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Resources for Working Women

One of the perks of my job is getting to sit in on all sorts of presentations, informational sessions and other things I’d normally have no interest in, idea was happening, or right to be in.

Recently, one of these was an information sessions hosted by the Women’s Bureau. Which in itself is a great resource for information about women at work and for working women.

Recently, I hosted and sat in on a session called Employment Protections for Pregnant Workers. It was an hour-long panel discussion panel covering Federal protections as well as individual state’s protections for pregnant women.

During the session, there were some great resources shared that I wrote down and wanted to mention.

Babygate

The first is Babygate from A Better Balance. It’s billed as Your one-stop-shop for information about pregnancy and parenting at work

Babygate covers national protections offered by the Federal government. But it also has detailed information for every state about protections in your state.

It covers issues while you’re pregnant, leaving work and returning to work. In addition to information specific to your state, they also run a hotline for anyone having problems at work relating to pregnancy or parenting.

Call 212-430-5982

Our free hotline can provide you with information about your rights at work (or refer you to another attorney or legal organization in your area). The information provided here or in response to a Hotline inquiry does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If ABB chooses to represent you, then a retainer will be signed setting out the scope of the representation.

Women Employed

Women Employed is about Mobilizing people and organizations to expand educational and employment opportunities for America’s working women.

They lay out the problem as:

Far too many jobs women hold fall below the standard that most Americans would consider decent work. They offer very low wages, few if any benefits, and little respect. Hours are irregular and schedules change constantly. Women are twice as likely as men to work in occupations with poverty-level wages. Over 40 percent of private-sector workers have no paid sick days. Sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination are common. Bad jobs keep women in a state of economic crisis and harm their children. We all pay the costs of low-wage work.

And it’s their mission to address these problems with financial aid, supporting students and offering career pathways to women.

They have a good page of resources including your rights at work, so you can learn exactly what your rights are. They also offer a career coaching program to get you into a better position. And even a program to help complete a degree including academic counseling.

U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination. It also works to educate about and prevent harassment and discrimination before it occurs.

The EEOC has a huge amount of information about harassment and discrimination. The newsroom has a list of major topics. Such as protections for LGBT workers, Americans with Disabilities and Workplace Religious Accommodation. The EEOC is based in Washington, DC. But they have a number of field offices around the US.

If you need to file a charge, they have a process for filing a charge of discrimination.

I hope these resources might be helpful for someone out there. There is a lot of information and there are some really amazing people working very hard to defend and protect the rights of women, pregnant or not.

50 Shades of Bruise

Jian Ghomeshi beats women. He has tried to play this off as consensual BSDM play. This is not BDSM. Nor is it consensual. There are now 8 women who have come forward with accusations. One of them has publicly told her story and the Toronto Star has been looking into allegations against him since May.

Jian Ghomeshi: 8 women accuse former CBC host of violence, sexual abuse or harassment

Before all of this became news, I saw a tweet linking to a post on Facebook written by Jian Ghomeshi explaining he was wrongly fired from the CBC.

He writes:

Today I was fired from the company where I’ve been working for almost 14 years – stripped from my show, barred from the building and separated from my colleagues. I was given the choice to walk away quietly and to publicly suggest that this was my decision. But I am not going to do that. Because that would be untrue. Because I’ve been fired. And because I’ve done nothing wrong.

I’ve been fired from the CBC because of the risk of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer.

He goes on to explain the smear campaign perpetrated against him by a jilted lover. He does not explain the other women who have since come forward with their own tales about his abuse and violence.

Six months ago, I would probably not be telling you about this because I would have had no idea who he was. However, since then I have started listening to NPR whenever I get into the car. And I’ve heard him on Q many times. It was, and still is, a good show I enjoy as part of NPR’s lineup.

There are two parts of this story that need to be told. First, this is not BSDM or any other kink. This is violence. Pure and simple. BSDM relationships are built on trust and love. This is pure violence against women.

Ghomeshi’s friend Owen Pallett took to Facebook and wrote some of his thoughts and says this in so many words.

The beauty of BDSM relationships is that the power is always in the hands of the sub. BDSM and choke play is a subversion of male violence.
To hear that anybody has been abusing the BDSM power relationship for the purpose of engaging in non-consensual violence-against-women is horrifying.
That is not the point of BDSM. BDSM is in fact about the exact opposite thing. It is about repurposing acts of violence into creating a power dynamic of fucking EQUALITY.

