Friday, December 07, 2007

Is the "B-Word" Ever Okay? Part 2

Good responses to last month's post's question, "Is the B-Word ever okay?" and some further looking around and asking around gave us additional food for thought.

So far, the general consensus answer seems to say, "Maybe". Or, more precisely, perhaps it's that it's not "okay," but society is becoming more resigned to the idea that its widespread casual use is a little distasteful, but above all inevitable. Some respondents (most of whom chose to post anonymously, so far) seem to suggest that we must try to read between the lines, divining when real mysogyny is intended, and when it's more just a ironic stance that a younger generation takes "to shock us."

For what it's worth, I agree. In real life, conversing with people -- with friends, coworkers -- we can tell a lot about intended meaning from their expression, tone, an ironic smile, a wink.

But, looking around last week, it still occurred to me that it's not always so easy to decipher in other forms of communication -- say, corporate brand communications.

In the last post, I mentioned Bitch Magazine, which clearly announces itself as representing (or seeking to represent) "a feminist response to pop culture," right there in its subtitle on every cover. And within, it often carries through with thoughtful and substantive content.

But the other day at my local wine shop, for example, I was surprised to come across a case of Bitch wine, an Aussie import distiguished for being "loud," pink and cheap.

As Carl S. Taylor, an urban culture expert from Michigan State, observed in the AP article by MEGAN K. SCOTT, which inspired this discussion thread, the playful woman-to-woman use of the word is “like a family affair. Family members can talk about each other, but if someone outside the circle says the same thing, it's offensive.”

If this is true, maybe the question is: Can any corporate entity really count on being "a member of this family," or is it just asking for trouble by -- even inadvertantly -- propagating a term that is inherently mysogynistic? Can a company give a "knowing wink"?

What do you think?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Village Focus: Is the "B-Word" Ever Okay?

A special feature added this weekend at the Professional Women's Village:

In a provocative and multilayered feature for the Associated Press, writer MEGAN K. SCOTT asks:

Is it ever OK to call a woman the "b-word"? Once not too long ago, the answer would be, obviously, no. But, now the term has such currency in our hip-hop saturated popular culture, she suggests, it may well be that context is everything. "Or," she muses, "does it depend who's using that little word that rhymes with witch?"

Sure, the word is fraught -- it shifts under the weight of class, race, the speaker and the spoken to -- and there are an increasing number of views of and uses for it. One that has been discussed a great deal in our publications, at least, is that it is a scourge of Black women spread through popular culture. It is also increasingly a wedge between Black men and women that some activists, from MLK's daughter Bernice King to student groups, are combating through media protests, lectures, and on campuses. (Also see Kam Williams' review, Pimps Up, Ho's Down: Hip Hop's Hold on Young Black Women.)

But, as Scott observes, it can also be -- presumably ironically -- a term of endearment, even pride. It's commonly used by entertainment celebrities, including African American women such as Mo'Nique who used it ostensibly as a "term of endearment" while performing a comedy show at a women's prison. And then there's the Bitch Magazine -- a proud, loud, ironic, new-school "feminist response to popular culture" -- which revels in the co-optation of a term that was once generally hurtful, but now is worn seemingly as a badge of defiance, a sign of grrrrrlll-power attitude.

In these uses though, it seems to me, the intent seems to be to show a kind of power, a thickness of skin. It conveys a sign of toughness, a sticks-and-stones-ness, an I'll-kick-your-assness -- perhaps a maleness -- that puts me in mind of some women executives I've known and worked under in my time. I recall that, well before the total dominance of hip hop over popular culture, working at not one but two women-owned advertising agencies back in my college days where, interestingly, both presidents were wont to refer to themselves, rather than other women who offended them, as "bitches". I recall one boss telling me she decided to start her own firm because she was "too big a bitch" to work for someone else. "You know why I had the highest-grossing sales at my last job?" she said another time. "Because I'm a real bitch." The implication being: I'm tough and dogged. I'm the alpha dog.

Most recently, I've come to notice that more than a few of my gay male friends have taken to referring to each other as bitches -- or sometimes, more animatedly, as "biyatches" -- quite freely. And, I guess I'm dating myself, but I have to say it still strikes my ear as sounding very odd -- similar to the now-common phenomenon of young white men in baggy jeans referring to each other unselfconsciously as "niggas".

Now, as a man, a straight man, who sees such permissive use of the word in the culture around me, I'm left to wonder what would happen if I were to go to my old boss and greet her with the "B-word" now. Can it be that it's so ubiquitous that it has really lost its meaning, its power to sting?

If I were to use it, would it be safe?

I think the jury's still out. But take a look at Scott's article, and see what you think.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner becomes Argentina's first woman president

Amid the inevitable comparisons with Hillary Clinton, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the 54-year-old wife of Argentina's president, Nestor Kirchner, has become the first woman to be elected president in Argentina's history.

Her election, with some 46 percent of the vote, makes her the second woman to be elected president in South America in recent years, following Michelle Bachelet of Chile.

Additional coverage at the International Herald Tribune.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Latinas are doin' it for themselves

New survey figures show that Latinas are starting up their own businesses at a rate 6 times that of the national average. Says the article published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Latina ownership (defined as over 51% of an enterprise) jumped by 121% between 1997 and 2006! And, in 2006, Latina-owned businesses generated almost $46 billion in sales.

