Witness The Fight
From left to right: Josh Stukenborg, Kaitlyn Ecklund, Tanshi Mohan, Talar Sarkissian, and Benjamin Shell
From left to right: Josh Stukenborg, Kaitlyn Ecklund, Tanshi Mohan, Talar Sarkissian, and Benjamin Shell
Science & Technology
Engineering & Math
id you know that the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in 1967? It still has not passed. Apparently there’s not enough support to make discrimination on the basis of sex unconstitutional. Did you know that a woman in the U.S., on average, misses out on $10,169 a year because of the pay gap? Do you even think that’s true? Because 49% of American men don’t think so, and neither do many Americans overall – it’s about four in ten. Did you know 81% of women have experienced sexual harassment, and 38% of them reported that the incident(s) took place at work? Did you know the predicted year for pay equality in the United States is still forty years away? … Now you do, but can you answer why? It hurts to know that I, a young adult embarking on a college education, am paving a career path where I will earn less than my male counterparts. More troubling still is that if I try and bring it up I’ll be slammed for reporting “fake news”. Many of the men I’ve interacted with have disregarded the data, instead assuming women don’t go for higher roles – or other feeble excuses. Why must we stick to our outdated and uneducated presumptions instead of asking questions about the world around us? Are some circumstances unfair because that’s just the way they are, or because purposeful forces make them so? Depending on the state I choose to live in, I will be near the age of retirement when I recieve equal pay or already dead. That’s ridiculous, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. In January of 2018, Time’s Up, an “organization that insists on safe, fair and dignified work for women of all kinds”, made headlines everywhere. The group was originally composed of 300 women with stakes in the entertainment industry, and now has expanded to receive from over 21,600 donors on GoFundMe. Their quest is to “...create solutions that cross culture, companies and laws to increase women’s safety, equity and power at work.” This is one of many groups fighting for a greater sense of gender equity and equality in the workforce.
ed carpets, laugh tracks, catchy tunes, and foam fingers – entertainment is constantly making appearances in our daily lives. Whether you’re watching a new film on the big screen or listening to your workout playlist at the gym, it’s everywhere. Now more than ever though, it’s taken an even more direct route into your life making appearances in your news cycle. Perhaps you’ve seen the PSA about workplace behavior narrated by Donald Glover? Or perhaps you remember Natalie Portman’s line, “and here are all the male nominees” at the 2018 Oscars. When we think of working women, actresses and soccer players are not the first images that come to mind, but they, like most women, face many barriers that stop them from equal pay and hiring. In the last nine years, of the top 1,200 grossing films, only four percent were directed by women. Moreover, of movies with budgets of $100 million, there have only ever been nine women who got the chance to share their vision. Studio executives from 18 of the largest entertainment firms include only four women of the twenty total executives. In 2016, only one-third of protagonists in films were women. In the top grossing films of 2018, females accounted for only 35% of all speaking roles. In the list of the twenty highest paid actors in the world, only three women make the list, outnumbered by the four men named Ryan or Tom. Despite making this list, the gap from the highest paid actress to highest paid actor is still $42 million. In the 2019 Oscars, there were no women up for best director, nor were there any female directed films up for best picture. Many of these reports get even worse as you start to categorize which women are getting on-screen roles. Before the release of the popular film Crazy Rich Asians, a movie praised for emphasizing the message of the importance of representation in media, Asian females only accounted for eight percent of female characters. This was still higher than the abysmally low four percent of female on screen presence of Latinas in 2018. At least progress has been made with the presence of black females, rising from 16 to 21 percent between 2017 and 2018. These numbers matter because
it’s not just about having a range of identities on screen, it’s also about the roles they are given. Stories hold great power. You weren’t told about the Big Bad Wolf or the Little Train That Could for fun; stories like these came with the intention of teaching younglings about staying away from strangers or believing in themselves. Similarly, the stories we see on big screens influence what we believe to be true, shaping career paths, love-lives, and perceived opportunities. Movies have the potential to change the world through fiction on screen. Because of their power, it is particularly important to improve on screen time of different genders, ethnicity, and races. Unfortunately, we don’t always use the power of stories for advancement. If in the United States, the population of females is higher than that of males, why are our forms of entertainment not representative of our actual lives and interactions? It certainly is not because audiences genuinely want to see movies of mostly white-male casts. In fact, research shows that films with more diversity do better at the box office. A common way of measuring gender disparity in films is the Bechdel Test, a method that tests a movie for sexist or stereotypical representation. To receive full marks, there must be two women in the film, they must have a conversation with each other, and that talk must regard something besides a man. It turns out that movies that pass the Bechdel Test actually make more money. Films like Frozen, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Despicable Me 2, which passed the test, all made more money than other popular films of 2013 like Monsters University, Star Trek Into Darkness, and The Lone Ranger. Even more interesting, though, is the fact that between 1990 and 2013, the median budget of films that passed the Bechdel Test was lower than the median of those that failed. This discrepancy indicates that producing a film that captures a more holistic picture of what we want to see is cheaper than producing something basic and bland, and it will make more money. This trend of success for stories with greater diversity has continued in the last few years too. The idea that representation matters is proving itself at the box office time and time 7
Photo by Marvel
again. This demand extends to all fields. The Marvel Universe is a great example of the desire to see diversity in films, not only in the color of skin and gender, but also in roles. The film Captain Marvel outnumbered opening weekend profits of Venom, Thor:Ragnarok, and Spider-Man: Homecoming, only being topped by the films Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther. These numbers prevail despite online trolls who attempted to sabotage the movie reviews. This is not a new occurrence; many films that have non-white or female leads receive an often overwhelming amount of hate from internet trolls. One form of this is seen in movie reviews. For example, the site “Rotten Tomatoes” has often been a platform in which hate was used in attempts to negatively affect reviews and perceptions of films like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Black Panther, Ghostbusters, and most recently, Captain Marvel. Haters might never vanish from existence, but disparity between genders in films might. Progress has obviously been made, but the numbers stand far below 50%. 8
Thankfully, the push for equity is in motion. Initiatives like the TIME’S UP 4% Challenge help remind and encourage studio executives to be mindful of their hiring decisions. The challenge entails making a commitment to work with a female director on a feature film in the next 18 months to help curve the fact that in the last nine years, of the 1,200 top-grossing films only 4% of them were directed by women. This initiative has been met with lots of support; pledges include many notable actors and major studios like Warner Bros. Entertainment, MGM Studios, and Dreamworks Animation. There is also power in the hands of the consumers. What kinds of movies do you want to put money towards watching? What are the kinds of stories you’re interested in learning about? What should the future of the big screen look like? I can’t say I have an exact answer to what we should be watching, but I do feel that we’re taking a step in the right direction.
