Friday, August 22, 2014

What We've Been Reading 8/22

According to a new study outlined in a Jezebel article, gender biases continue to pervade perspectives about childcare and work life in the United States. The study, conducted by a Furman University professor, reveals that men who request a flexible work schedule are thirteen percent more likely to be approved than women who do. Furthermore, the study found that a quarter of the male employees were found to be “extremely likeable,” while only three percent of the female employees were seen as “extremely likeable.” Additionally, as a result of making a scheduling request, the female employees were more likely to be seen as “not at all” or “not very” committed. These findings clearly suggest that many people still possess gendered views, wherein it is expected for a woman to complete their second shift of childcare, and men are applauded and rewarded for taking time off for the purpose of childcare. As the article points out, it is important that employees and managers check their biases in the workplace to promote a more egalitarian environment.

An article published last week from The Guardian disclosed the results of a survey exploring motherhood and pregnancy in the workplace. Six out of ten women felt that their careers suffered as a result of their pregnancies, and half of the mothers polled responded that less maternity leave was correlated with them being taken more seriously in the workplace. From a management side, the results are just as troubling. From a group of five hundred managers, thirty three percent revealed that maternity leave and childcare situations with a female employee would result in them hiring a male employee in their twenties or thirties. Four out of ten of the managers would worry about hiring a mother for a starting position or senior role. As these findings suggest, there is much to be done in eliminating the barriers and discriminatory practices that continue to dominate the workplace.

The New York Post ran an op-ed written by Doree Lewak in which she expressed delight in being catcalled by strange men, an article that was critiqued on our blog by MWPC intern Emily Schacter. Also in response to that offensive op-ed, Zerlina Maxwell of came up with a list of the “10 Dumbest Myths About Feminism, Debunked”.  What we’ve learned from the list is that feminism, and being a feminist,  is actually OK! Feminists don’t always hate men, they can be funny, they have diverse opinions (even about what feminism means), the idea of feminism doesn’t hurt men and men can be feminists too (GASP!), and feminists can also be moms and wives. Feminists also care about other issues other than abortion, and most importantly, we are not angry. Zerlina’s list is not only funny, but it’s eye-opening, and is worth the read.

MSNBC recently came up with a “30 in 30” featurette which focuses on 30 women candidates to watch in this election cycle. Author Anna Brand notes that “women are at the forefront of many of this year’s critical and most-watched races. From candidates for governorships making waves from red-to-blue states, to game-changing senate seats up for grabs, women are making their voices heard now more than ever.” Equal pay for women, health care, campus sexual assault, and the recent Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court are issues that have rallied women voters, and will most definitely bring them to the polls in November. This could very well be the year of the women, if the number of women state legislatures increases from 24% after the elections and if more women are elected into Congress as well. On Tuesday (day 12), Martha Coakley, the MWPC endorsed candidate for Governor of Massachusetts was interviewed with questions ranging from “What women in politics inspire you?” and “If elected what will be your #1 priority?” You may read the full interview here: