Thanks for reading the 162 Report, a bi-monthly tip sheet from SKDKnickerbocker’s new Women’s Leadership & Advocacy Practice. This edition of the 162 Report is dedicated to the thousands of women who will march for their rights in Washington and around the world tomorrow.
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WOMEN IN POLITICS
Women Shine in Japanese Politics
Women are making history in Japan. For the first time, three women are in positions that could propel them to Prime Minister. This is particularly noteworthy in a country that has struggled to shake up traditionally defined gender roles, and as Kyoto University professor Nancy Snow said, “Women aren’t allowed [culturally] to often show ambition.” Additionally, there is a dearth of childcare options, and because of the cultural pressure for women to take care of household duties, mothers are often the ones who leave work to care for their families.
As a result, Japanese women’s participation in the workforce is the lowest among developed nations — women make up 43 percent of the labor force, compared to 57 percent in the United States. And, last year the Japanese government conceded it wouldn’t achieve its goal of getting women in 30 percent of management roles by 2020.
However, there are some bright spots in the political realm. Tokyo elected its first-ever female governor, Yuriko Kokie; Japan’s new defense minister, Tmomoi Inada, is the second woman to hold the position; and the opposition Democratic Party in Tokyo is led by Renho Murata, the first woman to do so.
Women are still not equally represented in Japan’s legislature: they make up only 15 percent of the seats in Japan’s parliament (women make up 20 percent of the U.S. Congress). But these women are paving the way, sometimes challenging existing leadership and raising their hands to make a change.
Read more here.
WOMEN IN ADVOCACY
Behind Every Great Woman…More Great Women
The great civil rights advocate and feminist Florynce Kennedy once said, “Don’t agonize, organize.” After the election, Kennedy’s words hit home for the women now responsible for organizing the upcoming Women’s March on Washington.
With only two months to plan a massive national and inclusive effort, this group of nearly 20 women has been working around the clock. Tomorrow could be the “largest mass mobilization that any new administration has seen on its first day”.
Despite confusion that has floated around the formation of the Women’s March on Washington, the root values have remained consistent: “an organic, grassroots effort that prides itself on being inclusive, intersectional, and nonhierarchical.” The women organizing this movement are to determined to make clear that the fight for social justice transcends gender. And that the spirit of this march — which has a platform designed to resonate with a variety of communities — will live on in the fight for justice and equality that will be waged in the coming years.
Read more here.
WOMEN IN BUSINESS
Old Girls Club
Once a year, a small group of powerful finance executives meet for lunch. It’s a room that controls trillions of dollars, and in a field dominated by men, you won’t find one man at the annual event.
This event, the Women in Governance lunch, “underscores a rare corner in finance where women dominate,” where all the women gathered — from the biggest mutual funds and pension funds among them — have assumed a niche role as heads of corporate governance.
According to the New York Times, women are the head of corporate governance at 7 of the 10 largest institutional investors in stocks, including BlackRock, Fidelity, and State Street. The role puts women at the helm of decision-making on issues that have a direct impact on millions of Americans — on behalf of teachers, government workers, doctors and most people in the United States who have a 401(k).
Coupled with the rising relevance of corporate ethics following the financial crisis of 2008, corporate governance has gained a more prominent role in the day-to-day operations of companies. Women have led the way of integrating good corporate governance into the ecosystem of how we do business, helping to advocate for better shareholder rights and board policies, including increasing diversity, than ever before.
Read more here.
WOMEN IN SPORTS
Out of the Closet, Onto the Court
In recent years, we’ve seen public support strengthen for athletes who come out, however, it’s even rarer — and some say in many ways more difficult — for gay coaches to publicly confirm their sexuality. That challenge compounds itself for female coaches.
Former coach of the women’s basketball team at Drake University, Courtney Graham, filed suit against the school and head coach Jennie Barancyzk, for decreasing her duties and subsequently pressuring Graham to resign, following a game where Graham invited her wife to sit in the family section. While the university denies any wrongdoing and no judgment has been reached in the case, the lawsuit underscores the challenges that lesbian coaches face.
Pat Griffin, a professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst, says that men and women in sports must navigate homophobia differently. Because of the stereotypes that exist around female athletes, many people believe that the women’s athletic community is more welcoming. However, this stereotype of “lesbians in sports” often leads coaches of women’s sports teams to discourage players from coming out, and to choose not to come out themselves, out of fear of how their program will be perceived.
While the culture has started to change, with a clear generational divide emerging between older coaches and more tolerant youngerplayers and coaches, sports administrators maintain that there still needs to be a safer atmosphere for athletes to come out. This requires the support of straight allies and top college administrators, typically straight men, who may not recognize the need for change.
Organizations like LGBT SportSafe have worked with college administrators and coaches to create more accepting environments within athletic departments. The NCAA has also set stricter requirements regarding who can host major events and chose to withdraw championship games from North Carolina following the controversial bill that discriminates against transgender people. Despite progress, soccer coach Elizabeth Howe believes that there is still a long way to go: “Until we see more out coaches, I’m not going to feel like that culture has changed.”
Read more here.
The First Daughters Club
Jenna and Barbara Bush wrote a letter to Malia and Sasha Obama about life after the White House. The Bush sisters first wrote to the Obama girls eight years ago when they first arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania. They gave them a tour and prepared them for life in this rare club under the spotlight.
Now, they offer their advice for how to move forward, drawing on the unique experience they’ve had traveling the world with their parents, and how they’ve been able to grow and explore their own passions.
Watch the Bush sisters read their letter on Today.
WHAT ELSE WE’RE READING
- The Washingtonian published a useful map of 20 places around DC to use the bathroom and charge your phone during the march tomorrow.
- PBS Newshour interviews author Roxanne Gay about her new collection of short stories, “Difficult Women.”
- Forbes covers the women of DialogTech, a digital marketing company, who banded together to help put the first female on the executive team, and increased female headcount at the company by 62 percent.
- NPR highlights fans of Michelle Obama who published a collection of essays on their love for the First Lady.
- Huffington Post reports that the Bayview Correctional Facility, formerly a women’s prison, is being turned into a hub for women’s rights.
- The Washington Post interviews Sallie Krawcheck, an analyst who rose through the ranks and Citigroup and Merrill Lynch, on her advice for women to succeed in business.