A barrier-breaking generation gives context to contemporary female life.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Concussions and NFL Culture Change

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asked for and got a platform at Harvard School of Public Health this afternoon to offer his thoughts on promoting safety in football and other contact sports. His speech came four days after three top QBs were lost to concussions on a single game day.

I had hoped Goodell would grab this chance to get tough on his bosses, ask them to face the problem with urgency and demand harsher disincentives for the brutal use of helmets during tackles. But it was not to be. Goodell's speech, which he read from a prepared text, instead promoted the good intentions of the NFL while sprinkled with gratuitous references to Harvard's college football history. Goodell presented a compendium of sports safety initiatives the league is involved with, most targeting youth players. But he didn't make a shred of policy news.

He could have called for a new rule requiring teams to immediately pull players from the field and the game if they "helmet butt" other players. Instead he gave the tired explanation that the current regulations deal with the problem and need to be enforced. He repeatedly suggested that "a change in the culture" would cure the ill.

Thing is, the current regulations and the idea of a change in culture put all the onus on the "victim" -- looking to the hurt player to acknowledge an injury after the fact. What about the responsibility of the "perpetrators" as I think of them?

Public health is all about prevention and Goodell's ideas for improving safety in the NFL are not it. Prevention would be creating disincentives of such immediacy and magnitude that an NFL defensive player wouldn't dare helmet butt the opponent. I'm thinking immediate suspension from the game, something that really hurts the team. The $30,000 fine levied on the Texans' Tim Dobbins several days after his Sunday assault on Chicago QB Jay Cutler did nothing to affect the Texans' competitive ability during that game - while Chicago had to play without its starting QB.

A player might think twice before pulling the helmet move if he knows it will be the last move of the game for him, that he'll be ejected, and that, in addition to hurting his opponent, he will be directly hurting his team's best interests.

Goodell received polite applause after his presentation. Then the media gathered around to ask if the NFL had reached any decision yet about testing players for Human Growth Hormone (HGH).  No, it had not.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

International Day of the Girl: The Threat of Education

Today is the first International Day of the Girl. In the public health world, where I worked for 13 years, it was always said that the most efficient and effective way to improve health globally was to educate girls and women. It also happens to be the best way to improve economies and to enlighten societies. This is unsettling to static, patriarchal nations. It may even be unsettling to people in our own country.

In "Her Crime Was Loving Schools," New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has written about the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot this week by the Taliban for advocating for girls' education. The point blank shooting by masked men who boarded her school bus in the assassination attempt -- was an abomination decried by the Pakistani government and one that should be denounced by all who call themselves civilized. [at this writing Malala Yousafzai is still alive but in critical condition after bullets to her head and neck]

Kristof writes that the shooting and other recent international assaults against girls "remind us that the global struggle for gender equality is the paramount moral struggle of this century, equivalent to the campaigns against slavery in the 19th century and against totalitarianism in the 20th century."

Kristof does not exaggerate. I add to his words my archived blog post on the 40th anniversary of coeducation at Princeton University and the work that remains to assure that girls worldwide reach their human potential.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Baseball, Locker Rooms and Equal Protection

Thirty-four years ago today, Federal Judge Constance Baker Motley ruled that female sports reporters were to be allowed equal access to Yankee Stadium's locker rooms. The plaintiff was Melissa Ludtke, a young journalist (and friend of mine) then at Sports Illustrated who had been barred from the Yankees and Dodgers locker rooms during the 1977 World Series. The lead defendant was Major League Baseball's Commissioner Bowie Kuhn.

 Yankee Stadium was a city-owned facility. Motley cited the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection clause. Case closed.  But not really...

The ruling was hardly the end of the story for women reporters who still had to contend with other teams and sports, yet it was exceedingly high profile and served notice to all leagues (and symbolically to any all-male institution) that the time had come; women would be treated as the professionals they were or the law would have something to say about it.
As Melissa explained to me today via FB: "Technically only Yankee Stadium was affected by Motley's ruling, and Major League Baseball appealed that decision. In early October, we were back in Motley's district courtroom twice, once for a hearing amending her ruling and then Kuhn's lawyers refused to agree that Motley's order be extended to the city of Philadelphia to allow equal access there during the playoffs. But on January 3, 1979, Kuhn attorney's notified the Second Circuit's Court of Appeals that Major League Baseball would not pursue further its appeal of Motley's decision. When the baseball season opened in 1979, equal access was the rule with all of the league's teams."

