Women and Money Don't Have to be Like Oil and Water

Guest blog by Mary McGrath

He always took care of her.

Judy never worried about money, investments or taxes. But now she finds herself alone -- a widow scared out of her mind.

Things are changing. She's only going to receive one Social Security check, and her husband's pension was cut in half upon his death. Plus, he never mentioned unpaid credit cards. She thought the cards were paid monthly.

How will Judy ever manage?!?

You may not think this could ever be you, but think again. The average age of a widow in the U.S. is 55. Eighty-five of every 100 American women will be on their own financially at some point in their lives. And only 47 percent of women participate in pensions. 

It's time to get educated. This doesn't mean you need to get a degree in finance or even start reading the Wall Street Journal. But it does mean you need to know where you stand financially and what will happen if your husband predeceases you. Only YOU are responsible for your financial well being. 

Start out by being actively involved in any decision your husband makes that will affect your financial security if he dies.

Find out where your income comes from. If you're in the retirement stage, it's probably a combination of Social Security, pension income and investment income. The next question is to know what happens to this money when your husband dies. 

If the pension is from your husband's employment it could possibly change at his death, depending on an election made at retirement. Most pensions have what is called a survivor option. This is the percentage of the original pension that continues after the death of the retiree. You should know if his pension will continue unchanged (100 percent survivor option), stop all together (no survivor option) or something in between.

Did you know that his Social Security check will stop at his death? But you, as the survivor, will receive the higher of his Social Security or yours.

In other words, if he is receiving $2,000 per month and you get $1,000, on his death you will lose his benefit, but your total will increase to $2,000 per month. That's still $1,000 per month less than you received as a couple.

And what about investment income? Based on what you are taking from your investments, how long is it projected to last? Women live, on average, seven years longer than men. If your husband is five years older than you, the investments need to last at least 12 years longer after his death. Find out how this is calculated and make sure there will be enough left for you.

What if your husband plans to put your assets in a trust? How much control will you have over the trust? Can you access both income and principal or only income?

Next, look at your expenses. If you find trouble ahead after reviewing the income side, try cutting expenses. Don't take that big trip, drive your cars longer and don't overindulge the grandkids. It's easier to trim expenses now than to wait until the money's not there.

It's true that some expenses will be cut when there's only one of you -- but not many. Get an idea of how much your expenses will fall if your husband were to die before you.

All of this is not an overwhelming task. It's time to be in touch with your finances. A little work today can save years of agony later.

The lion's share of all women will be solely responsible for managing their finances at some point in their lives. Be sure you're one of the ready ones.

Unemployment-proof Yourself Create your Dream Business

Guest blog by Marianna Olszewski
Author of Live It, Love It, Earn It: A Woman's Guide to Financial Freedom

With the unemployment rate so high these days, many of us women are either without a job or worried about being let go, downsized or having our salary cut in half. Because of these uncertain economic times, I suggest women more than ever be creative and be prepared ‘just in case” you find yourself looking for a job. 

The secret is what I call going fuzzy to firm – to get in touch with ourselves and our intuitions, follow our flow and put in down on paper. This is how new ideas are seamlessly transformed into dream businesses. It’s really quite simple. Start with spending quiet time and getting in touch with “ideas that keep nudging you” and look inside to see what it is that comes easy and natural to you. Some women I know have four or five business ideas floating around in their heads and they never write any of them down. The result – none of these ideas ever materialize. I agree it is much easier to keep your ideas in your head, then taking the time to write them down and see them as real. Seeing your idea, goal or business dream on paper can be scary. We might think “What if my ideas are silly, and I get laughed at”, “What if my business fails” or even “What if it works, then what?” As long as we keep our dreams as just that our dreams we are safe. But our talents, ideas and dreams are there for a reason – for us to look at what keeps “tugging” at us and keep coming up for us so we can manifest this goodness in our lives. Each one of us has unique talents and ideas that are put there for a reason, so we can explore and manifest them. We women deserve the very best in life and that starts with saying yes to ourselves and yes to our dreams. The first action needed to start any business is to formulate the idea on paper. When the idea is staring at us in black and white it can be read and reread, revised and changed. Otherwise it is just a bunch of fuzz in our heads.

Try my “Dream Business” Exercise in Live It, Love It, Earn It or downloading it from my website liveitloveitearnit.com. The exercise gives you space to write down some business ideas. Once your ideas are on paper, pick the idea that excites you the most, and work on that one.

Once your ideas are down on paper, the next step is doing a bit of due diligence – digging around per se. Researching similar business is helpful in learning how to best approach your business and figuring out how your business idea is both similar and different. I call this doing your due diligence. Talking to others in your field, asking how they got started and what they think the difficulties of the business are is very helpful. People are usually flattered and generous with information. I suggest networking organizations specifically for the purpose of exchanging experiences and information with other people in similar industries. Also contact legal and financial experts for their advice before beginning. Hire the best accountants and lawyers you can afford. 

After doing a bit of due diligence, the next step is creating a short (yes, short) business plan and calculating your financial needs. B-plans are easier and less time-consuming than you probably think. You definitely don’t need a b-plan as thick as a phone book. I recommend 5 or 6 pages maximum, to start. As long as your business, strategy, numbers and projections are clear and realistic, you can be succinct. Business plans are important for two reasons: one, so you can be clear about your business, its mission and your financials; and two, so you can present your business in a clear and concise way to outside investors if you are looking for cash. (The 5-Step B-Plan can be found in my book Live It, Love It, Earn It or downloaded from my website liveitloveitearnit.com) My first business plan helped me clarify my goals and find an investor to invest immediate cash into my dream. Thank goodness for b-plans! 

War of the Sexes More Like War of the Wages!

Guest blog by
Source: Soroptimist International of Chicago
Submitted by: Marion E. Gold. President of Marion Gold & Co.
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog!

When American Suffragist Susan B. Anthony said, "Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less."  She was right.  Unfortunately, 37 years after President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, woman still is paid less than man. Sorry Susan—looks like we have not "come a long, long way!" President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, hoping it would end wage discrimination based on sex. At that time, women made 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. And, the wage gap has been closing—but at less than half a penny per year.  

Since 1960, and in 1998 dollars, the great divide between women's and men's earnings has only closed by $1,203. (Data from the Census Bureau March Current Population Survey.) About 60 percent of the improvement in the wage gap from 1979 to 1997 can be attributed to the decline in men's real earnings.  Approximately 40 percent of the closing of the gap is a result of women's better earning power. 

In 1998, women earned only 73 percent of the wages earned by men. Not much different than in 1996—except that the problem grows larger as more women and people of color enter the job market. By the year 2006, it is estimated that women and people of color will account for two-thirds of all new entrants into the workforce. Nearly 69 million women had jobs in 1998, making up 47 percent of workers 15 years and older.

Women of color experience the most severe pay inequities. Hispanic women earned only 53 cents, African-American women earned only 63 cents, and white women 73 cents for each dollar earned by a white man who faces no sex or race-based wage discrimination. Men of color also experience significant wage inequities. Hispanic men earned only 62 percent, and African-American men earned only 75 percent of the wages of white men. 

Contrary to data from the Employment Policy Foundation, The National Academy of Sciences reports that between one-third and one-half of the wage difference between men and women cannot be explained by differences in experience, education, or other legitimate qualifications. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that for 1998, women earned more than men in only two of nearly 100 detailed occupational categories: food preparation and legal assistants. In all other categories, women still lag behind the guys. For example, women dry cleaning machine operators made 10 percent less than men operators; women accountants made 25 percent less, women in administrative support made 19 percent less, and women educators and reporters made 24 percent less.

Women in unions do a bit better, earning $166 more per week on the average than those women who were not union members. Union women also earned weekly wages that were slightly more than men who were not union members.

But don’t let those figures fool you. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, although working mothers who are union members earn $1.25 an hour more than nonunion working mothers—the same women gain only about 30 cents per hour for five additional years of work experience, compared to their white men counterparts who gain $1.20 for the same number of years work experience. 

Even women who have reached the highest levels of corporate America are not immune to wage discrimination. In November 1999, a Catalyst survey of Fortune 500 top earners showed that women take home 68 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

The lifetime cost to women can be devastating. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, a 25 year-old woman who works full-time year-round for the next 40 years will earn $523,000 less than the average 25 year-old man will, if the current wage patterns continue. Worse, the gap widens as women mature. Among workers 16-24, the wage gap is only 91 percent; yet by age 55-64, women are earning only 68 percent of men's earnings. Lower lifetime earnings translate into lower pensions and income for women in their senior years and contributes to a higher poverty rate for elderly women.            

Are women’s choices to blame? 

