Today, amidst the myriad reminders to vote (I voted early, folks, but unfortunately I’m not allowed to vote that often) and the barrage of articles, op eds, and talking heads predicting election outcomes and what it all means–I received an e-mail with this story. It’s touching reminder, in the midst of all those pontifications, that real women’s lives are affected by our votes:

It was 30 yrs ago today, I officially became a WOMAN… yes, on Election Day, 11/2/1980!

From the marbled bathroom of South Jr. High I learned that my life was going to be very different from that point forward… no longer a child but a woman with the ability to give life to another human being, quite an occasion indeed…

I spent years & years celebrating “NO BABY MONTHS” as well as shedding tears over losses that only a woman can truly understand. So while I may bitch and moan about a monthly reminder of my gender – I’ve come a long way, baby!!

What’s very ironic about this, I’m celebrating in kind today… so, think I may have some chocolate cake and do it up right!! 😉

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This article was originally published in Businesswire. Whatever works . . .

A coalition of global investors, managing over US $73 billion in assets, called on companies across the world today to increase representation of qualified women on boards of directors and in senior management. The call from Pax World, Calvert and Walden Asset Management, comes in response to a survey of 4,200 global companies that found only 9.4 percent of directors on corporate boards were women.

These findings have led a number of mainstream investors to identify gender balance and diversity as a strategic issue in their investment activity. The investors in this new coalition have asked 54 selected companies from across the business spectrum for greater clarity about gender balance within their organizations.

“We view gender equality and women’s empowerment as strategic business and investment issues,” said Joe Keefe, President and CEO of Pax World. “When women are at the table, the discussion is richer, the decision-making process is better, management is more innovative and collaborative and the organization is stronger. Because companies that advance and empower women are, in our view, better long-term investments, we are encouraging companies in our portfolios to enhance their performance on gender issues.”

The investor initiative is a response to the Women’s Empowerment Principles1 recently developed by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the United Nations Global Compact. The Women’s Empowerment Principles are designed to help companies take specific steps to advance and empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

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This past week, I learned more about Ohio politics than I ever wanted to know, in particular next Tuesday’s (May 4) Democratic primary contest between Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher. The winner will go up against Republican Rob Portman in the November general election.

I suggest you read Kelley Bell’s Huffington Post column to get more facts and colorful descriptions of the intra-party machinations than I have bandwidth to recount here.

My involvement has been only peripheral. I happened to jump into a Facebook conversation begun by one of my favorite columnists, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Connie Schultz, in which she bemoaned acrimony between women about the question of when (if ever) it’s incumbent on us to support our sisters who are running for office.

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This is the third and last (for now at least) of Debjani Chakravarty’s series exploring work life balance through the lens of economic and political culture. in this post, she asks the question of whether work life balance can or should be gender neutral. Debjani is a graduate student and artist, currently pursuing a PhD in the Women and Gender Studies Program at Arizona State University. She has worked as a journalist and social worker in India.

Rebecca is a grad student, and she works part time at Starbucks. She is getting a degree in social work, hopeful of pursuing a career she’s passionate about. She also works as an editor and ghost writer on the side. When I ask Rebecca about work life balance, she says, “Strange I never think about it. My parents never went to college and they never left their little Ohio town where I grew up. For them, my life’s a dream come true, and they are hopeful that someday I’ll be able to do all those things that they only planned about, travel, work a respectable job, buy a big house. Work life balance, let’s see. For me it’s about taking the occasional Adderall, so that I can keep working. My life’s on hold right now, work is all that matters.”

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This guest post is by Debjani Chakaravarty, a PhD in the Women and Gender Studies Program at Arizona State Debjani ChakravartyUniversity who worked as a journalist and a social worker in India. Her global approach to this much discussed topic of work life balance starts today and will continue through the week. Please ask your questions, tell your stories, and leave your comments for Debjani in the comments section below.

Here is Cosmo’s sagacious take on the issue: “When you have a million balls in the air— job, gym, boyfriend—life becomes a blur. You’re so busy struggling just to get through the week; you lose sight of what’s really important to you”—this particular notion of work life balance has generated a million self discovery quizzes and “work-life balance calculators”, been the subject of many self improvement books and is almost always directed to women, and working mothers.

From the popular framing of this issue, it does seem that it is only women that must achieve this fine balance, women with jobs, access to formal workout spaces and with a man and/or children in their lives.