Photo by Elle
he film industry is not the only one to be concerned about. Women on the stage as well as behind the curtain are not given nearly half the recognition they deserve. The music industry is notoriously difficult to break into, especially for women. It seems that the difference between having and not having ovaries keeps many doors closed or opened. Between 2012 to 2017, of 1,239 different performing artists that made the Billboard’s Hot 100, women were 22.4%. From 2012-2016, not a single latin female artist made it to the number one song on the Hot Latin Songs Chart. In Grammy’s from 2012-2018, nominees have been 90.7% male. These numbers seem even more discouraging when we look at women who work behind the scenes. Female producers in 2018 accounted for 2.7% of the workforce. Within this percentage, the numbers of diversity are even smaller. Out of 871 producers, only four are women of color. Only once in the last three years has a woman made it onto the top ten of the Billboard Power 100 List. Even when women do break into the industry, they face constant barriers to success. Having a job does not guarantee that others around you will respect you. However, if you’re a woman, chances are you have more to worry about than just being respected. Women have been, and constantly are, the targets of inappropriate power dynamics and unwanted physical contact. Only recently have females in music begun to speak out against the sexual harassment and abuse they have faced. At the Oscars of 2018, many attendees sported white roses to show solidarity for those who have cried #MeToo. This organization of support has only come after big stars finally spoke out against their assaulters, but inappropriate work behavior has been spotted at all levels of the music industry. Men like Russell Simmons, Detail, Ryan Adams, Dr. Luke, and R. Kelly have now been called out, but cycles of abuse are everywhere, and the immense difficulty of coming forward coupled with insane backlash can make eradicating inequality
in the workforce seem almost impossible. Women in the music industry have reported feeling as if they have no other choice when they face unwanted advances because they feel that the malefactor is their only way to achieve success. This sentiment is so strong that it has been made into material used in music itself. Jessie Reyes, a Canadian singer and songwriter most known for her 2016 hit “Figures”, made an outspoken video to go with her song “Gatekeeper” in which she describes the amount of power that a producer can hold over a woman entering the field. It describes the situation she faced against her producer, not unlike some of what the star Kesha faced. In her newest Album Rainbow, Kesha has several inspiring songs that reflect hope, love, and self confidence, but one song in particular, “Learn To Let Go”, may have an especially meaningful story to tell. The comparisons between her present and past help underline the importance of being at peace with things one cannot change. In an essay she wrote in the Huffington Post she mentioned that the “...only way to truly evolve is to let the past be the past and move forward with an open heart.” This message comes after a particularly dark part of the singer’s life, including an eating disorder and lawsuit against her former producer, Dr. Luke, for sexually, physically, and emotionally abusing her. Yet another song communicating the feelings of these kinds of traumatic experiences is “Till It Happens To You” by Lady Gaga and co-written by Dianne Warren. Originally written for the documentary The Hunting Grounds, which uncovered the massive amounts of sexual assault on college campuses and lack of action to address it, Gaga has since used the song to empower other women who have also had #MeToo experiences and remind industry workers to watch out for the up-and-comers. These women who have used the large platforms their fame has given them to communicate an experience that many will relate to illustrates why music is so popular in 11
Photo by Mason Poole
the first place. We long to connect with others and music is a fundamental way of doing so. If we deny women artists a platform to create, we also lose so many opportunities to bring people together or to make other women feel that they are not alone in the things they go through. When we open it up though, we’re able to acquire new music describing experiences we never thought we’d hear of. This goes beyond #MeToo described above; it’s also about the creation of songs that empower women to live their best lives, and there has been quite an expansion since the hit song “Respect” by Aretha Franklin in 1967. Many women are now writing about women! More and more singers have taken up anthems that empower females of all ages. The list includes artists like P!nk, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah, Lady Gaga, Hailee Steinfeld, and Kacey Musgraves. These songs discuss all things, from the seldom talked about act of female masturbation to simply applauding the power that women can have. 12
Broadcasting songs is not the only way to create a change. Many have started to take action within the system. In order to combat lack of gender diversity, the Recording Academy announced an initiative early in 2019 to increase the number of female engineers, mixers, and producers within the industry. Over 200 studios and popular artists such as Pharrell Williams, Ariana Grande, and John Legend have all committed to considering at least two females before selecting a final crew for a production. More broadly, nonprofit organizations, such as the Women’s Audio Mission and SoundGirls, seek to help women get into the music industry by providing technical know-how and networking opportunities. It all makes a difference. From big companies like Spotify removing all of R. Kelly’s music from their curated playlists to small nonprofits training and advising women of the industry. You can make a difference too. Support female artists! How many females artists appear on your favorite playlists? Can you name five? Ten? Fifteen?
Photo by Angela Weiss
Photo by Olivia Bee
Photo by Kevin Winter 13
irls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys by age 14. It’s not because boys are simply “better”; in fact, research shows that boys only begin to outperform girls when they reach puberty because of muscle development, and even then, in sports like swimming, girls and boys can perform comparably. But even if girls desired to train, they have access to 1.3 million less opportunities to participate in athletics than boys in high school. The result? More than half of girls quit playing sports by age 17. Worldwide, there are many reasons that cause girls to quit sports such as cost, transportation, and lack of opportunities. In the United States though, there seem to be a few more integral components that lead girls to quit something that’s good for them. For one, we’ve learned that there are fewer opportunities, but there’s also a smaller chance at a future pursuing it. A 2017 Refinery29 poll of 1,000 girls ages 12 to 18 found that a majority of them quit their sports when they saw no future in it. It’s no surprise that they’d come to that conclusion since a professional female athlete is not seen as a lucrative or media-centric career. One very notable example of gender inequality in the professional sports world has been seen in the lawsuit by U.S. Women’s Soccer Team in which twenty eight members sued U.S. Soccer on the basis of poor working conditions and marginal pay. This surfaces after years and years of inequality female soccer players have faced in the United States. In an episode of Tilted, a podcast by Lean In, former players Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy, Crystal Dunn, Sam Mewis, and Terri Jackson reported the inequalities they faced, including wearing men’s hand-me-down uniforms and sitting in the smoking areas of planes. While conditions have improved, they’re still not up to the players’ satisfaction. Lack of change isn’t because they’re a bad team; in fact, the women’s team has won four World Cups, four more than the men’s total of zero. Additionally, their most recent victory in 2015 was the most-watched soccer match in U.S. history, reaching nearly 23 million viewers. Despite this obvious difference in popularity,
the U.S. Men’s is compensated more. This in part explained by the fact that women’s World Cup will make less revenue then the men’s. So even if both teams were paid a certain percentage of the revenue their events make, women in comparison would make less. This isn’t how money is distributed, though. The lawsuit filed by the U.S. Women’s team explains that FIFA, the organizer of international football, gives the United States Soccer Federation, USSF, money which is then at the discretion of USSF to allocate. It has also been discovered that a significant portion of USSF’s revenue is made by the women’s team. The men’s team, recognizing the cruel irony of this situation, released a statement of support highlighting their commitment to “the concept of a revenue-sharing model to address the US Soccer Federation’s ‘market realities’ and find a way towards fair compensation.” This trend of unequal pay despite the popularity of an athlete holds true in other sports. In 2018, the highest paid female tennis player, Serena Williams, made $31 million less than the highest paid male, Roger Federer. This is mostly due to the disparity in prize money between genders of tournaments that take place worldwide, in which over 70% of the top 200 men earn more than the top 200 females. In the U.S. though, the realization that revenue made by both sexes should, in turn, award equal pay resulted in the decision to award equal prize money. This began in 1973 at the US Open. Tennis seems to be a unique case whose conclusion was derived partially from viewership, so why don’t we watch women’s sports? Part of it is that there aren’t many options when it comes down to watching. When you turn on the T.V., you’re much more likely to find a Major League Baseball or an NBA Basketball game than you are to find a women’s sport. A study done in 2014 found that ESPN and Sportscenter coverage of women amounts for roughly two percent of their air time. Some feel that these numbers are where they should be because they are about level with viewership, but how can we expect popularity to increase if we give relatively few opportunities for woman to make it big in 15
Photo by Noah K. Murray
sports and be covered when they do? Of course, time for things to change has to be allotted given that for years women were barred from sports, but if they’re not given a chance now, they won’t become popular. Playing certainly has increased in numbers over the year, but coverage hasn’t. Take basketball as an example. There are more women’s teams for basketball in collegiate sports than any other female sport, and viewership for these teams, as well as the WNBA, rises each year. Coverage for them is still terribly low, now more than ever. A 25-year long study done at the University of Southern California found that coverage of women’s sports actually decreased between 1989 to 2014 from five percent to only a little above three. The study also found that within the coverage that excluded females, the story of two former Lakers finding a good burrito in Milwaukee and others of similarly random content was aired. While this incredibly low percentage of airtime might make sense if it was a reflection of the number of women playing, that’s just not the case. An estimated 3.1 million girls participate in high school sports, which is way up from 294,000 girls from 45 years ago. In collegiate sports female participation is also improving, and the ratio between female to male student athletes is 44 percent to 56 percent. The Emmy-Award winning documentary “Media Coverage and Female Athletes” found that female athletes account for 40% of all athletes while only receiving between two to four percent of media coverage. That sliver of coverage, is not the 16
kind of attention that reflects the amount of respect these incredible women deserve. Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles was referred to as the “next Michael Phelps” and the “Michael Jordan of gymnastics” at the 2016 Olympics instead of by her name and simply commending her extraordinary skill. Within the same major sporting event it was also insinuated that a player lost a game from spending too much time on social media, that the coach was the “man responsible” for a gold medal and world record, and a three-time Olympian was referred to as just someone else’s wife after winning the bronze in her event. Last year, at the French Open Serena Williams’s choice of uniform, a catsuit which helped her blood circulation was banned, and at the US Open, athlete Alizé Cornet was issued an official warning after stepping to the back of the court to flip her inside-out shirt. Increasing appropriate coverage would do much more than acknowledge the existence of the many professional female athletes at play; it would also create a large impact in changing the expectations of children, allowing young girls to see new careers for them to pursue. Air time for women covering sports doesn’t look great either. Of ESPN’s listed 431 commentators, women only amounted to just about 19%. Things seem even more disheartening when one Googles “does espn have any female anchors” online, and the third result is a despicable article ranking women from ESPN on a scale of attractiveness. This is only the beginning in terms of harassment women face while
reporting on sports. They are constantly bombarded with a range of obnoxious to abusive comments online. A Peabody awarded video of men reading Tweets to Julie DiCaro and Sarah Spain, members of Sports Illustrated and ESPN, revealed just how horrible this treatment can be. These comments included things like, “this is why we don’t hire any females unless we need our cocks sucked or our food cooked”, “hopefully the skank Julie Dicaro is Bill Cosby’s next victim”, and “one of the players should beat you to death with their hockey stick like the whore you are.” These comments have nothing to do with how the ladies do their job. They have nothing to with the content they cover. The comments are meant to tear down the intended recipient, and they are typed out because of sexism and hate. It doesn’t even stop offline social platforms. In 2008, reporter Erin Andrews was recorded while naked in her hotel room by a stalker. In 2012, a reporter from St. Louis had to quit
her job because of a stalker. In 2018, a female reporter was kissed on the cheek by a stranger while on air covering the World Cup. Many women have to take amazingly precautionary actions while on the job to avoid confrontations like those listed above. They’ll never say their room number aloud or take out their room keys. They won’t walk alone at night, and some have even been provided company cars to take to ensure safety while moving from place to place. Others make sure that if they are changing, they’re located in part of a room in which no one would be able to see. Something here is most obviously wrong. The lengths of harassment these women have endured is absolutely sickening. This isn’t even the full extent; we should remind ourselves of Larry Nassar. One can only wonder what other stories are waiting to emerge from such a male-dominated industry.
Photo by Christophe Simon
Photo by Chang W. Lee 17
asty Woman. That dog. Bimbo. Miss Piggy. An extraordinarily low IQ person. Housekeeper. Horseface. These lovely words and phrases have all been used by Donald J. Trump to describe women. Did I mention that he also said, “nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.” So if this guy got elected president, I wonder what else is going on in politics. First, let’s acknowledge the good. In the 116th Congress, we have more women than ever before, a total of 127. There are also more woman of color than ever before. Of a total 535 potential positions in the House of Representatives and Senate, women still only fill about 24% of seats. We’re far from a point where those who are elected are a reflection of those who they will represent, and there are lots of reasons why. Consider the coverage of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC. She is the youngest woman to ever get elected to Congress and she’s constantly in the news. First slammed for an innocent video she starred in during college and later closely examined and criticised for just about everything else, she was at one time the second-most-talked-about politician in the United States. So what’s all the fuss? Apparently, she’s covered quite frequently on Fox News. In a span of only 29 days in January, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle discussed her for almost an hour and a half. Within the same month she was mentioned 4.5 times more on Fox than on MSNBC, and nine times more than on CNN. The coverage on Fox News has been impolite and often irrelevant, to say the least. Nevertheless, she has persisted. AOC has gone on to do great work, including extending an invitation to Ana Maria Archila, who confronted Representative Flake in an elevator about believing sexual assault survivors, and introducing one of the most comprehensive pieces of legislation to curb climate change. She, like many of the other women in Congress, have remained optimistic about how they can help their nation despite the culture of the work they’ve entered. Regardless of if you agree with her
politics or not, you should question why so much of the coverage she has received has been degrading. It turns out that “likeability” can really weigh a female politician down. “I just don’t like her.” Have you heard that one before? In an episode of the podcast Tilted by the organization Lean In, host Rachel Thomas interviewed Kate Zernike, a New York Times writer who covers politics, Karen Finney, a democratic consultant, Katie Beeson, a four time presidential campaign manager, and Erin Loos Cutraro, founder and CEO of She Should Run. The episode explores different kinds of biases people hold that lead them to judge women candidates more harshly than men. Things go from getting asked different questions than fellow male politicians to a general expectation of what makes a good politician. Most politicians are male. It makes sense that from the information we’ve absorbed we’ve come to conclusions about what makes a good or bad politician, and that we have formed assumptions of what a politician should act like. A problem only occurs once we refuse to acknowledge that our experiences with politicians are limited, and therefore there may be other ways to be an effective politician. There’s always going to be more than one way to get a job done. A man’s way of completing a task isn’t the only way for it to get it done, and get done well. We need to be more accepting and open-minded to the way women will a pproach situations. We are not men, we will not do things the same way, and that doesn’t mean we do them poorly or wrongly.
n our current age, technology is increasingly used to make all aspects of life easier. Who are the inventors and workers behind the little devices we have made ourselves inseparable from? I’ll spare you the mystery: it’s mostly white men. So, where are the women? Females account for only 27 percent of those who choose to take the AP Computer Science test in high school, and only 18 percent of computer science degrees in the U.S. Even when they do choose to major in science, technology, engineering, or math fields, only 26 percent of them will work in technical careers. In the field of computers, only one in four jobs are occupied by women. For engineering as a whole, women accounted for only 12% of the workforce in 2013, composed of 8 percent white women, 2% asian, 1% hispanic, and 1% black. Working in these jobs doesn’t mean they’ve “broken in” though. Many female engineers have gone on record explaining the need to prove their competence again and again in order to be listened to, being mistaken for a coworker’s assistant, and being asked to take notes while none of their male peers ever were. Higher up in tech companies things don’t look much better. In 2018, 91% of board members for tech companies valued at over a billion dollars were men. At Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter, women held less than 20% of all leadership roles. How does this mostly male environment bode for females? Not well. Around 40% of women with engineering degrees end up abandoning their professions or avoiding the field entirely. Women leave tech jobs at twice the rate of men, and many attribute their choices as a response to the hostile environments. The seriousness of these claims was proven in November of 2018, when an estimated 20,000 Google employees took to the streets to call for a better culture. This came after a $90 million exit package was awarded to the creator of Android mobile software, Andy Rubin after sexual harassment claims against him were confirmed. Google tried to justify its actions by mentioning how many of their former employees were let go without exit packages after being accused of sexual misconduct, but that action in itself further proves how little is being done to protect women in the workforce.
Firing an employee for a misdemeanor, not just any wrongdoing, but one that violates the sanctity of someone’s body and mind is not only about punishing the perpetrator, but ensuring that each employee at a company is valued and respected. It is a firm’s job to ensure a certain level of safety for their workers, and it should be in their interest to host an environment in which a proper form of business is conducted. Unfortunately, that’s not what we see in the tech environment, for respecting an employee involves much more than keeping one’s hands to one’s self. There is an inherent bias that women face when they enter STEM related fields. These myths often hold them back from gaining the respect of their coworkers and credit from the general world of academia. In the top 100 tech companies, women make up 6% of chief executives. Could this really be because there are limited options, that the other 94% were so much more suited for the job than any female applicants? Or could it be a subconscious or conscious bias of those making the call on who to hire? Many will try to reconcile this information with some poorly put together explanation; women simply aren’t as skilled in tech, and only the best will rise to the top. If places like the Silicon Valley are really a meritocracy, how can it be that the people who look one way consistently rise to the top over others? Diversity is one of many key factors that contribute to success; different people with unique experiences will lead to more variety in ideas. It’s quite plausible that the lack of diversity leads to little variation in ideas or challenges. A group of people who all look the same could very well explain the idea for an app called Titstare, where one could look through and upload pictures of breasts. I guess no one with a different perspective was there to challenge the idea. This is more than just one distasteful app; it’s part of a larger, unchallenged culture. It’s the kind of culture that has women dropping out like flies. Having a room full of people with limited perspective can often result in an atmosphere that is less than appropriate for any workplace – in other words, “bro culture.” Demeaning language like “casual sexism” or “locker room talk” should have no place at work, or, in my 21
Graphic by “The Revolt”
opinion, anywhere. It’s not just a joke. For one thing, it’s certainly not funny, and additionally, those comments are degrading and disrespectful. Allowing toxic cultures to thrive will only further perpetuate and instill stereotypes. They make it harder for women to be hired or recognized when
they are. Trying to justify sexism under the word “joke” is as pathetic as excusing immature and immoral behavior with the phrase “boys will be boys.” Men can and should do so much better. We do better when we work together.
Photo by Eric Risberg
Photo by Toby Melville
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ractions, chemistry, multiplication, and biology – you learned it all. Many go on to make a career out of their passion for science and mathematics. They say the sky’s the limit, but how far up can women go before slamming hard against that glass ceiling? It’s estimated that it will take 16 more years for women and men to publish equal numbers of papers and 258 years for those in physics. If men are listed as the primary investigators on research papers they’re likely to receive approximately $41,000 more than women. Studies have typically found that women are also paid below and receive less mentoring than men and are less likely to be trained in laboratories. Some are quick to dismiss these statistics and attribute potential gender disparity to the fact that women will choose less intensive careers like researchers because of motherhood. The fact is however, that the decision to have a child shouldn’t limit women from choosing certain jobs in STEM because in any family with a parent partnership, the workload should be equal to ensure that both can reach their full potential in the career they desire. It’s a false assumption that motherhood diminishes a woman’s capabilities in her field. These numbers cannot even begin to quantify the amount of inherent bias women in the sciences face which manifests into harsher judgement and harassment. The most recent, prominent example is that of Inder Verma, known for his work in gene therapy to treat cancer at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by eight women. This case doesn’t stand alone. In an article she wrote for National Geographic, Kathryn Clancy informed readers of the six years of research she has conducted on sexual harassment. Similarly to the reportings of women in music, many female victims’ accounts mentioned power dynamics that made them feel as if they could not say no when they received unwanted advanced. Persecution of these men was limited because of certain myths that float around the science world, such as the belief that men are intrinsically better with concepts of science, math, and engineering. This is seen in more than just laboratories. The New York Times wrote about harassment women face when they
upload videos to Youtube. Since most of the hosts of videos about science, engineering, and math are men, women face a particularly high level of skepticism when they teach. The data shows that the percent of comments regarding physical appearance or criticism were all higher on videos with women on camera. This seems even more significant knowing that of the 370 most popular YouTube channels covering science, technology, engineering, and math, only 32 had female hosts. So we know the numbers for women are low in these fields. In mathematics, only 1.5% of tenure-track professors are female. In 2013 only 31% of doctoral recipients were women. Women who work in the field are outnumbered, not just by men, but by prejudices as well. When Sarah Brodsky, a mathematician, was awarded the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship, she was approached by multiple people, not to be congratulated, but to inform her that her accomplishment was only awarded to her because of her gender. This comes from a groundless claim that women are simply unsuited for fields with numbers and has lead to some gross oversight in their accomplishments. Is it a mere coincidence that we had to wait for 2019 for a female’s work to be properly recognized? Karen Uhlenbeck, MacArthur Fellowship recipient and professor, was the first woman to receive the very prestigious Abel Prize for Mathematics. There has also only ever been one female ecipient of the Fields Medal. They haven’t been the first women to perform outstanding work and exhibit brilliance. There simply has not been enough work done to counteract stereotypes in these fields that inhibits recognition of women’s achievements.
