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Women's Lives & Education

Why study women, minorities, or other controversial subjects at all? The answer is: a good liberal education (liberal as in “freedom”) teaches people to think both “inside the box” and “outside the box”.  Gender studies programs can encourage students to creatively examine their surroundings and learn to identify both the empowering and dis-empowering properties of words and deeds and to consider the relationship of race, gender, class and ethnicity as well as the manifestation and effects of gender bias in society.   Your suggestions and submissions are welcomed.
Research on Women and Education     Women’s Media Center     OnTrack Women’s Financial Empowerment Center     The Community Foundation of WNC – Women for Women grants     Western Women’s Business Center     Womansong of Asheville Women’s Chorus & New Start Program

So She Did: The Female Mentor That Changed My Life

I always expected that I’d spend my last summer before starting college binge-watching TV, eating pizza, and dealing with anxiety about my freshman year.  Instead, I ended up exploring my recent acquaintance with the feminist movement through an internship with So She Did, an organization related to women’s empowerment. I decided to join the organization because it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a different perspective on feminism and my own ideas about empowerment. Sure enough, working there resulted in one of the best and most interesting summers of my life. Continue reading


The Most Undervalued Leadership Traits Of Women

It’s impossible to respect, value and admire great leadership if you can’t identify what makes a leader great.  Because of this, the identity crisis I have written about that exists in today’s workplace is something that women leaders in particular have been facing  for much too long. While the tide is changing and more women are being elevated into leadership roles, there is still much work to do. As of July 2013, there were only 19 female elected presidents and prime ministers in power around the globe.  In the business world, women currently hold only 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and the same percentage of Fortune 1000 CEO positions.   As women continue their upward trajectory in the business world, they have yet to be fully appreciated for the unique qualities and abilities they bring to the workplace. Continue reading


Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville (formerly the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement) is an award-winning, internationally-acclaimed learning community dedicated to promoting lifelong learning, leadership, community service, and research. We opened our doors in 1988 as a department of the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Our goal is to enable our members to “thrive” in life’s second half.

OLLI at UNC Asheville(OLLI) embraces an unusually comprehensive array of programs in the arts and humanities, the natural world, civic engagement, wellness, life transition and retirement relocation planning, intergenerational co-learning, and research on trends in the reinvention of

OSHER Courses and Offerings


MAKERS.com Women Who Make America

Women Who Make America

 

 

 

MAKERS.com is a dynamic digital platform showcasing thousands of compelling stories – both known and unknown – from trailblazing women of today and tomorrow. This historic video initiative was founded by Dyllan McGee and developed by AOL and PBS. Executive Producers are Dyllan McGee, Betsy West, and Peter Kunhardt.

Browse videos of individuals

MAKERS: Women Who Make America is an ongoing initiative that aims to be the largest and most dynamic collection of women’s stories ever assembled. Selections of MAKERS are made twice a year by our filmmaking team using guidelines set by our board of advisors.This process ensures that the make-up of the library of stories includes women from all walks of life with diverse experiences and perspectives.  Watch the video

 

Women in the ‘Groundbreakers’ category were chosen by the production team based on criteria defined by a team of advisors and include women who are firsts in their fields, visionary role models or frontline activists who sparked, and some who opposed, change for women.

 

MAKERS: Women Who Make America is made possible by Simple® Facial Skincare, a Unilever brand, AOL and The Charles H. Revson Foundation. Additional funding for PBS.org/makers and MAKERS.com is provided by NoVo Foundation, Ford Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Rice Family Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation and others.


Women’s Media Center Congratula​tes Gloria Steinem on Presidenti​al Medal of Freedom

The Women’s Media Center proudly congratulates co-founder Gloria Steinem on being named recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor.

In its announcement, the White House noted that Steinem is “a leader in the women’s liberation movement, co-founded Ms. magazine, and helped launch a wide variety of groups and publications dedicated to advancing civil rights.  Ms. Steinem has received dozens of awards over the course of her career, and remains an active voice for women’s rights.”


Fear of Jane Austen

When the Bank of England announced last month its intention to portray Jane Austen on its ten-pound note, it seemed the most uncontroversial of choices. Who better than Austen to stand as a representative of female accomplishment? Many of the female historical figures that might have been chosen were shocking in their time: consider Mary Wollstonecraft and Florence Nightingale. And most still have an air of scandal about them, their subsequent canonization notwithstanding. Continue reading


Women’s Lives: Join Us on Women’s Advocacy Day April 9

Join Us on Women’s Advocacy Day

Are you ready? Come to Raleigh on Tuesday, April 9!