Others of us had been in NBA and NHL locker rooms since 1975 (Newsday's Jane Gross was the pioneer covering basketball; The Daily News' Lawrie Mifflin and myself at The New York Times were the intrepid female duo covering ice hockey).

But Ludtke vs. Kuhn and Yankee Stadium sent the loudest message to date. Yet here we are 34 years later with another closed room still to contend with. My question: When is the NFL going to put a woman in the anchor booth?? We could all die waiting....

NFL Referees Built That

With the regular refs locked out by NFL management and with college replacements on the field, the whole weekend saw football games that looked more like hockey or rugby rumbles. The uncalled late hits alone were terrifying. Several fistfights broke out. The refs were confused or hesitant or equally overeager in calling infractions. The men in stripes couldn't control the game, and the players knew it.

The Monday night Seattle-Green Bay game-ending call topped it all.  After the Seattle quarterback's Hail Mary pass was unmistakably intercepted, Seahawks' Golden Tate and Green Bay's Jennings landed on the turf and wrestled for what seemed like an hour as the officials tried to clear the pack. One ref signaled touchdown; the other signaled no touchdown. The replay, shown immediately by ESPN to millions, testified to an interception (and to earlier offensive pass interference by Seattle -- no NFL pro ref would have missed that). But then came the announcement that, after review, the ruling on the field would stand. Seattle ended up "winning" the game 14-12. Read the NFL's exegesis of the call.

We've all had enough -- the press, the players, the fans in the stand, the fans at home. We have not been watching NFL ball the past 3 weeks. This is clear and needs no replay.

The owners are willing to pay tens of millions to a single player but won't cough up a little change for the guys who actually run the game on the field (NFL refs make between $25,000 and $70,000 tops) nor guarantee their paltry pensions (let them eat 401Ks). Prevalent attitude this election year...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Michelle O at DNC: Don't Slam the Door of Opportunity Behind You

Michelle Obama at the DNC last night had some great messages about equity, education, health care and the true meaning of success, while also telling the story of Barack and her own modest beginnings, the debt owed to govt student loan programs and their continuing focus on providing a good upbringing and better world for their girls and, by extension, all of the next generation.

photo AP
And without saying the word "Romney" she managed by implication to undercut the Republican candidate's economic policies, his character and his moral values.


"Barack.. believes that when you work hard and done well and
walk through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it
shut behind you."

"Because for Barack, success isn't about how much money you make.  It is
about the difference you make in people's lives."

"And he believes that women are more than capable of making
our own choices about our bodies and our health care."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Taking Your Husband's Name

My new friend Carol Cassara has a great prose poem post on her blog Middle-Aged Diva, musing about the choice of whether to change your last name to his when you get married. She's let me share it with you. Here's an appetizer; then read the rest at her blog.

These arrived the other day.
Yes, the college I'm teaching at needs to have them on file
to be sure I have the appropriate credentials
to be teaching young minds. 
Not that these tell you much
except that I met a university's degree criteria.
But, whose name is on them?
That is M's surname, which I took in 1972 when we married the first time. 
And that's who I was as I finished my college career.
And then, one day, after he left, I was writing a check in Publix on Appalachee Parkway in Tallahassee, Fla. {Yes, there was a day when grocery stores did not take credit cards and debit cards had not yet been invented.}  I remember the moment vividly. I stopped, mid-signature and thought to myself, Why do I have this name? 
CONT'D at : Middle-Aged Diva

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Purchase Power = Women Power

BlogHer is a big deal. And a blast this year in NYC. Plus the Expo hall is jammed w brand name company booths trying to interest us in their latest products. Women in U.S. make up to 85% of household consumer purchase decisions. 

Sponsors of the event include Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Hillshire Farm, Samsung, Dannon, Lysol (!), Wells Fargo and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles to name a few.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Obama Addresses 5,000 Blogging Hers

Here's Lisa Belkin's account on Huffington Post as the BlogHer2012 Conference opens in NYC with a video address from President Obama.  (Mitt Romney was also invited but only Obama accepted)

Obama said “the choice women face right now in this election could not be bigger.”

Watch video of the President's address.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ready for BlogHer2012?

