Women’s Health: Pregnancy as Harm?

Women’s Health: Pregnancy as Harm?

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Meryl Streep

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Meryl Streep

Women’s News: Female House GOP Staffers Make $10,000 Less Than Male Counterparts

Women’s News: Female House GOP Staffers Make $10,000 Less Than Male Counterparts

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Inspiration Of Style: Are Women-Only Hotel Rooms the Hot New Hospitality Trend?

Inspiration Of Style: Are Women-Only Hotel Rooms the Hot New Hospitality Trend?

Inspiration Of Style: Are Women-Only Hotel Rooms the Hot New Hospitality Trend?


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In the past, getting a hotel upgrade meant a bigger room with a balcony or a view of the pool. While we’ve got a ton of tips for getting these deals, there’s a new trend in hospitality: women-only hotel rooms and floors.

If you’re imagining pink curtains and frills, think again. TIME reports that these rooms include perks like fresh flowers, women’s magazines and bath salts as well as little conveniences like hangers for skirts and full-body mirrors.

With women making up about 50% of today’s business travelers, these options are part of a growing effort from the hotel industry to cater to this growing population. And it seems to be working: In a recent Copenhagen focus group, more than half of women found the floors more secure, more hygienic and more female-friendly than unisex floors.

Snagging one of these rooms does require an upgrade fee — according to TIME, anywhere between $30 and $50. But travelers from New York to Copenhagen are willing to pay the price: Since adding their “Duchess Rooms,” the Dukes of London hotel has seen the number of rooms booked by women increase by 30% in the last two months, and Vancouver’s Georgian Court Hotel is already talking about adding a second women’s-only floor.

Not everyone enjoys this new trend. Marybeth Bond, a National Geographic author, told CNN that she’s “seen the hotel industry cater subtly to women without being patronizing… Why not have standard rooms and extras being offered at the front desk? We’ve lived through fighting for our equal rights and this is making us unequal.” Already in Denmark, one hotel has been asked to close its women-only floor after accusations of discrimination, although the group is taking the case to court.

While we understand Bond’s concerns about gender equality, we’re not about to turn down free bath salts and fresh flowers. Would you pay extra to stay on a women-only floor?

A Message From The Creator

Women’s News: Female House GOP Staffers Make $10,000 Less Than Male Counterparts

The Huffington Post  |  By 

Women on the Hill make thousands less than their male counterparts each year, with the gap particularly pronounced amongst Republican staffers.

On average, women in the House make $5,862.56 less each year than male staffers. But for GOP women, that number increases to $10,093.09, according to an analysis by National Journal. On the House Democratic side, female staff make, on average, $1,473.65 less annually than their male counterparts.

The overall disparity is even higher in the Senate, where women make $7,277.69 less annually on average than male staff. Republican women working in the Senate earn, on average, $9,805.85 less annually than than men, while the difference on the Democratic side was $4,916.46.

The wage gap is due in large part to the gender disparity among the more influentialjobs on the Hill — a disparity that is more prevalent on the Republican side, according to National Journal. Only 41 percent of House offices employed female chiefs of staff in 2010, but women filled 84 percent of entry-level positions, such as schedulers and assistants.

Last month, Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have ensured women received the same pay as their male counterparts, citing concerns that it would invite unnecessary litigation.

The wage disparity underscores a wider pessimism among women in Washington that they have fewer opportunities than men.

More than 500 professional women in Washington — 73 percent of those surveyed — told National Journal that men have more advancement opportunities than women. Sixty percent said it is harder for women to attain positions of leadership than men. Half said they had experienced sex discrimination at work, with that number increased to 71 percent for women over 60.

At the same time, women — especially younger women — are optimistic about their prospects for advancement. More than 60 percent told National Journal they thought they could advance as far as their talents would take them — and among 21- to 29-year-olds, that number was 86 percent.

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep was born June 22, 1949, in Summit, New Jersey. She began her career on the New York stage in the late 1960s and appeared in several Broadway productions. She began appearing in films in the 1970s, and soon began earning both nominations and awards. Equally able to wow audiences in drama, comedy, and musicals, she has come to be considered one of the greatest actresses of our time.

