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Women in the News + Virginia (Finally) Ratifies the ERA

January 20: Badass women and the news that affects them

Image courtesy of Nadezhda

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, His Words of Wisdom

"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

Company Culture

  • For the first time, Pinterest (3.7 stars) has exceeded all three of its diverse hiring goals, increasing hiring rates for full-time women engineers by 27 percent (with an original goal of 25 percent); increasing hiring rates of full-time underrepresented minority engineers by 9 percent (with an original goal of 8 percent); and increasing hiring rates for underrepresented minority employees across the company by 14 percent (with an original goal of 12 percent). And according to Chief Human Resources Officer Jo Dennis, the company plans to move forward by focusing on ownership of inclusion and diversity outcomes, efforts to diversify company leadership, and employee retention. Pinterest

  • The Women’s National Basketball Association and its players’ union have reached a landmark contract agreement that will radically change how the organization compensates its players. Under the new agreement, which still requires approval from the WNBA board of governors and the union’s members, would more than triple the players’ previous salary ceiling, allowing top players to earn more than $500,000. And if approved, the agreement would also provide benefits like maternity leave with full salary, a $5,000 child care stipend, and a dedicated space in arenas for nursing mothers. NY Times

  • PepsiCo (2.9 stars) has announced that it will reach 100 percent renewable electricity in all of its U.S. direct operations as part of global efforts to reduce emissions by 20 percent by 2030, the percentage cut recommended by climate scientists to keep global warming below 2℃. Fast Company 

Quick Hits

  • For Black women in the workforce, there exists a nefarious phenomenon that scholar Kecia M. Thomas dubbed “Pet to Threat.” In a 2013 study, Thomas found that many Black women shared a similar experience with their employers, who treated them positively but paternalistically in their early days at a workplace. But this treatment would soon give way to hostility when the women would begin to assert confidence in their roles or request greater responsibilities. Zora

  • In an emotional video published by The Root, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) got personal about living with alopecia, courageously revealing her bald head and the fact that she wears wigs. Alopecia and its related hair loss are usually unpredictable, but Black women do tend to be more susceptible to the condition. Pressley, whose braided hairstyles made her a role model for young Black girls, says she decided to go public with her condition to be “transparent about this new normal.” The Root 

  • After research revealed that Pittsburgh is one of the most inhospitable cities for Black women to live in, a recent study by CityLab aimed to find out which were the best. Of course, lived experiences vary greatly and there isn’t really true racial justice anywhere, but based upon a variety of metrics such as income, health conditions, and educational attainment, CityLab ranked Washington D.C., Boston, Baltimore, Raleigh, and Dallas as the top five best cities for Black women. Overall, CityLab found that Southern metro areas were generally better for Black women, and Midwestern cities were generally worse, but definitely check out the rest of the results—they might surprise you. CityLab

In the News

  • Nearly 40 years after the expiration of its deadline, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Originally approved by Congress in 1972, the ERA carries the guarantee of "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." Generally, amendments become law when 38 out of 50 states (i.e. 3/4 of all states) ratify them, but it’s unclear exactly what the implications of Virginia’s ratification is since the 1982 deadline is long past—and five states have rescinded their ratification since that date. NPR

  • According to a recent study from the Swedish Institute for Social Research, promotions carry an increased risk for sexual assault for women in the workplace. In a survey of 26,828 women across Sweden, Japan, and the U.S., researchers found that women supervisors experience 30 to 100 percent more harassment than women not in supervising roles, and that low-level leaders receive the brunt of the abuse. Fast Company

  • The National Archives is in hot water after being called out for doctoring an image of the 2017 Women’s March to be less critical of President Trump. The image in question is part of an exhibit entitled “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote” to celebrate the 100th anniversery of (white) women’s suffrage. The Archives admitted to blurring out multiple signs and slogans disparaging Trump and some containing anatomical terms like “vagina” in order to make the exhibit less political. But let’s get this straight for a second...the National Archives took it upon themselves to make an exhibit about women in politics...and then purposely removed negative messages about Trump in an image from a women’s protest that formed directly out of opposition to the president...yup, makes perfect sense. The Archives have since admitted to messing up, but the whole affair is way too Orwellian for comfort. Vox

Around the World

  • Taiwan: President Tsai Ing-wen, won her re-election bid in a landslide victory. Tsai became the first woman elected to the presidency of the island nation when she took office in 2016, despite being unmarried and never having held political office before. Her 2020 triumph over challenger Han Kuo-yu is seen as a rebuke of Beijing’s attempts to control the Taiwanese government in light of her pro-Hong Kong stance. NPR

  • The Netherlands: Globally known beauty vlogger Nikkie de Jager, better known as NikkieTutorials, recently posted a video to Youtube coming out as transgender. In the heartfelt video, which has amassed over 31 million views in one week, the 25-year-old makeup artist said that she had hoped to come out eventually on her own terms but decided to share her story after blackmailers threatened to leak her identity to the press. Fortunately, de Jager’s coming out story seems to have mostly garnered support, but it’s disturbing nonetheless that trans women still have to fear their identities being weaponized against them. VICE

  • Japan: Shinjirō Koizumi, Japan’s environment minister, has announced that he will take two weeks of paternity leave over three months when his first child is born later this month. This might not sound like a lot, but Koizumi’s commitment to taking any leave at all is significant in a country where only 6 percent of fathers take paternity leave, despite Japan’s generous leave policy. The Guardian

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By Mitra Norowzi

Contributor

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