Tuesday, February 26, 2013

179: The Self-Empowered Woman: MAKERS

Dear Followers,

In case you missed Tuesday night's three-hour program (MAKERS: Women Who Make America), I strongly urge you to check local listings for when the program will be re-aired on your PBS station.

Narrated by Meryl Streep, the show outlines the progress that women in America have made since the 1950s.  Starting with the publication of Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique (which hit book stores 50 years ago this month), MAKERS does an excellent job of visually reminding us of the gender roles that dominated this country for so long.

Warm first-person interviews with high achieving women like Judy Blume, Oprah, Sandra Day O'Connor, Gloria Steinen and Hillary Clinton let the viewer feel like she is having a lively conversation with someone who has (happily) conquered old stereotypes and discrimination.

There is great newsreel footage of the first woman (a 20 year old college student named Katherine Switzer) to run in the Boston Marathon. Even though she finished the race the AAU didn't formally accept female participation in marathons until 1971.

Many women of my era remember all too well the days when females were considered "strange" if they wanted more out of life than domestic concerns.  This program should be required viewing for any woman under the age of 40--the generation of females who "can't imagine" a world without economic independence or strong female role models.

We all need to "remember" that when Oprah started her TV career in Baltimore, she was paid $22,000 a year while her male co-host was paid $50,000.  And I particularly liked the late Nora Ephron's statement that--for many women--their first brush with feminism arrived with their first divorce.

To learn more about this amazing program, which took eight years to make, visit the show's website www.makers.com .

Looking forward to your comments...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

178: The Self-Empowered Woman: Hillary Clinton

Dear Followers,

Sorry I haven't posted in so long, but I've been down for the count with  a nasty case of flu--I'm finally on the mend, and overdue to write about yet another high-achieving woman. And thanks to the suggestion of my faithful French follower, Philippe Drevet, this short blog will remind all of us of what an amazing woman Hillary Clinton is.

I wrote about Hillary's mother (Dorothy Rodham, 1919-2011) in November, 2011, shortly after her death and there can be no question that having a strong supportive mother had a positive impact on Hillary's life.

Below, you'll find a few statistics (thanks to Gail Collins of the New York Times) that illustrate what a hard worker she has been.

We already know a great deal about Hillary, and it's no surprise that her teachers in Park Ridge, Illinois loved having her in their classrooms.  In high school she was a National Merit Finalist, and graduated in the top 5% of her 1965 class.

Now that she has retired as Secretary of State, here are a few statistics to give you an idea of how hard she worked during the past four years.  During that time she:

traveled 956,733 miles
had 1,700 meeting with world leaders
visited 112 different countries
ate 570 airplane meals

And, as the first female Senator from New York (as well as the first American First Lady to ever run for office), she:

visited 62 countries
watched 45 parades
attended 4,600 events in New York

During the 2008 presidential race, she campaigned through 54 primaries and caucuses.  There is already a Hillary-in-2016 PAC, and what mother doesn't wish she and her child were as close as Hillary and Chelsea?

Obviously, Hillary Clinton gives new meaning to the phrase hard worker.  She even won a Grammy Award for the audio recording of her 1996 book "It Takes a Village." And from 1995 to 2000, she wrote a syndicated newspaper column called "Talking It Over" for Creators Syndicate (kudos to Rick Newcombe).

In 2003, her 562 page autobiography (Living History) set a first-week sales record for a non-fiction book, and sold more than one million copies in its first month; it has been translated into twelve languages.

Her popularity approval ratings in 2010 and 2011 were the highest of any active nationally prominent American political figure.  In 2012, she was named "Most Admired Woman" for the 17th time overall, and for the 11th straight time.

Looking forward to your comments...