  • Hear Kim Gandy talk about her history of working for women, especially in the area of Violence Against Women
  • Hear representatives from NCWU member organizations talk about other issues of concern.
  • Join with others from your district and across the state to speak to your legislators about the issues of most concern to you
  • If you are free Monday evening, join us for a special reception in honor of Ms. Gandy and focused on the issues of violence against women

Registration is open! Please let us know you are coming!

Women’s Advocacy Day and the reception are free and open to the public, though space is limited at the reception. Donors to NCWU will be recognized at the reception with special recognition for those contributing at least $75 (bronze), $150 (silver) and $250 (gold). Please consider a donation to help our efforts.

Real Tips About Sexual Assault Everyone Can Use

The new academic year has started, and once again students are attending seminars on staying safe on campus. These orientation workshops typically focus on tips for how young women can protect themselves — such as be aware and stay alert, don’t get drunk, and stick together in groups.

I’m sure all of this is good advice, but it misses what I have come to see as the crux of the matter: Teaching girls and women that they can avoid sexual assault if they just try hard enough places responsibility for rape on the shoulders of targets rather than on the shoulders of perpetrators and of political and cultural power-brokers. Continue reading

 


Nuns With a New Creed: Environmentalism

Every woman in this story is confoundingly non-descript. Short hair, often grey. Conservative dress. Unmarried; soft-spoken. Most are well into their seventies, and all will tell you that their way of life is dying out. They will also tell you, with surprising conviction, that the world is in peril.

They are Roman Catholic sisters, from a variety of orders—Dominican, Mercy, Passionist—but don’t think Whoopie Goldberg or a young Sally Field. While many of their aged peers are living out their days in quiet convents, these women are digging gardens and offsetting carbon. They’re as well-versed in solar and geothermal technology as they are in the Gospels of Luke and John, and some wear Carhartts and work boots like they’re habits. At the heart of the women’s action is a belief that the changing climate and world demand a new kind of vocation – that Ave Marias won’t cut it anymore, but maybe clean energy will. Continue reading


Why Contraception is a Health Issue for Everyone

Some of the media coverage of Tuesday’s arguments before the Supreme Court on the contraception mandate tended to pit women’s rights activists against social conservatives, making contraception seem like a lifestyle choice that only benefits some women — you know, the ones who have sex.

What often gets lost in the debate is why contraception is considered a preventive health issue — and why treating it as such is beneficial for everyone.

During the healthcare debate, the Department of Health and Human Services charged the Institute of Medicine (IOM) with reviewing preventive services that are important to public health and well-being, and recommending which ones should be considered in the development of comprehensive guidelines.

IOM came up with this evidence-based list of preventive services for adults and children, all of which are now covered by insurers with no required co-payment. Take a look at the IOM report, which explains the selection process.

For women, this includes annual well-woman visits, testing for STIs and HIV, support for breastfeeding, and screening and counseling for domestic violence.

It also includes FDA-approved contraception methods, as well as patient education and counseling on contraception. What makes contraception a health issue? Well, with all due respect to Mike Huckabee, it’s not about women’s libidos.

Here’s the deal: When women use contraception, they can avoid unwanted pregnancies and space planned pregnancies to promote optimal birth outcomes.

When a pregnancy is planned, women can start prenatal care, including increasing their intake of folic acid; work with their healthcare providers to address relevant medical conditions, as well as substance abuse; and take other steps that lead to healthier outcomes for both the mother and the infant.

Pregnancies that are unplanned are more likely to be affected by delayed prenatal care, maternal depression, low birth weight, poorer childhood physical and mental health, and other complications. Breastfeeding rates are also lower after unintended pregnancies.

Social conservatives should also take note that 40 percent of unintended pregnancies end in abortion. And there is an economic cost: Two-thirds of unintended pregnancies are paid for by publicly funded insurance programs, usually Medicaid. For more information, Guttmacher Institute has a terrific fact sheet on unintended pregnancies that explains the incidence rate, demographics, outcomes and costs.

When you look at the facts, contraception is smart public health policy.

Of course, for some women, birth control is essential for other health reasons, including acne, fibroids, endometriosis and to reduce problems associated with irregular or very heavy periods.