You go, girl!

Business booms: Latinas opening their own doors

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Is Cosmetic Surgery the 'New Feminism' or Just More "Self-effacement" of Women?

The death of Kanye West's mother, Donda, underscores the risks of undergoing the knife for a quick body fix. This piece, which I found reprinted from Ms. Magazine on AlterNet, explores the marketing of cosmetic surgery as pro-active "new feminism." Author Jennifer Cognard-Black argues against the surgery and against the new marketing, demurring convincingly:'s feminists who have led the fight against silicone breast implants when research suggested they were dangerous. It's feminists who have pointed out that a branch of medicine formed to fix or replace broken, burned and diseased body parts has since become an industry serving often-misogynistic interests.

Is Cosmetic Surgery the 'New Feminism' or Just More "Self-effacement" of Women?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Alcohol and Breast Cancer in Women

"Women don't have to abstain from alcohol entirely, but they need to be aware of the risks they're taking when they have a few too many drinks." As if there weren't enough "don'ts" in our lives already, right? In any event, here's a story posted by the Associated Press that gives food, if not drink, for thought about the possible link between heavy drinking and breast cancer in women. I think the caveat is worth considering, but, like all supposedly scientific studies, there's always another side to the findings and debunking further research in the wings.

While we're at it, I'd like to recommend that all women investigate an alternative procedure in breast cancer examination--no hocus pocus, this is AMA doctor screened stuff--called breast thermography. It uses sensitive changes in the heat of the breast to detect areas of potential--can be up to 10 years in the future--cancerous mass formations. Breast thermography doesn't hurt, trust me, and it uses photographic imaging, not the harmful radiation of mammograms.

The Link Between Porn and War--a liberal--with a small 'l'--view

Riane Eisler asks if there a disconnect between "liberals" embracing "images of men chaining, whipping, torturing, and even killing women in the name of sexual pleasure" and their abhorrence to the violent acts of war. Her piece for AlterNet, Liberal Denial: the link between porno and war, is quite provocative. Makes you think and re-evaluate, as women, your own personal definition of womanism and women's ultimate relationship to that other gender.

If you're intrigued, there's also an AlterNet article, by Don Hazen, Pornography and the End of Masculinity, a man's view, also contrary, on the explosion of porn under the cloak of liberal views on sexuality and tolerance. Warning: in making his point about the degradation of women and exploring a recent book on porn by Robert Jensen, Hazen can be very graphic.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Innovative Women’s Health Internship Program Launches

By Sarah Schmelling, at the NIH Record

"One conversation can sometimes lead to big things. Last year, after a lecture at a conference on skin and stress in New York, Dr. Esther Sternberg of NIMH started talking with Lynne Greene, global president of Clinique. When Greene said she would like to find a way to encourage young women and minority students to pursue careers in nursing and science, an idea for a new kind of internship was formed...

"The Women’s Health Summer Internship Program provided an 8- to 10-week intensive biomedical research experience here for three women who were selected through a “very competitive” process, Sternberg said. The selection committee included members of the Intramural Program on Research on Women’s Health, the National Institute of Nursing Research and the Office of Intramural Training and Education. The internships were funded by the Foundation for NIH through a grant from Clinique..."

Read more about the program and the experiences of the three interns.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Black Women's Roundtable Plans Katrina Anniversary Events

The following is from the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s women’s initiative, Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR), which is planning a series of its own events in N.O. this coming week to commemorate the anniversaries of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The group is also working in a broader coalition of organizations to promote a National Day of Presence on August 29, to call attention to the ongoing needs of the Gulf region 2 years after the storm.

The group has published a scheduled activities during the Second Anniversary of Katrina-Rita National Call to Action from August 27-29, 2007, and updated details may be posted there. We have additionally compiled their list events and actions with an extended schedule of Katrina events through September 1 on the blog of our sister site,

On the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina the National Coalition on Black Civic articipation’s women’s initiative, Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR), hosted a Gulf Coast Hear Me Now Listening Sessions Bus Tour of regions hit by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The seven-city tour set out to learn how women directly impacted by the storms were surviving one year after enduring the life-altering affects of Katrina and Rita. The tour revealed that the storms exacerbated the already fragile social and economic existence of many African American women in the Gulf Coast region in three of the most economically depressed states in the nation—Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

After listening to our sister’s voices about their experiences in the rebuilding process, the barriers they encountered and how they were affected by this natural disaster, the National Coalition was able to identify the most pressing issues thwarting recovery and rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region----affordable housing, education, and mental/physical health topped the list.

As we approach the second anniversary of the worst storm in America’s history, sluggish rebuilding efforts have increased despair, frustration, and stress among people already emotionally traumatized. The never-ending struggle to secure a sense of dignity and stability has aggravated the severe mental stress and physical health problems survivors of these storms are facing on a daily basis in rural and urban communities in the Gulf Coast and all across the country where displaced survivors are attempting to rebuild their lives.

In 2006 the women of Black Women’s Roundtable heard the voices of our beloved sisters in the Gulf Coast. Further, to build upon what we learned from our Gulf Coast recovery & rebuilding work and from the women of the gulf coast over the past year, NCBCP will utilize the Black Women’s Roundtable Healthy, Wealthy & Wise Initiative to assist the women of the Gulf with their civic engagement and provide vehicles for their voices to be heard by policy and opinion makers across the country.

NCBCP will incorporate the mission of BWR – to promote healthy families – as we return to New Orleans to commemorate the second anniversary of Katrina through our 2007 BWR Celebrate Our Sisters of the Gulf Coast Wellness Journey. The journey will include a full day focused on health and wellness through exercise, volunteerism, pampering, dialogue, entertainment, spiritual upliftment, recognition, and information gathering. NCBCP will host a regional organizing briefing and conduct a scientific survey/poll of survivors to evaluate their recovery/rebuilding experiences over the past year, document their stories of success and the barriers Katrina-Rita survivors continue to encounter as well as stand in solidarity with the people of the Gulf Coast for a national call to action on August 27-29, 2007 in New Orleans, LA.

The tentative schedule of events is here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Survey: Effects of a Dearth of Black Women in U.S. Companies

Survey Finds Low Numbers of Black Professional Women in Leadership Roles in U.S. Companies Affects Engagement and Retention

(BLACK PR WIRE) (August 20, 2007) CHICAGO - Because the lives of professional black women in America have been understudied and their contributions as leaders often undervalued, The League of Black Women (LBW) conducted its "LBW Having Our Say: Fostering the Leadership Potential of Black Women in America Survey" to help identify and eliminate the challenges black women face as they strive to fulfill their leadership potential and achieve socio-economic parity for themselves, their families and their communities.

The report includes an assessment of the key barriers to black women realizing their leadership potential; recommendations for how corporations can remove those barriers and support retention; and personal accounts of professional black women striving to rise to leadership positions despite the odds. The data found only 20 percent of black women are "very satisfied" with their overall lives, and respondents reported greater and more pervasive degrees of frustration with advancing in their careers.

"The League of Black Women is committed to supporting and developing leadership values and joyful living for the 21st century black woman," said Sandra Finley, president/CEO. "With this report we provide essential support and timely advice to corporations on specific methods and recommendations to recruit, retain and empower black women as leaders. By implementing our suggested strategies, we believe companies can improve their efforts toward achieving greater workforce diversity."

The nationwide survey, conducted between 2005 and 2007 in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton, was designed to gather preliminary data on black women's views about their leadership experiences and satisfaction with their lives. The report highlights three key findings identified as critical factors that influence the level of satisfaction black women obtain in their professional and personal lives. Among the factors are Engagement, defined as institutions and people that have the greatest impact on black women's lives; Cohesion, the quality of black women's relationships with each other; and Bicultural Leadership, used to describe circumstances in which black women lead or exude authority over non-blacks in the workplace. Some specific factors of Engagement, Cohesion and Bicultural Leadership that affect and hinder the overall professional development, advancement and retention of black women in the workplace include:

.Under-representation of black women within an organization diminishes essential networking power
.Pressure to hide authentic personal style and professional perspective results in exhaustion (affects productivity)
.Limited professional options that impede black women from having close relationships with each other in corporate environments
.Black women are more committed to their organizations when they are able to form close bonds with other black women
Bicultural Leadership
.Proven leadership ability doesn't reliably translate into promotion opportunities
.Underutilization of education and skill set relegates black women to lower-level jobs

Although black women report they hope to reach their goal of rising to leadership positions, they believe hard work and positive thinking are not enough to obtain the opportunities they seek. To ensure black women have the tools needed to advance, the report suggests corporations need to design distinctive and targeted strategies to develop and advance black women with high potential. Given the limited number of black women as contemporary role models, companies must understand the real time experiences of black women who aspire to obtain corporate leadership jobs and work to provide effective assistance. To combat and address these issues, The League of Black Women recommends corporate leaders promote the concepts of Engagement, Cohesion and Bicultural Leadership in the following ways to support development and retention:

.Foster a culture of inclusion that addresses the needs of black women as defined by black women
.Implement policies and practices that respect the need for communal support within and beyond the workplace
.Create coaching resources, mentoring programs, networking opportunities and affinity groups for women of color
.Appreciate cultural and style differences without censure
Bicultural Leadership
.Provide early leadership coaching to help black women successfully confront negative stereotypes
.Recognize and develop black women's distinctive leadership skills
.Identify and end business practices that steer black women with high potential into dead-end jobs

According to the study, black women still see negative perceptions about race as a barrier keeping them from reaching their career goals. As professionals, they believe that others' negative views of them in the workplace hinder their ability to excel in leadership roles. Nearly 80 percent surveyed cited race bias as a hurdle affecting their effectiveness as leaders, to some extent. Respondents said race bias affects interactions with individuals who potentially could influence and advance their career track. Additionally, the report suggests, black women find themselves stagnant in mid and lower level positions that are threatened by corporate downsizing, mergers and acquisitions that cause retention rates of black women to drop.

But despite the overlapping obstacles black women face on their climb up the corporate ladder, the League of Black Women believes if corporations empower black women, their strengths and leadership abilities can be leveraged to help increase company performance and expand business growth.

For more information on The League of Black Women and the "Fostering the Leadership Potential of Black Women in America Survey," please visit

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Minority Women's Health Summit: 8/23 - D.C.

Forwarded re: 2007 Minority Women's Health Summit

THEME: Women of Color: Addressing Disparities, Affirming Resilience, Developing Strategies for Success

You are cordially invited to participate in the 2007 Minority Women's Health Summit, Women of Color: Addressing Disparities, Affirming Resilience, and Developing Strategies for Success. The Summit will be held August 23-26, 2007, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.

Summit Goals: Build on the knowledge gained in the previous conferences and identify distinct health issues disproportionately impacting minority women so that programs can be improved; Highlight successful models of health promotion and prevention that can be replicated in the community. The 2007 Summit will accomplish these goals primarily through action-oriented, skills-building workshops, where the participant will be given tools, skills, or resources to better reach their target population. The workshop format is an important feature that will provide greater opportunities for collective group thinking and creative problem-solving.

Date: August 23-26, 2007
Location: Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
Web site:

Space is limited to 500 participants. Register now and save your spot! If you have questions regarding the Summit, please contact Frances Ashe-Goins(202) 690-6373Aleisha Langhorne (202) 401-8325

Also of Interest: IMDiversity Healthcare Industry Readings & Careers Channel

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Perfect Girls, Starving Bodies

“If I'm not thinking about my body or calories, I'm probably sleeping or dead,” confesses a 14-year-old in Courtney E. Martin’s new book, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters. Sound familiar? We’ll I’m running out to get my copy, especially since I’d found Martin’s wisdom so in tune with my own fear and loathing of Dan Kindlon’s Alpha Girls a few month's back as reported on the Women's Professional Village.

Kindlon spent precious time backslapping and patronizing successful, aggressive young women without seeing that his tale reveals how this "new paradigm" of women's lib has de-natured and de-sensitized our young. He likes the monsters we have created while Martin recoils in horror.

Of Perfect Girls, Publisher’s Weekly reports, “Beneath the high-achieving 'perfect girl' surface, seven million American girls and women suffer from an eating disorder; 90% of high school–aged girls think they are overweight," and calls stories from the author’s over 100 interviews “heartbreaking.”

You can check out the Women’s Professional Village lambaste of Alpha Girls and then Martin’s book. But, don’t run to Amazon. To date, they’re the only major bookseller who refuses to stop selling dog fighting manuals in the wake of the Michael Vick outrage.

Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body
Free Press, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7432-8796-8)

Column: Now What? Embracing the "Real World" after College

Chaz Kyser
After a summer of housecleaning, the staff is pleased to spotlight one of several exciting new additions to THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Online and our company's extended network.

A new ongoing column housed at THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Online, Now What? Embracing the "Real World" after College, provides sound guidance on thriving in "the real world" for those making the transition from college to the workplace. The column is created by Chaz Kyser, editor, public speaker, journalism instructor at Langston University, and author of the book, Embracing the Real World: The Black Woman’s Guide to Life After College.

Although many of the articles are related to Ms. Kyser's interest in the college-to-work experiences of young African-American women in particular, the editors find that the insights and practical advice contained in the column are valuable and relevant to readers of all genders and backgrounds -- even those who may have been out of university and working for a while now. Some of Ms. Kyser's work will also be seen on in the coming year, as well as here on the blogs.

As always, we invite interested readers to leave a comment or question for Ms. Kyser, and we are particularly interested in having readers share thoughts about your own college-to-career transitions as we approach back to school season.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Report: Accounting Firms Face Significant Risk of Turnover by Women and Men of Color

IMDiversity recently published an announcement of a new report by, Report: Accounting Firms Face Significant Risk of Turnover by Women and Men of Color. The report is the first in a new series by Catalyst focusing on challenges surrounding the retention of people of color -- women and men -- in specific industries. The research organization has issued high profile reports in the past analyzing the participation of women in corporate roles, often parsing out differences in the career paths of and obstacles facing white women and women of color. The new series appears aimed at expanding the research focus to include males as well, while offering observations on strategies for diversity recruitment and retention, broadly defined.

In a Q&A, the researchers at Catalyst discussed the impetus behind the new series' approach, and some of the current study's findings...

Q: Why did Catalyst decide to do this study?
A: Previous Catalyst research documented differences in the experiences of white women and women of color and also highlighted top barriers to advancement for women of color in corporate settings. In addition, Catalyst’s 2006 Census revealed that women of color hold only 3.1 percent of Fortune 500 board seats. This 2007 research on retention of women and men of color provides context for Catalyst’s forthcoming series of large-scale studies on women of color in professional services firms.
Catalyst’s groundbreaking report series, Women of Color in Corporate Management, was the largest and most comprehensive examination of African-American women, Asian women, and Latinas in professional and managerial positions in the United States. Demand for this series remains high.

Q: Why is it particularly important to accounting and other professional services firms to invest in the retention of women and men of color?
A: The client service-centric nature of professional services firms renders the retention of talent particularly important for the accounting industry. Competition for top talent has always been fierce in the accounting industry. With changing client relationships, regulatory changes, and globalization, firms are faced with more work and longer hours. Firms cannot afford to train employees and then see many of their “best and brightest” leave to pursue other career options. Thus, if firms want to maintain a competitive advantage, it is imperative that they focus on retaining women and men of color.

Q: What are the key findings in this report?
A: This report shows that approximately 50% of women and men of color do not feel obligated to stay with their current firm.

-It is a matter of concern for accounting firms that between 37 and 50
percent of people of color surveyed harbor a general intent to leave.

-Women of color are more likely than men of color to leave for more
money and to do similar tasks at another firm.

