Women’s News: No Matter Who They Are, No Matter Where They Live

headshot

Latanya Mapp Frett

Vice President – Global, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

As Black History Month draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his lifelong quest for justice and equality for black people in America. The part of his “I Have a Dream” speech that moves me the most is the section in which he said:

 

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

 

In each of the 10 countries where I have lived and worked, I could easily replace the word “Negro” with any marginalized population, especially women or girls. From South Africa to Eritrea to Pakistan, my work has introduced me again and again to fearless mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters who defy the status quo and insist on freedoms inherent in them.

As a women’s health and rights advocate, I wonder what Dr. King would make of the current status of women around the world. Dr. King was a fierce advocate for family planning and access to contraception. He believed empowering women to be central to advancing civil rights in this country and around the world. I imagine he would be proud of the progress we have made in ensuring access to contraception for American women and their families, yet disheartened by the persistent disparities faced by poor people and people of color in this country. We need only to look at health statistics for women in the southern United States to ponder how far we have really come.

African-Americans face numerous obstacles to obtaining affordable, high-quality health care services. We experience higher rates of reproductive cancers, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections than most other groups of Americans. Among women diagnosed with breast cancer, for example, African-American women are most likely to die from the disease, and African-American women with cervical cancer are twice as likely to lose their lives to this disease as are white women. Early detection and treatment of these diseases saves lives. We must do more to ensure that all women have access to regular exams and health screenings to rule out or detect life-threatening diseases such as breast and cervical cancers and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Likewise, while we have made global progress in improving the lives of women and girls, protests across India last month following the death of a women brutally raped on her way home from the movies, are just one indicator of the overwhelming distance we have yet to go in the fight to end violence against women. I believe Dr. King would be discouraged by the obstacles that remain in the way of justice around the world, but would also find hope in women taking to the streets in India, and the men who have joined them. He fought for human rights and dedicated his life to protecting and promoting the rights of every single person, no matter who they were or where they lived. The best way to celebrate his memory is in carrying on this cause.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

That sentiment is at the heart of what drives me personally to work internationally; and why I am proud to work for an organization dedicated to ensuring that women and men in the African-American community have access to a wide range of preventive health care services. During Black History Month and beyond we will continue to work tirelessly for a health care system that provides affordable, high-quality care and treats all people with dignity — no matter who they are, no matter where they live.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/latanya-mapp-frett/no-matter-who-they-are-no_b_2760732.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

Women’s News: Flexible Work Is Healthy, Studies Show

s-FLEXIBLE-WORK-HEALTHY-154x114

The Huffington Post  |  By 

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, enacted a policy this week that requires previously remote workers to now spend their days in-office and bars employees from using flexible work hours.

“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side … That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices,” read the memo written by head of HR Jackie Reses and obtained by AllThingsD. “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”

Employees and the general public alike were dismayed by the news — particularly as many companies move toward more flexible work hours, influenced by reports that a looser work schedule is healthy for workers — and for the bottom line. Even the White House has compiled a comprehensive report, extolling the attributes to wellbeing of flexible work policies.

It should come as no surprise that Mayer, known for her hard-charging work ethicand two-week maternity leave, would prefer an all in-house staff. But are flex hours merely a luxurious refuge for the underperforming or, in the current work culture, a necessity for many in the workforce?

Research on employees who use flexible hours and work from home points toward the latter. Studies regularly show that employees who are given some choice as to their schedule and location of work report better self-care behaviors like increased exercise and regular doctors’ visits, better sleep habits, less stress, less depression and less work-life conflict.

A 2010 Cochrane research review looked at the results of 10 studies evaluating more than 16,000 people. They found that self-scheduling work time improved a variety of health metrics, including reduced exhaustion, improved sleep (both duration and quality), lowered blood pressure, improved mental health and better self-rated health status. The distinction of self-scheduled, meaning the choice belongs to the employee, is important to note: As the authors wrote in their report, “In contrast, interventions that were motivated or dictated by organizational interests, such as fixed-term contract and involuntary part-time employment, found equivocal or negative health effects.”

“Flexible working seems to be more beneficial for health and wellbeing where the individuals control their own work patterns, rather than where employers are in control,” review author Clare Bambra, of the Wolfson Research Institute at Durham Univerisy in the UK, said in a statement. “Given the limited evidence base, we wouldn’t want to make any hard and fast recommendations, but these findings certainly give employers and employees something to think about.”