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While in some quarters gender wars continue to rage, Father’s Day 2009 is bringing us stories of dramatic changes in the politics of marriage, relationships, and parenthood.

USA Today calls it a “New daditude”: Today’s fathers are hands-on, pressure off and says:

Today’s fathers may well take parenting as seriously as their mates, but unlike many moms, dads don’t view it as a competitive sport. Instead, the new attitude of 21st-century fatherhood is hands-on and involved, but with a hint of playfulness

Hmm. I wonder how moms feel about that comparison. A little, um, competitive maybe? Check out this article–it takes on exactly the kind of changing gender roles issues we WomenGirsLadies will discuss Saturday, June 20 at 2pm at the Brooklyn Museum. It’s called “Dads, Dudes, and Doing It” and we want your voice in the conversation! All the infos’s here. Come on down!

And if you’re not in the New York area, tell us what you think anyway–leave your comments here and I’ll be sure to share them with the audience on Saturday.

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In the Spring ’09 edition, On The Issues Magazine writers and artists discuss feminist and progressive values that transcend politics — our Lines In The Sand. I’m pleased to have been asked to contribute this article to the mix.

Were you thinking we were done with elections and could take a few minutes to celebrate a pro-woman administration and a Democratically-controlled Congress that appears ready to embrace pro-choice and pro-equality measures? Sorry, my Sisters. Elections are never over when they are over.

Candidates are already gearing up for 2010 and 2012. It’s critically important that feminists review the lessons of 1992 and its parallels to 2008 so we can avoid repeating mistakes—and more urgently, so we can charge ahead with strategies that advance a bold vision of gender equality and justice.

After all, men have been making America’s political decisions for over 200 years now, and I don’t need to tell you it’s not a pretty picture. Women, especially those not afraid to identify themselves with the F-word, are the change we need. But whether women will be the change we get depends on whether we use the power we have.

For the one constant in politics is that every victory sows the seeds of the next defeat and every defeat sows the seeds of the next victory, unless eternal vigilance is applied. This means using a movement mentality that continually advances bold new ideas and keeps its grassroots watered.

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With a big shout-out to Lucinda Marshall at Feminist Peace Network for allowing me to cross post, here are the answers to all your questions about TARP–sort of, as best they can be answered, and so forth. Be sure and read all three of Lucinda’s posts on this topic. (Then please e-mail me,, and explain it to me.) Herewith, Lucinda, Elizabeth Warren, and Jon Stewart:

In Parts 11 and 12 of The Girls Guide To The Economy we have highlighted the work of Elizabeth Warren, chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel over the TARP. Below are Parts 1 and 2 of her interview with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show on Wednesday. Kudos to Stewart for having her on because clearly she is not getting the airtime she should be getting which will become totally clear to you when you view these videos. It is critical that what she is saying be heard. Listen, cross-post, send to your mother, your boss, your worst enemy and everyone else–let’s insist that the Obama administration and the media pay attention to Elizabeth Warren.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Elizabeth Warren Pt. 1
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook
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Guest blog today by Jane Roberts, cofounder 34 Million Friends of the United Nations Population Fund and author of the book “34 Million Friends of the Women of the World”. Though written in present and future tense terms, the post reminds us that we can rewrite the history of women’s global economic and reproductive subjugation.

The term PERVERSE COSMIC MYOPIA (PCM) was used by David Brooks in a New York Times column on March 20, 2009 which intimated that the world economic and financial crisis was so bad that President Obama needed to concentrate his attention on this single tiger sinking its teeth into the world’s neck and forego at least for now health care, energy, immigration, and education.

To me PCM is a fitting term for only one all encompassing area of concern. Gender inequality, the neglect of women’s and girls’education, health, economic empowerment, and human rights, and the coming 9.1 billion people on the planet by 2050, fighting over resources and for survival, and living on a planet with a down-spiraling environment, now that, and only that is COSMIC!

Hillary Clinton at her Senate confirmation hearings: Of particular concern to me is the plight of women and girls who comprise the majority of the world’s unhealthy, unschooled, unfed, and unpaid.

Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations: In women the world has the most significant but untapped potential for development and peace.

Stephen Lewis, former U.N. ambassador to Africa for AIDS: I challenge you to enter the fray against gender inequality. There is no more honorable or productive calling. There is nothing of greater import in the world. All roads lead from women to social change.

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