When Women are 51 Percent

Why women still cant have it allPassionate discussions on what women have, or don’t have, or can’t have, have erupted online following the release of the July/August cover story in The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” written by Anne-Marie Slaughter. According to magazine spokeswoman Natalie Raabe, the magazine article has attracted more visitors to The Atlantic website in a 24-hour period than any magazine story the site has ever published. “Clicks were approaching 450,000 uniques” she said.

The tired old phrase about not having it all, belies the complex web of issues that make equality and power for American women so elusive. No wonder this story has taken off, coming on the heels of the onslaught of legislative battles across the nation, including the “vaginagate” uproar in Michigan. The repeated attacks on the “freedoms” women supposedly won in previous decades, makes the escalating economic and workplace issues all that more painful. If it is not obvious already, we have not really confronted the fundamental issue of what is thwarting equality for women in our society.

The heated debate all over the web including the New York Times and Salon, reveals the enormously difficult situation women find themselves in, whether they are accomplished policy advisers at the state department or young women looking ahead with hopes to create a full and balanced life. Women feel a deep dissatisfaction about their choices and encounter significant opposition to even modest change. And what of ordinary women’s choices, when the highly educated, wealthy, and privileged women, make their public pronouncements that it is not possible, and they have to “choose” to return home? Women in power are leaving in droves it seems. Slaughter writes:

“I am hardly alone in this realization. Michèle Flournoy stepped down after three years as undersecretary of defense for policy, the third-highest job in the department, to spend more time at home with her three children, two of whom are teenagers. Karen Hughes left her position as the counselor to President George W. Bush after a year and a half in Washington to go home to Texas for the sake of her family. Mary Matalin, who spent two years as an assistant to Bush and the counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney before stepping down to spend more time with her daughters, wrote: “Having control over your schedule is the only way that women who want to have a career and a family can make it work.”

When the highest-placed women of America, say that it is impossible, who is to blame? Is feminism really to blame, as Slaughter states, for promoting a fiction to the newest generation? (She states the young women feel assaulted by women her age and older.) Equality is proving much harder than we thought. It requires more than just a few well-placed women in high places. Women should be demanding our half of the sky. We are the 51%. Equality requires real representation.

American women have not managed to dislodge the stranglehold the male power elite and the unjust economic system has on our institutions. We have not been able to define our society, and that prevents the few women who manage to make it from remaining in the positions of power. This is true across the board, in all industries and in government. If we do not have the numbers, if we only have tokens, we can not define the economic problems and solutions in terms of how they impact women and their families, we do not have sufficient power to create the change that needs to be made. Slaughter concludes:

“Only when women wield power in sufficient numbers will we create a society that genuinely works for all women. That will be a society that works for everyone.”

I encourage my readers to join the critiques in the media. America needs your ideas on what equality really means. Now is the time to speak up, join hands, and get involved in sufficient numbers. What do you want that you cannot have right now? It is up to us to define the solutions, and no woman can do it alone.

Record Attendance at the Women’s Leadership Conference

Bd President-WLC2011Over 225 women and men are expected to attend EWIP’s Women’s Leadership Conference and Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, March 7, 2012. This is the fourth year EWIP has held the annual conference and award presentation in San Francisco. In recognition of the success of the event, EWIP received a thank you letter from Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi who extends a warm welcome to all participants. In her letter she recognizes the value of those working to help women become strong leaders and applauds the group for providing “examples of great partnerships and collaborations, and [providing attendees with] opportunities to interact with innovative leaders” in publishing and media.

Thea-Colleen-WLC2011There are over 30 speakers in the all-female roster who will speak to the theme, Taking Our Next Step: Content, Community, Collaboration in the highly interactive conference.

A highlight of the Women’s Leadership Conference is the Exceptional Woman in Publishing Award presentation, an opportunity to publicly honor an influential leader. Michela O’Connor Abrams, president of Dwell Media is the 2012 Exceptional Woman in Publishing Award recipient and will be honored during the March 7th luncheon.

Sponsors for the 2012 Conference include, Brown Printing Company, Dwell Media, Graphic Communications, Infogroup, PM Digital, Publishers Press, RR Donnelley, The Magazine Manager, Time/Warner Retail, Verified Audit, and Zinio.

Tickets for the nearly sold-out event are available online till 8:00 pm PST on Tuesday. For more details on the conference program, session schedule visit the registration site online.

Photos courtesy Kathryn MacDonald

Michela O’Connor Abrams of Dwell Media Gets EWIP Award

Michela O'Connor Abrams
EWIP is pleased to announce that Michela O’Connor Abrams is the 2012 Exceptional Woman in Publishing Award recipient. Ms. O’Connor Abrams will be presented with the award at the fourth annual Women’s Leadership Conference on March 7th in San Francisco. Exceptional Women in Publishing has bestowed this honor that recognizes publishing and media’s best female leaders, since 1999. Ms. O’Connor Abrams is the fourteenth recipient of the annual award that includes Gloria Steinem, Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation, Laurel Touby, founder of mediabistro.com, and Ardath and Marie Rodale of Rodale, Inc. The full list can be viewed here.

Michela O’Connor Abrams is president of Dwell Media, an award-winning media company founded in 2000. Her nine years of leadership there has led to General Excellence at the National Magazine Awards, a 2009 finalist in the corporate category for the prestigious National Design Awards, and National recognition for both circulation growth and newsstand sales. In 2005, she conceived and launched Dwell on Design, the largest design show on the West Coast hosting 20,984 design professionals and enthusiasts. She has led the development and growth of Dwell Media’s digital platforms including web, mobile, and tablet products which were recently recognized as “#1 Most Innovative” in Affinity Research’s August 2011 survey.

Ms. O’Connor Abrams was honored in 2005 by Media Industry News as Sales Leader of the Year. She is President of the Board for Goodweave (formerly RugMark), Chairman of Home & Gift for Project Angel Food’s Divine Design, sits on the boards of Magazine Publishers of America’s Independent Magazine Advisory Group, Linguastat, Halogen Media, Afar Media, and serves on the Board of Trustees for Marin Horizon School.

EWIP women's Leadership Conference logo

Michela O’Connor Abrams has been a strong supporter of EWIP (and WIPP) for many years and has presented at the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Women’s Leadership Conferences. She is the first recipient of the EWIP award who hails from the West Coast. Please join the EWIP board of directors at the conference luncheon to celebrate and honor this dynamic woman, who is, for all who know her, leadership in action!
Congratulations, Michela!

Photo courtesy of Dwell Media.