d feel that I was helping make the world a little better.

It’s turned out pretty well. Stories I’ve written have made a difference. Being there for my children has too, I think.

And both my wife and I have held challenging full-time jobs through most of it.

The key: I was able to work out of our home for 30 years. We never could have done it otherwise.

It’s been striking how strong and sustained the reaction has been to the recent decision by the chief executive of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, to end telecommuting at her company.

Bill Gates noted in an interview this month how effective it had been having his salespeople based out of the office. In the current New Yorker, James Surowiecki argues the opposite, that having people working together and sharing ideas in the same office fosters innovation.

My own feeling is that every situation is different, varying even within a company from job to job.

Ms. Mayer’s decision at Yahoo struck a nerve. She is a rarity, a mother with a newborn baby running a major corporation. And here, one of her earliest decisions as chief executive was to take away one of the most useful tools many women have for advancing their careers.

Anne-Marie Slaughter also created a stir with her essay in The Atlantic last summer, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Ms. Slaughter, a onetime high-ranking State Department officer and currently a Princeton professor, wrote that because the American work place isn’t parent-friendly, women’s careers are stunted. Forced to choose between job and children, she wrote, women feel a domestic pull that is not as strong in men, driving them to sacrifice high-powered careers for home and preventing them from reaching the top tiers.

“Here I step onto treacherous ground, mined with stereotypes,” she wrote, adding, “I do not believe fathers love their children any less than mothers do, but men do seem more likely to choose their job at a cost to their family, while women seem more likely to choose their family at a cost to their job.”

An important part of the solution, she wrote, is for companies to create a more parent-friendly culture, and No. 1 on her list is working at home.

I think her essay is mostly right, but misses on two points. First, the message is that women are disadvantaged because of the social pressures weighing on them to be at home. Not said is that those very same social pressures weigh on men to be the primary bread winners, a burden of similar scope.

Having been both — the primary bread winner and the secondary earner anchoring the household — I’m here to tell you the latter (more home and less work) is often more fun.

The other questionable premise for me is the implication that a more parent-friendly work place will catapult women upward.

I’ve seen very few people — myself included — reach the top or even near the top while working full time at home.

I do not blame job discrimination for blocking my path. I knew what would happen when I made these decisions. I knew there were jobs that, by their nature, were too inflexible for me if I was going to achieve the balance.

You can’t cover a war and be there for your children. Do not believe it when people say they can travel and still keep up with their kids at home by talking on the phone or Skyping.

“What happened in school today?”

“Nothing.”

“Who did you play with?”

“No one.”

Because I was able to work at home, I could put in 60-hour weeks and still coach and all that other stuff.

It was also crucial for me to have control over which long hours I worked. To do that, I had to be selective about the reporting positions I took, and I earned that freedom by working so hard there was no question I was working so hard.

Fortunately, my balancing act didn’t feel hard because I love what I do.

I’d put in an hour or two before waking the four of them each morning, made their lunches and got them on the bus. Then I’d work until they came home, oversee the activities, cook dinner and make sure they were on top of their homework and in bed on time. When they became teenagers — a decade-long hormonal storm a parent absolutely must tend to in person — I’d enforce the curfews, police the drinking, keep an eye on the friends.

Then I’d return to work around 9 p.m. and go past midnight, until I nodded off in front of the computer.

Ms. Slaughter of Princeton offers several suggestions to make companies more parent-friendly besides working at home: lots of teleconferencing; no Saturday meetings; less travel; leaving the office by 6:30; a school day that matches the work day.

But these same benefits that lift you also hold you back. Foreign correspondents can’t cover a war and travel less. A reporter’s interview is going to be better if it’s done in person instead of teleconferencing. News is as likely to break out on Saturday morning as Wednesday at noon when the kids are in school.

The workplace, I believe, can be made more parent-friendly, but it’s not going to be all that friendly, which is why they call it work.

The core problem isn’t the workplace, it’s work.

