January 2009

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

From the White House blog (and if you haven't subscribed to the White House blog's feed, what is wrong with you?) comes news that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is making its way through Congress, and will be signed by President Obama. The blog post summarizes the facts of the case by quoting Justice Ruth Ginsberg's dissent at the time the original act was passed. "Lilly Ledbetter was a supervisor at Goodyear Tire and Rubber's plant in Gadsden, Alabama, from 1979 until her retirement in 1998." At the beginning, her pay was equal to that of her male counterparts. By the end of her time at Goodyear, she was earning only 2/3rds as much as her male counterparts. At the time, the Supreme Court ruled that an employee has only 180 days to file a discrimination claim, from the time the employer decides to pay them less. Even if the employee keeps getting paid less, and even if the employee didn't discover that they were being paid less than their male counterparts until much later.

Female Bullying in the Workplace

The New York Times has an interesting editorial today by Peggy Klaus, a corporate trainer who "coaches executives," about girl-on-girl bullying in the workplace. She runs down a list of the typical explanations for why women are nasty to each other, but is careful not to state which one she personally sides with. It's her conclusion which I find most compelling. Klaus' conclusion can be briefly summed up as: knock it off. This is refreshing talk in a culture that sometimes seems obsessed with understanding causes. Sometimes I think we feel that if we can figure out WHY something is happening, we can magically figure out how to make it NOT happen. While this is true for mechanical and natural processes, it doesn't always work with human behavior.

Beat PMS With Trail Mix

The unpleasant symptoms that accompany our period each month can vary in severity, from mild cramp and general fatigue to severe pain and anemia.  Oh yes, and then there is all the fun stuff in between: dizziness, bloating, naseua, headaches, insomnia and breast tenderness.  I remember during a particularly bad month telling my boyfriend to image having the flu while someone kicked him in the stomach to get a rough idea of how I felt.  That particular episode is probably a good illustration of the psychological symptoms of PMS - namely irritability and mood swings. What many women don't know is that many of these symptoms can be reduced or managed through diet.  No, I'm not going to tell you to cut out sugar, caffeine, chocolate, salt or any other type of junk food that - if you are like me - you probably crave during 'that time of the month'.  (Although honestly, cutting down on these things will help you to feel better in the long run.) Finding relief can be as easy as adding extra n

The High Price of Shame

I just read an incredibly sad article in the New York Times about the prevalence of home abortions among the Dominican community in New York City. It profiles Dominican women in Washington Heights who terminate their pregnancies by obtaining prescription ulcer medication from local pharmacists, then go home and medicate themselves. I imagine the suffering - both physical and emotional - that these women go through. Imagine how alone you would feel, standing in the bathroom, swallowing the pills. In their culture, there is no shame about having a miscarriage. It is simply something that happens occasionally to pregnant women. However, there is a lot of shame about going to a proper clinic and having an abortion. To compound the problem, condom usage is seen as a sign of infidelity, so many of these women are shamed into having unprotected sex. Needless to say, many of these home abortions end in tragedy. The medicine was not intended for this purpose, and many women use it incorrectly.