Thursday, December 17, 2015

USA 72nd for gender equality

Sexism is not over in the USA, sorry ya'll. Canada is doing much better than us on United Nations measures, and so are 71 other countries. See for yourself:

“The U.S. is near the bottom of the list when it comes to gender parity in office,”Souza-Rezendes said. “We’re behind Afghanistan even.” In Kabul (the capital of Afghanistan), 27.7% of parliamentary seats are held by women, in comparison to 19.4% in the U.S. Congress. So all you people who cry about Muslim countries being backwards on women's rights, think about that. (source)

Meanwhile, in Canada...Trudeau appointed 50% women to his cabinet (source). But overall, Canada has 26% women in federal government. So with 27.7%, Afghanistan still beats us both.

So, why is it so difficult for USA women in politics?

"Republican presidential candidate and former CEO Carly Fiorina was asked why she didn’t smile more after the second presidential debate by a host of conservative commentators,"(source). I guess the Presidency is just another Miss America Pageant to them. I know making a good impression in politics is important, but when's the last time you asked a man why he wasn't smiling?

USA Voters also vote for male candidates they don't like all the time (the lesser of two evils, etc), but have not shown a willingness to do the same for female candidates. Women in any position of power have this problem, like the New York Times editor Jill Abramson, who won 8 Pulitzers in 3 years but still was fired because she was "polarizing and mercurial." In general, men in power are allowed to be assholes if they get stuff done, but women are expected to be friendly and easy to work with. Otherwise, you KNOW there's a special word just for us...

But to end on a positive note, that same NYT editor doesn't think women should cope by being friendly to everyone. Rather, "it is crucial for women to ascertain their own individual leadership styles and to know whom they can count on for support. Figuring out who your allies are as a leader is more important than finely calibrating how pleasant to be.” So, figure out who CAN see your true value, and nurture positive relationships with those people.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Gun control, pt 2

So, I've generally believed that the USA's problem with gun murder was that our society encouraged violence too much, not that we just needed less guns. However, I may have to reconsider.

We have far more (privately owned) guns per person than any other country IN THE WORLD...almost twice as many! See these stats from the Washington Post:

And see what thinks: "...once you control for general crime rates and other confounding factors like poverty, "each 1 percentage point increase in proportion of household gun ownership translated to a 0.9 percent increase in homicides."

I know how to fire a handgun and I've practiced at a shooting range. I like having this ability. But, I don't carry a gun around in my daily life. Given all the shootings that have happened recently in our country, I think we need to change something. In the past week, I've heard of THREE shootings:

1) The Planned Parenthood terrorist attack (details)

2) A married couple shot social workers in San Bernadino, CA. (details)

3) Local hate crime in my city of Pittsburgh, PA. (details)

These people shouldn't have easy access to guns...there's got to be some kind of better screening process. And I guess 3 shootings in a week isn't even rare, since the USA currently has 1/day on average.