Those jobs that refuse to be friendly are often the hardest, most time-consuming, most unpredictable, require the most personal sacrifice and, to me, deserve the best compensation and most corporate status.

Which does not mean that these are the people whom I admire most or want to spend my time with. When I see a man who has reached the top of a company only by making work his entire life, I think, what about the kids, what about the wife? And it’s no different when it’s a woman.

In the mid-1990s I was given the opportunity to advance as an editor. I liked it. I was pretty good at it. Then one Friday night I got off the train at maybe 9 p.m., and when I walked into the house, there was my wife in bed with our three little sons watching “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”

In that instant I knew what I wanted, and not long after, I went back to reporting.

Booming: Living Through the Middle Ages offers news and commentary about baby boomers, anchored by Michael Winerip. You can follow Booming via RSS here or visitnytimes.com/booming. You can reach us by e-mail at booming@nytimes.com.”

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March 18, 2013 · 7:45 pm

2 Ohio Teenagers Found Guilty in Rape of Girl

Pool photo by Keith Srakocic

Ma’lik Richmond, right, and Trent Mays, foreground center, were found guilty of rape.

 

 

By 
Published: March 17, 2013

“STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — Two high school football stars were found guilty on Sunday of raping a 16-year-old girl last August, in a case that drew wide attention for the way social media spurred the initial prosecution and later helped galvanize national outrage over the episode. The town’s obsession over its football team, many said, had shielded other teenagers who did little or nothing to protect the girl.

One football player, Trent Mays, 17, who had been a quarterback on the powerhouse Steubenville High School football team, was sentenced to serve at least two years in the state juvenile system, while the other, Ma’lik Richmond, 16, who played wide receiver, was sentenced to serve at least one year. Both could end up in juvenile jail until they are 21, at the discretion of the state Department of Youth Services. Mr. Mays’ minimum sentence is twice as long as Mr. Richmond’s because he was found guilty of two different charges.

After Judge Thomas Lipps read his decision, both boys broke down and sobbed. Mr. Richmond turned to his lawyer, Walter Madison, and said, “My life is over.”

Both Mr. Mays and Mr. Richmond apologized to the victim and her family. Mr. Richmond walked over to where they were sitting and said, “I had not intended to do anything like this. I’m sorry to put you through this,” before he broke down, unable to speak any more, and embraced a court officer.

The judge found that both boys had used their fingers to penetrate the girl while she was so drunk in the early morning hours of Aug. 12 that she lacked the cognitive ability to give her consent for sex. A picture that was circulated around classmates the day after the assault showed the victim naked and passed out. Ohio law defines rape as including digital penetration.

In sentencing the boys, Judge Lipps said that rape was among the gravest of crimes and that the case was a cautionary lesson in how teenagers talk to their friends, conduct themselves when alcohol is present, and in “how you record things on social media that are so prevalent today.”

On the witness stand on Saturday, the girl testified that during a roughly six-hour period when prosecutors said the rapes occurred that she had no memory of anything aside from a brief vomiting episode. She said she woke up the next morning naked in a basement living room – with no idea where she was or how she got there – surrounded by Mr. Mays, Mr. Richmond and another boy, and unable to find her underwear, shoes, earrings or phone. When the prosecutor handed her one picture of herself from that night that she had not previously seen, she broke down in tears.

The verdict came after four days of testimony that was notable for how Ohio prosecutors and criminal forensics investigators analyzed hundreds of text messages from more than a dozen cellphones and created something like a real-time accounting of the events surrounding the incident and aftermath.

Through the prosecution’s reconstruction and reading aloud of these messages, Judge Lipps heard Mr. Mays in texts from his cellphone state that he had used his fingers to penetrate the girl, who he also referred to in a separate message as “like a dead body.” In another text message, Mr. Mays admitted to the girl that he took the picture that had already circulated among other students of her lying naked in the basement with what he told her was his own semen on her body, from what he stated was a consensual sex act.

