Member's Corner

The Member's Corner is devoted to contributions by the members of our chapter

Subcategories from this category:

Celebrating Women in Science, Feminist Views, Actions

Pledge to reduce gun violence

On March 9th I joined the Sandy Hook Promise to support the efforts to reduce gun violence. “I promise to do everything I can to encourage and support common sense solutions that make my community and our country safer from similar acts of violence”. You too could also make this promise by texting “I promise” to +12039893549 to sign the pledge. Or visit the following site:http://www.sandyhookpromise.org/promise  This time there will be change

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The Nobel Prize Gender Gap

Over a century has passed since Nobel Prize had been established. Many distinguished individuals have been recognized for their great achievements, innovations and breakthrough in a field of science, medicine, technology, literature and peace. According to the Official Web Site of the Nobel Prize [1] there have been 555 recipients of Nobel Prize and Prize in Economic Sciences (1901-2012). Only 43 of those individuals or 7.7 % were women.

This chart (Figure 1) illustrates all Nobel Prize winners broken down by category and ranked by gender (1901-2011). [2]

 

In her 2001 book ‘Nobel Prize Women in Science. Their Lives, Struggles and Momentous Discoveries' Sharon Bertsch McGrayne explores the reason for astonishing gender disparity by examining the lives and achievements of women scientists who either won Nobel prize or played a crucial role in Nobel-prize winning project. [3] Even when women have contributed to work that led to Nobel prizes they were very often written out of the story, as in the now well-known case of Rosalind Franklin. Her work on the double helix shape of DNA was not recognized when the Nobel Prize for that discovery was awarded to James Watson and Francis Crick. A similar story could be told of Jocelyn Bell (now Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell) and the discovery of pulsars, and of Lise Meitner in the history of nuclear fission. [4] Many women-scientists faced enormous obstacles. They were confined to basement laboratories and attic offices. They crawled behind furniture to attend science lectures. They worked in Universities for decades without pay as volunteers as late as 1950s. [3]

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Stats are OK but analysis shou...

Thanks for the article. Excellent summary. I think part of the problem could be the NOMINATION process. Who is nominating? are t... Read More
Monday, 10 February 2014 03:31
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Victims of Ayn Rand

Conventional wisdom would have you believe that women are inherently caring, compassionate and altruistic individuals. There are, however, exceptions to every rule and the late author and philosopher Ayn Rand is this exception. She is characterized by undying hatred for government, most people and the very idea of human kindness and compassion.

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The Crisis

THESE are the times that try one's soul. The summer activist and the sunshine feminist will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their causes; but they that stand by it now, deserve the love and thanks of man and woman. Inequality, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon equal rights; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as equality should not be highly rated. Conservatives, with an army of billionaires to fund their oppression, have declared that they have the right to bind us to their beliefs. If being bound in that manner is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God. [1]

The crisis of which I speak is the convergence of world and political events, poised to turn back the clock on equal rights and, in particular, women’s rights. In the Middle East and particularly in Egypt, repressive conservative policies attempt to return the rights of women to medieval levels. The Egyptian parliament attempted to introduce legislation to return to female genital mutilation (a.k.a. female circumcision). In Mississippi, a new law that targets abortion services by making restrictive requirements for doctors, may force the state’s last clinic to close. Attacks by state governments on collective bargaining often affect women disproportionately. When I attend or chronicle protest marches and actions in our area, there is always the same small group of faces.  I am heartened by the positive trend of separate groups coming together to unite against the trend created by unfettered money from Conservative supporters. The NAACP now publically supports marriage equality. The Nurses Union leads a nationwide campaign to force Wall Street to pay their fair share with a transaction tax. Unions and progressives in Wisconsin united to attempt to reverse onerous policies of their governor. The “We Are Woman” March and Rally will take place in D.C. on August 18th (see article on Page 5). The summer activists say that these attempts are Quixotic and they do not turn out, even in the summer. I believe that a spark has been ignited that will grow into a groundswell of people and groups united against the Conservative power grab. Victory will not be in a month or a year, it may take a decade to reverse the current trend, but we have begun; only complacency and inaction stand in our way.

[1] The inspiration for this article is Thomas Paine’s, The Crisis, December 23, 1776. Paine, with whom I share a birthday, wrote in a time of despair for the American Revolution. I believe that his words speak across the centuries to us now giving us encouragement to carry on.

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The Red Thread

Within Greek Mythology the thread of life is woven by the Fate Clotho, her decisions can overrule the gods. In the near future, on a brisk November day, she is has two threads in her hand, one red the other blue. What is our fate if she begins to weave with the red one? 

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Waking the Sleeping Giant

The attack on women’s rights, rights long believed settled, has been on a steady increase over the past four decades. A return to near medieval religious orthodoxies has forged an alliance with conservatives determined to march backwards to a day when workers and women had few rights. Through most of this time the Giant, women’s organizations and supporters, slowly diminished and fell asleep. Granted, activism and feminism are clearly not dead, but their gigantic voice of the 60’s and 70’s is very difficult to hear.

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Doomed to Re-live It ?

The President is into the third year of his term in office. The nation has weathered through a stock market crash and crushing bank failures that began in the previous administration. Public spending programs, while softening the worst part of the economic calamity, have not had the ‘miracle’ effect of bouncing the nation back to prosperity. Political opponents claim that this spending is not doing any good and must be stopped. The real answer, in the belief of the President’s opponents, is to reduce borrowing, increase the reserve requirements for the banks and balance the budget. The result of the tight money and reduction of government spending was to create a recession within a depression.

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In Honor of Those Who Have Given So Much

It is appropriate that we honor and give thanks to those men and women that gave all they had to give to insure our life and liberty.  There is a tendency to complain about rights that we lack, rather than celebrate what we have.  The journey to equality for women and minorities has been a long hard slog that spans centuries.  Pausing to concider only the history of this nation, approximately 1.3 million Americans have died in uniform to secure and preserve these rights.  Let us say, "Thank You"

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The Slow Slide to Ignorance

Evidence it building that the general population does not embrace intelligence as a valuable asset.  “Twenty-five percent of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Twenty-three percent would rather lose their ability to read than their figures.”1 For decades, feminists have fought like hell to secure access to equal education. 

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Gun Control is a Woman’s Right

Gabrielle Giffords was nearly killed when a would-be assassin shot her in the head during a meeting with constituents in Tucson, Arizona. The Press and political pundits were unanimous in their predictions that this would finally lead to some level of gun control. It was argued that, at a minimum, a ban on the 31 round clips was a fait accompli. The statistics are stunning. From Women Against Gun Violence, “American women who are killed by their intimate partners are more likely to be killed with guns than by all other methods combined.”

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Thoughts about Human Trafficking

So, bright and early this morning as I was sitting with my lap-top on my sofa researching ideas for upcoming educational programs I was hit with the thought that human trafficking was the direction I wanted to be focusing in on.  Not only for one quick passing program, but for the long haul of my time-consuming, energy-taking, barely-rewarding awareness and activist lifestyle.

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Whittling Away at Women’s Rights

We are witnessing an almost daily unprecedented onslaught on many of the rights and freedoms that women have fought for in this country for over one hundred years.  Women only received the right to vote in 1920 (a battle that began in 1848), the right to have an abortion in 1973, to have a credit card in her own name, if married, in 1977.   Have no illusions, these rights are not guaranteed.  The effort in Wisconsin to curtail the collective bargaining rights of teachers, nurses and civil employees is disproportionately targeted at women.  That state’s Governor and Legislature carefully omitted public safety positions (police and fire) which are typically male dominated professions.  This may have not been their plan but it is the effect.

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