In post-modern feminist thought, examining gender spheres in the past can provide insight into the social environment of today. For nearly two centuries, generations of immigrants have followed their dreams and aspirations to New York City and other major cities. In this highly transient time, ideas of money and conversely poverty were at the forefront of the critical issues facing Americans. Women, especially, were forging different ways to gain and maintain a social standing and a monetary foot holding. Poverty remains one of the most challenging problems in America and across the globe and women and girls are disproportionately impacted.
In the current environment of corporate greed and excess risk taking, particularly in financial services, one woman takes a different approach as many women have done before her in different ways. Susan Solovay founded Pomegranate Capital in 2008 to invest in women-owned hedge funds. The fund only existed a year but has been the foundation for many start-up companies:
– Men were judged based on merits in finance while women were judged based on domestic situation.
– Susan sought to change this by identifying 350 women portfolio managers and co-managers determined to exploit the market inefficiency. Her fund was multi-strategy-an amalgam of various hedge funds including long/short equity, global macro, distressed and fixed-income.
Today, Susan says she is “an advisor to technology startups. Oftentimes, these entrepreneurs might have great ideas and enthusiasm but are looking to get advice from someone who has more wisdom and experience, which is usually someone in their mid-late 30′s, 40s and 50s who has built businesses”. Gender equality at the workplace historically has been situated within a class context.
The majority of these grass root campaigns have focused on women in thriving cities. In the PBS film, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women. viewers are taken on a tour of the dangers that women face in the developing world. It’s impossible to be unmoved by these women’s experiences with rape, sex slavery, maternal mortality, and genital cutting. The two-part series is inspired by the 2010 book of the same name written by New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn. The movie:
– highlights deserving human rights activists around the world, and its website provides audiences with links to support these individuals and other ways to take action.
– Women’s rights are increasingly recognized not only as a justice issue but also as a way to ﬁght poverty and reduce civil conﬂict. When you have American generals in Afghanistan trying to get more girls in school, because they recognize that that’s an eﬀective strategy to undercut the Taliban, you know things have changed. And the Council on Foreign Relations used to be the place to discuss missile shields and Middle East politics, while now it is also discussing maternal mortality and human traﬃcking.
In his column, Mr. Kristof was an early opponent of the Iraq war, and among the first to warn that we were losing ground to the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. He was among the first to raise doubts about WMD in Iraq, he was the first to report that President Bush’s State of the Union claim about Iraq seeking uranium from Africa was contradicted by the administration’s own investigation. His columns have often focused on global health, poverty and gender issues in the developing world. In particular, since 2004 he has written dozens of columns about Darfur and visited the area ten times.
Presently, organizations such as Global Fund for Women, believes women must have equal participation and leadership in public life to improve their lives, families and societies. Not only is their civic and political engagement a human right, their participation is crucial for promoting thriving civil societies and functioning democracies. There is no such thing as a “gender-neutral budget.” The impact of every fiscal policy, be it taxation, or resource allocation, must be assessed in terms of its impact on the lives of both women and men. Furthermore, our leaders must eliminate the gender gap in wages, improve childcare options and flexibility for working mothers, and facilitate women’s access to fair credit and finance.
The support of the efforts of women’s organizations are crucial to working towards advancing women’s leadership and decision making at all levels of society and their widespread participation in public life. The election of a few women to positions of power has not necessarily translated into large-scale systemic change for the majority of women. That is why the argument for the full exercise of women’s rights continues until a full transformation of the systems seeking control over women occurs. Investing in women-led organizations and creating long-term solutions to problems in our communities is an important step to eliminating poverty.
Woman Around Town: Susan Solovay Managing Money in a Man’s World. Wednesday, July 18th, 2012. by Merry Sheils on Woman Around Town
“Half the Sky,” or Half the Story? Posted on October 25, 2012 by Guest Blogger By Liz Warren via Witness Blog