September 8, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 2:05 pm by Gina

This is the first time I’ve done a “review” but I wanted to share with you a book I just read. Let’s call it something catchy like “G’s Book Club” (or does Oprah already have that one?) Okay you get back to me with suggestions for that..

The book is the first of a trilogy by Stieg Larsson, a Swedish author who delivered the manuscripts shortly before dying of a heart attack. (interesting fact no?) Set in Sweden, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is crime novel with surprising amounts of depth. It is a multi-faceted book that touches on murder, family secrets and, of course, love. I also noticed a reoccurring feminine theme- one that we are going to focus on.

The novels protagonist, Mikael Blomkvist, is an investigative journalist recently convicted of libel. He takes a job investigating the disappearance of a member of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families. He is the typical protagonist- gentlemanly, moral, conflicted and suave. His predictability doesn’t take away from the story though, as he has many influential supporting characters to back him up. He seems to be surrounded by a posse of women throughout the entire novel, prominently his longtime lover and best friend Erika Berger and his eventual coworker and semi-girlfriend Lisbeth Salander.

Split into three parts, each part begins with a different fact involving women and crime in Sweden. Part 1 states, “Eighteen percent of the women in Sweden have at one time been threatened by a man.” Part 2 begins with “Forty-six percent of the women in Sweden have been subjected to violence by a man.” And finally Part 3 tells us that “Thirteen percent of the women in Sweden have been subjected to aggravated sexual assault outside of a sexual relationship.”

Though it is not the first issue one may think about while reading the book, in fact the plot can get cumbersome at times from the amount of story lines running through, I believe the author purposefully sheds a light on the mistreatment of women. Abuse and sexual abuse are common instances in the book that are never sugarcoated, ignored or disguised, even to characters as independent and powerful as Salander.

While this and the other negative themes can be depressing, the book comes off as realistic to me, even if it is a bit raw. Alex Berenson of the NY Times shares this about the novel’s title: “The book’s original Swedish title was “Men Who Hate Women,” a label that just about captures the subtlety of the novel’s sexual politics. Except for Blomkvist, nearly every man in the book under age 70 is a violent misogynist.”

Was this Larsson’s real vision of men and women in Sweden? Was his motivation to, as I said, “shed a light on the mistreatment of women” or simply to write an intriguing novel? If you read the book- tell me what you think!!

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July 22, 2010

manKIND

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 10:43 pm by Gina

Hi loves,

How do you want to be remembered? This is the opening question to the beautiful, insightful, and bubbly video by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. As the video acknowledges, it is a “whopping” question. Still, it raises some thoughts about how we live currently, and how that will affect the way we are remembered.

So, as an interactive way to do this post, I want to hear your acts of kindness! What have you observed? What have you done? What has been done to you? Big or small, tell your acts of kindness! One act, two, a dozen! Send us a story or make a list (a favorite thing for becauseiamawoman) and we will share the kindness for everyone as a reminder of the economics of kindness in our world.

I realize it can be difficult to think of an example of a positive human interaction, but it doesn’t have to be anything grand or anything small- just kind.

Some examples to encourage you to share:
– Allowing a semi that needs to get over room to do so, without speeding by or getting frustrated
– Watering the flowers for a neighbor
– The bracelet another counselor made me just in time for my last day of work
– Random comments on my facebook wall that make me smile
– Cracking jokes with the overworked Subway employee

We all know the benefits of thinking of positive things- so take some time out to do it and share it with becauseiamawoman! “What have you filled the world with?”

~Gina Marie

May 14, 2010

Women Board Directors

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 10:18 pm by Gina

This post comes from a new site called “Catalyst” that I found while searching “number of women CEO’s of fortune 500 companies.” haha I am such a nerd.

Catalyst’s mission is to work “with businesses and the professions to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business.” Thus their motto is “Changing Workplaces. Changing Lives.” Founded in 1962 Catalyst is now the leading nonprofit organization working with over 400 business globally. It seems mainly that their main work is research. They then use their information to advance women and business and provide models for change.

Wow! That’s a lot! In a census published in March 2010, “Financial Post 500 Women Board Directors,” Catalyst “examines women’s representation on corporate boards at the most profitable companies in Canada.” Many interesting things were found:

– In both 2007 and 2009, less than one-fifth of companies had three or more women on their boards, and more than 40 percent had no women directors.

– Nearly half of public companies have no women board directors.

– Women’s representation in board leadership positions at public companies continues to lag behind their overall representation as board directors.

BUT

– Women’s representation on private company boards increased 4 percentage points from 2007 to 2009.

– In 2009, women held 14.0 percent of board seats at Financial Post 500 companies, an increase of one percentage point since 2007.

For the complete study click here

What do you think? Did you even realize these things? Do you think this is still an important issue or not as important anymore? Let me hear your thoughts! I also encourage you to explore Catalyst.org, its an interesting site!

Happy Weekend!
~Gina

March 8, 2010

International Women’s Day

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 6:41 pm by Gina

Today is a very happy day for Because I Am a Woman readers- It’s International Women’s Day!!