The conference of the year starts tomorrow! I'm heading down from Boston. BlogHer, now in its 8th year, is always an electric storm of female bloggers who write on every topic imaginable (though Parenting and Food blogs are big). Women from around the U.S. and the world. Look for my on-site tweets @girlinthelocker

Friday, July 20, 2012

Guns Don't Make Citizens Safer

Do you really want the facts about gun ownership and gun violence, or do you prefer the NRA's false rhetoric? At Harvard School of Public Health, where I worked until recently, its Injury Control Research Center website tells the truth about the causes and consequences of our precious "right to bear arms" -- more like a "right to be killed by a gun."

Some examples: States with higher gun ownership rates have higher rates of gun homicide. Same holds true for countries. (the point -- guns don't make people safer) And guns in the home are more likely to be used to intimidate intimates than to fend off strangers. Meanwhile, young people who commit suicide by firearms almost always do it with a gun owned by a parent. How tragic is that? Completely preventable. Guns give no second chances. Of people who attempt suicide by gun, 85% are "successful". Compare this to attempted suicide by poison/pill overdose -- 2% success. And the vast majority of people who have a failed attempt at suicide will not eventually die by suicide. Instead they will go on with their lives and die sometime of other, different causes. But, as I said, no second chances for people with a gun in their hands.

The right to bear arms is bunk. Semi-automatic weapons too easily turn violent psychotic people into mass murderers. Think about if the guy at the movie theater last night in Aurora, a suburb of Denver,  had only had a knife...

At this posting, 12 people were killed in the massacre and 59 were wounded.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Girl from Delhi in Ghirardelli Square

courtesy: Chronicles of a Valley Girl

As a "pioneer" in an earlier generation, I identify with my young friend from India. She is an engineering student at Princeton University, the first of her extended family to study abroad and a female at that! What a fuss the Aunties made at home, she told me, criticizing her parents for allowing her, an unmarried girl, to live and study beyond their reach and protection.

There are still many barriers to break, pioneering to be done by women globally. My friend recently felt her liberation, of personhood and thought, most keenly in SF's Ghirardelli Square. Her post is illuminating -- about her journey and ours.

On the SF visit, my friends were kind of annoyed at my constant nagging to go to Ghirardelli Square to eat ice cream (though they did a good job of trying to hide it!). Still, visiting Ghirardelli for me was more than just tasting their wonderful desserts. The last time I visited Ghirardelli Square and stayed around for a while was in 2008 with family. 2008 was a different life. It was my first visit to the US and I was struck first and foremost by how self reliant people here seemed. Of course, I now know that it is more of a necessity. The US seems to force you to be self reliant, in a way in which I was never forced before. Growing up in Delhi, I was very protected and sheltered. Of course, a lot of it had to do with age and the level of safety a city like Delhi accorded me - but coming to the US, I felt it gave me the means to be completely free, make my own decisions, my own mistakes and really understand myself.
I mentioned this to my parents and others around me when we visited, and most people laughed it off. Like many other things I said on the trip, this too was considered a whim, a teenager’s fantasy and phase that I would soon grow out of.
“Things are different in the real world. Don’t try and be TOO independent. It’s not a good attitude, especially for girls…”

Full blog post at Chronicles of a Valley Girl

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Swimmer and the Writer

Charming and uplifting first person story by NYT sportswriter Karen Crouse on how she impacted a swimmer's life at age 13 through the power of the written word. He went on to become an Olympic champion. She went on to become....NYT sportswriter Karen Crouse.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Etan Patz: The Boy New Yorkers Never Forgot

From my current memoir-in-progress:

There must have been something too, about the child Etan Patz, or maybe about his plight. This was the six-year-old boy who disappeared in lower Manhattan, it was 1979, while walking to the school bus stop – on his own for the first time. He most certainly was kidnapped; his photo was in all the papers and on posters all over the city for weeks and months and then years. While I was working in New York at the Times, I was often on the subway on my way to an assignment, and in the rocking motion of the cars and this forced downtime, I would scan the faces of the people on the other side of the car and daydream a bit, as everyone must. And sometimes I would try to imagine if I would recognize Etan Patz, as an adolescent, as a teenager. Would I be able to spot that particular upturned smile? Could I recognize him and grab him and say, I know you; you are Etan Patz, you were taken away by a bad person, but your mother is still looking for you. Do you remember? And I’d pull him out of his bewilderment and restore him to his mother. It bothered all of us New Yorkers terribly, that story. 

