Saturday in Sisterland

Secretary Clinton Delivers the Keynote Address at Inaugural Women in Public Service Colloquium

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers the keynote address at the Inaugural Women In Public Service Colloquium, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on December 15, 2011. (State Department photo/ Public Domain

Morning, news junkies!

Don’t you just love the photo of Hillary to the right? Hillary looks so glamorous and elegant in black, with her hair flipped out, and please note the sign on her podium. It’s the name of an initiative she has just launched. An iconic shot, if you ask me.

Bloomberg has the scoop:

Clinton Seeks Women Leaders to ‘Tackle Our Biggest Problems’

Hillary Clinton would like to see more women in government around the world.

She said she knows “how daunting it is” for women to consider a public-service career, yet “we need women at every level of government from executive mansions and foreign ministries to municipal halls and planning commissions, from negotiation international disarmament treaties to debating town ordinances.”

To that end, Clinton yesterday initiated the Women in Public Service Project, a program intended to increase the number of women in leadership. This summer, for instance, 40 women from the Middle East and North Africa will go to her alma mater, Wellesley College, to gain skills in public speaking, coalition building, networking and mentorship.

The initiative reflects an idea that Clinton has returned to throughout her tenure as the top U.S. diplomat — that people, their communities and countries do better when women are active participants in public life.

The issue isn’t just about fairness, the top U.S. diplomat said. “It’s about expanding the pool of talented people to help tackle our biggest problems.”

That’s our Hillary, and this is her life’s work–tirelessly framing the principle of fairness in terms of solving problems and dilligently doing the legwork to bring both objectives together in the form of concrete actions. She’s our modern-day Franklin and Eleanor, all in the same person.

Hillary’s partner in campaining for women and girls–Melanne Verveer–says the Women in Public Service project is “going to grow exponentially.”

Even as the hunger for the ordinary man’s right to self-goverance continues to grow around the world, the political participation of women still remains a taboo, as the Arab Spring has brought into focus.

‘Dirty Word’

Private sector help for the program will be crucial, Clinton said. Computer maker Dell Inc. (DELL), based in Round Rock, Texas, will provide hardware, training and other support for the program. Ogilvy Worldwide is helping with public relations and information support, she said.

While women in North Africa and the Middle East have played a pivotal role in the Arab Spring, “for many of them, politics was still kind of a dirty word” and there may be some reluctance to stay engaged in the process of reform.

Clinton said she made the point that if these women don’t make their own transition from taking part in “this extraordinary historic revolution to actually doing the hard, and yes, sometimes boring difficult work of politics, you may not realize the gains and the hopes that you had demonstrated for.”

Hillary’s words are very salient there. Women are their own best advocates. If half this world’s population doesn’t stand up for themselves in every nook and cranny of this planet, then all the protest fever in the world will be limited in what it can achieve.

Women have to be equal and respected participants of protests for protests to matter.

Secretary Clinton Meets With IMF Managing Director Lagarde

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on December 15, 2011. (State Department photo/public domain)

Here’s one last excerpt from the Bloomberg piece, but I urge you to click over to the article and give the rest of it a read:

‘Grit Your Teeth’

Clinton and Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund and one of the speakers, spoke about the hurdles to women that remain.

“It’s not as though there’s been this huge, cosmic change” in attitudes, Clinton said. “It still is hard.”

Clinton mentioned a radio interview she heard while getting dressed for work this week. A woman interviewed about Republican presidential nominee Michele Bachmann said she wasn’t comfortable supporting a woman for president.

“Imagine my reaction,” said Clinton, a Democratic presidential candidate in the 2008 election. “So it’s not only in other countries that attitudes need to be addressed. It is even in a country like my own.”

Lagarde gave the women in the crowded auditorium two pieces of advice. The first was to build a list of talented, skilled women so that the next time a male employer said they were unable to find a qualified woman for a job, they could whip out their list. She recalled the struggle she had as French finance minister with state-owned firms reluctant to hire women, despite laws requiring it.

“Start building your list,” she said to applause. “Do it, do it, do it and use it.”

Lagarde’s second tip focused on the hostility toward women that remains in too many workplaces, however subtle: “Take the bashing, grit your teeth and smile, because there will be others after you,” she said.

Speaking of hostility toward working women, particularly single working mothers, Bryce Covert over at New Deal 2.0 discusses the consequences of state cutbacks in childcare services — Cutting Back on Childcare Assistance Puts Single Mothers in the Hole:

Single mothers aren’t faring very well in the recovery. Their unemployment rate was 12.4 percent in November, up from 11.7 percent in June 2009. An unemployed single mother will clearly need help with at least one thing to go out and get another job: childcare. And those who have jobs are still trying to make ends meet, potentially working longer hours and in need of someone to care for their children. But just as the need for childcare assistance is surely rising, states are cutting back. A new report from the National Women’s Law Center shows that those in need of assistance were worse off this year compared to last year in 37 states when it came to income eligibility limits to qualify, waiting lists, copayments, reimbursement rates, and eligibility for assistance to parents looking for a job.