While some may argue that the wage gap is a result of women's choices — mainly women taking time out of the workforce to have children —  there is much more to the story than "choice." There is no doubt that time, education and experience play a role in pay rates—but only when you compare men to men! When women enter the picture — it changes drastically. 

Here are just a few of the facts from the National Committee on Pay Equity:  

- A survey of public relations professionals shows that women with less than 5 years of experience make $29,726 while men with the same amount of experience make $48,162. For PR professionals in the 5-10 year category, women earn $41,141 while men earn $47,888. In the 10-15 year category, women earn $44,941 and men earn $54,457. In the 15-20 year range, women earn $49,270 and men earn $69,120.

- Women in the field of purchasing with 3 or fewer year’s experience earn $35,900 and men earn $47,700. For purchasers with 4-6 years experience, men earn $52,100 while women earn $38,300. Women purchasers who have 7 -10 years of experience earn $42,300 while their men counterparts earn $56,400. For those with 11- 15 years experience, women earn $43,500 and men earn $63,400.

- Among video programmers, women with advanced degrees earn 64.6 percent of the earnings of their men counterparts, and women with college degrees earn 80 percent on the dollar earned by men.

Wage discrimination is much more than a so-called "women’s issue."  

In today’s society, with the earnings of "wives" and "mothers" so essential to family support, pay equity is a "bread and butter" issue, according to a national study reported by the AFL-CIO and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. In analyzing data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they jointly reported that "working families" pay a steep price for unequal pay.

Almost two thirds of the 50,000-working women who responded to the 1997 AFL-CIO survey said they provide one half or more of their families’ incomes. More than 25 percent report they are heads of households with dependent children. 

Still need convincing that pay equity is critical to this country’s economic health?  

It is estimated that America’s working families lose $200 billion of income annually to the wage gap—an average loss of more than $4,000 for each working family every year. Although some states fare better than others, a reduced wage gap does not necessarily coordinate with improved economic status for women and their families. For example, women earn the most in comparison to men in our Nation’s capitol—Washington, DC. But the primary reason is that the wages of minority men is so low.

This is bleak news when considering that working women represent the bridge out of poverty for many married couples and working families. A 1997 labor department analysis found that 7.7 percent fewer white families, 11.4 percent few African-American families, and between 9 percent and 25 percent fewer Hispanic families are poor because both husbands and wives are working. 

- If married women were paid the same as comparable men, their family incomes would rise by nearly six percent, and their families’ poverty rates would fall from 2.1 percent to 12.6 percent.

- If single women earned as much as comparable men, their incomes would rise by 13.4 percent, and their poverty rates would be reduced from 6.3 percent to one percent. 

Bottom line is that if single working mothers achieved pay equity, their poverty rates would be cut in half, according to the AFL-CIO Sorry fellas. This is not a women’s issue—it is a national issue.

Simply put, pay discrimination based on gender hurts all of us—as individuals, as families, and as a nation. Because of pay discrimination, literally hundreds of thousands of households will have less groceries, make fewer doctors visits, and have less money to put aside for retirement. Does pay equity mean setting up a national wage-setting system? Of course not! But it does mean that wages must be based on job requirements like skill and responsibility— not skin color, religious beliefs, age or gender.  Will pay equity solve every problem? Of course not! But when the day comes that wages are truly equitable, people—individuals and their families—will grow healthier, stronger and more confident. And so will our businesses and our economy! 

The facts and figures presented in this article were provided by Soroptimist International of the Americas and compiled by the National Committee on Pay Equity from the following sources: The U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau;  The U. S. Department of Labor; the U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; and the Institute for Women's Policy Research. 

Marion Gold is the author of two books on women in the workforce and writes frequently on women’s advocacy issues. She was recently named the Year 2000 Communicator of Achievement by the Illinois Woman's Press Association.

Financial Statistics Concerning Women Equal Pay Day War of the Sexes ..More Like War of the Wages!

Guest blog by Mary Ellen Spiegel, CFP
President/Founder, Fiscal Plus
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog!

Did you know that the average age of widowhood is 56 years old, and that 76% of married women are eventually widowed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,  the savings rate for single women is 1.5% compared to 2.1% for single men. And,  in the United States,  women over the age of 75 living in poverty represent the highest percentage of those of any other industrialized country. Over 70% of the United State's four million elderly poor people are women; 48% of this group are widows. Women still earn 74 cents for each dollar a man earns, which qualifies them for less Social Security and pension. The statistics speak for themselves.

The Sneaky Chef Pizza

Missy Chase Lapine
Author of The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals

The following make-ahead is an Orange Puree that blends excellently in pizza (and pasta) sauce, to bring a big nutritional boost to meals that usually aren't thought of as health foods.

1 medium sweet potato or yam, peeled and rough chopped
3 med-to-large carrots, peeled and sliced into thick chunks
2-3 tablespoons water

In medium pot, cover carrots and potatoes with cold water. Boil 20 minutes until tender. (Thoroughly cook carrots or they'll leave telltale nuggets -- a gigantic no-no for the Sneaky Chef). Drain vegetables. Puree on high in food processor with two tablespoons water, until completely smooth. Use rest of water to make a smooth puree. 
Makes about 2 cups of puree. Store in refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze 1/4 cup portions in plastic containers.

My kids have never noticed that I'm sneaking carrots and yams into their sauce! I mix the healthy puree right into the bottled tomato sauce, then I let the kids add the toppings. You can even prepare this pizza ahead of time without cooking it, and then refrigerate for a day or two. Simply bake when you're ready to eat. 

Makes 1 large pizza or 4 smaller pizzas:
1 store-bought pizza dough or 4 " Greek style" pocketless pitas (whole wheat preferred)
¾ cup store-bought tomato sauce
¼ cup Orange Puree (see recipe above)
1 to 2 cups low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and preheat a pizza stone or spray a baking sheet with oil.
Stretch pizza dough, or roll out with floured rolling pin on floured surface, to form a pie. Transfer to stone or baking sheet. If using pocketless pitas, place them on the prepared baking sheet. Combine tomato sauce with Orange Puree. Mix well. Spread 1/2 to 1 cup of the sauce mixture across the large pizza dough (1/4 cup for each pita), then top with 1 cup of mozzarella (1/2 cup per pita). Cover and refrigerate at this point, or bake for 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned. Allow to cool a few minutes, then cut into triangles and serve.
© Missy Chase Lapine, all rights reserved.


Guest recipe by Margi Hemingway

The glazed carrots and brown rice with walnuts really go well and the rosy hue of the cranberries makes it look romantic.

2 Cornish game hens sauce:
4 Rosemary sprigs 1 ½ -2 T. flour
No-Stick spray ¾ cup rich chicken stock
Poultry seasoning 2/3 cup port wine
Old Bay seasoning ½ cup whole fresh or frozen cranberries
Parsley, for garnish salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and dry Cornish hens. Stuff rosemary sprigs in cavity of each hen, then tie legs together with kitchen string. Spray hens with no-stick, then sprinkle with poultry seasoning and Old Bay.

Roast at 350 for about 1 ¼ hours. After the first 20-30 minutes, baste occasionally with pan drippings. If pan is dry, add a little water. Cook until hens are nicely browned and crisp. Remove a heated platter. Remove browned rosemary sprigs and replace with fresh ones. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Add flour to drippings in pan. Cook, stirring until fat and flour are starting to brown. Add stock, port wine, and cranberries. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Taste and if needed, add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Serve Cornish Hens on platter surrounded with cooked baby carrots, tossed in a bit of butter and sprinkled with nutmeg. Add sprigs of parsley here and there and a streak of gravy over the breast of each Cornish hen. Toss a few of the cranberries from the gravy over the carrots for color. Serve Cornish hens with sauce on side.

Good with Brown Rice, topped wit

Beef or Lamb Stock

Guest recipe by Martha Bayne
Author of Soup and Bread Cookbook: Building Community One Pot at a Time

I don’t make a lot of meat stock, but my local butcher (see page 176) gave me this pro tip: Try roasting half the bones before you brown the other half. It’s an additional step, but you’ll get more depth of flavor that way. Note that lamb has a much stronger flavor than beef—err on the side of less meat if you’re working with lamb.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
4 pounds beef or lamb shanks
2 pounds bones, with marrow
1⁄2 cup dry red wine
8 cups water
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves


Remove meat from shanks and chop into large chunks. Set aside, and then roast about half the bones on a cookie sheet until browned, if desired. 

Heat the oil until shimmering in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until soft. Transfer vegetables to a big bowl. Add meat and bones to pot in batches (don’t crowd the pot) and brown for 5 minutes per batch, or until meat is cooked relatively evenly on all sides. Remove meat and bones to bowl full of veggies.

