Strumpshaw Steam Museum, Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England, UK. (Photo: Leo Reynolds.)

2011 begins with a new year in blogs, including a new group of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, some hard economic facts from Today’s Chicago W0man, a campaign against media ageism and a new reality show giving voice to women in Afghanistan.

  • Those year-end roundups are behind us (including WVFC’s.) But it’s still worth checking out 2010: Not Sorry to see you Go, from Farai Chideya’s Pop and Politics. Miriam Zolla Perez’s “roundup of roundups”  includes hard news from the Washington Post, WNYC and The Houston Chronicle, as well as  urgent editorials for the new year from around the Web.
  • Wonder how women are faring economically as 2011 begins? At Today’s Chicago Woman, Cassandra Gaddo examines recent findings of the Senate’s Joint Economic Committee on the subject. While women’s unemployment rates were not as bad as that of men in the recession, she notes, a substantial “gender pay gap persisted even amongst highly-skilled professionals..[which] for older workers is particularly pernicious.” The reasons are manifold, of course, but Gaddo closes her column by pointing to salient facts about who’s running the Fortune 500: “While women comprised 46.4 percent of all employees in Fortune 500 companies, they made up just 15.7 percent of board seats, 14.4 percent of executive officers, 7.6 percent of top-earning executive officers, and 2.4 percent of chief executive officers.”
  • Happy 10th birthday to Women’s Enews’ 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, which debuted this week in 2001. This year, WEnews’ awards are divided into four categories: “Fighting for Equality,” “Working Against Gender Disparity,” “Helping Women Escape Abuse” and “Inspiring a New Generation.”  The long list of names includes Alexine Clement Jackson, board chair of Susan Komen Race to the Cure; Toni Reinhold, president of the Newswomen’s Club, and nonprofit exec Maile Zambuto, who recently moved from Safe to the Joyful Heart Foundation, an antiviolence campaign founded by Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order SVU. Every day this week, that site tells more of their stories.
  • Ever bristle when you hear something’s out of style because “the older folks like it,” or a compliment meaning that someone “looks so young?” At As Times Go By,  Ronni Bennett is collecting examples of elder-bashing in the media. “Language matters. And repetition, as every advertiser knows, establishes credibility and familiarity,” Bennett writes. “With each repetition, the product, service or idea becomes more deeply lodged in one’s mind until even elders themselves sometimes do not recognize, in the case of ageism, that the idea is repellent. Such memes as ‘computer-illiterate old people interested only in the early-bird special at Denny’s’ are repeated hundreds or thousands of times year after year until they are no longer perceived as demeaning and become how old people are acceptably defined.” Speaking of As Time Goes By, we extend our condolences on the death of its co-founder Saul Friedman, who we’ve quoted in many a blogwatch. As his wife Elke wrote in tribute last week: “It was Saul’s mission to teach [adult mid-career students in South Africa] how to write in the active mode instead of the passive. He made an impact and was happy teaching there. And the students appreciated his efforts. The thread running through his work was always the same: make the world a better place as best I can. In newspaperese: ‘The journalist’s job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.’ “

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