Photo: Nicholas Vigier

Blogosphere offerings this week: the thought that Wal-Mart may lose even if it wins with Dukes, Barbara Walters and “the giraffe syndrome,” and a slideshow of black literary power women.

  • Looking for power women to add to your reading list? Try Black Voices’ amazing slideshow of “40 Influential Black Female Authors.” While it includes long-beloved names like those of Maya Angelou and Phillis Wheatley, you might find some less-known writers to explore, including midlife peers Grace Okot and Bebe Moore Campbell.
  • Women on Business’s Sylvia LaFair writes about what she calls “the giraffe syndrome.” Women who are change agents,  she says, “gutsy” women, also contend with guilt: “When we step into our power it is not just one big fun parade. So often the down side is not discussed. And yet, without really taking time to see the whole picture many gutsy women second guess themselves and wonder if the risk has been worth it.” Such doubts were even expressed, she writes, by  Barbara Walters at an event in her honor at the Paley Center for Media in New York a few weeks ago — even though “Walters has had an amazing career, and continues to do so, daring the aging process to define her.  She continues to be vibrant, curious, and inspiring.” Three cheers for giraffes, who,  Lafair contends, should not be afraid to look down.
  • Speaking of women and leadership, Bridgette Behling reports at the American Association of University Women’s blog  from the National Archives’ 4th Annual Forum on Women and Leadership. Discussing recent research on women in academia, Behling writes, “A panel of women presidents from Vassar College, Wellesley College, Kenyon College, and the University of Virginia offered honest, sound advice about what it takes to become a college or university president. Part of their discussion was the theme of disparity in leadership and how today’s college presidents do not accurately reflect the diversity of the student bodies whom they serve.” S. Georgia Nugent, president of Kenyon College, warned participants to beware of the “starry imperium” — that because the presidents of Brown, Princeton, Harvard, and Wellesley are women, it gives a false sense of how far we’ve come in professional advancement and equity for women in high-level leadership positions.”
  • Two months after the Arab spring began with women like Nawal el-Sadaawi helping usher in the independence of Egypt’s people, Jessica Gray of Women’s Enews reports that women are worried about the the new military government and even the new constitution. Gray interviews Egyptian feminists and adds that Amnesty International “describes Egypt’s continuing violence against women as ‘deeply worrying’ along with the wording of some constitutional amendments, such as the one concerning the president, which carries the assumption that the president must be male.”
  • Speaking of justice for women, many of us are worried about the likely outcome in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, following the reporting on the skepticism expressed by many members of the Court in oral arguments last week. We did take some solace from Gabe Acevedo’s analysis in Above the Law, which includes the counter-intuitive conclusion that Wal-Mart loses even if the Court rules in its favor to deny the million-strong class-discrimination lawsuit against them. Due to advances in discovery enabled by technological change, “if Wal-Mart wins, it will have to deal with one of the biggest legal technology/e-discovery challenges in history. And if the company loses, they face the biggest class action suit in our nation’s history. Not exactly a win-win. “

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