IWD started in 1909 in America and is now celebrated every March 8th by hundreds of countries around the world.

“Activists of All India Women Cultural Organization take out a rally on the occasion of International Women’s Day, in New Delhi, India, 8 Mar 2010” –Associated Press

This year, the International Committee of the Red Cross is raising awareness for women displaced by armed conflict. They say,

“We want not only to draw attention to the plight of these women but also to acknowledge their tremendous courage and resilience in ensuring the survival of their families in hostile and unfamiliar circumstances.

I think it is equally important to raise awareness of the specific threats women face as a result of displacement. All too often, women and children are lumped together as the most vulnerable group. However, the two are very different groups, each with specific vulnerabilities and needs.

Women are not totally helpless. Our idea is to move away from assumptions and stereotypes and instead call attention to women’s specific needs, vulnerabilities in wartime, and indeed the remarkable strength they show in protecting and supporting their families and finding ingenuous ways of coping with their ordeal.”

Beyond this, International Women’s day is a day to celebrate the beauty and strength women have no matter what race, religion, nationality, orientation or age! It has been used as a political platform, but today I hope we can celebrate it with love, grace, beauty and power, towards each other and our accomplishments world wide.

To finish up, this video from NATO leaves us with a simple message, not against men, just against not allowing women equal rights.

Peace,

Gina Marie

February 11, 2010

Black History Month

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 7:20 pm by Gina

Readers!

Can you believe its February 11th and I haven’t done a post about Black History Month yet? Well get ready because I’m about to go Black History Post CRAZY! ha, that sentence barely made sense.

I want to begin with one of my favorite speeches/poems of all times- “Ain’t I a Woman?” This not only focuses on African-Americans (I say that because many people affected by this speech were Africans) it also focuses on Women.

Isabella Baumfree, known to most as Sojourner Truth was a powerful Woman’s Rights Activist, Abolitionist, Minister and Ex-Slave. This speech was given in 1851 at a women’s rights convention in Ohio (my home!) I encourage you to read the speech in its entirety, it really is worth it! (via)

Ain’t I a Woman?

“Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.”

Wow. Now imagine yourself there. Imagine the volatility of the time. Imagine what a scene this powerful speech would cause!

For now, in 2010, lets focus on the last paragraph: “These women together ought to be able to turn it [the world] back and get it right side up again!” I believe that this is true. We all know the power of a woman’s will- imagine it combined!!

Happy BHM!!
~Gina Marie

January 21, 2010

Dumb Generals, Irresponsible Presidents

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 6:56 pm by Gina

“It may be his prerogative to be dumb, but that’s really not a very good idea.”
-Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women.

This quote completely caught my attention while flipping through an issue of TIME magazine. O’Neill is referring to a US Army general in Iraq, Anthony Cucolo III, who directed that female soldiers who become pregnant, as well as the male soldiers who impregnate them, be punished.

Ok, I know what you are thinking- “oh here come the wrath of the feminists.” Which, it seems isn’t so inaccurate, but that is not why I am posting this quote. There are many sides to this argument and many more points than would immediately come to mind. For one, you can’t punish someone for conceiving a child! On the other hand, taking an oath as a soldier means to fulfill extraordinary duties that span the length of your deployment- getting pregnant and unavoidably being sent home shatter that oath.

A Post commentary article that takes a slightly opposite side of O’Neill quotes Cucolo as saying,

“I appreciate the inflamed – I got it. Here’s the deal. I’m the one responsible and I mean this sincerely and I mean this with – I hope I’m not sounding – it doesn’t matter. I am the one responsible and accountable for these 22,000 soldiers. The National Organization for Women is not. Critics are not. I appreciate – I will listen to critics, and they add thought. But they actually don’t have to do anything. I have to accomplish a very complex mission, very complex.”

Apparently he doesn’t care how he sounds, and he means what he says. The author of the article mentioned above also points out that Cucolo’s order is equal for both men and women and does not punish women who are impregnated as a result of rape.

What do you think? Do you think it is a “dumb” idea as NOW does or do you find it brilliant? In-between? Terry O’Neill was criticized as the president of the “National Organization of Irresponsible Women” after exclaiming this about general Cucolo- do you agree? Tell me your thoughts!

~Gina

December 7, 2009

Times Part II: These Aren’t Disney’s Princesses!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 7:40 pm by Gina

Well Hello Ladies!! (and loyal guy friends) How were all your weekends? Hopefully good!

Anyway I told you there would be a Times Part II and here it is, an article titled “Power to Japan’s Princesses,” all about the rise in young women in Japan’s Parliament. This is a big deal considering Japan is still heavily steeped in “conservative, patriarchal values.” The Diet (Japan’s Parliament- not a national eating plan) now has a record number of 96 women in it, out of 722 members.

“Still relatively few in number and junior in status, women are unlikely to have much of an immediate impact on the Diet. But their influx has unquestionably added a dash of diversity — and perhaps will instill some social conscience and sensitivity to the concerns of working-class Japan.”

