In this week’s Wednesday 5: What happens when mothers hear they are doing a great job–from their own kids; the campaign to educate girls in Pakistan; the secret history of CIA women; feminist scholar Lynne Segal releases her new book,  Out of Time: The Pleasures and Perils of Ageing; and 10 real-life female role models are given the Disney Princess treatment.



A New Perspective for Moms

Let’s start with this week’s dose of inspiration. The Elevation Church completed a tiny little experiment asking women to describe themselves as mothers. Not surprisingly, many of them were highly critical of themselves, sharing that they wished they had more patience, were doubtful about their mothering skills, struggle with their tempers, hope they could devote more time to their children. The reality? We are our worst critics. Because, in Part 2 of the experiment, the children were brought in to talk about how they feel about their moms. The responses will warm your heart.




The Campaign to Educate Girls in Pakistan

We received this moving slideshow put together by the Hoshyar Foundation, which works to “increase girls’ access to education in Pakistan and other underserved parts of South Asia.” As it features stunning images of Pakistan’s current social and political landscape, the slide show asks viewers to ponder the following question:

Slide Rocket

We hope that after you watch the full slide show you will be moved to action.



The Secret History of CIA Women

imageHere’s a headline we don’t see often: “The Secret History of CIA Women,” by Mother Jones writer Tasneem Raja.  In the article, Raja reveals that although the culture of the CIA during the 1950s through the 1970s seemed more like “‘Mad Men’ with security clearances,” some “skilled female spies rose high in the ranks.” And yet, women confronted  an institution that often relegated them to jobs as “contract wives” or secretaries, since it was thought that “women would be ineffective for recruiting agents and gathering intel abroad.” And yet, there were advances being made for women as well. Raja tells us:

“. . . while men made up the lion’s share of highly paid roles in the agency, women accounted for 60 percent of the agency’s jobs in statistical analysis. Linda McCarthy, a CIA historian and former agency analyst, says that’s unsurprising: “During World War II, when it came to numbers, the war department went after women,” she told Mother Jones. “Same with maps and codework: They specifically wanted to find women for that kind of work. They were simply better at it.”

Read more about the Women of CIA at Mother Jones. And if you’re even more intrigued, check out the CIA’s interactive website,  From Typist to Trailblazer: The Evolving View of Women in CIA’s Workforce.




Against the Cultural Aversion to Aging and the Aged

Out_of_Time_-_300dpi_CMYKThis month, feminist scholar Lynne Segal, professor of psychology and gender studies in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College, releases her new book,  Out of Time: The Pleasures and Perils of Ageing.  The title of the book itself is quite telling; it reveals our culture’s complicated relationship with—dare we say aversion to—aging. In an excerpt titled “All the Selves We Have Been,” adapted from the book’s introduction, Segal shares with Guernica magazine:

“Thus, on the one hand it can seem as though the self never ages; yet on the other we are forced to register our bodies and minds in constant transformation, especially by the impact we make upon others. As Virginia Woolf, always so concerned with issues of time, memory and sexual difference, wrote in her diary in 1932, just before reaching fifty: “I sometimes feel that I have lived 250 years already, & sometimes that I am still the youngest person on the omnibus.” This is exactly how I feel.”





10 Real-Life Female Role Models Given the Disney Princess Treatment

1-RUTH-BADER-GINSBERG-PRINCESS-e1383160244615Cartoonist David Trumble has created a new  “World of Women” collection, which gives ten of the world’s most inspiring women in history a Disney princess treatment. Why did he do it? In an interview with Women You Should Know, Trumble states:

“This was a response to the furor kicked up over the glossy ‘princessification’ of Pixar’s Merida character, both in image and doll form. I drew this picture because I wanted to analyze how unnecessary it is to collapse a heroine into one specific mold, to give them all the same sparkly fashion, the same tiny figures, and the same homogenized plastic smile.

His list of ten inspiring women turned Disney princess are: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hillary Clinton, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Anne Frank, Harriet Tubman, Jane Goodall, Marie Curie, Gloria Steinem, and Malala Yousafzai.Take a look at his renditions here.

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