Once considered a second rate technology hub to San Fransisco’s “Silicon Valley,” New York City has finally earned some respect. “Silicon Alley,” if you will, is attracting start-ups, developers and investors that plan to give Silicon Valley a run for its money. As if to prove the point, online publication Silicon Alley Insider has widely publicized its sophomore list of the top 100 entrepreneurs, investors, executives, and technologists in New York City.
While clicking through the Silicon Alley 100 nominees for 2008 in early September, I found that only 10% were women. While we are certainly the minority in the tech world, I would say that the number of female movers and shakers in Silicon Alley is higher than 10%. I started thinking about all the women I have met who founded start-ups, control massive P/Ls, invest in firms, acquire firms, control spend on Mad Ave, write awesome code, lead debate, blog, or self-organize for the greater good. Why weren’t these women on the list? Why didn’t anyone nominate them?
This is how I came to email 160 of the smartest women I knew. As nominations were open, I simply sent the link and asked them to nominate a woman, paying extra attention to highlight her credentials. continue
by Chanel Dubofsky – Woodhull Alumna
There are things that I know because I live them: new shoes are uncomfortable the first day you wear them, I have to fix that ball thing so the toilet will stop flushing over and over again. Then there are the things I’ve forgotten that I know, and in a singular, beautiful moment, I relearn them.
The other day, I was on a conference call, listening to my colleagues discuss another colleague involved in what had become a controversial situation. “She’s pushing the envelope,” someone said, and inside me, something went off. I thought, what’s wrong with this person? Why does she have to make such a big deal? Can’t she just go with it?
I am often the envelope pusher, the one who won’t just “go with it”, who says the status quo itself is the problem. Still, on the phone, deep in my socialized, genderized guts, I flinched. continue
by Nina Sutton (Woodhull Alumna)
We all know it. The desire to achieve, to prove, to claim our greatness. We’ve done it – the Ph.D., the corner office, the byline, the book. It works, we have climbed the Zermatt of our career, or at least we have that pinnacle in sight.
Then, one day, we are pregnant. OK, we can do this. We can add another hat to those already adorning our perfectly coiffed heads. Our husband/partner will be welcoming of the new baby and everything will move along smilingly – or so we pray/meditate/manifest. We are much too savvy to fall into the traps described in Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique.
What high-achieving women need to know is that in a Columbia and Yale University-based study called “Developmental Themes in Women’s Emotional Experiences of Motherhood” (2001) women of high ego development have more difficulty adjusting to motherhood, due in part to tendencies toward self-reflection. Yes, those-of-us-who-can-do-it-all face a significant challenge. Self-examination and maladaptive perfectionism (compared to healthy goal setting and standards of achievement) not only harms us along the journey of motherhood, but claims its victims as our children get older – in their own burgeoning lives. Our own self-doubt and criticism will be mirrored in our children and hamper them from eventually developing into the healthy and productive adults we hope they will become. continue
by Leeat Granek (Woodhull Alumna)
“My mom is going to disown me. I’ve gained so much weight and when she sees me over Christmas she is going to FREAK OUT! I try not to eat after seven but still I have become so flabby.”
I am annoyed. Annoyed that she was distracting me from what I should have been doing — which was marking papers — but even more annoyed that these conversations are still going on. I can’t believe that twenty years after the publication of Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth, after decades of women’s magazines religiously publishing monthly stories about eating disorders, and almost obsessive TV coverage of celebrities with anorexia, that women are still monitoring everything that goes into their mouths and obsessing over it on the phone for hours. continue
Raise Your Voice: Nonfiction Writers’ Retreat
May 29-31, 2009
Our writers’ retreats give participants writing instruction, one-on-one critique, and fundamental knowledge about publishing in the non-fiction market. Surprisingly, many otherwise talented non-fiction writers have never been taught the basic skill of organizing their material – their narrative or argument – into a coherent and clear outline. The outline is the scaffolding for all good and marketable non-fiction writing and teaching participants to apply an outline method clarifies their work for publication whether the text in question is as short as a 700 word op-ed or as substantial as a 100,000 word book. Our courses focus on writing op-ed pieces, features, book proposals and pitching ideas. Our Faculty Members Include: Deborah Siegel, Kristen Kemp, and Catherine Orenstein. Alumna of this retreat write for New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Salon, Bitch Magazine, Glamour, Christian Science Monitor, and many others. Our writers have published books; “Fat Envelope Frenzy“, “On My Own Two Feet“, “Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters“, “The Devil, The Lovers & Me: My Life in Tarot” to name just a few.