-Nearly a third of women of color (29.1%) and nearly one-fifth of men of
color (17.3%) were at risk of leaving within the year during which the study was

-“Imperfect execution” still impedes full realization of a firm’s
commitment to support diversity and inclusion. Findings suggest that
although organizations make a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion,
often there are perceived disconnects between expressed commitment and actual
implementation of policies, programs, and initiatives.

Q: What types of factors cause employees to leave firms?
A: Factors that cause employees to leave their firms can be divided into two categories: “pull” and “push” factors. Pull factors arise from outside and include offers of high-paying jobs at other firms. Push factors arise from within the current employer and can include a perceived disconnect between a firm’s commitment to diversity and the execution of the practices that support that commitment. Whereas employers have little control over pull factors, firms can help retain their workforce by focusing on the push factors over which they have significant control.

Q: Did you find specific examples of these “push” factors that are causing people of color to leave their accounting firms?
A: One of the push factors this study identified was the “imperfect execution” of a firm’s commitment to diversity. Perceived gaps between diversity policy and practice are very much noticed by women and men of color. Those surveyed felt there is a perceived exclusionary environment and a lack of receptivity to outsider groups at large accounting firms, along with a lack of accountability when it comes to diversity policies. These examples show that diversity policies are not filtering down to racial and ethnic minority groups as effectively as they could.

Other push factors include a lack of access to informal networks, stereotyping, double-standards, and a lack of development opportunities. All of these push factors create an exclusionary work environment that make it challenging for women and men of color to advance.

Q: Why should organizations care about these factors? Can’t they just replace employees who leave?
A: There is a clear business case for retaining women and men of color. From an economic standpoint, when employees leave and replacements must be hired, recruiting costs, training time, and lower productivity associated with new employees are expected results. Research suggests that the cost of a professional or a manager leaving an organization can be as high as twice the average associate’s salary or a minimum of one year’s worth of salary and benefits. A diverse workforce also inherently brings to the table a diversity of thought and perspective that is extremely valuable in today’s global economy, particularly as the number of women and people of color entering the accounting industry continues to grow. In addition, as clients demand the expertise that comes with experience, firms can no longer afford to train their employees and watch them leave.

Q. What can organizations do to create an inclusive work environment that will reduce attrition and retain their top talent, including people of color?
A: To build awareness and more understanding regarding the experiences and perceptions of women and men of color, senior leaders, human resources and diversity professionals, and managers can follow these action steps:

Assess the work environment.
-Find out about your organization’s diversity strategy.
-Use internal surveys, focus groups, and interviews to document, by subgroup, the experiences and perceptions of women and men of color.
Self-assess: Examine your own opinions, assumptions, and behavior.
-How inclusive are you about socializing with staff members from different backgrounds?
-What priority do you give to institutional supports for staff members who are from backgrounds different from yours?
-Do your expectations for the performance of your staff who are of color vary from those
for your other staff?
-Do you ever make assumptions based on stereotypes?
Develop closer relationships with women and men of color.
-Learn their perspectives.
-Make an effort to ask women and men of color about their perspectives, backgrounds, and interests.
-Identify subgroups of women of color and men of color in your organization and go out of your way to learn about their unique experiences and challenges.
-Increase understanding of differences and similarities between groups and within groups, through education and informal dialogues, one-on-one and in groups.
-Encourage differences in behavioral and work styles.
Communicate and demonstrate your firm’s commitment to diversity.
-Use training programs, one-on-one mentoring with senior leaders, inclusion in high-visibility programs, and networking opportunities.
-Integrate diversity initiatives into routine organizational practices such as recruitment, orientation, training, career-development tools, and succession planning.
Hold managers accountable for the retention and advancement of women and men of color.
-Create clearly articulated plans for long-term development of women and men of color.
-Hold managers accountable for providing critical development opportunities and high-visibility assignments necessary for advancement.
-Review managers’ performance evaluations of subordinates by race/ethnicity and gender of subordinates.
About Catalyst
Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit corporate membership research and advisory organization working globally with businesses and the professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women and business. With offices in New York, San Jose, Toronto, and Zug, and the support and confidence of more than 340 leading corporations, firms, business schools, and associations, Catalyst is connected to business and its changing needs and is the premier resource for information and data about women in the workplace. In addition, Catalyst honors exemplary business initiatives that promote women’s leadership with the annual Catalyst Award.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Aerospace Corp. Selects Dr. Wanda M. Austin New President and CEO

Aerospace Corp. Selects Dr. Wanda M. Austin New President and CEO
To succeed Dr. William F. Ballhaus Jr. upon his retirement on January 1

Dr. Austin currently serves as the senior vice president of The Aerospace Corporation’s National Systems Group in Chantilly, VA. She has been with the company since 1979, and has served in positions of increasing responsibility, including general manager of the MILSATCOM (Military Satellite Communications) Division and senior vice president of the Engineering and Technology Group. Austin will be succeeded by Dr. Manuel De Ponte, currently general manager of the MILSATCOM Division...

Dr. Austin has received numerous awards and citations, including the Air Force Scroll of Achievement, the National Reconnaissance Office Gold Medal, the U.S. Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, the Air Force Space and Missile System Center’s Martin Luther King Spirit of the Dream Award, the Society of Women Engineers Upward Mobility Award, and the Women in Aerospace Outstanding Achievement Award.

