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The Shriver Report, A Demand to End Afghanistan War, Letterman & the Workplace

October 19, 2009

A major media analysis of the status of women, The Shriver Report:A Woman's Nation Changes Everything,  is underway. Spearheaded by Maria Shriver, with powerhouse partners the non-profit The Center for American Progress, The Rockefeller Foundation, NBC News and Time Magazine, the basis of the project is a nearly 500 page report and national poll on where we, as women, are today. PWV alum Courtney Martin wrote a conclusion of the report, and The Women's Media Center is singled out in the Media chapter as a place to look for answers: "We would do well to trumpet the analysis of The Women's Media Center..." WMC co-founder Gloria Steinem writes exclusively on the WMC website about the potential for good news and bad news in the multi-million dollar effort:

"You have to pay attention to understand that the immediate cause of workforce parity is not women's advancement but men's job loss: three out of four paychecks eliminated by the recession have been in construction, manufacturing and other fields that are better paid and therefore still overwhelmingly male."

Read Gloria's full essay, "It's Not a Man's World or a Woman's Nation." You can also watch me on CNN Headline News's Joy Behar Show discussing the report with Joy and Judith Regan. Check that out here. We also placed our SheSource expert Heidi Hartmann of the Institute for Women's Policy Research in MSNBC's coverage of the report, which you can watch here. As we continue to fight against bias and sexism in the media, we need your continued financial support. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to The Women's Media Center. 

Afghanistan -- Listen to the Women Also written exclusively for our website: WMC Board Member Jodie Evans, co-founder of Code Pink, reports on her recent journey to Afghanistan to listen to the women there-who believe there is no military solution -- and where women are suffering the most from the bombs -- and the laws.

"One afternoon we met with the women who led a protest against a law justifying marital rape that Karzai signed. These few hundred women and very few men demonstrated outside the Mosque of the Ayatollah who pushed through the law, and an angry mob poured out, screaming and throwing rocks. All these women were frightened for their lives and yet have not backed down."

Read Jodie's full exclusive commentary for WMC, "Afghanistan: Will Obama Listen to the Women."  And for a follow-up, be sure to read Alternet's Don Hazen reporting on Jodie's one-on-one with President Obama on Friday-armed with her petition of thousands of women demanding withdrawal from Afghanistan, here.

Feminism, Generation to Generation WMC Board Member Gloria Feldt sponsors an annual Women of the World lecture at Arizona State University in Phoenix. This year, on October 13, it was a scintillating conversation with Gloria and two other Progressive Women's Voices alums, Maria Teresa Kumar, Executive Director of Voto Latino, and prolific feminist writer Courtney Martin. They were joined by ASU senior Brittany Collins in Changing the World: Feminism from Generation to Generation. Gloria also delivered a terrific lecture on Margaret Sanger at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art recently. You can read her comments here.

David Letterman & The Workplace Recently, when firestorms erupted around David Letterman and the resurfacing Polanski rape case, the WMC was an active participant in the media conversation.  The WMC's statement on media coverage of Polanski controversy was picked up by Feministing,, Women & Hollywood, the Examiner, and the Washington Times.  On Letterman, I did interviews for USA Today, CNN's Situation Room, CNN Headline News "Prime News," The Wall Street Journal This Morning, as well as high profile feminist/progressive media.  PWVer Ellen Bravo also gives us her analysis on Letterman in the WMC Exclusive, "Daylight Lessons from Letterman's Late Night Escapades."

PWV & SheSource Success Recently, PWVers Emma Coleman Jordan and Kim Knowlton broke out into the media coverage of typically male-dominated fields of banking and climate change.  Georgetown law professor Emma wrote a piece for the American Banker: "Viewpoint: Keep Boards in Check With Public Directors," Huffington Post: "Passive Bank Directors Pose Systemic Risks" and the Center for American Progress: "A Fair Deal for Taxpayer Investments,"as well as being quoted in a piece about bank bailouts for The Wall Street Journal.  During Climate Change Week, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) scientist Kim Knowlton wrote a WMC exclusive, 'Doctors Demand Climate Change Action to Avert "Global Health Catastrophe",' which was reprinted on several sites. Kim was featured on radio and was interviewed to be featured on a new show for Planet Green. SheSource expert Pat Morris, Executive Director of PeaceXPeace, connected with the Women's International Perspective to write a piece on the International Violence Against Women Act.