One well-known study looked deeper into the health impact of flexible work environment by following 608 white-collar workers at the headquarters of Best Buy before and after a flexible “Results Only Work Environment” policy was implemented. The researchers found that, on average, employees got one additional hour of sleep per work night after flex-hours were implemented and were more likely to exercise. They were more apt to go to the doctor when they needed to and were less likely to go into the office when contagious. From a mental health standpoint, the subjects reported that they felt “greater mastery” of their time, had fewer work-life conflicts and, as a result, felt increased energy, less stress and a self-reported sense of well-being.

“Flex time is a way to get control over work. We can’t reduce the overload of tasks, but flexible schedules make it a bit more manageable,” co-author of the Best Buy study, Phyllis Moen, Ph.D., McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair of Sociology at the University of Minnesota tells HuffPost. “We’re expected to work smarter, do more with less and with fewer people. And what has enabled workers to continue to work with this level of intensity is often that they now arrange when they work.”

“And yet I can’t imagine [Mayer] will tamp down on the intensity of work,” Moen adds. “What she’s asking for isn’t just a relocation shift — she’s ratching up time pressures when you want to be more flexible. Time pressure has a negative effect on people who are going to be expected to work long hours.”

Further, many of the employees affected by Mayer’s new policy are already accustomed to working on their own schedule and in their own environment. What will happen to the health of workers who have grown accustomed to flexible work hours and must now return to their office desks full time?

“We have no studies looking at what happens when you take it away, but the assumption would be that it would have negative effects,” says Moen. “It will mean a lack of control — and feeling a lack of control over one’s life is associated with greater psychological stress.”

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/25/flexible-work-healthy-marissa-mayer-yahoo_n_2761872.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

Women’s Health: Little-Known Facts

Women’s Health: Little-Known Facts

Women’s News: Why I Won’t Be Changing My Name on My Wedding Day

Women’s News: Why I Won’t Be Changing My Name on My Wedding Day

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

inspirational quotes (21)

Women’s News: Why I Won’t Be Changing My Name on My Wedding Day

Wedding vows

Juliet Izon

Entertainment Editor at Niche Media

My name is Juliet Kathryn Izon. When I was born 27 years ago — the progeny of two English majors — I was named Juliet for its poetic Shakespearean roots, Kathryn for my mother, and inherited the Spanish-by-way-of-the-Philippines surname Izon (that’s EE-zon, folks) from my father.

JKI, my initials, have been emblazoned on everything from my sturdy L.L. Bean backpack in middle school to — my latest find! — a retro tortoiseshell necklace I’ve been wearing to work almost every day. The prep-school girl within me has managed to give up my near-pathological adoration for pink and green and grosgrain belts, but I do believe the habit of initialing everything is most certainly here to stay.

And I am, I would venture to stay, more attached to my last name than most. Perhaps this comes from the decades of correcting the legions of people who insist on pronouncing it EYE-zon. The French, unsurprisingly, seem to be the only ones that get it right at first glance, which only strengthens my belief that I am a true Frenchwoman manqué. Regardless, I have had to spell (“Yes, that’s “Z” as in “Zebra…”) and annoyingly correct the pronunciation of my last name since I first learned how to speak. For the record, that was incredibly early. I was a gifted child.

And so, since there are no boys in my family, the name Izon more or less ends with my sister and me (we’ll save the conversation about my future children’s surname for another post, shall we?). I never gave this much import until recently, when I became engaged and everyone started asking me what I planned to do about changing my name. “Well,” I managed to stammer, “I really like my last name? It has a Z in it!” This was met with mostly confused stares and an awkward leap to another topic of conversation.

But hey, it’s the truth! I like my last name. I like that nearly everyone I meet with it is most likely related to me. I like that, as far as I know, I am the only Juliet Izon in the world who you can Google. And speaking of search engine accessibility, I have, so to speak, made a name for myself … with my name. A quick Google search reveals some of my proudest moments professionally: my very first Huffington Post article, my numerous TV and radio appearances, and, if you dig a little deeper, that amazing canon of work from my early years as an editor at the Trinity College Tripod. This is what Juliet Izon has done so far and, I hope, only a small percentage of what I will continue to do.