Add wine to pot and cook, scraping gook from bottom of pot and incorporating, until liquid has reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Return meat, bones, and vegetables to pot; cover and reduce heat to low. Sweat all for about 20 minutes, until the juices run from the meat. Turn heat up to high; add water, salt, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. 

Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer at least 2 hours, longer if you like. Skim foam from surface occasionally. 

When done, strain and discard meat, bones, and vegetables. Let cool and skim fat before using.

Workplace Discrimination--Still Alive and Well

Guest post by Martha Burk
Author of Cult of Power: Sex Discrimination in Corporate America and What Can Be Done About It

I recently attended the Wal-Mart stockholder’s meeting, where I presented a resolution asking the company to disclose statistics on stock distribution by race and gender. I also admonished the company on its board of directors – only 2 women out of 14 members. That’s pretty awful for a company with close to 70% female employees and an equal percentage of female customers. It could be one reason why the firm is the subject of the largest class action gender discrimination lawsuit in history. Women up and down the line are allegedly paid less than the men, in some cases told outright that “men need to support their families.” This blatant (and blatantly illegal) justification for sex discrimination is not nearly as common now as it used to be, but other, more subtle, discriminatory practices are still rampant in the workplace.

From Wall Street to Wal-Mart, women are paid less for doing the same job as men. Female brokers at Smith-Barney filed a class action against their company in April, charging that the fat accounts always go to the guys, and so does most of the sales support. It’s well documented that even in so-called “women’s” jobs like teaching and nursing, the men who do choose those professions make more. Some like to say it’s because of the “choices” women make – choices to take time off for children, either having them or taking care of them. That may be, but women are sometimes forced into these choices by the choices that men – still at the top of almost all U.S. corporations – make. And those choices by the corporate elite just incidentally shortchange men as well, only in a different way.

Our workplaces are still structured around the idea that family responsibilities will be taken care of by someone other than the employee – he or she is expected to have unlimited hours to devote to the job. And unfortunately for both women and men, it’s the he that most often fulfills that expectation. There are a number of reasons why, but corporate culture has to be near the top of the list. Even in companies that have so-called “family friendly” policies like leave for teacher meetings, men aren’t expected to take advantage of them. And God forbid if a man should take the full 12 weeks unpaid leave allotted by law for the birth of a newborn, or want to job-share or go part time for a couple of years. What is he, some kind of wimp?

Despite all the big talk that big corporations do about valuing families, the truth is that the family they value most is the 1950s “organization man” model. Men are expected to be on duty regardless of family circumstance – what Wellesley College professor Rosanna Hertz calls the “test of manhood” at work. The test disadvantages fathers, who fear being seen as a less serious employee for choosing to spend time with their kids over extra hours on the job. And the fears are well grounded. Women have been facing that choice for years, and though it’s not seen as abnormal as it is for men, the consequences are still shocking. For women who drop out of the workforce even for a year, the penalty is a whopping 32% of total earnings for the next fifteen years. It’s no wonder in an economy that demands every penny for families to survive, fathers aren’t anxious to jump on the Daddy track and that role is usually left to Mom, who in turn suffers at work with less money and lowered opportunities.

Balancing work and family has traditionally been seen as a personal problem, one that does not concern the employer. But if corporate America wants to remain competitive, it needs to rethink what employees value, and stop giving lip service to families while giving rewards to those that pretend family doesn’t exist. Over two-thirds of fathers work more than 40 hours per week, a fourth work over 50 hours -- most because of expectations or requirements, not personal preference. If more men were allowed to take paternity leave (a mere 7% of workplaces offer it), or encouraged to use family leave (rarely taken by men, even though they’re entitled), it would start to become “normal,” meaning more acceptable. Fathers would not automatically be viewed as less dedicated or less promotable (as mothers are now) if everyone, including the boss, set the standard. This would not only give men some much-needed relief, it would level the playing field for women who now pay what some have dubbed the “motherhood tax” in the form of lower pay and fewer promotions at work. 

It’s been tried in a very few companies, with excellent results. Ernst & Young, the global consulting firm with 23,000 U.S. employees in 95 locations, added two weeks’ parental leave at full pay in 2002. In the first year, 46% of those taking the benefit were male. How did they do it? “We advertised it, encouraged it, and reminded men – from administrators to partners,” said a spokeswoman. In other words, the company validated its acceptability for fathers, and sent a message that careers and fatherhood are not mutually exclusive. If that idea caught on in the workplace generally, it could help women even more. Not only would child care be shared by many working couples, but women would lose less pay and not be stigmatized as much and seen as non-serious employees when they take advantage of family leave. After all, the men will be doing it too.

Making those great sounding “family benefits” truly meaningful in the workplace would not only help working women and men and make companies more competitive, it would help society. More time with parents equates to less time on the streets and fewer nights with only the TV as a dinner companion for kids. Role modeling for sons and daughters would be no small benefit as well. Both might grow up expecting a more balanced care-giving equation, instead of the “men own the jobs, women own the kids” model corporate America is still stuck on.
Copyright © 2005 Martha Burk   

Volunteerism—Before you say NO, consider this: Volunteerism is Good for Your Career, Good for Business, and Good for the Community

Guest post by Marion Gold
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

Have you noticed your mailbox at home and at the office swelling with dollar-seeking pleas from non-profit organizations? Are organizations knocking at your door, asking you to volunteer your time? 

More and more, fund-raisers and volunteer-dependent organizations are targeting career women, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, as they compete for your time and money. 

Volunteering for a cause in which you believe provides the important satisfaction of giving something back to society, helping your community, and helping disadvantaged citizens. But if that doesn’t warm your heart, consider this—volunteerism is also good for business, and good for your career! Businesses large and small, as well as individuals and entrepreneurs, are all learning the value of being good citizens, or “Corporate Citizenship.” While many small businesses owners and self-employed individuals cannot afford large, or even moderate, dollar donations—volunteerism provides a great opportunity to increase your professional visibility and be a good citizen at the same time, without the need for deep pockets. Moreover, just like the corporate giants, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and career women should take note that it does not diminish your good deeds by sending out press releases and getting more than just a little publicity about your efforts.        

Before you toss the literature and letters in the wastebasket, take a closer look! Simply put, in order to gain community or professional visibility, or to sell a product or service, people have to know who you are, and they have to feel good about you. AND you have to feel good about yourself. Volunteering for a cause you believe in provides both professional and public exposure, as well as the personal and important satisfaction of giving something back to society. One does not preclude the other—if you choose your charities wisely. Carefully consider where you will have the most impact helping others, and gain the most exposure.  Building a career or a new business does take time and energy, and it is easy to feel there is little left to donate. This is a mistake! And for two reasons: (1) there is nothing so satisfying as helping others in need and really being part of the community, and (2) it will help you and your company! There is nothing wrong with doing good deeds and getting the public and professional recognition that go with it.  

Women business owners certainly have caught on. Volunteerism has been integrated into their lives and businesses. According to the National Foundation for Women Business Owners, “nearly six million women business owners volunteer, making significant contributions to the fabric of their communities.”  Nearly eight in ten women business owners spend time volunteering and encourage a majority of their employees to do so as well. Half volunteer for more than one charity.  Overall, nearly two-thirds or 65 percent of women business owners spend time helping a community-related charity; other charities include education-related (35 percent), religious (28 percent), health or disease-related (21 percent) and the arts (19 percent). There are lots of opportunities! 

Now let’s get down to the nuts and bolts. Keep in mind that volunteerism, if not done carefully, can be an unfocused activity that is nothing more than recreational at best. But carefully thought-out, it can be a powerful professional opportunity as well as a worthwhile community service. Below are guidelines for deciding which national or local organization to join, or which charity will be the recipient of your time and money.

Jot down how much time and money you are willing to spend on the organization and its activities.

Choose a committee that fits within that budget.

Look for the activities that will get recognition.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. This is a responsibility and a commitment that you must fulfill.

Corporate “giving” has additional considerations. If you are considering corporate, as compared to individual sponsorship of a charity or organization, take your thinking a bit further.

Does your company’s philosophy mesh with
the organization’s mission?

Is the charity a group that is well-respected in the community?

Does it have a IRS tax-exempt status?

Is the group audited by a public accounting firm?

members and vendors or other companies? 

"Does the group have active directors, or are they in name only?

Be sure to get an annual report, financial statement, budget, and copy of IRS not-for-profit filings.

 If all this sounds very calculating, IT IS! After all, we are talking about your time and dollars—as well as making a difference in people’s lives. Just because you are providing a service to a worthwhile cause by serving on an organization’s board or committee, helping the disadvantaged directly, or providing dollars or an in-kind service, doesn’t mean you should not use the experience to further your business or career. 

