Tag Archives: gender

Analyzing female VP’s for Mitt Romney…all disqualified because they support abortion?

A fascinating article by Nate Silver about the potential female candidates for Vice President with Mitt Romney.

Is it ironic that most of them are disqualified because they generally support abortions (“mildly pro-choice”).

 

If Mr. Romney wanted to pick a woman this year, whom might he choose?

Actually, Mr. Romney has a bit of a problem. The Republican women with the most traditional qualifications for the vice presidency tend to be moderates, especially on abortion choice, probably making them unacceptable to the Republican base. Another group of up-and-coming female governors and senators may not be adequately seasoned for the rigors of the campaign trail. The few exceptions are probably too old, or too controversial, to be smart choices with swing voters. It has nothing to do with their gender, but any of the women that Mr. Romney might choose would be at least a little risky.

Let’s start by drawing up a “long list” of potential candidates. The qualifications for this are pretty straightforward. You have to be a woman, and a Republican. And you have to have served as governor or U.S. senator in the past five years, or as an alternative, have run for president before.

There are 14 women that meet these criteria…The first five women on this list have generally supported abortion choice — some mostly so, and some more emphatically.

 

Keep reading: N.Y. Times - In Search for Female Running Mate, a Shortlist for Romney

 

 

Continue reading

Marine Corps ordered to open certain ground combat billets to women

The Marine Corps wants “a few good men” and some women too:

Commandant Gen. James Amos this week ordered that certain jobs previously meant for men now be opened to women as well. In some cases, the change is meant as a test to help Amos make recommendations about a possible permanent shift.

Amos’ order comes as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered all the services to no longer restrict women from certain jobs because those jobs are “co-located” with ground combat units. Women will continue to be prohibited from direct involvement in combat units and special operations units.

Panetta has called for all the services to report to him in six months about their efforts to pursue “gender-neutral physical standards”; how the experiment of assigning women to certain billets is working; and when more positions can be opened for women.

Among all the services, Panetta’s initiative is meant to open 14,325 job titles to women.

The Marine Corps, with its primary mission being direct ground combat, has 7% women in its ranks, the lowest of any service. The Army has 14%, Navy 16%, Air Force 19%, and Coast Guard 16%.

via LA Times

 

// Photo – DVIDSHUB

Changing the Ratio (Wikipedia’s Battle for Diversity – Part III)

Wikipedia: Change the Ratio (design by JESS3 + 1X57)

Commence beating the figurative dead horse. As I’ve written previously, (here, here and here) Wikipedia is suffering from a lack of female contributors (less than 1 in 10 editors are women, per the 2011 Wikimedia survey). This has the unfortunate consequence of compromising the overall quality and objectivity of its content, as illustrated in my post, How I Redefined “Man” for The World.

While there are several reasons offered for why women aren’t editing (Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, recently gave an interview to CBC highlighting these and summarized them in her post Nine Reasons Why Women Don’t Edit Wikipedia), half of them I just laugh at. Women are too busy? I’ve spent enough hours at Starbucks to observe the gratuitous amount of time some women devote to Facebook. Or, women are conflict-averse and don’t like Wikipedia’s sometimes-fighty culture? As Denis Leary so eloquently stated in The Thomas Crown Affair: “Life is full of sh$tty conflicts, okay?” It’s not an excuse.

So what would I do if I was running the “Change the Ratio” Wikipedia campaign? For one, I’d be focusing on the initial phases of the technology adoption curveawareness and understanding, in the form of education.

Awareness

Simply put, there needs to be more recognition and media coverage of the issue, illustrating the societal impact of not having women (as well as other demographics) editing Wikipedia. Taking a cue from Simon Sinek, I’d be making it clear to women why it matters. And then I’d enlist some influential voices to help the reach the target audience: women.

  • Who better to get the word out than the mother of influence on all things women, education and actionOprah. The issue is right up her alley. She does Twitter, she does Facebook, so why not Wikipedia? Can you imagine Jimmy Wales or Sue Gardner sitting down with Oprah (and Gayle) for a tutorial on Wikipedia and releasing a 2-minute video of it?
  • In the event Oprah isn’t available, an “I Edit Wikipedia” compilation video of some of the most influential women in tech would make a statement. Ladies like Sarah Lacy, Danah Boyd, Jolie O’Dell, Laura Fitton, Tara Hunt, Sheryl Sandberg, and Marissa Mayer. I wonder who of these industry leaders edits, versus who doesn’t?

Then there’s the use of social media to spread the word.

  • The awesome folks at JESS3 worked with me on the Wikipedia: Change the Ratio logo (you can see all the versions here), and next week we’ll be spreading the word via a Facebook initiative for users to change their profile pics (and Twitter avatars and whatever else) to it on Ada Lovelace Day (Friday, Oct 7) which celebrates the achievements of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Again, the point is awareness.

  • And to celebrate Wikipedia women rockstars, we created a set of barnstars for contributors with 100, 1,000 and 10,000 edits (you can see all the versions here). Below are my top 3:


  • Finally, it wouldn’t hurt if Wikipedia made edits easily shareable by adding some version of a “Share This” button in the Edit mode, integrated with the most prominent social media services for female (and male) influencers to share the pages they contribute to.

Education

It’s essential. Wikimarkup can be a little intimidating for those not familiar with “code” and having edits reverted can be off-putting, but neither of these factors are something that can’t be addressed with a small dose of education.

  • In 2010, the Wikipedia Foundation launched a pilot project to explore the potential of formally using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in higher education but I think education at a grassroots level is more important.
  • Half-day workshops like the one we hosted at JESS3 are something local Wikipedia chapters can embrace, with a proven format and curriculum available. And there doesn’t even need to be formatted sessions. In the same vein of SuperHappyDevHouse, folks can just get together and help each other out, using it as an opportunity to have fun, learn, build, and meet new people.
  • There are tons of YouTube videos and internet guides on how to edit and get started with Wikipedia. I even created my personal Seven Essential Steps to getting started with Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is about collectively learning and building and sharing information on the things you’re interested in and are passionate about. It’s time more women make their voices heard.

 

NOTE: For those interested learning more about the gendergap issue, you can subscribe to the gendergap mailing list. The discussion threads provide incredible insight into what’s going on, everything from harassment on women’s user pages to inappropriate sexualization of images for topical pages.

Changing the Ratio (Wikipedia's Battle for Diversity – Part III)

Wikipedia: Change the Ratio (design by JESS3 + 1X57)

Commence beating the figurative dead horse. As I’ve written previously, (here, here and here) Wikipedia is suffering from a lack of female contributors (less than 1 in 10 editors are women, per the 2011 Wikimedia survey). This has the unfortunate consequence of compromising the overall quality and objectivity of its content, as illustrated in my post, How I Redefined “Man” for The World.

While there are several reasons offered for why women aren’t editing (Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, recently gave an interview to CBC highlighting these and summarized them in her post Nine Reasons Why Women Don’t Edit Wikipedia), half of them I just laugh at. Women are too busy? I’ve spent enough hours at Starbucks to observe the gratuitous amount of time some women devote to Facebook. Or, women are conflict-averse and don’t like Wikipedia’s sometimes-fighty culture? As Denis Leary so eloquently stated in The Thomas Crown Affair: “Life is full of sh$tty conflicts, okay?” It’s not an excuse.

So what would I do if I was running the “Change the Ratio” Wikipedia campaign? For one, I’d be focusing on the initial phases of the technology adoption curveawareness and understanding, in the form of education.

Awareness

Simply put, there needs to be more recognition and media coverage of the issue, illustrating the societal impact of not having women (as well as other demographics) editing Wikipedia. Taking a cue from Simon Sinek, I’d be making it clear to women why it matters. And then I’d enlist some influential voices to help the reach the target audience: women.

  • Who better to get the word out than the mother of influence on all things women, education and actionOprah. The issue is right up her alley. She does Twitter, she does Facebook, so why not Wikipedia? Can you imagine Jimmy Wales or Sue Gardner sitting down with Oprah (and Gayle) for a tutorial on Wikipedia and releasing a 2-minute video of it?
  • In the event Oprah isn’t available, an “I Edit Wikipedia” compilation video of some of the most influential women in tech would make a statement. Ladies like Sarah Lacy, Danah Boyd, Jolie O’Dell, Laura Fitton, Tara Hunt, Sheryl Sandberg, and Marissa Mayer. I wonder who of these industry leaders edits, versus who doesn’t?

Then there’s the use of social media to spread the word.

  • The awesome folks at JESS3 worked with me on the Wikipedia: Change the Ratio logo (you can see all the versions here), and next week we’ll be spreading the word via a Facebook initiative for users to change their profile pics (and Twitter avatars and whatever else) to it on Ada Lovelace Day (Friday, Oct 7) which celebrates the achievements of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Again, the point is awareness.

  • And to celebrate Wikipedia women rockstars, we created a set of barnstars for contributors with 100, 1,000 and 10,000 edits (you can see all the versions here). Below are my top 3:


  • Finally, it wouldn’t hurt if Wikipedia made edits easily shareable by adding some version of a “Share This” button in the Edit mode, integrated with the most prominent social media services for female (and male) influencers to share the pages they contribute to.

Education

It’s essential. Wikimarkup can be a little intimidating for those not familiar with “code” and having edits reverted can be off-putting, but neither of these factors are something that can’t be addressed with a small dose of education.

  • In 2010, the Wikipedia Foundation launched a pilot project to explore the potential of formally using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in higher education but I think education at a grassroots level is more important.
  • Half-day workshops like the one we hosted at JESS3 are something local Wikipedia chapters can embrace, with a proven format and curriculum available. And there doesn’t even need to be formatted sessions. In the same vein of SuperHappyDevHouse, folks can just get together and help each other out, using it as an opportunity to have fun, learn, build, and meet new people.
  • There are tons of YouTube videos and internet guides on how to edit and get started with Wikipedia. I even created my personal Seven Essential Steps to getting started with Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is about collectively learning and building and sharing information on the things you’re interested in and are passionate about. It’s time more women make their voices heard.

 

NOTE: For those interested learning more about the gendergap issue, you can subscribe to the gendergap mailing list. The discussion threads provide incredible insight into what’s going on, everything from harassment on women’s user pages to inappropriate sexualization of images for topical pages.

BlogHer, Not My Thing

I wanted to like BlogHer. I did. A conference about blogging for women. I’m a woman. I’m a blogger.  Perfect.

But as a first-time conference goer, I found myself unable to tap into the enthusiasm many attendees seemed to genuinely possess.

Maybe it was the fact that in almost every session I attended, someone in the audience asked what SEO is (I’m not saying this is bad, it just illustrates there were a lot of newcomers to the web and blogging in attendance). Or maybe it was every woman I met (who were all friendly and welcoming) happened to be a “mommy blogger.” Or it could have been the Expo Hall felt way too much like a 1950s cliché, dominated by packaged/prepared food, cleaning supplies and kitchenware vendors. Or it could have just been that unlike many of the women who were repeat attendees reuniting with friends, I was out of my geographic comfort zone without a posse to hold court with. Whatever the case, I didn’t fall in love the experience.

In BlogHer’s defense, I don’t typically go gaga for conferences (with the exception of my maiden voyage to SXSW), for the same reason I don’t like smorgasbords: a lot of broad, general content, without a lot of nuance and quality. While the speakers I heard from were knowledgeable, it felt like too often, they catered to the lowest common denominator. Not really the speaker’s fault, more a consequence of the format, but less than satisfying for me nonetheless. Perhaps if there were beginner, intermediate and advanced tracks, this would have been less of a problem. And perhaps if I had gone to any of the parties (I heard the parties are a big part of BlogHer’s appeal), I would have gotten more out of the networking aspect. But I didn’t. And I also didn’t go nuts for the swag. I heard a lot of women talking and tweeting about the swag. I’m not really a swag kind of gal.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention one obvious aspect of the conference…men (or lack thereof). I missed them (although there were a few in attendance). As someone whose been one of a handful of woman at similar-sized conferences comprised of mostly men, it feels unnatural to me to have just one gender talking about issues and content that are not gender specific. My motivation for going was to increase my knowledge of blogging. The fact that I’m a woman was secondary.

So while I understand the value of BlogHer, whose mission since 2005 has been “to create opportunities for women who blog to gain exposure, education, community and economic empowerment,” I’m more interested in focusing on the blog over the her.

To each her own.

Women Who Wiki Workshop

There’s an old proverb: Action is the proper fruit of knowledge – which is why 1X57 is offering a free workshop (drawing upon our days of running training for the Intellipedia Sabbatical) in DC next week for women and girls to learn how to edit and contribute to Wikipedia.

Less than 13% of the Wikipedia editors are female. Sue Gardner, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Executive Director, shared Nine Reasons Why Women Don’t Edit Wikipedia (in their own words).

The reasons listed are not insurmountable. In fact, individually they’re all fairly easy to address.  Much of the solution lies in knowledge and awareness. But a solution is needed because a user-contributed encyclopedia primarily built by the contributions of twenty-something, single, white males inherently leaves gaping holes in shared knowledge. Or even worse, inherent biases.

Teaming up with DC Web Women‘s Girls Rock On the WebJESS3 (who will be hosting the event at their office in DC) and Andrea Baker and Kirby Plessas who will be our Guest Gurus, we have a sold-out event.

The invitation with full details is here: http://growwiki.eventbrite.com/

We also created a page for the workshop in Wikipedia itself and added the event to the scheduled future Wikipedia:Meetups list.

 

Wikipedia: Gateway Platform to More Girls in Tech?

Ever since the Wikimedia Foundation announced its goal to raise the share of female contributors to Wikipedia 25 percent by 2015, I’ve had it in my head to make sure my 11-year old niece is adding her voice to the collective knowledge of the world.

It was with this goal of lighting the next generation’s torch that I ventured over to my brother’s house to hang out with the little genius who happened to be working on a homework assignment on her computer when I arrived. The assignment was to research and write a report on an invasive species – and she had selected the “mitten crab” – a species introduced to the Chesapeake Bay in 2005 and is currently being evaluated for its impact on the native Chesapeake Blue Crab.

As she was searching and culling the internet for information, I asked if she was allowed to use Wikipedia – she said yes. Then I asked if she had ever edited Wikipedia – she said no.  That’s when I gave her her first lesson in editing Wikipedia. We had fun, for over an hour, and it went off exactly how I first learned to edit Wikipedia back in 2006 when I was an instructor for Intellipedia.

The mitten crab Wikipedia page was the perfect page to launch her learning. Why? Because the number one reason people avoid contributing to Wikipedia is the feeling that they don’t have anything or enough information to contribute (per the 2010 survey conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation).

My niece and I quickly noticed we had something to add. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center just announced it’s seeking reports of mitten crab sighting and collections. But this wasn’t mentioned anywhere in Wikipedia article – and we believed it belonged there.

To get her going I started with the basics – how to edit sections (versus the entire page), wiki-markup for things like links, bullet points, and bold text, the importance of including an edit summary. She picked it up effortlessly like the little sponge-brain she is.

In fact, her hand was on the mouse clicking “edit” faster than I could say “Whoa, Tonto!” First thing the following morning, she was reporting on the status of the page. It had been edited by a “crustacean nerd” (my niece’s words, not mine) but the bulk of our contribution was still there, including the line we added in the first sentence: named for its furry claws that look like mittens.

I don’t think doubling the number of females contributing to Wikipedia by 2015 is a difficult mark to hit. In fact, I think it should be much higher since the barriers to contributing are pretty easy to address. My experience this weekend proved just how easy it can be.

While wiki markup is just a syntax (similar to using Word), I can’t help but think that learning it could encourage girls to learn to program – as a gateway language so to speak – by showing them how fun it is to build and create something, moving them from consumers of information, to creators and builders.

If every Wikipedian took just one hour of their life to teach a girl how to contribute, the future of Wikipedia would be forever changed. Diversity is the key to survival and Wikipedia needs more of it – not simply to survive, but to thrive. Maybe there should be a pledge to sign – teach a girl to wiki. Or free classes led by Wikipedian volunteers. I don’t know, but I don’t think females aren’t contributing to Wikipedia because they lack desire or don’t have the time. I think there’s a barrier (albeit a small one) in education and awareness that once addressed will create a stronger, better Wikipedia, and in the process, perhaps will create a more technologically capable generation of women who can build the future they want to live in.

Post CES Take-away: In Vegas, women are discarded like unwanted Garbage Pail Kid cards

Or at least that’s the image that’s stuck in my mind after leaving Las Vegas for the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show. Not the cool 3-D displays I saw or the latest breed of electronic vehicles and tablets and it’s not the image of topless women I saw during my first Vegas strip club visit (yes, you read that correctly, I patronized a Vegas strip club – and was surprised at how enlightening an experience it was). No, it’s the image of those guys and gals (almost exclusively Latino) on the Vegas strip handing out cards with naked girls on them for sexual encounters. Or more accurately, the image of those cards scattered all over the ground like party confetti wherever I walked.

Most people who know me would not consider me a prude. I’m pretty open and open-minded about sex. But the image of naked women carelessly strewn all over the ground bothers me. The image of anything so exposed and discarded bothers me. I don’t care how people spend their time in Vegas. I’m not passing moral judgments on individual life choices. You want to gamble, gamble. You want to pay for sex, go for it. You want to cover your balls in peanut butter and let your dog lick it off – those are your balls and your dog, not mine. I don’t take offense to prostitution, stripping or gambling (*although, thanks to Adam’s comment below, I’m not saying I’m a proponent of them – it’s just they invoke larger thoughts that exceed the limits of this individual post). What I do take issue with, or at least question, is the impact of people mindlessly stepping on images of naked women during their visit to a major epicenter of business in the United States. It makes me think of the Broken Windows Theory, where the norm-setting and signaling effects of urban disorder and vandalism promotes additional crime and anti-social behavior. Except instead of broken windows devaluing neighborhoods, the seemingly trivial “babes on a card” being passed out and tossed aside on the Las Vegas strip are devaluing women.

I can only wonder what impact it has on visitors from foreign countries whose only experience of the United States is Las Vegas and the strip. CES had over 140,000 attendees, up 11% from last year’s 126, 000 (even though visitor numbers to Vegas has been on the decline since the recession). The increase is attributed to attendees from foreign countries, most of whom were men. The irony is a lot of the gadgets at CES were geared towards women. But I’d say less than 10% of CES’ attendees were female (maybe 20% tops). It seems like a big mistake on the part of any seller to ostracize and neglect women – they’re a big fucking consumer demographic. Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases, including everything from automobiles to health care. If consumption is part of the virtuous cycle of production, I want women to be included in that cycle.

So what to do? Am I the only one who’d like to see the sex cards disappear from the strip? Am I the only one who thinks it could have a positive net impact for Las Vegas and its visitors – like when bars started banning smoking. Bar owners were terrified they’d lose patrons and money. But it turns out, most bar go-ers didn’t like the smoke, and smoke-free establishments actually saw a 20+% increase in sales. Maybe a sex-card free strip would actually draw more folks in. Besides, isn’t this 2011? There’s this thing called the internet. Hard copy is, in a word, archaic. Seriously, just bing it.

So I’m petitioning the city of Las Vegas to ban the sex cards. I think the gain would grossly outweigh any perceived loss. Las Vegas will be getting a new mayor – the man who has been running the city for the past 11 1/2 years is saying his farewell. Now seems like the perfect time to makes some changes and possibly make Sin City a little more seductive, a little more alluring and that much more attractive to visit.

If you agree, you can join the cause with me by petitioning @CityOfLasVegas via Act.ly to “Eliminate Sex Cards from the Strip”: http://act.ly/2yf (RT to sign).

Maybe the new leadership might take notice. Maybe the end consumer can actually influence the source. And maybe it’s better to act on Margaret Mead‘s quotes instead of just quoting her.

It’s the little things in life that count.