Archive for February, 2013

Sign the petition to give NWHM a home!

February 28th, 2013

The museums that line the National Mall in Washington, DC symbolize what our nation honors. While art, science, and culture are well represented, half our history is missing – women’s history.

Did you know that only one in ten figures in today’s history textbooks is a woman; less than eight percent of the statues in our national parks are of women and in our Nation’s Capitol Building, only thirteen out of the 217 statues are of women leaders? The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) will educate and inspire by building a museum in Washington, DC, a city whose attractions symbolize what our nation honors. It will also provide for traveling exhibits.

For the last nine years NWHM has petitioned Congress for a permanent home on or near the National Mall, offering to build the Museum with private monies – not at taxpayer’s expense – yet our efforts continue to be blocked. Congressional approval is needed to build a Museum in DC since it is Federal land.

This is what has occurred in Congress previously:
• Passing legislation twice in the U.S. Senate but not passing it in the House of Representatives
• In another session of Congress, passing legislation in the House but not in the Senate.
• Then last year Congress attached a pet-project amendment to our bill, which prevented our bill from passing.

New legislation was introduced on February 28, 2013 to create a Commission that would identify a permanent home for women’s history. We are excited about this form of legislation because this is how the last three Museums were built in DC.

Together, we can make it happen!

Sign the petition at and forward this to your network of friends – this is the year to make it happen.

Make your voice heard and let Congress know that you want women’s history on the National Mall!

NWHM Featured in Washington Post Article

February 28th, 2013

100 years after suffrage march, activists walk in tradition of Inez Milholland

Library of Congress – A memorable image from the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade was that of Inez Milholland astride a white horse amid the 5,000 marchers.

    By Lonnae O’Neal Parker, Published: February 27

    At the 100th anniversary of Washington’s Women’s Suffrage Parade on Sunday, participants will march in the bold tradition of suffragette Inez Milholland — even if they, and most of America, have never heard of her. Of all the images and people invoked during this centennial celebration, perhaps the least remembered is the one woman said to have died for the cause.

    Milholland, 27, sitting astride a white horse, in white, flowing, Joan of Arc robes is the most iconic image of that 1913 march. When she died three years later, she was hailed as a martyr of the women’s suffrage movement. That she is barely remembered today is part of the challenge and frustration for those who advocate for greater attention to women’s history and for those trying to build a national women’s history museum on the Mall.

    The march, sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta sorority and including the National Women’s History Museum, the Sewall-Belmont House Museum and the National Organization for Women, retraces the original 5,000-person march down Pennsylvania Avenue. It will feature women in period costumes and focus broadly on women’s equality.

    But in 1913, it was all about the vote.

    Milholland, raised in a wealthy Brooklyn family, was educated at Vassar and had a law degree from New York University. Her father was a writer for the New York Tribune, and her parents supported progressive causes, including suffrage and civil rights. She was on the leading edge of educated women advocating for civil, labor and women’s rights. She said she proposed to her husband, Dutch importer Eugen Jan Boissevain, as part of her “new freedom” as a woman.

    Milholland and Alice Paul, whom history remembers as an architect of women’s suffrage, organized the 1913 march, and infused it with allegory and symbolism. Justice, liberty, peace and hope were represented by women in robes and colorful scarves, accompanied by the sound of trumpets. Milholland helped wrap the broad themes of American life in canny visual appeals, including her youth and beauty at a time when suffragists were derided for being unfeminine and lacking respectability.

    “The only people who have heard about her are those who majored in women’s history in college,” says Joan Wages, president and chief executive of the National Women’s History Museum, which has been trying to secure a permanent site on the Mall for nearly 20 years. “That is because the history textbooks still say that women were ‘given’ the vote in 1920. The 72 years that led up to that 1920 amendment are just erased.” Read the rest of this entry »

    Finding the When and Why to Write a Book

    February 14th, 2013

    By: Marilyn D. Jacobson, PH.d

    Marilyn Jacobson

    When you consult for many Fortune 100+, a few smaller companies, and some not-for-profit organizations, while also teaching MBA students, you have stories to tell.  Stories have always been important to me (I have two degrees in English literature), but mostly because I have gotten to know people intimately from an organization development perspective, and for the last 10 years as an executive coach. Conducting interviews has been a major part of my work, using what is called a 360, involving in-depth interviews with individuals, followed by interviews with their supervisors, subordinates and peers. Reporting what was revealed as strengths and areas for development, followed by coaching, creates a strong bond with each individual.  While I could never repeat names, I had some great stories, which by necessity were only pillow talk.