Despite the proven health benefits — and the benefits to society as a whole — Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood claim that the requirement to provide health insurance that includes no-cost contraception violates their religious freedom.

Not surprisingly, the Court’s three female justices were most skeptical of their position. As Jeffrey Toobin writes in The New Yorker:

After Paul Clement, the lawyer for Hobby Lobby, began his argument, twenty-eight of the first thirty-two questions to him came from Ruth Bader Ginsburg (four questions), Sonia Sotomayor (eleven), and Elena Kagan (thirteen). The queries varied, of course, but they were all variations on a theme. The trio saw the case from the perspective of the women employees. They regarded the employer as the party in the case with the money and the power. Sotomayor asked, “Is your claim limited to sensitive materials like contraceptives, or does it include items like blood transfusion, vaccines? For some religions, products made of pork? Is any claim under your theory that has a religious basis, could an employer preclude the use of those items as well?” Clement hedged in response. When Clement asserted that Hobby Lobby’s owners, because of their Christian values, did care about making sure that their employees had health insurance, Kagan shot back:

“I’m sure they want to be good employers. But again, that’s a different thing than saying that their religious beliefs mandate them to provide health insurance, because here Congress has said that the health insurance that they’re providing is not adequate, it’s not the full package.”

At Talking Points Memo, Sahil Kapur wrote:

The most forceful was Justice Elena Kagan, who repeatedly asked aggressive questions throughout the 90-minute argument about the legal dangers of exempting certain entities from laws on the basis of religion.

“There are quite a number of medical treatments that religious groups object to,” she said, positing that a ruling against the Obama administration could empower business owners to seek exemptions from laws about sex discrimination, family leave and the minimum wage. “You’d see religious objectors come out of the woodwork,” Kagan warned, arguing that it’s problematic for judges to test the centrality of a belief to a religion or the sincerity of beliefs that are invoked in court.

Much of the argument also centers around whether companies really have religious freedom, or if that really only applies to people — whether corporations count as “people” has been a major issue before the Court in the recent past. In “The Hobby Lobby Case Represents The Worst Kind Of Anti-Choice Arrogance,” Sarah Erdreich writes:

But even if the owners do have a religious commitment, Hobby Lobby is not pretending that it is a religion. It is a business. That any business should have power over what can literally be the life-and-death health decisions of its employees, well, that’s another issue for another day. But as long as Hobby Lobby sells its supplies to saints and sinners alike, it has no business questioning what its employees do when they go to see the doctor.

Access to birth control is important for everyone — for preventing pregnancies, and to allow women and families to best time and plan healthy pregnancies. Hopefully the male members of the Supreme Court will see it that way, too.

To catch up on the issue, check out this coverage:


Prasad for Women: Talks for Fifth World Women

WELCOME FIFTH WORLD WOMEN. It is good to find you here. This is our time, our great joy, our canvas, our challenge, our sacred work, and our sacred trust. We are born for these times. What we each are, the world needs, every last woman of us. Every good impulse we have, every calling, instinct, stirring, essence, skill, ability, intuition, guidance, and dose of common sense, from the biggest big to the smallest small … all of this adds to the wealth and well-being of this world.


Dr. Maya Angelou Shares Wisdom and Inspiration in an Interview with Women For One

In an interview with Women For One, celebrated author and poet, Dr. Maya Angelou speaks about peace and authenticity.

One of the most incredibly inspiring and powerful women in history, celebrated author and poet Dr. Maya Angelou spoke with Women For One about what it means to be truly authentic. Dr. Angelou was a primary inspiration for the creation of Women For One; her stories and vision encourage others to share their stories with each other in the Women For One community. Just as in her own writing, Angelou hopes other women will also connect with readers in an authentic and human way. The trick, she notes, is to tell stories in the most truthful way possible.

Angelou started her artistic career at a young age and in 1969, her work “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”, earned her a reputation as a new kind of autobiographer. She was one of the first African-American women who could write about her life “from the inside” without apology. Her bravery in writing about her life makes her an inspiring example of the authenticity found in storytelling. Angelou has touched audiences worldwide and earned her several awards for her work including a Pulitzer, and is the second poet in history to be invited to compose a piece of work for a presidential inauguration. In addition, she has played many roles – mother, celebrated poet, memoirist and novelist, dramatist, actress, historian, filmmaker, civil rights activist, and noted professor with over thirty honorary degrees. She is currently the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.

In the interview, Angelou says that it’s up to women to work together to change the world around them, and bring peace both to themselves and their communities. She cites negativity as vulgarity, and explains how that negativity keeps women from truly being authentic. Her exemplary kindness and authentic truth-telling are prime examples of the change Women For One hopes to inspire in their community.


Women’s Media Center Congratula​tes Co-Founder Gloria Steinem on Presidenti​al Medal of Freedom

The Women’s Media Center proudly congratulates co-founder Gloria Steinem on being named recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor.

In its announcement, the White House noted that Steinem is “a leader in the women’s liberation movement, co-founded Ms. magazine, and helped launch a wide variety of groups and publications dedicated to advancing civil rights.  Ms. Steinem has received dozens of awards over the course of her career, and remains an active voice for women’s rights.”

Julie Burton, president of The Women’s Media Center, said, “The board and staff at The Women’s Media Center are thrilled that President Barack Obama will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to our co-founder, Gloria Steinem.  This is a well-deserved honor:  For over four decades, Gloria has struggled for political and social equality and justice. We have come to take it for granted that she will always be where she is most needed, at the podium, on TV, on the plane, phone, or at the computer, to make the ideal of social justice a reality. Her phrases have become the motto of our era. Her activism and fundraising have directly transformed the constitution of Congress and state legislatures. Women are in these places because of the endeavors of Gloria Steinem.

Burton continued, “The history of the women’s movement has been a struggle for women’s voices to be heard. In the tradition of Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Gloria has forever changed the 20th and 21st centuries for women and men through her words and actions. Her brilliant writing, tireless advocacy, intelligence and humor have carried and propelled our dreams.  We are so proud that President Obama will honor her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Steinem is one of 16 recipients who will be honored by Obama at the White House later this year. The medal is “presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the U.S., to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

“I’m honored and touched to receive the Medal of Freedom, especially in the company of Bayard Rustin, Oprah Winfrey, Sally Ride, and other of my heroes,” Steinem said. “I know this is a recognition of the countless women and men who have worked for a society in which we are linked, not ranked, and have always understood that the caste systems based on sex and race, class and sexuality, can only be uprooted together. There is no president from whose hand I would be more honored to receive this than President Obama.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the executive order signed by President John F. Kennedy establishing the medal. More than 500 individuals have been awarded the medal.

 “The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours,” Obama said in a White House statement issued today. “This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”

Other honorees announced today include former President Bill Clinton, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, country singer Loretta Lynn, former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, baseball star Ernie Banks, former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, former Indiana senator Richard Lugar, jazz legend Arturo Sandoval, Nobel Prize winners Daniel Kahnemann and Mario Molina, U.S. Circuit Court chief judge Patricia Wald and civil rights leader C.T. Vivian. Posthumous awards went to astronaut Sally Ride, former Sen. Daniel Inouye and late civil rights activist Bayard Rustin.

The Women’s Media Center works to make women and girls visible and powerful in the media through strategic programs that transform the media landscape, and that include media training, media monitoring and activism, media reports, media programs, and special initiatives.  The Women’s Media Center also produces original media content on our CBS radio show, “Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan,” and publishes Women’s Media Center Features that provide progressive women’s perspectives on both headline stories and timely events. In addition to Steinem and Morgan, the organization was founded in 2005 by Jane Fonda.


For more information, contact Cristal Williams Chancellor, media relations manager, cristal@womensmediacenter.com or 202-587-1636


WHO Releases Global Report on Health Effects of Violence Against Women

The World Health Organization has released a new report, “Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence,” [PDF] that attempts to quantify how many women around the world are exposed to physical and sexual violence at some point in their lives, and describes many of the associated poor health outcomes.

The findings are probably not surprising, but they are still disturbing.

WHO reports that 35 percent of women worldwide — more than 1 in 3 — have been physically and/or sexually abused. These figures do not include emotional/psychological abuse.  Continue Reading

 


Women’s History: The New York Times Reviews “Our Bodies, Ourselves”

Women’s History: The New York Times Reviews “Our Bodies, Ourselves”

 

Forty years ago today, The New York Times reviewed “Our Bodies, Ourselves” under the headline “Thinking About the Thinkable.”

 

It’s fascinating to see how the book was received in the mainstream press — and, in this case, how one of the most prominent book reviewers of the late 20th century, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, approached the text.  Click here to read the entire article

 

 


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