#ReadUrbanAndPlanningWomen 2014, riffing on #ReadWomen2014

I’m not sure who came up with it, but #ReadWomen2014 is the idea that readers in 2014 should consciously dedicate some of their time to reading the ideas put down by women. Woo! As I note, you are not educated until you get off your fanny and start to see the world from perspectives other than your own.

So I’ve decided to decided to spend a goodly portion of this year reading and rereading the works that have come to us from female planning scholars. I’m going to try to get as many of women of color as I can, but both planning and urban studies scholars and the media that covers them don’t support and promote the work of women or people of color the way we should.

(If you are a white male urban scholar, your every dribble will be celebrated with glitter and star shine, particularly if you have restated something that a black or female scholar wrote 15 years ago and that everybody ignored, because, well.) (Did I say that out loud? I wouldn’t want anybody to second-guess how they got where they are, except I am mean and its payback for the several hundred of times I have been told that I “only won X” or “got X” “because I am a woman.”) Enjoy!!

MISS Representation at the Price School

Last night, a group of my advisees, the Women’s Leadership in Public Policy Screened Miss Representation, a documentary film on media images of women as leaders. I went largely to support my students because I really thought there wasn’t anything new I could learn about the terrible way the media treats women–I’ve been watching this nonsense for a long time now. I was wrong. The film is very good, and it has a tremendous amount of new information about the way the media has treated female political leaders and the subsequent effects on policy (and planning, btw).

There are more opportunities to attend:

Thursday, March 29 7 to 8:30
Saturday, March 31, 2 to 1:30 pm
Sunday, April 1 from 7-to 8:30

All screenings I believe are in Taper Hall.

Here is the trailer:

The WLPPD is partnering with Trojans for Equality, the Undergraduate Student Government, and Graduate Student Government.

Everybody became more aware of this problem when Rush Limbaugh badmouthed Sandra Fluke a few weeks ago. Like the public discussion that occurred after that event, it’s becoming more and more clear that women on both sides of the political spectrum are demonized, ridiculed, or otherwise diminished simply for wanting to serve as their community as leaders. From condescension toward Sarah Palin to racism directed at Condi Rice and Michelle Malkin to the deplorable treatment of both Madeline Albrecht and Hilary Clinton, women who have the guts to try to influence policy are the subject of simple abuse. There is no other way to put it. You don’t have to be a feminist* or anything else to be appalled.

It’s also taking a toll. Fewer women are running this year for Congress; women like Olympia Snowe–a highly effective Republican politico–is stepping down because of the political environment in DC has become so toxic, in multiple ways.

The backlash towards women we are seeing played out at a national level has consequences for men as well. If there is one thing that contemporary politics should be teaching us, it’s that we need to be partners and allies to each other, approaching our differences with a deep-seated and *radical* respect for our shared humanity. We can’t keep pretending that the lack of civility in politics, particularly that shown to our women leaders, doesn’t matter.

I know it’s a busy time of year, but I highly encourage you to go, think about what you are seeing, and support your Price School School colleagues and your peers around the university who brought this opportunity to campus.

Maternal and child health report from the Save the Children

Andy’s and my largest charitable contributions go to Save The Children. The day after Mother’s Day, they released their rankings of maternal and child health prospects by country. Download the full report here.

Their maternal health status index is composed of:

a) lifetime risk of maternal death;
b) percent of women using contraception;
c) overall female life expectancy;

Additional measures include:
a) Expected years of formal education;
b) Maternity leave benefits
c) Ratio of estimated female to male wage rates.
d) Participation of women in national politics (percentage of seats).

I might quibble with that last one, as there are many means of political engagement other than the national level, but so far, so reasonable.

For children, the index is somewhat simpler: under-five mortality, elementary school education, and secondary education.

There are several essays worth reading in the report, particularly those on progress in Malawi (horray!!!) and a selection from Rep. Donald Payne and Colonel John Agogliab, both of whom write about how American investment in health and environmental security make all the difference in real security.

However, despite America’s wealth and ability to help other countries, out of 164 countries, the USA ranks 31st.

This is from the FAQ:

One of the key indicators used to calculate well- being for mothers is lifetime risk of maternal mortality. The United States’ rate for maternal mortality is 1 in 2,100 – the highest of any industrialized nation. In fact, only three Tier I developed countries – Albania, the Russian Federation and Moldova – performed worse than the United States on this indicator. A woman in the U.S. is more than 7 times as likely as a woman in Italy or Ireland to die from pregnancy-related causes and her risk of maternal death is 15-fold that of a woman in Greece.

Similarly, the United States does not do as well as most other developed countries with regard to under-5 mortality. The U.S. under-5 mortality rate is 8 per 1,000 births. This is on par with rates in Latvia. Forty countries performed better than the U.S. on this indicator. At this rate, a child in the U.S. is more than twice as likely as a child in Finland, Greece, Iceland, Japan, Luxembourg, Nor- way, Slovenia, Singapore or Sweden to die before reaching age 5.

Only 58 percent of children in the United States are enrolled in preschool – making it the fifth lowest country in the developed world on this indicator.

The United States has the least generous maternity leave policy – both in terms of duration and percent of wages paid – of any wealthy nation.

The United States is also lagging behind with regard to the political status of women. Only 17 percent of congressional seats are held by women, compared to
45 percent in Sweden and 43 percent in Iceland.

Afghanistan, quelle surprise, ranks last. One wonders: is it morally worse to be a poor and battle-torn country where woman are treated miserably, or a tremendously wealthy country that could radically alter its own ranking–but doesn’t–but where women are much better off than in many other places?

Until we are all safe, there is no justice or sustainability

This story in the LA Times breaks the heart. Two dozen teenage girls, vanished. The logical conclusion, given the location close to major US and Mexico markets and the crap police response, is that they are being sold into prostitution.

I wonder if the people who are doing this would be considered as dangerous as Al Qaeda? A shooting rampage or a bomb that killed two dozen would be spectacular news, but a story of the systematic immiseration of these young women and their families appeared quietly in the LA Times. Kudos to Ken Ellingwood for showing that somebody at the Times still cares about real news instead of what Michael Jackson’s cousin’s dogsitter was doing the day Michael died.