Denying women support for childcare will directly impact their ability to save and their need to take on debt. As a report from NYU Wagner, “At Rope’s End,” says, “The hefty costs associated with single parenthood, which include childcare, housing, food, health insurance, among others, decrease the likelihood that, even with a stable income, these mothers will be able to accrue wealth.” And paying for childcare is no small cost. The average price of full-time care can range from $3,600 to $18,200 annually, according to the NWLC report, and At Rope’s End estimates that this cost accounts for over three-quarters of single mothers’ monthly expenditures.

Here’s a related graph, via Economix, from earlier this month:

In the month of November, the number of men in the labor force (working or actively looking) rose by about 23,000. By contrast, the number of women in the labor force fell by 339,000. (The numbers do not add to a 315,000 net loss because of rounding.)Even more peculiar is what these lost female workers did before they dropped out.

Typically when we think of workers dropping out of the labor market these days, we think of workers who have been unemployed for a while and have simply given up looking for a job. But last month, almost all of the net loss of women from the labor force was accounted for by women who had jobs right before they dropped out.


Here is a pie chart for the 3,893,000 women who left the labor force in November — the gross number, so not subtracting those who newly entered the job market — sorted by how those women were categorized the month before:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Now the numbers are volatile, so take this with a grain of salt. We also do not know why so many women left their jobs to drop out of the labor force. Probably some of them were going on maternity leave, and some quit their jobs for other reasons.

I would guess that most of them, though, were laid-off workers who had not yet started looking for a new job. After all, state and local governments are shedding workers in large numbers, and most state and local workers are women.

Couple that last statement with the fact that states are cutting back on childcare, and you can see that women are hurting in this economy–one for which President Obama recently offered these oh-so-inspiring, Condi-esque words…“we didn’t know how bad it was.”

Sheesh, well if the brilliant and immaculately conceived Barack Obama could not tell how bad it was, then who could have? Certainly not Dr. Dakinikat, nor that ‘stupid bitch’ who wouldn’t quit in 2008, and definitely not any of those silly wimminz who voted for her.

I guess only the ubiquituous ‘Nobody’ could have forseen…

(By the way it was the original ‘Nobody’s’ 181st birthday last Saturday!)

Shifting gears a bit… once again, Ukraian feminists have gone wild, making some waves… FEMEN, Ukrainian Women’s Rights Group, Protests Russian Elections (warning: Huffpo link contains NSFW photos):

Security guards detain activists from Femen in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow

Security guards detain activists from women's rights group Femen for staging a performance to support Russian opposition groups and to protest against violations at the parliamentary elections in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow December 9, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

Russians aren’t the only people protesting the allegedly rigged parliamentarian elections held earlier this month.

Turns out FEMEN, a Ukrainian feminist group, is also up in arms about the win of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party in the Dec. 4 elections.

To show their disapproval, FEMEN protesters stripped down in front of The Cathedral Of Christ The Savior in Moscow on Friday, holding signs that said, “God Get Rid Of The Czar,’ AGI reports.

The women were detained by security guards and taken into police custody, Reuters reports. The women were released shortly after being detained.

In an effort to explain their stance, the the FEMEN protesters wrote about the Moscow demonstrations today on their website. They noted that during the protests, one of their activists dislocated her arm as a result of a scuffle with the guards.

This reminds me of *last December* around pretty much the same time, when the same group of Ukranian feminists ‘urinated in protest’ of the country’s all-male cabinet (scroll to the middle of the linked post for details).

These gals know how to do holiday sacrilege in the month of December!

That Reuters pic of the security guards detaining the protesters is disturbing, though.

Which brings me to this next bizarro world link… via Jezebel:

Heathen Pink Bibles Pulled From Shelves Due To Nefarious Planned Parenthood Connection

Scary pink bibles talking about girly parts!

Nearly every product imaginable, from Band-Aids to KitchenAid mixers, is now available in pink, and Americans are constantly encouraged to buy these items to support the fight against breast cancer. So why is a Christian bookstore furiously pulling pink Bibles from its shelves? Because they raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which in turn funds Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer programs. CNN reports that in recent weeks conservative Christian groups were put in the strange position of rallying against a Bible after people complained that $1 from the sale of each “Here’s Hope Breast Cancer Bible” goes to the Komen foundation.

A dollar from the sale of each bible went to breast cancer awareness and screening, oh noes! It’s a war on the baby jesus!

Moving along from the religiously challenged to the politically bankrupt…

Wonk’s $0.02 on 2012

So far next year’s election cycle doesn’t look like much to write about politically. I’ve dubbed it ESOTUS 2012–i.e. Empty Suit of the United States 2012. (Please refer to my primer on the tortured logic of trying to choose between Romney and Obama.)

So I’m going to skip right to about the only bit of human interest that I’ve come across yet:

Why would any self-respecting woman endorse an empty suit? (To get her foot in the door of his Administration, methinks.)

Is Nikki Haley going to get the VP nod? Double X’s Jessica Grose says she buys Haley’s insistence that she’s not looking for a spot on Mittens’ ticket, but I don’t know what to think. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised to see Haley somewhere in a Romney Administration, should the “perfectly lubricated weather wane” (thank you, Jon Huntsman) win.

Ok, next up…I was bored to tears by Huffpo’s stuffy “9 Books to Get Your Sister” list, so I’ve made up my own wishlist called “7 books you can buy me, sister-friend:”

And now for… Today in Women’s History

Deborah Sampson - For the Good of the Country, artwork by Pamela Patrick White

Deborah Sampson was born, December 17, 1760… I loved this blurb on Sampson, from artist Pamela Patrick White, via Old Glory Prints:

A tall girl, Deborah enlisted in the 4th Mass. Regiment of the Continental Army, as Robert Shertliffe. Wounded twice during the war – by bullet and saber slash, she was honorably discharged by Henry Knox at West Point. Good enough for her country, but not good enough for the Baptists, who excommunicated her.

Phyllis Schlafly is even now uncertain if she could cook and thus be worthy of Citizenship.

Learn more at:

Before I go, a few pick-me-ups…

This first one is a h/t to quixote who sent me the link to the BBC story: Oil spill penguins released into sea off New Zealand.

I’m just going to put the youtube up here for your convenience:

And, this second one is a h/t to Minkoff Minx… via EarthSky: Who knew baby rhinos sounded like this?

Again, I’m just going to embed the video here so you don’t have to click over:

And, one more… this one is a link to a tumblr of baby animal photos and you’ll have to click over to see all the warm fuzziness (via the Design Inspiration):

70 Cutie Baby Animals Bring You a Good Mood

It’s really hard for me to choose just one, but this was the first one I happened to see:

Ok, well that’s it for me. I hope you keep warm and happy and drop in with what’s on your reading list this weekend!

52 Comments on “Saturday in Sisterland”

  1. ralphb says:

    A baby seal goes visiting in New Zealand.

    PHOTOS: Seal pup settles in at Bay of Plenty home

    After a long day wandering through Tauranga streets and through a cat door, this young seal pup went straight for the couch at a home in the Bay of Plenty.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    There’s nothing better than waking up to a Wonk the Vote post on a Saturday morning. Thanks so much Wonk! The great photos of HIllary and the baby animals made my day.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Yes, this is a real treat…
      Earlier this morning, in a sleep-dazed state of consciousnesses, I was reading through the items on my Google Reader. I had gotten half way through the post and thought: oooo, I’m staring this one to keep it for later…then I realized, no wonder I liked it…it was Wonks post.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Meanwhile, here at home, the assault against Planned Parenthood mosey’s on.

    Michele Bachmann wants “personhood” granted to every embryo and some states are in the act of punishing women for stillbirths.

    And most of the female candidates who rose up during the last 3 years – the same women that some voices declared they “would only vote for” – have all been anti choice.

    Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one. But get out of the way of those who are still allowed to choose their destiny without government interfering and demanding otherwise.

    It’s also women who are at stake in this election since their seems to be more and more of a push by the Faith Based Initiative crowd to prevent “freedom of choice” through legislation.some states inhibit that even now.

    The GOP seems consumed with the idea of legislating sexuality through its homophobia and anti choice rants.

    What either has to do with running a government of democratic principles escapes me.

      • What part of mind your own damn business do these asshats not understand?

        The Salvation Army’s nativist/homophobic bullshit goes against sacred values for me, but at the same time I’m not going to waste time going out of my way to stop them from… helping poor people. WTF sense would that make? By all means let the pitiful individuals at Salvation Army pushing that backwards agenda at least do something good in spite of themselves!

        This is really not that hard to understand, but then this really isn’t even about an organization that offends anyone’s values when you get down to it. The anti-women agenda of all these Plannned Parenthood haters is really just a means to an agenda that is against access to public resources of any sort. God forbid more poor women can get screened from cancer early and have to get any kind of costly treatment on the public dime.

    • From the link…

      And it comes at a political cost to Democrats who were forced to relent on a provision forcing President Obama to take a public position on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

      This is where TPM is still oblivious. Forced schmorced.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Gallup poll: 70% of voters can’t wait for campaign to end.

    • bostonboomer says:

      And that’s just in exchange for TWO months of payroll tax cut and unemployment extension!

    • 2012 certainly is no “America’s Next Top President” the way 2008 was, and there’s more suspense value in how long Kim Kardashian’s next marriage will last. /snark

    • ralphb says:

      That means 30% are paying no attention at all to politics.

      • Probably a good thing these days actually. I was telling another commenter in e-mail that truth be known, as much of a political junkie as I am and will always be–I spend a whole lot more time baking and cooking than I do following politics these days. (I’ve even kicked the cable news habit of keeping track of the atrocities on each infamous infotainment channel. Then again… I barely watch ANY tee vee at all right now… and couldn’t be happier for it!)

      • northwestrain says:

        Good for you!! Kicking the TV habit is hard to do.

        W e don’t own a tv that can get a signal — and we don’t have cable tv.

        One thing about the RV camps — many have cable hook ups and a whole lot of rigs travel with their mini dish tv things.

        Practically the first thing that some of the exotic rigs do is pop up their remote controlled satellite dishes and search for whatever.

        We on the other hand get our news and weather from online news sources and we are better informed than most people we know. This way I NEVER have listen to 0.

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    The GOP reminds me of criminals who revisit the same bank to rob (Obama being the bank) since there is no resistance offered.

  6. HT says:

    Wonk, a thoughtful engaging roundup. I absolutely love the white rat and his teddy bear in the babies photos. Anything I could type about Hillary has already be articulated – what a loss for the world. Thanks for the Saturday wakeup.

    • Good to hear from you HT 🙂 and thanks for reading. I’m going to go back and look for the rat with the teddy bear.

      • oh, it was the first one. (Duh, wonk!)

        The rat even has a cheesy almost-smile. So adorable. I’m going to embed it here… anyone else have a favorite, please mention it…I’ll embed yours too if I catch you in the comments.

        Here’s HT’s:


      • HT says:

        Wonk, there was a later picture where the rat was asleep with his paw around his teddy bear – priceless too. I may be excused – I’m one of those crazy old ladies who feeds squirrels every day – mind you, it’s getting expensive. Peanuts are not cheap anymore.

        It’s good to see you too Wonk. You’ve been AWOL for awhile. While I rarely comment, I am always here, as I was at your site. Didn’t go to Taylor Marsh cause I find her tedious and have done since before her 2008 about face. You on the other hand are always challenging and that I appreciate. You’re in good company here – Minx, Dakinikat, BB, peggysue et al – all wonderful wordsmiths. It’s a pleasure coming here every morning.

  7. HT says:

    Been, not be – I must check before I push the post button.

    • Leave it to the WSWS. 😉

    • HT says:

      I have to chime in – I liked Hitchens. I didn’t like a lot of the things he did and supported, however he had a way with words that was in some cases amazing. I also liked Buckley for his amazing use of the English language. I never agreed with him, however reading what he wrote was educational. These days, who is that articulate? Which journalist is as good as both these men? Ben Smith – total hack. Jonah Goldberg – hack. Krautheimer – not likely, although he comes close. Frumm – give me a break. Who, who, who? Someone give me a name that I can follow, please.

  8. ralphb says:

    Paul Krugman: Ron Wyden, Useful Idiot

    Sen. Ron Wyden did indeed do a bad, bad thing in his joint proposal with Paul Ryan.
    What Wyden did was to give cover to the fundamental fallacy of right-wing attempts to dismantle Medicare: the claim that market competition is the key to reducing health care costs. We have overwhelming evidence on this — and it just isn’t true.
    So why would anyone who isn’t a right-wing ideologue propose that kind of degradation? Inquiring minds want to know.

  9. foxyladi14 says:

    Thanks for a great post, Wonk! especially the Hillary ones. loved the babies too. 🙂

    • Thanks foxyladi 🙂 Hope the holiday season is treating you and yours well in your neck of the woods. It’s pretty chaotic over here in Houston…one minute it’s warm enough outside to go out without a jacket, but by the time you go back outside to your car it’s freezing.

      • HT says:

        You should have our weather. Our birds haven’t even gone south and I live north of the 49th parallel. Mind you, this morning was cold – around 28 degrees F. But every day preceeding has been sprout producing. Weird weather for sure. And TPTB keep telling us climate change is a myth.

  10. Woman Voter says:

    Hi Wonk,

    Glad to read in the New York Editorial that Secretary of Sate spoke out against NDAA and still speaking out for the Women’s Rights around the world. 🙂