Seven Powerful Reasons You Should Wear a Pink Hat (and Take a Stand in Other Ways)

By Debbie L Kasman 

Time Magazine's cover for its February 8th issue is a single, pink, knitted hat with the words "The Resistance Rises" written above it. An estimated 500,000 women wore pink hats at the Women's March in Washington on January 21, 2017. The hat has become an iconic symbol of resistance. Here are eight powerful reasons why you should wear a pink hat (and take a stand against gender and race discrimination in other ways).

1. We are on the "bleeding edge" of changing gender roles. So much has changed and yet so much remains stuck in the nostalgia of another era. Many workplace laws were written in 1938 when the world was a different place with tax policies that favoured breadwinner-homemaker family models. (Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time)

2. The hard-won rights for women and girls that many of us now take for granted could be snatched away. Culturally, those rights are very shallowly embedded. They haven't been around that long, historically, and they are not fervently believed in by everyone in the culture. (Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet, novelist, and essayist)

3. We're in new historical territory... Many millions of horrified Americans are starting to grasp that we can't politely stand by watching families, lands and liberties get slashed beyond repair... politeness is no substitute for morality, and won't save us in the end. We only get to decide who we are. As a writer and a person my bedrock is perennial hope for a better world than this one... (Barbara Kingsolver, American novelist, essayist, and poet, in an op-ed piece published in The Guardian)

4. We are here and around the world for a deep democracy that says we will not be quiet, we will not be controlled, we will work for a world in which all countries are connected. God may be in the details, but the goddess is in connections. We are at one with each other. We are looking at each other, not up. No more asking daddy. (Gloria Steinem at the Women's March in Washington)

5. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) says that based on the small incremental changes Canada has made in gender equality at the senior management level over the last 20 years, it will take 228 years to close the gender gap in Canada. (I don't know what the data is in the U.S. but it's likely similar.)

6. A 2015 study from LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company looked at data on promotion and attrition rates (as well as other aspects) in 118 different companies. Researchers found that across all organizational levels women are 15% less likely than men to get promoted. Women are also at least nine times more likely than men to say they do more childcare and at least for times more likely to say they do more chores at home. Black, Hispanic, and Asian women are 43% more interested in becoming a top executive than white women and 16% more interested than white men, but in a 2016 "Women in the Workplace" study, researchers found that only 3 percent of those occupying the C-Suite are women of colour.

7. Women face sexual harassment in the workplace and they encounter difficulties when they come forward. For each woman who complains, there are still many more women who have left jobs, been demoted, or continue to be abused or harassed in the work place. (Sasha Patterson, author of Chasing Justice, Challenging Power: Legal Consciousness and the Mobilization of Sexual Harassment Law)

After working in education for 28 years, I have concluded that there is no such thing as a meritocracy, there is no level playing field for women when it comes to getting promoted to senior leadership positions, and the glass ceiling is alive and well in North America and in other parts of the world. Gender equality has not been fully achieved and women's rights initiatives and quotas are totally relevant and even necessary in today's world.

Studies have identified that common barriers to women who attempt to achieve senior leadership positions are traditional, patriarchal cultures, and perceived male dominance of management, but no uniform "glass" or "concrete" ceilings emerge because they are not consistent across societies or cultures, nor are they homogenous within each society or culture.

The barriers experienced by women are determined by cultural and religious beliefs and values, psychological dimensions, socio-economic and political factors.

Debbie L. Kasman is author of the book Lotus of the Heart: Reshaping the Human and Collective Soul, and she blogs weekly about topics that pertain to spirituality, education and female leadership.

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Black Military World


The Oath of Hypocrisy—and the Politicians’ “Disease”


By Marilyn M. Singleton, M.D., J.D.

As I physician, I proudly recited and adhere to the Oath of Hippocrates, which commands physicians to “use treatment to help the sick according to [their] ability and judgment … and [to] abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm.” Physicians don’t all think alike—medically or politically—but when a patient’s health is at stake, we find a way to work together for the patient’s best interest

In 2016 a bipartisan Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, ostensibly designed to speed up research and drug approvals. They should have legislated a cure for a highly contagious disease that infects politicians in staggering numbers: chronic, relapsing, terminal hypocritical churlishness (the “Disease”).

The current acrimonious and vitriolic hyper-partisan rhetoric is making our country sick.

When the Republicans did not support the Affordable Care Act they were heartless dunderheads who wanted to see women and children suffer. It was irrelevant that the law had serious flaws that have now fully manifested themselves. In a tit-for-tat fashion, the Democrats have made it clear that they will obstruct President Trump’s efforts irrespective of whether doing so harms the American citizenry. There is no question that the value of a two-party system is exposure to a spectrum of ideas and opinions. However, dissent for the purpose of partisan posturing must not blind our legislators to novel solutions in America’s best interest.

In honor of Black History, let’s look at the different responses to racial insensitivity. Joe Biden was rewarded with the vice-presidency for his ringing endorsement of Obama: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Part of former Senate majority leader Harry Reid’s assessment of candidate Barack Obama’s chances to win the presidency was that he was “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect”? Was he censured? No. Did he have to resign? No.

At the 100th birthday party for Strom Thurmond, a 1948 (anti-integration) Dixiecrat presidential candidate, former Senate Republican leader Trent Lott praised him, saying South Carolina proudly voted for him. He was forced to resign his position. However, Democrats heaped praise upon Hillary Clinton’s “friend and mentor,” Robert Byrd who was unanimously elected the top officer in the local Ku Klux Klan unit. Bill Clinton dismissed the Klan membership, saying “he was only trying to get elected.” In December 1944, Byrd wrote to Senator Theodore G. Bilbo, “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side ... Rather I should die a thousand times… than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels.” Moreover, he launched a 14-hour filibuster and voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Republican Senator Everett Dirksen is credited with rallying enough senators to allow the bill’s passage.)

The Democrats tout themselves as the advocates for black people, but have allowed politics to trump exploring new ideas. Although the large majority of black parents support increased educational options, including traditional public, public charter, and opportunity scholarships to attend private schools, the Democrats thrashed Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos for her support of school choice. Senator Cory Booker while Newark’s mayor promoted Ms. DeVos’s ideas on school choice to improve Newark’s failing schools. Stricken with the Disease, he conveniently had a change of heart.

In 2016, Senator Booker felt “blessed and honored to have partnered with Sen. Sessions” to pass legislation honoring those who participated in the 1965 Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, with the Congressional Gold Medal. But a year later, Booker chose to testify against Sessions’s nomination for Attorney General. Senator Tim Scott’s endorsement of Sessions netted him being called (among many other N-words) a “house negro” and “a big ‘Uncle Tom’ piece of fertilizer,” and “a black man who is racist.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren expressed her peace, love, and teamwork by tweeting, “If Jeff Sessions makes even the tiniest attempt to bring his racism, sexism & bigotry into the Justice Department, he'll hear from all of us.” Senator Charles Schumer ungraciously said that Sessions’s confirmation “turned my stomach.” Kerry Kennedy of the Robert Kennedy Center for Human Rights said that the Senators who voted for Jeff Sessions absolutely were racists.

It is unsettling that “racist” has become the new synonym for a political foe, or simply someone with whom one disagrees. Derisive name-calling is an unprincipled substitute for honest discussion.

The apparent game plan to cut the new administration off at the knees may backfire. We don’t want to discover that their operation was a success, but the patient died.

Bio: Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist and Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) Board member. She graduated from Stanford and earned her MD at UCSF Medical School.  Dr. Singleton completed 2 years of Surgery residency at UCSF, then her Anesthesia residency at Harvard’s Beth Israel Hospital. While still working in the operating room, she attended UC Berkeley Law School, focusing on constitutional law and administrative law.  She interned at the National Health Law Project and practiced insurance and health law.  She teaches classes in the recognition of elder abuse and constitutional law for non-lawyers.

BOOKS 2017