Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The city never sleeps...better slip you an Ambien

Is it really July 21? It's hard to believe I only have about 2.5 more weeks here. And there's so much to do, you don't want to miss anything (hence the lack of sleep...and a subsequent summer cold).

On the work front…

I got pulled into a client project earlier this month. It is a small one, with only about a month's turnaround time, that’s been really exciting to see develop. We had our initial feedback call with the client this morning and it went well…now on to diagnostic day! Happily, I’ve received some really nice feedback about my work on the team, which was lovely to hear.

On my project…

I’m (finally!) interviewing women from member companies around best practices for women’s networks in Latin America. It took a while to get off the ground, simply because this is a very new area. It’s been great in terms of getting to practice my Spanish and in really getting to do some original research. It's also personally rewarding to talk to women who are extremely passionate about diversity and inclusion practices. What’s not been so great is realizing how little there is out there—and how far these groups have to go.

Countdown to delivering my white paper and presentation…t minus 2.5 weeks. I really want to make this as impactful and comprehensive as possible…and I can definitely see this being an area of interest for a long time. How do you, exactly, ensure that cultural stereotypes and mores do not dictate the future of an entire gender? Things to ponder (perhaps in a PAE…)

On the good news front...

Did everyone see this? I certainly wish the president had been a little more forceful on this issue when he was signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act back in January 2009. And yet, I remain ever hopeful that this president really will deliver on his promises and on his values. Let's hope Republican senators and business leaders follow suit.

On the NY front…

I’ve been making time to do some of the things that one needs to do in a NY summer…long walks around the park, yoga, wine and cheese tasting, talking with people whose jobs I’d love to have, traveling a little bit (via bus, of course!). This past weekend, I was able to spend some time with three of my dearest friends, all of whom happen to be former Alliance coworkers, when we all traveled to Philadelphia.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

There's nothing you can't do...

There has been a slew of good news that has come out in support of, and as a result of, women’s increasing participation in the world economy. I’ll mention just a couple…(especially since fellow HKS-er Allison, over at Beck Abroad, has been sharing some great reading herself!).

1. Obviously, this can’t go unmentioned—the U.N. recently decided to create a new agency for the “empowerment of women,” which will combine four previously distinct parts of the U.N. system: the Division for the Advancement of Women, the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, and of course UNIFEM (or the United Nations Development Fund for Women). Read the U.N.’s press release here. While obviously this is great news--and I'm excited to see actual resources being put forth on this issue, I think my friend Kevin might have put it best: "I hope it's not the old routine of sending bills to committee for 'further study.'"

2. Google has announced that it will add to its employees’ pay to cover for a tax on same-sex health benefits AND include domestic partners in its family leave policy—going beyond what's stipulated in the Family and Medical Leave Act. Read more on the story at the New York Times. Hopefully, someday this will not be news-worthy and same-sex unions will be recognized as equal under the law. But I guess one step at a time?

3. In an interview with global NGO Population Services International (PSI), conducted by our fellow HKS student Ashley Judd, Nicholas Kristoff says that the battle to bring attention to so-called “women’s issues” is “… definitely being won. There’s no question that “international women’s issues” are going from a fringe concern and a “soft” issue to a serious topic in the spotlight. Partly that’s because women’s rights are increasingly recognized not only as a justice issue but also as a way to fight poverty and reduce civil conflict.” And in other exciting news, Half the Sky is being translated into numerous languages, including Arabic. Read the full interview in PSI's Impact magazine(and then go out and buy Half the Sky, if you have not already!).

4. In a tip-of-the-hat to Catalyst’s mission, I’m happy to share the fact that 19 women were added to major U.S. companies this year. This story was broken by the blog Companies included Yahoo!, theGap, Netflix and others. Whether this has been driven by the business case , to improve company culture or simply by a sense of fairness, I’m happy to see companies taking proactive steps to counter the fact that women hold a mere 15.2% of all Board seats at Fortune 500 companies. Sorry, but that’s simply absurd.

5. Catalyzing, the Catalyst blog written by Catalyst president and CEO Ilene Lang, was recently named by ForbesWoman as one of the best websites for women. To see/read more/get inspired, check out the full list.

Of course, it’s not all been good news. We don’t even have to look beyond U.S. borders to see this---the pay gap persists, 47 years post Equal Pay Act, reflecting our underrepresentatation in politics, women continue to be underrepresented on Sunday news shows and women MBAs continue to earn less and hold lower ranking jobs than their just-as-qualified male counterparts. So call your Senators and your Congressperson in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 182 and H.R. 12, respectively) and do not be afraid to speak up if you feel you are witnessing workplace unfairness. That’s what Google employees did.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I'm up that Brooklyn...

As promised, a (BK) life in pictures...

Entrance to Prospect Park, celebrating Brooklyn all summer long.

Look familiar?

Finally reconnecting with my wonderful HKS peers...

Happy July 4th, everyone...(ok, I admit it: this picture was taken at MOMA, not in Brooklyn).