A long time advocate for women and girls, six years ago she founded The Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media, which works with the entertainment industry to increase the presence and reduce the stereotyping of female characters in media aimed at children. She was appointed to the commission two years ago by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and elected chair last month. Governor Jerry Brown in his budget proposal has recommended eliminating the commission, so we asked Calbuzzer Susan Rose to interview Davis about the controversy and her work on behalf of women.
Q: What difference has the state Commission on the Status of Women made in the lives of women?
A: The Commission has served as an important link between many communities and the government throughout its 47 year history, focusing on those who most need a voice—the working poor, those with limited English language ability, incarcerated women, and those with least access to state government and services. The Commission has partnered with numerous groups throughout California and held public hearings around the state, thus making state government both more accessible to these groups and benefiting state government by bringing these voices to Sacramento.
Watch out, Mitt. Barbie has stepped onto the campaign trail and will officially announce her bid for President on Thursday.
The I Can Be…President Barbie doll by manufacturer Mattel and in partnership with The White House Project, a nonpartisan nonprofit that aims to involve more women in politics, will be in mass distribution. Presale begins tomorrow, but Mattel expects it to hit shelves everywhere in August in four different races: Caucasian, Hispanic, African-American and Asian.
Virginia Rometty appeared at the U.S. Masters golf tournament in a pink jacket, not the green associated with membership in the male-only Augusta National typically bestowed on IBM CEOs, the AP reports.
Rometty, sitting in a lawn chair, had a prime location just a few rows behind the 18th green. She is known to be an avid scuba diver, not much of a golfer. But she knew enough about the game to applaud several good shots into the final hole.
Rometty has brought the issue of female members at Augusta National back to the fore since being named IBM's new chief executive earlier this year. IBM is one of the longtime sponsors of the tournament, and its last four CEOs, all males, were invited to be members. Augusta National's chairman, Billy Payne, has refused to provide a substantive answer to that question, saying the club's membership decisions are private.
IBM has also declined to comment, and security around the company's hospitality cabin at Augusta was tight all week.
But do you want to know why there’s sexism in tech? Because it comes from society at large, and even at the very top, we allow it to happen.
Traditionally, the Augusta National Golf Club has bestowed honorary green jackets representing membership to the club upon the CEOs of its three main television sponsors for the U.S. Masters – except for this year. Virginia Rometty is the current CEO of IBM, and so far has not been given membership – like every other CEO before her, solely because she is a woman.
I appreciate that as a private club it has a prerogative to decide, and am certain that I wouldn’t be able to influence a clearly outdated organization to change its views.
But I would have expected more from IBM — and of us as a tech community to declare this as unacceptable.
So the following thoughts are not directed at the board of Augusta National. These thoughts are directed at Ms. Rometty, chief executive of IBM. I ask simply in an open letter “Why have you not pulled your company’s sponsorship?” And more specifically “Why do you allow them to disrespect you in this way?”
The past 12 months have seen women take the lead in some of the toughest economic and political environments: Christine Lagarde became the first female to head the International Monetary Fund, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has emerged as the key figure in solving the eurozone sovereign debt crisis and Maria das Gracas Foster has taken over at Petrobras, becoming the first woman to run one of the world’s top five oil companies. Women also head governments in countries such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil and Thailand.
However, the GrantThorton International Business Report 2012 survey shows that just 21% of senior management roles are held by women globally, figure which has barely moved over the past decade. Moreover, just 9% of businesses have a female CEO. This short report explores why this issue matters, the current state of play and what is being done about it.
Women are nominated for research prizes just as frequently as men, however unconscious bias and men running prize panels seems to be swaying award outcomes, suggests the study in the current Social Studies of Science journal.
Varying widely by discipline, women receiveabout 40% of all doctoratesin science (around 70% of psychology degrees but less in other fields) and engineering (about 10%), and have long suffered from lower odds of becoming full professors or attaining other markers of prestige in those fields.
"A large body of social science research finds that work done by women is perceived as less important or valuable that that done by men," begins the study led by sociologist Anne Lincoln of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. In their research, the study authors looked at award patterns from 13 scientific and medical societies from 1991 (206 awards) to 2010 (296 awards).
Women are bringing a much needed source of emotional intelligence to the top table and as a result improving a board's ability to innovate, make consensual decisions and connect with customers and staff. This is according to a survey by Inspire, the business network for senior board level women supported by Harvey Nash.
The survey, completed by 326 board-level executives across 19 countries and part of Inspire's Return on Diversity report, revealed that almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) believe women are bringing a greater level of emotional intelligence (EI) to the board which in turn brings greater cultural understanding (91% believed better EI boosted the board's ability in this area), better board consensus (80%) and greater creativity and innovation (75%).
Making a Difference for Women Awards Dinner2012 - 30 Women Tribute on Tuesday, March 6th, at Cipriani Wall Street. To read the event press release, click here. Photos by Don Pollard for NCRW. CLICK ON FIRST PHOTO to activate slideshow.
For Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, it has been a somewhat strange dynamic. They are not in the minority among politicians in their home state, but they are at the national level, and as such, have been called on to speak up for women. Recently, the two grabbed the spotlight during the debate over contraception.
Nationwide, women’s groups point out the glaring gender disparity in public life, noting that there are only 6 female governors and 17 female senators. Across the country, women make up 23.6 percent of state legislatures, according to Off the Sidelines, a project started last year by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York. But in Washington State, women’s serving in public office has been as consistent as the rain.
“Every once in a while a note or a letter will mention it,” Ms. Gregoire said. “But mostly, it’s taken for granted.”
Courtney Gregoire, her daughter, would relay differences between Washington State and Washington, D.C., where she worked as the director of the National Export Initiative at the Commerce Department. She found herself biting her tongue when men mentioned her age (she is 32), and she started wearing pantsuits to appear older. Once, after being the lone woman in a meeting of 25, she called her mother.
The governor replied, “Welcome to how it was for us.”