Other text messages read before the judge suggested that Mr. Mays grew increasingly worried within the first day or two, urging a friend to curb dissemination of a video related to the incident. He also seemed to try to orchestrate a cover-up, telling a friend in a text, “Just say she came to your house and passed out.”

Finally, the messages showed Mr. Mays pleading with the girl not to press charges because it would damage his football career – even as the girl grew angry that he seemed to care more about football than her welfare.

One classmate also testified that he saw Mr. Mays penetrate the girl while they rode in the backseat of a car.

Overall, there was far more evidence and testimony about Mr. Mays. Mr. Richmond mainly faced the testimony of one witness, Evan Westlake, another Steubenville High School student, that he had used his fingers to penetrate the girl while she lay in the basement. Like two other witnesses, Mr. Westlake had been granted immunity for his testimony, and he had been attacked for his role in the events of that night and for filming a now-infamous YouTube video in which he is heard laughing as another boy describes the girl as “deader than O.J.’s wife” and says, “she is so raped right now.”

The defense team offered three witnesses. Two were girls who had been lifelong friends of the victim, but have fallen out with her, who testified that she had a reputation for lying or that she drank more on that night than the victim said she had. The girl “lies about things,” said one witness, Kelsey Weaver.

An expert witness for the defense, Kim Fromme, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Texas, testified that by her calculations the girl did not drink enough to pass out. But Ms. Fromme testified that the girl did drink enough to suffer a memory lapse, implying that she could have given consent for sex and not remembered it. A prosecution expert witness disputed that testimony, saying there was no way of knowing how much alcohol the girl had ingested to make such precise calculations, or how alcohol physiologically affected her compared to other people of different tolerances.

Testimony also touched the high school’s football coach, Reno Saccoccia, who had earlier been criticized by some in the community for not doing more to discipline other players present that night. In the text messages disclosed by the prosecution, Mr. Mays stated that he felt he had gotten the coach to “take care of it” and that Mr. Saccoccia “was joking about it so I’m not that worried.” Another text message Mr. Mays sent to the girl suggested that he was quite alarmed when “Reno just called my house and said I raped you.” Mr. Saccoccia has not commented on the text messages.

In the end, the most powerful evidence may have been the two hours of testimony on Saturday from the 16-year-old girl herself. One state prosecutors, Marianne Hemmeter, led the girl through what seemed a carefully crafted narrative that combined the girl’s own testimony with the text messages.

Together, they told a story of the girl waking up confused, naked, shamed and worried, and then finding out that day that many of her friends had an idea what had happened to her or had even seen a picture of her naked the previous night. Throughout the next day, the girl began to reconstruct an idea of what may have occurred, using her friends and accounts of the night that were posted on social media, including the infamous YouTube video, which she said she could only bear to watch for a minute.

Then, the girl testified, she came to realize that Mr. Mays – who maintained all along that he took care of her while she was drunk and that they had only had non-penetrative consensual sex – had in reality done far more despite his insistences to the contrary.

“This is the most pointless thing,” Mr. Mays said in one text message to the girl. “I’m going to get in trouble for something I should be getting thanked for taking care of you.”

But after a while, the girl made clear that she wasn’t having any more of it, telling Mr. Mays in another text message exchange: “It’s on YouTube. I’m not stupid. Stop texting me.””

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March 17, 2013 · 4:11 pm

‘Lean In’: Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg Explains What’s Holding Women Back

 
 
 

by NPR STAFF

March 11, 2013 4:40 AM
Lean In
Lean In

Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

by Sheryl Sandberg

Of all the posters plastered around Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters — “Move Fast and Break Things,” “Done Is Better Than Perfect” and “Fail Harder” — Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has a favorite: “What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?”

“[It’s] something that I think is really important and I think very motivating,” Sandberg tells NPR’s Renee Montagne. ” … I wrote in my book, what I would do if I wasn’t afraid is, I would speak out more on behalf of women.”