Headline today:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"I Went to Princeton, Bitch" A Video For Smart Women Everywhere

Check out the hilarious video by Nikki (2k) Muller: "The Ivy League Hustle (I Went to Princeton, Bitch)"
A slogan for women everywhere who still feel like they have to somehow mask their smarts. If a man is intimidated, that's HIS problem.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Women in Their Place

This New York Times editorial quickly captures all the ways in which the Republicans have shown they want women back in their place -- by undermining equal pay efforts, domestic violence protection and reproductive health services, including cancer screening. As far as I know, we still have the vote.

From the editorial: Whether this pattern of disturbing developments constitutes a war on women is a political argument. That women’s rights and health are casualties of Republican policy is indisputable.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How About a Green Jacket for the Lady Who Runs IBM?

Augusta, consider yourself screwed. It's over. IBM's Chief Executive is a woman. Never figured on that, did you? I expect Virginia M. Rometty will not go away quietly if you fail to give her a green member's jacket like you do all the other major sponsors' execs. NYTimes' Lynn Zinser explains.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Madeleine Albright: Rights Never Stay Won

In her latest support email for Obama, former Sec. of State Madeleine Albright wrote:

Republicans are on the wrong side of history, once again.

Women will never go back to the days where we could not control our own reproductive health care decisions – and we will not remain silent in the face of vicious misogyny and anti-women hate speech.

But, one thing I’ve learned is that rights never stay won. Each generation must stand up and fight to hold accountable those who would try to take our rights away.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Rugby & Equity: How I Became a Sportswriter

[reposted from 2004]
It’s probably rare that a person can pinpoint the moment that set their life’s work on its unique course, but I happen to know that moment, can still feel it; the heat coming to my face, the turn of my head, the pivoting of my feet and all that was contained in that completely reflexive move. Here’s the setup to that moment:

I had joined the college newspaper my freshman year at Princeton. I was the only girl on the newspaper staff, the university having just hastily admitted its first female students in the fall of 1969. But Princeton could hardly be called co-ed yet. There were only 100 girls that first year; the male/female ratio was 20 to 1, and the august Gothic campus was still very much “the Old Princeton,” though change was coming.

I had worked on my high school newspaper, my junior high newspaper, had started an elementary school newspaper with my classmates and, to go even farther back, had published a neighborhood news sheet using a little printing press with rubber letters that my parents had given me in maybe fourth grade.  I was, in short, a newspaper person.

So I was very pleased to have “made staff” at The Daily Princetonian, and that day, went to the bulletin board in the “Prince” office to see what assignments I’d been given for that semester’s coverage.

As I understood it, each reporter was to receive a “news” assignment and a “sports” assignment because at this Ivy League college there were so very many sports teams that all hands were needed to report on them.

Across from my name on the bulletin board under the “news” category it said I was to cover the faculty; a prestigious assignment. But under “sports” the column was blank. Mark had baseball, Tom had football and so on, but under my name…nothing.

Pivoting reflexively from the bulletin board, I took a few steps toward the desk of the sports editor and set the course of my career.

I can still see him, bare feet up on his desk, worn jeans, a halo of unruly blond hair and a stoned expression on his face (he spent a lot of afternoons like that).

“Why didn’t you give me a sports assignment?” I demanded across the desk.

He looked at me languidly. “Well, we didn’t think you’d want to cover one.”

“Why should I do HALF the work of everybody else?” I said with unassailable logic and probably some degree of force because I remember he kind of sat up in his chair and stammered out a reply: “Well, I never thought of it that way.” Then he made an offering: “What sport do you wanna cover?”

Now here was the crunch. Understand that I was no great sports enthusiast and had never played a sport in school; I had a passing knowledge of professional sports from sharing lazy Sunday afternoons on the couch in front of the TV with my dad watching football games, golf tournaments and the like. I certainly knew who Joe Namath was and Y.A.Tittle and Arnold Palmer, so maybe I was ahead of the game. But now I had to think quickly, and an image came to mind.

How about rugby? I ventured.

Rugby? The zoned-out sports editor was incredulous. Rugby was a brutish club sport played by reckless young men of high disrepute. But what the editor didn’t know was that I’d already been to several rugby team parties, and they were predictably wild and loads of fun. The bawdy drinking songs were especially transgressive for a girl from a protected suburban upbringing.

So rugby it was. I wrote about the team that fall, then the (men’s) squash team in the winter and (men’s) tennis in the spring, football the next fall. Then I lost the election for managing editor of the newspaper, but the new editor appointed me sports editor. Now with sports writing unexpectedly on my resume, when I graduated I ended up with a summer intern’s job in the sports section of The New York Times and that was that.

