In this week’s Wednesday 5: twenty-five of the smartest women on Twitter, the under-representation of women in white-collar crime, women taxi drivers take to the streets of New Delhi, Parks and Recreation as the most feminism-friendly sitcom, and a rumination on the notorious Wage Gap.



25 of the Smartest Women on Twitter

oak040816Ann Charles, founder and CEO of BRANDfog, is passionate about women on Twitter. She tells Fast Company, “Women . . . elevate the level of discourse among smart business leaders. They validate the conviction that a change in the culture of leadership is under way, with women playing a prominent role to drive positive change.” Yes, we agree. With that mind, Charles put together a list of 25 of the most compelling women on the social media platform. What we loved about the list was its refusal to feature the usual suspects, and its metrics for gauging who is most influential. “We did not choose women based on number of followers or those listed as the ‘most powerful’ by other business publications,” shares Charles. “We made our selections without regard to big brand affiliation or title. Instead, we looked for women who were thought leaders and pioneers, and who continually advance groundbreaking ideas and provide surprising insights that can change perspectives.” Take a look at the list for yourself: It’s chock full of women 40 and over, some of whom we’re familiar with and, fortunately, some that are under-the-radar.



Women Are Underrepresented in White-Collar Crime

220px-Martha_Stewart_2011_ShankboneYep, that’s a headline we didn’t think we’d want to see. Isn’t this kind of under-representation a good thing? Apparently, not so much. Hanna Rosin at Slate asks us to ponder:

“When scandals happen we often wonder why powerful women so rarely get involved in them. . . . [A] new set of studies suggests that the reason women don’t commit high-level white-collar crimes isn’t because they don’t have it in them. It’s because white collar crime, like so many other professions, has a glass ceiling. . . . As women slowly gain power, they slowly start to behave like the powerful, meaning they become more corruptible. In white-collar crime, just as in white-collar jobs, they just haven’t reached the top yet.”

We’re not so sure how we feel about this theory—this might be one of those areas where the proverbial glass ceiling has its benefits! Rosin also offers that new data shows that women are increasingly part of public sex scandals as well—another area where the gender gap is closing. Stay tuned.



New Delhi’s Taxis for Women, by Women

A culture of women drivers in India is not the norm. Men are the ones usually at the wheel. And it’s not just India; we’d be hard pressed to find a woman taxi driver in a city as cosmopolitan as New York!  However, as  sexual violence in India continues to make international headlines (significantly impacting the nation’s tourism rates), the need for innovative ways of thinking about women’s safety is even more profound. Enter Meenu Vadera who, as owner of  New Delhi’s first and only all-female taxi service, “Women on Wheels,” is solving multiple problems simultaneously: she’s  providing jobs for resource-poor women and helping women feel safer. Rachel George of PolicyMic tells us:

Vadera’s business model in New Delhi is particularly notable for its multi-faceted approach that aims to help empower resource-poor women to become financially independent as drivers, while simultaneously protecting women by providing a safe space for  passengers to feel more comfortable maneuvering around the city.

Watch the video below for more on how these women taxi drivers are working to make other women safer.



Parks and Recreation—the most Feminism-Friendly Sitcom

And here’s why, according to Sady Doyle, who writes for In These Times:

Parks and Rec is now famous for its warm, humane approach, and the character of Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) has transformed from a caricature of bureaucratic idiocy into an icon of earnest, dorky, hyper-competent political idealism. This, understandably, has drawn in a huge feminist audience. For female and feminist comedy fans—whose experiences with comics tend to range from blithe marginalization to vicious harassment—the show has come to stand as proof that you can make great comedy without disrespecting, humiliating and/or inflicting cruelty upon women.

Here’s Amy Poehler talking with the Paley Center for Media on the creation of Leslie Knope.



That Measly 77 Cents

Nineteenth-century labor activist Florence Kelley.

Nineteenth-century labor activist Florence Kelley.

As Labor Day approaches, we reflect on the dispiriting “wage gap” that exists between male and female workers. We’ve all read that government figures show  that full-time male workers make, on average, $1 for every 77 cents earned by full-time female workers. It’s a controversial figure, because it doesn’t take into account workers’ degree of education and experience, and it does not mean that this gap holds true for women and men holding the same job. Still, there’s always a gap. Danielle Kurtzleben reports in U.S. News, for instance, that

“A recent study from the American Association of University Women suggested that career choices account for a large chunk of the wage gap. It found that among recent college graduates, women earned 82 percent of what men did. However, after controlling for factors like college major and career choice, the gap shrank from 18 percent to around 6.6 percent.”

How to close the gap? Women must acquire the nerve to negotiate, despite their fear that assertiveness will make them unlikeable, says CBS News contributor and analyst Mellody Hobson. “Men, when they ask for more money, it’s seen as assertive,” she said. “When women do it, it’s seen as self-centered. And as a result of that, it affects our likability, and our likability factors into [our] being promoted, along with competency.”


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