Friday, December 31, 2010

In History: Grace Hopper

This is the 58th post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

Grace Murray Hopper, born Dec. 9, 1906, was a computer scientist and a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. She received her bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics in 1928 from Vassar College, and went on to get her master's degree and Ph.D. from Yale. A pioneer in the field, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and she developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. She conceptualized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages. She is also credited with popularizing the term "debugging" for fixing computer glitches (motivated by an actual moth removed from the computer). Because of the breadth of her accomplishments and her naval rank, she is sometimes referred to as "Amazing Grace". The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) was named for her.

Hopper was teaching at Vassar when, in 1943, she obtained a leave of absence and was sworn in to the United States Navy Reserve, one of many women to volunteer to serve in the WAVES. She had to get an exemption to enlist; she was 15 pounds below the Navy minimum weight of 120 pounds. She trained at the Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Hopper graduated first in her class in 1944, and was assigned to the Bureau of Ships Computation Project at Harvard University as a Lieutenant, junior grade. She served on the Mark I computer programming staff headed by Howard H. Aiken. Hopper and Aiken coauthored three papers on the Mark I,II,II also known as the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator. Hopper's request to transfer to the regular Navy at the end of the war was declined due to her age (38). She continued to serve in the United States Navy Reserve. Hopper remained at the Harvard Computation Lab until 1949, turning down a full professorship at Vassar in favor of working as a research fellow under a Navy contract at Harvard.

In 1949, Hopper became an employee of the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation as a senior mathematician and joined the team developing the UNIVAC I. In the early 1950s the company was taken over by the Remington Rand corporation and it was while she was working for them that her original compiler work was done. In the spring of 1959 a two day conference known as the CODASYL brought together computer experts from industry and government. Hopper served as the technical consultant to the committee, and many of her former employees served on the short-term committee that defined the new language, COBOL. From 1967 to 1977, Hopper served as the director of the Navy Programming Languages Group in the Navy's Office of Information Systems Planning and was promoted to the rank of Captain in 1973. She developed validation software for the programming language COBOL and its compiler as part of a COBOL standardization program for the entire Navy.

In the 1970s, Hopper pioneered the implementation of standards for testing computer systems and components, most significantly for early programming languages such as FORTRAN and COBOL. The Navy tests for conformance to these standards led to significant convergence among the programming language dialects of the major computer vendors. In the 1980s, these tests (and their official administration) were assumed by the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), known today as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Hopper retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of Commander at the end of 1966. She was recalled to active duty in August 1967 for a six-month period that turned into an indefinite assignment. She again retired in 1971 but was asked to return to active duty again in 1972. She was promoted to Captain in 1973 by Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr.

After Rep. Philip Crane saw her on a March 1983 segment of 60 Minutes, he championed H.J.RES. 341, a joint resolution in the House of Representatives which led to her promotion to Commodore by special Presidential appointment. In 1985, the rank of Commodore was renamed Rear Admiral, Lower Half. She retired (involuntarily) from the Navy on August 14, 1986. At a celebration held in Boston on the USS Constitution to celebrate her retirement, Hopper was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest non-combat award possible by the Department of Defense. At the moment of her retirement, she was the oldest commissioned officer in the United States Navy (79 years, eight months and five days), and aboard the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy (188 years, nine months and 23 days).

Hopper was working as a senior consultant to Digital Equipment Corporation when she died on Jan. 1, 1992, at age 85. She was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery; Section 59, grave 973.

Hopper received many awards and honors in her career. From the Navy:
Defense Distinguished Service ribbon.svg Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service ribbon.svg Meritorious Service Medal
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal
AFRM with Hourglass Device (Silver).jpg Armed Forces Reserve Medal with two Hourglass Devices
Naval Reserve Medal ribbon.svg Naval Reserve Medal

