A terrific volunteer opportunity to empower young girls and young women in the sciences » News Lincoln County

A terrific volunteer opportunity to empower young girls and young women in the sciences » News Lincoln County.

Unique Volunteer Opportunity
From NOW, Central Coast Chapter

Women represent only 24 percent of the workforce in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) according to the Department of Commerce’s Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation (August 2011). Increasing this percentage is critical to our country’s ability to excel in these areas.

We have a unique opportunity to encourage our Lincoln County girls to pursue STEM education and careers. The Lincoln County School District was recently awarded a grant that has enabled it to open seven 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC). These Learning Centers provide enriching after school programs that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math (STEAM) for children between the ages of 6 and 14. T

The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is recruiting volunteers, particularly women, who are interested in engaging with children and youth in STEM pursuits in the Learning Centers. This is a great opportunity to improve a young girl’s life and her future career choices. Research has shown that women role models make a huge difference in whether girls remain interested in STEM fields. Mentoring is a powerful way to open doors for girls to careers in scientific endeavors. Helping with homework is another excellent way to touch their lives. Offering girls after school activities and experiments expands critical thinking and boosts self esteem. These are three of the many possible ways you could become a role model. So whether you only have a little time or can commit to more, your help is truly needed.

Men are also encouraged to volunteer, but because of the low percentage of girls and women who successfully pursue STEM careers, Central Oregon Coast NOW is focusing its efforts to assure that participants in after school programs have the opportunity to meet, work with, and learn from women who are, or have been, active in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics. If you are one of these women, please contact Jan Eisele at 503-965-9950 or centraloregoncoastnow@gmail.com by email.

Open request to strangers, doctors, teachers: Don’t make small talk about my daughter’s appearance | Reel Girl

Open request to strangers, doctors, teachers: Don’t make small talk about my daughter’s appearance | Reel Girl.

DONATE to VoteERA.org and SIGN E-Petition!
There is an excellent letter from Kasey Edwards to Santa posted on the blog Culture and Politics. Here’s how it begins:

Dear Santa,

What I want for Christmas is for people to stop objectifying my daughter.

But after I took my 4-year-old daughter Violet to visit you last week, it seems that even YOU can’t deliver on this particular request.

You may recall that we walked into your little house for the family photo and you remarked on every item of clothing Violet was wearing—including her socks.

And then you told her she was the most beautiful and best-dressed person in the shopping center.

Couldn’t you have just stopped there? Hell no! You kept going and suggested that she takes up modeling when she grows up.

I wrote a post about this topic 2 years ago, when my youngest daughter started preschool.

I know making small talk with a two year old is hard. Toddlers can be shy, are easily distracted, and might even burst into tears if you say the wrong thing. It’s not easy to break the ice. But please: if you meet a little girl on the street, in a store, on the playground, try to think of something, anything to say rather than commenting on her hair, dress, shoes, eyes etc.

My two year old just started preschool, and by the time I’ve kissed her good bye and left her in the classroom, she’s gotten about 10 compliments on her appearance. Of course, she’s adorable. All little kids are. But remember, their little brains are getting wired up. Kids love attention, to be smiled at, and to connect– these are exactly the kinds of interactions that make their brains grow. When they learn, this young, that so many responses are based on how they look, it affects them for life.

For alternative ice breakers try “Hi, you seem happy today! What’s going on? (or sad or angry)” or “Is that your kitty? (or bunny, dog) What’s her name?” Talk about the weather, seriously. Ask if they come here often. If you must say something to a little girl about how she looks, balance it out with other topics that have nothing to do with her appearance (meaning don’t talk about how she looks unless this is going to be a long interaction.)

When people tell your daughter how pretty she is, don’t repeat the compliment to her (as in “She loves this dress. It’s her favorite.”) Don’t make her say thank you. Gently deflect the topic. No matter what other people say, you’re the parent whose opinion matters most to her at this age. Do tell your daughters they are beautiful “on the inside and the outside.” It’s something that should be said by you and that she feels confident about. It’s the proportion of looks based comments, the constant repetition of them, and how they form the basis for social interaction that’s damaging.

In her letter to Santa, Edwards also gives some suggestions about how to break the ice when talking to a little girl besides focusing on her appearance, though, obviously, these are geared towards Santa.

– Where have you been today? or Where are you going today?

– How old are you?

– What do you want to be when you grow up?

– What’s your favorite book/toy/sport/animal/food/song?

– Do you know any Christmas carols?

– Check out your surroundings and remark on something such as a flowering plant, a truck, a picture on the wall, Christmas decorations, even the weather.

– Or just imagine what you would say to her if she were boy.

I love the last one. Thinking that way really helps to become aware of our sexist conditioning. I get how challenging this is. Yesterday, my two older daughters dressed my younger one, and she went out into the world looking like this.

girl

I tried my best to get the monster-flower off her head, but had to give up because my struggle was getting counter-productive. I was giving her appearance too much attention. But I knew it was unlikely this kid would go out in the world and no one would comment on that thing, which was, by the way, a Christmas present. That’s its whole purpose, right? It’s going to feel almost rude to an adult to ignore it.

But that’s what I’m asking you to do. Ignore it. But don’t ignore her. Talk about something else. Ask her how her day is going or what she’s on her way to do or if she had a good sleep last night.

In Melissa Wardy’s great new book Redefining Girly, Rosalind Wiseman offers these suggestions:

So compliment her on something she’s specifically doing that you think is great. Ask friends for their support because you’ll be raising your girls together. To strangers, I’d say: “Thanks, but you know what is the coolest thing about her? She draws animals incredibly well!” Yes, the other person may think you’re strange for saying something so random but your daughter will hear you complimenting something she specifically does, bringing attention to a skill you admire. She’ll know that the most important people in her life value her for more than her appearance.

This is messy stuff and you don’t have to fight every single battle that comes your way. If you’re too tired to have these conversations on a particular day, don’t sweat it. You’ll always have another day. Be proud of taking this one on. I see way too many girls whose parents haven’t provided this guidance and support and truly believe their self value is based on looking like the “perfect girl.”

From the moment they are born, girl babies get attention for how they look. They are dressed like dolls and turned into objects by their own parents, a practice reinforced by our powerfully sexist culture. For too many women, how we look is the source of our identity and power or lack there of. When is it going to stop? Why not start with you? Make a different kind of small talk with the next little girl you see. It’s a small but powerful step to change the world.

—–Margot Magowan, Reel Girl

ANOTHER WAY YOU CAN HELP GIRLS! You know how important it is to gat an EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT (ERA) into the U.S. Constitution. VoteERA.org is working hard to get a state ERA into Oregon’s Constitution (22 states have ERA’s written into their constitutions; Oregon does not and there is nowhere in Oregon’s Constitution, just as there is nowhere in the US Constitution, that explicitly guarantees equal rights to women). In order to even get the Oregon ERA initiative onto the November 2014 ballot, VoteERA.org must gather 116,284 valid signatures on petitions. Winning this battle in Oregon is an important step towards getting an Equal Rights Amendment into all state constitutions and into the US Constitution. PLEASE HELP! Even if you are not an Oregon resident you can help by DONATING. If you are registered to vote in Oregon, please also SIGN THE E-PETITION (and mail it in!). THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Oregon offers an income tax credit to residents who contribute to qualifying state, federal or local political campaigns. The total credit is limited to $100 on a joint return or $50 on a single or separate return. Please see Oregon.gov for details. Contributions or gifts to this campaign are not tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes.

—–Nancy Campbell Mead, Board Member VoteERA.org

Oregon Equal Rights Amendment approved for signature gathering | OregonLive.com

Leanne Littrell DiLorenzo

Oregon Equal Rights Amendment approved for signature gathering | OregonLive.com.

Supporters of an Oregon Equal Rights Amendment for women have started gathering signatures in an effort to qualify the initiative for the November 2014 ballot.

Volunteers have been gathering signatures since the petitions were approved for circulation Dec. 20, and paid signature gatherers are expected to hit the streets starting Monday, said Leanne Littrell DiLorenzo, the president of VoteERA.org.

DiLorenzo and her two co-sponsors, Eugene attorney Erin Gould and Nike global marketing director Kerry Godfrey Scroggins, will need to submit 116,284 valid signatures to place the initiative on the ballot.

Three attempts to pass the amendment or refer it to voters during the 2013 legislative session went nowhere, leading the trio to pursue the initiative route.

“Shouldn’t women be explicitly equal in every Constitution?” Littrell DiLorenzo said. “To me, the answer is an absolute ‘Yes, of course.'”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, which opposed earlier versions of the amendment, hasn’t decided yet whether to support the initiative effort, said David Fidanque, the group’s executive director.

“We’re going to take another look at it here in the next few months depending on how the signature gathering goes,” Fidanque said. “I think the way it’s written now, it shouldn’t do any harm, which was our major concern in the spring.”

A national Equal Rights Amendment is needed because the federal government treats sex discrimination differently than racial and other forms of discrimination, he said, but that’s not the case under state law, Fidanque said.

“One of our concerns last spring is that by passing a measure that specifically elevates discrimination based on sex as opposed to our current provision, which protects everyone regardless of what type of discrimination, might somehow change the current interpretation that has been applied by Oregon courts,” he said.

Littrell DiLorenzo says that the ban on sex discrimination in Oregon is based on case law, and she isn’t convinced that the Oregon Constitution provides enough protection against sex discrimination. The same Constitution once prohibited women from voting or owning property, she said.

“Imagine if we took gun rights out of the Constitution and just made it case law,” she said. “The reason an ERA is needed is to provide women the highest level of equal protection possible, so they’re not open to future Supreme Court judges reinterpreting case law or to the winds of political change.”

A February telephone poll of 650 voters indicated that three out of four Oregonians would support the initiative if it reached the ballot, she said.

The campaign to pass a state amendment coincides with a revived national campaign to pass a federal Equal Rights Amendment. That amendment, approved by Congress in 1972, never went into effect because it fell three states short of the minimum 38 states that needed to ratify it.

— Yuxing Zheng