Sorry I have not posted in awhile! I have recently started a new job and have found myself, as I expected, working more hours than I have in awhile. In my new position I have spent time thinking about the differences between men and women, and balance between work and home. I posted somewhat of a stream of consciousness below, I would love to hear your thoughts!
I am constantly trying to make sure that I am contributing as much as a I should at work while balancing a life with my spouse and son at home. There are days where I feel like I have figured it out and days that are just plain tough. It is hard for me to be away from my family as much as I am but I feel genuinely happy about what I do and my career. I am often tired of hearing about women who are trying to have it all or women who are constantly lamenting their guilt about being a working mom. While I am all for balance and every mother finding her own way… I have to wonder, do men think about these things as much as we do?
I think that men and women are inantely different in the way we view different components of work and home life however I don’t know why. I am constantly trying to better understand the variances between how men and women feel about working and being a parent. The balance of work and home is an ever popular topic and yet one in which there will never be answer.
Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan. As a child, she became an advocate for girls’ education, which resulted in the Taliban issuing a death threat against her. On October 9, 2012, a gunman shot Malala when she was traveling home from school. She survived, and has continued to speak out on the importance of education. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. In 2014, she was nominated again and won, becoming the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
On July 12, 1997, Malala Yousafzai was born in Mingora, Pakistan, located in the country’s Swat Valley. For the first few years of her life, her hometown remained a popular tourist spot that was known for its summer festivals. However, the area began to change as the Taliban tried to take control.
Yousafzai attended a school that her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, had founded. After the Taliban began attacking girls’ schools in Swat, Malala gave a speech in Peshawar, Pakistan, in September 2008. The title of her talk was, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?”
In early 2009, Yousafzai began blogging for the BBC about living under the Taliban’s threats to deny her an education. In order to hide her identity, she used the name Gul Makai. However, she was revealed to be the BBC blogger in December of that year.
With a growing public platform, Yousafzai continued to speak out about her right, and the right of all women, to an education. Her activism resulted in a nomination for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011. That same year, she was awarded Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize.
Targeted by the Taliban
When she was 14, Malala and her family learned that the Taliban had issued a death threat against her. Though Malala was frightened for the safety of her father—an anti-Taliban activist—she and her family initially felt that the fundamentalist group would not actually harm a child.
On October 9, 2012, on her way home from school, a man boarded the bus Malala was riding in and demanded to know which girl was Malala. When her friends looked toward Malala, her location was given away. The gunman fired at her, hitting Malala in the left side of her head; the bullet then traveled down her neck. Two other girls were also injured in the attack.
The shooting left Malala in critical condition, so she was flown to a military hospital in Peshawar. A portion of her skull was removed to treat her swelling brain. To receive further care, she was transferred to Birmingham, England.
After the Attack
Once she was in the United Kingdom, Yousafzai was taken out of a medically induced coma. Though she would require multiple surgeries—including repair of a facial nerve to fix the paralyzed left side of her face—she had suffered no major brain damage. In March 2013, she was able to begin attending school in Birmingham.
The shooting resulted in a massive outpouring of support for Yousafzai, which continued during her recovery. She gave a speech at the United Nations on her 16th birthday, in 2013. She has also written an autobiography, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, which was released in October 2013. Unfortunately, the Taliban still considers Yousafzai a target.
Despite the Taliban’s threats, Yousafzai remains a staunch advocate for the power of education. On October 10, 2013, in acknowledgement of her work, the European Parliament awarded Yousafzai the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. That same year, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She didn’t win the prize, but was named a nominee again in March 2014. In August of the same year, Leanin.Org held a live chat on Facebook with Sheryl Sandberg and Yousafzai about the importance of education for girls around the world. She talked about her story, her inspiration and family, her plans for the future and advocacy, and she answered a variety of inquiries from the social network’s users.
In October 2014, Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. At age 17, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In congratulating Yousafzai, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: “She is (the) pride of Pakistan, she has made her countrymen proud. Her achievement is unparalleled and unequaled. Girls and boys of the world should take lead from her struggle and commitment.” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described her as “a brave and gentle advocate of peace who through the simple act of going to school became a global teacher.”
