Welcome to the fourth edition of the 162 Report! As part of SKDKnickerbocker’s Women’s Leadership & Advocacy Practice, our bi-monthly tip sheet will keep you up to date on news affecting the 162 million women living in the United States.
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WOMEN IN POLITICS
In 1984, Geraldine A. Ferraro crossed a convention center stage in San Francisco to accept the Democratic nomination that made her the first woman in the nation to be tapped by a major party to run for Vice President. Thirty-two years later, Hillary Clinton became the presumptive nominee in Brooklyn. Amidst the wide range of conversations taking place surrounding Clinton’s monumental and historical progression, one can look to the Ferraro campaign for insight into how the country has changed, and how it has not, with regard to gender roles.
When Ferraro told a cheering Democratic National Convention crowd, “If we can do this, we can do anything,” Democrats had no female senators (Republicans had two). There was only one female governor—Martha Layne Collins of Kentucky. Dianne Feinstein was still the mayor of San Francisco, and Shirley Chisholm of New York, who had unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination in 1972, had retired. Eventually, as women grew to become the majority in college, they also became increasingly represented in politics.
While much has changed, some things have sadly stayed the same. As Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Carly Fiorina can attest, female candidates are still examined not only for competence, character, and policy, but also for the way they look, the tone of their voice, and the state of their marriages.
In response to the collapse of the Equal Rights Amendment, Bella Abzug and Gloria Steinem urged politicians to agree on an agenda for women, stating, “We will not hold still to be treated as an afterthought, a side issue, or a powerless constituency that can be betrayed without consequences.”
Read more here.
WOMEN IN ADVOCACY
A Sexual Assault Epidemic
The spotlight on Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer who raped an unconscious woman last year, is drawing attention to the shocking reported rate of sexual assault on both the California campus and at colleges across the country. Stanford reported 26 rapes on campus in 2012, 2013, and 2014 – or about one sexual assault every 14 days – according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. Almost exactly two weeks into the new year on January 17, 2015, Turner was caught raping the anonymous woman behind a dumpster when two graduate students stopped the attack. Last week, Turner was sentenced to six months in jail and three years of probation after being convicted of three felonies.
Nine higher education institutions reported more rapes than Stanford in 2014. Brown University and the University of Connecticut tied for the most reported rapes, with 43 rapes each for the year (the schools have 9,181 students and 26,541 students enrolled, respectively). Baylor University reported four rapes in 2014, six in 2013, and two in 2012. Later, what came out to be an underreporting and mishandling of sexual assaults at Baylor—nearly the same size as Stanford—led to external investigation, which found that the school retaliated against rape accusers and that the winning football program believed itself to be “above the rules.” In response to failure to enact Title IX, the school ousted its beloved president, Kenneth Starr, and its revered football coach, Art Briles. The Texas school falls below even the top 100 universities in terms of rape reports from that year, according to a Washington Post analysis of the data. Despite these numbers, countless studies show rape is still dramatically underreported. Unfortunately, the rapes at Stanford and Baylor show only a small picture of the 4,964 sexual assaults reported at four-year U.S. colleges and universities in 2014.
Read more here.
WOMEN IN BUSINESS
After public relations entrepreneurs Gwen Wunderlich and Dara Kaplan saw the movie “The Intern,” in which a retiree played by Robert de Niro interns at a fashion site run by a much younger Anne Hathaway, a creative business idea struck them. Wunderlich Kaplan Communications decided to transition from their traditional practice of hiring college interns with little work experience, to begin hiring women with real-life and career experience who simply needed some updated skills in order to re-enter the workforce or switch careers. Thus, their Enternship program was born. Since it’s launch, the program has received 20 resumes from women with surprisingly high levels of experience, including a former CNN producer with 20 years under her belt.
“I’d rather have a woman who raised four kids, managed a household. She knows how to run an office,” Wunderlich said.
Many of Wunderlich Kaplan Communications’ intern program candidates are moms over 35 or 40, trying to get back into the workforce and finding themselves competing with millennials. “We feel those women are being overlooked and as we talked to more women about it, we thought there was something to be gained if we did this,” Kaplan said.
Wunderlich and Kaplan aren’t alone in this initiative—companies and organizations such as Rent the Runway, Tory Burch, Spanx, and more are working to support female entrepreneurs in a number of ways, ranging from spotlighting companies to establishing fellowship programs.
Read more here.
WOMEN IN SPORTS
Game, set, match
“I don’t understand what no means or what failure means; I only understand what yes means and try again means.” Serena Williams declared this inspiring proclamation in a recent interview with Glamour.
Nearly 20 years into her professional tennis career—although she has played since the age of three—Williams truly epitomizes a champion. Her success in the tennis world, has helped opened up a historically white sport, yet racism and sexism still persists. However, this never deterred Serena, who has accumulated more Grand Slam titles than any man or woman currently playing. She’s also the defending Wimbledon champion and in pursuit of another gold in Rio de Janeiro, the only kind of medal she has ever won at the Olympics.
Simply put: Williams is broadly recognized as an icon of strength, on and off the court (check out her surprise cameo in Beyoncé’s Lemonade and her exclusive clothing line, which she is deeply involved in). In response to her unofficial title, “world’s greatest athlete”, Serena remarks: “Am I the greatest? I don’t know. I’m the greatest that I can be.”
Although best known for her impact on the sports industry, the 34-year-old establishes herself as a multi-dimensional individual in her interview, something that’s not always portrayed by the media. She’s inspired by Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Women,” would love to have kids, and has opened two schools in African and one in Jamaica through the Serena Williams Foundation. Even further, her personal qualities have underscored all of her accomplishments — “I never left my roots,” Serena notes, “You can identify me as someone that didn’t become high and mighty. Humility is a defining [trait] that all of us can forever learn, and I try to be as humble as anyone can be.”
Read more here.
She’s not throwing away her shot!
Recent Tony-award winner and Hamilton star Renée Elise Goldsberry was in tears as she delivered her acceptance speech for Best Actress in a Featured Role. The Broadway star revealed that she’d struggled to have children for 10 years and was ultimately “blessed with Benjamin and Brielle and now…” she said holding up her Tony triumphantly, “this.”
Prior to being a part of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s brainchild blockbuster, Goldberry gained attention for being the last person to play Mimi in Rent’s Broadway run. Continuing her streak of etching her name across Broadway history, Hamilton’s racially diverse cast playing historical figures shows that the musical has not only excelled financially and critically, but also reaching audiences who don’t often see themselves represented on stage—especially as leaders in historical stories. “I never thought for a second there was anything strange about me playing Angelica Schuyler,” Goldberry said, “I never, ever, ever see the fact that I may not look like somebody may make me not fit to play them.”
Read more here.
WHAT ELSE WE’RE READING
- Refinery29 covers United State of Women, an exciting summit in Washington DC aimed at tackling the biggest issues holding women back from total gender equality.
- Lenny Letter interviews Dineh Mohajer, Hard Candy’s creator, who shares how creativity and teamwork helper her to build a beauty empire.
- Washington Post highlights young Muslim American women trying to succeed in ways their fathers couldn’t.
- How will a Hillary Clinton presidency impact women’s representation in politics? Vox gives us the scoop.
- People reports on Amelia Gapin, running aficionado, software engineer, co-founder of MyTransHealth, and the first transgender woman to land the cover of Women’s Running magazine, among other things.
- Washington Post reports on the Miss USA pageant, highlighting this year’s incredible champion, Deshauna Barber (aka Ms. DC), a 26-year-old Army Reserve officer and IT analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce.
- 63,000 wedding announcements later, New York Times reflects on how marriage has changed since 1981.
- Olivia Wilde nails why women need access to abortion in a recent interview with Cosmopolitan.
- Why did a Republican create a PAC to help elect Hillary Clinton? Read more in TIME.