    How did I know it was time to write a book? My daughter, who is also my editor and proofreader, has suggested it for years.  As a woman with children and friends who did not work, my life was bifurcated. Few asked and I did not talk about why I frequently left to travel on business.  I managed to live two separate lives with support from my husband. I rarely talked about what I was doing as a consultant. Also, the work was highly confidential, and it would have been unethical to tell stories. Nevertheless, there were many to tell, and they came piling out, expunged of organization and individual names, in Buenos Aires when a friend and I spent many evenings over glasses of Malbec. Before we returned home, she had convinced me I should write a book.

    I knew I had content, but I did not want to write about myself and I couldn’t write about my clients.  Time went by and I read Thomas Friedman’s book That Used To Be Us, and I realized that I had several outstanding clients, but that they were unprepared to enter the global, high tech, hyper connected fast-paced world that was approaching with hurricane force. Each individual had mastered a piece of what was needed, and I believed, collectively, they could provide a profile helpful to other leaders actively confronting this new environment.

    The first step was to ask my clients and a small group of other executives if they would participate in a book that I was going to write. Each person I approached did not say maybe, please elaborate, or no thanks.  They said “yes”! What followed was a book concept paper, an agent who also liked stories but helped me to focus.  What do I want my stories to do? Was my message or point of view clear? One day he said “From what you are saying, you want to turn the pyramid upside down” and there it was – my message. The stories were there, and the collective wisdom was there. Next to include was my premise: to be agile in this volatile marketplace, command and control organizations had to disappear.  Employees have to engage fully, so that the complexities of managing a world-wide organization, using appropriate technologies, or indeed inventing them, requires a flatter structure with decision-making dispersed throughout, rather than isolated at the top.

    It worked.  I had a willing group of high-level executives, who would participate, and each had a story and lesson to share, and I had the message, strengthened by experience and research.

    Turning the Pyramid Upside Down adds to what the executives offer, and makes the case regarding leadership that will make the difference in the future.
    Following are the themes drawn from the stories in the book:

    • People are number one; they are the only sustainable advantage.
    • Innovation happens in an environment that fosters continual cooperation and exchange of ideas.
    • Technology requires focus and discovery possible only with total involvement.
    • Partnering and collaborating to deal with escalating complexity requires pooling knowledge across the organization.
    • Promoting dialogue by asking, not telling.
    • Leaders emerge when need arises.  Talent and skills for greater success are already there.
    • Engagement is the watchword to achieve strategic outcomes.
    • Teams can decide as well as implement.
    • Hiring A players draws other A players.
    • Wellness and happiness in the work place is more than just balancing work and personal life; it actually reflects that there is an economic and psychological connection between health the workplace.

    The essentials of what organizations seeking success in this rapidly approaching new world will require:

    A Culture that inspires employees to contribute at a high level and partner with others to make the organization competitive is Goal #1, and the basic element of this new culture is moving away from a hierarchy. The new structure advocated is geared to the breakdown of silos or fiefdoms to flatter organizations where cooperation and collaboration is fostered.

    Innovation, creativity, exploration and discovery should take center stage in the contest between numbers and newness.  Without the concerns of power, status and revenue, which inevitably come from top-down organizations, investigation and investment in cutting-edge technologies can occur.

    Creating work environments that encourage exchange of ideas eliminates individual cubicles and substitutes a workplace that facilitates team effort instead of isolation.

    I now know when to write a book. It is when you have something to say that introduces a new formula for thought and action.

    Join the Parade: Honor the Suffragists

    February 8th, 2013

    The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority has organized a march to commemorate their 22 founders and the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Woman Suffrage Parade in Washington, DC.

    The National Women’s History Museum invites YOU to participate in this historic event that was the turning point in the Suffrage Movement. On Sunday March 3, 2013, the parade route will begin at the U.S. Capitol, proceed down Pennsylvania Avenue and assemble near the Washington Monument for closing remarks. The entire parade route is approx. 3.1 miles and will begin at 9:00 a.m. EST.

    NWHM members will meet on the west side of the Capitol adjacent to Pennsylvania Avenue at 8:30am.
    Look for the NWHM banner.

    Come participate in this historic occasion. Click here To register:

    Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.