Archive for April, 2013

Margaret Thatcher: Reluctant Feminist?

April 17th, 2013

Funeral services were held for former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher this morning in London. Thatcher was the UK’s first and only female Prime Minister and became popularly known as the “Iron Lady,” a commentary on her unyielding leadership and political style. Her polarizing political platform, which included deregulation of the financial sector, flexible labor markets, the privatization of state-owned companies and the reducing the power of unions, caused her to be viewed as a controversial political figure. Read the rest of this entry »

Foodie Friday: Colonial American Fast Food?

April 12th, 2013

By: Sydnee Winston, Project Coordinator

This week’s Foodie Friday adventure takes us back to Colonial America—a time of exploration, revolution, taverns and….fast food?

Yes, that’s right, fast food! We may think of the desire for fast food as being a 20th century phenomenon, but our colonial ancestors had the same desire for quick, convenient and affordable fare that we do today. Read the rest of this entry »

High school girls organizing Wilcox County, GA’s first racially integrated prom

April 11th, 2013

Have you heard about this?

There is only one high school in Wilcox County, Georgia but toward the end of each school year, Wilcox County High School has two proms – one for white students and one for African American students. That’s right, Wilcox County High School’s proms, like proms in other rural towns across the south, are racially segregated. This has been the case in Wilcox County for four decades, since the school district desegregated. White parents and students did not want an integrated prom, so a school sponsored prom was cancelled and the tradition of a private, parent-hosted prom started. Since they are technically a private affair, segregated proms have been allowed to continue. The white parties are often viewed by students as the “official prom” and the African American parties are not. Homecoming is the same way.

This year, though, four girls – two African American, two white, and all friends since they were five years old – are changing that. They have planned Wilcox County’s first racially integrated prom, which will be held on April 27. Earlier this year, Quanesha Wallace, one of the two African American girls organizing the prom, was elected homecoming queen. A white student was elected homecoming king. Wallace was not allowed to attend the white homecoming dance, and she and the homecoming king are not pictured together in the school’s yearbook.

The Facebook page started to promote the prom and raise funds for it states, “we want to make a difference in our community.” We are hoping they have a successful prom and have started a new trend in Wilcox County toward equality!

Read more about the story here.

#ThrowbackThursday: “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”

April 11th, 2013

By: Elissa Blattman, NWHM Intern

In March 1952, singer Hank Thompson released one of country music’s most popular songs.  “The Wild Side of Life” spent over three months atop the Billboard country chart that spring and summer.  The song is about a man in love, scorned by a woman more attracted to “the glamor of the gay night life” and “the places where the wine and liquor flows” than being the type of wife he wanted.  Thompson sings in the chorus: “I didn’t know God made honky tonk angels / I might have known you’d never make a wife / You gave up the only one that ever loved you / And went back to the wild side of life”

Read the rest of this entry »

How “Downton Abbey” Got Me Thinking About Property Rights for Women

April 10th, 2013

By: Beth Hicks, NWHM Volunteer

Michelle Dockery (Mary Crawley) Photo Courtesy: jdeeringdavis

If you are like me, you are having a ball following Masterpiece Theater’s Downton Abbey. What life must have been like, especially for the women! In fact, watching the series got me thinking more about the history of property rights for women – in England and in America.

In the show, Mary Crawley is a young English woman who finds herself in 1912 with no chance of inheriting the beautiful abbey that has been in her family for many generations. She is the eldest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham, and as a woman, she can’t inherit property on her own, though her father has no sons. Read the rest of this entry »

Joan Wages & Ambassador of Finland Featured in Washington Diplomat Magazine

April 9th, 2013

April 9th is Equal Pay Day

April 9th, 2013

Equal Pay Day is a date chosen each year to symbolize how far into the current year women need to work to earn the same amount of money men earned during the previous year.  Today, April 9, 99 days into 2013, is Equal Pay Day.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, signed by President John F. Kennedy on June 10, 1963.  In writing, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 “prohibits discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers.”  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 reaffirmed the Equal Pay Act’s stance, and took it a step further by prohibiting discrimination by employers on the basis of sex, race, religion, and/or nationality.  So, if these legal protections are in place to combat wage discrimination, why do we still have an Equal Pay Day?

When President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, women made 59 cents for every dollar men made.  Today, women make on average 77 cents per dollar men make for the same work, according to findings of the US Census Bureau in 2012 (it is important to note, however, that there are some varying statistics on the wage gap, but research overwhelmingly contends that there is a pay difference between women and men conducting equal work).  While there has been some advancement over the past half century, what many pay equity and women’s rights activists find particularly troubling is that recent research shows progress has stalled during the past decade.  There has been virtually no change in the wage gap during this time for white women, while the gap for women of color, some research suggests, has grown.  Studies show that young women who recently graduated from college earn only 82 percent of the salaries of their recently graduated male counterparts who studied the same majors, completed the same degrees, and entered the same occupations.  In 2012, Bloomberg found that the field of personal care and service work was the only one of 265 major occupations where women’s average earnings were higher than men’s.  Motherhood or the possibility of motherhood is also a cited factor contributing to women’s lower salaries.  One study has found the pay gap to be closing at a rate of one half cent per year, which means women will not achieve pay equality until 2056. Read the rest of this entry »

Media Coverage of Women Candidates’ Appearance Has Harmful Impact

April 8th, 2013

Media Coverage of Women Candidates’ Appearance Has Harmful Impact
Positive, Negative, and Neutral Coverage Diminish A Woman Candidate’s Support From Voters

April 8, 2013
For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON DCName It. Change It., a joint project of The Women’s Media Center and She Should Run, released two new studies today that demonstrate the gender-based challenges women face from the media when they run for office.

Name It. Change It. is a non-partisan media-monitoring and accountability project of The Women’s Media Center and She Should Run, which tracks sexist media coverage of women candidates and public leaders.

In the survey on media coverage of women candidates’ appearance, conducted by Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners and Robert Carpenter of Chesapeake Beach Consulting, the research used actual quotes about women candidates from media coverage of the 2012 elections and demonstrates that when the media focuses on a woman candidate’s appearance, she pays a price in the polls.  This finding held true whether the coverage of a woman candidate’s appearance was framed positively, negatively or in neutral terms. The second survey, a simulation of the impact of sexism in campaigns, conducted by Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners and Leslie Sanchez of the Impacto Group, simulated a campaign situation similar to those experienced by real candidates and found that where a woman candidate has already been attacked, sexist coverage further diminishes her vote and the perception that she is qualified. Read the rest of this entry »

Foodie Fridays: The Classic American TV Dinner

April 5th, 2013

By: Sydnee Winston, Project Coordinator

It doesn’t get much more American than the TV dinner. The mention of those two words immediately conjures images of a 1950s era family dressed in perfectly starched clothes sitting on their couch with TV dinners on their laps, as an episode of “I Love Lucy” appears on the screen. These neatly partitioned, individual-sized frozen meals of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, peas and dessert (and other foods), have been delighting American families since the 1950s. Read the rest of this entry »

#ThrowbackThursday: Elizabeth Hawes – the Red Cross, pants, and changing the face of fashion

April 4th, 2013

By: Elissa Blattman, NWHM Intern

In the spirit of our recent exhibit, “From Ideas to Independence: A Century of Entrepreneurial Women,” this Throwback Thursday post is all about boundary-pushing fashion entrepreneur, Elizabeth Hawes.

The Pittsburgh Press, March 4, 1940 (click on image to read full article)

Elizabeth Hawes was born into an upper class family in New Jersey in 1903.  Even by age 12, when she was commissioned to make dresses for a shop in Pennsylvania, she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer.  She studied at Vassar College and Parsons School of Design, worked in a Paris fashion copy house, and wrote about fashion for The New Yorker.  In 1928, she opened her clothing firm, Hawes Inc., which originally made expensive custom outfits for women affluent enough to afford them.  Though she produced clothing for the wealthy, Hawes often mocked high fashion by introducing a bohemian influence to her designs and including styles for full figured women.  She also believed women’s clothes should be comfortable and nonrestrictive, which meant a shift toward free flowing outfits and even – as shocking as it may sound – pants for women. Read the rest of this entry »