It is definitely way out of balance still, but the hope is that these women can increase the attention on issues that are “more closely related to people’s lives such as education and child care.” Or Japanese lawmaker, Erika Fukunda’s particular interest, health care.

“During the election campaign, Fukuda says she was asked by several voters, “What can a young woman like you do?” Her response: “I understand the young part of what they were saying, but the woman part? That is irrelevant.”

I love the cross-cultural feminism but what do you think? Are you excited about this step for Japan? Disappointed that it is not more of a leap? Do you feel that there will be a big change because of more women in their Parliament and if so how? Ha This isn’t supposed to be a quiz, I’m just always interested in your guys’ (or more appropriately gals) views!!

Thanks everyone,
Gina

Read more here!

December 1, 2009

TIMES: Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 8:01 pm by Gina

Hello Daahhhlings,

This post has two parts, but they are both from articles I read from TIME magazine.

The first is the cover story of their October 26, 2009 issue. (Can you see how behind in my reading I am? Thank goodness for break!!) I’ll sum up some key points, but I really encourage you to read the entire article as there is so much information I barely know where to start!

– A study conducted by the Rockefeller Foundation in collaboration with TIME found that “men and women were in broad agreement about what matters most to them: gone is the notion that women’s rise comes at men’s expense.

– The article lists some changes from their 1972 issue that was devoted to assessing the status of women in throes of “women’s lib.” Such as the ratio of college campuses. 1972: 60-40 male. Now: 60-40 women. And close to half of law and medical degrees go to women.

– And something not entirely positive, “the evidence that as women have gained more freedom, more education and more economic power, they have become less happy.”

” ‘But there are a few ways to look at it,’ he [Justin Wolfers, a co-author of The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness] adds. “As Susan Faludi said, the women’s movement wasn’t about happiness.” It may be that women have become more honest about what ails them. Or that they are now free to wrestle with the same pressures and conflicts that once accounted for greater male unhappiness. Or that modern life in a global economy is simply more stressful for everyone but especially for women, who are working longer hours while playing quarterback at home.”

(full working women statistics here)

This article raises a variety of questions and issues. Letters to the editors in the next week raised some of these issues such as the confusion of men and women roles, how women want men to be sensitive yet complain that there are no more “real men” in the world. Another, the fact that the “paradox” of women being unhappy even with all their “equality” could have something to do with the fact that they are still earning 77 cents to the dollar compared with men.

What do you think? Of course there has been a gradual, yet huge shift of women roles and power since 1972. Is it all good or is some of it negative? Are we expected more than ever to be super-women? To raise children, keep the house clean and make supper on top of working and bringing in needed income?

Either way, make sure you take a second to pause, breathe, and realize the many blessings we have as women, how lucky we are to be women in a democratic society and how far we truly have come-problems and struggles be damned.

Thanks for reading ladies! Part II will be here shortly! 🙂
~Gina

November 20, 2009

Women at the Windmill

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 10:04 pm by Gina

Good Afternoon gals!!

Just found this amazing story via another favorite blog of mine- it was so interesting I just had to post it today!

An unexpected hero, Trevor Field, is on a mission to bring clean, safe drinking water to rural Africans. His inspiration came mainly from, you guessed it…women!

Takepart says,

“A defining moment in Trevor Field’s mission to provide clean water to people in Africa came when he stumbled across a simple scene: a group of women standing around a windmill-driven pump, waiting for the wind to blow so they could get water. “I just thought, ‘No, this is a pathetic situation to be in,’” said Field, who lives in South Africa. “And ever since then I’ve sort of had a mission in my head to try and help rural people to get clean drinking water.”

Q: What inspired you to get involved–was it seeing those women at that windmill?

A: Yeah, that was the start to get me going, but then there’s a whole load of other stuff that I’ve sort of stumbled on along the way. For instance, women and young girls do have a disproportionate disadvantage from an education point of view, especially young girls. They have to get water before they go to school, so they miss out on their education, because they’re always late. Young girls entering into puberty–they don’t go to school if they haven’t got any water there, they got no facilities to wash their hands, they got no decent toilet systems, so a lot of [them are out] for a week every month whilst they’re menstruating. That’s pathetic, you know, and we can change that.

And a great Frontline article adds,

“The amount of time these women are burning up collecting water, they could be at home looking after their kids, teaching their kids, being loving mothers,” Field tells Costello. He knew there had to be a better solution.”

His better solution is truly unique!

“Field then teamed up with an inventor and came up with the “play pump” — a children’s merry-go-round that pumps clean, safe drinking water from a deep borehole every time the children start to spin. Soup to nuts, the whole operation takes a few hours to install and costs around $7,000. Field’s idea proved so inventive, so cost-efficient and so much fun for the kids that World Bank recognized it as one of the best new grassroots ideas.” (via)

It’s genius!! Check out this video for even more explanation of how his invention particularly benefits women, even changing the gender roles of the communities.

A charitable, creative invention that benefits children, women and creates clean water for the entire community- thats something everyone can love!

xoxo