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Polanski, Clinton, Climate Change & Diversity at the FCC

October 2, 2009

We end the week dealing with a surprise media event -- late night host David Letterman revealing on his show, to laughter from the confused audience, an extortion plot against him. Letterman admitted having sex with female staffers. As that story develops, we are in the thick of considering the fate of a well-known director. Roman Polanski The Women's Media Center released a statement Wednesday on the media's handling of the Roman Polanski story. It is our opinion that much of the coverage downplayed the central issue: a 13 year old girl had been drugged and raped. We believe this puts the safety of girls and women at risk. You can read our statement and add your comments on our blog, The Majority Post.  Let us know how you believe the media is handling the issue.  We hope that you support us in our commitment to a fair and accurate media about women and girls.  Click here to make a tax deductible donation to The Women's Media Center.

Also take a look at the piece that Marcella Chester -- a rape survivor herself -- wrote for the WMC about the case, and her idea of the solution to his dilemma:

"A compromise between giving Polanski a lengthy prison sentence for the charge he pleaded guilty to and having the charge simply disappear would be for Polanski to volunteer to change his plea deal so that he pleads guilty to all of the original non-statutory charges in exchange for paying a fine large enough to cover all the governmental costs of his case since 1977 and a suspended prison term that he would serve if he ever reoffends."

Unique Training Opportunity For Women Business Owners -- October 9 The Women's Media Center is teaming up with the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce to offer a media training for women in business.  Progressive Women's Voices participant, and Chamber CEO, Margot Dorfman is working with WMC Vice President Glennda Testone to offer this unique opportunity.  Being able to strongly present your messages through the media to reach your audience is an essential skill in today's market, and the WMC will teach you how to do it.  Please sign up TODAY for the valuable training -- the deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 7 and the training is from 9am-3pm on Friday, October 9. TckTckTck The WMC was pleased to host and co-sponsor a breakfast program, Global Women Take Action on Climate Change, on September 23. A project of the Global Campaign for Climate Action, TckTckTck is a series of meetings and actions geared to the big climate meeting in Copenhagen on December 7. Our speakers included our own Majora Carter, who performed miraculous things in the South Bronx as an environmental activist; Canadian Inuit leader Sheila Watt-Cloutier who spoke about the disappearance of ice;  Sharon Hanshaw, still working to fix the environmental effects of Katrina in Biloxi, Mississippi; Constance Okollet, fighting floods and droughts in Uganda;  Ursula Rakova, literally losing ground in Papua, New Guinea; and Ulamila Kurai Wragg, a reporter from the Cook Islands, battling land erosion as the ocean creeps toward her front door. Also in attendance were former President of Ireland and Realizing Rights president Mary Robinson, Nobel Prize winning scientist Bo Lim, and the (woman) mayor of Copenhagen, Ritt Bjerregard.

Sitting at the WMC table was our Progressive Women's Voices participant Kim Knowlton who shared the Nobel Prize with Al Gore. You can read her recent commentary for WMC here: "Doctors Demand Climate Change Action to Avert 'Global Health Catastrophe'". Secretary of State Hillary Clinton introduces Res.1820 at UN, Rape as Weapon of War It was momentous to be an observer in the Security Council session September 30 as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton introduced Resolution 1820 -- calling for a special coordinator and teams to help enforce a cessation of rapes -- and punish perpetrators-- in war-torn areas. Some 60 countries signed on the resolution, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon promised his support. A half a million women were raped in Rwanda in the 1994 genocide, 60,000 during the Croatia and Bosnia wars…and thousands more daily still in the Congo. Clinton Global Initiative A major step in rehabilitating the women of war torn regions took place at this year's Clinton Global Initiative, where girls and women were highlighted this year. WMC honorary Advisory Council member Jennifer Buffett, President of the NoVo Foundation, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's foundation pledged $24 million dollars to further the work of Women for Women International. Headed by Zainab Salbi, Women for Women does microfinance and training with women war survivors in several developing countries. FCC Diversity & Diversity "Czar" Mark Lloyd On September 22 I attended the FCC diversity Committee meeting in Washington, DC -- where the committee recommended the FCC renew its Adarand studies examining market entry barriers to women and minorities. There are pretty stiff requirements to be met since the Supreme Court's Adarand decision held that "federal affirmative action programs that use racial and ethnic criteria as a basis for decision-making are subject to strict judicial scrutiny." Broadband remains a high level issue -- "wiring" the rest of the country, and getting underserved populations to adopt its use for accessing services in the areas of health, education, and government. Mark Lloyd, the Special Counsel assigned to the FCC, otherwise labeled the "Diversity Czar" and the frequent target of conservative media, was in attendance. He pointed out that he is one lawyer assigned to deal with diversity and the FCC -- there is no diversity "kingdom."  In our conversation he said he was holding up well under the spotlight that moved from Van Jones (resigned "Green Czar") to him. Some 50 progressive organizations have signed petitions in support of Lloyd, as opposed to the silence that followed the Jones resignation. WMC Essential Reads Be sure to read our exclusive commentaries -- opinions you will find nowhere else. Please give a tax deductible gift to The Women's Media Center to continue our ability to support women's voices. Click here now.

Sakena Yacoobi's Vision for Afghanistan By Marcia G. Yerman October 1, 2009 For over a decade, Sakena Yacoobi has worked for the welfare of her nation, particularly the girls and women of Afghanistan. The West can help with infrastructure, she says. But solutions for a better future must be forged with respect to a culture that is thousands of years old. In Defense of the French Health System: Having a Baby in Paris By Carolyn Forché September 29, 2009 As the U.S. Senate struggles to produce health-care reform legislation that can win the votes of 60 members, cost issues rise to the forefront of the debate. Poet Carolyn Forché's experience suggests that universal access to health care is not only the right thing to do morally but financially as well. Colorism, Black Women, and Contemporary Representation By Courtney Young September 25, 2009 Former President Jimmy Carter touched off a media firestorm recently by suggesting that racism explained the extreme rancor of some criticism of President Obama's health reform plan. The resulting debate, however, didn't begin to reach the nuance of how attitudes about race are experienced in this country, particularly by black women, as the author explains. Coming to Terms with the "F Word" By Marianne Schnall and Patty Goodwin September 23, 2009 At this year's annual Omega women's conference in Rhinebeck, New York, participants reached across generations to empower themselves and their communities. The authors spoke to two of the younger "trailblazers." We'll be in touch soon! With warmest wishes, Carol Jenkins WMC President PS -- As always, be sure to follow us on Twitter and become WMC fans on Facebook! You can also follow my own tweets by clicking here.