That book — Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead— is something of a feminist call to arms. In it, Sandberg, a 43-year-old former Google executive with two Harvard degrees, is calling on other women, as she puts it, to “lean in” and embrace success. And it has struck a chord. In the weeks leading up to the book’s publication on Monday, Sandberg, who has not been known to court controversy in the past, has been the subject of critical op-eds and cranky commentaries.

Sandberg is no stranger to success. Back in 2011, she was named Forbes Magazine‘s fifth most powerful woman in the world (after No. 1 German Chancellor Angela Merkel, No. 2 Hillary Clinton, No. 3 President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff and No. 4 CEO of PepsiCo Indira Nooyi).

“I thought it was absurd,” says Sandberg. “My mother even called to say, ‘Well, dear, I do think you’re very powerful, but I’m not sure you’re more powerful than Michelle Obama,’ and I’m thinking, ‘Of course I’m not more powerful than Michelle Obama!’ ” (Obama was No. 8, having dropped from the No. 1 spot in 2010.)

“I was really embarrassed,” Sandberg says. “People would congratulate me in the halls at Facebook, and I would literally tell them why it was silly. People would post it on Facebook, and I would call them and ask them to, you know, ‘Can you take that off? I really don’t feel comfortable.’

“My assistant pulled me into my conference room and closed the door. And she said, ‘You’re handling this really badly. Stop telling everyone who says congratulations how silly that list is, because you look insecure. You’re showing everyone how uncomfortable you are with your own power, and that’s not good, so just start saying thank you.’ “

Two lines of argument run through Lean In. One of them has to do with how society has changed through multiple generations of feminism. The other has to do with the way society views women — and how that affects the way women view themselves.

Boys, she says, are socialized to be assertive and aggressive and take leadership. Girls? “We call our little girls bossy,” Sandberg says. “Go to a playground: Little girls get called ‘bossy’ all the time, a word that’s almost never used for boys. And that leads directly to the problems women face in the workforce. When a man does a good job, everyone says, ‘That’s great.’ When a woman does that same thing, she’ll get feedback that says things like, ‘Your results are good, but your peers just don’t like you as much’ or ‘maybe you were a little aggressive.’ “

This isn’t just Sandberg’s observation. She cites data showing positive correlations between success and likability for men, and negative correlations between success and likability for women. “That means that as a man gets more successful, he is better liked by men and women, and as a woman gets more successful, she is less liked by men and women,” Sandberg explains. “But I want to be clear: I am not saying that men are too self-confident. That’s not the problem. The problem is that women aren’t self-confident enough.”

In Lean In, Sandberg points to an experiment led by Columbia Business School and New York University professors. They gave the students a case study from the Harvard Business School about a successful entrepreneur, Heidi Roizen. But half of the students received the case study with one difference. “Heidi” was changed to “Howard.”

“Howard came across as a more appealing colleague,” Sandberg writes. “Heidi, on the other hand, was seen as selfish and not ‘the type of person you would want to hire or work for.’ The same data with a simple difference — gender — created vastly different impressions.”

Sandberg’s book is full of statistics that reveal how — even in 2013 — women simply aren’t making it to the top.

 

“We’ve ceased making progress at the top in any industry anywhere in the world,” she says. “In the United States, women have had 14 percent of the top corporate jobs and 17 percent of the board seats for 10 years. Ten years of no progress. In those same 10 years, women are getting more and more of the graduate degrees, more and more of the undergraduate degrees, and it’s translating into more women in entry-level jobs, even more women in lower-level management. But there’s absolutely been no progress at the top. You can’t explain away 10 years. Ten years of no progress is no progress.”

The gender gap is particularly egregious in Sandberg’s own industry; women make up less than 18 percent of the ranks of computer science majors.

“What’s holding women back in computer science is the exact same thing … that’s holding women back in leadership,” Sandberg says. It’s something social scientists call “stereotype threat.”

“Stereotype threat means that the more we’re aware of a stereotype, the more we act in accordance with it,” Sandberg explains. “So, stereotypically we believe girls are not good at math. Therefore, girls don’t do well at math, and it self-perpetuates. If you ask a girl right before she takes a math test to check off ‘M’ or ‘F’ for male or female, she does worse on that test. The reason there aren’t more women in computer science is there aren’t enough women in computer science.”

