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Girls Investigate; Diane Sawyer; Women's Health Issues at Home & Abroad

September 17, 2009

Sending wishes of calm in the storms of controversy besetting the country! Girls Investigate: Our Views On Media We have good news from the WMC -- the launch of the first of several upcoming projects focused on girls and the media. Here's a note from staffer Rachell Arteaga, project manager of Girls Investigate: Our Views On Media: The WMC is thrilled to partner with Girls Learn International® (GLI) to present Girls Investigate: Our Views on Media.  GLI is a non-profit organization designed to give American students a voice in the movement for universal girls' education. Girls Learn International was founded in 2003 by WMC supporter Lisa Alter and her two daughters Jordana and Arielle. To learn more, check out The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's recent book, Half the Sky, which features a chapter about Jordana -- and be sure to visit the organization's website at Girls Investigate is a four-part series that explores girls' ideas about popular culture and social media and the intersections between the two.  Using video and written commentary, four young women will demonstrate that girls are thinking critically about different forms of media, how they are feminists in their own right and showcase the changes that girls are advocating for with respect to media.   We are excited to launch the introductory part of this series, Girls Investigate: Pop Culture Problems and Social Media Snags, by Julia Lo, on our website at the end of October.  Stay tuned for further details!  In the meantime, we'd like to introduce you to Julia: Julia Lo is a senior at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art, and the Performing Arts where she majors in instrumental music.  Julia became involved with female empowerment issues when she started a Girls Learn International chapter at her school in the fall of 2008. Diane Sawyer's Promotion to Network News Anchor and the WMC The WMC was thrilled by the recent announcement that two of the three U.S. network news broadcasts will now be anchored by women. Our WMC statement on Diane Sawyer taking over as anchor of ABC World News was quoted in the Associated Press, and  reprinted over 175 times, including in The New York Times, MSNBC, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Yahoo! News, The New York Post, and elsewhere. We also did several radio interviews with CNN, and regional NPR outlets. It's a terrific step forward for women in media. But, as we always point out, women still hold just 3% of "clout" positions in media overall. As we pointed out in our statement, this has been "a watershed moment in the presence of women in media."  Help the WMC continue to create these moments by making your donation of $25 now to make women visible and powerful in media. RH Reality Check Our colleagues at RH Reality Check, a UN-funded, award-winning, progressive site covering global reproductive and sexual health news, have an important series of essays responding to the recent coverage of the Kristof/WuDunn book, Half the Sky, in The New York Times recently. In my contributing piece, "The NYT Issue on Women: Refocusing the Media's Spotlight on 'Invisibles' at Home," I ask for similar attention for women of color here in the US -- faced with staggering health disparities. You can read the whole series here. Womensphere: Jennifer Buffett and Jackie Zehner I'm looking forward to sharing the podium with two of the WMC's family members -- who were also profiled in The New York Times. This coming Monday we will participate in Womensphere's Summit, Investing in Women: Empowering Women in America and Around the World. Jennifer heads up the NoVo Foundation; Jackie co-founded the Circle Financial Group. They're both philanthropists to women around the world. More information about the Womensphere Summit here. Hope to see you there! Women Reporters in Danger in the Congo We have a report from our colleagues, The Committee to Protect Journalists, concerned about the safety of three women journalists working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. CPR has written a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, alerting her to the perceived dangers to Delphie Namuto, Caddy Adzuba and Jolly Kamuntu. As you know, the rape and brutality to the women of the Congo is unimaginable, as is the importance of these women being able to participate in the media that shapes their country and tells their stories.You can read the letter here and access CPR's Congo coverage here. Glennda Testone, WMC's VP, Becomes Executive Director of the LGBT Center in NYC Every once in a while, one gets the opportunity to announce truly fantastic news. In this case, it is a personal triumph for the WMC's VP, Glennda Testone: she has been selected as the Executive Director of the LGBT Center here in NYC, a huge, prestigious position. The Center is the largest LGBT multi-service organization on the East Coast and second largest LGBT community center in the world. As Executive Director, Glennda will oversee a staff of 80. The Board and staff of WMC thank her for the terrific contributions she's made to our success. This is exactly the kind of leadership we work for here at the WMC -- and look forward to working with her as a colleague. Here's a note from Glennda:

It has been an honor and privilege to work with all of you for the last three years to make women more visible and powerful in the media.  The team at the WMC, especially the staff, makes it all look easy, but there is so much hard work, dedication and passion that drives what we do.  I am constantly in awe of our Progressive Women trainees and everything you continue to accomplish.  It has been exciting and rewarding to me to be part of the growth of the WMC, an organization whose impact and importance I have seen first hand over and over. While I am thrilled about my new challenge of leading this large, historic organization providing direct service to the LGBT community, I will miss being part of our incredible WMC feminist community. It is an honor to carry the feminist torch into my new position, and serve as their first woman leader - another glass ceiling shattered! I will do everything in my power to make you all proud.  Thank you all for your support.

Marilyn French: A Celebration Please join us on October 15 to celebrate the life and work of Marilyn French, author of the The Women's Room and The History of Women -- and a dear friend. We're gathering at CUNY, in the Proshansky Auditorium, 365 Fifth Avenue at 35th Street at 6PM.  Speakers include Gloria Steinem and Blanche Weisen-Cook. Kate Murphy, one of our wonderful former interns, now doing a Fulbright in Berlin, gives us her take on Marilyn's work, below -- and be sure to read our other Exclusives -- the kind of commentary by women you won't find anywhere else! Marilyn French's Characters Speak to Me By Kate Murphy September 16, 2009 A college senior considers both The Women's Room and French's posthumously published novel, The Love Children, from the point of view of her own generation. And the experience clarifies her feminist sensibility. September 12th --The Long Day After By Shazia Z. Rafi September 14, 2009 The author, a Pakistan-born New Yorker, connects our collective sorrow on 9/11 to what terrorism and its aftermath continue to take away. Health Care: A Lesbian Mother's Sudden Passion for Reform By Elizabeth G. Hines September 9, 2009 As the author found out, the rules of our broken health care system are so baroque, something entirely unexpected can trip you up, threatening family finances. She asks us to help President Obama sell the nation on reform this week. Broadcast News: When Women Become Two out of Three By Michele Filgate September 8, 2009 The author, whose first job after earning her journalism degree was with Katie Couric's evening news show, argues that both Couric and Diane Sawyer will adjust to a changing TV news scene, one in which the traditional evening broadcasts coexist with interactive new media. With warmest wishes, Carol Jenkins WMC President