Gloria Steinem honored On October 5 in Washington, DC, Gloria Steinem was honored by the Feminist Majority at its Summit on Women, Money and Power. There were moving tributes -- letters written to Gloria over the years by readers of Ms. Magazine, which the Feminist Majority publishes now. Gloria's speech was, perhaps surprisingly, about gun control -- the removal of these weapons of destruction from our lives. As always, she was swamped by women of all ages, inspired by her life and work. In addition to celebrating Gloria, I was there to participate on a panel analyzing where women are in the media landscape.

Jane Fonda Media Salons: Santa Fe & Dallas WMC had two successful Media Salons -- dinners and readings with WMC co-founder Jane Fonda, in Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 26 and Dallas, Texas on October 1. Our thanks to Elizabeth Sackler, Helen LaKelly Hunt, Lauren Embrey and Trea Yip for hosting -- and to all the attendees. We so much appreciate your support of The Women's Media Center work.

CNN Women: Christiane Amanpour, Joy Behar An overdue recognition that we have two new high profile women with shows. Christiane Amanpour has broken into Sunday morning talk, albeit in the afternoon, with cogent, sharp questions (The Secretaries of State and Defense together was a brilliant move.) Joy Behar has brought her straightforward approach and grand humor to CNN Headline News five nights a week. Cheers!

Media Women: Geraldine Laybourne & Ruth Ann Harnisch Sightings of two of the most powerful behind-the-scenes media women, both doing good work for Africa.  Geraldine Laybourne, mastermind of Nickelodeon and Oxygen, hosted the new Ugandan Ambassador  to the United Nations Ruhakana Rugunda and his wife Jocelyn. Ruth Ann Harnisch, former journalist and current philanthropist in cutting edge journalism all around the country celebrated the publication of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, the extraordinary story of Malawian William Kamkwamba who brought power to his small rural village -- by using discarded car parts! His co-author is Bryan Mealer. A great, inspiring story.

UN Foundation celebrates Linda Tarr-Whelan Kathy Bushkin Calvin, head of the United Nations Foundation, hosted a book party in Washington, DC for WMC friend , Demos Distinguished Fellow Linda Tarr-Whelan . Her new book, Women Lead the Way, Your Guide to Stepping up to Leadership and Changing the World is a crucial read as we are saturated with media talking about women's progress.

WMC Events We have some events coming up -- and we'd love to see you there. On Monday, November 2 I get to celebrate the next steps in my life (including doting grandmother!) as I say day-to-day goodbye to The Women's Media Center. Come on over! On Monday, November 23 Caroline Hirsch of Caroline's Comedy Club is hosting the final Jane Fonda Media Salon for 2009. These are intimate dinners with a special reading by Jane from her memoir, My Life So Far. And on December 8, Gloria Steinem will present Jane Fonda with the Elinor Guggenheimer Lifetime Achievement Award at the NYWA breakfast...a Women's Media Center morning!

Top 10 Wins for WMC The WMC Top 10 Wins in 2009 -- coming to you soon to the mailbox nearest you.  This was designed by our wonderful graphic design volunteer Eileen Beredo of EBDesign.  If you are not on our postal mailing list, contact Maya at to get your card.

Essential Reads As always, we recommend reading our Exclusives -- commentary by women you won't find anywhere else!

Nonchalant Dreams By Shannon Reed October 19, 2009 In her recent WMC commentary, Gloria Steinem wrote about the mixed messages of the poll and data underlying The Shriver Report. In this essay, the author explains how the findings fit right in with the aspirations of one of her high school students.

Gender Discrimination in Filmmaking -- Bollywood Style By Sharmeen Gangat October 13, 2009 Moviemaking styles may vary between Hollywood and Bollywood, but women working in the Indian commercial film industry have as difficult a time as their counterparts in the United States getting good roles and investment in their films. Director Zoya Akhtar takes a satiric look in Luck by Chance.

With Budget Cuts to Higher Education, Lower-Income Students Struggle By Shira Tarrant October 9, 2009 Funding cutbacks not only make tuition less affordable for many college students relying on government loans, but they also affect course availability, campus jobs, and other essential factors for earning degrees.

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.