In response to whether Sandberg ever felt “chosen” — as one of the handful of women gifted enough to pass through to the top — she says: “It used to be the case, that … there was only room for one or two. Women would look at each other in a room and know that because they were tokens only one of them was getting promoted. … And they were competitive with each other, or at least that’s what I’ve been told.”

But Sandberg thinks the situation has evolved and that today’s companies and boards are looking to have more women at the table.

“There’s a reason why men want to understand the challenges women face,” she says, ” … because then they’re going to be better hirers, attractors and retainers of women. Warren Buffet has very generously said that one of the reasons he was so successful is that he was only competing with half the population. Companies that use the full talents of everyone — those companies do better.”

Some of Sandberg’s critics have questioned whether someone who has already made it to a position of wealth and power — who is no longer necessarily tethered to duties at home — can reasonably suggest that other women should follow in her path.

“I don’t believe that everyone should make the same choices — that everyone has to want to be a CEO or everyone should want to be a work-at-home mother,” Sandberg responds. “I want everyone to be able to choose, but I want us to be able to choose unencumbered by gender choosing for us. I have a 7-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. Success for me is that if my son chooses to be a stay-at-home parent, he is cheered on for that decision. And if my daughter chooses to work outside the home and is successful, she is cheered on and supported.””

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March 12, 2013 · 5:02 pm

Boy Scouts may reverse national ban against gays as members, leaders

Posted by Diana Reese on January 29, 2013 at 8:33 am

“History’s being made this month. Last week, President Barack Obama became the first president to use the term “gay” in reference to sexual orientation in an inauguration speech.And on Monday the Boy Scouts of America — which successfully fought against allowing gays into its ranks all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 — said it may reverse its policy next week.

Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, 20, of Iowa City, Ia., the son of gay parents, delivered a 280,000 signature petition to the Boy Scouts of America’s Annual Meeting in Orlando last year, asking the organization to change its policies toward homosexuality. (DAVID MANNING – REUTERS)

Just last summer BSA had reaffirmed its stand to keep gays out. But it wasn’t a popular move. Membership in BSA is on the decline — and financial support is falling as well. The Merck Company Foundation, Intel Foundation, UPS and United Way have stopped or postponed donations due to the anti-gay policy of the 102-year-old organization.

Two members of the Boy Scouts of America national executive board: Ernst & Young CEO James Turley and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson have supported dumping the ban on gays in favor of inclusion regardless of sexuality.

Then there are the negative headlines: A lesbian mom was kicked out of her position as a den leader in Ohio. The Eagle Scout application of a California teen who came out wasrejected. And last summer, a 19-year-old Eagle Scout in Missouri was fired from his job at a Scout summer camp after he announced he was gay.

Deron Smith, a spokesman for Boy Scouts of America, told me the decision to revisit the policy during a private meeting of the national executive board next week resulted from “a longstanding dialogue within the Scouting family.” As he explained, “Last year, Scouting realized the policy caused some volunteers and chartered organizations which oversee and deliver the program to act in conflict with their missions, principles or religious beliefs.”

Smith stressed that the board may consider lifting the national ban, but that it will remain up to the individual chartering organization whether to allow gays as members and leaders. Troops are sponsored by churches, civic groups and schools. BSA would not force any local chartering institution to accept gays.

That makes the national ruling something of a compromise. BSA’s basically giving local groups permission to make their own decision. Some troops have quietly accepted gays; Minnesota’s largest group of Boy Scouts, the Twin Cities-based Northern Star Council, has had an inclusive policy for 12 years.

Keeping it local makes sense to many parents and adult leaders. “I think it’s a good idea to leave it up to the local troop,” said Ken Mason, assistant scoutmaster of my son’s troop in Overland, Kansas, and the father of two Eagle Scouts.