The Aerospace Corporation ( is an independent, nonprofit company that provides objective technical analyses and assessments for national security space programs and selected civil and commercial space programs in the national interest...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Release: Raytheon Honored by Women in Engineering Programs & Advocates Network

Release: Raytheon Honored by Women in Engineering Programs & Advocates Network

A June 12, 2007 release reports that the Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon Company has received the Breakthrough Award at the 2007 Women in Engineering Programs & Advocates Network (WEPAN) annual conference in Orlando, June 10-13.

The Breakthrough Award "honors an employer for creating a work environment that enhances the career success of women engineers of all ethnicities. Raytheon was selected for its institutional structures and programs that help foster diversity, especially for its women employees."

Raytheon has been a long-time supporter of IMDiversity and THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Magazine. Jobs with Raytheon appear routinely on the Career Center, including but not limited to a wide array of engineering opportunities at all levels, and in the U.S. and abroad. Raytheon was also named among the TOP 100 DIVERSITY EMPLOYERS 2006 in the Universum IDEAL Employer Survey — Diversity Edition for 2006, published in THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Magazine. We congratulate them on this recognition by WEPAN.

Women in Engineering Programs & Advocates Network ( is a national not-for-profit organization with over 600 members from nearly 200 engineering schools, small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations, and non-profit organizations.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Perils of "Women on War"

In my Women's Professional Village article of a while back, Women on War, on female conflict correspondents, I alluded to these courageous women's very real fears of sexual assault, quoting former war reporter Judith Matloff.
I merely touched the surface of the issue's harrowing realities, with little of the depth and intensity it merits. But Matloff, a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review, has since more than ably taken up the slack, with her slant focusing on the cynical aspects of coverups.
Alternet's posted a reprint from the May/June's CJR that I dutifully offer you.

Female War Reporters Hide Sexual Abuse To Continue Getting Assignments

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Will a Face Job Save Your Job?

If you're a late- or even post-generation Xer, like some folks very near and dear to my heart, and fearful of losing your job and well-earned cushy paycheck to a young chick or chica, think twice before going for the tuck, the tox, the lift or the lipo says AlterNet's Margaret M. Gullett.

First, she argues, they really don't make you look younger. And second, also arguably, despite the fact that midlife workers remain between jobs longer than their younger counterparts, and when they do find work, it's usually at lower wages, Ms. Gullett cautions, "...anyone hoping to maximize her income by investing in expensive and hazardous products and procedures should think again."

Read Face Lifts: A Frightening New Job Strategy and YOU (and I'll) decide.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Check out this brassy clear voice on the Imess

I've just discovered, via a number of trenchant, brassy, and oh-so-cogent comments made on today's To The Point, Jasmyne Cannick, an African American woman blogger and political cauldron stirrer. Her point is: Imus, so what? Sure, the depraved should be deprived of a public, but who in the black community knows, or cares about, Don Imus? More importantly, Cannick pitches, it's the misogynists with currency, like Snoop Doggy Dog and 50Cent, who do the most damage. Oh, how she bewails the sisters bumping Snoop from their car windows, their young daughters captive in the back seat being primed for abuse in perpetuity!

(If you've got the stomach for it, check out the YouTube of a Snoop show. You'll see what Jasmyne means.)

Today's SHOW

NPR : CBS Radio Fires Don Imus in Fallout over Remarks

NPR : CBS Radio Fires Don Imus in Fallout over Remarks:

Background readings from the AP in a supplement, Rutgers v. Imus, this weekend at, plus commentaries by Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Kam Williams, more at new Media, New Media and Communications Jobs & Readings section

Thursday, April 05, 2007

ASNE: Percentages of Women and Minorities in America's Newsrooms Declined

This week on the Career Center Home Page:

According to the American Newspaper Editors Association 2007 survey on the representation of minorities in U.S. news media, the percentages of minority and women journalists working in America’s newsrooms both declined in the past year. According to ASNE, it is only the second time since the survey started in 1978 that the percentage of minorities has declined.

In a year marked by news organization layoffs that were headlines in themselves, ASNE’s annual “census” found that the percentage of minorities fell to 13.62 percent, down from 13.87 last year. The percentage of women also dropped from 37.70 to 37.56 percent.

The percentage of minorities in supervisory roles at daily newspapers dropped to 10.9 percent, equal to the percentage from two years ago.

The downward trend holds true for student and entry-level employment as well. According to ASNE’s release, the percentage of minority interns stands at nearly 27 percent, “a number that has continued to fall as newspapers cut back” on internships.

The one silver lining in the report seemed to come from online media. ASNE’s census of daily newspapers for the first time counted full-time staffers who work entirely at online publishing activities by their companies. Among online media staffs, the percentage of minorities on staff was an estimated 16 percent, which helped make the drop in overall employment numbers seem less severe than they might have been.

See a fuller report at IMDiversity, ASNE Report Finds Percentage of Minorities in Newsrooms Declining, or view detailed data tables from the census at the ASNE website.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Weekend Maintenance on IMDiversity
Our site servers will be undergoing maintenance this weekend, starting midnight Friday. During this period there may brief outages on our sites at and the Multicultural Villages, the IMDiversity Career Center and Job Bank, and THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Online Job Bank. We apologize for any inconvenience to our visitors and thank you for your patience."

Friday, March 16, 2007

Was Leni Riefenstahl an Alpha Girl?