The retreat is going to take place over the weekend of May 29-31 at Woodhull’s Retreat Center in Ancramdale, NY. The cost is $695 which includes tuition, materials, lodging, and meals. To some that price may seem daunting but Woodhull will create a payment plan that is feasible for all women interested in this retreat.
I am grateful to learn from my Loyal Readers that I am not alone in my pursuit of The Perfect Purse. In a previous article about the solemn search I mentioned that my requirements were few. The bag needed to be fashionable, functional and affordable. I lied. Well it wasn’t so much a lie as it was an incomplete truth. Yes, I said it needed to be big, sturdy and black, but there’s a little more to it than that.
Loyal Reader Robin shared her difficult experience finding her Perfect Bag; one that, of course, zipped closed. This is an absolute necessity for me as well. I neglected to mention it before because I assumed it was a given. Who wants their stuff on display? Open top bags are designed by pick pockets for trusting souls who still leave their doors unlocked, their keys in the car and think a “Don’t feed the bears” sign is a tactful way of saying the bears are watching their weight.
An open bag is asking for trouble. It’s not that I don’t trust people, it’s just that I don’t trust people. Okay, fine: People are basically good, but why tempt them unnecessarily by flashing the contents of my purse like it’s a goody bag?
Loyal Reader, Pat, suggested I get over myself, E-Bay my unused Coach Bags and go get a Tumi. Tumi’s are supposedly very good quality bags, stylish too. I had a set of Tumi luggage once. It didn’t work out as well as I’d expected. After a few months of hard travel the bags got old quick and fell apart like aging second rate strippers… I mean exotic dancers; all flash and no stamina. My Tumi luggage bypassed my Handbag Graveyard all together and went straight to the trash.
Given Tumi’s less than stellar suitcase performance it’s hard for me to believe their handbags would fare any better; but on Pat’s earnest suggestion I went to the website anyway. The handbag section featured an interesting bag called the Voyageur. It was big, black and looked lusciously sturdy. “What’s up sexy?” Affordable? Not so much: $395. Ouch! But then again my anniversary is coming and my Husband is usually quite generous.
Tumi’s website provided views of the bag from five angles and even let me preview it in four different colors. Nice, but this bag is not the one. Major flaw number one: No dedicated exterior pockets for cell phone, water bottle or umbrella. Major flaw number two: the color of the interior lining is the same as the exterior. A black bag with a black lining means black accessories blend and disappear. I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not picky. I’m precise. Call me crazy, but the more expensive something is, the closer to perfect it has to be. And so The Handbag Hunt continues.
That’s how I ended up in New York & Company leering longingly at big red, zipper top bag attractively positioned underneath a 50% off sign. Okay, the bag’s not black, which decreases is practical functionality by more than half, but red is my favorite color so it’s not like I’ll “never” use it.
“Another bag?” my Husband said.
“No, two. It came in red and silver, and they were 50% off. I couldn’t just leave them there.”
“No, of course not,” he said, “but I thought black was more … uh … functional.”
“It is,” I said.
“So why you’d buy it in red?”
“Red’s my favorite color.”
“And the gray?”
“It’s silver,” I said.
“Right. Silver. Why’d you buy the same bag in silver?”
“It’s my second favorite color.”
“It is?” he said.
“Yes. It was one of our wedding colors.”
“Right. And what about the Tumi? Do you still want that one?”
“No. I think I’ll pass.”
“Are you sure, I’ve been making space in the attic. If we get a smaller Christmas tree I think we can manage.”
“Well, there’s always my birthday,” I said.
“Yes, then you can use your new red bag.”
“Yes, but by then it won’t be new.”
At that point I saw my Husband’s temples throbbing ever so slightly. Best not antagonize him so close to our anniversary. I’m sure in the long run he’ll just be happy that a $395 bag is off my list. I’ve been a good girl this year, but I don’t know if I’ve been $395 good.
Aired March 30, 2009.
Getting Active Online
by Elizabeth M. Curtis (Woodhull Alumna)
Social media, Web 2.0…Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Digg, Del.i.cious…RSS feeds, email alerts…HTML, SQL, CSS…Google, Wikipedia. These buzzwords are evidence of how increasingly wired our lives are becoming. But even the most internet-savvy individual can get bogged down in trying to keep all of these new media technologies straight.