Not only will you get publicity and recognition, but you will be giving publicity to the charity as well. This is a part of building your professional image, and it is an important part of doing business in your community.

Will people think you’re bragging? Will you look foolish waving your own flag? They might. But with careful planning, a public or professional image can be created without losing credibility and self-respect. Think about the image you want to create, explore your own comfort level with public exposure, and assess the communications   potential of your efforts. This is part of “positioning,” and it is the basis for all good marketing efforts—whether you are marketing yourself or your company.
Copyright © 1999 Marion Gold & Company Marketing Communications

PowerPhrases® for Women: Decisiveness Speech for Better Results

Guest post by Maryl Runion

Dressed in a business suit with a brief case in hand, a dark-haired woman stepped up to the counter next to me at California Kitchen and said: 

Can I have a sausage pizza? 
And can I have a coke? 
And will you get me some fries? 

It was as if she was asking permission to place her order. I wondered how she spoke at her business meetings. Here is my guess:

May I make a few suggestions? 
I’d like to talk now, okay?

Or how about with her kids? 

Turn off the TV, will you please? 
Do you mind helping me? 
Can you be quiet? 

I wanted to give her a copy of my book, PowerPhrases®! The Perfect Words to Say It Right and Get the Results You Want

How often do you speak with indecisiveness and uncertainty? Women complain that men do not take them seriously at work. Women complain that their kids only respond to their Dads. This is because women are more prone to use tentative speech.  

While she says: I feel pretty good about this proposal
He says: My proposal will increase revenue by 32%

While she says, I don’t think you should be watching TV until your homework is done
He says: Turn the TV off right now and do not even think about turning it back on until your homework is done! 

It is said that men state opinion as fact and women state fact as opinion. Opinion stated as fact sounds judgmental, however, fact stated as opinion sounds weak. PowerPhrases® provide the middle ground where words are chosen to mean exactly what you want to say. Facts are stated as facts and opinion as opinion. Requests are made as requests and instructions are given as instructions. A PowerPhrase® is a short specific expression that gets results by saying what you mean and meaning what you say without being mean when you say it. One of the PowerPhrase® principles is that your words are as strong as they need to be and no stronger. Women often need to up the amperage; men often need to tone it down. 

Upping the Amperage
Kinda, sorta and maybe are Killer Phrases that weaken your message and keep you from being taken seriously. Instead of saying style: you might want to consider, say I recommend.  Instead of saying "I’ll try" say"I will" 

And take those tags off the end of your sentences that make you sound like you are asking permission, like "you know?" And "right?" 

If you are placing an order such as the woman at California Kitchen, do not imply you are seeking their approval of your order! Simply say,  I’d like a sausage pizza, a coke and some fries. 

If you want to make a point at a business meeting, again, do not ask permission; just make your point. Or you can request the floor decisively. Say: I need your complete attention here please. 

If you want the TV off, say it like you mean it. Turn the TV off I'd like it turned off now. 

Back yourself up with action. If they balk-they do it because they have learned that you do not mean what you say. 

If you need help and expect to get it, say so. Instead of asking if they mind helping you (which they probably do mind,) simply say: I need your help.

If you want them to be quiet, don’t ask if they can be quiet, (you know they can if they want to), say: I need you to be quiet. 

Let your voice carry your message. Say what you mean and speak with the decisiveness you feel and you will get more powerful results in the world. 

The Personal Publicity Factor(TM)

Guest blog by Marion Gold
Author of Personal Publicity Planner: A Guide to Marketing YOU
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

A must for businesswomen with their eye on the boardroom! 
Too often we are so busy climbing the corporate ladder, we tend to forget that part of our continued climb includes letting people outside the company know who we are and what we have achieved. This is the essence of public relations. It is the heart and soul of what I call Personal Publicity.

It’s easy to wrongly assume that a mentor (for those lucky enough to have one), or supervisor will take control and make sure that others in our industries become aware of our success and knowledge, how our talents contributed to the growth of the company, and what impact we can have on our chosen fields.

Well, guess again, my friends. You can attain a corner office, earn a handsome salary, and manage a large budget and lots of people, work 16-hour days, all without anyone outside of your company knowing just how talented and valuable you are to your industry. And that is exactly what you will need to achieve if you have your eye focused clearly on the career advancement.

First you need to obtain the world's attention—well, maybe not the whole world, but) our world. Then you need to convince that world that you have a contribution to make, and that they should pay attention to you. Women at all stages of their careers who want more visibility must take the first important steps towards developing a Personal Publicity Plan if they are serious about introducing their talents and commitment to the marketplace.

Will achieving Personal Publicity take time? Of course it will! But experience shows it is crucial for successful career growth. 

Will people think you’re bragging? Will they be jealous? Will you look foolish waving your own flag? A public or professional image can be created without losing credibility and self-respect. It takes thoughtful planning about the image you want to create, exploring your own comfort level with public exposure, and assessing the informational needs of your audience. This is called “positioning,” and it is the basis for all good marketing efforts.

Do you have to be GREAT? Take a look around you. Is every male Board member you read about a rocket scientist? Are all our politicians, who have been elected by millions of people, competent? Just read the business pages of this newspaper. I-low many million-dollar CEOs walk off with golden parachutes while their companies sink into oblivion, and the good people who worked for them take their places at the unemployment line? How many Board members are in “name only” with little to no contributions made to the companies they represent?

Sadly, we live in a world of mediocrity where image and tenacity are often more important than real talent, competence, and commitment.

Now, I am not professing that you sink to the levels of mediocrity that go before you. But if you are at least good at what you do, and have the heart to compete aggressively, and face adversity, and if you truly believe you have something to offer, you have a real shot at success—as long as you get the word out. And if you are really good... look out world!

Manipulation @ Work How Do You Get What You Want?

Guest post by Jamie Showkeir and Maren Showkeir

n today's do-or-die workplace, authentic conversations are out-and manipulation is in. In fact, four out of five careerists say that people who do it "best" seem to get ahead. And with manipulation so common in everyday conversations, odds are, most of us don't even realize when we're the ones doing the manipulating. Find the "you" in manipulation-your personal favorites in 12 popular techniques: 

Over promising
Do you make unrealistic promises to win people over or get something in return?

"Sure, I can get it to you tomorrow-or maybe even later today. I've got three other reports due this week, but I'll make yours a priority."

Spinning the facts
Do you dance on the edge of dishonesty and give calculated descriptions that
favor your positions or ideas?

"Employees will surely resist another reorganization. Let's emphasize how it will benefit them-or they might not buy in."

Feigning interest
Do you fake interest in someone or something to get what you need?

"Oh! Are those your vacation pictures? I'd love to see them. And, hey, now that you're back, when can I get the new numbers?"

Do you exaggerate threats or create a heightened sense of urgency to "motivate" people?

"This is our worst quarter yet. If we don't double production, we'll be out of business-and you'll be out of a job."

Do you downplay major issues or problems to keep others calm-and focused on work? 

"Stop worrying and just do your job. Things aren't as bad as they seem, and even if they were, this stuff always blows over."

Playing to emotions
Do you appeal to others' overtly positive or negative emotions?

"I know you're tired of putting in all these extra hours. But just think how proud you'll feel when the product launches."

Reassuring-without assurance
Do you assure people that "everything will be fine" when you have no real evidence it's true? 

"This is just a slowdown. Trust me, things are going to be alright."

Disguising agendas
Do you mask your true intentions and say or do something else? 

"Boy, have I got a great overtime opportunity for you. It's a chance to make some big bucks and be a real star on the team."

Being intentionally vague 
Do you stay mum-and purposely not clear things up-when a misunderstanding serves your self-interest? 

"Thanks! Sounds like you've got it."

Dropping names
Do you drop a name or two just to get people's attention or commitment? 

"I know you'll do a great job. In fact, I may even show this one to Mr. Jones and the executive team when I'm with them next week."

Using sarcasm
Do you make your point by making others look and feel foolish? 

"How brilliant are you? You promised delivery to the customer in three days when everyone knows those orders take a week. Good job."

Sucking up 
Do you go over the top and give phony praise to get what you want? 

"You're the best writer here, and everything you do is perfect. That's why I couldn't ask anyone but you to take this on."


Odds are, most of us don't even realize when we're the ones doing the manipulating. 

Is It "Hasta la vista, baby" for women film-makers?

Guest post by Marion Gold
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

The American Film Institute's highly touted announcement of the top 100 movie quotes - leading with "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" - might also be described as its attitude towards the advancement of women working behind the scenes in the film industry.

During the past four years, the percentage of women working as directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors on the top 250 domestic grossing films has declined from 19% in 2001 to 16% in 2004.