“The individual troop has a much better sense of who has a positive or negative influence on the boys,” pointed out Glenn Carney, another assistant scoutmaster and dad of two Eagle Scouts.

But making the decision locally also puts a burden on the troop — and its volunteers, Kent Bredehoeft, Scoutmaster and father of two Scouts told me. “BSA relies on volunteers, and this puts the volunteers in a difficult political situation that, without clear BSA policy, takes away their attention from delivering the BSA mission.”

He questioned what kind of support the national office will give local troops “except to say it’s your decision.” Bredehoeft added that the decision will “be a very challenging one.”

Another dad, who preferred to remain anonymous, said as long as any Scout met the requirements, including being reverent and morally straight (that phrase was used before straight had a sexual connotation), his sexual orientation didn’t matter.

Just as reaction nationally is mixed, not every parent liked the idea of a change in policy, however. “I lost my ability to advance in scouting as a young man because of a scoutmaster who was a pedophile,” one dad wrote me in an email. “I am dead set against gays in scouting.”

Allowing openly gay leaders seemed tougher for some parents to accept. One mom, who prefaced her remarks with the belief that homosexuality does not equal pedophilia, still admitted she would worry about the safety of the boys.

“Most of BSA’s constituent parents view this as a safety issue more than a moral issue,” another dad wrote in an email. “I think BSA thinks the notion continues to exist among parents of elementary school age boys, making the decision whether to let their sons join an organization where there will be lots of overnight trips to isolated locations, in the company of relatively few adult leaders, that their sons are more at risk of being molested if those leaders include homosexuals.”

Certainly the reputation of Boy Scouts has been tarnished with reports of molestations and the court-ordered release of secret files, also referred to as the “perversion files,” that listed names of suspected child molesters. BSA has worked hard to protect boys in recent years; since 1987, two-deep leadership has been instituted (which, if followed, protects both boys and adult leaders). Any adult member of Boy Scouts is required to update Youth Protection Training every two years. And any evidence of sexual abuse of a Scout must be reported to the local police.

I hope the issue of allowing gays does not end up destroying the organization. As the mom of a 15-year-old who’s been involved in Scouting since kindergarten, I’ve seen the positive side of Boy Scouts. I’ve seen him develop responsibility and leadership skills. I’ve seen other boys grow and mature.

I asked some of the older Scouts in the troop what they thought of the possible change in policy; they didn’t see a problem. One Eagle Scout bluntly put it, “It’s [anti-gay policy] ridiculous….It’s terribly sad to see limited opportunities for others because of stupid and absurd reasons.”

Another Eagle Scout didn’t think sexual orientation should prevent anyone from the benefits of the Scouting experience, including obtaining his Eagle. But he also wondered how many churches across the country would revoke charters to an organization that allowed an openly gay leader.

One dad who sent me an email summed it up well, I thought, using the Boy Scout Law:    ” ‘Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.’  Don’t see anything in there that excludes gays.”

Diana Reese is a freelance journalist in Overland Park, Kan. and the mom of a Boy Scout who’s working on his Eagle rank. Follow her on Twitter at @dianareese.”

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January 30, 2013 · 5:03 pm

The Good Girls Revolt: The Untold Story of the 1970 Lawsuit That Changed the Modern Workplace

by 

“…In The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace (public library), Lynn Povich, one of the originalNewsweek staffers who helmed the watershed lawsuit, tells its previously untold story, building — or, perhaps, deconstructing — around it a larger narrative about the tectonic shifts in gender politics in the past four decades and where this leaves us today. Not unlike Mad Men, it exposes the many social, cultural, and legal limits for women at the time, but also tells what Povich calls a “coming-of-age story about a generation of ‘good girls’ who found [themselves] in the revolutionary ’60s.” Perhaps most jarring of all, however, is that even as we read on as modern people who take pride in the progress of the past half-century, we become increasingly aware of the subtler but no less damaging sexist undercurrents that, forty years later, still permeate many social structures and cultural institutions…”

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December 5, 2012 · 8:42 pm