Friday, November 21, 2014

What We've Been Reading 11/21

Ebola and Women: Chernor Bah on the Impact on Girls in Sierra Leone
This interview was published on Ebola Deeply, a website that serves as a consolidated source for any Ebola related content available on the Internet. There is a plethora of news articles, opinion pieces, and videos that serve to raise awareness about the outbreak of the disease. Earlier this month, Ebola Deeply interviewd Chernor Bah, a Sierra Leonean youth advocate, education activist, and founder of the Sierra Leone Adolescent Girls Network. In the interview, Bah discusses the impact the disease has had on women and girls and how the government in Freetown must provide for the survivors of the disease just as efforts are being made for those currently infected with Ebola. Bah mentions how the patriarchal society in Sierra Leone as left many young female survivors helpless after the death of their fathers or husbands. Also, this lack of financial support is forcing many girls to engage in risky behavior in order to support their families. Bah believes the biggest challenge is the "invisibility" of girls Sierra Leone's policies and with most NGOs focused on Ebola, the needs of women in country are being neglected. While Ebola is a primary focus on Sierra Leone's agenda, emphasis must be given to issues such as sexual exploitation and reproductive health which have been amplified due to the outbreak of the disease in the country.

India's Lethal Birth Control 
This New York Times' opinion piece discusses the flaws in India's population control strategy, which has received international attention after the death of thirteen women on November 8th due to medical complications post-surgery. Women are provided with monetary incentives to undergo sterilization procedures, which are often carried out in unsanitary conditions. While family planning is extremely important in countries like India, the women have the right to medical care that meets minimum standards. Also, tubal ligation procedures in so-called "sterilization camps" does not take into consideration the basic reproductive rights of Indian women. Providing monetary compensations is not enough; women should be educated about their birth control options instead of being forced to pick tubal ligations due to monetary compensations. Also, if a women chooses tubal ligation, the Health Ministry is responsible for providing adequate post-op medical care. While the government under Mr. Modi has ordered an investigation into the deaths of the women, many state governments are still going strong with their mass sterilization campaigns. Moreover, eleven Indian states have doubled the monetary compensation to be offered for undergoing the procedure. This is a flawed public health approach, since it leaves women with no choice as to what form of birth control they use.

Why Women Are Paying $1,300 More A Year For The Same Exact Products As Men
This article in Huffington Post discusses how firms sell "women's" versions of products at a higher price than the male alternative. Experts believe this is done because women are more likely to purchase the cheaper product marketed towards men than vice versa. In order to maintain profits, firms charge a higher price for the feminine version of product. With women making seventy-seven cents a male's dollar, it just equates to women spending a more significant percentage of their income for products such as deodorant, soap, and razors.
Also read: "The Woman Tax: The Surprising Reason Why Women Pay More Than $1,300 a Year"

Women in Leadership
Adam Bryant’s column in the New York Time’s Corner Office was intended to discuss issues of leadership with the top business executives. He previously didn’t give much thought to specific women executives and specific issues that pertain to that title. To him, they would be executives who just happened to be women.  He has however noted that there are copious issues that accompany being a woman in a leadership position that need to be discussed. In his article “Four Executives on Succeeding in Business as a Woman” from the fall of last year, Bryant revisits the topic and re-interviews four women. This time he interviews them about the particularities of being a female executive.
The four executives featured in this article are Amy Schulman, the executive vice president of Pfizer, Lisa Price, the founder and president of Carol’s Daughter, Doreen Lorenzo, the president of Quirky and Marjorie Kaplan, the group president of the Animal Planet, Science and Velocity Networks. In regards to female leadership, Schulman states very profoundly that “there are clearly implicit biases and assumptions that follow you by virtue of your gender and your race. Workplaces need to be aware of those and do something to counterbalance those as institutions.” She warns if this does not occur we lose the diversity of voices that are crucial in running an organization.  Price continues in this thread when commenting about women crying in the workplace and how it shouldn’t be done because it enforces the stereotypes or clearly implicit biases, as Schulman puts it.  Lorenzo however highlights the advantages of stereotypes about women in the workplace. She explains that “women are better at team dynamics,” then goes on to discuss soft skills such as intuition and instincts.  Lorenzo recalls schooling and argues “girls are taught to be cooperative more than boys,” contributing to the power dynamic in offices.  Kaplan also speaks about her experiences with the issue of stereotypes and leadership. “It’s easy for women to be read as too nice, too kind.” She then continues that “Niceness and kindness are not the opposite of ambition and drive.”
The perspectives given by these four women are very eye opening into women how women fare in the corporate world. Their advice, though slightly clashing, give insight on the diversity of views about women’s ascent into power and how they wish to be viewed as equals. Bryant’s change of heart in featuring women’s issues in his column comes at a great time because it’s very important to portray these differing views.

See the whole article here: