Yes Ma’am!

leon-panettaYou’ve probably already heard the news that US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the military’s ban on women serving in combat. This lift comes with the blessing of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

This means that some 230,000 jobs will be open to women—high paying jobs and that matter if the career ladder matters. Being excluded from combat has been the main barrier to having women qualified to assume command roles (which they call the brass ceiling).

Last year, the Pentagon opened up 14,500 jobs to women. There will still be jobs closed to women and the Pentagon has until 2016 to identify these.combatwomen

As far as I can tell, the majority of the people complaining about this move are civilians and old veterans. Fact is, women have been serving on front line jobs as medics, military police and intelligence officers. They were and are in just as much danger as men. But since they’re not formally serving in combat, they lose out on pay and advancement opportunities.

To this day, the Navy was the best job I ever had on the equality front. Promotions are determined by the “needs of the Navy” and those best qualified to meet them. Every year, the Navy determines how many postions they have available at each rank and rate (your job). Each sailor (what we’re all called whether or not we’d ever been on a ship) is measured on these four criteria:

  • their score on the test based on theor job at their level (rank and rate)
  • their score on the test based on their rank (military leadership)
  • their time in service
  • their annual review

All of these metrics get consolidated into a number and all of the people in a given rank and rate are ordered by number. If the Navy has 100 open positions for an E5 sonar tech, for example, then the top scoring 100 E4 sonar techs get promoted to E5. What could be more fair?

There seems to be some chatter about the women not being qualified…Obviously, I feel that women who are suited to this should do it and no exceptions should be made for women who cannot. I feel the same way about men. I think that people are either suited to a job or not—that they have the physical ability, technical aptitude, and emotional desire to do a job. If they have these, they should not be denied. And if they don’t, they should try something else.

I also believe it’s wise to use the strengths each person has to offer to meet the needs of a given project or mission. Sometimes, brawn isn’t what you need. Sometimes, people are exceptionally good at using their brains to make up for brawn. Many positions in today’s military require a both.

I personally would not want to be in the infantry. I would have loved to have served on a submarine. (Sub service was opened to women a couple of years ago on a limited basis.) I served at Subase Pearl Harbor and was completely fascinated with subs. All subs are considered a combat duty station no matter what the boat is doing at any given time. And you get pro-pay (more money) for being sub-qualified, whether or not your current duty station is a sub. And sub sailors get pampered (they’re the “elite of the fleet”). And the chow is good.



Komenizing – long overdue – but why NOW?

The original catalyst for Komenizing™ (Uppity Woman)

The second catalyst for Komenizing:

I’m so glad that women (and men) Komenized first Komen, and now Rush Limbaugh’s sponsors.  It does make me wonder, though – why NOW?

As you recall, this all started when Susan G. Komen for the Cure (for breast cancer), which organizes the yearly Race for the Cure, decided it was going to stop funding Planned Parenthood.  Komen’s donations to Planned Parenthood were for preventive screening and contraceptive services, but some people couldn’t handle that Planned Parenthood also provides abortions in some facilities.  Komen had even knowingly earlier hired a vice president who had a history of vocally calling for Planned Parenthood to be defunded.  Women and men all across the country pushed back, and Komen had to “cry uncle”.  (But dont forget, Avon also has a pink race for breast cancer – although it’s a walk – if you still want to participate in a breast cancer cure event.)

Then Rush Limbaugh called a “slut”, a woman (Sandra Fluke) who stood up to advocate for the need for contraception availability and coverage for women, since only MEN were allowed to testify to congress about WOMEN’S birth control needs.  As UW pointed out, Rush apparently knows ZERO about how birth control works for women, since he thinks the more sexually active they are, the more birth control they need.  Therefore, needing birth control = being a slut (but bringing back a big bottle of Viagra from the Dominican Republic doesn’t make one a slut).  Well, women and men again rose up, getting Rush’s sponsors to drop him for being such a misogynist.

And remember this?

Perhaps this event, which chronologically fell between the two previous examples, might even be considered Komenizing.  Remember when the women and men of Virginia marched on the state capitol to protest the legislation to require women to have an invasive vaginal ultrasound (state mandated rape) before they could have an abortion?  Laws prevented their making any sound or holding any signs, so over a thousand women and men joined hands along the path that legislators had to walk to get into the capitol.  Their unity and number prevented that legislation from becoming law – now women seeking an abortion will just need to have the usual abdominal ultrasound to make sure the age of the fetus isn’t over what is allowed.

Komenizing Komen had to do with birth control and abortion, and komenizing Rush Limbaugh’s sponsors had to do with birth control. Komenizing the Virginia legislators had to do with requiring invasive procedures before allowing an abortion. Are women finally rising up because most women use or have used birth control, so it’s very clear how the issue affects them?  That when Fluke is called a slut for using birth control, it became personal to these women, because they also use birth control, and were by extension also being called “sluts”?  That women understand that the ability to control their own body affects their entire lives?  That they understand that the limited steps we have taken towards equality are directly a result of not being tied to the home because of uncontrolled pregnancies?

Have some men become involved because some of them finally actually realize that they have something to do with women becoming pregnant?

As welcome as some changes can be, whenever I observe a change, I always wonder, “why now?”  This recent spate of Komenizing all has to do with women’s ability to control if and when they have babies.  Is that a coincidence?  Or will women and men start to stand up now for other women’s rights, other than the need for parity in medical issues?  (Of course, one of the reasons the media is playing this all up is because it’s election time, and both the parties have to energize their respective base.)

This Komenizing phenomenon seems to have somewhat crossed gender lines, and somewhat crossed partisan lines.  Perhaps it has also somewhat crossed feminist “wave” lines…?  But my gut feeling is that this uprising, while overdue and welcome, will be limited to abortion/woman’s control of her own body.  I’m afraid we’re not going to see huge numbers turn out to demand that the ERA finally be passed, or that the stronger companion bill to Lily Ledbetter be passed so that women are guaranteed equal pay for equal work.  I don’t anticipate that they will be out in force demanding that no one be given free rein to call women “c*unt”, or accuse an accomplished woman as only having a “history of having tea parties with foreign leaders’ wives”, or playing “99 problems but a b*tch ain’t one” at a campaign event – and these are just some things that were done by the LEFT, the “party of women”, in the last presidential election.

(After all, the “party of women” had two years of a democratic president and democratic majorities in both the house and senate, and they did bupkis for us.  So, sadly, I don’t soon envision a change in the unwritten law that you can demean female candidates as long as they’re not the person you want to win.  If the “party of women” has such a long way to go, how can we expect across-party lines support for women?).

So IF these 3 events were Komenized because people understood how women’s freedom to control their own bodies affected them personally, what will it take before they realize that other discrimination against women is ALSO personal?  That women making the same pay as men for the same job raises the income in ALL families?  That standing up against demoralizing verbal slings against women, whether or not you support them politically, increases the humanity in ALL of us, women AND men?

I’m energized by these Komenizing events, very energized- and yet – I fear it’s not a coincidence that they all had to do with contraception and abortion.  I fear this is simply the “wedge issue dance” we see every four years when there is a president to be elected.

And there’s another noteworthy observation – WE HAVE ALREADY WON THESE RIGHTS!!!

Yes, we’re re-fighting previously won battles and treading water, not moving ahead.  What has to happen for us to win NEW battles, not just hold our ground on the rights we already have?  I suspect the answer is for 3rd wave to open their eyes, get off their butts, and start identifying meaningful goals, involving rights we do not yet have, and start working for them.  THAT is where the fights should be!  THEN we will begin moving forward.  This is 2012!  We should not have to be defending what we already have!  The haters took this opportunity to attempt to take away our established rights, because we weren’t keeping them busy with fights for NEW rights!

So, what is it going to take?  Any other ideas?

What is it going to take?


EDIT:  some information on Avon Breast cancer walk’s financials – money coming in, money going out

5 Facts You Should Know

  1. Since it was founded in 1955, the Avon Foundation for Women has been committed to the mission to improve the lives of women and their families. Now past the half century milestone, the Avon Foundation for Women brings this mission to life through two key areas of focus: breast cancer and domestic violence
  2. The Avon Foundation for Women has grown into the largest corporate-affiliated foundation focused on causes that most impact women, and, through 2011, Avon global philanthropy has raised and donated more than $860 million dollars.
  3. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade launched in 1992 in the UK and now includes breast cancer programs in more than 50 countries focused on advancing access to care and finding a cure. Through 2011 the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade had raised and awarded more than $740 million worldwide to make a significant and lasting difference.
  4. The Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program launched in 2004 to help end the cycle of domestic violence, and through 2011, in the US alone,we have provided more than $28 million for the domestic and gender violence cause, including support for awareness, education, direct services and prevention programs.
  5. Since 2001 The Avon Foundation for Women and Avon Products, Inc. together have responded quickly to national and international emergencies, and nearly $23 million has been awarded for women and their families affected by natural disaster or crises.

Some news about women’s “progress” here and around the world

I looked around the WWW, and pulled out some articles of interest  – some bad, some good – about the progress of women.  Just some stuff to chew on for an open thread!  🙂 

Anger as male MPs avoid feminist anthem appeal

Conservatives members of the federal parliament in Vienna (MPs) have been accused of acting “childish” after blocking a bid to change the lyrics of the national anthem.