This week's New Yorker contains a chilling article about Leni Riefenstahl, the icily stunning superwoman who was Adolph Hitler's sidekick and official cinematographer. She was a formidible woman who demonstrated great strength, intelligence, and ability. She was also a woman whose protean ego would crash, from time to time, into breakdowns, and whose narcissism would preclude her ability to form enduring relationships (though what a trail of takers she left in her wake!).
As more and more biographical details emerged in Judith Thurmon's overview of recent Riefenstahl bios, Riefenstahl seemed like a prototype for Dan Kindlon's Alpha Girls, a book I recently critiqued for the Professional Woman's Village. Kindlon's alpha girl is poised to become the defining force in American culture and economy in the short years to come. She's determined to advance her career at all expenses, has an overblown image of her ability and accomplishments, and is taken to boastful swagger.
"I am the marathon," Riefenstahl said before she even put a camera to the 1939 Berlin Olympics. It sounded all too recent, as the alphas' overflow of hubris:--“I will get what I want because I am aggressive” and the like--was still rankling in my brain.
My review seriously questions whether we, as women, want to see our young become super women in the alpha mode, and whether "arrival" means stepping onto and getting stuck in the sorely amiss blueprint for the alpha male, rendering quaint all notions of feminine, and of feminism. Or, should we support in our Generation Next a new paradigm of pride, limelight, and accomplishment that's celebrated in humility and wholeness, with room left over to flaunt our wiles and ways?

Find Is Today’s "Perfect" Seriously Flawed? on the Professional Women's site.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Chinese politician wins in N. Ireland - Yahoo! News

A fitting story following up on International Women's Day, and for our Women's History Month edition, moving toward St. Patty's Day -- this reported by By SHAWN POGATCHNIK of the Associated Press:

Chinese politician wins in N. Ireland

Anna Lo being called the first Chinese elected lawmaker in Europe

"Lo, a Hong Kong native who has lived in Northern Ireland for 32 years, on
Friday became the first ethnic minority to be elected to political office in
this almost exclusively white British territory. Chinese media reports also
described her as the first Chinese person to be elected as a lawmaker anywhere
in Europe."

and this...

"Lo, the 56-year-old chief executive of the Chinese Welfare Association in Belfast, said many of the approximately 10,000 Cantonese-speaking residents of Northern Ireland have lived here for more than three decades — and had never voted before her candidacy."

Friday, March 09, 2007

WHM and Hillary Clinton

Commentary from Hispanic American Village Editor Carol Amoruso, traveling abroad and mulling over...

Thoughts on WHM and the Candidacy of Hillary Clinton
Since 1940, more than 30 women have been elected or appointed heads of countries, often where one might not expect it. Can it happen here? Maybe it depends on our images and stereotypes of women leaders -- and if we want an alpha or nurturer.

Monday, March 05, 2007

March 8 is International Women's Day

Reminder: March 8 is International Women's Day. This year's theme is tackling the problem of violence against women, and organizations both private and public are getting involved globally.

A wonderful, courageous woman to celebrate

I just had to post this uplifting article found in this morning's LA Times amidst the seamy stories of our military hospitals and candidates capitalizing on the civil rights struggle of the '60s (How do you like that Hillary refinding her southern drawl in Alabama?)
Here we have a resilient, resourceful and immensely creative young Sudanese woman who's invented her own way of reporting the news of her country's, and her gender's struggles:
A Darfur Tree is her Newsstand

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Women's History Month 2007

From release by the U.S. Census:

National Women’s History Month’s roots go back to March 8, 1857, when women from New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions. International Women’s Day was first observed in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1981 that Congress established National Women’s History Week during the second week of March. In 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month. Every year since, Congress has passed a resolution for Women’s History Month, and the president has issued a proclamation...

Women's History Month: March 2007
Census release paints a statistical portrait of women in the U.S. today at work, school, home, business and beyond

Monday, February 12, 2007

Old school feminist to head our oldest university, like it or not

If “fellow” Harvard University academic Dan Kindlon’s surveys are accurate (he goes out of his way in his latest book, Alpha Girls: Understanding the New American Girl and How She is Changing the World—more than an overstatement-- to promote the thoroughness of his research), Drew Gilpin Faust, just-named president of the country’s oldest and most prestigious institution of higher learning, is an irrelevant anachronism, with both a CV and personal history his next-generationers of women disown as an embarrassment to their sex.

Dr. Faust is a historian, having devoted much of her academic life to teaching and chronicling women’s history as well as her own struggles for equality, not just for women, but for African Americans as well. Her biographies note that she grew up as a white southerner with priviledge, but who, early on and much to the consternation of her mother, began to question women’s role in southern society and who, when 9 years old, wrote a letter to President Eisenhower, asking him to end segregation.

The alpha girls of Dr. Kindlon’s book, aged 13 to 22, will be unimpressed, grousing that the struggle for equality of women, in the home, at school, in the workplace, is old hat; they’re tired of hearing their mothers’ “You don’t know what it was like out there when I was coming up,” and boast that their equality with, even superiority to, males is a no-brainer.

In an early Times news story, Dr. Faust’s “collaborative style and considerable people skills” were praised. At the same time, some male faculty members grumbled that this more feminine, if we may, management style was too feeble for the tough job of managing tough issues involving tough contenders. Kindlon’s alpha girls would agree. Their role models tend more to Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher, advocating for a pro-active, tough-guy, take-no-prisoners approach to getting on in the world.

Stay tuned to the Women’s Village pages for a frontal lobotomy (wasn’t too difficult, as there wasn’t much grey matter to excise) on Coach Kindlon’s Warriors. Meanwhile, my hat’s (without the veil) off to Drew Gilpin Faust. You go, girl!

Monday, February 05, 2007

PepsiCo Elects CEO Indra K. Nooyi as Chairman

Move Effective May 2, 2007 Upon Steven S Reinemund's Retirement

From Feb. 5 Media Release by Pepsico:
PepsiCo's board of directors announced today that it has elected Indra K. Nooyi,
51, Chairman of the Board, effective when Executive Chairman Steven S
Reinemund, 58, retires on May 2, as he announced last August. Mrs. Nooyi is
currently Chief Executive Officer of the more than $32 billion global convenient
food and beverage company, a role she assumed on October 1, 2006.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Catalyst announces 2007 awards

A release by has announced the winners of the organization's 2007 award "recognizing corporate initiatives that advance women and business".

The year's winners Goldman Sachs, PepsiCo, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Scotiabank will make presentations at a ceremony at the Grand Hyatt in New York City on March 21, 2007.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

"PCAST" Study: Worry about Kids a Drag on Productivity

A recent study by Catalyst, released Dec. 6, 2006, has put focus on what many working parents already intuitive know: "Millions of working fathers and mothers are less productive at work due to concerns about what their children are doing in the after-school hours."

The study, "After-School Worries: Tough on Parents, Bad for Business," was conducted in cooperation with the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University.

In reporting the findings, the researchers have devised a handy little acronym,
“PCAST,” standing for Parental Concern about After-School Time, to sum up those little minutes of distraction and commiseration with co-workers and worried phone calls that add up to hours of anxiety and afternoon-killers on the job.

"With over 52 million working parents in the United States," the study projects, "PCAST contributes to worker stress that costs businesses between $50 billion and $300 billion annually in lost job productivity."

Among the remedies this productivity-killer, the study suggests, is building real flexibility into the workplace: "Developing “The Agile Workplace,” placing emphasis on more job control enabling employees to “work smart” and perform better, focusing on goals and results, and granting all employees access to flexible work programs, including flex-time, telecommuting, and flex-space."

For more, see the release at Catalyst -- it's in Adobe PDF, so you need to install the free Adobe Reader software first.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Calling all "Geek Girls"

The latest in what's become an increasingly fretful series of articles about the lack of women entering the nation's (quickly depleting) pool of engineers suggests is examining models of university recruitment programs targeting women students.

A standout, it seems, has been the effort by MIT, where "targeted programs have yielded 36 percent female enrollment in undergraduate engineering," according to the article by the AP's Dorie Turner.

This still seems the exception rather than the rule, however. The articles focuses on other unversities' initiatives that have not reaped the same benefits. Women are still not entering the field in the needed numbers, in large part because of social and cultural obstacles -- such as stereotypes of the nerdy engineer, or the perception that engineering isn't a field "that allows you to help people" -- rather than industry or workplace obstacles.

Clearly, the path to success in the field is a tough one for women, and perhaps moreso for minority women in particular, as recounted in the profile, "How I Got Where I Am: An Engineering Manager," by College Journal's Adelle Waldman on the Village.

However, as a range of engineering-related industries are growing ever more hysterical over a looming labor crisis, a combination of university and industry intiatives designed to walk women engineers through the many stages of their career development seems to be reaping some results. As the Waldman profile shows, there were many times that Tonya Love, a young Black woman who worked her way into a gratifying position as a project leader at Xerox, doubted that the field was or could be a good one for her. Support in grad school, good advice, and a series of strong internships were crucial stepping stones that kept her going.

In another piece, young Sophie Theis, writing for YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, sees a subtle cultural change going on, however, that might be good news for engineering schools. In Who Asked Us -- The New (Female) Nerd and the 'Gender Gap,' Theis argues that "the new gender gap is all about attitude":
The new nerd is a hard-working girl, while boys try hard to not try too
hard. That's why so many girls are achieving more than boys in high school and

The development of a "geek-chic for girls" could bode well for companies looking to keep up their supply of skilled engineers, such as our many, many clients of who are specifically looking to fire engineers of all types and levels at The editors are interested in keeping up with stories on this theme in the future, and would also be interested in hearing from some proud "geeks" out there to hear your views on what led to your interests in engineering, computing and similar fields. If you have a story to share with us, please drop us a line.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year from the Women's Village!

After some time off for family and travel, the editors wish everyone a happy, healthy and productive new year.

We hope you had a chance to stop by over the holidays for some the features in our Women's Village Headline News section, which supplemented the usual news with some engaging and thought-provoking special series readings from the Associated Press about the stressors that come with holiday seasons, especially on working women.

For this week, we'll be running a new profile of business consultant Anna Duran, founder of the successful Duran Group. A Latina entrepreneur, Duran describes her life's path from her rough upbringing in East Oakland to New York and Wall Street, and her work on the way as a psychotherapist, a teacher at Columbia University, an author and business researcher, and a business diversity advocate. The feature is co-posted with our sister site, Hispanic American Village.

With the ascendancy of Nancy Pelosi, we'll probably also be following up with additional news from the Beltway this week, and we will definitely be updating our featured jobs again, so we hope you'll stop back again soon.