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We'd watch these ladies on late night
April 10th, 2013
01:54 PM ET

Once more, with feeling: Where are the women in late-night TV?

By Breeanna Hare, CNN

(CNN) - With Jimmy Fallon's takeover of "The Tonight Show" destined for 2014, there's the tiniest glimmer of hope that NBC will do something different with the vacated seat on "Late Night."

For once, maybe we'll see something fresh, something other than the established white-guy-in-a-suit-sitting-behind-the-desk tradition that's held on since the show debuted in 1982.

Longtime TV critic Ken Tucker indulged in the wishful thinking, asking on Grantland if he "may really spit in the wind and suggest that maybe, finally, for the love of God and Totie Fields, maybe it's time (once again) to give a woman a chance behind the desk?" Rather than traditional stand-up comics, Tucker hoped to see Paget Brewster, Julie Klausner, or, hope against hope, Amy Poehler, even.

But none of those women was among those named in the gossip surrounding the proceedings - and the one woman who was, ever so tentatively, mentioned by the New York Post's Page Six, Tina Fey, was said to be "too busy" for the nightly grind.

That left Seth Meyers - Fey, Poehler and Fallon's "Saturday Night Live" co-star - carrying the bulk of the speculation that he'd move to "Late Night," along with rumors that Alec Baldwin might be in talks to join the post-prime-time lineup. It's thereby signaled another round of the now time-honored question, "Where the (bleep) are the ladies in late night?"

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Filed under: Gender • How we live • Pop culture • Women
April 8th, 2013
11:50 AM ET

Streep: Thatcher paved the way for women

(CNN) - In 2011, Meryl Streep gives her thoughts on Margaret Thatcher's legacy after portraying her in "The Iron Lady."

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Filed under: Gender • History • How we live • Women
March 21st, 2013
09:30 AM ET

White women on black magazine covers?

(CNN) - CNN's Don Lemon and a panel discuss actress Jada Pinkett Smith's Facebook post on race, women and magazine covers that asked in part: "Will there ever be a day in which women will be able to see each other beyond race, class, and culture?"


Filed under: Black in America • How we look • Who we are • Women
March 18th, 2013
11:38 AM ET

Sandberg: Speak up, believe in yourself, take risks

Editor's note: Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, is the author of "Lean In." Watch the first part of Soledad O'Brien's interview with Sheryl Sandberg at 8 a.m. ET Monday on CNN.

By Sheryl Sandberg, Special to CNN

(CNN) - My hope in writing "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead" was to change the conversation from what women can't do to what we can.

We need a national conversation that examines the barriers that hold women back and prevent us from achieving true equality. Additionally and just as importantly, we need personal conversations among us all - managers and employees, friends, colleagues, partners, parents and children - where issues about gender are discussed openly.

The blunt truth is that men still run the world. Of today's 195 independent countries, only 17 are led by women. In the United States, where our founding creed promises liberty and justice for all, women constitute just 18% of our elected congressional officials.

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Reporter’s Notebook: Facebook’s Sandberg delivers a noble message in a complicated conversation
CNN's Soledad O'Brien sits down with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to talk about the reaction to her book "Lean In."
March 15th, 2013
10:30 AM ET

Reporter’s Notebook: Facebook’s Sandberg delivers a noble message in a complicated conversation

Editor's Note: Watch Soledad O'Brien's interview with Sheryl Sandberg on "Starting Point" at 7 a.m. ET on Monday, March 18th and Tuesday, March 19th.

By Soledad O'Brien, "Starting Point" anchor

When you walk into Facebook’s New York City office, you get a sweeping loft-like feeling from a beautiful courtyard with big open windows in the very modern Bank of America building on Madison Ave. You’re also faced with a message in massive red letters that you can only read at a distance:

“PROCEED AND BE BOLD.”

proceedandbeboldcropped

I was there for my sit-down interview with Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer. She walks me over to the wall of windows with red letters to make it clear that the message is the ethos of the social media company.

Sandberg is wearing a navy and red dress, with a dark navy cardigan, and comes across as professional and personable. She had just rushed from another interview with CNN sister company Fortune magazine. You may have also seen her in one of her other zillion interviews this week, with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” or on the cover of “TIME” magazine.

As we prepare for the interview, she tells me she doesn’t enjoy the process of talking about herself, and admits she finds it to be a bit of a struggle. But the struggle must be worth it, because Sandberg’s message is gaining traction as a result of her book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” which was released on Monday.

The advice in “Lean In” is best when used to guide young women. In the book, Sandberg writes that women should strive to close the ambition gap with men, and to become leaders early in their careers to allow them flexibility later on.

“ 'Lean In' is not about fixing women,” she tells me. “'Lean In' is about all of us coming together to understand the stereotypes that are holding women back and fix them.”

However, that’s not how many have interpreted Sandberg’s points.

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Filed under: Gender • History • How we live • Women
March 13th, 2013
08:17 AM ET

Devoted New Orleans teacher vanishes without a trace

By Holly Yan and Vivian Kuo, CNN

(CNN) - Terrilynn Monette had no problem uprooting her life to help children.

When the California native learned of the "teachNOLA" program, which sends educators to New Orleans to teach in impoverished areas, she packed her bags and headed to Louisiana.

"I always wanted to be a teacher, and what better place to teach than New Orleans, where passionate teachers are needed most?" Monette said in a 2011 video.

Her dedication and excellence in the classroom earned her a "Teacher of the Year" nomination in her district.

