Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mid-Week Reads: Events and Stuff

Should I apologize again for not writing here or just pretend you haven't noticed?

I do have a couple of things written out by hand, and will type them out here once my back lets up enough that I feel up to doing more than the most urgent work.

Now that I've got you to sympathize with me, maybe I can get away without a real post for a few more days. Let's see what I've liked reading lately.

This is the best piece written on any tech event ever.
A man in charge of something important just made a SEX PISS JOKE at the Panasonic Press Conference and that’s all fine. I don’t understand. I don’t understand. Is that fine? Is this just what happens at tech events? I want to have a lie down.
This is an old post on sexism in the SEO industry, but it sent shivers down my spine.

I loved Ask A Manager's post on signs that you're the problem.

Which reminds me, I interviewed Ask A Manager! She told us a little about what happens behind the scenes.

And I wrote this on Search Engine People about little design changes to make your blog more readable.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Books I've Read (and Loved) Lately -- Mostly Romances and Mysteries

I much enjoyed The Fabulous Feminist, which I reviewed for Women's Web. It was extremely fun, especially for this tiny story, which leaves me smiling and wincing each time I read it:
The Incredible Woman raged through the skies, lassoed a planet, set it in orbit, rescued a starship, flattened a mountain, straightened a building, smiled at a child, caught a few thieves, all in one morning, and then, took a long time off to visit her psychiatrist, since she is at heart a really womanly woman and all she wants is a normal life.
I downloaded In Search of a Love Story* because the Kindle book was free (isn't anymore -- sorry!) and I wanted something light to read that I didn't have to pay for. But this is one of those rare romance books that work really well. The heroine is a believable, likeable person, and while romance is a big part of the story, it wasn't the only part. There are several friendships, especially one best friend that made me wish I had someone like that, a father-daughter relationship that's beautiful but not perfect, and many well-etched peripheral characters, including the heroine's clients and her boss. Read it if you like romances.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Women Work More, and Why That's A Problem

Did you see the recent research reports about women working longer hours than men? The research took both paid and unpaid work into account, which doesn't make the findings surprising, but this is the starting point for my most recent article in my monthly column at Women's Web.
A study recently found that women on average work 94 minutes longer than men every day. That’s one and a half hours each day that your male colleague is watching TV or sleeping or getting a beer with friends, and you are at your desk or doing housework. Look at unpaid work, which presumably refers to housework and other chores: men do 51 minutes a day, and women do 352. That’s less than an hour compared to nearly six hours.

Paid work? Women do 185 minutes of it and men do 391 minutes: why is the difference so much lower here? Even if we were to account for fulltime homemakers doing more housework, the lower difference in paid work tells us something about women’s double burden.

What this comes down to is that you’re working eleven more hours than your husband (or brother or boyfriend?) is every week, and much, if not all, of that work is unpaid.

This isn’t all: women’s right to paid work isn’t even recognized. Look at this recent study, where India turns out to be the country with the most regressive values with regard to women in the workplace. A staggering 84% of Indians surveyed agreed that when jobs are scarce, men “should have more right to a job than women.”
In the rest of the article, I delve into why this is a problem. Go read.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Talking About Rape Culture

Over at Women's Web, I write about putting an end to rape culture.
So, let’s talk rape. Not the details of this rape or the other rape or the other rape, but the culture that allows this to happen. The society that allows rapes so brutal as to kill victims, rapes so horrifying even our cynical self-absorbed selves shudder when we hear the details.

Let’s talk rape culture. Because that’s what allows rapists to feel they can get away with rape. 
I’m glad we’re talking about this, and sad that it took so much for this to happen. I’m so inspired that people are coming out of their homes and saying, “No. We want an end to this.”
I am hoping that now that we’ve all agreed that
  1. The rape of a young woman (who’s kind of like the rest of us – she’s in college and was going home from a movie) – her brutal, horrific rape, so brutal that it later killed her
is not acceptable, we might move on to agreeing none of these are acceptable:
  1. The rape of a woman who lives in a smaller town or even in a village: someone who’s more removed from our comfortable lives
  2. The rape of a woman who maybe isn’t middle-class but poor, who is maybe “lower caste” or tribal or someone who doesn’t look like us
  3. The rape of a woman who doesn’t, perhaps, fit our ideas of how an Indian woman is supposed to behave – she might drink, for example, or be sexually experienced, or even take drugs, or even be gay. Do you think, by then, we will stop caring about the victim’s “character” or implying that by living her life she was inviting rape?
  4. The rape of a woman by her husband (oh wait, that’s not rape!) or boyfriend
  5. The rape of a sex worker – even though we don’t usually think of them when we think of Indian women
  6. The rape of a trans woman or a man or an older woman or anyone who doesn’t fit our ideas of how a rape victim should look
How do we get there? How do we, as a society, get as outraged by every kind of rape as we are by the rape of someone who might, but for the grace of god or the luck of the draw, have been me (or my daughter/partner/sister)?
Click here to read the rest.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Mid-Week Reads: Can't Think of A Snappy Title

I'm coming late to this story, but it's an incredibly touching one: a father supports his little gender non-conforming son by wearing a skirt. I wish every little kid had parents like that.

Being fat might actually be good for you.

Go read Jai Arjun Singh's post about an old woman in Delhi and her dogs.

And going to Jai's blog again made me reread this old post about new year SMSes, which is always good for a laugh (and kind of timely).

Okay, that's all I got. Get back to work!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Mid-Week Reads: Rape Culture in India

This space is for recreation, for a lunch break of reading while you go about your lives. But not this time. After what's been happening in India, and what's on all of our minds, I couldn't just go put together a bunch of light reads. But here are the pieces and rants I liked best about the horrific rape of the young woman and her subsequent death, and about the society that enables it.

Notes from Raisina Hill:
Many say it is their first protest, but “this time was too much”. The women spill over with articulate indignation about how tired they are of being targets of violence—not free in the streets, not free at home, says one. The men talk about how they don’t want to be seen in the same light as rapists; one young student talks about how helpless he feels when his women friends/ relatives are targeted.
The third tear-gassing is equally unwarranted: the police open up the barricades, leaving a tempting gap, and when protestors start to move in (and therefore technically towards Rashtrapati Bhavan), out come the cannons again and the teargas shells. But though the crowds disperse, they keep coming back... “Stones are being thrown at the police,” one over-excited reporter says, and he has it wrong. What some of the protestors were throwing were coins, taunting the police: you don’t do your job well enough to keep us safe, perhaps you will if we bribe you.