For her 18th birthday on July 12, 2015, also called Malala Day, the young activist continued to take action on global education by opening a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon. Its expenses covered by the Malala Fund, the school was designed to admit nearly 200 girls from the ages of 14 to 18. “Today on my first day as an adult, on behalf of the world’s children, I demand of leaders we must invest in books instead of bullets,” Yousafzai proclaimed in one of the school’s classrooms.
That day, she also asked her supporters on The Malala Fund website: “Post a photo of yourself holding up your favorite book and share why YOU choose #BooksNotBullets – and tell world leaders to fund the real weapon for change, education!” The teenage activist wrote: “The shocking truth is that world leaders have the money to fully fund primary AND secondary education around the world but they are choosing to spend it on other things, like their military budgets. In fact, if the whole world stopped spending money on the military for just 8 days, we could have the $39 billion still needed to provide 12 years of free, quality education to every child on the planet.”
A sad and interesting observation from a Mama after shopping for a Halloween costume for her 3 year old daughter on Party City’s website:
“Dear Party City,
Having just finished perusing your website for Halloween costumes for my three-year-old daughter, I am writing in the hopes that you will reconsider some of the content on your website and the antiquated views such content communicates about your company’s beliefs. In order to understand my concerns, please direct your attention to the ‘toddler costumes’ portion of your website. Compare, for instance, the ‘classic’ costumes offered for boys and girls.
As you can see, the classic costumes for boys include 53 assorted options, ranging from traditional vampire attire to a ‘rascal pirate’ to 16 costumes relating to possible occupations. Meanwhile, the classic costumes for girls include 45 options, ranging from a ‘vampire queen’ to a ‘precious pirate’ to three costumes relating to possible occupations. (It is worth noting that I have generously included in this number the ‘cheerleader’ as a possible occupation, despite it being well known that even NFL cheerleaders are not paid well enough for this to be their only source of income, as well as the ‘cowgirl,’ although, unlike the ‘cowboy,’ she is clearly not appropriately dressed to be employed on any sort of working ranch). To be clear, that means 30% of the costumes you market to boys are based on occupations, while just under 7% of the costumes you market to girls are based on occupations.
When you look around at the police officers in your city or neighborhood, the uniforms they wear are probably substantially similar to the costumes you have elected to offer for boys. However, the same cannot be said of the costume you market to girls. Generally speaking, real life uniformed female police officers do not wear short skirts and low cut shirts, but instead wear exactly the same slacks and shirts as their male counterparts. Further, while your choice to market these different costumes to different genders is remarkable in and of itself, it is worth noting that this disparate treatment was apparently at least somewhat conscious on the part of your business. I invite you, and anyone else reading this letter, to review the description of the costumes. When describing the girl costume, your marketing team elected to use language like “cute cop” and “sassy and sweet,” while for the boy costume, they chose to note the “realistic scaled-down police shirt” and assert that “this protector of the peace has it all under control!”
I am absolutely appalled that your business reinterprets girls’ innocent and well-intentioned dreams into this costume.
While Halloween costumes are undoubtedly about “make-believe,” it is unfathomable that toddler girls and boys who might be interested in dressing up as police officers are seeking to imagine themselves in the incongruent way your business apparently imagines them. Toddler girls are not imagining and hoping that they will grow up to become a ‘sexy cop’ — which is clearly what your girl costume suggests; rather, young girls, just as young boys, see and admire their family members and neighbors offering service to their communities and delight in the idea of doing the same. I am absolutely appalled that your business reinterprets girls’ innocent and well-intentioned dreams into this costume.
Finally, the thing that I would maybe most like to point out to you is this: Your company could EASILY include many, if not all, of the costumes you have in the boys’ section as options in the girls’ section as well! And in so doing, you would not only improve the message you are sending to society, but you might actually help your bottom line by selling more costumes (since little girls shopping with their parents would be more likely to see these options)! Even if you insist (and I really hope you don’t) on offering the sexualized version of costumes for little girls, you could *also* offer girls the realistic option of the same costume.
