My Ms. Foundation Blog Post About Workplace Discrimination

msfoundation logoThe Ms. Foundation for Women celebrated Women’s History Month by featuring blog posts submitted by women across the country including a post by yours truly!  My blog is about an incident of workplace discrimination that I encountered a number of years ago.  I hope to expand on this post in the future, as the Ms. Foundation posts were limited to 300 words, and I have more thoughts about this experience that I’d love to share.

The link to the post is here, and I’ve also pasted the content here:

“In 2001, I left my corporate job for a fantastic dot-com opportunity, doubling my salary and achieving a director title. I was co-leading a project with another male director, and our client was a music company with all male stakeholders. Continue reading

A 6-Year-Old Boy Finally Settles the Working Mom vs. SAHM Debate

mommy drawing
A couple of weeks ago my friend shared a picture that her 6-year-old son drew at school.  He was told to draw his mom doing something and then complete the sentences “Some mommies __________” and “My mommy ________.”  He drew a picture of her sitting at a computer, and underneath he filled in the words “Some mommies like to cook.  My mommy likes to work.”

As a fulltime working mom, my friend had a little bit of a panic.  Was she spending too much time at the office?  Was her child feeling neglected because she didn’t cook enough?  As she posted on Facebook, “I am trying not to take it as a sign of failure of proper prioritization.”  Who can blame her?  Whether at home or at the office, we parents are always worried that we are neglecting the other part of our – or our kids – lives. Continue reading

Men Doing Housework Will Not Save Working Women

domesticsLisa Belkin just posted a blog entitled: Women Can’t Lean in at Work Until Men Do at Home.  This is a topic I’ve been meaning to write about, and Belkin’s article gave me the motivation to do so.  My post below will make more sense if you read her article first.  However, the general concept is implied in her title…men need to do more of the domestics in order for women to get ahead in the workplace.

This concept has always bothered me.  I think it would be great for domestic work to be split 50-50, presuming that’s logistically possible for a working couple (i.e., my husband runs his own company and travels 50% of the time, so it’s not possible for us.)  However, the idea that men are the saviors of the work-life balance for women is misguided and dangerous because it sets up an unreasonable expectation that only leads to resentment and bitterness. Here’s why:

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Happy Valentine’s Day! From, Boy; Love, Girl

HeartsGrowing up, I was always taught to sign cards and letters “Love, Ashley.”  It didn’t matter who I was writing the letter to or why, that was the de facto signature.  At some point I think I noticed that girls tended to write “Love, Girl” and boys tended to write “From, Boy.”  But, being a kid, I didn’t give it much thought.

Now that I’m all grown up with my own boy and girl, I have noticed this trend continue, particularly on Valentine’s Day.  Most store-bought cards are pre-printed with a “From” line.  But for the few crazy (but wonderful) parents who still venture into having their kids make cards, the trend is still the same.  Most boys sign their cards “From” and most girls sign with “Love.”

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Who Can Alleviate Girls’ Math Anxiety? The Answer Might be Closer to Home Than You Think

Girl-doing-math-at-boardThere is much talk these days about how American kids are falling behind other kids around the world academically, particularly in the “STEM” subjects (science, technology, engineering and math).  These subjects are are incredibly important, as they lead to careers and innovations that will fuel the U.S. economy down the road and they are also among the highest paying careers.  And, girls are woefully underrepresented in these subjects.  For example, fewer than 20% of college engineering degrees go to women even though women earn nearly 60% of all Bachelors degrees.

That is why I was particularly interested in the TEDxWestVillageWomen talk by Laura Overdeck, founder of Bedtime MathContinue reading

Data, Not Anecdotes, Should Drive the Gun Reform Discussion

red-pen_data_with_graph_1I’m extremely grateful that the incident at Taft Union High School ended today with no lives lost.  The quick and astute reaction of the teacher and campus supervisor who convinced the gunman to surrender his weapon reflect true heroism.  We can also hypothesize that if the teacher or supervisor had been armed that the scenario may have played out differently, and the gunman might have lost his life.  The actual outcome, with all lives intact, is preferable.

Because of this, many journalists, bloggers, and tweeters are claiming that this incident “proves” that the NRA is wrong because the high school has an armed deputy on campus (although I have read that the deputy was not on the grounds at the time), and the NRA has claimed that having armed officers and teachers are the best way to prevent gunmen from entering a school.  While I am a gun control advocate and am against arming teachers, I don’t believe that anything has been proven by one incident. Continue reading

Where’s the Celebrity “Demand a Plan” to Stop Violence in the Entertainment Industry?

matt-damon-300x209I came across the original celebrity Demand a Plan video after signing the Demand a Plan petition.  I thought is was fine.  Pretty similar to most celebrity PSAs.  Kind of preachy.  Not particularly informative.  But as my views are generally liberal, as are most celebrities’ views, I agreed with them.  So I didn’t give it much thought.

Then came the parody of the Demand a Plan video. (The link is at the bottom of this post, in case you haven’t seen it.)  Wow.  I know that most movies are violent – in fact that’s a big reason that I don’t see a lot of movies.  I don’t like violence; I find it both distressing as well as boring and uncreative.  And I hate blood.  But, aside from my personal feelings, the parody video did an excellent job at pointing out exactly how egregiously hypocritical the celebs are.  And regardless of where someone falls on the spectrum of gun reform, the video-editor did a service by calling out the entertainment industry for the role they play in our violent culture. Continue reading

You Say Our Culture is to Blame? Then Change Our Laws. And Change Yourself.

changeA lot of commentary I’ve read about the Newtown, Connecticut shooting blames our “culture” as the cause.  “It’s not our guns, but our irresponsible gun culture that leads to these disasters.”  “It’s the breakdown of the family and our culture of violence that is to blame.”  “People don’t know how to treat each other humanely anymore.”

All of these may be true, but as I pointed out in my blog post about the Mental Health conversation, I’m not hearing many specific suggestions about how to fix this.  And, the concept of fixing culture is even more nebulous than gun reform or mental healthcare reform.  Culture encompasses everything…music, food, how we spend our time, what we talk about, what we value, how we act AND how we manage guns and mental healthcare.   It’s too vague to say we should change our culture without backing it up with what you mean and HOW we should change it.

Well, once again, you need not fear.  Because, yes, I do have some ideas about how to change culture! Continue reading

Why Discussing Mental Healthcare in the Context of a Massacre Scares Me

mhealthawareness“We need to talk about mental healthcare.”  I’ve read that statement at least a hundred times in articles and blogs since the Newtown massacre.  And I agree.  However, each time I read this sentiment, it leaves me feeling uneasy.  First, it’s extremely vague.  This statement gives no indication about what steps we should take to improve the situation, or even a suggestion about what direction the conversation should take.  And, second, using a massacre as the springboard for this discussion is very dangerous.  I fear that it will make things worse for people in desperate need of mental health treatment.

But do not fear.  I have some ideas!  And, before I share these ideas about what we should – and should not – discuss regarding mental healthcare, let me be clear that I do believe this is an extremely important conversation.  Since my youth, I’ve witnessed the extreme challenges of families coping with mentally ill family members. I have seen people go through decades of therapy and dozens of medications, only to end up in pretty much the same place they started.  And, these are people who DO have access to mental healthcare.  The situation is even worse for people who don’t.

Let’s get started…

1)   Associating mental health with violence adds stigma to having mental health issues.  And, this stigma is unfounded.  Only 4% of the violence in the U.S. can be attributed to people with mental illness.  A research report from the American Psychiatric Association states that Continue reading

I Luv Science

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After the barrage of “girls-don’t-do-math” fashion over the past few years (i.e., Forever 21’s “Allergic to Algebra” shirt), I was heartened when I was at Michael’s craft store the other day and saw a girl modeling an “I Luv Science” t-shirt on an iron-on letter package.  Note that she’s a redhead, too, and an acute one at that!

Well, I was heartened for about 2 seconds until, of course, I became infuriated that they had misspelled “love.”  So I guess girls who enjoy science don’t know how to spell?  I understand the company’s dilemma…those iron-on letter packages NEVER have enough Es, so maybe if they encourage girls to spell love with a ‘u,’ it will avoid the lack-of-E problem.  Or, I KNOW, maybe the company could just put more Es in the package.  Anyway, the whole thing is perplexingly stupid.