On Anne's Mind

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It's Time for Gender Inequity in Sports to Stop

March 28, 2021

As a journalist and former TV news and sports broadcaster, I have been covering girls' and women's fight for sports equity for nearly five decades. That's why I was infuriated but not surprised by the disturbing and blatant inequities between the facilities and even food (!) provided for male and female athletes competing at this year's NCAA March Madness college basketball tournaments.  

When female athletes and coaches used their social media power to showcase the differences, the NCAA began scrambling to apologize with excuses.  A "lack of space" was the explanation for female athletes given only a rack of dumbbells and a pile of yoga mats compared with the gigantic, fully-equipped weight room for the men. That was proven to be false, as a dramatically upgraded weight room for women "magically" appeared overnight. 

And how did the NCAA justify the dramatic differences in food, with men choosing from buffets while women were given boxed meals; the gold standard (PCR) of COVID testing for men's teams while a cheaper, less accurate (antigen) testing authorized for the women; and even the pettiness of including a 500 piece puzzle in the men's extravagant "swag bags," while women's much smaller offerings included a 150 piece puzzle? 

They couldn't, other than to admit it was "a mistake" and promise "a full investigation," once their hypocrisy was exposed. 

The disciminatory and disgraceful discrepancies created an uproar, once the athletes took to Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.  But they were not "an oversight," as the NCAA tried to claim.  They were business as usual.  

In 1974, two years after the passage of Title IX federal legislation that required schools to begin offering equal sports opportunities for girls, I reported on Little League baseball coaches, irritated to have to give girls the chance to try out for their teams, who required the girls to wear male athletic cups, claiming, "If you want to play with the boys, you need to dress like the boys." 

That same year, I covered a middle school track meet in Grand Rapids, Michigan where several female students went out for the school's track team, which had previously been only for boys.  I witnessed the determination and courage of the handful of teenage girls who endured taunts and jeers of parents who were terrified that their sons might be psychologically damaged if a girl happened to beat them in a race. 

A few years later, while working for CBS-TV in Detroit, I produced a 30-minute documentary, "Playing to Win, on the status of women's sports progress in Michigan, seven years after the passage of TITLE IX. 

During my research, I discovered that University of Michigan's legendary and powerful athletic director, Don Canham, was using Athletic Department funds to pay for legal challenges against Title IX.  He was furious that a young, female sports reporter dared to question him on that decision during my on-camera interview and called my station management to complain. His on-camera arrogance and irritation at his decisions behing challenged made great TV viewing, but barely budged his resistance to women's sports. 

That same year, the Michigan State Lady Spartans basketball team sued their own university over blatant Title IX violations.  I sat in a Grand Rapids District coutroom, listening as the athletes told of travelling to games crammed into stations wagons, sleeping two to a bed and four to a room and eating at McDonald's because of miserly per diems while the men's team stretched out in chartered buses and individual beds on road trips with generous food budgets. I witnessed the women practicing on a  court with buckets to catch water dripping from a leaky roof. 

The lead plaintiff in the "Hutchins vs. MSU Board of Trustees" lawsuit was Carol "Hutch" Hutchins, now the Hall of Fame women's softball coach at the University of Michigan. 

My memories are just of few of the thousands, probably millions of examples of the inequities, obstacles and resistance that girls and women have faced over our nearly 50 year fight for the equity in sports opportunity that Title IX required.  It is long past time for the pathetic charade of equity to be revealed and ended. Men's sports didn't start out as geese all laying golden financial eggs. Their popularity and fan base and pipeline of athletes have been built over a century of investment, beginning with school teams and coaches and nurtured with scholarships and hundreds of millions in marketing. 

World Cup Champion Soccer Player Megan Rapinoe testified during recent Congressional hearings on Equal Pay Day that we still don't know the real potential of women's sports. "What we know is how successful  women's sports have been in the face of discrimination, in the face of a lack of investment in every level in comparison to men." 

The sports gender inequities that still exist today are gigantic and, according to the sports advocacy non-profit Champion Women, include: 

-- Non-compliance with federal laws by too many high school and college sports programs 

-- Sexual assault issues, as high school and colleges too often are more concerned with protecting athletes accused of sexual assault than ensuring a safe campus environment

-- Women coaches face discriminatory employment practices, particularly in colleges, receiving for less pay than their male counterparts and locked out of the marketplace for coaching men's teams while nearly 60% of women's college teams are now coached by males. 

I applaud the female athletes and coaches who refused to quietly accept second class treatment. They are continuing the work of the of the girls and young women whom I witnessed stepping onto fields and tracks where they were not wanted, ignoring harassment and insults and even suing their own universities all for opportunities our culture teaches boys to take for granted. 

 So let's celebrate how far we've come, thanks to the multitude of leaders who have stood up for decades for the promise of Title IX. Let's keep pushing for the sports equity through organizations such as CHAMPION WOMEN.  And don't forget to thank the NCAA, as Georgia Tech coach Nell Fortner so eloquently did, for exposing its true colors. 

"To the NCAA: Thank you! And thank you to the next generation of female athletes who are unwilling to accept discriminatory and disrespectful treatment and have the social media power to expose it! Thank you for using the three biggest weeks of your organization's year to expose exactly ho wyou feel about women's basketball -- an afterthought. It's time for women's basketball to receive the treatment it has earned. Thank you for exposure."  Nell Fortner

Enjoy this year's women's NCAA March Madness Basketball Championships. I'm picking Baylor to give UConn a run for its money! 

Black Women Rising Give New Meaning to Black History Month

February 19, 2021

Greetings from a very snowy, SE Michigan. The snow here is up to my knees and a daily ritual is chipping snow-packed, icy "platform shoes" off the bottom of our horses' feet.

But that's nothing compared to the millions who are facing bitter cold with no electricity or heat and dwindling food and water supplies in multiple southern states overwhelmed by historic winter storms. I hope you will keep them in your thoughts and help if you can. 

As discouraged as we all are by the pandemic, the political divides that have torn so many friends and families (mine included) apart, and now this winter weather crisis, my spirits have been repeatedly lifted by numerous examples of inspiring Black women rising up to help heal and lead us at this critical moment of national vulnerability.  

February is Black History Month in the United States. 

When I take time to reflect, I think of Stacey Abrams. After narrowly losing her 2018 election bid for governor of Georgia, she poured her energy and skills into raising millions of dollars to organize and register hundreds of thousands of voters. She is now the leading voice on voting rights and a formidable political power. 

During the Black Lives Matter protests this past summer, I discovered how many of the growing numbers of women leading U.S. cities are African American, including the mayors of Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington, DC. Seven of the 11 female police chiefs in major cities are African American. 

The fact that the first woman to finally shatter the elusive vice presidential "marble ceiling," Kamala Harris, is a woman of color is just more evidence of the growing wave of black women rising. 

And my last, but most definitely not least, compelling example is 22-year-old, youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman who both challenged and inspired us on Inauguration Day with her stunning poem, "The Hill We Climb."

Time magazine put Gorman on the cover this week and featured an in-depth Q&A conversation with the equally inspiring Michelle Obama. How can you not be inspired by a 22-year old who has already learned enough about her capabilities and gifts to tell a former First Lady, "I'm learning that I am not lightning striking once.  I am the hurricane that comes every single year, and you can expect to see me again soon." 

The events of 2020, from violent deaths of unarmed African Americans at the hands of police witnessed by millions, peaceful protestors supporting Black Lives Matter tear-gassed and beaten, and the disproportionate toll the pandemic has taken on African Americans have all impacted my feelings this year about my country's black history to be remembered and being written today. 

One of the ways that I'm trying to have the backs of these impressive leaders who are helping our country at this moment of pain, conflict and vulnerability is by using my POWER UP WOMEN podcast to amplify the voices of other fantastic black women leaders making a difference, including my new co-host Dana Harvey.

Here are a few of our favorites POWER UP WOMEN podcast episodes of particular interest this month: 

Sybil Morial, a legendary Louisiana civil rights activist and author of Witness to Change: From Jim Crow to Political Empowerment and mother of Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League.

Robin Terry, CEO of the Motown Museum and great niece of founder Berry Gordy, on the untold story of the Women Who Helped Make Motown Great.  

WNBA athletes from the Atlanta Dream who defied their team owner and used their collective voices in support of Black Lives Matter and Georgia political power. 