I’d never intended to be a sports writer; as I tell everyone now, it was a pure and simple matter of equity…and rugby parties.

Breaking the Locker Room Barrier

(reposting this from a 2004 blog entry)
I didn’t set out to be a sportswriter. I didn’t set out to “break the locker room barrier.” I was pre-med in college. I was supposed to be a doctor. In my college application essay I said I wanted to alleviate the world population problem.

Here’s what happened instead:

“Dear Miss Herman – It’s hard to address a harlot disguised as a reporter, but I just want to warn you that you cannot do such a thing with impunity. It’s wrong, no matter how many women libbers might dumbly applaud.

“If there had been any real, real men in that locker room you would have been kicked out on your prostitutional ass. May that happen, if there is anything to wake you up to your horrendously bad example. Surely you shall regret this, and regret it bitterly.”

It was an anonymous letter with a Georgia postmark that arrived in the tide of letters to my desk at The New York Times following “the Montreal locker room incident” of Jan. 21, 1975. That night, following the National Hockey League’s All-Star game, I had joined the other sports reporters at the door to the winning team’s locker room, and, like everyone else, I had walked in.

At first, I thought no one would notice me (really) in the crush of reporters eager for a quick post-game quote to round out their stories. I was wearing dark slacks and a dark sweater; I didn’t stand out, I thought…..but there was a rumble and then a kind of shriek and shout. What they saw apparently astonished them: a girl in the locker room!

There were TV lights and photographers and reporters with microphones crushing in on me – and on Marcel St. Cyr, a female reporter for CKLM radio in Montreal who had walked in right behind me — but I quickly lost sight of her. I tried to continue my interview with one of the hockey players…he was wearing a towel around his waist, and he held another towel to his curly hair, still wet from the showers, but I could hardly hear his words for the din and for the rush of my own blood in my head. “Why are you here?” the male reporters asked. “What are you doing?”

I tried to push them away. I’m not the news; “I’M JUST DOING MY JOB,” I kept saying, to no avail, for I was, that night, big news indeed.

Why was I there? A much longer story (see “Rugby and Equity” under category Sports) Why was I there that night…a shorter story.

I was but 23 years old. As the regular beat reporter covering professional hockey for The New York Times, it was my job to write up games about the New York Rangers and New York Islanders. And get the stories done in time to make the morning newspaper’s severe deadline of 11 p.m. The games were typically finished at 10:25 p.m.

Robin and Bruins' Terry O'Reilly
It was a literal sprint down to the locker room level to get a post-game quote from the players, something every game story would have the next day, and then back up to the press room to churn out the article. I DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO WASTE. Being barred from the players’ locker room, forced to wait at the door for a player to come out, was wasting time I simply didn’t have—and I personally found it mortifying. I had been lobbying the NHL to allow me into its clubs’ locker rooms as a matter of equity and professionalism— at the time I was the only female member of the National Hockey Writers Association.

But the answer, in cool patrician language from Clarence Campbell, the president of the league, had always been ‘no’. And from certain club presidents and general managers it had been less polite and more like ‘hell no’.

Then came the All-Star game. Change was in the air in all parts of society, and the locker room issue, as absurd a privilege as it seems, was assuming symbolic proportions.

I didn’t ask for the big event to happen that night. The invitation came entirely unsolicited. At a press conference the day before the game, a waggish reporter from Boston, without my prompting or foreknowledge, asked the two All-Star team coaches if they would admit accredited female reporters into the locker room after the game as they routinely did the male reporters.

The two coaches looked briefly at one another, one of them raised an eyebrow, and then they both firmly said yes. And so the other reporters prepared for a great story, and Marcel, and I were left to decide whether we would take up the offer.

The reason the coaches were able to say yes so easily, I realized in retrospect, was because the teams they would be coaching that next night were not really theirs. These were All-Star teams, an artificial construct for whom no one in particular was responsible. The coaches could go home to their own pro teams after the game, and no custom would change. The locker room entry could be viewed as a one-night stand.

When I saw the locker room invitation printed unequivocally and under provocative headlines in the French papers the next day—turning a longtime request to the league into a dare--I knew a time to act had presented itself.

The All-Star game, though contested by hockey’s icons, was a boring, half-heartedly played 7-1 match. As Marcel and I walked down to the locker rooms, along the boards and toward the ramp, a photographer jumped in front of us and begged us to stop for a quick photo. I began then to get a queasy feeling that something more than just a set of ordinary player interviews was going to occur.