Sure, new internet tools allow individuals who would not be able to have a voice in mainstream, traditional media venues to share their thoughts and opinions with a larger public. But, as a conscientious leader working to make a difference, how do you decide which trends are worth following? I am a firm believer in the power of getting active online, but as a professional in the non-profit sector, I understand that re-writing your advocacy playbook each time the latest gizmo or widget hits the web makes little sense. That’s why I want to make a case for blogging as the one emergent internet technology you can’t afford to pass up.
Weblogs or blogs, are becoming increasingly accepted and popular as primary news venues–and they’re easy to set-up and use. Anyone with an internet connection and the know-how to send an email can become a blogger (I promise – it’s that easy!). And, once you launch your blog, you have a unique platform to raise your voice in public debate and to get your message out there. Just think of the power you’ll have to spread information or organize actions once your blog starts getting high Google rankings…
My own blog, A Blog Without a Bicycle: Riding the Cyberwave of Feminism, started as a part of my M.A. thesis on feminism and social activism online. It lives on as a place for me to share resources and pop-culture critique as well as to build my professional career through the network and platform my weblog provides. Blogging has opened many doors for me – not only have I had the opportunity to meet fabulous feminist leaders and contribute to causes I believe in, I’ve also found myself tapped to contribute features, present on panels, and teach workshops on blogging and online activism.
Blogs are a powerful tool for today’s leaders. And you don’t have to take my word for it…
Blogs by Woodhull Women
Crucial Minutiae (www.crucialminutiae.com)
Jennifer Gandin Le (Woodhull 18), Kimberlee Auerbach (Woodhull 9), Joie Jager Hyman (Woodhull Faculty), and Courtney E. Martin (Woodhull Fellow) contribute to this group blog as a way to stay active in a writerly community as they develop their individual projects. “Blogging is a great way to get your message out and stay relevant without having to go through the sometimes painful process of pitching newspapers and magazines. It is a forum for your own opinion and thoughts. Blogging also helps you stay sharp. Every writer needs to keep writing, whether or not she sells everything she writes.”
- Joie Jager-Hyman
Courtney E. Martin
Girl with Pen (www.girlwithpen.blogspot.com)
Fellow Deborah Siegel started Girl With Pen to promote her book projects and now teaches webinars that train authors to use weblogs to build their platform.
The Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com)
Jump Off the Bridge (http://takeajump.blogspot.com)
“I just started blogging a couple of months ago. I wanted to do it mostly because I kept wanting to react to stories, news, personal experiences, things I saw, etc., but I didn’t have any place to do that. I also thought it would be a good way to spread the word for causes I’m interested in and to voice my opinions as a feminist.”
- Sally Mercedes (Woodhull 54)
Lo’s Wise Words (http://wordsbylo.blogspot.com)
“My blog started three years ago before I went to spend a semester abroad and it has continued intermittently with new thoughts, updates on life, and writing that I wanted to share in a public forum. Although it’s not something I update regularly, I like to have it as a way to throw things out there and see what comes back!”
- Lauren Kaneko Jones (Woodhull 56)
“I started blogging to create buzz about my new wellness business, Nutrisults. I enjoy writing, so it’s a great creative outlet for me as well.”
- Mishra H. Keller, HHC (Woodhull 45)
The Urban Erma! (www.leighannlord.com/urban_erma.htm)
“I’m a professional standup comic, but I’m a writer at heart and my blog has given me an outlet for both my comedy and my writing. Until I get a comprehensive mental health care plan, my blog will have to do.”
- Leighann Lord (Woodhull 53)
VM Chick’s Weblog, VM Chick’s Eclectic World (http://vmchick.wordpress.com)
“I started my blog because I love to write and this is a great way to write daily without feeling pressure.”
- Ruth Nix (Woodhull 4)
What’s Good for Girls (www.whatsgoodforgirls.blogspot.com)
“Blogging provides an outlet for Woodhull women to put their voices into the world on their own terms and promote the issues they care about. One benefit of blogging for me has been to create a separate space for me to develop an identity outside of my work life, to think through issues that are important to me, and to connect with others who care about girls and young women’s issues. Blogging creates an alternative space for issues often not picked up on in traditional media outlets.”
- Patti Binder (Woodhull 53 & Writers’ 3)
1. Find a blog host and set up an account. Blogspot (www.blogspot.com) and Wordpress (www.wordpress.com) are among the popular sites that host blogs for free.
2. Write away–Remember to keep your entries short and frequent, and to make them interactive through reader comments and links.
3. Publicize it! Use cross links and guest blogging to find readers of similar sites.
Tara Bracco (Woodhull Faculty) read her works at a show for Poetic People Power show on universal health care presented on April 11, 2007 at the Bowery Poetry Club. See her readings at the Facebook links below: