Category: Independence

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Successful Careers for Women: Do We Sabotage Ourselves?

There have been many articles over the years and of late dealing with the issue of women wanting to “have it all” – a career and a family life.  So I was extremely excited to find Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook’s commencement speech to Barnard College graduates on May 8, 2011, which shed incredible new light on the issue.

Sheryl is 42 years-young and happily married with two kids. In the meantime she’s been Chief of Staff of the U.S. Treasury, Vice President at Google, and now COO at Facebook, where she’s credited with turning the social network from “just another MySpace” into a $104 billion dollar company. (Regardless of your feelings about Facebook,) Sheryl has some extraordinarily insightful things to say to women about sticking with their careers and “having it all.”

Many of us would be happy raising five wonderful kids and spending a lifetime devoted to home, family, and friends. But almost every person I know has a yearning not only to have a family but to give their unique gift, whatever that is, to the world. We’re not all meant to be the CEO of a multinational company, but Sheryl points out that many women, myself included, sabotage their own careers, knowingly, and unknowingly, giving into the outdated idea that men are meant to have careers, and women aren’t. Check out her amazing speech, challenging us all to value and feed our inner voice that says “I’m special, I have something to give to the world, and I must give it.”

Commencement Speech to Barnard College Graduates*

by Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook

…Pulitzer Prize winners Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof visited this campus last year and they spoke about their critically important book, Half the Sky.  In that book, they assert that the fundamental moral challenge of the 19th century was slavery; of the 20th century, it was totalitarianism; and for our century, it is oppression of girls and women around the world.  Their book is a call to arms, to give women all over the world, women who are exactly like us except for the circumstances into which they were born, basic human rights.

Compared to these women, we are lucky.  In America, as in the entire developed world, we are equals under the law.  But the promise of equality is not equality.  As we sit here looking at this magnificent blue-robed class, we have to admit something that’s sad but true:  men run the world.  Of 190 heads of 2 state, nine are women.  Of all the parliaments around the world, 13% of those seats are held by women. Corporate America top jobs, 15% are women; numbers which have not moved at all in the past nine years.  Nine years.  Of full professors around the United States, only 24% are women. 

I recognize that this is a vast improvement from generations in the past. 

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Please Judge Me by My Shoes

By Katina Hubbard

It’s true: I judge people’s shoes. Fortunately I don’t do it to place them in a master shoe hierarchy or a dichotomy of good and bad shoes, oh no, I am not capable of this sort of cranial computation.

Instead, I learned to look at people’s shoes due to an extreme hippy upbringing that fostered all sorts of open-minded, non-judgmental behavior in me such as taking a bus into the Congo when I was 19 and having “heart-to-hearts” with strangers on New York City subways. Somewhere along the line I started using shoes as an indicator of where people are going and who they might be.

And now I notice shoes in a borderline idiot savant sort of way. I actually remember people by their shoes and will regularly describe strangers as “the one wearing the tan loafers with dark laces” which has proved particularly unhelpful to some of my dearest male colleagues and counterparts.

But I love shoes for the stories they hint at, how specific to space and time they are, and for their subtle indications of who their wearer might be.

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You Can Blame Me For Our Sexist Society, And Stop Calling Me Beautiful

by Katina Hubbard

Ashley Judd had a bad face day. If that’s even possible…

Ashley Judd lashed back at the media when they took her “puffy face” and turned it into a rumor frenzy

So the media did it’s usual thing and went nuts jabbing, jeering, and judging her, including alleged “obvious” plastic surgery and how her husband’s probably looking for a new wife because she’s become “fat.” The American media turned a slightly puffy face into a failed person and a failed marriage. So Ashley Judd did the uncanny, she told the media how it made her feel.

With all due respect, considering how horrible media blow-ups can be, this one is a cakewalk compared to egregious treatment other celebrities (with actual plastic surgery and verified wandering spouses) deal with. But I do feel slightly bad for Lindsay Lohan and think Ashley is right in using this incident as an indicator that we’re all suffering, every day, from a toxic atmosphere of body consciousness.