Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another Woman Who Made a Difference: Wilma Cozart Fine

I'm always interested in reading about women who have made a contribution in a field dominated by men. Wilma Cozart Fine had an extraordinary talent.

This NYTimes obituary provides a good overview of her contribution to classical recordings.

in reference to:

"Mrs. Fine was one of the first women to excel at record production, a field that is still dominated by men. She brought sensitivity and taste to her work, which included notable recordings by the conductors Rafael Kubelik, Antal Dorati and John Barbirolli; the composer and conductor Howard Hanson; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony; the pianists Byron Janis, Gina Bachauer and Sviatoslav Richter; and the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.

With Mr. Fine, an ingenious recording engineer whom she married in 1957, she developed recording techniques that, even in their early monaural recordings, seemed to capture not only the performance but also a sense of the space in which it took place. The Fines were among the first to make mass-market stereo recordings, and in the early 1960s they experimented with recording on 35-millimeter film instead of on magnetic recording tape. Among their productions were sonic spectaculars like a 1954 recording of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” by Dorati and the Minneapolis Symphony, with bells recorded at Yale University and a cannon recorded at West Point, and a 1958 remake, with different bells and cannon.

Mrs. Fine also had a brilliant marketing sense. One of the first things she did when she joined Mercury, in 1950, was persuade the label’s president, Irving Green, to sign the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, then floundering. Mercury’s first recording with that orchestra, overseen by the Fines, was Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” with Kubelik conducting, in April 1951. When the recording was released that fall, along with another recording of works by Bartok and Bloch, Howard Taubman wrote in The New York Times that “unless this recording has flattered the ensemble’s competence out of all recognition, one must welcome the Chicagoans back to the top rank of American orchestras.”"
- Wilma Cozart Fine, Classical Music Record Producer, Dies at 82 - Obituary (Obit) - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Modern Social Security card.Image via Wikipedia

We tend to think that gender inequity is an issue for the young. Wrong again.

Job counselors report growth in their "older women" clients category. Who makes up that category?

They're finding women in their 60's, 70's, and even 80's looking for work these days. Here are some of the reasons.

The Institute on Women: GRANDMA GOES TO WORK: "The economic challenges women face as they age are well documented; when compared to similarly aged men:
  • older women workers are less likely to be living with a partner or spouse (62% vs. 80% for men), and are more likely to be on their own when it comes to household resources. (1)
  • older women are less likely to have had continuous employment throughout their adult lives, affecting both their record of work experience and their contribution to Social Security or pension funds. (1)
  • older women are more likely to be working part-time (25% vs. 8% for men), and not necessarily by choice: 16.9% of women age 60-64 report being underemployed, vs. 12.1% of men the same age. (2)
  • older women (age 55 to 59) workers are more likely to have no expectation of retirement benefits (40% of women vs. 27% of men) and are more likely (43% of women vs. 30% of men) to report that they are working because they need the income to pay day to day living expenses. (3)
  • older women employees generally live in households with lower family incomes than their male counterparts ($64,444 vs. $80,839). (1)
  • for older female workers, the wage gap in hourly rates is 69 cents for every dollar earned by a man. (1)"
Hat tip to Christy Jones who posted this link.
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