Rauch-Kallat planned to launch a fresh attempt to adapt one line of the Austrian anthem from “Heimat bist du großer Söhne” (Home you are to great sons) to “Heimat großer Töchter, Söhne” (Home of great daughters, sons). Rauch-Kallat already failed to enforce such a reform in 2005 when she was the federal minister for women. The Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) – which formed a coalition with her party at that time – vetoed her bid back then.
—- snip —–

Women earn almost 32 per cent (2004: 37.5 per cent) less than men in Austria. This fact puts Austria in 25th among the European Union’s (EU) 27 member states. The gap is even larger in Estonia and the Czech Republic. The salary gap between women and men in Austria has been in decline over the years but at slow pace compared to other industrial states. Studies have also shown that women are offered 18 per cent less than men on average when they apply for a job in Austria. Experts have pointed out the high risk of unmarried women raising children on their own to become poor.

I wish the photo below had turned out more clearly.  This ad just blows me away;  they don’t even HIDE their sexism anymore!

 PMS, The California Milk Board, and Commercial Sexism

Is the man in your life suffering from PMS?

If so, milk can help.

This according to the latest ads from the California Milk Processor Board, which rely on studies that show diets high in calcium can reduce symptoms of PMS in women.

The $1.2 million campaign, which includes print ads featuring distressed, guilty-looking men with taglines such as “I’m sorry I listened to what you said, not what you meant,” social media and a website, plays it up to the poor men who are burdened each month by nagging, irrational and, god-forbid, bloated premenstrual women.


And in doing so reveals himself to be just as sexist as his creatives. This isn’t the first time the agency has exploited women to sell milk, he told Elliott. In 2005 the agency created a television commercial called “Milk to the Rescue,” depicting men buying up all the milk they could find in stores to calm their raging hormonal wives.

 If I read the following article right, these French soccer players were trying to make the point that they are athletes, not eye candy.  Good for them!

Isn’t there a better way to generate interest in women’s soccer?

If you’re following the Women’s World Cup, you may know that three members (L-R Elodie Thomas, Gaetane Thiney, and Corine Franco) of the French  team posed for some for the German tabloid Bild under the heading, “Is this how we should show up before you come to our games?”

I wish that women’s athletic performances, not images of nude bodies, drew viewers.   (snip)   The same three players are shown in soccer action  below.  These are the images that I hope inspire my soccer-loving daughter. (not shown here)

Now here is some remarkable news!!!  Keep it up, Tina Brown!

Tina Brown’s Newsweek covers have featured women 6 of 14 weeks

Of the 14 issues of Newsweek she’s edited since taking over the magazine, Tina Brown has featured women as solo cover images in nearly half of them (see cover images below). In the 14 issues prior to Brown’s tenure, only one cover featured a woman, Michelle Rhee.

Ever feel like you’re taking one step forward, three steps back?  Scotland – buy a vowel!

 Scotland’s City Councils are clearly in a competition for “feminist fail”

Last week, it was Edinburgh; this week Glasgow’s city council is behaving as if they had never met a feminist, let alone employed one! In a letter to the parents of children at a local secondary school, GCC stated that children’s shouldn’t wear short skirts or tight trousers as it might attract paedophiles. Yes, you read that correctly – it’s children’s clothing that makes the vulnerable to paedophiles. Does this sound familiar?

Well, fortunately, the Chief Exec at the Scottish Parent Teacher Council had the sense to point out that this was very unhelpful advice as it blamed children for the activities of paedophiles. And, even more interestingly, directly compared this to discussions of adult women’s dress and their ‘responsibility’ for rape.

Time for the local councils to send their peeps on some rape awareness/ gender sensitivity training, me thinks.

This last article is by the inimitable Ani!!!  Click on over to the article; lots more over there!

 Wacky, know-nothing women need not apply!!  Why do we still resist women in leadership?

I pondered what made a good leader. I liked Hillary Clinton’s method at State. Start by getting the lay of the land, keep your head down and master your brief before retooling the place. Sometimes good leadership is about anticipating opposition or problems before they take hold. More often, it is about giving others a respectful hearing – the fifth of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. Lastly, it involves taking a fiduciary and cautious approach to spending other people’s money.

Elizabeth Warren is basically credited with designing and staffing the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, yet President Obama has chosen a man to chair it. The brilliant Sheila Bair who just ended her tenure at FDIC has been credited by the Wall St. Journal and the New York Times as turning that organization into one with teeth, yet when it counted, she was passed over for Treasury Secretary in favor of Timmy “turbo-tax” Geithner.

Bair offered fabulous ideas for getting the housing and financial sector in line – why were they not implemented? Why was her “leadership” not tapped? I have been told I give the impression I could command an army – so do many women, without being emasculating by the way – so why the perception that we “don’t know how to do anything” or that “you would never want to work for a woman.” Are these just rallying cries that protect against disrupting the status quo? Fear of altering that standard can come from women as well as men, even today.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Don’t forget to eat shoots and leaves! 

(h/t Andy!)