As I walked into the damp locker room jammed with reporters, and the perspiring, semi-clothed players on benches along the periphery, I still really thought no one would notice me in the milling crowd.

The next day’s papers argued otherwise. There were big headlines “Girl Reporters Get the Bare Facts” “Locker Room Barrier Broken” in newspapers across Canada and the United States. It didn’t matter if the city even had a hockey team.

For weeks afterward, wherever I traveled on the road with the Rangers or Islanders, male sports reporters from newspapers and TV followed me around, asked questions about my job, argued in sports columns whether women had the right to be in the locker room. And I found myself forced to muster Supreme Court-worthy arguments for an inane, essentially logistical problem that could easily have been solved by a few big towels.

Eventually, over the course of a year, through sheer force of my persuasion and gathering momentum kicked off by the All-Star game, the other NHL teams, one by one, allowed me into their locker rooms. It turned out not to be the young players (all the same age as me) so much who’d been objecting to the times a changin’. It was usually an owner or general manager or coach from an older generation who simply couldn’t accept the idea of a woman in this historically, culturally and very literally and nakedly all-male territory. The reaction was instinctive and visceral. I remember one silver-haired coach apologizing over and over, insisting that he liked me, that he liked women. He couldn’t help but say no. I don’t think he even understood why himself.

It had much to do with sex roles and sexuality and power and all that— a big cliché, but one with undeniable force--- the closed locker room as a metaphor we were all living---but that barrier crumbled away, along with a lot else, in the face of the Woodstock generation’s free-thinking and righteous ways.

I was a sportswriter for a quick five years; I moved on when it became boring. How many times could I listen to players and coaches after the game say “Our guys gave a hundred and ten percent”  “We let them play their game, we didn’t play ours.”  “The ball didn’t bounce our way” “We play it one game at a time”….it got so I could write the quotes myself.

Those quotes…the ones that I pressed so hard to get into the locker room to write down. They weren’t the point after all, were they?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Politics Have No Place in Health Care

Here's the latest turn of events after the Susan G. Komen Foundation, ending a long partnership, precipitously withdrew $700,000 in funding to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged $250,000 of his own money to Planned Parenthood to help the group continue to offer the service.
Says Mayor Bloomberg: "Politics have no place in health care."

A Serial Killer and No One Cared

I have been following closely the gruesome case of the still-at-large Long Island serial killer who's been dumping bodies at Gilgo and Oak Beaches for more than a decade! The bodies were only discovered a year ago. I know the area from idyllic teen years when it was the spot for beer parties and beach bonfires. This case has gotten no national attention likely because many of the 10 victims appear to have been prostitutes. When they went missing, no one cared.

Now police have a suspect, but only after the community pressed officers to go door to door asking questions.

Pink is Out

Nancy Brinker, Komen founder
[photo courtesy Mother Jones/PalmBeach Post/ZUMA press]
More details from Mother Jones on the conservative background and anti-choice makeup of Komen Foundation's board. Can of worms here. Cutting off support for breast cancer screening at Planned Parenthood may be the worst pr move they ever made. Pink is OUT starting now.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Susan Must Be Rolling in Her Grave

Shocking to see the Susan G. Komen Foundation throw Planned Parenthood under the bus. (report from NYTimes) This apparent PR move to appease longtime anti-abortion critics is going to backfire big time. So much for Sisterhood.
Backstory in HuffPost pins this on Komen Foundation's new VP for public policy, Karen Handel, who ran for Gov. of Georgia in 2010 on an anti-abortion, anti-Planned Parenthood platform.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Listen Up

The New York Times wrote recently on the dearth of work for female voice-over specialists. In the industry, men's voices are thought to be more "authoritative" and have more "credibility." (This presumption is a barrier in many employment situations -- eg who gets to make presentations or negotiate prices) Of course no one's really tested the movie voice-over conventional wisdom. You'd just need a controlled study with two identical trailers but for the voice. Anyone offering grant money for that study? No?

In the meanwhile, I chose a female voice -- a close colleague who had worked in radio -- to do the voice-over for a video I produced introducing our new Forum at Harvard School of Public Health. Listen to the results yourself. One small step for womankind.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Today: 39th Anniversary of Legally Owning Our Bodies

1973 The Supreme Court Decides Roe v. Wade
Here's a good blogpost from NARAL on the current situation

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Good Old Days Pre Roe v. Wade

Time for a reminder. A powerful personal story that appeared in Mother Jones.