Look at the world around you: In a world where Ronda Rousey and Danica Patrick are excelling, there are certainly girls who would be interested in that Toddler Boys Everlast Boxer Costume or that Turbo Racer Muscle Costume. Perhaps you recently read about Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, the first female graduates of Ranger School; knowing that these women were once little girls, doesn’t it seem like maybe there are girls out there today who would have some interest in the Combat Soldier Costume or the Flight Suit Costume? And surely, having observed female doctors when walking down the halls of a hospital, or female construction workers when driving down the street, or female postal workers when mailing a letter, it is reasonable to believe – both from a sociological and business perspective – that there are girls who might be interested in such costumes just as there are women who are interested in these professions.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with little girls who enjoy and want to dress up this Halloween as a ‘Light Up Twinkler Witch,’ or a ‘Doo Wop Darling,’ or an ‘Enchanted Stars Princess,’ there is also absolutely nothing wrong with little girls who might wish to give the ‘UPS Driver’ costume or the ‘Ride in Train’ costume a try! Please, Party City, open up your view of the world and redesign your marketing scheme to let kids be kids, without imposing on them antiquated views of gender roles.
“How would you like it if there were beautiful women whose only job was to keep you entertained? Women who kept their bodies toned to your exact specifications; spent thousands of dollars on their hair, makeup and clothing so they always looked their best for you; and had invested in years of training to do complicated acrobatics designed to bring you joy. Now add to this fantasy that these women brought you hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits and you give them almost nothing in return. Sound like a fairy tale? It should be.”
NFL season is back and the next several months will be consumed with Facebook posts, commercials, billboards, merchandise, and all things football. I am not a big football fan by any means but my spouse genuinely enjoys following a specific team and I like to watch with him.
This past weekend, we were invited to join some friends for the home opening game. I had several observations throughout the day, but what struck me the most was watching the cheerleaders. I have never sat and really focused on them much. I couldn’t believe how little their uniforms were, how small their physique was, and how tanned and airbrushed they all looked. I don’t live in a hole, I know that cheerleaders exist and that they look a certain way; but it struck me how overly sexualized these women were. While the discussion misogyny in the NFL is a whole different animal, watching the girls this weekend got me wondering, how much does an NFL cheerleader make? What is the history behind cheerleading and the NFL? Do cheerleaders really add anything to the sport and why are they necessary?
I got home and starting to do some digging… my findings were disappointing to say the least:
A brief history
In 1954 the Baltimore Colts were the first NFL team to showcase cheerleaders on the sidelines.
26 out of 32 NFL teams have a cheerleading squad
Wages and Pay
Cheerleading is an extremely physically demanding sport that requires many years of training and hours and hours of practice
Most cheerleaders make approximately $50-$150 per game
Some game days can be 12 hours long, leaving cheerleaders making less than minimum wage ($4.50-$12.50 per hour)
Cheerleaders are not compensated for practice time
Many Cheerleaders are not compensated for uniforms, make up, hair, and beauty treatment requirements
In a recent lawsuit many strict rules that the cheerleaders were held to were exposed. These rules encompassed everything from; skin tone/tanning standards, beauty products that were acceptable to use, diets (ex. the amount of bread you can consume at an event), hair color, and what feminine products to use during menstruation
It is a cheerleading industry standard that women can be benched or fined for weight gain
A recent lawsuit agains the Buffalo Jills sited that the cheerleaders needed to undergo a weekly “jiggle test” to discern who would perform at upcoming games
During promotional events several Buffalo Jill’s reported that they were sexually harassed. They claimed that they walked around in bikinis at a casino event and were auctioned off to ride in golf carts on men’s laps
What value do they add?
“Eric Smallwood, senior vice president at Front Row Marketing, has estimated that the TV appearances of cheerleaders on game days alone are worth about $8.25 million to the NFL, or $317,000 per year for each team in the league. Cheerleaders also provide value by promoting ticket sales and promoting the NFL brand.” – time.com
What’s being done about it?
“The issue is gaining traction. In just the last two years, professional cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals have filed wage theft lawsuits against their respective teams, alleging labor violations including misclassification, meaning that some cheerleaders were treated as independent contractors, not as employees, and therefore didn’t receive the wages or benefits they deserved. (So far, the Raiders and Buccaneers have settled lawsuits by agreeing to pay more than $2 million in back wages.)”- newyorktimes.com
New York (CNN) — At the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, a group of about two dozen female rescue workers walked onto the platform overlooking ground zero. Most had not seen the place in years, not since big iron beams rose into the sky to build the skeletons of a new office complex, not since the footprints of the Twin Towers were filled with black stone and waterworks, not since all the progress that followed those dark days back …
New York Police Department Deputy Inspector Terri Tobin was buried in the rubble of the old towers twice on September 11, 2001. She had a huge glass pane lodged in her back and cinder block cut her skull. She rose from the debris like some kind of superhero and rescued people who were in a panic — the injured, the desperate, the scared. At one point, she clung mightily to one man’s arm and said: “I’m with the NYPD. I’m not gonna let go.”
