From the Jewish World
- Forward opEd from Rabbi Hara Person: A 2018 Manifesto For The Woke Jewish Woman
- Jewish Exponent: Female Rabbis Contend Sexual Harassment Persists
- NY Jewish Week opEd from Rabbi Hara Person: When Women Rabbis Say ‘#MeToo,’ Communities Must Pay Attention
- “This Is a #MeToo Story. But It is Not a Story About Sexual Harassment or Assault,” by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt
This article from eJewish Philanthropy of February 2, 2018, contends that, in addition to highlighting the inappropriate behavior women deal with in the workplace, the #MeToo phenomenon should draw our attention to the societal structures, like the pulpit rabbinate, that were designed by men, for men, and that therefore hinder the advancement of women. The author suggests that congregations might support the development and success of women rabbis by representing power as shared rather than wielded by one rabbi at the top.
- “Women in Jewish Fundraising Say Harassment is Pervasive” by Debra Nussbaum Cohen
This article from February 26, 2018, describes the struggles faced by female fundraisers for nonprofit Jewish institutions, who often deal with sexual harassment or abuse from wealthy male donors.
- “Findings of the Confidential Survey of Female Rabbis About Sexual Discrimination and Harassment”
This study, issued by The Commission for Women’s Equality of the American Jewish Congress in 1993, represents the responses of 328 female rabbis. It provides extensive statistics regarding their experiences in both rabbinical school and the workplace, as well as a many direct quotations from the survey.
- “American Jewry’s #MeToo Problem: A First-Person Encounter” The New York Jewish Week
A woman who is a professional in the Jewish world feels that the Jewish world needs to experience its own #MeToo movement. She recounts her own experience being sexually mistreated by a prominent Jewish figure and then feeling uncomfortable telling anyone about what happened because of his power in the Jewish world. On the importance of speaking up about improper groping, kissing and the blurring of professional and romantic relationships. For too long, anything short of rape was considered “tolerable” in the Jewish community. That is no longer– must no longer– be the case.
- “The Consequences of Professional ‘Negging’” Jewish Women’s Archive, by Rabbi Leah Berkowitz
Leah Berkowitz writes about the dynamics of congregational job interviews, especially over “get-to-know-you weekends” and the inappropriate questions about relationship status and family plans that she has had to endure as a single, woman rabbi. She wonders aloud whether not feeling able to call out these questions as inappropriate in the moment, coupled with her internalizing a message of “I should feel lucky to have any offer from any congregation as a woman” from these experiences, caused her to accept lower compensation and sign-on to congregations under less-than-ideal circumstances. She calls this dynamic “professional negging.” She recommends training for search committees to avoid questions that distract the focus from learning about the mutual fit between rabbi and congregation.
- “Want To Help Women Rabbis Get The Respect They Deserve? Here’s A List,” The Forward, By: Kari Hofmaister Tuling
From the Wider World
- “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh
This classic 1989 description of white privilege suggests that a recognition of the advantages conferred by whiteness in America might facilitate awareness in men of the advantages conferred by their gender identity.
- “If Only Quoting Women Were Enough” by Amanda Taub and Max Fisher
This article from the New York Times of February 9, 2018, contends that the discrepancy in journalistic citation of male versus female experts—about 3-to1 according to the authors—represents the tip of an iceberg. The difficulty in finding female voices to cite stems from the challenges faced by women trying to reach the upper echelons of journalism, academia, and research institutions. Citing more female experts, therefore, is a merely symbolic gesture that should be accompanied by changes to the systems that stifle the advancement of women.
- “Children Hurt Women’s Earnings, but not Men’s (Even in Scandinavia)” by Claire Cain Miller
This article from the New York Times of February 8, 2018, argues that parenthood exacerbates the pay gap between men and women in both Europe and the United States. The gap between childless men and women pales in comparison to that between male and female parents, a phenomenon the authors attribute to the claim that working mothers, even in societies with generous parental leave policies and subsidized child care, spend more time rearing children and maintaining a home than do working fathers.
- “Diversity fatigue in the tech world” Los Angeles Times
Although many companies adopt diversity trainings and programs with good intentions, the lack of success and the continued insistence of using certain diversity programs has caused a sort of “I am sick of diversity trainings and initiatives” attitude among employees. Companies need to focus on not creating an us-versus-them dichotomy among their employees, which could lead to resentment and an overall feeling of discomfort with diversity initiatives.
- “Do & Don’t: An Open Letter to Older Male Senior Pastors Regarding Your Working Relationships with Younger Women/Femme/Non-Binary Associate Colleagues” by Andrea Roske-Metcalfe, Young Clergy Women International
The author, who enjoys a highly-functional working relationship with her senior, male pastor colleague, realizes hers is an anomaly in the Lutheran Church. She synthesizes a list of do’s and don’ts from crowd-sourced responses, which are relevant for all clergy who work with senior and/or associate clergy on how to avoid gender-based power dynamics which, when unchecked, can lead to exploitative working conditions, especially for younger, female associates.
- “How Boston Is Trying to Close the Gender Pay Gap” by Anna Louie Sussman, New York Times
This article explores a city-wide phenomenon at many companies in Boston, motivated in part by the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act, which went into effect in July, 2018, to equalize pay between men and women at companies in Boston across a variety of industries. The Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement has had 223 companies sign on with them, and hundreds of women have participated in trainings through the American Association of University Women on salary negotiation. The article explores disparities between professional industries and working-class industries (which inequality is greater) and how a number of Boston companies have corrected salaries upwards for women in recent months.
- “Picture a Leader. Is She a Woman?” New York Times
This piece focused on a study concerned with confirmation biases we have and how stereotypes about what a “leader” looks and acts like affects who we can see as leaders. Even if a woman were to exhibit the same skills and leadership potential as a man, people are more likely to associate strong leadership and a take-charge attitude with men. As a result, when asked to draw what a leader looks like, a group of executives drew figures that were masculine, and described the figures, mostly unknowingly, as “he is this, or he is that.” This was the case even among female executives who participated.
- “‘I Was Blacklisted From Employment’: Speaking Up in the Workplace” New York Times
This 2017 article is about women in the entertainment industry who were punished or faced consequences for coming forward with allegations against male coworkers.
- “Push for Gender Equality in Tech? Some Men Say It’s Gone Too Far” New York Times
This 2017 article is about some men in the tech industry who feel a backlash from women reporting on sexual harassment and general feelings of the gender equality being difficult for men.
- “3 Reasons Women In Law Are Still Waiting On Equality” Above the Law
This 2017 article about “Initiatives” in Law firms to help women find equality with their male colleagues and whether or not this is a helpful tactic.
- “A Current Glance at Women in the Law” American Bar Association – Commission on Women in the Profession
This a 2017 report from the American Bar Association which is a census of sorts, a state of the association on the number of women in the field. Very interesting to have these data points.
- “‘A Bleak Picture’ for Women Trying to Rise at Law Firms” New York Times
This 2017 article is about the realities of women trying to move toward Partner in major law firms in our country and some of the challenges they face.
- “Large Law Firms are Failing Women Lawyers” — Washington Post
This article from 2014 says much of what the above NYT article does, but a few years old.
- “Women in Medicine: Female Physicians Get Called ‘Doctor’ Less Than Their Male Colleagues” Newsweek
This article from 2017 is about the experience of women professionals (doctors in this case) are often called by their first names while their male colleagues are referred to by their titles. “Dr. Jones” verses “Julia”
- “Sharing the Pain of Women in Medicine” New York Times
This is from 2012 about how women feel the difficulties of their work in a different way than men because of some institutional systems that disadvantage women.