I am finished writing and thinking about socially conservative Texans (for now). But I still have history texts on the mind.
Here’s the dilemma: in a conversation with a like-minded male progressive, I was surprised to realize that, while sympathetic to the fact that girls have few female role models to read about in school, he didn’t see an obvious solution. He thought maybe a few more women could be highlighted, but he offered the following to explain why men would continue to outnumber women in the texts for years to come:
Last week, I waited eagerly on the steps of City Hall to get the latest facts on the status of black women and girls. The Law and Policy Group, Inc. released their 2010 Bi-Annual report to a crowd of fellow non-profits, media, and interested citizens. According to Executive Director and Founder Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, the report gives the public a picture of an “African-American female as a whole person—a snapshot of her life.” This particular study is the only ongoing national report on the current state of black females in the United States.
The research not only covers the challenges faced by black women today, but also their achievements thus far. For example,
According to the recently released American Association for University Women (AAUW) report, Why So Few?, women continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields, especially at the upper levels. True, progress has been made, but women earn only 20% of bachelor's degrees in physics, engineering and computer science. So what's the hold up? AAUW's report delves into the social and environmental factors that contribute to the underrepresentation of women in STEM professions. As AAUW explains, "biological gender differences, yet to be well understood, may play a role, [but] are not the whole story." AAUW turns instead to societal beliefs, learning environments, and gender stereotypes to explain the persistant disparities. To learn more, click here.
This morning, I ran across a White House press release on a new STEM initiative the Obama administration is launching. According to the release, women and STEM are part of Obama’s three priorities for STEM education:
April 24, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird 60% of young black girls in New York City surveyed by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research indicated they worry about their personal safety. 89% attributed their concern to frequent fights at school. Despite this and other harsh realities, the study reveals the strength and resilience girls embody. Produced by IWPR and The Black Women for Black Girls Giving Circle, Black Girls in New York City: Untold Strength and Resilience documents the lives of girls living in New York City. The report discusses the daily challenges girls face as well as their modes of survival. To read the whole report, click here.
March 3, 2009 posted by Deborah Siegel I’m sitting in a very crowded auditorium at 3 World Financial Center, home of American Express, and the sun is pouring in on one of the coldest days of the year. We’re about to be warmed by the annual panel that takes place the afternoon of the National Council for Research on Women’s evening-time gala, the Making a Difference for Women Awards. This year’s panel, “An Immodest Proposal: Advancing a New Era of Social Justice” (kudos on the title, NCRW!) features Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center Marcia Greenberger, Chancellor and President of Syracuse University Nancy Cantor, Accenture / Microsoft / PepsiCo Director Dina Dublon, and Columbia University law professor and Nation columnist Patricia Williams. The Takeaway co-host Adaora Udoji, whose voice I wake up to each morning, will be moderating. There is nothing modest about this crowd of female movers and shakers from corporate, academic, and nonprofit spheres. The NCRW staff—of which I used to be part—has clearly done an excellent job spreading word. It’s a dazzling lineup. Let the conversation begin! Adaora: First question is for Nancy. What can you tell us about advancing a new era of social justice in education? Nancy: The idea of the ivory tower as a monastic place is breaking down. What that means is we have no understanding of the groups we’re leaving behind. How do we level the playing field of education? If we don’t find ways to strengthen our connections to our communities, cities, rural areas, and bring in the population, we’re going to be stagnant. Adaora: Are we seeing that 50% female leadership in education yet? Nancy: No, not at all. What we are seeing at all levels is girls falling off the map as we go up. Adaora: Why is that?
February 28, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network reported the experiences of 2,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) middle and high school students of color who were African American or Black, Latino/a, Asian or Pacific Islander, Native American, and multiracial as part of their National School Climate Survey. The report found that
February 13, 2009 posted by Linda Basch Last week we reached out to advocates and scholars working on issues affecting girls’ lives to submit their Girls Agenda 2009: More funding for teen dating violence prevention? More attention paid to the international trafficking of girls? New programs to promote the health, safety, and well-being of future women? Effective, comprehensive sex education in our schools? The responses we received were dynamic, fresh, and exciting. Deborah Tolman, Professor of Social Welfare, Hunter College School of Social Work, suggested that in order to enhance girls’ resiliency, we must do more than reduce risk—we must provide encouragement so that they may live their lives in the positive. Lyn Mikel Brown, author of Girlfighting, offered an insightful critique of the “mean girl” phenomenon and recommended a strength-based approach: “We affirm girls’ relational and political strengths by giving them reason to believe they can count on one another and work together to solve social problems.” Allison Kimmich, Executive Director of the National Women’s Study Association, drew on Obama’s role as both father and policymaker, nudging him to make policy decisions in the same manner he parents.