The Weekly Read #2: A Day Without A Woman

What is The Weekly Read (title might change)? It’s where I give you my take of the news of and share other things that have caught my attention this week.

(Photo by Vlad Tchompalov @ Unsplash)


A Day Without A Woman

The biggest story of the week was everything women related. It was after all the week of International Women’s Day, in a month recognized as Women’s History Month. There were talks of how far we have come, but also how far we still have to go to achieve full equality.

International Women’s Day also happened to be the perfect occasion for a strike to highlight the importance of women’s paid and unpaid labour. Teen Vogue had some amazing photos of the strike in Washington D.C.

It was moving to see. But the strike did have its share of criticism. The most striking one (see what I just did) argued that the strike is a display of privilege. Not all had the support of their employers, not all could actually afford to strike. In fact, some asked whether the strike was really about a “Day Without A Privileged Woman”. Vox’s Emily Crockett provides a defense for the strike stating that it is about solidarity, not privilege.

Regardless of whether the Strike was only about privileged women or not, I believe that the point it was trying to make is right. Women every day perform paid and unpaid labour, and that work more often than not is not valued as much. On top of that pile of work there’s all this baggage and annoying things that we have to deal with simply because we are women: whether it is trying to explain our lived experiences only to be told “not all men”; whether it is dealing with annoying cat-callers; or being stay at home moms trying to keep our families afloat. Women’s work matter and we should make sure that our society, our policies and our culture remembers that.

…Uber clearly didn’t get the memo on diversity

If there is someone who clearly forgot about women’s work being just as valuable as anyone else’s my guess would be Uber, along many other companies. But let’s talk about Uber.

Uber is being dragged through the mud and rightly so. From allegations of sexual harassment never dealt with by HR despite repetitive reporting, to the CEO Travis Kalanick shouting over cutting prices to a Uber driver.

This may be come as a surprise to those who look at tech companies – former startups that have risen quick and fast – as superstars to be placed on a pedestal. Frankly, I was not surprised. Disappointed? Yes, but definitely not surprised.

The fact that sexual harassment was so blatantly mishandled at Uber, is symptomatic of a culture more interested in keeping high performers despite the fact that they harass their female colleagues. It’s about turning a blind eye to sexual harassment. This is the kind of stuff that turns women away from working in certain companies or sectors altogether and thus means the loss of talented people who are basically told that they do not matter, whose voices are repeatedly considered invaluable.

Uber needs to fix its broken culture like yesterday, and some positive steps have been taken, including an investigation of sexual harassment claims by Fowler, whose blog started the avalanche of mud engulfing Uber.

Read Mike Isaac NYT’s piece to get a general overview of all that is going on, and the Uber Aggressive culture at Uber. And if you care to read thoughts about how Uber could fix this Fast Company is your to go source.

Apparently the Marines ain’t any better when it comes to sexual harassment. Who would have thought, huh?

AHCA otherwise known as the Republican Fast and Furious Healthcare Plan

Gosh what a whirlwind. Seriously. The Republicans are taking America’s Healthcare on a rollercoaster and we yet do not know (The GOP included) whether the trill will be worth the nausea – probably not. Dubbed Obamacare-lite by people from the left and right alike of the spectrum, I’ve read a few things about it, and I’ve gone through the trouble of listening an hour and a bit long podcast ep on the matter. Vox’s Sarah Kliff breaks it down for us yet to become policy wonks.

Since it was IWD’s not too long ago, let’s think about the repercussions it might have on women. I’ll warn you, it looks bad. Erin Gloria Ryan tells you why here.

Here’s a preview:

“The GOP’s plan guts the Medicaid expansion, defunds Planned Parenthood, and sunsets a federal rule that requires that qualified insurance plans cover things like mental health care, maternity care, and pediatric dental and vision care, among other things….Further, the fate of the ACA’s birth control mandate…..is also up in the air.”

– Erin Gloria Ryan, The Daily Beast

But this could all be a fake bill, a bill that the Republicans themselves want to die. That’s a theory circulating these days, and on a one hand that should make many happy. But what does this say about Republicans? I’m planning to write a blog post just about that.

Miscellaneous

1. Two Feminists icons are under fire.

Emma Watson for being considered a hypocrite and for not engaging with the criticism raised against her for expressing doubt about whether Beyonce’s 2013 self-titled album was too much about attracting the male gaze, whereas her pics showing some level of nakedness are artistic instead.

Chimamanda Ngozi came under fire for saying that trans women are trans women and falling in the same trap she had in the past highlighted:”the single story”. Trans women’s voices are better at explaining this more than I ever could. Laverne Cox +  Raquel Willis

2. Apparently White men are an ‘endangered species’ according to Tesco chairman John Allan. This in the face of data that proves the contrary.  Please name and shame him.

3. White feminism ain’t feminism says Gloria Steinem

Well said, Gloria. If your feminism isn’t intersectional it isn’t feminism.


Highlights of the Week

The Day They Disappeared – The Washington Post 

The powerful feminist speech you haven’t heard yet – Mic


Podcast of the Week

Meet the Woman Who Said Women Can’t Have It All – Freakonomics Radio

 

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