You can listen to all of these POWER UP WOMEN podcasts episodes and lots more wherever you get your podcasts or through my website. I hope you'll listen, subscribe and share it with your networks. 

Stay safe, stay kind, and get vaccinated as soon as you can! I'm still waiting. 

Sedition: American Style

January 10, 2021

It is now four days since the Capitol of my country was overrun by a violent mob obsessed with overturning a lawful and fair presidential election. It was a coup attempt incited and supported by the madman who is still president, for ten more days, of the most influential and powerful nation in the world.

I am stunned, outraged and embarrassed for my country. 

As a former journalist, I was closely following the events in Washington, DC this past Wednesday. As an American citizen who participated, with over 400,000 other peaceful protestors in the January 2017 Women's March on Washington, DC, following Trump's stunning election, I understood the disappointment of Trump supporters and their legal right to protest an election that didn't turn out the way they hoped.

But I watched in horror as protestors morphed into a violent mob and stormed the U.S. Capitol, amidst chants of "Hang Pence!" and "Find That Bitch Pelosi!"

The Confederate flag, a shameful, American symbol of racial hate and treason, never made it to the U.S. Capitol -- not even during the Civil War -- until January 6, 2021. This image  turned my stomach.

And then I saw another sight I never thought I'd see: Secret Service agents, with guns drawn, barricading the doors of Congress from a dangerous mob. 

By now, any of you who are interested have seen more than enough video and photos from the siege, during which the vice president of the United States and all Members of Congress were in danger of bodily harm and five people died. 

If you are an American citizen and are still supporting and making excuses -- as seven U.S. Senators and 138 U.S. Representatives did -- for the most dangerous, incompetent and evil president in the history of the United States, I have no words for you, nor any interest in hearing yours. 

If you are a friend from another country, looking for insight on how the unthinkable happened, I urge you to listen to these two podcast episodes of THE DAILY, produced by the journalists of the New York Times. How They Stormed Congress & An Assault on the Capitol. As you will learn from the podcast reporting, this was not a surprise or a random event.  It was openly planned, for weeks, on social media, with the president urging his supporters to gather in Washington, DC on January 6th, telling them, "It will be WILD!"

For those who believe that all will be back to normal as soon as President-elect Joe Biden and vice-president elect Kamala Harris are sworn into office at noon on January 20th, I say, "Oh no, it will not!"

America is at a dangerous moment of crisis. An incompetent, cruel and deranged man who was never fit to serve as president of the Unites States has pushed the guard rails of American democracy to the breaking point and severely damaged our reputation and relationships throughout the world. 

The thousands of little lies (over 20,000 documented by the Washington Post) and the BIG LIE -- that he won the election in a landslide -- have nurtured and now ignited anger, hate and insurrection that will not magically fade away when Trump loses his presidential bully pulpit. The lies will outlast our Liar-in-Chief.

The FBI has begun identifying and arresting some of the most visible members of the mob.  But the leaders -- beginning with President Donald Trump -- must be held accountable. 

I agree with journalist Carl Bernstein who said, "Trump needs to be put in a Constitutional straight-jacket for the final days of his presidency," in order to protect Americans and the world from more madness an unhinged man could unleash. I also support the growing push to impeach this president for an UNPRECEDENTED second time, in order to prevent what we naively thought was unimaginable from ever happening again. Twitter has finally permanently banned Trump, which should have been done long ago. 

I have no idea what the next few days will bring, but nothing will surprise me, including more violence, which is already being planned with a call for a "Million Militia March" on Washington, DC on Sunday, January 17th. 

For those who believe what happened on Wednesday "is not America," it breaks my heart to acknowledge that, unfortunately, what the world witnessed -- white supremacy gone wild -- has always been part of America. The question now is, What are we going to do about it? 

Thoughts to Remember on a Year to Forget

January 1, 2021

December 31, 2020 Auburn Hills, Michigan  USA 

Many of you have emailed me, even from as far away as Nepal, asking, "Where have you been, Anne? Why haven't you written to your global network since last fall?"

I've been quiet because I felt we were all so overloaded with bad news that there was no value in adding my voice to the deafening drumbeat agonizing about COVID-19, racist atrocities, the most divisive political climate of my lifetime, or the growing reality that women are bearing the motherload of the pandemic toll, with both their families and their careers. 

Of course I was elated and relieved by the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice-president. But it's too soon to celebrate. America is still enduring the destructive death throes of Donald Trump's cruel, corrupt and incompetent presidency.

Plus, the world remains in the grip of some of the darkest weeks of this pandemic, with the death toll in the United States now 340,000 and climbing. 

Ironically, I was anticipating 2020 to be a joyful year, full of national celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which changed my life and those of millions of women decades before we were born.

Several of my closest friends and I had reservations in Seneca Falls, New York, birthplace of the Women's Suffrage Movement, where we planned to join thousands of others to honor the leadership of Susan B. Anthony, Lucrecia Mott and the legions of American suffragists who tenaciously persisted through the 75-year, often brutal fight for the right to vote.

How ironic that the 100th anniversary of their 1920 victory occurred in a presidential election year when American democracy hung by a thread and women voters, particularly African American women, made the critical difference. 

As I watched the long-anticipated celebrations of a gigantic step in women's herstory pass as a whisper in the pandemic's wake, and began to comprehend the toll that this deadly virus is claiming, particularly for women, people of color and our most vulnerable citizens, I turned inward. Rather than thinking of what I could write or what inspiring podcast guest I could interview, I found myself voiceless. 

But my silence was neither acceptance nor resignation to the multitude of injustices that 2020 forced the world to notice. If anything, I am even more determined to use my experience, my influence, my networks, my resources and whatever years remain to me to do whatever I can, where I can, when I can to help those who cannot. 

I've found inspiration from a multitude of talented, ambitious, kick-ass younger women of every generation. Here are just a few who are inspiring me to rise to the possibilities of 2021, rather than wallow in the reckonings of 2020. 

Kim Brooks, writing in the New York Times that "Feminism Has Failed Women," calls for a New Feminism that is "grounded in solidarity (with other women and men who support us) rather than (merely) success." 

Gitanjali Rao, a 15 year old, brilliant young scientist and inventor, selected by TIME MAGAZINE as "Kid of the Year." Rao told interviewer Angelina Jolie, "I think more than anything right now, we just need to find that one thing that we're passionate about and solve it. Even if it's something small. Don't feel pressured to come up with something big." 

Kate Davis, deputy editor of Fast Company magazine who did a fascinating POWER UP WOMEN! podcast with me about her powerful commentary, Whitmer vs. Cuomo: A Case Study in American Sexism. 

And, of course, Kamala Harris, who will become the first woman and woman of color to become vice president of the United States, on January 20 of the New Year we all so eagerly await. We must have her back as she faces the inevitable sexist headwinds that still blow so hard against women who dare to push the edges of possibility. 

So, as we close the book on 2020, let's not hurry back to NORMAL LIFE. I hope you'll join me in taking the time to embrace the many lessons of a year that refused to allow us to look away.

For me, the most important lesson has been the reminder of the collective responsibility we all have to one another and to the children, planet and all living things in our care. For those of us lucky enough, as I am, to have come through 2020's many tests with our health, a safe place to live, food for our families, health insurance and without fear of what tomorrow may bring, we are called upon to do MORE.

After nearly five decades of often finding myself on the front line of fights for human equity and opportunity, there are days when I think it is time for me to step aside. There is nothing that gives me hope more than watching talented, diverse, ambitious kick-ass women stepping forward and tackling complex problems that my generation has left unsolved.

But I was recently issued a fresh challenge by Karina Funk, one of the "100 Most Influential Women in Finance" and a leading voice and expert on Sustainable Investing, whom I was privileged to interview for the January IWF GAME CHANGERS podcast. We were talking about the courage that it requires for women to ask tough questions and advocate for diversity and the planet in boardrooms or executive suites where we are still minority voices. 

"If you are (a woman) in a boardroom, you are already at a point in your career where you've made a lot of decisions that have built your reputation," Karina urged. "Use that reputation to take career risks... to make an impact."

So that's my New Year's resolution: to accept Karina Funk's challenge, which reminded me of the inspiring words of Mary Lou Anderson.

"Leaders are called to stand in that lonely place between the no longer and the not yet, and intentionally make decisions that will bind, forge, move and create history. We are not called to be popular. We are not called to be safe. We are not called to follow. We are the ones called to take risks. We are the ones called to change attitudes, to risk displeasures. We are the ones called to gamble our lives for a better world." 

So long 2020. Let's get started 2021! 

 

 

Evil Hits Too Close to Home in Michigan

October 10, 2020

 Auburn HIlls, Michigan  USA 

The hatred and hostility that has bubbled to dangerous levels in the United States just hit very close to home. Not just to my home state of Michigan, but to my heart. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is a personal friend. 

I'm still reeling from yesterday's stunning announcement that 13 members of right-wing, extremist militia groups in Michigan, described by the FBI as "well-armed and highly dangerous," were plotting to kidnap, try for treason and execute our outstanding and courageous governor. 

Why? Because they are furious that "The Bitch," as they described Whitmer in recorded phone conversations, dared to tread on their FREEDOMS by ordering state-wide restrictions to protect Michigan residents from a deadly pandemic.

How dare a woman order them to wear masks, close schools, restaurants and gyms or limit the size of private and public gatherings! Their plot was months in the making and included surveillance of the governor's northern Michigan vacation home and plans to use explosives to create a diversion for security so that they could "Just Grab the Bitch." 

These dangerous militias, with names like Proud Boys and Wolverine Watchmen, are toxic masculinity on steroids. They are also unnerving evidence of the "domestic violence extremists" that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has just described as the "most persistent and lethal threat" to America. These groups have been festering and metastasizing for years.  Authorities say they were seizing on this moment of civil unrest in the U.S. to wreak havoc on the country. Their goal of triggering another civil war is horrifying. 

But here's what is even worse. A drumbeat of blatant racist and misogynistic dog whistles from the president of the United States have emboldened them.  Earlier this spring, when Michigan was one of the worst COVID-10 hot spots in the U.S. and Governor Whitmer and her team of health experts and scientists were scrambling to control it with state-wide "shelter in place" orders, President Trump tweeted, "Liberate Michigan!"

It was just a few weeks later that heavily-armed protestors, stormed the legislative chambers of our state Capitol, threatening lawmakers and demanding that pandamic restrictions be lifted. Whitmer stuck with the science and held firm, which is why new COVID-19 cases and deaths are mostly flat in Michigan.

 During the first presidential debate, with 70 Million television viewers watching, Donald Trump refused to denounce white extremists groups. Instead, when pressed for a message to his violent supporters, the president told them to, "Stand back and stand by!" One can't help but wonder if he had already been briefed on the plot against Governor Whitmer's life when he issued that order. 

In her news conference yesterday, just a few hours after the FBI released details about the kidnapping plot, Whitmer called for national unity, saying,“I’ve said it many times: We are not one another’s enemy.  This virus is our enemy, and this enemy is relentless.”

Then she rightly called out Trump, saying, “Our head of state has spent the last seven months denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division."

And what was the U.S. president's response?  He doubled down, tweeting, "Governor Whitmer of Michigan has done a terrible job. She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband’s boating activities. The Federal Government provided tremendous help to the Great People of Michigan... Governor Whitmer—open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!” 

There is nothing that gets under the skin of our Covid-infected president more than strong, powerful women.  Besides hitting back at Whitmer, his cowardly twittter offensive yesterday also took aim at vice-presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris, whom he repeatedly called "a monster." 

I'm not just fearful about the tragedy against an elected leader and our country that was diverted, this time. I'm furious. Furious that the president of my country, who took an oath "to protect and preserve the people of the United States" has allowed over 210,000 Americans to die from a pandemic that is still out of control and led our nation to the most precarious moment of my lifetime.  

If you are an American citizen whose values have long aligned you with the Republican Party and have read this far, I'm guessing that you have decided not to vote for him again.

But I beg you to take one more step. A step for justice, for democracy and to begin the healing. If only for this one time in your life, help hand the leadership ball to the other team.  When a dangerous, delusional leader is fanning the flames of hate, it is not enough to stand on the sidlines and hope things work out. Voting is not about falling in love with the perfect candidate. It is moving a chess piece to get you to a better place. 

History is coming for us. I pray that the land of my birth is up to the greatest test of our lifetimes. 

 

Women Were't Given the Vote. They Fought For It!

September 2, 2020

Last week the long-anticipated statue of American Suffragists Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth was unveiled on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment being signed into the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920. It was the first-ever statue in New York's Central Park depicting real women!

I've been interested for a long time in the Suffragists -- both the Americans and the more radical English reformers -- who fought with single-minded tenaciousness for decades for women's right to vote.

My favorite movie is Iron-Jawed Angels with Hillary Swank playing Alice Paul, the fierce, second-generation Suffragist who led the final battles for passage years after Susan B. Anthony, the amendment's "mother," was in her grave. 

So I thought I knew a lot -- about the history, the decades of leaders who took up the fight, the mockery and violence that thousands of women endured, and the complexities of racism entwined in the fight that split white and black women. But my understanding was just the tip of the iceberg.

I had no idea about the powers that fought so long and so bitterly to keep half of the population of an alleged Democracy disenfranchised. The real story, the WHOLE story is one of the most important stories in American history.  It is as essential to understanding who we are as is the American Civil War. And the bitter lessons that the struggle taught about political power are as relevant today as 100 years ago. 

I hope you will take the time to watch the outstanding, two-part PBS documentary, THE VOTE, which is worth every minute of your time and FREE onlline. 

 If you are an American citizen, it will deepen your understanding of the powerful forces and divisions that shape our country and will challenge you to think deeply about who "We the People" really are.

If you are a citizen of a another country, wondering what the heck is going on with the USA, it will help you understand why I believe the upcoming U.S. presidential election is the most important of my lifetime.

In a democracy, there is nothing more important than safe and fair elections that truly represent the will of ALL THE PEOPLE. 

Witness to Change: From Jim Crow to Political Empowerment

August 16, 2020

My country is standing at a crossroads over Human Rights. The USA's path forward will be determined by the November elections -- the most important of my lifetime. 

For the record, I am OVERJOYED with the selection of Senator Kamala Harris as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate. Not only is the first woman of color to be chosen for a major party national ticket brilliantly-qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, Harris is a skilled fighter, which is exactly what Senator Biden needs for the reckoning ahead. 

Since the public murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, I have been asking myself -- as have millions of white Americans -- "What can I do to finally bring an end to the systemic racism upon which the United States was built and that we have never fully acknowledged?" Unprecedented numbers have taken to the streets to legally protest, which I support.

But just as essential as public outrage is the private work that each of us must undertake to actively listen and urgently learn about the history that we were never taught. 

My most recent teacher is Louisiana legend Sybil Hydel Morial, author of WITNESS TO CHANGE: From the Jim Crow South to Political Empowerment. It was my privilege to recently interview her for the Game Changers podcast of the International Women's Forum. 

Born into the dehumanizing segregation of the Jim Crow South, Morial is a life-long activist, educator and author who rose to the mountaintops of political power. A college friend of Martin Luther King, wife of the first African American mayor of New Orleans, and mother of the current CEO of the National Urban League, Morial's perspective on the Civil Rights fights of the last six decades and wisdom on the way forward are compelling. 

Today, I am also thinking of another legendary African American woman who inspired us in different ways. Aretha Franklin died two years ago on August 16, 2018. 

Thousands waited for hours to pay their respects before she was buried here in her hometown of Detroit. Click here for the episode of POWERING UP from her funeral.

Michigan photographer Linda Solomon, whom Aretha trusted to photograph many of her most private moments, captured the soul of Aretha in her stunning book.  Click here for my conversation with Linda talking about her never-before-seen photos. 

The soul and future direction of the United States of America are at stake in the upcoming November elections. 

As I listen to the powerful voices of Kamala Harris, Sybil Morial, and Aretha Franklin, I am turbo-charged for the fight ahead that is urgently calling us back to the front lines. Hope to see you there!

What is Happening to America?

July 3, 2020

July 3, 2020     Auburn Hills, Michigan USA 

This weekend is usually a joyful celebration in my country. The 4th of July is a national holiday, full of fireworks, flags and patriotism to commemorate the signing, 244 years ago, of America's Declaration of Independence from Britain. 

But I don't feel like celebrating. Instead, I feel a combination of shame, horror and fear. 

Shame, for my country's history of land theft and violence against the Native Americans who called it home for centuries before Christopher Columbus allegedly "discovered" it. 

Shame, for the way this country was built on the backs of slaves and the violence, terrorism and rampant discrimination against African Americans that continues to this day. The USA's moment of reckoning over racism, which has triggered weeks of Black Lives Matter public protests and confrontation with police, is long overdue, with 15-26 Million Americans taking to the streets. 

Horror, for the aggression and violence by police and white citizens toward unarmed black citizens. It's been going on for centuries  But now, incidents such as a Minneapolis police officer pressing the life out of George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds are being caught on cell phones for all the world to see. It's horrifying. 

The images of black American men being violently beaten, shot in the back or suffocated are horrifying and heartbreaking to watch. But they are only symptoms of the disease that is eating away at America's soul. All you have to do is to consider three recent incidents, now witnessed by millions throughout the world, to know that there is something very wrong with America. 

First, Amy Cooper, a young white woman in New York's Central Park was asked to put her dog on a leash by a black man (who was bird watching). Instead of following the park rules and complying, she called the police and played the desperate damsel telling them, "I'm being threatened by an African American man."  She knew exactly how to play our culture's racial cards. Click here to watch. 

Second, unarmed Black Lives Matter demonstrators marching through a gated community to protest at the home of the mayor of St. Louis, Missouri were threatened with weapons by a husband and wife guarding their mansion.

The third incident occurred less than 10 minutes from my home in Oakland County Michigan. An irate white woman, irritated over a verbal dispute, jumped out of her car with a loaded revolver and pointed it at an unarmed African American woman and her teenage daughter. You have to watch it to believe it.  The woman and her husband have now been arrested and charged with felonious assault.  It could easily have been murder. Click here to watch. 

But most of all I feel FEAR. First, because the COVID-19 pandemic is out of control in the United States with no solution and no national leadership in sight. Partly, because too many Americans are refusing to wear masks, because their distorted idea of freedom is more important than any responsibility to other human beings. 

Finally, I'm fearful for the future of American democracy.

 Our problems didn't begin with our current president. The kindling has been piling up for decades. Our 45th president simply lit the match and continues to fan the flames of hatred and fear. 

I think of my country these days as that of an alcoholic on a self-destructive path. For those who love her, it is paintful to watch the USA stumbling toward rock bottom, as the world observes, in stunned disbelief. 

But here is what gives me hope. Throughout its turbulent history, the United States has re-invented itself several times.  Each re-invention was ignited by crisis. 

My country is in the grips of a health, economic, racial and leadership crisis. I believe there are better days ahead, because we are a resilient nation that has lost its way, not its heart. I guess that's worth a few fireworks. 

Podcast Sources of Pandemic Insight

May 10, 2020

 

As painful and devastating as this pandemic has been for so many, I also regard it as sacred time. Because I am healthy and able to pay my bills, at a time when millions are not, I started by painting my appreciation for the "health care warriors and front line workers" on my fence, which is a great message board. 

For me, these weeks of unprecedented isolation have also been a time to reflect on what I can and will do differently, once we begin to emerge. I live in the metropolitan Detroit area of Michigan, an area that has been one of the hardest-hit "hot spots" in the United States. At this writing, 4,343 Michiganders have died from COVID-19 with nearly 46,000 confirmed cases. We are still under enforced stay-at-home orders until the end of May.  

I have no idea what changes await us. But I know that I plan to drive less, to cook and eat at home more and to increase my focus and energy on helping to address the many gaping holes in humanity's safety nets that this pandemic has revealed. One of the ways I can do that is by helping to amplify wise voices and building awareness for important issues through the two podcasts that I host.   

POWERING UP is my bi-weekly podcast that is, "A cross-generational, cross-cultural conversation about leadership, power and gender." My most recent episodes delve into:  The Dramatic Spike in Domestic Violence during COVID-19; Why the Pandemic is Disproportionately Impacting Minority, At-Risk Communities; and The Disturbing Freefall in Women College Coaches. 

GAME CHANGERS is the monthly podcast that I host for the restigious International Women's Forum. This most recent episode features two formidable women leaders on the farming and distribution front lines of the global food chain, which is in crisis. I hope you'll listen.

And if you know an aspiring podcaster (maybe yourself?!), join Robin Kinnie, Founder of the Motor City Woman studio, and me on Tuesday, May 12 when we'll be sharing tips on honing your interviewing skills. Facebook Live 7pm EST, Motor City Woman. 

I'm just a small ant on this gorgeous planet and often feel as if my efforts to make a positive difference barely matter.

But then Laura Alemán, my Spanish "niece," sent me Resistiré, her country's gorgeous, adopted "hymn against the pandemic"  -- whose refrain translates as: "I will resist, erect in front of everything . . . and although the winds of life blow strong, I'm like the reed that bends, but always stands" --   and I am inspired to keep trying and to keep believing that our human siblings and our planet are worth the fight.  

 Power On! 

Anne's Signature

Mother Earth to Humanity: I Can't Breathe

March 30, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic is a time machine to our future. Not my words, but those of Anne Marie Slaughter, a thinker I respect. She's right, I hope. 

As I write, the world has never felt smaller; more interdependent. The millions of first responders -- nurses, doctors, grocery store stockers, as well as political and business leaders -- need our urgent support. But those of us who are asked to have their backs by staying home and social distancing also have essential work to do. 

While our calendars have been cleared, now is the time to listen to the Message our living planet is sending us. The Earth is just as alive as we are. The oceans, trees, air and creatures on every continent are all fighting for survival. They have been sending us increasingly urgent signals for decades, which we've ignored.  Melting icebergs, disappearing species, the shrinking ozone layer, a continent on fire. 

Human beings, not a virus, are the most dangerous, unchecked threat to all life.  How symbolic that what finally brought normal human activity to a screeching halt was a crisis that attacks our life-giving breath. Regardless of whether you think of the mysterious and sacred life force that sustains us as God or Mother Earth, the urgent message is the same: I CAN'T BREATHE!  

My prayer is that we listen and learn.

As a Baby Boomer, I came of age at the height of the Civil Rights movement and the Second Wave Women's Movement. I was full of urgency to help lead the fight to a new world that tapped the full potential of all human beings. I fully believed I would live to witness a world where the human family would collaborate in ways that would lift us all to a better place. 

Now, as I enter the seventh decade of my life, watching humanity roaring toward a cliff I never imagined, I am stunned at where theses decades have taken us. Once again I am filled with urgency. But it is no longer the urgency of youth.  The fire in my belly is now fueled by the clear understanding that my days and years are numbered. The world as we knew it has gone silent -- forcing us to suddenly change in ways we imagined impossible just weeks ago.  

We will emerge from this crisis. But we cannot return to the normal that was killing us all.  "Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?" my mother frequently asked all of her seven children.  I have no answers, only more questions about what I am supposed to learn from this scary but sacred time. Planet Earth is alive and fighting for her life. I am listening and hope you are too. 

Days of Wink/Wink Sexual Harassment Need To Be Over

February 28, 2020

This week's GUILTY verdict in the sexual assault trial of Harvey Weinstein, once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, was a long-awaited WATERSHED moment in our centuries-long fight for safety from sexual assault and "boys will be boys," toxic work cultures. It took the tenacious reporting of Pulitzer Prize-winning, NY Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, as well as 90 women courageously reporting painful details of their Weinstein's assaults to finally stop the predator's decades-long crime spree of grabbing, groping, raping then silencing his victims. ("If he heard the word 'no,'it was like a trigger for him," testified one of his victims.) 

Let's celebrate this important victory, while reminding ourselves the war is yet to be won. 

For women to be believed and our judicial system to send a consistent message to men that "the age of impunity" for harassing, assaulting and disrespecting women is over, all generations of women and our male allies need to raise our voices COLLECTIVELY to demand change. It needs to happen at the grassroots level in every work place and, YES, EVERY TIME a woman is sexually demeaned, harassed or bothered by a man. That's what "no tolerance" policies are supposed to mean. NO TOLERANCE. 

It is younger women, Millennials and Gen Z's, who are leading the #MeToo & #TimesUp movements. Fewer of them are willing to tolerate what previous generations of women felt we had to put up with in order to be accepted in male-dominated professions where we were trying to prove we belonged. But let's not insist that younger women tolerate the intolerable because we had little recourse. If they are ready to lead on this issue, it's up to their older "sisters" to have their backs. 

That's exactly what's happening in the Michigan legislature now where a Senator with a pattern of sexual harassment is finally being held accountable. 

Senator Pete Lucido thought he was "just having fun" when he made a gang rape joke -- in front of a large group of high school boys -- at the expense of 22-year-pld reporter Allison Donahue.  She had the courage to object to him and then to use the power of her pen to report on the incident. Lucido thought he could brush it off as "a misunderstanding," until additional women came forward with stories of their own experiences with Lucido's pattern of sexual harassment.  The news coverage went viral.

My POWERING UP podcast guests this week are two of the women who raised their voices to help hold Lucido, a powerful senator, accountable for "wink/wink" sexual innuendo that needs to end.

MichiganState Senator Mallory McMorrow and Detroit Free Press Journalist Julie Hinds both spoke up -- after Gen Z Donahue led the way.  My POWERING UP podcast conversation with them is is compelling and can be found wherever you get your podcasts, as well as through my AnneDoyleLeadership website. 

I hope you will listen and share it with others who will join us in insisting that #TimesUp!

Women Will Play Defining Role in Post Impeachment USA Elections

December 20, 2019

 

I write this on an historic and sad week in my country's history.  Last night the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach the 45th president of the United States, charging him with 1) Abuse of Power and 2) Obstruction of Justice. This is only the third in our 243 year history that Congress has taken such a drastic step. 

Of course, everyone knows that President Donald Trump will not be removed from office, because the U.S. Senate, where the impeachment trial will be held in January, is now controlled by the Party of Trump—that once upon a time was the Republican Party.  

Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard more hours of witness testimony and congressional pontificating than I care to admit. I’m sick and tired of all that the Trump era has unleashed and would love nothing better than to sleep it off until America turns the page and begins to heal. 

But I can’t do that. And I hope you won’t either. We’re going to have to fight our way out of this mess. And women will play a greater role than ever before in shaping the USA that will morph from this Constitutional crisis. Think about it. 

From the moment he took the oath of office, Donald Trump’s presidency has triggered fierce backlash from women.  I was one of millions who donned pink pussy hats to mark his inauguration with the largest one-day protest in U.S. history. And that was just the beginning. 

In a fascinating article, Welcome to the First Impeachment in the Era of Female Power, reporter Garance Franke-Ruta writes, “They (women) fueled the rise of grassroots resistance groups that organized across the country to turn out voters and take on Republicans from the county seat-level to the presidency. They ran for Congress — and won — in record numbers in 2018. A CNN poll right before Thanksgiving found that 61% of women favored impeaching Trump, as compared to only 40% of men. That’s an astonishing gender gap.” 

Plus, the 116th Congress, which impeached this president, is not only led by the first-ever female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, it has more female members (23%) than ever before in history.

And 83% of those Congresswomen voted for impeachment. Many represent swing districts where their vote will trigger bitter re-election fights. We need to have their backs!

Now comes the true test. Exactly 100 years after American Suffragists finally won their 75 year fight for women's right to vote, we will have it in our power to save our ship of state from political suicide.

Because, not only are more women than men registered to vote in the U.S. they also go to the polls during elections in greater numbers than men. Let's not leave it to African American women alone to save us from misogynistic men determined to make decisions about our bodies and our safety. Just because we're sleeping with the patriarchy doesn't mean we can't take our equal place beside them in the halls of power. 

So here are my 2020 rallying cries. 

First, an all-male (president and vice president) ticket must be UNTHINKABLE. Don't wait until it's too late. We must raise our voices and flex our financial and political muscles NOW to ensure that one of the many tremendously qualified women currently serving as senators, congresswomen, governors and maybe even small-town mayors WILL be on the Democratic ticket. 

Second, our second class status will only end when we DEMAND that it ends. That requires gender parity in political office -- from the White House and U.S. Congress to state capitals and county commissions. The 2019 Global Gender Gap Report, which was released this week, shows that political empowerment and economic opportunity are the two biggest barriers holding women back, despite nearly gender parity in education and health care gains. 

If you aren't running for office yourself, let this be the year you give more money, knock on more voters' doors and work harder than ever before to make sure women aren't just passengers on our national runaway train. 

Finally, treat yourself (and your favorite future feminist!) to some great books. Here's some of my favorite, new inspiration: Broad Influence by Jay Newton-Small, Enlightened Sexism by Susan Douglas and Oranges for Eve: My Brave, Beautiful Badass Journey to the Feminine Divine by Rabbi Tamara Kolton.  

Enjoy the holidays. Let's get rested and ready to POWER UP in 2020! Anne 

Women Leaders from Six Continents To Gather in Detroit in October 2020

September 1, 2019

The International Women’s Forum (IWF), one of the most significant global networks of accomplished, influential women from all over the U.S. and six continents, will hold its World Leadership Conference in Detroit, Michigan for the first time in the IWF’s 45-year history.  “The City Ahead” will be the theme of the October 7-9, 2020 conference that will bring over 600 women leaders from six continents to the Motor City. 

I have been a member of this powerful network of trailblazing women leaders for over 20 years and am privileged to be the current president of the Michigan chapter, as well as host of IWF's Game Changers podcast. 

Last week, while IWF CEO Stephanie O'Keefe and her team were in Detroit to begin planning the conference, we held a news conference in the stunning Diego Rivera Court of the Detroit Institute of Arts to announce details for the conference that will focus on the most pressing leadership issues and opportunities facing major urban areas. 

“Detroit is the perfect location to hold a global conversation, through a female lens, about the complex challenges cities all over the planet are facing,” O’Keefe told the news media.

Here is the WDIV-TV news report from the announcement. 

IWF conferences are unique gatherings, which include behind-the-scenes visits to some of the world's greatest cities.  From the vault with Lucy’s bones in South Africa to a tour by a Supreme Court Justice of the court in Washington, D.C, these visits are rare opportunities for IWF members to experience each host city’s most important cultural, historic, political and economic landmarks.  IWF World Leadership Conferences also create an environment to build lasting friendships and valuable business relationships across careers, cultures and continents.  At the closing gala of the conference, several globally renowned women will be inducted into IWF’S prestigious Hall of Fame. 

IWF members are trailblazers, innovators and pioneers of change – the women who are re-drawing the map for how humans will live, work, produce and maintain healthy communities in the coming years. IWF-MI’s membership includes many of SE Michigan’s leading female business executives, lawyers, artists, journalists, non-profit leaders and elected officials.The IWF Michigan chapter, founded in 1985 with 15 members, was the 15th state forum to join the IWF. Today, our membership includes 112 professionally and culturally diverse women leaders who share a commitment to empowering women and girls.

If you've never been to Detroit, or haven't visited our icononic city in years, there is no better way to experience the economic, cultural and musical renaissance of this icononic city than the October 2020 World Leadership Conference of the IWF.   Although IWF Global Conferences are primarily gatherings of members from all over the world, non-members may attend the global conferences if registered as the guest of a member. 

Hope to see you in Motown in October 202O!

 

Not Since Billie Jean and Bobby

July 14, 2019

 

Where were you when Megan Rapinoe, captain of the USA Soccer team (let the men use the defining gender adjective), took one deep breath, moved her body to the right and kicked left, powering a penalty kick past Holland's brilliant goalkeeper to break a 0-0 deadlock in the championship game of the 2019 World Cup? 

Where were you a few minutes later when midfielder Rose Lavelle wove her way through multiple defenders to score a legendary, solo goal, putting her team up 2-0 and assuring USA Soccer its 4th World Cup? 

Did you get goosebumps, as I did, listening to the sold-out stadium crowd chanting not just "USA, USA", at the end, but "EQUAL PAY, EQUAL PAY!"

And where were you when pink-haired Rapinoe, captain of this brash, confident team that has strutted onto the world stage and earned a permanent place in our hearts, took the podium, following a ticker tape parade in New York's "Canyon of Champions," and challenged all of us to seize this euphoric national moment as an opportunity to come together and move our society forward? 

"We have to be better. We have to love more. Hate less. We've got to listen more and talk less," she told the cheering crowd. "There has been so much contention in these last few years. . . It is time to come together. This conversation is at the next step."

THE "CONVERSATION" she's talking about is much bigger than sports victories. Rapinoe, Lavelle, Alex Morgan and their teammates all understand very clearly the platform they have achieved and the responsibility they have embraced to use their voices and influence, not only to fight for equal pay, but to hold our culture's feet to a much bigger fire: GENDER EQUALITY. 

As Rapinoe put it, "Yes, we play sports.  Yes, we play soccer.  Yes, we are female athletes, but we are so much more than that. . . We have pink hair and purple hair. We have tattoos. Dreadlocks. We got white girls and black girls and everything in between! Straight girls and gay girls." 

NOT SINCE BILLIE JEAN KING SILENCED Bobby Riggs and his chauvinistic blatherings about male superiority with her 1973 tennis victory in the legendary "Battle of the Sexes, witnessed by millions, has there been a defining sports moment that has so stunningly toppled deeply-ingrained gender stereotypes and instantly changed the conversation about women's place in the world. We are in a new place. 

But there is a critical difference that sets the long-term impact of this 2019 World Cup moment apart from the accomplishment of Billie Jean King, who was also fighting for equal pay for women's tennis. BJK did it alone. She was a powerful and inspiring symbol of possibility for a generation of girls (me included). A solitary, super woman.   

But USA Soccer's achievement was a team victory. An example to the world of what powerful, talented focused women working collectively can accomplish. Black girls, white girls, straight girls, gay girls and everything in between! They are the affirmation, as USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan put it, of "...all the goodness that comes from raising another generation of strong, intelligent, fearless and successful women through sports." 

If you missed the games, you missed something very special. But you will not miss the cultural impact of what these leaders have done. Because they are as clear about the power of their voices and their right to use them to demand equality as they are about the power of their strong bodies and ability to defeat whatever obstacles are thrown at them. 

AND HERE'S THE BEST PART. USA Women's Soccer is merely a symbol of things to come. The tip of icebergs of new generations of women -- Millennials and Gen Z's and their daughters -- who will not settle for second class status. 

This Baby Boomer is thrilled to pass the leadership torch. But I have no intention of retiring from the fight. I will cover their flanks and have their backs as we collectively move forward toward our shared goal: Equality for all!

A Father's Day Wish: Engaging Men As Gender Allies

June 13, 2019

Father’s Day, coming up this Sunday in the U.S., is an emotionally-loaded day for me. 

First, because I miss my own father. Vince Doyle was not only a wise and fun (!) Dad to his seven children, he was also the greatest ally and mentor an ambitious young woman, negotiating gender land mines in the 1970s and '80's, could have asked for. 

Second, it triggers deep sadness that my son, Kevin, now 27, missed the invaluable gift of growing up with the security and encouragement of knowing his Dad always had his back. Because his father died when he was only seven, I've sometimes teased that I deserve special treatment on both Mother's and Father's Days. Of course, Kevin never bought that, because he and I both always knew that no one can ever replace your father. 

But there's another reason why this holiday celebrating men is an emotional trigger for me. It's also a reminder of the disproportionate power that men have over the lives of everyone in the human family, long after childhood and our own fathers are only memories. 

Sexual harassment, date rape, domestic violence, pay inequity, toxic work cultures, extreme laws violating women's right to privacy and deeply ingrained patriarchal bias that continues to deny girls and women equal opportunities to put their talents to work as leaders and decision makers for the human family are all perpetrated and/or perpetuated by men.  Males behaving badly are just the tip of the iceberg. What's most devastating is the the apathy of the millions of men who are unwilling or simply uninterested in understanding the sexism, bias and blatant misogyny that every little girl must deal with throughout her lifetime. 

The extreme "heartbeat" laws that have been passed In the U.S. recently, primarily by male lawmakers, punish women while ignoring the role and responsibilities of men in procreation. If we want to end abortion, as this thoughtful USA Today article pointed out, then we need to "Hold Men -- Fathers of Unplanned Children -- Accountable." When women are expected to be society's caregivers, men are allowed to be careless.  

I’ve been outraged for decades over the gender violence and bias that goes on and on, despite all of our talk and hand-wringing. That's why it gives me hope to encounter Jeffery Tobias Halter, who is one of only a handful of men who are working every day to engage males as gender allies. 

The Founder of YWomen, Jeff took the stage for his TEDx talk wearing red high heels to make a point about how differently men and women move through the world.  He believes, and I think he's right, that the big breakthrough in eliminating gender bias will come when Fathers stand up and demand change -- for not just their own daughters, but for the world's daughters. 

Jeffery was my guest on this week's POWERING UP podcast. It's one of my favorite interviews. He's fun, he understands the issues and he believes, "It's time to stop telling women to lean in, and start asking men to stand up!" 

So Happy Father's Day. I hope you'll celebrate by sharing my conversation with Jeffery and his "Father of a Daughter" iniative and "Male Advocacy Profile" tools with the fathers in your life. Women and girls needs all the great male allies we can get!  

A Leadership Conversation With One of the Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century

March 15, 2019

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY! Hope you are celebrating. 

I'm excited to share the news that I'm helping the International Women's Forum launch its new IWF Game Changers podcast.  It will be a monthly conversation about "life in leadership," with trailblazing membes of the IWF, an exceptional network of over 7,000  women leaders from six continents. 

The inaugural interview is with Olympic Gold Medalist and sports broadcaster Donna de Varona, who co-founded the Women's Sports Foundation with Billie Jean King. IWF Game Changers is available on all major platforms, including iTunes, as well as through the IWF website and my POWERING UP podcast.   

One of my favorite International Women's Day experiences happened six years ago in Port of Spain, Trinidad where I was at the head of a Women's March, carrying a banner that read, "Where is the National Gender Policy?" The U.S. State Department sent me there to be part of the International Women's Day celebrations. I will never forget the exchange I had with March Founder and Activist Hazel Brown, as we watched the friendly faces waving at us and all the news media coverage.

"Wow Hazel, this is great! The people are really supportive," I said to her. Hazel looked at me and said, "Yes.  But 15 years ago when we started this march, they were throwing trash and even bottles at us!" 

The memory is all the reminder I need that women all over the world are making progress. But we still have a very long way to go! Let's keep marching, raising our voices, running for office and visibly supporting women who step forward into leadership roles. Women everywhere, including here in the U.S., still face rampant sexism, whether it's misogyny and sexual assault or pay inequity and unconscious gender bias. One of my goals is to get the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which was first introduced by the Suffragists nearly 100 years ago, passed in my lifetime! 

Power On! Anne

Bridging the Millennial/Baby Boomer Divide

December 13, 2018

Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), the 29-year-old, newly-elected Congresswoman from NYC is a millennial in a hurry. She stunned the political world by beating a rising star incumbent to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. And she’s not about to be intimidated by the good-old-boys who have been treating the U.S. Capitol like their personal country club for decades. Case in point:  When Senator Lindsay Graham, who has been in Congress for over 23 years, tried to intimidate Ocasio-Cortez with an insulting tweet, she lectured him right back. 

The rising star’s leadership style is a classic example of the generational differences between ambitious, Millennial women and their Baby Boomer and Gen X “big sisters.” Millennials, such as AOC and her generational peers, have no interest in “waiting their turn” until more seasoned women leaders are ready to start sharing power it took them decades to achieve.  During the recent Midterm election campaigns, Ocasio-Cortez and multiple other first-time congressional candidates (including Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens, just elected from my home state of Michigan) vowed to voters that it was time for Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and the old guard to pass the leadership gavel to the next generation.

But a funny thing happened once these young, impatient leaders arrived in Washington, D.C.

Behind the scenes, 78-year-old Pelosi has been working her magic. She is a master at bringing people together, which is how she succeeded in getting the Affordable Care Act passed (which had floundered in D.C. for decades), and raises millions in political contributions. I'm sure she needed every bit of political savvy to convince a new generation of confident, hungry and impatient young leaders that a battle-tested general, such as herself, skilled in managing the levers of power in Washington, DC, still has much to offer.  Which she did!

It's a valuable, learning moment for all of us who are trying to figure out how to get three very distinct generations of ambitious, educated women to stop criticizaing and competing with one another and collectively turn our sites toward the real prize: Political, Economic and Cultural POWER.

In my book, POWERING UP!, I  explain the mindset differences, strengths and blind spots of each of the three generations of high-achieving women in the workplace today.  I call them Pioneering Interlopers (think: Pelosi), Influential Insiders (think: Michelle Obama) and I’ll-Do-it-My-Way Innovators (think: Ocasio-Cortez). 

My POWERING UP! podcast this week explores these generational differences in a fascinating episode called, Stilettos and Sneakers. You'll find it wherever you get your podcasts, or through my website. 

As a new generation of aspiring  women, who were raised to believe they could "be anything and do anything," begins to hit its stride, we're witnessing a fresh surge of female activism and a re-kindling of feminist flames that were mere memories for decades.  Ambitious female Baby Boomers and Millennial women have more in common than most realize.  Both are products of extremely large and activist generations that share the hunger, courage and ability to advance social change. Millennials leading the #MeToo revolt picked up where the feminists left off. 

Women born into the smaller, Gen X generation tend to be very different.  Often following tough, trailblazers into work environments, they developed the skills of diplomats following marines into freshly-conquered territories.  They found more success with fitting in as “one of the guys” than aligning with the gender role boat-rockers. 

But I believe Gen X women leaders, such as Michelle Obama, are about to play an esssential role in helping men, in particular, undertand and effectively navigate the gender white water ahead.  The likes of Lindsay Graham and Mike Pence (whose "Pence rule" is the male backlash to #metoo outrage) are terrified by women such as Octavio-Cortez who have no interest in playing by the old rules and are poised to dramatically change the game. 

Michelle Obama stood aside and softened her public image while her husband ran for and served as president. But she is now becoming an important guide for a time that is about to become much more turbulent.  Millions are buying her memoir and filling stadiums to hear her speak. She shed new light on an age-old conundrum when she told an audience, "That 'lean-in' shit doesn't always work!"  

So grab your pink pussy hats, Chicas. Millennial women are just getting warmed up and Baby Boomer trailblazers can feel that fire in their bellies burning again!  Smart men will welcome wise female guides -- of every generation!

 As always, I'd love to hear from you!  Enjoy your holidays.  Anne

#MeToo and Speaking Truth to Power

September 26, 2018

Just because I never told you, does that mean it never happened?

Just because I knew I was lucky that I had escaped something worse and realized there was nothing the police or anyone else could have (or would have) done about it, does that mean I should have reported it anyway? 

To whom should I have reported the conductor on an overnight train in Italy who found me sleeping all alone in a compartment and climbed on top of me?

The neighborhood boy who tried to convince a nine-year old to go into a garage with him so he could "see me." The high school date who locked me in his car and tried to tear my clothes off before I could escape?  The stranger in Hollywood who followed me out of a restaurant on a dark night? Or the admired athlete I thought was a friend on a night I tried to forget and never told anyone about. Not my friends, not my husband and certainly not the police. What good would it have done?  Dozens would have lined up to defend the athlete's outstanding character as someone who would "never do such a thing." Oh, but he did. 

We are about to witness ANOTHER courageous woman, risking the disintegration of her entire life, with nothing to gain and everything to lose, about to end her decades of silence, stepping onto the global stage to tell her truth about the character of a man who is on the verge of a lifetime appointment with the power to affect the lives of millions of other girls and women. We've been here before. How many more times will it take before the outcome changes? 

So many others have written so much and so well about the historic "she accused/he denied" U.S. Senate Judiciary hearings coming up this Thursday that I felt I had nothing to add.  I'm sure you know where I stand.

But this moment is too important to stay silent. What Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is about to do takes spiritual and moral courage.  She is reluctantly breaking her three decades of silence because there is so much at stake -- for all of us.  If faced with the same situation, I hope I would have the spiritual and moral courage to do the same. When Dr. Blasey Ford is testifying, I will stop whatever I am doing to stand in silence so I can send her all of the "Eve Energy" my lifeblood can spare -- to give her the courage to raise her voice and tell her truth.

That's What She Said

June 3, 2018

My Millennial son, Kevin, and I have had a running joke (usually off-color) between us for years around the expression, "That's what she said."

But in the last few weeks, "that's what she said" has taken on new meaning for me.  I'm worn-out and disgusted with the nearly daily, cultural overdose of "breaking news" coverage about the latest racist or vulgar insult some celebrity, elected official or business leader has tweeted to the world. 

I'm much more interested in wisdom being shared than in stupidity being spewed. So, here's some good news. 

For the first time in over 20 years, what she said has dominated what he said at commencement ceremonies throughout the USA.  This year, females keynote speakers, from Amal Clooney and Oprah Winfrey to Sheryl Sandberg and Queen Latifah, had the last word for graduates at the majority of American colleges and universities.  

The biggest buzz was created by the powerful message that legendary soccer champion Abby Wambach delivered to the Barnard College class of 2018. The FIFA Women's World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist challenged the all-female graduating class to "be the wolves in the world" to move society forward.

Give yourself a gift and read her entire inspiring message here. Or, better yet, watch the video

If you haven't followed USA Women's Soccer over the last decade, you may not know how dramatically Abby Wambach changed the game. You should know. This short video will help. 

Her memorable message included Four Rules she urged the next generation of women to embrace. 

  • Rule One: Make Failure Your Fuel
  • Rule Two: Lead From the Bench
  • Rule Three: Champion Each Other
  • Rule Four:  Demand the Ball

Wambach told the graduates she learned the importance of Rule Four by watching one of her soccer sheroes. 

She urged the graduates to embrace it as their rallying cry to tackle the gender bias that still awaits, telling them: "Give Me The Effing Ball! Give me the effing job! Give me the same pay that the guy next to me gets! Give me the promotion! Give me the Oval Office! Give me the respect I've earned! And give it to my wolf pack (sisters), too!" 

Abby Wambach has always been a team player, "... in search of significance, not just success," as she has often said. Significance for her team, for her sport and, most importantly, for the next generation of girls. 

I hope you'll join me in taking a page from a legendary leader's playbook and strive for signicance on our watch.  Which leaves little time for worrying about the very insignificant tweets of nobodys.

Power On!  Anne 

P.S. Two don't miss movies: RBG, the life and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Book Club, I laughed my way through the whole thing!

POWERING UP PODCAST COMING SOON

April 17, 2018

Behind the scenes work has begun on my POWERING UP PODCAST, which will be launched soon.  One of my first guests will be feminist Rabbi Tamara Kolton, whose recent article tracing the seeds of the #METOO movement back to the Garden of Eden and the shaming of Eve triggered both outrage and rejoicing on social media.  My co-host -- and niece -- Monica Doyle brings Millennial Insight to what will be "cross-generational, cross-gender, cross-cultural" conversations about leadership and finding your unique power.  Here are a few photos from yesterday's recording session.

Will keep you posted on the launch date for POWERING UP! 

The Time is Always Right to Do What is Right

April 6, 2018

On this  50th anniversary of the assassination of American Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King, Jr, media outlets are replaying segments of his most famous speeches, including the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" prophetic speech he gave in Memphis, Tennessee the night before his death. Listening to his hopeful reminder that "Only in the darkness can you see the stars," I find myself thinking of the new stars that are shining fresh light on today's darkness. 

Today's social justice warriors are: 

Grieving high school students fighting for their lives. 

Outraged athletes taking a knee against racial violence.  

And courageous, young, gymnasts confronting an evil, sexual predator.

I believe that each of us has multiple opportunities throughout our lives to help move humanity forward. Some require only very small steps outside our comfort zones; others, gigantic, scary leaps. I've learned that the important thing is to recognize them for what they are: opportunities to help inch humanity forward on the long,moral arc toward justice.  

We have a magnificent, story-telling event in Detroit -- The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers -- that was created by storyteller, entertainer and truth-seeker Satori Shakoor, with the goal of "Transforming lives one story at time."

Satori chose Justice & Grace as the theme for last month's stories, and gave me the privilege of taking the audience back to the late 1970's and early 80's when I was one of the first female, TV sports reporters to walk through the doors of professional sports locker rooms.

To come with me, click here. 

When opportunities to make a positive difference knock for you, I hope you will open the door and let them in. And after you do, share your story. Because, it will inspire others to find their courage, as well.  Anne 

The Time is Always Right to Do What is Right

April 5, 2018

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of American Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many media outlets are replaying segments of his most famous speeches, including the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" prophetic speech he gave in Memphis, Tennessee the night before his death. Listening to his hopeful reminder that "Only in the darkness can you see the stars," I find myself thinking of the new stars that are shining fresh light on today's darkness. 

Today's social justice warriors are: 

Grieving high school students fighting for their lives. 

Outraged athletes taking a knee against racial violence.  

And courageous, young, gymnasts confronting an evil, sexual predator.

I believe that each of us has multiple opportunities throughout our lives to help move humanity forward. Some require only very small steps outside our comfort zones; others, gigantic, scary leaps. I've learned that the important thing is to recognize them for what they are: opportunities to help inch humanity forward on the long,moral arc toward justice.  

We have a magnificent, story-telling event in Detroit -- The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers -- that was created by storyteller, entertainer and truth-seeker Satori Shakoor, with the goal of "Transforming lives one story at time."

Satori chose Justice & Grace as the theme for last month's stories, and gave me the privilege of taking the audience back to the late 1970's and early 80's when I was one of the first female, TV sports reporters to walk through the doors of professional sports locker rooms.

To come with me, click here. 

When opportunities to make a positive difference knock for you, I hope you will open the door and let them in. And after you do, share your story. Because, it will inspire others to find their courage, as well.  

Let Our Wallets Do the Talking

March 3, 2018

I'm thrilled with the news that a group of powerful, activist women just bought the Weinstein Company -- with plans to compensate Weinstein's victims, save employee jobs and create a new Hollywood Production Company, with a primarily female Board of Directors, committed to producing cool films with great women roles. Power On, Sisters.  Here's the story!  

Female Rabbi's Perspective on Eve as Spiritual Mother of Me Too Movement

March 3, 2018

Rabbi Tamara Kolton is an inspiring spiritual leader and thinker.  I am privileged to know her and to call her my friend.  We both live just outside of Detroit and about an hour's drive from Michigan State University -- home of predator doctor Larry Nassar who sexually assaulted young gymnasts for decades.  Their #METOO outrage that led to him finally being stopped and sent to prison for life, inspired Rabbi Kolton to write this commentary on why she sees Eve as the "Spiritual Mother" of the #MeToo movement. You'll either find it fascinating or infuriating. Click here to discover her powerful perspective. 

Was Garden of Eden a #METOO Moment?

February 6, 2018

Tamara Kolton is a rabbi and psychologist in Birmingham, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.  She is writing her first book, “Oranges for Eve: Walking The Way of the Divine Feminine.”  In this commentary, she makes the case that the first and most memorable Bible story was also a #METOO moment.  She left me with plenty to think about. 

Powering Up to Leadership Podcast Interview

January 31, 2018

Integrate and Ignite is a terrific podcast for entrepreneurs and leaders. I was thrilled to be invited as a guest to talk about the 7 Skills High Achievers need to master to make the leap to Leadership.  We also talked about the #MeToo movement.  Hope you'll listen! 

The Rage and Resilience of the Gymnast Sisterhood that Came for a Predator

January 29, 2018

I’m sick over the devastating sexual assault that Dr. Larry Nassar, of USA Gymnastics & Michigan State University, perpetrated for decades on young, female athletes. But I'm also in awe and inspired by the courage of the amazing little girls who grew into incredibly strong women.

They are an example of the power of the next generation of young women who are just beginning to hit their stride. They will not settle for "being one of the boys" or being silenced. Me Too; It's About Time; and "We're Coming For You Larry!" are just the beginning. Long may they lead!

Here's my commentary on the Rage and Resilience of this powerful Survivor Sisterhood. 

Magic Johnson Calls for Accountability at Michigan State University

January 29, 2018

The great Magic Johnson, who led Michigan State University to the NCAA Basketball National Championship on his way to becoming one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA, has called on his Alma Mater to be held accountable for the criminal behavior of MSU Dr. Larry Nassar.  As a Michigander who married an MSU Spartan, I am horrified and heartbroken over the abuse that hundreds of young, female athletes suffered -- for decades -- and the dozens of adults who refused to believe them or ignored their cries for help. Here's more on Magic Johnson's comments.   

The Rage & Resilience of Gymnast Sister Survivors

January 29, 2018

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you are aware of the paradigm shifting events that unfolded over the past few days in a courtroom in East Lansing, Michigan, which is only an hour's drive from my home.

 

One hundred and fifty six (yes, 156!) courageous girls and young women stood before a judge and, in often quivering voices through bitter tears, told their stories of years of sexual abuse (camoflauged as "medical treatment"!) by child predator Dr. Larry Nassar. For decades - DECADES - this evil man repeatedly sexually assaulted hundreds of world-class, young, female gymnasts entrusted to his care. Some only SIX years old. 

 

Nassar is headed to prison. 

 

It's believed to be the biggest scandal in the history of sports. The stories of the "sister survivors" are ugly and heart-wrenching. But they are the tip of the iceberg. 

 

Equally depraved are the dozens of adults at Michigan State University and the USA Gymnastics community who ignored or refused to believe years of warning signs and complaints from young girls who sensed something was very wrong with the "treatments" he gave them for their pain. Those heads are just beginning to fall with the forced resignation of MSU President of Lou Anna Simon and the entire Board of USA Gymnastics.  

 

Our cultural tetonic plates are shifting.  As one survivor put it, "This is what it looks like when little girls grow up and become powerful women demanding to be heard."  We must learn from this depraved lesson so that future generations of little girls (and little boys) are no longer ignored when they raise alarm after alarm. They must be heard, believed and protected. 

 

The coverage here in Michigan, which is at the center of this tempest, has been intense with outstanding journalism shedding light and turning up the heat on this evil.  Here is a quick summary of the major players and the best coverage on each I have found.  I hope you will read, weep and believe.   

 

Key Players:

  • Dr. Larry Nassar - Now a convincted child molester who will spend the rest of his life in prison, Nassar was the USA gymnastics national team doctor and an osteopathic physician at Michigan State University. Who was/is Larry Nassar? 
  • Sister Survivors -- Who knows how many Nassar painfully violated; 156 told their stories to the world in court, including Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman. Remember this name: Rachel Denhollander. She is the courageous young woman who finally broke this perversion wide open by taking her story to the Indianapolis Star (2 years ago) and filing a lawsuit.  Please read her "The Price I Paid" commentary in the NY TIMES. And then listen to Aly Raisman confront Nassar in court.  
  • Judge Rosemarie Aquilina --  For seven days this  transformative judge did something highly unusual. She cleared her docket to make time at Nassar's sentencing hearing for any and all who wanted to speak to be heard. At first they thought it would be 88. But the calls kept coming as more and more of Nassar's young targets courageously stepped forward. The opportunity Judge Aquilina created for survivors to be heard and the support she gave them allowed the world to comprehend what happened and to react with appropriate vengence. This excellent Atlantic magazine article captures Aquilina's important role.  
  • Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon -- Once highly-regarded, Simon served as president for over 14 years. The MSU Board of Trustees, stunningly concerned more about its University brand than its students, circled the wagons around her with a vote of confidence less than 10 days ago. Unfortunately, she will be remembered for her complacency (if not cover-up) in this nightmare and the stunning ARROGANCE of her resignation letter. 

  • Investigative Journalism 
    -- That Larry Nassar is headed for life in prison and the survivors of his crimes are finally being heard is evidence of the importance of investigative journalism. The Indianapolis Star first broke this story two years ago. The Lansing State Journal, the MSU Student Newspaper and the Detroit Free Press have followed with oustanding additional coverage. But my favorite piece is the powerful commentary by sports columnist Shawn Windsor. His fury flames off the page as he tells one of the truths behind this story: society values boys over girls. Here's: This Isn't Penn State; It's Worse. 

 

Finally  -- I'm numb and sick over all of this. But I'm also in awe  and inspired by the courage of the amazingl little girls who grew into incredibly strong and powerful women who refused to be quiet. It took an incredible, tenacious young leader to unleash the power of this young sisterhood. They gained in strength as each stepped out of the shadows and felt their collective strength grow in that courtroom. They are an example of the power of the next generation of young women who are just beginning to hit their stride. 

 

They will not settle for "being one of the boys" or being silenced.  They are taking the baton of empowerment from generations of women who have gone before. Me Too; It's About Time; and "We're Coming For You Larry!" are just the beginning. Long may they lead!  

 

 

 

Growing Generational Chasm Between Feminists

January 23, 2018

I'm concerned about the growing chasm between so-called "2nd Wave Feminists" (Baby Boomers) and Millennial Feminists. Just as women want men to stop MANSPLAINING and LISTEN regarding the #METOO movement, it's time for my generation of women committed to the equality of the female half of the human race to LISTEN to our younger sisters who are beginning to hit their stride. The differences split wide open in the 2016 election over support for Sanders vs. Clinton. But they continue growing! Here's an insightful and well-researched article that helped me understand. 

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