Saturday, January 31, 2009

Women in Technology Still at a Disadvantage

Fast Company published their 2nd annual list of influential women in technology and they're a pretty impressive group. But, read their introductory comments to appreciate that in this field, too, there's more to be done. The emphasis is mine.

The Most Influential Women in Technology | Fast Company: "While [last year] some comments focused on the accomplishments of the women chosen, or suggested others we might have named, many were graphic, sexist, and nasty. Two dozen of the posters were eventually thrown off of Digg by the site's administrators.

It wasn't exactly the conversation about women in technology we'd hoped for. But it wasn't just a flamefest, either. Among the arguments put forward was that a women-only list was in itself sexist. We certainly wish the need for such a list had long passed, but women in tech remain at a distinct disadvantage by any metric: average salary, top-management representation, board memberships. Silicon Valley, in particular, remains largely a boys' club. "

I hope younger women read these articles, not to feel victimized, but rather to understand that there's still work to be done.

And, congratulations to all those women who made the list. You certainly deserve recognition for your achievements which range from running companies like Oracle and Yahoo to pure research, from blogging and gaming to using technology to change the world.
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

One Wrong is Righted - President Signs Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

BRAVO! Whoopee! Hooooorayyyyy!

While there are many injustices in the world, I have to say that the Supreme Court ruling on Ledbetter vs. Goodyear and the Senate's foot-dragging on correcting that bizarre ruling has been on the top of my list. It made the top of my list because it was so ridiculous and so easy to correct. But the Big Boys closed ranks and circled the wagons.

Well, now it's done. A year late, but President Obama signed the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law today. It was the first bill he signed into law. Thank you, Mr. President.

And, thank you, everyone who sponsored the bill, voted for it, sent letters of support, and lobbied to keep it on the front burner in Congress.

Now, where is the Paycheck Fairness Actl that passed the House? Let's make sure it gets through the Senate this year. They're being awfully quiet about it these days.

Update: The status of S. 182 is now in the sidebar so we can follow its progress.

Want to watch the video of the signing celebration? Here's the link. Click on the red circle with the 'f' in it.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Get Fresh, newbranch AAUW tv show, in tune

Dear Kingston Branch members and friends,

Last night, despite some technical difficulties in the Woodstock tv studio, Janine Fallon-Mower and I were once again holding AAUW Conversations.

Our winter-spring theme and title of our series is GET FRESH, buy locally and buy seasonally.

In our research, I read Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracles, how one family with two daughters, two full-time working parents, managed to live graciously and abundantly from local produce and their garden. Then, Janine searched her own family history and found a 1950's Woodstock Recipe Booklet, full of delightful home-made possibilities. She also recalled Mower's Market on Tinker Street whose produce was supplied by the family garden, now Mower's Flea Market, less than 50 yards from the store. Now that's local.

We are delighted to have found so many people in our county working on the theme of practical, local and cost effective healthy food. Check out From this website, I gleaned the following quick start tips.

1. Check labels for origins. Janine found she bought garlic from China. Garlic grows well here. So start with buying items easily grown within 100 miles and save transportation and oil costs.

2. Start with two or three items, not switching all items at once. Do what is manageable bit by bit considering how busy we all are.

3. Get the whole family involved. While it's winter, dream over garden catalogs, consider planting edible as well as ornamental plants to cut down food and gas costs.

4. Look into community garden buyer's club, called community supported agriculture (csa). We have NINE in our Hudson River Valley area. If you already belong, tell others.

5. Buy a share in an apple tree at our local orchards. You get to help the grower grow with your share and later eat local apples.

And, #6. Vote for Carrie Little as White House Farmer. I know Carrie's daughter, Mary Letterman, an active AAUW member on Facebook. She sent this story about her mother asking all Facebook AAUW members to support Carrie with our votes:

Mary points out in the comments that this is her friend's mother.
That doesn't change how impressed we are with Carrie!

"Hey everybody, the White House and Barack Obama, our new president, is looking to turn the White House more "green" and turn the White House lawns into organic gardens. My mom has been nominated for this position along with only 18 others in our country. So get on this website starting January 21, 2009 and vote! The top 3 candidates will be submitted to our Prez and then he will choose.

And if you want to, vote for my MOM, Carrie Little, because she would be the best for the job!"
So, please read Carrie's profile -- you'll be overwhelmed by her imagination and what she's accomplished in Washington State with organic gardening providing local food for emergency food pantries, engaging hundreds of children, volunteers, prisoners and families. You'll be convinced that she should be the first White House Farmer. Visit the White House Farmer for more information on this movement and to vote.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

The women behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott & Dr. King

Deputy Sheriff D.H. Lackey fingerprints Parks ...Image via WikipediaWhen I was young, my mother told me that I would be wise to become some corporate president's executive secretary. "There's always a very smart woman behind a successful man. Many secretaries really run the company."

Instead, I like to think that I've been part of changing things -- that women can be out front more often (but not often enough) these days. But her advice came to mind when I read this article about the ten nonprofits that shaped and supported Dr. King. When I got to #3, reproduced below, I thought, aha! of course!

It takes leaders, up-front and leaders behind the scenes to bring about great change. Here's to the women who made the Montgomery bus boycott possible.

Did You Know...? Ten Nonprofits that Shaped the Life of Martin Luther King Jr. | Blue Avocado: "Which nonprofit was the first to launch the Montgomery bus boycott that ultimately brought Dr. King to prominence?

Women’s Political Council

African American women in Montgomery, Alabama, formed the Women’s Political Council in the mid-1940s. They tried to end bus segregation through advocacy with the local mayor. When that didn’t work, they laid plans for a bus boycott. After Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat, it was the council that sent out the call for action. Later, much of the boycott organizing was taken over by the Montgomery Improvement Association."
Jan Masoka, who publishes Blue Avocado, shared this background information in her latest newsletter.
Textbooks make it seem as if Rosa Parks just one day decided not to sit at the back of the bus. In fact, of course, many other African American women and men had done just that over the years, only to be thrown off the bus. But when Rosa Parks refused to leave her seat in the front of the bus, she did so having been selected by local nonprofits to spark the carefully-planned boycott of the segregated bus company. Heroes don't act alone: nonprofits support heroes, and heroes understand nonprofits to be platforms for impact, and all are parts of evolving social movements.

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Friday, January 2, 2009

Daytime Book Club Date Changed to 1/13; Evening Book Group Changed to 1/27

From Marjorie Regan:
Dear AAUW Daytime Club Attendees,
Our usual Kingston Library meeting time falls on the day of the Presidential Inauguration. Many of us will be watching it on TV. Therefore we will meet Jan. 13th, the 2nd Tuesday of the month instead. If you haven't started the book, "Leeway Cottage, by Beth Gutcheon, you still have 12 days to read it. I have to get started myself.

From Garnette Arledge:
Evening Book Group will meet 5:15 to 7 pm, Tuesday, Jan. 27 (please note NO BRANCH MEETING IN JANUARY). We will meet to discuss Emma by Jane Austen and to decide when and where works best for future meetings. This Jan. 27 meeting will be held at the Olympic Diner on Washington Ave, across from Picnic Pizza just off the circle. Questions? Call me or Susan Holland.

Editor's note: If you buy books on-line, you can get an additional AAUW member's 5% discount by using this link.