She didn’t let go. None of these women let go.
Capt. Brenda Berkman searched relentlessly for her fellow firefighters. She still cries, to this day, about the 343 who died. She knew most of them. Officer Carey Policastro searched the pile of debris for weeks, exposing herself to horrible conditions. Then she dedicated herself to preparing for the next attack, training first responders around the country.
There were women from the Salvation Army and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, emergency medical technicians and clergy.
There were plenty of female journalists there, too, including one of my producers, Rose Arce. She was featured in a book called “Women At Ground Zero” — along with all these first responders — written by Susan Hagen and Mary Carouba, two California authors who wanted to memorialize the accounts of the women. That book was published nearly 10 years ago and memory fades.
I don’t think there was any task that was performed down there by men that were not performed by women.
–Terri Tobin, NYPD
A few months ago one of the female firefighters from that book came to speak to the kindergarten class of my producer’s daughter. A little boy asked her how she could be a “fireman” if she was a girl.
In answer to that question, we produced a documentary that premieres on Labor Day at 11 p.m. ET and PT. It is called “Beyond Bravery: The Women of 9/11.” It chronicles the heroics and hardship of these women as they have worked to repair our nation in the decade since the terrorist attacks. As one woman in the documentary says: “Little boys and little girls need to know” that women were there and served with courage.
It was hard for the women to stand in that space where they fought so hard and lost so much. To this day when anyone looks out over ground zero, the question lingers: How do you fill this void?
Tobin became a deputy inspector of the New York Police Department, helping it cope with a traumatized force that has turned over a third of its ranks since 9/11. She also answers calls at a hotline for cops under stress. Berkman gives tours of the Tribute WTC Visitor Center to recall the losses suffered that day.
In my conversations with these women, I have heard their stories of how they sacrificed their lives to rebuilding, recovering and restoring hope. They want to fill that physical void of ground zero with a fitting tribute to the friends they lost. They want to see people working and living and smiling again. They are fighting to get good health care, to contribute to U.S. efforts at homeland security, to prepare the fire and police departments for potential attacks, and to help others repair their psyches after witnessing the worst possible.
What makes the women different is that they fought for the jobs they had on September 11. Berkman sued the fire department, paving the way for women to join in 1982. Regina Wilson, who was hired in the wake of that lawsuit, was a probationary officer on 9/11. She rode to the flaming towers that day and was one truck away from being killed.
There is a memorial to firefighters near ground zero that has no identifiable women’s faces, but they were there.
Many of the women felt slighted in the days following the attacks because they heard talk of a brotherhood of rescue workers that had performed heroically. The public forms images from big historic events like the terrorist attacks about who was heroic.
“There were female carpenters,” Tobin told me. “I believe there were female iron workers. I don’t think there was any task that was performed down there by men that were not performed by women.”
When I asked her if she thinks the public knows that, she shook her head sadly.
Yet their journey this past decade stands out because they are still fighting to bring women into the ranks. There are fewer female firefighters, and they are a smaller piece of the force than they were on 9/11. The police department is just 17% female, generations after the first woman joined. These are not unusual percentages in this country, although the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is one-third female after being formed in 2003.
There is still resistance to the presence of women — and minorities — in the uniformed services, even as they actively recruit them. The New York fire department has for years been defending against a racial discrimination lawsuit.
The women don’t dwell on the conflicts though. They prefer to recruit by example, by putting themselves out there in uniform and talking about their work. There is nothing like seeing a real-life hero and dreaming you could be one too. They don’t limit that PR campaign to women.
That day on the platform, it was raining and gray and sad as cranes lifted beams in preparation for a September 11 unveiling, a test of whether a memorial can coexist with office towers. The women chatted about the height of the new towers, remembered tearfully where they were the day of the attack, and marveled at how much time had past.
It was just as well the sky was gray. Berkman said to me recently: “September 11 made us all feel like we could never trust a sunny day again.”