ave you ever said or heard the phrase “female doctor”? Probably not “male doctor”, though. Why does there have to be a specific distinction between doctors when one happens to be a woman? They’re both just doctors.
Women are 80% of all healthcare workers, 36% of all physicians, 11% of all hospital CEOs, and 0% of Fortune 500 healthcare companies CEOs. In a list of the top ten jobs with the largest pay gaps, three were in health care. Unequal pay is not the only problem they face. You can probably guess what I have to say next.
“I watched my female colleagues receive aggression and threats in the workplace.” “I’ve seen my female colleagues have to avoid sitting next to a senior man at a work dinner for fear that he would touch them under the table.” “I’ve seen patients groping both female nurses and doctors.”
hese comments all come from many men in the field of medicine in a video done by TIME’S UP where they share their experiences, reactions, and demands for change. The cries of #MeToo have only begun to emerge in medicine. Of course there are big stories, like that of Robert Hadden of Columbia University who was sued for fondling, licking, and other offenses towards woman. If that story only came out last year, how many have we missed? Many stories remain untold, like those of other physicians who walk into a boys club atmosphere instead of a professional workplace. An estimated 30% of female physicians have been sexually harassed compared with 4% of men. A fourth of
all female nurses have been victims of sexual harassment and it’s expected that half of all female medical students will also face harassment before graduating. These statistics are only the tip of the iceberg. So much information has been lurking behind the scenes. Finally women are beginning to be able to speak out, and yet, it’s only some. I wish I could say we were at the point where when a woman came forward we would handle the allegations more seriously. I wish we were at the point where sexual harassment wasn’t rampant in many fields or happening in any. I’m happy though, because I feel like this may be yet another turning point.
he economics profession is facing a mounting crisis of sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying that women in the field say has pushed many of them to the sidelines — or out of the field entirely”, read the opening line of an article in the New York Times. It would seem that in the realm of graphs and stock predictions women are at an extreme disparity. Every year, economists gather at the conference of the American Economics Association. This year there were an estimated 13,000 attendees. The conversations that took place on stage largely revolved around the blatant abuse of women in the field of economics. This may be because of the current climate in which women have begun to speak out against discrimination at work with greater strength. There has also been much research that specifically pertained to the field of economics and gender disparities in it. Personal connections to the conference itself were created when Roland G. Fryer Jr, an Economics professor at Harvard under investigation for sexual harassment, resigned from the executive committee of the American Economics Association. So it wasn’t entirely unexpected that so much emphasis at the conference was placed on being more welcoming to women and minorities, but it was definitely necessary. A Washington Post journalist who attended the event reported that not one, but two of the presentations she attended failed to have sufficient seating for all the speakers which resulted in female co-authors having to sit among the audience. All this talk for change came after the AEA had already released a report recognizing inappropriate behavior in the field, and issuing a code of conduct; the lack of effect can seem a little disheartening. This is also coupled with the fact that the number of females in economics have remained stagnant for quite some time. Between the years 1997 to 2016, the number of females for first year students, new P.h.D recipients, assistant professors, associate professors, and full professors in over 250 university economics departments were all below fifty-percent, the lowest being professors with permanent positions whose
numbers have only recently climbed up to slightly under fifteen-percent. For women who take those P.h.D.s to careers outside of teaching, the going gets rough. Here’s a quick summary: The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t Leonardo DiCaprio, it’s the toxic culture of the stock trade. When Maureen Sherry, a now published author, stepped into her first day on the job at Wall Street, she was greeted by a toasty pizza whose pepperoni slices had been swapped out for condoms. This story is quite explicit in its intentions,but sadly, it is not unique; sexual harassment has been well documented on Wall Street. One may then wonder why they are not center stage in the era of the #MeToo movement, but when Bethany McLean, journalist and contributing editor for Vanity Fair, did some digging, she found that even if they wanted to be, there’s a lot holding them back from coming forward. She reported that many women did not speak out for, “fear of being labeled a complainer. Fear of being ostracized. Fear of being fired.” Some stories she heard could not even make it into her article because of the woman’s fear that someone would find out she had talked. When women come forward they face risks from general harassment to being blacklisted. Environments that make work impossible for those who have faced sexual harassment is one of many forms that gender bias is heavily embedded into the culture of Wall Street. The reports have lead to two lawsuits based of gender bias, one against Morgan Stanley and another on Bank of America, one of which was settled for $46,000. The harassment may not be as prevalent as it was in the 1980s, but that doesn’t mean that everything is where it should be. A Bloomberg Businessweek survey that tracked M.B.A. graduates between 2007 to 2009 found that nearly ten years after receiving their degree, they made 20% less than the males they studied with. For the women who graduated from Columbia business school the numbers were even worse. Even though many ended up with jobs on Wall Street, they received almost 40% less than their male classmates. Worse yet are the statistics for women who work as financial managers, who as a collective make 29
Lauren Simmons, full time trader
65% less than male counterparts. It’s not only that women make less for doing the same jobs as the men they work with, it’s also that there are fewer woman being hired all around. In 2018, there was only one full-time trader at the New York Stock Exchange that was female.
