The Great Debate UK

Girl power? Reality, fantasy or chimera?

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BRITAIN/

Susan Buckingham is a Professor in the Centre for Human Geography and Director of Social Work, at Brunel University in West London. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting a live blog on March 8, 2011, to mark International Women’s Day.

In a recent public lecture on “Changing Britain” at Brunel University, I explored the proposition that society is becoming feminised. I examined current pay and employment data to argue that, while some statistics can be used to argue that some women are becoming more equal with men in some areas, the failure of women to significantly penetrate key decision making bodies, and continuing horizontal job segregation means that “girl power” is more a chimera than reality in the UK today.

Drawing from my own research in the environmental sector, I propose that this is not only problematic for women, as they continue to earn less than their male counterparts and face additional barriers to career progression and being appointed in key decision making roles, but that the failure of the country to capitalise on a significant share of its experience, expertise and intellect limits society as a whole.

A cursory glance at education figures for the UK may suggest that gender equality is being achieved. More women students are entering higher education, and now outnumber men (59 percent of all students in 2008 – 2009). They outperform their male colleagues, with 64 percent of women students achieving 1st and upper second degrees in 2008 – 2009, compared with 59 percent of men.

Progress, but women journalists not home free

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CANADA NEWSPAPERS

Linda Kay is a former sportswriter with the Chicago Tribune (and the first woman to write sports for the paper), an associate professor and chair of the journalism department at Concordia University in Montreal. She is author of a forthcoming book called “The Sweet Sixteen” about a group of groundbreaking women journalists in Canada. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting a live blog on March 8, 2011, to mark International Women’s Day.

My students are often surprised to learn that one hundred years ago, women were working as journalists in Canada. According to the 1911 census, some 70 women across the country were categorized as “journalists, editors and reporters.”

Royal wedding feelgood factor overrides feminist impulses

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RTR681Y

Sarah Gristwood is one of the authors of The Ring and the Crown: A History of Royal Weddings 1066-2011 (Hutchison) by Alison Weir, Kate Williams, Sarah Gristwood and Tracy Borman. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host a follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

More than a hundred years ago the great Victorian Walter Bagehot claimed that the women of Britain cared more about the marriage of a Prince of Wales than they did about a ministry.

Since he’s been gone

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USA

Susan Lapinski of New York City is an award-winning journalist who co-authored the book “In a Family Way” with her late husband, Michael deCourcy Hinds. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host a follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

There are more than 13 million widows in the United States of America, and sadly, I am one of them. I miss Michael, the six-foot-five-inch leprechaun I married, for a million reasons–maybe most of all because he made me laugh every day we were together.

Stories are powerful things

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EGYPT

Anna Perera is the author of The Glass Collector and Guantanamo Boy. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host a follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

The more we read stories about other cultures, the more we find places of balance in our own lives. My new young-adult novel, The Glass Collector, is a contemporary tale about a Zabbaleen teenage boy who struggles to survive amongst the trash heaps of Cairo in Egypt.

Women: a missing financial resource

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USA/

Melissa L. Bradley is currently CEO of Tides, and previously served as Founder and managing director of New Capitalist. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting an International Women’s Day live blog on March 8, 2011.

Corporations love women – at least judging by the countless commercials aimed at women. Whether it is selling the latest toys, promoting the sales of bulk goods, or pitching a luxury item that may be on our wish list, advertisers recognize the power of women in making household decisions.

A new generation of feminist scholars

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TECH LIBRARIES

Jess deCourcy Hinds, a library director and writer, has written for Newsweek, the New York Times, Ms., and School Library Journal. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting an International Women’s Day live blog on March 8, 2011.

I am the librarian at Bard High School Early College in Queens, New York, where my students speak 34 languages, from Albanian to Urdu to Tibetan. And I’m proud to say that these bright, culturally diverse students are learning about feminist history—some as early as 9th grade.  I had to wait until graduate school to become a feminist scholar with the kind of research opportunities my youngest students have now.

Shake up workplace gender roles to advance women

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BRITAIN/

Caroline Gatrell is a Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University Management School. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host a follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

It is around 35 years since equal opportunities legislation came into force in the UK. In theory, this should mean that employed women are treated fairly at work, and paid the same as men in equivalent jobs.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Football still offside in attitude to women

The British media furore over two television presenters’ sexist comments over a lineswoman at a Premier League match at the weekend has thrown the spotlight on the subject of women in soccer – be it on the pitch or off.

Sky Sports duo Richard Keys and Andy Gray have apologised for saying female officials “don’t know the offside rule” when they were talking about lineswoman Sian Massey at Saturday’s match between Wolves and Liverpool when they thought their microphones were switched off.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan, blasphemy, and a tale of two women

blasphemyprotestFor all the bad news coming out of Pakistan, you can't help but admire the courage of two very different women who did what their political leaders failed to do -- stood up to the religious right after the killing of Punjab governor Salman Taseer over his call for changes to the country's blasphemy laws.

One is Sherry Rehman, a politician from the ruling Pakistan People's Party, who first proposed amendments to the laws. The other is actress Veena Malik, who challenged the clerical establishment for criticising her for appearing on Indian reality show Big Boss.  I'm slightly uncomfortable about grouping the two together -- the fact that both are Pakistani women does not make them any more similar than say, for example, two Pakistani men living in Rawalpindi or  London. Yet at the same time, the idea that Pakistan can produce such different and outspoken women says a lot about the diversity and energy of a country which can be too easily written off as a failing state or  bastion of the Islamist religious right.

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