‘Time’s up’: Women ski jumpers still battle for equality

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- They were the Cinderella story of the Sochi Olympics, the women ski jumpers who were finally allowed to compete in the Games after a years-long struggle for equality. They had survived a court battle, proved their athletic prowess and knocked back endless excuses for why they couldn't compete - including the suggestion that their reproductive organs might somehow be obliterated upon landing. And yet four years later, amid the seismic cultural revolution in women's rights, women ski jumpers at the Pyeongchang Olympics still find themselves fighting for parity. While the women are permitted to compete in one event - the normal hill - the men get three: the normal hill, the large hill and a team event. "It's like, 'Here, we'll give you a little piece,' and then, 'Go away, leave us alone,'" says Lindsey Van, the now-retired American ski jumper who helped lead a discrimination lawsuit to get women jumpers into the Games. "I still think that it's an old boys' club." In many ways, the fight for parity in ski jumping is emblematic of women's fight for equal treatment across the Olympics: a process both plodding and frustrating to elite athletes repeatedly forced to prove they are worthy of competing at the top. "Sports belongs to all humanity," says International Olympic Committee Vice President Anita DeFrantz, who has waged a decades-long effort to boost gender equality in the Olympics. "There's no reason to exclude women from any sport." ___ 'ILLOGICAL' DISPARITIES The IOC has indeed boosted opportunities for women and is aiming for an equal number of male and female competitors by 2020. Yet gender equality remains elusive. Just four of the IOC's 15 executive board members are women. At Pyeongchang, women have six fewer medal events than men. In several sports, women are limited to shorter courses; In speed skating, for example, the longest course for men is 10,000 meters. For women, it's just 5,000 meters. And though many women ski jumpers Continue Reading

Bookmark: There’s just so much to read: How do you choose?

Years ago, when I was a lifestyle writer at another newspaper, I wrote about information overload. I had a bad case of it, and I figured some readers could relate. Words — enlightening, funny, vibrant words — surrounded me in quantities I could never hope to consume. My shelves were crammed with unread books. A slippery stack of magazines, including New Yorkers dating back to the previous presidential administration, teetered in the dining room. I kept up with the newspaper I worked for, but if I bought a Sunday New York Times I’d still be trudging through its Travel section on Thursday. Ready for the punch line? This was before the internet. Flash forward to the present. As of this moment, my laptop has browser tabs open to 31 different web pages. News analyses and think pieces. Essays, some dull and others brilliant. An article debunking the “clean eating” trend. Research on the gender pay gap, including a 29-page paper by a Harvard professor. Something about adjusting workplaces to accommodate older workers. Something about hunting coyotes in urban areas. And of course, the omnipresent Facebook. While I can’t pretend that no shred of celebrity gossip or BuzzFeed quiz has ever crossed my screen, much of what I read online is interesting, important, useful or beautifully written. It’s just too much. And it gets worse. Each of these pages is sprinkled with intriguing links and eye-catching right-rail teasers — pixilated siren songs. Trying to eliminate one page, I wind up spawning five more. It’s endless Whac-A-Mole. Meanwhile, I still have too many books that lie unread or unfinished. I still have my slippery stack of New Yorkers (not the same ones). Oh, the internet hasn’t stopped me from reading books. In fact, I often acquire books after seeing glowing reviews online. Most of my favorite essay collections came to my attention via online samples by their authors. So the internet helps — sometimes. Continue Reading

Jessica Chastain, more celebs erupt over ‘outrageously unfair’ wages for ‘All the Money’ reshoot

More money for men, more problems. Many celebrities took to social media to express their outrage after learning of thediscrepancy in pay Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams received for reshooting All the Money in the World. Three people familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly told USA TODAY Wahlberg received $1.5 million while Williams was paid less than $1,000, the total of an $80 per diem. Christopher Plummer replaced Kevin Spacey in the Ridley Scott film following a deluge of sexual misconduct allegations. Two days prior at the Golden Globes, male and female stars wore black in solidarity with the newly-established Time's Up initiative, which pushes for protection for victims of sexual harassment and gender equality. Williams, Globe-nominated for her role in All the Money in the World, was one of them. Here is a round-up of the reaction to the pay discrepancy: More: Christopher Plummer to the rescue! How he saved 'All the Money in the World' Jessica ChastainThe Molly's Game star praised her fellow entertainer, telling her Twitter followers: "Please go see Michelle's performance in All The Money in The World. She's a brilliant Oscar nominated Golden Globe winning actress. She has been in the industry for 20 yrs. She deserves more than 1% of her male costar' s salary." Eva Longoria The Overboard actress echoed Chastain's sentiments.  "Agreed!" she exclaimed.  Octavia SpencerDespite predicting she would "likely ruffle feathers," the Shape of Water actress took to Instagram Thursday to express her thoughts. "I am not mad at Wahlberg for asserting his worth and demanding to be paid for reshoots. I’m upset with how the situation was presented to Michelle," Spencer wrote. "She should have been given all the information to make an informed not emotional decision."In the lengthy post which featured a photo of Taraji P. Henson in a Continue Reading

The Risk of Nuclear War with North Korea

The United States has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, so there is no embassy in Washington, but for years the two countries have relied on the “New York channel,” an office inside North Korea’s mission to the United Nations, to handle the unavoidable parts of our nonexistent relationship. The office has, among other things, negotiated the release of prisoners and held informal talks about nuclear tensions. In April, I contacted the New York channel and requested permission to visit Pyongyang, the capital of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The New York channel consists mostly of two genial middle-aged men: Pak Song Il, a husky diplomat with a gray brush cut; and his aide-de-camp, Kwon Jong Gun, who is younger and thinner. They go everywhere together. (The North Korean government has diplomats work in pairs, to prevent them from defecting, or being recruited as spies.) Under U.S. law, they can travel only twenty-five miles from Columbus Circle. Pak and Kwon met me near their office, for lunch at the Palm Too. They cautioned me that it might take several months to arrange a trip. North Korea periodically admits large groups of American journalists, to witness parades and special occasions, but it is more hesitant when it comes to individual reporters, who require close monitoring and want to talk about the nuclear program. Americans are accustomed to eruptions of hostility with North Korea, but in the past six months the enmity has reached a level rarely seen since the end of the Korean War, in 1953. The crisis has been hastened by fundamental changes in the leadership on both sides. In the six years since Kim Jong Un assumed power, at the age of twenty-seven, he has tested eighty-four missiles—more than double the number that his father and grandfather tested. Just before Donald Trump took office, in January, he expressed a willingness to wage a “preventive” war in North Korea, a prospect that previous Continue Reading

Working Mother magazine’s ‘50 Most Powerful Moms’ is retrograde, anti-woman garbage

Just in time for Mother's Day — a list to make mothers feel lousy about being mothers. This morning, Working Mother magazine issued its annual "50 Most Powerful Moms" list — a list that supposedly celebrates the achievements of modern "multi-tasking" American women yet is, in fact, nothing but retrograde clickbait that does just the opposite. And that's particularly ironic for a magazine that is supposedly dedicated to the unique challenges that women face in our society. Beyond the obvious problem with the list — usual suspects such as Beyoncé, Chelsea Clinton, Reece Witherspoon, Melissa McCarthy and Sheryl Sandberg offer little inspiration except daydreaming about how great it would be to be rich — the very exercise of cataloging "power" moms should offend every woman who has been stuck changing a diaper while some less-qualified man steals her job or gets a promotion because he's, well, not stuck changing a diaper. Working Mother has certainly addressed workplace discrimination such as the pay gap, the child-care gap, the chore gap and the many other ways our society discriminates against the magazine's eponymous employed females. But with its "50 Most Powerful Moms" list, the magazine’s write-ups for each "mom" are really false narrative of success, suggesting wrongly that unique personal stories can provide a way forward for all women, even if their circumstances are radically different. No, we can't all be Beyoncé — so let's stop pretending. Indeed, reading through the list, you quickly see that the "powerful moms" offer lessons that are actually counter to reality. For instance, you learn: 1. If you're a talented- or high-powered employee, you set your own rules Power Mom 13, Dana Walden, is the co-chairwoman and CEO of Fox Television Group. “I've been clear with every boss I've ever had: Family comes first," she is quoted by the magazine. "When the kids were younger, Continue Reading

Debunking myths behind wage gap on Equal Pay Day

For all the naysayers, the people who are convinced that the gender pay gap is a myth, there’s Kerri Sleeman to bust those notions.Factors that may affect a woman's salary — such as education, career choice, hours worked, failing to negotiate starting salary and raises, taking time off during the childbearing years  — don’t apply to Sleeman, 44, of Houghton, Mich.She has a bachelor’s of science in engineering and chose a male-dominated, higher-paying career field, mechanical engineering. She tried to negotiate her starting salary but her employer refused. She didn’t have children, and she worked 50 hours a week. Yet she discovered after her company went bankrupt that she was paid thousands less than the men she supervised, most of whom were right out of college with less experience.On this day, Equal Pay Day, a date symbolic of the amount of time it takes women's pay to catch up with men's from the year before, Sleeman wants people to hear her story, and to know it’s real. She wants people to understand that it’s not acceptable that, decades after the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy, women are still not paid the same as men in this country.“It’s good to keep these stories on the forefront because it’s so easy to say that it doesn’t happen, or that it happens to uneducated women, or it happens only to the highly educated women, or whatever it is to make that excuse,” Sleeman said. “But it happens at all levels, to all women, in all types of jobs.”Nationally, full-time, year-round female workers are paid 79 cents for every dollar full-time, year-round male employees are paid, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 Current Population Survey of workers ages 15 and older. In Michigan, the gap is larger: Women are paid 75 cents for every dollar men are paid, according to the Continue Reading