The so-called "Celluloid Ceiling" is getting thicker, according to the just-released data of Communications Professor Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D., San Diego State University. Each year, Lauzen looks closely at the behind-the-scenes employment of women in the top 250 domestic grossing films. And frankly, my dear, it's not a pretty picture!

In 2004, Women comprised only 5% of directors. That's a decline of 6 percentage points since 2000 when women accounted for 11% of all directors. "In other words," reports Lauzen, "in 2004 the percentage of women directors was slightly less than half the percentage in 2000." 

Lauzen's study analyzed behind-the-scenes employment of 2,305 individuals working on the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2004 with combined domestic box office grosses of approximately $8.4 billion. Here's what she found:

o Women comprised 16% of all executive producers, producers, directors, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 grossing films of 2004 - a slight decline from 17% in 2003.

o Twenty one percent of the films released in 2004 employed no women directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, or editors.

o Women comprised 19% of all executive producers working on the top 250 films of 2004. Sixty three percent (63%) of the films had no female executive producers. 

o Women accounted for 24% of all producers working on the top 250 films of 2004. Thirty nine percent (39%) of the films had no female producers.

o Women comprised 5% of all directors working on the top 250 films of 2004. Ninety five percent (95%) of the films had no female directors.

o Women accounted for 12% of writers working on the top 250 films of 2004. Eighty two percent (82%) of the films had no female writers.

o Women accounted for 16% of all editors working on the top 250 films of 2004. Eighty percent (80%) of the films had no female editors.

o Women comprised 3% of all cinematographers working on the top 250 films of 2004. Ninety seven percent (97%) of the films had no female cinematographers.

Gender also makes a big difference to who gets hired on and off-camera. In previous data, Lauzen reported that on films with male executive producers only, women comprised 15 percent of behind-the-scenes staff. The percentage jumped to 22 percent on films with at least one female executive producer.

So is it "Hasta la vista, baby" for women behind the scenes in our film industry?

Not if at least two Chicago-based organizations have anything to say about it! The mission of "Women in the Director's Chair" is to raise the visibility of women media makers and to support the production of media that defies demeaning stereotypes. "Women In The Audience Supporting Women Artists Now!" or WITASWAN. The concept of WITASWAN comes from the American Association of University Women-Illinois (http://aauw-il.org/WITASWAN). It is an informal alliance of women who have pledged themselves to helping women film-makers break through the Celluloid Ceiling. There are no dues and no officers - but there is a responsibility: WITASWAN members make a commitment to see at least one film every month either directed by and/or written by a woman, either in a theater or on DVD/VHS.

Which brings me back to the AFI and another of its top 100 all-time movie quotes from Gone with the Wind: "After all, tomorrow is another day!"
Copyright © 2005 

Give'em Something to Talk About: When businesses follow this principle, clients keep coming back for more . . . and bring their friends.

Guest post by Maribeth Kuzmeski
Author of Red Zone Marketing: A Playbook for Winning all the Business You Want

The other day I heard that old Bonnie Raitt song on the radio. You know, the one with the verse "let's give'em something to talk about . . ." And, it occurred to me that most businesses could use a bit of that gossip-inspiring intrigue that Bonnie was singing about.

All of which leads me to my question for the day: are your clients talking about you? You'd better hope so! Furthermore, you'd better hope they're not talking about the bad service you gave them, or the fact that you took three days to return a phone call, or even the hideous green carpet that's graced your office since 1973. No, the kind of talking I mean is positive in nature . . . in fact, it's delightful.

If you're at all familiar with my marketing philosophy, you know that I am constantly harping on the subject of client delight. That's because I'm a realist. I know that unless you absolutely delight your clients, they won't talk about you to their friends and colleagues. In fact, they may not even stick with you. Why? Because there are a lot of competitors out there offering services identical to yours.

Consider these statistics for financial advisors (many industries including yours may have similar statistics): There are more than 800,000 financial advisors and insurance agents in the U.S. Over 12,000 mutual funds. Countless Broker Dealers. All of which boils down to one disheartening fact: you are in serious peril of becoming a commodity. If you want clients to talk about you - which helps you fulfill the larger goal of pursuing referrals - then you must separate yourself from the pack. You must give them an experience. You must WOW them.
In short, you must give them something to talk about. 

Sounds great, you're probably thinking, but how do I do that? Here are three principles to keep in mind. 

Ask your clients what they want. A novel concept, huh? Too many businesses simply assume they know what the client wants. They tell the client "This is what you want and need, and I have it." What you as a Red Zone Marketer must do is ask, "What do you want and need? Tell me and I'll provide it." Ask your clients (at the very least your top clients) the following questions:

  • How would you like us to communicate with you? How often?
  • How often do you want to hear from me?
  • Are we meeting your objectives?   
  • Would you appreciate regular information on a different aspect of the business?
  • What would make working with us truly unique? 
  • What could we do to create delight through the services we provide?

Now, really listen to their answers. You may be surprised by what you hear. And you can be sure of one thing: if you give clients what they REALLY want-as opposed to what you think they should want-they will talk you up to their friends and colleagues. That's because very few of your competitors even bother to ask.

WOW them with the unexpected.  Want clients to talk about you? Give them an experience they're unlikely to get anywhere else. In Red Zone Marketing and The Client Experience, I provide numerous real-life examples of how businesses I know and work with go about WOWing their clients. 

For example, I work with a financial services advisor who has created The Life Enjoyment Experienceä. The concept is that he helps his clients "get to the top of the mountain." From the mountaintop, you can see and experience the world-so he has decorated each office and conference room to represent a different part of the world. For instance, one room has a mural of Athens on the wall; another one represents Paris. He reports that people bring their friends by, who are not yet clients, just to see his unique facilities!

Another one of my colleagues takes a different approach. He is very health conscious, and he wants to share his knowledge with his clients. Therefore, he incorporates healthful foods, exercise books and videos, and lifestyle seminars into his unrelated business offerings. He's providing an experience-and at the same time, showing his clients that he cares about their total wellbeing. 

What can you do to WOW your clients?

Be the Michael of your firm.
I am a huge sports fan. (The name of my company and books should clue you in!) So it's not surprising that I spent some time in the early 90s working for a team in the NBA. The team had 30 people making outbound calls selling tickets to games. I couldn't help but to contrast that to the Chicago Bulls, who were sold out most of the season!

What was the difference? In a word (well, actually, two words), Michael Jordan. Bulls tickets were in demand because the team had something truly different. I believe this phenomenon applies to the business world, too. One person can lift up an entire organization, if he or she is giving clients what they want! In other words, even if you work for a dry, humdrum, middle-of-the-road business, you can become the "Michael" of your firm. Dream up a unique slant on serving your clients and start doing it. Word of mouth will take care of the rest.
By the way, if you think you don't have what it takes to be a star in your industry, consider the fact that Michael Jordan was cut from the varsity basketball team as a sophomore in high school. The lesson? No matter what happened before, you can become a star. Just figure out what your clients want and give it to them in a unique way . . . and they will consistently seek you out. Guaranteed. 

Now, how are you going to get people talking? Give it a bit of thought and I am convinced you'll come up with something. Maybe it's your expertise in an specialized area of the business you are in . . . or the fact that you send them an info-packed e-mail every Monday morning . . . or the hot breakfast you provide at your wildly entertaining tax shelter seminars. You get the idea.

As long as you're doing something different, something that sets you apart from the crowd, something your clients can't get anywhere else, they'll talk about you. And believe me, that word of mouth is the best kind of press you'll ever receive.

Cult of Power....Sex Discrimination in Corporate America and What Can Be Done About It

Guest post by Martha Burk
Author of Cult of Power: Sex Discrimination in Corporate America and What Can Be Done About It

t all began with a letter.

In 2002, Dr. Martha Burk, chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, wrote to the Augusta National Golf Club, host of the prestigious Masters tournament, expressing concern over the club's all-male membership policy and urging it to change.

The resulting firestorm surrounding the club's secret membership roster of high-ranking corporate executives and its refusal to admit women was never really about golf. It was about much more -- becoming the linchpin of a national dialogue about the role of women in society not seen since the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas debate. and, especially in executive suites and boardrooms, the debate is far from resolved. 

It all started routinely enough -- with a simple three-paragraph letter, addressing a little-noticed issue in the eternal battle for gender equity. But it exploded into a cause célèbre that laid bare the ways in which, and the reasons why, women are still systematically barred from the highest echelons of power -- in government, social and religious organizations, and most importantly, in corporate America. We would see all too starkly how corporate elites enforce the code of behavior that maintains their control, the strength of the conspiracy of silence that surrounds sex discrimination at high levels, and the depth of corporate hypocrisy with all its fancy rhetoric about fairness and how women are valued as equals. Far from being about a few rich females gaining admittance to one club, the gates of Augusta National Golf Club became symbolic of all the ways women are still kept out of power where it counts, and how and why we must change the system to break in. 