Early Career

Born on June 22, 1949, in Summit, New Jersey. Meryl Streep is considered one of the greatest actresses working today. A graduate of Vassar College and Yale Drama School, she is equally adept at performing on stage or in front of the cameras. Streep began her career on the New York stage in the late 1960s and appeared in several Broadway productions, including a 1977 revival of the Anton Chekhov drama The Cherry Orchard.

Meryl Streep broke into films in the 1970s with a role in the dramaJulia (1977). The next year she appeared in The Deer Hunteropposite Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken, for which she earned her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. That same year, she won her first Primetime Emmy for her role in the film Holocaust. In 1979, her portrayal of a woman who abandons her family only to come back and fight for custody of her son in Kramer vs. Kramer brought Streep her first Academy Award win for Best Supporting Actress.

More Career Highlights

A chameleon on screen, Meryl Streep spent much of the 1980s submerged in a variety of roles. In Sophie’s Choice (1982), she convincingly played a Polish woman traumatized by her experiences during the Holocaust. Streep won her second Academy Award-her first for Best Actress-for her work on this film. In Out of Africa (1985), she took on the role of a Danish plantation owner living in Kenya. The role earned her another Academy Award nomination.

As she reached her forties, Streep continued to find challenging roles-a feat many mature actresses have struggled with in Hollywood. She received an Academy Award nomination for her work in several films, including two big-screen adaptations-one of Carrie Fisher‘s novel Postcards from the Edge (1990) and the other Robert James Waller’s romantic drama The Bridges of Madison County (1995), in which she starred opposite Clint Eastwood.

By the start of the new millennium, Meryl Streep was as busy as ever. In 2002, she appeared in two critically acclaimed films – The Hours and Adaptation. Streep was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of author Susan Orlean in Adaptation. The following year, Streep lit up the small screen in the television adaptation of the award-winning play Angels in America. She won her second Emmy Award for her work on the program, which had her tackling several roles.

Later Roles

Streep got a chance to show some of her comic skills as a villain in the political thriller The Manchurian Candidate (2004). Continuing to explore light-hearted fare, she starred in Prime(2005), a romantic comedy with Uma Thurman and Bryan Greenberg. Streep played psychoanalyst Lisa Metzger, whose client falls in love with her son. She also played the inimitable magazine editor, Miranda Priestly, in The Devil Wears Prada(2006), for which she earned Academy Award, SAG and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress. That same year, she was cast as country music singer Yolanda Johnson in Robert Altman‘s A Prairie Home Companion (2006), and continued in musical roles as Donna in the film adaptation of the ABBA musical, Mamma Mia! (2008).

Returning to more serious work, Streep appeared in the 2008 filmDoubt, which addresses sexual abuse in the Catholic church. She played a nun who becomes suspicious of a priest’s behavior (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) toward a young student. Streep earned her Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, as well as a SAG award for Best Actress.

For her next project, Streep took on one of the culinary world’s most beloved figures, Julia Child. She played the famous chef in the film Julie & Julia, based on the best-selling nonfiction book of the same title. For this role she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, and received an Academy Award nomination for this performance. She then starred in Nancy Meyers’ romantic

comedy It’s Complicated, with co-stars Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, which earned her a Golden Globe nod.

In 2011, Streep received widespread acclaim for her work in The Iron Lady. She portrayed former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, a dynamic and forceful politician,

who was both admired by some and detested by others. While Thatcher was called cold and unfeeling, Streep believed that Thatcher “was canny about the fact that in order to be taken seriously, she wasn’t able to show certain emotions because she was a woman.” Streep’s thoughtful and nuanced performance as Thatcher garnered her several awards, including a Golden Globe.

The Iron Lady also brought Streep her third Academy Award in 2012. In her acceptance speech, the gifted performer seemed to be especially modest and self-effacing. “When they called my name, I had this feeling that I could hear half of America was go, ‘oh no, come on why her again?'”

Commenting on her last Academy Award victory, “I was a kid when I won this, like, 30 years ago. Two of the [current] nominees were not even conceived,” Streep explained. While she may be a industry veteran, the Academy Awards still have a special meaning to this legendary star. “I thought I was so old and jaded, but they call your name and you just go into a sort of white light,” Streep said later.

Streep has been married to sculptor Don Gummer since 1978. The couple has four adult children, including daughter Mamie Gummer, who has been pursuing a career as an actress.


Women’s Health: Pregnancy as Harm?