So, what, I’m just supposed to give it up? Part with my super sweet “Z?” Swap my place in the alphabet for — gasp — another letter? I’m not even going to broach the topic of the changing my Gmail address. I break out in a cold sweat just contemplating such a Herculean task.

All of this for matrimonial unity, huh? Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my future husband’s last name. Many people even call him by it. It’s the same number of syllables as my own and even ends in the same letter, so the conversion wouldn’t be terribly painful. But it’s still not my name. And that, my friends, is the distilled essence of my predicament.

If I took my fiancé’s surname, a part of me feels like I’d be erasing everything that I’ve accomplished under my maiden name. It may be an entirely nonsensical sentiment, but it’s one that sticks with me nonetheless. I don’t want to have to give up a huge part of my identity just because I’m getting married. Standing together on our wedding day, I’m thrilled to be marrying someone that I am crazily, stupidly and entirely in love with. But, at least for me, marriage doesn’t mean you suddenly meld into one being; it’s rather two people who form a union that makes each individual that much more awesome.

I will be my husband’s wife and wear that moniker with enormous pride, the same way I hope he’s counting down the days until he can call himself Juliet’s husband. But as for the rest of you? You can address me as Ms. Izon. Or “your highness,” I suppose that’s acceptable too.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/juliet-izon/why-i-wont-be-changing-my_b_2585498.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

Women’s Health: Little-Known Facts

s-BOUNCE-BACK-large

By Sarah Elizabeth Richards
When we build physical strength, we typically break down our muscles first — causing tiny tears in their fibers so they can grow back thicker than before. It turns out that building emotional strength isn’t all that different: A little bruising makes us stronger. In a recently published review of research, Mark D. Seery, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, found that subjects who’d endured a moderate amount of adversity in their lifetime not only had a greater sense of well-being than those who’d suffered a severe amount of trauma; they were also better off than those who’d experienced no trauma at all.

Seery’s findings challenge the popular belief that people are born with a certain level of resilience (and are prone to either breakdowns or breakthroughs). “The big picture here,” he says, “is that people can change. Resilience isn’t at all predetermined.”

Fortunately, suffering emotional blows isn’t the only way to grow psychologically stronger. These three techniques are designed to train your resilience “muscles.”

Strike a Pose
According to a new study from Harvard Medical School, yoga can foster more than flexibility: Over the course of 11 weeks, one group of teenage subjects followed a standard physical education regimen, while another took yoga classes. At the end of the study, the yoga students were less prone to angry outbursts and better able to calm themselves when they felt upset. “In a challenging posture, your body screams, ‘Stop, stop! Are you nuts?’ ” explains study author Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PhD. “But you strive for equanimity. You’re learning to react less emotionally. And that’s the heart of resilience — having self-control.”

Stay Coherent
Psychologists at the Institute of HeartMath (a research and education organization that trains U.S. military service members to cope with the stresses of war) say the key to keeping calm in even extreme circumstances is shifting to a state known as coherence, in which the body and mind are operating in sync and at ease. Step one is recognizing signs (like sweaty palms, a racing heartbeat, or spinning thoughts) that the natural stress response has begun. Step two is consciously returning to balance. “For example, you might take deep breaths — inhaling for five seconds, then exhaling for five seconds — while recalling a positive feeling. Try to summon the serenity you felt the last time you played with your dog, or went for a hike,”says research director Rollin McCraty, PhD. Then remind yourself that stress is often an overreaction: It’s usually not the problem that triggers panic; it’s the undue significance you’ve placed on it. “With enough practice, the ability to regain composure in the heat of the moment becomes second nature,” McCraty says.

Look Back
To help people recognize their natural fortitude, psychologist Mark Katz, PhD — who runs a program called the Resilience Through the Lifespan Project — asks them to identify setbacks and turning points they’ve experienced over time. Then he has participants consider the factors that helped them succeed in each instance. Maybe it was a mentor, an energizing hobby, a tight-knit group of friends, or plain determination. The exercise, Katz explains, prompts people to find confidence in their inherent strengths and gain insight into the conditions that allowed them to rise above prior challenges in their lives.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/26/bounce-back-faster_n_1940702.html?utm_hp_ref=own-empower

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Women’s News: Enlisting Men and Boys to Stop the Abuse of Women

Women’s News: Enlisting Men and Boys to Stop the Abuse of Women

%d bloggers like this: