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Women’s Media Center Releases Yearly Status of Women in U.S. Media Report

July 15, 2015 Comments off

Women’s Media Center Releases Yearly Status of Women in U.S. Media Report
Source: Women’s Media Center

The Women’s Media Center (WMC) today released its yearly report on the status of women in U.S. media. The report is based on new and original research that finds that the media landscape is still dominated by male voices and male perspectives.

Taken together, the 49 studies are a snapshot of women in media platforms as diverse as news, literature, broadcast, film, television, radio, online, tech, gaming, and social media.

“Inequality defines our media,” said Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center. “Our research shows that women, who are more than half of the population, write only a third of the stories. Media tells us our roles in society—it tells us who we are and what we can be. This new report shows us who matters and what is important to media—and clearly, as of right now, it is not women.”

An Old Boys’ Club No More: Pluralism in Participation and Performance at the Olympic Games

July 10, 2015 Comments off

An Old Boys’ Club No More: Pluralism in Participation and Performance at the Olympic Games (PDF)
Source: Peterson institute for International Economics

This paper examines the growing diversity of participation and achievement in the Olympics. A wide set of socioeconomic variables is correlated with medaling, particularly with respect to the Summer Games and women’s events. Host advantage is particularly acute in judged contests such as gymnastics. However, there is evidence that the influence of correlates such as country size, per capita income, and membership in the communist bloc is declining over time as competition becomes increasingly diverse. These effects are less evident in the Winter Games, events that require significant capital investments, and judged contests.

Women Favour Dyadic Relationships, but Men Prefer Clubs: Cross-Cultural Evidence from Social Networking

July 9, 2015 Comments off

Women Favour Dyadic Relationships, but Men Prefer Clubs: Cross-Cultural Evidence from Social Networking
Source: PLoS ONE

The ability to create lasting, trust-based friendships makes it possible for humans to form large and coherent groups. The recent literature on the evolution of sociality and on the network dynamics of human societies suggests that large human groups have a layered structure generated by emotionally supported social relationships. There are also gender differences in adult social style which may involve different trade-offs between the quantity and quality of friendships. Although many have suggested that females tend to focus on intimate relations with a few other females, while males build larger, more hierarchical coalitions, the existence of such gender differences is disputed and data from adults is scarce. Here, we present cross-cultural evidence for gender differences in the preference for close friendships. We use a sample of ~112,000 profile pictures from nine world regions posted on a popular social networking site to show that, in self-selected displays of social relationships, women favour dyadic relations, whereas men favour larger, all-male cliques. These apparently different solutions to quality-quantity trade-offs suggest a universal and fundamental difference in the function of close friendships for the two sexes.

Preferred Women’s Waist-to-Hip Ratio Variation over the Last 2,500 Years

July 9, 2015 Comments off

Preferred Women’s Waist-to-Hip Ratio Variation over the Last 2,500 Years
Source: PLoS ONE

The ratio between the body circumference at the waist and the hips (or WHR) is a secondary sexual trait that is unique to humans and is well known to influence men’s mate preferences. Because a woman’s WHR also provides information about her age, health and fertility, men’s preference concerning this physical feature may possibly be a cognitive adaptation selected in the human lineage. However, it is unclear whether the preferred WHR in western countries reflects a universal ideal, as geographic variation in non-western areas has been found, and discordances about its temporal consistency remain in the literature. We analyzed the WHR of women considered as ideally beautiful who were depicted in western artworks from 500 BCE to the present. These vestiges of the past feminine ideal were then compared to more recent symbols of beauty: Playboy models and winners of several Miss pageants from 1920 to 2014. We found that the ideal WHR has changed over time in western societies: it was constant during almost a millennium in antiquity (from 500 BCE to 400 CE) and has decreased from the 15th century to the present. Then, based on Playboy models and Miss pageants winners, this decrease appears to slow down or even reverse during the second half of the 20th century. The universality of an ideal WHR is thus challenged, and historical changes in western societies could have caused these variations in men’s preferences. The potential adaptive explanations for these results are discussed.

Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women

July 8, 2015 Comments off

Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women (PDF)
Source: Prudential
From press release:

Five years into the financial recovery, Prudential’s 2014-2015 Research Study, “Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women,” reveals that while women are taking control of household finances, they are no more prepared to meet long-term financial goals than they were a decade ago.

This year’s findings suggest that women are less concerned about their financial security than they were after the 2008 financial crisis, but need to take more action in achieving their long-term financial goals.

The study also focuses on generational differences in financial behavior among women and the experiences of Asian American, African American and Hispanic women. It also provides a regional snapshot that highlights key financial differences among women by their geographic location.

Unhappy Meals: Sex Discrimination in Toy Choice at McDonald’s

July 2, 2015 Comments off

Unhappy Meals: Sex Discrimination in Toy Choice at McDonald’s
Source: William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law

This Essay reports on a commonplace form of sex discrimination that we unsuccessfully challenged in a lawsuit before the Connecticut Human Rights Commission. In a small-scale pilot study that we conducted 5 years ago (which was the basis of our initial complaint) and in a follow-up study conducted in 2013, we found that McDonald’s franchises, instead of asking drive-through customers ordering a Happy Meal about their toy preference, asked the customer for the sex of the customer’s child (“Is it for a boy or a girl?”) and then gave different types of toys for each sex. Moreover, our 2013 visits found that franchises treat unaccompanied children differently because of their sex. In 92.9% of the visits, the stores, without asking the child about her or his toy preference, just gave the toy that they had designated for that sex. Moreover, 42.8% of stores refused to offer opposite-sex toys even after the child reapproached the counter and affirmatively asked for an alternative. In the most egregious instance, a girl, after twice asking for a “boy’s toy,” was denied, even though the store a moment later had the “boy’s toy” in stock. These “fair counter” tests indicate that stores use discriminatory default, altering, and mandatory rules. They constitute strong prima facie evidence of disparate treatment on the basis of sex in the terms and conditions of contracting for a public accommodation. We also use our Happy Meal empiricism as a motivating example to explore the proper limits of civil rights law. While newspapers describing job listing as “male” or “female” have been found to be a per se civil rights violation, describing Happy Meal offerings as “boy’s toys” or “girl’s toys” may not, as a positive matter, offend courts’ current notion of equality.

Public Accommodation Statutes and Sexual Orientation: Should There Be a Religious Exemption for Secular Businesses?

July 1, 2015 Comments off

Public Accommodation Statutes and Sexual Orientation: Should There Be a Religious Exemption for Secular Businesses?
Source: William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law

This Article examines the issue of whether there should be a religious exemption for secular businesses from public accommodation statutes that protect prospective patrons from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Article examines this issue in the context of protecting free exercise of religion versus offering services to all members of the public equally and without distinction. The Article concludes that the perceived threat to religious liberty posed by such statutes is exaggerated, that the consequences of granting exemptions would be harmful, and that state-sanctioned discrimination is contrary to the fundamental principles of justice and equality underlying the U.S. legal system.

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