In een omgekeerde wereld…


Men Who Explain Things by Rebecca Solnit

Most of my life, I would have doubted myself and backed down. Having public standing as a writer of history helped me stand my ground, but few women get that boost, and billions of women must be out there on this six-billion-person planet being told that they are not reliable witnesses to their own lives, that the truth is not their property, now or ever. This goes way beyond Men Explaining Things, but it’s part of the same archipelago of arrogance.

Independent on Sunday will no longer review gender specific books

So I promise now that the newspaper and this website will not be reviewing any book which is explicitly aimed at just girls, or just boys. Nor will The Independent’s books section. And nor will the children’s books blog at Any Girls’ Book of Boring Princesses that crosses my desk will go straight into the recycling pile along with every Great Big Book of Snot for Boys. If you are a publisher with enough faith in your new book that you think it will appeal to all children, we’ll be very happy to hear from you. But the next Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen will not come in glittery pink covers. So we’d thank you not to send us such books at all.

Read more: Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex.

Wikipedia’s other half

’s Werelds grootste online encyclopedie Wikipedia is lang niet zo compleet als het bedrijf zou willen. Tijdens de jaarlijkse Wikimania conferentie liet Jimmy Wales – één van de oprichters- weten dat het aantal vrouwelijke redacteuren maar niet wil stijgen. Maar liefst 78% van de artikelen wordt aangedragen door mannelijke auteurs. En niet alleen het redacteurenbestand van Wikipedia kan meer vrouwen gebruiken; bij de inhoud van de artikelen lijkt er ook een blinde vlek te zijn voor vrouwen.

Vrouwennetwerk FemTechNet start daarom het Wikistorming-project, zodat aan vrouwen ook zichtbaar worden op de site. Studenten van de online cursus “Feminism and Technology” krijgen een lijst met vrouwen die een grote rol spelen in de wetenschap, om zo na te gaan of zij al opgenomen zijn in de encyclopedie. De studenten gaan misstanden rechttrekken, voegen nieuwe informatie toe en screenen artikelen op gendervooroordelen.

Wikipedia wil dus haar deuren wijd openzetten voor vrouwen, maar kan nog niet spreken van een open huis. Sue Gardner (leidinggevende bij Wikimedia, het moederbedrijf van Wikipedia) wees dan ook op de drempels voor vrouwelijke redacteurs. Bijvoorbeeld de ‘delete’-cultuur van Wikipedia, waarbij artikelen kunnen worden verwijderd als ze niet door de keuring komen. Daarbij sneuvelen namelijk vaker artikelen over vrouwelijke auteurs dan biografieën van pornosterren of mannelijke sporthelden.

Bron: Opzij

Facebook CEO’s women in leadership book hits stores

In this Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, file photo, Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of the social network service Facebook, speaks during a panel session at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland. (AP Photo/Keystone, Laurent Gillieron, File)

The Associated Press 

Published Monday, March 11, 2013 8:51AM EDT

Sheryl Sandberg is not backing down.

The Facebook chief operating officer’s book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” goes on sale Monday amid criticism that she’s too successful and rich to lead a movement. But Sandberg says her focus remains on spurring action and progress among women.

“The conversation, the debate is all good, because where we were before was stagnation – and stagnation is bad,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press. “And sometimes it takes real heated debate to wake people up and find a solution.”

With “Lean In,” Sandberg aims to arm women with the tools and guidance they need to keep moving forward in the workforce. The book’s release is coupled with the launch of Sandberg’s, a nonprofit that will receive all of the book’s proceeds.

The book isn’t just for women. It calls on men to lend support, both at home and in the office.

“This is about who we are as people,” Sandberg says. “Who we can be as individuals and as a society.”

In the book, Sandberg illuminates facts about the dearth of women in positions of power and offers real-world solutions. Women, Sandberg writes, make up only 14 percent of executive officers, 18 percent of elected congressional officials and 22 of 197 heads of state. What’s worse, Sandberg says, is that women have not made true progress in corporate America over the past decade. Boardrooms are still as overwhelmingly male as they were 10 years ago.

“While women continue to outpace men in educational achievement, we have ceased making real progress at the top of any industry,” she writes in “Lean In.” “This means that when it comes to making the decisions that most affect our world, the voices of women are not heard equally.”

Sandberg, 43, has worked at Facebook as its No. 2 executive since 2008. CEO Mark Zuckerberg lured her away from Google to help run what has since become a social networking powerhouse and formidable Google rival. Sandberg says it’s only been in the last few years that she’s started thinking seriously about the issues affecting working women. As recently as three years ago, Sandberg says, she would not have spoken the words “women in the workforce.”

“You never say the word `woman’ as a working woman because if you do, the person on the other side of the table is going to say you are asking for special treatment,” she says.

But seeing women stall in their quest for corporate success bothered her more and more. In 2010, she was asked to speak at the newly minted TEDWomen, an arm of the annual TED conference which showcases “ideas worth spreading.”

Her speech was titled “Why we have too few women leaders.” The video became wildly popular. It has been viewed more than 2 million times on TED’s website. Yet before she gave speech, Sandberg says “a whole bunch of people told me not to.” And although she’d given hundreds of talks on Facebook and social media and exactly one on women, after her speech people would ask her “is this your thing now?'”

“That was really the first time I spoke up,” she says. Since then, Sandberg has come to call herself “a proud feminist.”

Sandberg says it was the flood of responses that she received following the speech that got her thinking about writing a book. Some women wrote to her and said the speech encouraged them to ask for a raise. Others said it motivated them to ask for more family-friendly work hours. grew out of the book with the help of co-founder Gina Bianchini, who was inspired by a course she took at Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research called “Voice & Influence.” Its mission – “to empower women and men to be as effective as possible and to create organizations where all people can thrive” – is at the core of hopes to reach as many people as possible by offering materials and easy-to-replicate guidelines online, for free. Sandberg calls it a platform, which, in the technology world means something that others can take, change and make their own.

“We are a startup,” Sandberg says. “We are going to see what happens, and what companies do with our platform.

Read more:

Women Inc over Lean In

Lean In book

Lean In org

Lean In The Daily Show d.d. 3 April 2013

Female pioneers of the Bauhouse

BERLIN — She must have felt so optimistic. When Gertrud Arndt arrived at the Bauhaus school of art and design in 1923, she was a gifted, spirited 20-year-old who had won a scholarship to pay for her studies. Having spent several years working as an apprentice to a firm of architects, she had set her heart on studying architecture. 

‘‘Mask-Portrait No. 34’’ by Gertrud Arndt, 1930-31.

No chance. The Bauhaus was in tumult because of the long-running battle between its founding director, the architect Walter Gropius, and one of its most charismatic teachers, Johannes Itten, who wanted to use the school as a vehicle for his quasi-spiritual approach to art and design. Arndt was told that there was no architecture course for her to join and was dispatched to the weaving workshop.

Not that she was alone. Most of the other female students had been forced to study the supposedly “feminine” subjects of weaving or ceramics too. The Bauhaus Archive in Berlin is now trying to make amends to the women like them, who felt marginalized at the school, by celebrating their work in the “Female Bauhaus” series of exhibitions, the latest of which is devoted to Arndt.

As well as her student work in textiles, Arndt’s exhibition, through April 22, includes the photographic experiments she began at the Bauhaus and continued for the rest of her life. She is the third female Bauhaüsler to be featured in the series that started with a fellow textile designer Benita Koch-Otte and Lou Scheper-Berkenkamp, who forged a career in theater design, illustration and color theory after leaving the school. The Bauhaus Archive plans to continue the series with more shows in the future.

All three of the first “Female Bauhaus” subjects were unusually talented, determined and resourceful, yet each would have been justified in feeling that she faced greater professional obstacles than her male contemporaries both at the Bauhaus and afterward. Why did a supposedly progressive school turn out to be so misogynistic?

The Bauhaus, which ran from 1919 to 1933, was not always unfair to women. It was only in the early years that female students were relegated to particular courses, despite Gropius’s claim in the school’s manifesto that it welcomed “any person of good repute, without regard to age or sex.”

“The Bauhaus had progressive aspirations, but the men in charge represented the prevailing societal attitudes of the time,” said Catherine Ince, co-curator of the recent “Bauhaus Art as Life” exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery in London. “It was simply a step too far to bring about equality across the board.”

The situation improved after Gropius succeeded in ousting Itten in 1923 and replaced him with the radical Hungarian artist and designer Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. Having ensured that female students were given greater freedom, Moholy encouraged one of them, Marianne Brandt, to join the metal workshop. She was to become one of Germany’s foremost industrial designers during the 1930s.

But Arndt, Koch-Otte and Scheper-Berkenkamp were unfortunate in having joined the school before Moholy’s arrival. Koch-Otte was the only one of the three to persevere with her original course of study, eventually becoming an influential figure in both textile design and art education. Whereas Scheper-Berkenkamp dropped out after marrying a fellow student only to help out at the Bauhaus Theater when he returned to the school as a teacher several years later. Similarly, Arndt abandoned weaving after completing her course in 1927 but forged informal links with the Bauhaus at the turn of the 1930s when her husband, who she had also met as a student, accepted a teaching post there.

Even so, all three women ended up working in areas that the male-dominated design establishment did not deem to be as important as, say, architecture or industrial design, partly because they were seen as female preserves. Fewer books and exhibitions have since been devoted to them than to other disciplines. And even the most successful Bauhaus textile graduates, including Anni Albers, Gunta Stölzl and Koch-Otte, have featured less prominently in histories of the school than their male counterparts, who studied “weightier” subjects, have done.

Not that gender stereotyping by the Bauhaus was the only professional problem they faced. As Ms. Ince pointed out, the school’s initial ambivalence toward women reflected the prejudices of the time. Each of the trio faced the same challenges as other working women in juggling domestic responsibilities with their careers. For them, those problems were aggravated by the risk of being overshadowed by their husbands, who worked in similar fields.

Arguably, they and their spouses also suffered professionally from staying in Europe during World War II, rather than seeking refuge in the United States like Gropius and other prominent Bauhaüslers. Remaining in Europe not only isolated them from Gropius’s circle, which has since dominated historic accounts of the Bauhaus, but left them to deal with the brutal consequences of the continent’s mid-20th century politics.

Worst off were Koch-Otte and her husband, who were banned from teaching in Germany by the Nazis and fled to Prague. Tragically, he died in an accident there, leaving her to return to Germany to rebuild her life. Neither Arndt nor Scheper-Berkenkamp suffered as severely as Koch-Otte, or Brandt, who ended up on the East German side of the Iron Curtain, but they and their families faced the trauma and hardship of life in Nazi Germany.

The “Female Bauhaus” series is a touching way of acknowledging their achievements and the difficulties they faced during and after their studies. It also reflects the growing interest in the work of female designers, both inside and outside the Bauhaus, by a new generation of design historians and curators, like Ms. Ince.

A group of them is to meet at the inaugural International Gender Design Network conference in New York March 28 and 29 to discuss an equally thorny issue: the degree to which the sexism that blighted the early years of the Bauhaus persists in design today.



A version of this article appeared in print on March 25, 2013, in The International Herald Tribune.