Other awards and honors:
  • 1969 – She won the inaugural "computer sciences man of the year" award from the Data Processing Management Association.[14]
  • 1971 – The annual Grace Murray Hopper Award for Outstanding Young Computer Professionals was established in 1971 by the Association for Computing Machinery.
  • 1973 – She became the first person from the United States and the first woman of any nationality to be made a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society.
  • 1986 – Upon her retirement she received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.
  • 1987 – She became a Computer History Museum Fellow Award Recipient.
  • 1988 – She received the Golden Gavel Award at the Toastmasters International convention in Washington, DC.
  • 1991 – She received the National Medal of Technology.
  • 1996 – USS Hopper (DDG-70) was launched. Nicknamed Amazing Grace, it is on a very short list of U.S. military vessels named after women.
  • 2001 – Eavan Boland wrote a poem dedicated to Grace Hopper titled "Code" in her 2001 release "Against Love Poetry"
  • 2009 – The Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center named its flagship system "Hopper".
  • The Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center is located at 7 Grace Hopper Avenue in Monterey, California.
  • Grace Murray Hopper Park, located on South Joyce Street in Arlington, Virginia, is a small memorial park in front of her former residence (River House Apartments) and is now owned by Arlington County, Virginia.
  • Women at the world's largest software company, Microsoft Corporation, formed an employee group called Hoppers and established a scholarship in her honor. Hoppers has over 3,000 members worldwide.
  • Brewster Academy, a school located in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, United States, dedicated their computer lab to her in 1985, calling it the Grace Murray Hopper Center for Computer Learning. Hopper had spent her childhood summers at a family home in Wolfeboro.
  • An administration building on Naval Support Activity Annapolis (previously known as Naval Station Annapolis) in Annapolis, Md., is named the Grace Hopper Building in her honor.
  • Building 1482 aboard Naval Air Station North Island, housing the Naval Computer and Telecommunication Station San Diego, is named the Grace Hopper Building.
  • Grace Hopper's legacy was an inspiring factor in the creation of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. Held yearly, this conference is designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront.
You can read more about Grace Hopper at Naval History and Heritage and Agnes Scott College, and many other sites on the Internet.

Photo source 1; photo source 2

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading will return next week!

Instead of putting together the weekly Sunday reading column, I'm going to continue recovering from a hectic holiday-filled week, during which I got engaged! The column will return next Sunday.

Thanks, and happy holidays!

Friday, December 24, 2010

In History: Christmas Eve edition

This is the 57th post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

Because today is Christmas Eve, a holiday I celebrate (in a very secular way), I give you this gift of advertising history:

Happy Holidays (all and any) to all the lovely feminists and allies out there!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (12/19/10)

Just a quick reminder, you can submit links for this column via e-mail at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com, and you can catch up with Spare Candy on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr as well. Or! Leave a link in the comments! Self-promotion is perfectly acceptable here.

If you're an active member of the feminist communities on Twitter or Tumblr, you've probably come across at least some of the news this week involving feminist blogger Sady Doyle and her campaign, for lack of a better word, against Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann and progressives in general who are supporting Wikileaks founder and alleged rapist Julian Assange. It's not even that they support him, necessarily, but how they are treating and talking about the women who have accused Assange of rape. If you have not heard about any of this, I cannot recommend highly enough that you read what Sady has written on the subject at her blog, Tiger Beatdown. Here are the links, in order, to her posts there:
I'd also recommend: "Who hears you, when you speak about rape?" on Spilt Milk.

In other news:
  • The Scavenger: "Black exotic dancers: undervalued and underpaid."
  • Riverfront Times: "Same-sex couples in St. Louis can get married in Iowa. They just can't ever get divorced."
  • Shakesville: "'My liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman.'"
  • The SAFER Blog: "How Exciting is the Campus SAVE Act? SO VERY EXCITING!"
  • AIDS Map: "Stem cell transplant has cured HIV infection in 'Berlin patient', say doctors."
  • NPR: "Don't Come to Stockholm! Madame Curie's Nobel Scandal."
  • "NYPD Fakes Statistics, Downgrades Rape Charges." There is a petition at the link.
  • "Silencing Art and HIV/AIDS at the National Portrait Gallery."
  • Hello Ladies: "Women’s Progress in Executive Suite Flat Fifth Year in a Row."
  • Feministing: "New study debunks link between abortion and mental health problems."
  • Son of Baldwin: "Fear of a Black Cunt." Just read this.
  • Shakesville: "UW Halting Efforts to Provide Abortion Clinic Due to 'Safety Concerns.'"
  • Stoney Creek News: "Roxanne’s Law meant to protect women from coerced abortion." This is in Canada.
  • The Oklahoman: "Oklahoma City man admits conning baby sitters by posing as autistic and wearing diapers." Ummm...
  • BBC: "Prosecutor 'care' urged over retracted rape claims." An important follow-up story.
  • Washington Post: "UN votes to name alleged rapists in war."
  • Associated Press: "APNewsBreak: Wichita doctors to offer abortions."
  • Sustainable Mothering: "The TSA Responds To Breast Milk Mom, Stacey Armato."
  • Akimbo: "House of Representatives Blocks Passage of Preventing Child Marriage Bill."
  • Bust magazine: "International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers."
  • Los Angeles Times: "Breast-feeding opportunities will increase under healthcare reform."
  • Medical News Today: "Ariz. Hospital May Lose Catholic Status Over 2009 Abortion Case." I still can't get over this case.
Popular culture:
  • Mediaite: "Tina Fey And '30 Rock" Persistently Touch The Third Rail That Is Blackface."
  • RH Reality Check: "'Abortion Democracy:' Feminist Film-Maker Inspires Us to Speak Out for Women."
  • The Beat: "RIP: Adrienne Roy." She was a popular comic colorist of the 1980s and beyond.

Friday, December 17, 2010

In History: Mary Seacole (guest post)

This is the 56th post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

Today's guest post comes courtesy of Barbara Jolie, who writes on the topics of online classes. She welcomes your comments at her email:

Mary Seacole, formerly known as Mary Jane Grant, was born in 1805 in the city of Kingston, nestled on the Southern coast of Jamaica. She set up a successful nursing station in Crimea during the Crimean War to tend to wounded soldiers, and did so on her own dime because she was simply convinced that she had the skills necessary to help. She became known as "Mother Seacole," and her nursing work had her reputation rivaling that of Florence Nightingale, another lauded nursing figure.

Seacole's father was a Scottish soldier, and her mother a free black Jamaican. It was from her mother that Seacole learned much of her nursing knowledge, as her mother kept a boarding house for invalid soldiers in Jamaica. Seacole married in 1836, but the marriage was not to last her husband died just eight years later in 1844. After his death, Seacole travelled to various countries before focusing all of her attention to the plight of the Jamaican soldiers serving in the Crimean War. She knew that there were poor medical rations for those soldiers and felt a need to help them, especially since so many were falling fatally ill to cholera and other diseases and wounds.

In 1854, Seacole travelled to England and requested that the War Office send her to Crimea as an army nurse so that she could help tend to the soldiers. However, despite having a vast amount of nursing knowledge and skill as well as letters of recommendation from doctors in Jamaica and Panama, Seacole's request was repeatedly denied, most likely due to racial discrimination. Yet, Seacole was undeterred by this ban from the War Office. Rather than travelling with the army, Seacole gathered a large sum of her own money to finance her own travel to Crimea, where she set up the British Hotel. This was to be a resting place for sick and wounded soldiers to relax and recover. However, Seacole did not just stick to nursing soldiers in the hospital she had erected she often brazenly trekked into active battlefields to tend to soldiers there as well, earning their affection and trust, as well as the moniker "Mother Seacole." Her deeds were recounted in the Times newspaper as well as Punch magazine.

After the war ended, Seacole was left stranded in Crimea before her supporters, most of them soldiers she had tended to, rallied together to fund her trip back to England. She continued to see patients and work with those who needed her help in London, including tending to the Royal Family, with whom she had become close. Seacole died on May 14, 1881, approximately 24 years after publishing her memoirs, The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands.

Today, her story is commonly taught in schools alongside that of Florence Nightingale. A statue of Seacole is also expected to be unveiled near London icon Big Ben sometime in early 2011, a marker to celebrate Seacole's bravery and contributions to nursing during times of war.

More links to Seacole's story:

Photo caption: The only known photograph of Mary Seacole, taken for a carte de visite by Maull & Company in London (c. 1873)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (12/12/10)

Just a quick reminder, you can submit links for this column via e-mail at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com, and you can catch up with Spare Candy on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr as well. Or! Leave a link in the comments! Self-promotion is perfectly acceptable here.

Frida Kahlo might have one of the most famous unibrows.
Have you heard about Decembrow? It seems like everyone has something to say about it, including numerous negative and judgmental comments. I'll let this Feministing post explain what it is:
You may have heard of “Movember”, a moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for prostate cancer and other men’s health issues, such as depression. The event was conceived in 1999 by a group of Australian men from Adelaide.

While the event is a great way for men and people who can grow moustaches to get involved in raising money for an important cause, it has heretofore been lacking in opportunities for women who have trouble growing moustaches to get involved (or at least opportunities that didn’t involve sleeping with moustached men for the cause)

Thus, inspired by an article on the popularity of the unibrow in Tajikistan sent in by reader Jess (thanks, Jess!), I hereby declare that the current month shall heretofore be known as….DECEMBROW.

Decembrow is, of course, all about the brow. Specifically, the unibrow.
Who would've guessed hypothetical unibrow's would make such waves? Check out what someone from Concerned Women for America said: "“While I applaud the effort to raise awareness and funds to stop prostate cancer, I find it curious that feminists would choose to embrace facial hair and mostly wonder how that is different than any other month of the year,” Nance wrote in an e-mail to The Daily Caller. Then there's this from The Stir: "Grow a Unibrow for Feminism? No Thanks." You can also read more at ABC News, AOL and Chicago Now.

In other news:
  • Christian Science Monitor: "Beyond the scary Christmas list: the full parenting price tag." The price? $220,00. Not including college.
  • Sustainable Mothering: "Breast Milk Mom Prepares to Sue the TSA Over Detention." This is as bad as you might think it is.
  • New York Times: "Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Wal-Mart Appeal." This could become the largest class-action lawsuit ever, and it's for workplace discrimination.
  • Big Think: "A Feminist Lawyer on the Case Against Wikileaks' Julian Assange."
  • Salon: "The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser."
  • Feministe: "Naomi Wolf: Assange captured by the 'dating police.'" I still can't believe this.
  • Amanda Hess: Leroy Carhart's Maryland abortion clinic opens today to anti-abortion protests."
  • Salon: "Women don't trust Palin on abortion." Go figure!
  • The Minnesota Independent: "Bachmann calls for Congress to defund Planned Parenthood." She is such a liar.
  • Daily Me: "Missouri church sued in sex-abuse case sues victim's parents." This is so messed up.
  • Wales Online: "Extending maternity leave could 'push women out of the marketplace.'"
  • "Belmont University Faculty Stand Up For Coach Fired for Being Gay."
  • Slate: "Six Degrees of Retaliation: The Supreme Court tries to determine if your fiance can be fired for your sex-discrimination complaint."
  • Danah Boyd: "Digital Self-Harm and Other Acts of Self-Harassment." This is really interesting.
  • Houston Press: "WikiLeaks: Texas Company Helped Pimp Little Boys To Stoned Afghan Cops." As in child trafficking/prostitution.
  • National Women's Law Center: "Blog to Rally for Girls’ Sports Day 2010 - The Posts." Also check out The Glass Hammer's "How Do Team Sports Help Develop Girls into Future Leaders?"
  • Missoulian: "2011 Legislature: GOP lawmakers to introduce anti-abortion bills." This is in Montana.
  • Gender Across Borders: "America, Hijab, and the Muslim Female Experience."
  • The Star: "Let me, a Muslim feminist, confuse you." This is a great article.
  • The Curvature: "Nashville Police Officers Charged With Domestic Violence Get to Keep Their Jobs."
  • Bloomberg: "U.S. Failing to Meet Goals for Women's Health: Report."
  • "Trying to Rape a Lesbian Straight: Sounds Like a Hate Crime to Me."
  • "Idaho Says It's "Okay" to Rape Unmarried Women." There's a petition at the link.
  • TransGriot: "Renee's Rule." Oh so many people need to learn about this. "If it ain't about you, don't make it about you."
Popular culture:
  • Shout Out JMU: "Introducing Feminist Thought Through Young Adult Literature."
  • The Grio: "Why did Victoria's Secret brand black models 'wild things'?" Excellent question.
  • The Guardian: "Anne Holt's top 10 female detectives."
  • Entertainment Weekly: "'Blue Valentine' wins MPAA appeal for R rating."
  • DC Women Kicking Ass: "Former DC President Paul Levitz says superhero stories 'more appealing to boys.'" I highly recommend reading this.
  • Vulture: "The Craziest Descriptions of Angelina Jolie in Reviews of The Tourist." (Sigh to abelism in the headline.)
  • The Smoking Gun: "Bea Arthur Was A Truck-Driving Marine." I find this way interesting. "While she strangely denied serving in the armed forces, military records show that the actress Bea Arthur spent 30 months in the Marine Corps, where she was one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve and spent time as a typist and a truck driver."

Friday, December 10, 2010

In History: Annie Jump Cannon

This is the 55th post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

Annie Jump Cannon was born Dec. 11, 1863 (happy birthday to her!). She was an American astronomer whose cataloging work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification. Cannon, along with Edward C. Pickering, is credited with the creation of the Harvard Classification Scheme, which was the first serious attempt to organize and classify stars based on their temperatures.

Cannon attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she contracted scarlet fever. As a result, she became almost completely deaf. Cannon graduated with a degree in physics in 1884, and eventually became the assistant to one of her former professors, Sarah Frances Whiting. Cannon's job allowed her to take graduate courses at the college. She returned to Wellesley in 1894 for graduate study in physics and astronomy. Cannon then decided to enroll at Radcliffe Women's College at Harvard, which had access to the Harvard College Observatory -- and a better telescope. By 1907, she had received a MA from Wellesley.

In 1896, Cannon became a member of "Pickering’s women," the women hired by Harvard Observatory director Edward Charles Pickering to complete the Draper Catalog mapping and defining all the stars in the sky.

Cannon's Henry Draper Catalog listed nearly 230,000 stars and was valued as the work of a single observer. Her work earned her the nickname "Census Taker of the Sky." She also published many other catalogs of variable stars, including 300 that she discovered. Her career lasted more than 40 years. Cannon died April 13, 1941, after receiving a regular Harvard appointment as the William C. Bond Astronomer. She also received the Henry Draper Medal, which only one other woman has won: Martha P. Haynes, who shared it with a male colleague.

Cannon won many other awards and honors:
  • In 1925, she received the first honorary doctorate Oxford University ever awarded to a woman.
  • In 1929, the National League of Women Voters listed her as one of the 12 "greatest living American women."
  • In 1931 awarded the Henry Draper Medal from the National Academy of Sciences.
  • In 1932 awarded the Ellen Richards Prize.
  • First woman elected an officer of the American Astronomical Society.
  • In 1938 named the William Cranch Bond Astronomer at Harvard.
  • The crater Cannon on the Moon is named after her.
You can read more about Cannon and her career here and here.

Photo source 1; photo source 2

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rally for Girls' Sports is today: My story

Rally for Girls’ Sports DayThe National Women's Law Center is hosting a Rally for Girls' Sports today, something I'm really happy to take part in. According to the Center's site, "Across the web, bloggers, tweeters and Facebook users are raising their voices in celebration of the far-reaching benefits of athletics participation for girls." If you're on Twitter, you can follow conversation there with the hashtag #Rally4Girls. The Center is compiling blog posts and stories here, which will be updated throughout the day.

I'd like to share my story of participating in sports when I was younger. Except what I took part in isn't a recognized sport, per se: I was on my school's dance team. From sixth grade through my senior year of high school, I danced at pep rallies, football games, basketball games and took part in numerous parades and competition. It was a lot of time and work, especially all through high school. We worked with the marching band in high school, so we attended every marching band practice and band camp. We attended dance camp every summer. Our team wasn't seasonal, as many sports are -- it lasted all year, even over the summer, with practices, performances and competitions. And yes, we competed. We competed as part of the marching band, and we competed at dance events all over our state and beyond.

And I loved every single second of it all.

Being part of this team defined my teenage years probably more than any other singular experience. I was able to spend hours and hours with such a great group of girls (about 30-40 of them, depending on the year) who were so dedicated to what we were doing and to each other. We did have tryouts for the team, so not everyone who wanted to take part could (unlike when I ran track in junior high school and anyone who wanted to could be part of the team, even me who can't run for anything), but even with having tryouts we ended up with a pretty diverse group of girls ... and that was so great for me, a white girl who grew up in a fairly white neighborhood. It instantly broadened my mind and my experiences.

That was hardly the only benefit of being on this team, though. I learned what making a commitment means. I learned about being a leader -- I was an officer my junior year and captain of the team my senior year -- and how different people respond to different kinds of encouragement and criticism. I was active, all the time. Practicing dance four to five times a week for months on end kept me healthy and flexible (oh, to have the flexibility now that I had then!). The competitions kept me motivated; I always wanted us to win, as did all the other girls, and that helped drive us even when we were exhausted. But even when we didn't win, we were learning that sometimes you have to just tip your hat to the team that did, because they deserved it.

Being part of the team even motivated me in other areas of my life. I had a job from the time I was 15 until I graduated, and of course I had homework. Juggling the team, work and school wasn't always a walk in the park, but I made it work and in the process learned about time management and prioritizing.

But the best part of it was the camaraderie. The girls on the team became my best friends. How could they not? We did things together like spend 21 hours on a bus on our way to a week-long trip Florida, where we competed, marched in the Citrus Bowl parade, marched through Epcot, spent an entire day at Disney World and spent New Year's Eve together at Sea World. And then spent another 20 hours on a bus on the way home. Some of the girls were on the team with me from sixth grade on, and others only for a year or two. I met so many great people this way, people who I might never have had class with or people from other grades I might never have hung out with otherwise. Example: When I was a senior, one of my favorite teammates was a sophomore -- what were the chances I would have been friends with her without being teammates?

I am really grateful for my experience. At the time, I thought it was "normal." But now, all these years later, I realize just how many people did not have good high school experiences. I was lucky. I did. And it was because of the dance team and people on it. I know that a dance team isn't considered a "proper" sport, but I do think my experiences translate to what many girls on "proper" sports teams go through. I can't even imagine what my high school experience would have been like if I hadn't been part of that team. And all of this is to say that every girl deserves that experiences, should she want it. It can be life changing.

The National Women's Law Center has all kinds of resources about Title IX. (For those unfamiliar with Title IX, it was passed in 1972 and it states "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.") I would especially recommend checking out their article "Debunking the Myths About Title IX and Athletics." And it's not too late to take part in Rally for Girls' Sports; you can sign up here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Suggested Sunday reading (12/15/10)

Just a quick reminder, you can submit links for this column via e-mail at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com, and you can catch up with Spare Candy on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr as well. Or! Leave a link in the comments! Self-promotion is perfectly acceptable here.

  • New York Times: "A Trailblazer With Her Eye on the Bottom Line." This is a profile of Cathleen Prunty Black (pictured), who was recently appointed to be the next chancellor of the New York City public school system. Black has done many notable things in her life -- she's president of Hearst Magazines. And one person says of Black, "She's the closest thing to Superman that exists."
  • Native Appropriations: "Tom Ford in a headdress; but that's not the interesting part." I love this: "Why has the NA/1st Nations type headdress become the new hipster fashion statement? Was blackface just too messy?"
  • Washington Post: "Controversial 'ella' contraceptive now available in U.S. for first time." Ella is a "morning after" pill that is effective up to five days after sex, unlike Plan B which is only effective up to 72 hours later, but loses its effectiveness the longer one waits to take it.
  • RH Reality Check: "Is Dialogue on Abortion Useful? Response to Marcotte."
  • La Prensa: "Surrogate pregnancy legally recognized in Mexico City."
  • The Miscellany News: "Survivors of rape need our support." Yes, they do.
  • The Spec: "On Dec. 6, we mourn — but do we act?" This is about violence against women, and the 14 young women who were gunned down at L’École Polytechnique in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989. (I wrote about this massacre last year; you can find that blog post here.)
  • New York magazine: "Hillary Clinton Is Asked What Designers She Wears Moments After Making Point About Sexism." Love her response.
  • Carnal Nation: "African 'Pleasure Hospital' Will Heal Victims of Female Genital Mutilation."
  • CBS News: "LPGA Players Vote to Eliminate 'Female at Birth' Requirement." This is pretty cool.
  • The Baltimore Sun: "Half of discarded city rape claims were misclassified." Here's the first paragraph of the story: "More than half of nearly 100 rape reports that Baltimore Police decided were false or baseless have been reclassified as rapes or other sex crimes, according to an audit presented Wednesday to a City Council panel." So. Yeah.
  • BBC: "New sex offence laws now in force in Scotland." The new laws include a legal definition of consent and legally recognizes male rape.
  • Amanda Hess: "A brief history of the New York Times' gender essentialist trend piece." This is an excellent read.
  • Gender Across Borders: "Why Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Won’t Be the Final Battle for LGBT Service Members."
  • The Tulane Hullabaloo: "Not fair, men." Just read this. It's about pay inequity.
  • The Telegraph: "Britain embraces 'positive action' to abolish workplace discrimination." It's kind of like affirmative action, but for women. Or that's how I understand it.
  • Common Dreams: "Women's Unemployment At Highest Rate in Over 25 Years."
  • "Portland Rescue Mission Wants Your Winter Coats and Sweaters ... Unless You're Gay."
  • New York Times: "Frazzled Moms Push Back Against Volunteering." Good for them, I say. You can't do it all, and you need to take care of yourself first.
  • CNN: "Inside one boy's anorexia: 'How can I burn the most calories?'"
  • Tennessee Equality Project: "Transwoman assaulted at Kohl's Department Store in Jackson, TN." (Warning for graphic content.)
  • Bitch magazine: "Bitch in a Box: Feminist Gifts for Teen Girls." Love this!
  • NPR: "Oh, To Be Young: The Year's Best Teen Reads." All of these are going on my wish list.

Friday, December 3, 2010

In History: Ellen Swallow Richards

This is the 54th post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards was born on this day, Dec. 3, in 1842. She was the foremost female industrial and environmental chemist in the United States in the 19th century, pioneering the field of home economics. Richards graduated from Westford Academy and attended Vassar, from which she earned bachelor's and master's degrees. She was the first woman admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and she became its first female instructor, the first woman in the United States accepted to any school of science and technology, and the first woman in the United States to earn a degree in chemistry.

When she entered MIT, the college said she could attend but "it being understood that her admission did not establish a precedent for the general admission of females." In 1883, MIT began accepting women and awarding them degrees as regular students. Richards would have been the first woman awarded a doctoral degree from MIT, but MIT balked at granting this distinction to a woman, and did not award its first doctorate until 1886.

From 1884 until her death, Ellen Richards was an instructor in the newly founded laboratory of sanitary chemistry, the Lawrence Experiment Station, which was the first in the United States and headed by her former professor William R. Nichols. In 1887, the laboratory, then under Thomas Messinger Drown, conducted a study under Richards of water quality in Massachusetts for the Massachusetts State Board of Health involving over 20,000 samples, the first such study in America. As a result, Massachusetts established the first water-quality standards in America, as well as the first modern sewage treatment plant, in Lowell, Massachusetts. Richards was a consulting chemist for the Massachusetts State Board of Health from 1872 to 1875, and the official water analyst from 1887 until 1897. She also served as a consultant to the Manufacturers Mutual Fire Insurance Co, and in 1900 wrote the textbook "Air, Water, and Food from a Sanitary Standpoint," with A. G. Woodman. Her interest in the environment led her in 1892 to introduce into English the word ecology which had been coined in German to describe the "household of nature".

Richards' interests also included applying scientific principles to domestic situations, such as nutrition, clothing, physical fitness, sanitation, and efficient home management, creating the field of home economics. "Perhaps the fact that I am not a Radical and that I do not scorn womanly duties but claim it as a privilege to clean up and sort of supervise the room and sew things is winning me stronger allies than anything else", she wrote to her parents. She published "The Chemistry of Cooking and Cleaning: A Manual for House-keepers" in 1881, designed and demonstrated model kitchens, devised curricula, and organized conferences. In 1908, she was chosen to be the first president of the newly formed American Home Economics Association. She wrote a number of books on the topic

Richards along with Marion Talbot (Boston University, class of 1880), became the initial "founding mothers" of what was to become the American Association of University Women when they invited 15 other women college graduates to a meeting at Talbot's home in Boston, Massachusetts on November 28, 1881. The 17 women envisioned an organization in which women college graduates would band together to open the doors of higher education to other women and to find wider opportunities for their training. AAUW became one of the nation's leading advocates for education and equity for all women and girls. Today, AAUW numbers more than 100,000 members, 1,300 branches, and 500 college and university partners nationwide.

Richards served on the Board of Trustees of Vassar College for many years, and was granted an honorary Doctor of Science degree in 1910. She died at Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, in 1911. In her honor, MIT designated a room in the main buildings for the use of women students, and in 1973, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Richard's graduation, established the Ellen Swallow Richards Professorship for distinguished female faculty members.

For more information about Richards, you can check out two MIT sites, here and here. There's also an article called "Ellen Swallow Richards and the Progressive women's reform movement" here.

Photo source

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Get Involved: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

Nov. 25 was the International Day to End Violence Against Women, and every year that day is the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign, which is orchestrated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University.

The theme of this year's campaign:
"Structures of Violence: Defining the Intersections of Militarism and Violence Against Women" -- looking beyond specific forms of violence to underlying societal structures that permit gender-based violence to exist and persist.

The organizers define militarism “as an ideology that creates a culture of fear and supports the use of violence, aggression, or military interventions for settling disputes and enforcing economic and political interests.”
Rutgers' website for this campaign has a ton of information, including resources and a Take Action kit you can download. Even though the campaign has been going on for a couple days now, it's not too late to get involved. One of my favorite things I've seen come out of this is the blog 16 Impacts of Sexual Assault. If you can, I recommend checking it out. The International Women's Development Agency also has good information related to this campaign.

Here is what the United Nations Population Fund lists as "16 Ways to Stop Gender Violence." Would you add anything to this list?
  1. Calling for an end to impunity for those who perpetrate violence against women. Both the Secretary-General's UNiTE campaign and our Executive Director's statement make it clear that   violence against women can no longer be tolerated.
  2. Highlighting the need to include involve women in peace and reconciliation processes. This year’s State of World Population report focused on the impact of war and humanitarian crises on women, and on the importance of fully implementing Security Council resolutions that address women’s role in the peace and reconciliation process. See also the Stop Rape Now campaign and  our social media space.
  3. Protecting women and girls in the aftermath of humanitarian crises. Following the earthquake in Haiti and flooding in Pakistan, UNFPA played a lead role in setting in place and coordinating displaced women and girls.
  4. Delivering as One to end violence against women. UN agencies, governments and civil society are working together in Burkina Faso, Chile, Fiji, Jamaica, Jordan, Kyrgystan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda and Yemen to support survivors of violence and change the attitudes and structure that perpetuate it.
  5. Engaging boys in their formative year with messages of gender equality. Breakaway, an electronic football game, launched at the time of the World Cup, aims its social messages about respecting girls at 8- to 15-year-old boys.
  6. Calling for an end to female genital mutilation/cutting in a generation. Accelerating Change, the Joint UNFPA/UNICEF programme to encourage abandonment of FGM/C, is setting in motion a dynamic for positive change in communities that support this harmful practice.
  7. Calling attention to sexual violence as an instrument of war. Congo/Women, an international photography exhibition and educational campaign, compels viewers to acknowledge the suffering endured by women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and to recognize the human faces behind it. See also this related documentary.
  8. Enlisting sports heroes to speak out against gender-based violence. A public service announcement by football star Sam Eto’o urges men to be champions in life by taking a stand against gender-based violence.
  9. Addressing the needs of women in refugee camps. Refugee camps are intended to be safe havens – but displaced women often face many forms of gender-based violence. UNFPA is part of an interagency team that sends gender advisers to humanitarian settings to ensure that women’s needs are being addressed. See also this related video.
  10. Using culturally sensitive approaches Gender-based violence is a deeply rooted problem that demands strategic, comprehensive and culturally sensitive approaches. In ten countries, UNFPA has applied such approaches and documented the experiences for development practitioners as well as other interested parties. See the multi-media exhibit. See also these case studies.
  11. Highlighting the injustice of child marriage and too-early pregnancy. Child marriage is a human rights violation with social, cultural and economic dimensions, including high rates of maternal mortality and injury.
  12. Working with religious leaders to end tolerance for gender-based violence. UNFPA values the influence of religious leaders in preventing violence within families and reducing maternal mortality. The Fund works hard to build bridges between faith-based practitioners and development practitioners.
  13. Giving people who have lived with violence new channels for self-expression. Around the world, various forms of art – from breakdancing and painting to puppetry and crafts, are used to soothe tormented spirits and teach lessons about war and peace.
  14. Forming partnerships with men to end violence against women. Constructive engagement of men and boys aims to encourage them to play positive roles in the lives of women and girls, while improving their own lives.
  15. Assisting survivors of domestic violence. Women often stay with abusive partners because they have no other place to go. UNFPA-supported shelters offer an alternative. Read the feature story, view a related video.
  16. Documenting the long-lasting effects of rape and torture. The psychological impact of rape – as well as the physical scars – can fester for decades, as portrayed in this feature story and photographs.


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