Photo by Mary Stevens
Something doesn’t add up. The numbers aren’t where they should be and some of the work environments that have been reported are outright disgusting. There needs to be a greater effort to set a standard for professional behavior.
Photo by Richard Drew 30
Photo by Milo Hess
illboards, commercials, and sponsored messages – the ads are everywhere, constantly interrupting our desired media and calling our attention to something else. Who’s behind the images that constantly bombard us? You’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear that women make up almost half the workers in the advertisement industry. Women hold up to 39% of executive roles and 29% of roles as Creative Directors. However, hired doesn’t mean heard. The New York Times interviewed over a dozen women in top roles of advertisement inquiring on their work environments. While there are some reports of no gender discrimination, the truth is that those comments are outnumbered by opposing perspectives. In the interviews there are accounts of feeling invisible, being address as “young lady” after years of working in the industry, constant comments regarding appearance, and even the personal experience or witnessing of sexual harassment. These comments should be given a lot of weight, especially since the uncovering of a lawsuit filed in 2016 against the J. Walter Thompson Company for racism and misogyny complete with video and written evidence. Another probe was conducted by members of the Three Percent Movement, an organization that aims to create more just ratios between genders in advertising, which involved speaking to 600 women about their experiences in the industry. Of the 600 women interviewed, 54% had been the recipients of unwanted sexual advances, 68% had been told they were “too aggressive”, 64% were told they were “too emotional”, and 91% had heard demeaning comments from male coworkers or clients. If women in advertising are treated this way, they’re held back from revealing their ideas. How can we expect the images we are presented with to reflect our ideals? How could what we see be positively influenced when more women are respected inside the ad industry? For one thing, I’m sure we’d see more commercials like Gillette’s “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be” and Nike’s “Dream Crazier,” both works involving the director Kim Gehrig. What would a world look like if the constant advertisements that are thrown in front of us promoted diversity in roles instead of further reaffirming stereotypes? We might finally be
starting to find out. With help of initiatives like the Always #LikeAGirl campaign and Dove’s #RealBeauty campaign, we influence young girls and women to avoid doubting their strength and embrace their uniqueness. Commercials like Tide & Downy’s “Princess Dress” and Pampers’ “Stinky Booty” help represent at-home dads. We need all kinds of perspectives in a boardroom creating the advertisements we see, or else we all remain limited in our experiences and expectations of fellow humans.
hat I’ve discussed aren’t just mere anomalies. They’re not events that take place in isolation - many are so similar that they indicate a pattern. It can’t all be a coincidence. Why does it matter though? Who cares if women get paid less than men? Many don’t even believe that to be true despite some very conclusive data. You should care. Even if it’s not true in your office, it could be in the next one. Evaluate your workplace behavior, is it appropriate? Are you passing up women for jobs and raises, and if so, why? Are they really unfit for it, or is there some bias at play? Chances are you know a woman: a sister, mom, aunt, friend… Chances are one or more of the women you know have been the victim of gender discrimination which means you have a personal stake in these matters. You care about them so you should care about these issues, right? In my opinion, she’s not just someone’s sister, mother, daughter, or wife; she’s someone, and that should be enough.
Images Pages 2 - 3 Lizzie (lizzieshiro). â€œIâ€™m sorry, but if someone has a nice butt or theyâ€™re a brunette that looks hot, Iâ€™m going to make a comment.â€? 22 Aug. 2016. Tweet. Trump, Donald J. (realDonaldTrump). â€œCrooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just canâ€™t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!â€? 18 Nov. 2017, 6:31 AM. Tweet. DOC (TheDocMalibu). â€œWork as much as a man does.â€? 2 Apr. 2019, 9:16 AM. Tweet. Joshua (BruizerBrax). â€œThatâ€™s a woman?â€? 21 Apr. 2019, 5:27 AM. Tweet. Sara Gonzales (SaraGonzalesTX). â€œWhy is #InternationalWomensDay still trending? That was 2 days ago, women should be back in the kitchen by now.â€? 10 Mar. 2019, 12:55 PM. Tweet. Alfred Cockhitch (AlfredCockhitch) â€œWomen want to work less but get paid the same? The gender gap is another liberal lie.â€? 28 Apr. 2019, 4:55 PM. Tweet. SinBravoNoHayFiestaPapa (roberto66067441). â€œNow if they played nakedâ€Śâ€Śâ€? 21 Apr. 2019, 8:39 AM. Tweet. M (Z7xYddU9PDauXil). â€œIf I can make her make me a sandwich everyday my life has purpose.â€? 27 Apr. 2019, 8:46 AM. Tweet. â˜şď¸?đ&#x;’Ż (Philly_Guy44). â€œJust keep shoving this idea of women doing a mans job down our throats some more.â€? 25 Sep. 2018, 8:17 AM. Tweet. Pages 6 - 7 Marvel. Captain Marvel movie poster. IMDb. 6 Mar. 2019. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4154664/. Elle. Magazine cover featuring Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyongâ€™o, and Angela Bassett. Elle. 10 Oct. 2018. https://www.elle.com/ culture/movies-tv/a23653299/women-in-hollywood-black-panther-wakanda-warriors/. Pages 10 - 11 Weiss, Angela. Lady Gaga at the 60th annual Grammys. The New York Times. 28 Jan. 2018. www.nytimes.com/2018/01/28/ arts/music/grammys-white-rose-metoo.html?searchResultPosition=1. Bee, Olivia. Kesha after releasing her newest album. The New York Times. 10 Aug. 2017. www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/arts/ music/kesha-rainbow-review.html?searchResultPosition=1. Winter, Kevin. Alicia Keys at the Grammys. The New York Times. 11 Feb. 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/11/arts/ music/grammys-moments-best-worst.html?searchResultPosition=9. Pages 14 - 15 Murray, Noah K. Four women of the US Womenâ€™s Soccer team. The New York Times. 4 Mar. 2018. www.nytimes. com/2018/03/04/sports/soccer/us-womens-soccer-equality.html?searchResultPosition=4. Simon, Christophe. Serena Williams in her black catsuit at the French Open. The New York Times. 17 Dec. 2018. https:// www.nytimes.com/2018/12/17/sports/tennis/serena-williams-wta-catsuit.html?searchResultPosition=19. Lee, Chang W. Simone Biles on balance beam at the Olympics. The New York Times. 9 Aug. 2019. www.nytimes. com/2016/08/10/sports/olympics/gymnastics-simone-biles-united-states-team-final.html?searchResultPosition=4.
Pages 20 - 21 “The Revolt .” America Inside Out with Katie Couric , performance by Katie Couric , season 1, episode 5, National Geographic , 9 May 2018. Risberg, Eric. Women and men at the Google walkout. The New York Times. 22 Apr. 2019. www.nytimes.com/2019/04/22/ technology/google-walkout-employees-retaliation.html?searchResultPosition=3. Melville, Toby. Google Walkout in London. The New York Times. 1 Nov. 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/technology/google-walkout-sexual-harassment.html. Wilson, Jim. Google Walkout in Mountain View, California. The New York Times. 8 Nov. 2018. https://www.nytimes. com/2018/11/08/opinion/google-sexual-harassment-walkout-kara-swisher.html?searchResultPosition=17. Pages 28 - 29 Stevens, Mary. Lauren Simmons working. CNBC. 13 Jun. 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/13/23-year-old-lauren-simmons-is-the-nyses-only-full-time-woman-trader.html. Drew, Richard. Plaque on Fearless Girl statue. The Guardian. 28 Nov. 2018. www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/28/ new-york-fearless-girl-charging-bull-wall-street. Hess, Milo. Fearless girl staring down bull statue. The Villager. 10 May 2018. https://www.thevillager.com/2018/05/stayingpower-city-wants-to-move-charging-bull-to-nyse-along-with-fearless-girl-but-artist-stands-ground/. Pages 32 - 33 Kelley Newton (kell3yn3). “Thank you @MiaHamm and @alexmorgan13 for paving and continuing to pave the way for future generations. Love you both!” 17 Apr. 2019, 7:53 PM. Tweet. Ryan (DJRmc). “This is awesome Lupita! You are such a talented person! Inspiration to many! Keep up the great work.” 8 Apr. 2019, 6:54 AM. Tweet. Aaron Stark (StarkDad1313). “Fantastic! We need to treat our educators with the respect they deserve and pay them the wage they so greatly deserve. They hold our future in thier hands. They deserve to be able to live comfortably on their wages.” 24 Apr. 2019, 3:00 PM. Tweet. Rachel Galligan (RachGall). “Let’s celebrate all the great men who DO support, invest in and defend women’s sports. Thank you. A million times over.” 22 Apr. 2019, 6:34 PM. Tweet. Ann Rock (rockfitz). “I just finished your book. Absolutely wonderful. Well written and easy to read. Fantastically inspiring.” 18 Mar, 2019, 7:20 AM. Tweet. Justin Baldoni (justinbaldoni). “So wish I could be there but will be watching live! The #MAKERSConference is bringing together the most powerful names in business, entertainment, tech, and finance to explore ways to accelerate the women’s movement.Tune in LIVE Feb. 6 - 8: https://aol.it/2sJJR6x @makerswomen” 6 Feb. 2019, 3:14 PM. Tweet. Barack Obama (BarackObama). “Happy Mother’s Day to my love and partner on this journey @MichelleObama, and to all the wonderful, hardworking mothers out there.” 14 May 2017, 7:01 AM. Tweet. Ellen Greaves (ECGreaves). “Gread ad. Show ‘em what crazy can do!” 24 Feb. 2019, 12:52 PM. Tweet. Ash. (heyloveash). “I want to give a HUGE thank you to @LovebeginswithL because I just made the switch to organic feminine products and I have never been this comfortable. Ever. A lifesaver indeed.” 18 Mar. 2019, 5:08 PM. Tweet. Joshua Pancho Power (Angry716Fan) “Rooting for em. They’ll do great.” 25 Sep. 2018, 8:06 AM. Tweet.
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Nevertheless She Persisted
Witness The Fight