With the convulsive changes the nation is going through, we’re all looking for ways to ensure that the next set of public policies is not left to the usual players – that it has included our perspective, as women who’ve been around the block a number of times. And while WVFC keeps highlighting those of us with some power, from Hillary Clinton to Kathleen Sebelius, we’ve often wondered if they could use more feedback from those of us around the country.

Turns out that one such  prominent woman, Maria Shriver, was wondering the same.  This week, Shriver announced A Woman’s Nation, inviting women from coast to coast to become involved. “For the first time in our nation’s history, women now represent half of all workers and are becoming the primary breadwinners in more families than ever before,” Shriver writes in Huffington Post.

This seismic shift is changing the economic and cultural landscape of our country, and in order to learn more about this development, I am partnering with The Center for American Progress (CAP) and the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, a project that will report on the economic tipping pointing for women in America and the consequences of that shift across the institutions that matter most in American life. Together with them, I am thrilled to launch “A Woman’s Nation,” a national project to paint the modern portrait of the American woman. Additionally, TIME magazine will also be involved in research and reporting, as well as co-presenting discussions and roundtables around the country….

“A Woman’s Nation” will be a multi-year, action-oriented project, focused on capturing an accurate and up-to-date portrait of the American woman and developing next steps to remove barriers to her success. A journalist by trade, I look forward to taking “A Woman’s Nation” on the road – We will host a series of roundtables with men and women on the front lines of this economic and cultural shift, and conduct frank and factual interviews with cultural icons and women leaders about their experiences and recommendations. In an effort to give people all over the country an opportunity to participate in this remarkable discussion, we will hold online town-halls to field and answer any questions about the project.

According to the Center for American Progress, “The project will include the Shriver Report, which will combine the work of economists and academics to address the consequences of women’s more prominent economic status in the institutions that matter most in American life, including government, business, faith, education, and health. The report will also include data from research and on-the-ground reporting around the country, looking especially at the interplay between women and men in our society today.”

“A Woman’s Nation” promises involve women from all around the country in shaping the big changes to come. Whether it actually does may be up to whether women take up her offer.

Shriver, an award-winning journalist and First Lady of California, approaches this project with something of  a special pedigree.”The last time a government project like this was organized was in 1961, when my uncle, President John F. Kennedy, appointed Eleanor Roosevelt to chair a commission to report on the status of women. ” With classic understatement, Shriver adds that The world has changed dramatically since my uncle launched his commission.”

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  • Yvonne Blake-Bulluck May 19, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Womens’ wants in terms of security may be universal but what that looks like operationally is not the same for every women.
    I have been moved to initiate a “sisterhood” the idea being that we will first spend some time writing about “things”, pick up quotes and sayings which uplift us and periodically we will get together to share these as a means of support to one another. Most importantly older women of various experience will be available to younger women to give them information about life issues, children and life changing issues. Too many young women do not have a mother to question about the job, people, husband, children issues before them. Ever see the Norma Shearer version of the movie”The Women”? There is a scene where the mother tells her about how to dealwith the husbands infidelity. That information may or may not be good today. The point is the way that older women was ther to be supportive. More women need to have and need to give that kind of support.
    About the time that I got my idea I saw Maria Shiver on TV talking about an event where women had come together. I would very much like to be a part of such a movement. Please let me know of anything I can do in your move and anything you can do to support my idea.

    Yvonne Blake-Bulluck

  • Julie April 21, 2009 at 8:33 am

    I feel very strongly about what Maria is doing. I work in a male dominated field (IT). I know I have to work five times harder to get paid remotely close or get a position remotely close to a male. For example where I currently work, my co-worker, a male, has a college education, but in pharmacy techician, he also only has less then 1 year in IT experience. As to where I have two degrees and 10 yrs experience. We have a $20,000+ pay difference. Guess who gets paid the least, me! I was just told that I could take a $3,000- pay cut or have no job. I just took the pay cut, he was told he is not getting a raise. Though, in many peoples’ eyes, it might seem well maybe it is based off performance, and she is not doing what she is supposed to. No this is not the case. I am the one working harder, going above and beyond. Well atleast was. Now I am just doing what I am supposed to do, to get my 8hrs in and get the heck out of work! So I have been coming in earlier and leaving by 2:30 so I do not have to deal with everybody. When I tell people about this, esp. my family. They think I am crazy that this can happen, and that I am making it up. My husband see it! It is true, and I am getting to the point I am so fed up with this. One guy that I work with jokes around and says; “the bigger the boobs the smaller the brains; those boobs suck the brains right out of your head”. What he was saying is true! He was not saying that to make fun of me, he was saying that to support me, that the fact is, that is what people that I work with think and he is vocalizing it. I am just living with it, and dealing with the point, I will never hear a good job Julie! Trying so hard to not brign it home, but it is extremely hard. I try to look at the positive and say, “at least I have a job”. It is tuff though, when the economy gets better and my pay does not change, but this male dominated career path goes up.