Rory E. Kraft, Jr

Assistant Professor, York College of Pennsylvania

It’s difficult for some to think of pregnancy as harmful to a human being. After all, it is something naturally occurring and the reason for our existence. But since 1942 state and federal courts have consistently found that pregnancies are bodily injuries and should be treated as such in criminal matters. As a society we should think of pregnancies along the same lines as a serious injury — such as breaking a leg.

Legally it is hard to refute that pregnancy isn’t a harm. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in 2004 that pregnancy should be considered a bodily injury when assessing rape cases. A California justice has gone on the record by saying pregnancy “involves a significant bodily impairment primarily affecting a woman’s health and well being.” Our society needs to show more respect, patience and understanding to women that are being harmed.

Consider the way in which as a society we treat someone recovering from a serious fracture. During the immediate aftermath of the injury friends and extended family come in to assist both the injured and her family. This assistance is not just the sharing of meals, doing of errands or assisting with chores. It also extends to the increased presence of company and concern with mental well-being. Following the immediate physical healing, we are aware of the longer-term implications for physical, emotional and psychological well-being.

Similarly, pregnancy involves a number of physical, emotional, and psychological changes. Our society recognizes some of these changes (weight gain, frequent urination, an increase in irritability and forgetfulness), while passing over others (colostrum leakage, depression, dexterity changes). Still other potential changes are considered abnormalities or “high-risk” conditions (gestational diabetes, ectopic pregnancies). The ongoing shift in upcoming social role for mothers who will raise their children from being in one social role (architect, chef, professor) to another (mom, mummy, mother) that can feel constrictive, limited and alienating. Other changes can occur if the pregnancy results in a miscarriage, abortion or adoption. And many of them continue for long after the pregnancy “term” has ended. It is an unfortunate truth that pregnancy is an uncomfortable, messy and potentially life-changing time period. And in our culture we often overlook the struggles of pregnancy.

An under-recognized struggle of pregnancy for many women is a sense of alienation from her own body. Throughout the pregnancy her body is changing, growing and acting differently. Further, following quickening her body apparently is acting upon her: the movements, kicks and jolts are from within yet done without her will — by another. The unexpected can occur as her weight and space occupied change. Where previously she always could fit between the chair and wall, now she cannot; she must not know her body. When sitting sheunexpectedly discovers the sensation of her belly touching her knee. Her body is her own — after all, she feels it — but it appears and occurs in moments unexpected.

Even the language of pregnancy is one of alienation. The woman is “expecting” a child. This passive waiting — as if waiting for letter to arrive — is at odds with the active and (to the woman pregnant for the first time) unexpected changes that are occurring to, from and with her. For women whose experiences of pregnancy includes medical intervention, the alienation begins even earlier. From the monitoring of fertility cycles, basal temperatures and cervical mucus, the woman’s body becomes something mechanical, alien, apart, something to be manipulated forbest practices and outcome.

When we start to think about pregnancy as harm, we begin to see for the first time that all of society — all of us were born from pregnant women, after all — owes a responsibility for past, present and future harms. But what is that responsibility? We all need to be aware of the special vulnerabilities of the pregnant — not only in the physical sense of encouraging pregnant women from refraining from sky diving or riding roller coasters, or recognizing a woman’s need by giving up of a seat on public transportation, but also in the emotional and intellectual sense of recognizing the othering that is occurring. As we focus more on the various aspects of life that are changed by pregnancy, we should come to an understanding of the vulnerabilities of the woman and act on a social responsibility to address these vulnerabilities exposed by the harm of pregnancy.

We should have a society-wide discussion about the needs of women who are pregnant. A real community recognizes those in its midst who are harmed and comes together to assist them. The nature of this assistance seems to go beyond the minimal to a larger assistance during and after pregnancy as women come to understand the new relationship they have with their bodies. Much of this support will likely go beyond the physical to the emotional and psychological. Some of it will entail changes made to ourselves — such as being aware of the uncertain nature of a pregnant woman’s sense of self. Perhaps the best outcome of such discussions would be the realization that the harms of pregnancy change not just a woman; they also change all of us.

Rory E. Kraft, Jr. is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at York College of Pennsylvania. His work focus on ethics and philosophy with children. A longer version of this was published inPerspectives in Biology and Medicine.

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