The author John Scalzi has some similarly harsh words for Ghomeshi.

  1. It was canny of Mr. Ghomeshi to try to frame his assaults in the context of BDSM, but also disingenuous and false. BDSM is not my thing, but I know a lot of people for whom it is. None of them would see what Mr. Ghomeshi did as something relating to their particular kink. Attacking someone without their consent isn’t about sexual gratification, it’s about the assertion of power — the ability to say “I can do this to you and there’s nothing you can do about it.” And sure, maybe Mr. Ghomeshi got a rise out of that, too. But at the end of the day choking a woman who is not consenting to the experience and saying it’s BDSM is akin to stabbing someone in bar and claiming it was a martial arts test match. Again, BDSM isn’t my thing, but it’s a thing I know enough about to know that what Mr. Ghomeshi was doing wasn’t that.

The next part of this story is a sad tale that gets repeated far too many times. The women here are the victim. It does not matter that he was a radio show personality. It does not matter if they came forward immediately. They were beaten by this man.

Here is Ghomeshi’s friend Owen Pallett again:

But let’s be clear. Whether the court decides that predatory men are punished or exonerated does not silence the voices of the victims. It does not make victims liars.
Whether our culture continues to celebrate the works of predatory men is another issue. It does not silence the voices of the victims.

He ends with.

Jian Ghomeshi is my friend, and Jian Ghomeshi beats women. How our friendship will continue remains to be seen.

We’ve heard this story before. A man is having his life ruined by an ex-lover. OK. So that explains one person. What about the other seven people who have come forward with similar allegations?

This is why women don’t come forward. The burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt they were beaten and attacked is frightening. Then, even if they are able to come forward, they risk not being believed and backlash against them. This is true of someone who is not a media figure with a fan base.

This is true of every woman.

Women should not be afraid to report violence against them.
Women should not have to band together in numbers too large to ignore to report an attack.

One attack is too many.

Men and Women and Internet

Good Morning Class.

Please open your textbooks. We have a lot to cover today. David Cain has written an incredible piece to young men. It is required reading. Go read it. I’ll wait.

Dear Young Men

…he unfortunate biological reality that even a physically unremarkable man can knock out the average woman, if he thinks it will help him more than it will harm him….

Unlike the woman, the man could expect to get his way without having an intelligent argument, without considering the needs of others, without being right at all, without any sensible reason for things to go his way.


Welcome back, class. Now that you have a better understanding on what it means to be a man and human in society. Go read Kathy Sierra’s incredible piece. It’s terrifying and exhausting and it brought me to tears reading it on the metro ride in this morning. We don’t need movies to show us women super heroes. Everyone woman on the internet is a Super Hero.

Trouble at the Koolaid Point

As any parent of a two-year old can tell you, ignoring the child usually leads to escalation. Cry harder, scream louder, and in the most desperate scenarios, become destructive. Anything to get the attention they crave. Simply moving on is not an option for the haters once you’ve been labeled a Koolaid server and/or a rich source of lulz. Ignore them, and the trolls cry harder, scream louder, and become destructive.

If you’ve already hit the Koolaid Piont, you usually have just three choices:

  1. leave (They Win)
  2. ignore them (they escalate, make your life more miserable, DDoS, ruin your career, etc. i.e. They Win)
  3. fight back (If you’ve already hit the Koolaid Point, see option #2. They Win).

That’s right, in the world we’ve created, once you’ve become a Koolaid-point target they always win. Your life will never be the same, and the harassers will drain your scarce cognitive resources. You and your family will never be the same.

Are you still with me? Good.

If you’re a woman on the internet, I salute you. Keep doing your work. I will support you.
If you’re a man on the internet, support these women. If you’re a man on the internet, call out those who are not.
If you’re raising a boy in this world, teach them to be empathetic and loving.
If you’re raising a girl in this world, I hope by the time they’re older we’ve made positive changes.

We can be better. We will be better. This is harassment. If this were happening in a workplace, on a playground, in a supermarket, there would be police action. There would be jail time. There would be consequences.

If there are no consequences, nothing changes. Let’s make a change. But how can you, a single person make a change?
Simple.

  1. Don’t harass women.
  2. When you see a woman being harassed, stand up for them.

Class, you’re dismissed. Go forth and be better humans.

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