In this week’s Wednesday 5: Student loan debt is an increasing crisis for women; a new Verizon ad questions the impact of telling our girls they are pretty; Guggenheim announces an all-male monopoly (again) on its coveted rotunda space for 2015; a series of benches painted like open books are the rave in London; and a campaign explains that many girls in developing countries are deterred from going to school because of their periods.



For Women, Student Loan Debt Is an Even Bigger Crisis

graduating-to-a-pay-gap-the-earnings-of-women-and-men-one-year-after-college-graduation-cover-280x170Here’s another way in which the gender pay gap is an economic cancer in the lives of women: While nearly 40 million people are saddled with student loan debt, the burden falls even harder on women.  According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) report, Graduating to a Pay Gap:

“More women than men, 53 percent compared to 39 percent, are contributing more money to their student debt payments than a typical individual can reasonably afford. This means less money for rent, for health insurance, for groceries. It also means that women in particular will have fewer resources to save for retirement, buying a car, or investing in a home.”

According to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), “It is a one-two punch . . . Women take on big debts to go to college, but they have less money to pay off those debts.”

Read the full report: Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation.



It’s Okay To Tell Your Daughter She’s Pretty

The girl-power ads are trendy these days. We wrote about Pantene‘s latest effort to ban “I’m sorry” from our vocabulary. Now, a recent ad for Verizon titled “Inspire Her Mind” has some great intentions and a strong, empowering message. However, Carrie Lukas of The Independent Women’s Forum says it’s “misleading.”

[It] implies that the reason women account for a relatively small share of science and engineer majors is societal messages, such as those that tell girls their looks are more important than their brains . . . Yet we shouldn’t assume success requires that women and men to be equally interested in all subject matters, and to think that differences in outcomes are driven by sexism. So take from this ad that society needs to consider the messages we send to our daughters (and sons, for that matter), but let’s make one of the messages we push be this: Equality of opportunity, rather than equal outcomes, is the true mark of a fair society.

Do you agree? Read the full critique of the Verizon ad at The Federalist.



The Guggenheim’s All-Male Monopoly on the Rotunda Continues

This week, the Guggenheim Museum (New York City) announced its 2015 exhibition schedule, and guess what, it’s an all-male lineup in the coveted rotunda space. In response to the announcement, arts critic Corinna Kirsch asked: “Women have arrived at the Guggenheim, but what is progress when women have been shoved aside to the annex galleries?” Here’s the history of the lack of women in the Guggenheim’s rotunda:

At the Guggenheim, we’ve seen an all-male monopoly in the rotunda gallery over the last several years, with solo showings by Christopher Wool, James Turrell, and Maurizio Cattelan, among others. The very last time we saw a woman in the Guggenheim’s most visible and iconic space was in 2011, when Nicola López’s three-floor installation, “Intervals,” graced the rotunda for 14 days.

Kirsch is campaigning that Doris Salcedo, well known for her large-scale installation Shibboleth,” a seismic crack that dug into the floors at the Tate Modern, be given her turn in the rotunda. See the video below on Salcedo’s work.



Things that Inspire Us


A series of 50 benches shaped like open books and painted to represent major works of literature are appearing all over London in the National Literacy Trust’s Books About Town project. It’s absolutely brilliant. Take a look at the full collection here.



Because I Am a Girl

A special Upworthy series about global health and poverty addresses girls in developing countries who already have a hard enough time getting an education but are deterred even further because of their periods. The last thing they need is to hit a roadblock that keeps them from even trying—especially when it’s something *every* girl on earth goes through. In countries like Uganda, when a girl gets her period, it can mean the end of her education. But, in the video above, we see that this is not the case for Christine because of a reproductive health project that enlightened her about what was happening to her body.

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