In this week’s Wednesday 5 Web roundup, Hillary Clinton orchestrates a major step toward incorporating women’s and girls’ advancement into U.S. foreign policy; intriguing facts we didn’t know about the life of Rosa Parks; a call to action for black women on the risks of heart disease; Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is upgraded to rock-star status; and an Oscar-nominated animated short film, Paperman, that allows us to pause and appreciate the beauty in simplicity.

 

1.

A Major Step Toward Incorporating the Advancement of Women and Girls into U.S. Foreign Policy

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton watches as President Barack Obama signs a presidential memorandum, “Coordination of Policies and Programs to Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women and Girls Globally,” in the Oval Office, Jan. 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza shared under Creative Commons License)

It seems fitting that as part of her last official duties as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton watched as President Barack Obama signed a new presidential memorandum to strengthen the country’s work to advance gender equality worldwide. The initiative, according to the White House blog, spans from

“. . . establishing the White House Council on Women and Girls, to launching a multilateral initiative to expand women’s political and economic participation, to developing a new strategy to prevent and respond to violence against women, to implementing a national action plan to promote the inclusion of women in conflict resolution and peace processes, to focusing on women and girls for greater impact in our global health and food security initiatives.”

This new measure is part of a shift to incorporate “the advancement of women and girls into U.S. foreign policy.” That shift can been seen tangibly in the appointment of the first-ever Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer.

 

2.

Rosa Parks—What We Don’t Know

Rosa-Parks-9433715-1-402Rosa Parks, the brave soul who refused to give up her seat on a segregated Alabama bus, is arguably one of the more well-known figures of the Civil Rights Movement.  On Monday, a flurry of tributes (Ms. Magazine blog, US News & World Report, The New York Times) honored this heroine on what would have been her 100th birthday. The United States Postal Service also revealed a new stamp in her honor. What we learned from these tributes is that for the woman deemed “the first lady of the Civil Rights Movement,” there’s still much we do not know about her. Jeanne Theoharis, professor of political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, took up the torch of sharing the lesser-known facts about Parks’s life. Some of the surprises she shared in her Huffington Post blog included: Parks had been thrown off the bus a decade earlier by the same bus driver; her arrest had grave consequences for her family’s health and economic well-being; and Nelson Mandela was indebted to her, telling her after his release from prison, “You sustained me while I was in prison all those years.” Theoharis’s newly published book on Parks details the decades-long activism of this stalwart woman—before and after her famous rebellion on that bus.

Image via Wikipedia shared under Creative Commons License.

RELATED: Black History Month: Five Stand-Up Women, by Deborah Harkins

 

3.

Heart Disease–No. 1 Killer of Women, Higher Risks for Black Women

This month, Women’s Voices will feature a collection of articles in honor of Black History Month and American Heart Month. Just this Monday, Dr. Patricia Yarberry Allen and Dr. Timothy Dutta spoke on calculating the risks of a heart attack—the No. 1 killer of women. The disease doesn’t differ in its impact only when it comes to men and women, it also differs when it comes to race. The folks at Ebony magazine remind us that in particular, “Black women are disproportionately affected by heart disease; the death rate is 30 percent higher for Black women than their White counterparts.” Click here to read more about how black women can take small steps to improve their health and fight their risks of heart disease, not just in February, but as an ongoing lifestyle adjustment.

 

4.

Sonia Sotomayor, the People’s Judge (and Rock Star) 

It’s no secret that we are fans of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor—the first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court. Not only has she emerged as a woman’s voice for change, she is also a championing voice for countless others. Since her appointment in 2009, she’s garnered many labels. But since the release of her memoir, “My Beloved World,” we’ve been tickled by the new monikers attributed to the esteemed Justice. The New York Times is the latest to add to the growing list of encomiums, calling her a  “book-tour rock star” and “queen of the best-seller list” in a recent article on Sotomayor’s book-tour circuit. When’s the last time a Supreme Court justice was referred to as a rock star? Never. She shared with Jodi Kantor, of The New York Times, the nature of the “change” she hopes to implement: 

“Justice Sotomayor said that encouraging others through her personal story—the diabetic child of a poor, non-English-speaking alcoholic, the first Hispanic member of the Court—was an even more important contribution than her jurisprudence. “It is my great hope that I’ll be a great justice, and that I’ll write opinions that will last the ages . . . .But that doesn’t always happen. More importantly, it’s only one measure of meaning in life. To me, the more important one is my values and my impact on people who feel inspired in any way by me.”

5.

Here’s this week’s dose of beauty and inspiration: Paperman, a black-and-white animated short film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and directed by John Kahrs. The short has received a nomination for Best Animated Short Film at the 2013 Academy Awards. It’s simply beautiful storytelling. No words, just moving music and animation. Enjoy!