The European Space Agency has set a goal of recruiting more diverse astronauts into its training program. Monika Pronczuk, writing for the New York Times, reports that currently only one woman, Samantha Cristoforetti, is ready to be sent on a mission to the International Space Station. Pronczuk points out that so far, 90 percent of all astronauts have been men, and the European Space Agency has sent only two women into space. The agency plans to recruit both women and people with disabilities to train for space travel.

Why this focus on diversity? Pronczuk quotes Lucy van der Tas, the…

New research from the Eos Foundation’s Women’s Power Gap Initiative reveals a dramatic gender and race wage gap for professionals in higher education. This study examined publicly available information for 2,300 employees regarding the total compensation data of top earners in public institutions and private higher education institutions in 2017. The authors note that the wage gap persists despite the fact that women make up 60 percent of all professionals in higher education and have been earning the majority of master’s and doctoral degrees for decades. Despite these accomplishments, they noticed these alarming facts:

  • Women represent only 24 percent of…

Ben Casselman of the New York Times writes that a body of evidence has been building for awhile that shows a deeply ingrained gender discrimination in the field of economics. Casselman notes that studies in recent years have shown that

  • Women are less likely than men to be hired and promoted as economists.
  • Women face greater barriers to getting their work published in economic journals.
  • Gender and racial gaps in economics are wider and have narrowed less over time than in other fields.

In response to the findings from these earlier studies, Casselman reports that the American Economic Association commissioned…

Being the first woman to do something seems to be happening more frequently now across a wide spectrum of roles and industries. It is important to take this moment to notice and mark them. We know there is no guarantee that opportunities will stay open to women unless we stay vigilant. Here are some recent “firsts” for women.

Jane Fraser

Jane Fraser will become the first woman chief executive of an American megabank, Citigroup, in 2021. Emily Flitter of the New York Times writes that Citigroup is one of the four largest banks in the United States. Fraser has occupied…

I had the good fortune to spend a week at the Highlander Institute in New Market, Tennessee, as part of my graduate education. Attendance at a Highlander program was required to complete of my doctorate degree specialization in transformative learning for social justice. At Highlander I learned the truth about Rosa Parks and how change really works.

The Highlander Folk School (which later became the Highlander Institute) was established in 1932 by Myles Horton in the Tennessee hills and initially focused on labor organizing and adult education. According to the Stanford University page about them, “by the early 1950s, however…

Early in the pandemic I wrote a post about the potential long-term impact of the pandemic on working mothers in the United States. Now, several months later, new studies reveal the following bad news for working mothers:

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in the first ten months of 2020, women lost 5.4 million jobs-nearly 1 million more than men. Women of color suffered a higher proportion of these losses overall, and in December 2020, Black, Hispanic, and Asian women suffered all the women’s job losses.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris notes in the Washington Post that women in low-wage…

A long time ago I worked as a bookkeeper for several small restaurants. As I prepared payroll checks, I often wondered why servers were paid less than the minimum wage-a lot less. The current hourly wage is still very low: $2.13 per hour for restaurant servers. I never heard or read an explanation for this low wage until now. A recent article by Michelle Alexander entitled “ Tipping Is a Legacy of Slavery,” really opened my eyes. …

Several recent important moments in history for women in other countries stand out and seem important to highlight. Here are a few.

France

This headline in the New York Times caught my attention: “ City of Paris Fined Nearly $110,000 for Appointing Too Many Women.” It seems that the first-ever woman mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo was deemed to be too successful in correcting historic imbalances in gender representation in city government. Technically, the law under which she was fined says that no more than 60 percent of appointments in a given year can be given to one gender. Her…

Let’s mark this moment. As of this writing, President Joe Biden has officially nominated the most diverse cabinet in US history. If members are confirmed, this will be the first-ever gender-balanced US cabinet with 50 percent of positions (eleven positions plus Vice President Kamala Harris) held by women. Of the eleven women nominated, seven of them are women of color-another long-overdue milestone. Several men nominated are also men of color, increasing the diversity of the whole cabinet. Here are the eleven women nominated to cabinet positions that require Senate confirmation, and some other notable nominations for women. …

Once in a while, events in the country bring different interest groups into alignment to work together for structural change. It seems possible that the combination of the urgency of hardships families are experiencing wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and the narrow Senate majority established by the election of two Georgia democrats will create that possibility. As I wrote in a previous post, citing Claire Cain Miller, “Nearly everybody cares for family at some point”:

  • In two-thirds of married couples with children, both parents work.
  • Nearly half of adults in their forties…

Anne Litwin

Author of ‘New Rules for Women: Revolutionizing the Way Women Work Together', OD Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Workshop Trainer

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