But after a night celebrating the accolade with friends, the 26-year-old vanished.

That was almost two weeks ago. With each passing day, her family's anxiety compounds.

"There's total emptiness in my life right now. I miss my daughter so, so much, no one can hardly believe the impact that she has had on our family," said Monette's mother, Toni Enclade.

"She's a beautiful person. She walks in the room, she lights up with her beautiful smile. I can't imagine anyone that would take her away from us."

Hundreds of volunteers and police have scoured New Orleans, but are no closer to finding Monette.

She left no clues behind.

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How Marissa Mayer writes her own rules
March 12th, 2013
09:57 AM ET

How Marissa Mayer writes her own rules

By Breeanna Hare, CNN

(CNN) – To become Google's first female engineer in 1999 – and, eventually, one of the most powerful women in tech – Marissa Mayer had to get comfortable with risk.

"I always did something I was a little not ready to do," she said last year while speaking on her best decisions in a talk with NPR Correspondent Laura Sydell. "That feeling at the end of the day, where you're like, 'what have I gotten myself into?' I realized that sometimes when you have that feeling and you push through it, something really great happens."

If the 37-year-old still makes career moves by her tried-and-true process, then she's likely anticipating something great to occur in her new role as Yahoo's CEO.

Mayer's hiring last summer, which accordng to Fortune made her the youngest head of a Fortune 500 company, came as a surprise, and her high-wire decisions since have spread far wider than Yahoo's campus.

First, there was her brief maternity leave after she gave birth to her son in September. When the Silicon Valley star first announced that she was pregnant, on the very same day Yahoo revealed she was the company's new CEO, some saw it as a progressive move and hoped Mayer would set a new standard for mothers trying to balance the competing demands of their corporate and familial roles.

What they saw instead was a businesswoman eager to get back in the office and who said that having a new baby in her life wasn't as difficult as she'd been told.

But the real critiques came last month when Yahoo's HR department issued an e-mail telling staff that they will no longer be able to work from home, prompting an angry backlash and leading some to question Mayer's judgment.

While some found her position just, others hoping the new mom would create a more reasonable corporate culture interpreted the move as unfair, noting that Mayer approved the edict while building a nursery next to her office – not an option for most working parents.

But over her nearly 14-year career in the tech world, Mayer has consistently shaken up expectations. If we've learned anything about this influential computer engineer-turned-corporate executive, it's that she plays the game of business by her own rules.

1. She doesn't do stereotypes

Part of the legend of Marissa Mayer is that she doesn't fit into our assumptions of what it means to be a tech geek.

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5 professions ruled by women
March 11th, 2013
12:38 PM ET

5 professions ruled by women

(CNNMoney) - Ideally, gender wouldn't affect the jobs people train for and get, or how they are compensated. But we're certainly not there yet. At the same time, certain American jobs have shifted from majority male to majority female over the past few decades. Here are five professions that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women rule.

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Filed under: Economy • Women
March 11th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg suddenly in crossfire

By Todd Leopold, CNN

(CNN) – Sheryl Sandberg is a role model, say her defenders.

The chief operating officer of Facebook earned two degrees from Harvard and spent the early part of her career in public service, rising to become chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers during the latter days of the Clinton administration. She helped build Google into a powerhouse; she has led the Facebook team in making the social media site ubiquitous. She's a mother who cares deeply about work-life balance and has been outspoken about women pulling together.

Sheryl Sandberg is no role model, say her detractors.

She's glided to the top thanks to the help of powerful men, whether it's the patronage of Summers, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt or Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. She's worth hundreds of millions of dollars, lives in an exclusive Bay Area suburb with a staff of minders and knows as much about being a working mother as a Pacific Heights socialite.

One thing's for sure: Sheryl Sandberg is in the crosshairs.

Her new book, "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead," is out Monday, and her arguments, focusing on how women in the workplace can grow their careers and their lives, have attracted both praise and denunciation - though, as the New Yorker's Anna Holmes has noted, many of the denouncers have jumped on Sandberg in the "ready, fire, aim" fashion typical of the commentariat.

"Anyone who had read her book would have known that Sandberg herself is the first to acknowledge the debts she owes to the women who came before her, not to mention her youthful naivete and eventual engagement with gender politics," Holmes wrote.

So just who is Sheryl Sandberg, and why are people saying such extreme things about her?

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International Women's Day
March 8th, 2013
07:10 PM ET

Opinion: Lean in to learn from global examples of women

Editor’s Note: Michele Wucker is publisher of World Policy Journal and president of the World Policy Institute (www.worldpolicy.org), a global ideas incubator focused on emerging challenges, thinkers and solutions. She also is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and author, most recently, of "LOCKOUT: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right."

By Michele Wucker, Special to CNN

(CNN) - The courage of women like Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old student leader in Pakistan who was shot and nearly died for fighting for girls’ right to education; Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who endured nearly 15 years of house arrest because of her stand for democracy in Myanmar; and of precedent-setting presidents like Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil is inspirational.

America’s women and work discussion could take a lesson from other countries.

Americans make plenty of pronouncements about why countries like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia should let women go to school, drive cars and have many of the rights American women take for granted.

But focusing exclusively on the extreme examples of restrictions on women’s rights elsewhere provides a convenient way to overlook the ways we could do better here at home.

We have an opportunity to learn from countries that are far ahead of the United States in closing the gender gap in leadership positions in politics and business, if we are open to it. FULL POST

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