But back to the beginning. 

In April 2002, I was traveling to Texas from my home in Washington, D.C., to visit my adult children, and I picked up a copy of USA Today. Unlike many women who unceremoniously toss the sports section, I usually thumb through it to get an idea of how much coverage is given to female athletes and women's teams. This day was an attention grabber. Columnist Christine Brennan had a piece titled "Augusta Equality Fight: Pass It On," with an accompanying story by Debbie Becker headlined "Augusta faces push for women." The subject was the exclusion of women at Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National, host of the prestigious Masters Golf Tournament opening that day, was one of the most venerated golf clubs in the world. It was also highly secretive. No one outside the clan of three hundred or so who got in "by invitation only" knew who the members were -- but everyone knew there had never been a female among them. Brennan credited a compelling story by Marcia Chambers in Golf for Women as the reason she chose to devote her column -- for the third year in a row -- to the sex discrimination at Augusta, even though she felt her earlier efforts had been like "beating my head against a brick wall about the issue." 

Brennan made it clear that corporate sponsors of the Masters (Coca-Cola, IBM, and Citigroup) were part of the problem, since they were willing to underwrite an event at a club that practiced sex discrimination, even though it went without saying they wouldn't go near a club that kept out blacks, Asians, or Hispanics. She called it acceptable discrimination versus unacceptable discrimination. Little did I know how deeply true that statement would turn out to be. Brennan had interviewed Lloyd Ward, an African American and one of only a handful of publicly known names on the secret membership list at Augusta National. Ward, who was head of the United States Olympic Committee, told her that rather than resign in protest, he was going to work from the inside to change the policy. I believed him. 

As chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO), the nation's oldest and largest coalition of women's groups, I take any report of discrimination seriously, and this was no exception. I tore the stories out of the paper, thinking we should help Ward's efforts along by writing to the club. I reasoned that if they thought their practices were getting attention outside the cloisters of the golf establishment, it would hurry their decision to open to women. Sitting in front of the television watching the end of the Masters two days later, I casually mentioned to my daughter-in-law that the club didn't admit women, and we were going to try to put some pressure on them to change. 

It was not a new area of controversy. Private clubs and secret societies have existed in the United States since before the country's founding; some of them, like the Freemasons, were brought over by the colonists. The issue of whether those that restrict membership to certain groups -- by definition, keeping out other groups -- are harmful to society and infringe on the rights of the have-nots had emerged in a large way for women in the late twentieth century. Women were entering the business world in sufficient numbers to question exclusionary club policies as detrimental to their ability to advance on the same footing as men. The New York Times put it this way back in 1980, when women were litigating to open the doors of private clubs in New York: 

This disadvantage [in business] stems from the summary exclusion of women from membership in men's clubs, wholly on the basis of their sex. Evidence strongly suggests that these clubs can be essential to professional achievement. In fact, approximately one-third of all businessmen obtain their jobs through personal contacts, and these clubs strive to create an atmosphere that cultivates business deals and contacts. 

In theory, private clubs may be extensions of a person's home, and therefore thoroughly private places. But in practice . . . they are often extensions of the marketplace and world affairs. The current effort in many places to strike down barriers against . . . women and others is not just an effort by once excluded groups to find new company where they aren't wanted. It is an effort to throw open the meeting grounds of business and politics and to eliminate, once and for all, barriers that are unquestionably rooted in discrimination.

The New York case is illustrative of the history of private club discrimination, and legal efforts to end or amend it. It goes to the heart of the question of women's (and, earlier, minority men's) struggle to be accepted as equals in the business world. Private "social" clubs where business was done were particularly disdainful of the few women who made it to the upper echelons of business, and their policies were personally and professionally humiliating. 

Muriel Siebert, the first woman to own her own seat on the New York Stock Exchange and at the time Superintendent of Banks for the State of New York, testified in 1973 before the New York City Commission on Human Rights that as a trainee she had for years been passed over when her bosses sent male colleagues to seminars and meetings at private clubs because they knew she would be excluded, and of current experiences such as having to enter the all-male Union League Club through the kitchen in order to attend board meetings of the Sales Executive Club. 

When attending functions at the Locust Club in Philadelphia, a female member of the Philadelphia City Council was forced to eat in the basement, since female guests were seated separately from men for dining. 

Jacqueline Wexler, president of Hunter College in New York, was removed from the lobby of the University Club by a doorman and ordered to wait in the vestibule to the ladies' room. 

A black woman foundation trustee, also escorted out of the lobby of the University Club, observed that the insult was the same as she had experienced in being evicted from restaurants in the South, despite the genteel surroundings and absence of armed sheriffs. 

A female executive of one of the country's largest public relations firms was barred from walking down the main stairway at Pittsburgh's Duquense Club with her CEO and the Fortune 500 board chairman to whom she had just made a presentation. 

Female oil executives at the Lafayette Petroleum Club were forced to lunch alone while their colleagues joined other men in the main dining room. They were also forced to sit in the hallways to listen to speakers at monthly professional society meetings.

Perhaps because Augusta National seemed a throwback that would surely follow other clubs into the twenty-first century with a little gentle persuasion, confronting the club was not a front-burner issue with me. NCWO has a broad agenda, and we were concentrating on a number of areas such as affirmative action, Social Security, child care, reproductive rights, and equality for women worldwide. Augusta could wait. I threw the clips in a folder for my next steering committee meeting, a month away. A couple of weeks later I met a woman named Rae Evans at a formal dinner in Washington. She told me she was a new member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) board, and I mentioned to her that we were probably going to write to Augusta National about their exclusion of women. She asked me to keep her in the loop. 

When NCWO's steering committee met, the Augusta letter was the last thing on the agenda, and it was barely discussed. None of the steering committee members were golfers, and few followed sports other than Title IX issues. I explained the situation, including Ward's statement that he was going to work for change, and my conclusion that we could help his efforts along. Everyone said, "Okay, write a letter." It was so minor and so routine there was no reason even to take a formal vote. 

I called Rae Evans and asked for a meeting because we didn't want to interfere if the LPGA already had some kind of dialogue going with Augusta National on opening to women. As an activist, I couldn't imagine that they wouldn't be protesting the situation. At our meeting, she told me that the LPGA did not have anything contemplated, and that she would not like to see street protests. I replied that we could do it either way -- in quiet negotiations or in the streets -- but that we intended to begin with a private letter. Although I truly didn't believe it would be necessary (I was still assuming the club would do the right thing), I did tell Evans that we were fully prepared to go to the sponsors. I knew that she could pass this information along to the golf establishment, and again I thought it would only hurry Augusta National's decision. She suggested that we copy the letter to James Singerling at the Club Managers Association of America, in addition to Lloyd Ward. 

It took another month for me to get the letter written and distributed to the steering committee before mailing. It went out on June 12, 2002, and I pretty much forgot about it. 

William Johnson
Chairman, Augusta National Golf Club
2604 Washington Road
Augusta, GA 30904

Dear Mr. Johnson: 

The National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO) is the nation's oldest and largest coalition of women's groups. Our 160 member organizations represent women from all socioeconomic and demographic groups, and collectively represent over seven million women nationwide. 

Our member groups are very concerned that the nation's premier golf event, the Masters, is hosted by a club that discriminates against women by excluding them from membership. While we understand that there is no written policy barring women, Augusta National's record speaks for itself. As you know, no woman has been invited to join since the club was formed in 1932. 

We know that Augusta National and the sponsors of the Masters do not want to be viewed as entities that tolerate discrimination against any group, including women. We urge you to review your policies and practices in this regard, and open your membership to women now, so that this is not an issue when the tournament is staged next year. Our leadership would be pleased to discuss this matter with you personally or by telephone. I will contact you in the next few weeks. 


Martha Burk, Ph.D., Chair
CC: James Singerling, Club Managers Association of America
CC: Lloyd Ward, United States Olympic Committee

When a letter arrived by FedEx from Augusta National on July 9, I was so busy I almost didn't open it. It was a terse three-sentence reply: 

Dear Dr. Burk: 

As you are aware, Augusta National Golf Club is a distinctly private club and, as such, cannot talk about its membership and practices with those outside the organization. I have found your letter's several references to discrimination, allusions to the sponsors and your setting of deadlines to be both offensive and coercive. I hope you will understand why any further communication between us would not be productive. 


William W. Johnson

I tossed it aside, figuring I would deal with it later, mentioning to my assistant in passing that we got a kiss-off letter from Augusta National. 

