Tag Archives: gender

Happy International Women’s Day!!!

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD)/ IWD  is a global event that celebrates women’s achievements, from the political to the social to the cultural, while reminding us all of the work to be done to arrive at gender equality. The theme for this year’s celebration is a  “Pledge for Parity.” The International Women’s Day official website encourages us to celebrate today by Pledging for Parity:

Everyone – men and women – can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.

Google has also dedicated today’s Google Doodle to IWD. Check out the the video below:



The Wikipedia Gender Gap

Wikipedia is  believed, by many, to be a democratic model of content creation because of WIKIit’s design which allows anyone to create/edit content. While listening to CBC Radio’s Spark, I (Pooja) learned that Wikipedia suffers from a severe gender gap. In fact, a study in 2011 conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation, found that only 13% of Wikipedia contributors were women, making men the overwhelming contributors to Wikipedia.

Sue Gardner, the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, uses comments posted by women on articles related to the wiki gender gap to explain reasons women do not contribute more to Wikipedia:

1)     Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because the editing interface isn’t sufficiently user-friendly.

2)     Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because they are too busy.

3)     Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because they aren’t sufficiently self-confident, and editing Wikipedia requires a lot of self-confidence.

4)     Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because they are conflict-averse and don’t like Wikipedia’s sometimes fighty culture.

5)     Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because the information they bring to Wikipedia is too likely to be reverted or deleted.

6)     Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because they find its overall atmosphere        misogynist.

7)     Some women find Wikipedia culture to be sexual in ways they find off-putting.

8)     Some women whose primary language has grammatical gender find being addressed by Wikipedia as male off-putting.

9) Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because social relationships and a welcoming tone are important to them, and Wikipedia offers fewer opportunities for that than other sites.

Like many, when I want to learn the basics about anything, Wikipedia is often the first place I go. However, before listening to the Spark radio show on Sunday, it never crossed my mind to edit or contribute to a Wikipedia page. Some of the reasons Gardner presented resonate with me, while others not at all. So what is it that’s keeping me (and you) from Wiki’ing?

Listen to CBC Radio Spark on the Wikipedia Gender Gap:


Read Sue Gardner’s blog here:


What’s in a word?

Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, has teamed up with the Girls Scouts USA to start a campaign that calls for a ban on the use of the word bossy in everyday language. Sandberg suggests that referring to girls as “bossy” can limit their full leadership potential.  The website of Sandberg’s non-profit organization LeanIn.Org states,

“When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded bossy. Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead. Pledge to Ban Bossy”. 

Sandberg’s “Ban Bossy” initiative has recruited an ensemble of spokeswomen, including Condoleezza Rice, Diane von Furstenberg, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch, and perhaps most notably megastar Beyoncé.

The Ban Bossy project highlights how a word can come to signify particular social and cultural dynamics.  While I do understand the goals driving this initiative it makes me uneasy when a group advocates for the banning of words no matter how well intentioned their motivations might be. Words carry with them a history, at times a history of injustice and painful disparities, but an awareness of history is critical if we hope to effect systemic change.  Perhaps, an alternative to “banning” is reclaiming words in an attempt to shift the negative connotations associated with a particular word. 


Studying Beyonce… in Higher Ed?

Lately, Beyonce has been in the news a lot more than usual. Recently, without any warning(or PR), she released a self-titled  album to the public. She was also, debatably, the most talked about performance at the 2014 Grammy’s a few weeks ago. However, the most interesting news I (Pooja) have recently read about Beyonce has to do with the world of academia.

Rutgers University now offers a course called “Politicizing Beyonce,” in which her musical career is used as a lens to investigate“race, gender, and sexual politics.”  The instructor of the course, a Ph.D. student, says “he’s seeking to help students think more critically about media consumption.”

I am intrigued by this course, yet not sure what to make of it. Is this a relevant and contextualized way of studying issues of race and gender or is this normalizing our (society’s) idolization of celebrities by creating a place for it in higher education?

What do you think?

Read more about this course:



Source: www.policymic.com
Source: http://www.policymic.com