Ten minutes later, my phone rang. It was Doug Ferguson at the Associated Press, asking about Hootie Johnson's response to my letter. I was surprised to be getting any press call on this, much less from the AP, because try as we might to get attention for "women's issues," the press doesn't ring very often. Social Security and child care just aren't sexy enough topics. Anyway, I told Ferguson that I really hadn't had time to think about it, and that it was only three sentences telling me Johnson didn't want to communicate with me. Ferguson said he didn't mean that response, but the three-page press release the club had sent out. I told him I was unaware of a press release, so he read it to me for my reaction. (He also faxed it at my request after the interview, a tremendous help for what was to come.) 

We have been contacted by Martha Burk, Chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO), and strongly urged to radically change our membership. Dr. Burk said this change should take place before the Masters Tournament next spring in order to avoid it becoming "an issue." She suggested that NCWO's leadership "discuss this matter" with us. 

We want the American public to be aware of this action right from the beginning. We have advised Dr. Burk that we do not intend to participate in such backroom discussions. 

We take our membership very seriously. It is the very fabric of our club. Our members are people who enjoy each other's company and the game of golf. Our membership alone decides our membership -- not any outside group with its own agenda. 

We are not unmindful of the good work undertaken by Dr. Burk's organization in global human rights, Social Security reform, reproductive health, education, spousal abuse and workplace equity, among others. We are therefore puzzled as to why they have targeted our private golf club. 

Dr. Burk's letter incorporates a deadline tied to the Masters and refers to sponsors of the tournament's telecast. These references make it abundantly clear that Augusta National Golf Club is being threatened with a public campaign designed to use economic pressure to achieve a goal of NCWO. 

Augusta National and the Masters -- while happily entwined -- are quite different. One is a private club. The other is a world-class sports event of great public interest. It is insidious to attempt to use one to alter the essence of the other. The essence of a private club is privacy. 

Nevertheless, the threatening tone of Dr. Burk's letter signals the probability of a full-scale effort to force Augusta National to yield to NCWO's will. 

We expect such a campaign would attempt to depict the members of our club as insensitive bigots and coerce the sponsors of the Masters to disassociate themselves under threat -- real or implied -- of boycotts and other economic pressures. 

We might see "celebrity" interviews and talk show guests discussing the "morality" of private clubs. We could also anticipate op-ed articles and editorials. 

There could be attempts at direct contact with board members of sponsoring corporations and inflammatory mailings to stockholders and investment institutions. We might see everything from picketing and boycotts to T-shirts and bumper stickers. On the internet, there could be active chat rooms and email messaging. These are all elements of such campaigns. 

We certainly hope none of that happens. However, the message delivered to us was clearly coercive. 

We will not be bullied, threatened or intimidated. 

Obviously, Dr. Burk and her colleagues view themselves as agents of change and feel any organization that has stood the test of time and has strong roots in tradition -- and does not fit their profile -- needs to be changed. 

We do not intend to become a trophy in their display case. 

There may well come a day when women will be invited to join our membership but that timetable will be ours and not at the point of a bayonet. 

We do not intend to be further distracted by this matter. We will not make additional comments or respond to the taunts and gripes artificially generated by the corporate campaign. 

We shall continue our traditions and prepare Augusta National Golf Club to host the Masters as we have since 1934. 

With all due respect, we hope Dr. Burk and her colleagues recognize the sanctity of our privacy and continue their good work in a more appropriate arena.

I was astounded by the tone and language in the press release, but I went ahead and did the AP interview, it's fair to say with zero preparation. Being only a casual golf fan and knowing some tournaments moved around year to year, I made one mistake: I said if Augusta National didn't open to women, perhaps the tournament should be moved. I didn't know, of course, that the club owns the Masters and it never moves, while the other PGA Tour events move every year. Ferguson printed the gaffe, and it was used against me repeatedly by those who disagreed with our position. Though the language differed, the essence was "What is she doing sticking her nose into golf? The dumb bitch doesn't even know Augusta National owns the Masters." Just in case anyone doubts that a double standard is alive and well, Jesse Jackson made the same mistake on television a month or so later, and not a single member of the press made an issue of it, or dared call him dumb or uninformed. 

My phone continued to ring all afternoon. The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and many others called. I was on the radio and CNN by evening, but I still thought it was a one-day story. Boy, was I wrong. The media firestorm would continue for most of the next year. For better or worse, I would become a central figure in the controversy about power, money, gender, and exclusion that played out on hundreds of talk radio shows, dozens of television debates on all the major networks, and in the pages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and People magazine, not to mention in kitchen table discussions and family arguments around the country. 

Those that didn't get it thought we were making a big deal out of nothing -- what difference does it make if a few rich guys get together and chase a little ball around? As feminists, it went without saying that we knew this was never about golf. It was about power, about keeping women out of places where important business is done, and most of all, about how sex discrimination is viewed in business circles and by extension in society at large. The press knew it, the club knew it, and judging from our e-mails, most of the public knew it too. 

Tirades from both sides of the gender divide poured into our office -- close to five hundred e-mails a day. Not all the men were against us, nor all the women for us. But all had strong opinions. On the one hand, it wasn't about golf, it was about why women ought not to serve in combat. It was about the Equal Rights Amendment that would emasculate men, and everyone being forced to use unisex toilets. It was about men wanting to pee behind the trees without women seeing them. It was about women being physically weaker, that's why they shouldn't be firefighters. It was about my wife (whom I'm speaking for), who doesn't make as much money as I do, so yes, she has to do the dishes after her workday; that's fair. It was about you feminists are on the wrong track because I'm a female college student and all this gender stuff was settled ages ago. It was about you cunts destroying the world for whites and red-blooded men who hate fags. 

On the other side, it was about all the crap I have to put up with at work from that sorry guy who I trained and now makes more than I do. It was about why my husband picks up his socks when the maid comes but not when I'm doing the housework. It was about my wife getting docked for having to leave early to pick up our kid, but the guy next to her could leave to get his car fixed without penalty. It was that this will forevermore be about men and boys not wanting to give up any modicum of power, and our willingness, as women -- like the frog in the pan of warm water on the stove -- to remain comfy and confident in our pan of warm water, waiting . . . well, we all know what happened to the frog. 
Copyright © 2005 Martha Burk 

Conversations @ Work 10 Way to Revolutionize Your Workplace-one Conversation at a Time

Guest post by Jamie Showkeir and Maren Showkeir

Seven out of ten people say that conversation is essential to getting things done at work. Yet, roughly half of today's careerists-regardless of level or position- admit to finding it difficult to have open, honest conversations at their company.  The result? Everyday conversations-the "invisible" driver of workplace culture and business success-are frequently manipulative and counterproductive. Ten waysto take the lead and create change-one authentic conversation at a time:

Have a point of view. 
Develop an informed, independent viewpoint about the topic at hand. Have a strong voice, but be open to others' perspectives, too. 

Focus on choice. 
Need to be right or do everything your way? Get over it. Leadership-formal or informal-is no longer defined as "having the right answers," but as an ability
to engage others in considering all the choices and finding the best solution. 

Raise difficult issues
It's not easy to bring up a hard subject. Still, be the one who acknowledges
the "elephant in the room" and concentrates on resolution. 

Extend goodwill. 
Approach others as allies-not adversaries. Choose to convey goodwill-despite any existing stress or strain-and manage your emotions. 

Take the other side. 
Go ahead-argue the other person's point of view. You'll help people feel heard and understood, and get to the heart of collaboration. 

Own it. 
Resist the urge to point the finger when things go wrong. Identify your own contribution to the problem and make it public. 

Deny denial. 
Denying or downplaying difficulties is dishonest and demeaning. Address the truth of a situation-the cold, hard facts-and invite others to join you in moving forward. 

Confront cynicism. 
Beware the cynics, victims, and bystanders. Sure, they're everywhere in the workplace, but if you're clear on where you stand, you needn't pour your energies into winning them over-just invite them to make their own choices instead.

Deal with resistance. 
Turning a blind eye to resistance won't make it disappear. Learn to see it, 
call it out, and deal with it.

When a conversation takes a turn for the worse, stop and "process" what's happening. Admit you're at an impasse, make a good-faith statement, and
ask for help. 

Finally, stop playing the parent and taking responsibility for others' feelings.
Encourage everyone-co-workers, direct reports, and even the boss-to deal with their own emotions and let go of the childlike hope that somebody else will make
it "all better."


Roughly half of today's careerists-regardless of level or position-admit
to finding it difficult to have open, honest conversations at their company. 


Facts About Women in History

Guest post by  Marion E. Gold, President of Marion Gold & Co.

Throughout history women have played a remarkable role in shaping America's destiny. Yet men's names predominate in history books, mostly because of a male historical bias and because there is no formal repository of women's historical contributions.

March is Women's History Month. What better time to celebrate the achievements of women who defied the odds and convention in every field of endeavor, but who history has passed by?

The following are little-known facts about women who changed our lives forever by their extraordinary courage and perseverance.

Did you know that in c.1600, near the place later known as Seneca Falls, New York, Iroquois women staged a protest against irresponsible warfare? They refused to make love or bear children unless their voices were heard on whether to wage war.

Did you know that in 1926 Violette Neatly Anderson became the first African-American woman lawyer to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court?

Did you know that in 1931 Jackie Mitchell became the first woman to sign with a professional baseball club? She pitched against Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and struck them both out!

Did you know that in 1960 Teresa and Mary Thompson, aged eight and nine years old, became the youngest Americans ever granted a patent? They invented a solar teepee (called a Wigwarm) for their school science fair.

There is so much more! No study of history is complete without a thorough understanding and recognition of how women from diverse cultural backgrounds helped shaped our country. As more and more women enjoy successful careers in all fields of endeavor, just imagine what wonderful discoveries and achievements are yet to be made.

You can help write women back into history! Visit the National Women's History Cybermuseum

Women and girls are losing the Tobacco War-and their lives!

Guest post by Marion E. Gold

At this very moment, the number of tobacco victims has risen to more than 2.5 million. Women and girls pay the highest price-with women who smoke running as much as six times the risk of having a heart attack as nonsmoking women-a far greater risk than in men. Women who smoke also increase their risk of developing cancer, heart disease and stroke, reproductive disorders, emphysema, bronchitis and pneumonia.

Fact: According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention Office of Women's Health, women who smoke increase their risk of developing cancer, heart disease and stroke, reproductive disorders, emphysema, bronchitis and pneumonia.

Fact: Women and children who do not smoke are not spared. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 700 million, or almost half of the world's children, breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke, particularly at home. Environmental tobacco smoke-ETS or secondhand smoke-is a significant cause of heart disease and is estimated to be the cause of 35,000 to 62,000 deaths among nonsmokers from heart disease in the United States each year.

Tobacco companies are growing more and more aggressive. Women are bombarded with print ads in magazines that depend on that revenue. These same magazines, even those that proclaim to focus on women's health, have been shown less likely to publish articles on the dangers of smoking.

Non-Profit organizations that work to eliminate domestic violence and house its victims are also falling prey to Tobacco marketers by becoming more and more dependent on its funding. How ironic that women who are victims of domestic violence are now becoming financially dependent on another type of abuser-tobacco manufacturers.

If the Philip Morris Companies were really interested in saving women's lives, they would stop manufacturing, advertising and selling tobacco products around the world - instead of hiding behind a false cloak of corporate citizenship while they lure young people and women into addiction.

The overall result of this onslaught is that by the year 2025, the number of women smokers worldwide is expected to triple to more than 600 million.

Women and children who do not smoke are not spared. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 700 million, or almost half of the world's children, breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke, particularly at home. In Norway, environmental or secondhand smoke was associated with an increased risk for low birth weight babies; in the Xi'an province of China, nonsmoking women had a 24% increased incidence of coronary heart disease if their husbands smoked, and an 85% increased incidence if they were exposed to passive smoke at work.

Given the tobacco industry's long history of subverting public health initiatives, it will be vital for all of us, individually and within our organizations and women's networks to speak out loud and clear. Cancel subscriptions to magazines that carry tobacco ads, and let them know why! As hard as it seems, stop giving volunteer time and money to organizations that accept tobacco funds -and tell them why.

Without a strong framework to combat tobacco use around the world - women will remain victims of this dastardly industry.


Guest post by Marion Gold  

Throughout history women have played a remarkable role in shaping America's destiny. Yet men's names predominate in history books, mostly because of a male historical bias and because there is no formal repository of women's historical contributions. 

March is Women's History Month. Below are only a sample of the outstanding women whose extraordinary courage and perseverance changed our lives forever. These are women who inspired others to do great things with their lives. Woman who we celebrate this month and every month. 

Did you know that in c.1600, near the place later known as Seneca Falls, New York, Iroquois women staged a protest against irresponsible warfare? They refused to make love or bear children unless their voices were heard on whether to wage war.

Did you know that in 1916 Ruth Law was the first person to fly nonstop from Chicago to Hornell, New York, setting a new record. She tried to enlist as a fighter pilot, but was turned down.

Did you know that in 1926 Violette Neatly Anderson became the first African-American woman lawyer to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court?

Did you know that in 1931 Jackie Mitchell became the first woman to sign with a professional baseball club? She pitched against Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and struck them both out!

Did you know that in 1962 Dolores Fernandez Huerta helped start the United Farm Workers and became its main contract negotiator?

Did you know that in 1960 Teresa and Mary Thompson, aged eight and nine years old, became the youngest Americans ever granted a patent? They invented a solar teepee (called a Wigwarm) for their school science fair.

Did you know that in 1868 Civil War worker Mary Livermore organized the first woman suffrage convention in Chicago? She later became president of the resulting Illinois Woman Suffrage Association.

Did you know that Susan Picotte, a member of the Omaha tribe, was the first American Indian woman to become a physician? She earned an MD degree in 1889 from the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, graduating at the top of her class.

Did you know that in 1893, at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Fannie Barrier Williams addressed a special session of the World's Congress of Representative Women? Her topic was "The Intellectual Progress of Colored Women in the United States since Emancipation." More than 150,000 people attended to hear 330 women present papers.

Did you know that bacteriologist Anna Wessels Williams isolated the strain of diphtheria bacterium which was used to produce the antitoxin; and that in 1905 she developed the staining method that became the standard for rabies for 34 years?

Did you know that Professor Jean Broadhurst, at age 64 climaxed her 34-year-career by discovering the virus bodies of measles. Until that time, physicians were unable to diagnose measles until the rash appeared.

Did you know that it was Dr. Joan Miller Platt, born in 1925, who helped develop a procedure for fixing cleft palates in infants? Until her innovation, the problem could not be fixed until the child was older.

Did you know that it was Trotula of Salerno, who lived during the 11th century, who was the first to claim that both men and women could have physiological defects that affected contraception? It was a daring move to admit that a man could be responsible for infertility. Trotula also described the use of opiates to dull the pain of childbirth. (Some scholars dispute that Trotula was a woman, or that she even existed.)

Did you know that it was Dorothy Reed in 1901 who showed that Hodgkin's disease is not a form of tuberculosis? She discovered a distinctive blood cell (later named the Sternberg-Reed cell) which is used to diagnose the disease.

Did you know that it was two women, microbiologist Elizabeth Lee Hazen and chemist Rachel Brown, who discovered the antifungal later called nystatin?

Did you know that Anne Bradstreet was the first published poet in American history? Bradstreet abandoned a life of nobility in England before 1644, to settle in Massachusetts with her husband. Her poems were first published in 1650.

Did you know that Lady Murasake Shikibu, a Japanese noblewoman who was born in 970 and died in 1004, wrote the earliest novel on record? Many critics consider her work a masterpiece.

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin's sister-in-law, Ann Franklin was editor of the Newport, Rhode Island, Mercury in 1762?

Did you know that in 1738 Elizabeth Timothy became the first woman editor in the South, putting out the South-Carolina Gazette? 

Did you know that it was investigative reporter Adela Rogers St. Johns who exposed the widespread corruption of the Los Angeles City government in the 1920s?

Did you know that from 1765 to 1768 Mary Katherine Goddard and her mother, Sarah Updike Goddard, published the weekly Providence Gazette in Rhode Island? She also published the Maryland Journal and printed the first signed copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Did you know that in 1861after writing a letter defending women as government clerks, Emily Edson Briggs became a daily columnist for the jointly owned Philadelphia Press and Washington Chronicle-and the first woman to report regularly on White House News?

Did you know that in 1878 Anna Katharine Green wrote the first American Detective novel? It was titled The Leavenworth Case?

Did you know that in 1945 Doris Fleeson was the first woman to write a syndicated political column?

Did you know that in 1946 Alice Allison Dunnigan was the fist African American woman journalist to get White House credentials?

Did you know that Pauline Frederick was the first woman news reporter on television, covering the 1948 political conventions for ABC?

Did you know that since the annual Nobel Prize for Literature was first awarded in 1901, only eight women have received it?

There is so much more! No study of the history of literature and journalism is complete without recognition of how women helped shaped society through their writings. As more and more women enjoy successful careers in science and medicine, politics and public service, publishing and journalismŠ just imagine what wonderful insights are yet to be discovered. Just imagineŠ.