Janet Yellen will be announced tomorrow as the nominee by President Obama to be the next Chair of the Federal Reserve. In a banking nightmare, amid a desperate debt ceiling debate, she will climb into the highest seat in the grey suit wearing glass ceilinged world of economics. She is currently the Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. She was the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve System of San Francisco and is President Emeritus of the University of California Berkley School of Business. But she also is a woman who found the love of her life in 1977 while working with him. Her husband happens to be a Nobel Prize winner in Economics, George Akerlof. Many credit her as being the more grounded and sensible of the pair. I applaud Obama for nominating her and I hope she is confirmed by the Senate swiftly. Let us proceed with confidence amid much despair.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was the first female dean of Harvard Law School (2003) and was nominated by President Obama to serve in the highest court in the land and was confirmed by the Senate in August of 2010. She grew up in New York City and while her brothers became teachers like their mom she followed her father into law. She seemed destined to be a judge and was photographed in a robe and gavel before graduation. A girl who at 13 battled with her rabbi about her bat mitzvah, she negotiated her way into having a ceremony similar to that of her brothers. Elena seems at home with battling against tradition. She is only the 4th woman elected to the court of an all told number of 112 justices. Elena was nicknamed “Shorty” by Thurgood Marshall for whom she clerked and her 5 foot 3 inch stature surely didn’t slow her down. She advised President Clinton and was elected the 45th Solicitor General of the United States by the Obama Administration. Elena was never married and has no children. SCOTUS is dealing with some pretty flammable issues and will continue to do so. I believe we have a wonderful (s)hero and look forward to hearing more of her opinions.
Today is Malala’s 16th birthday. Today she is also addressing the UN on the problem of education and her mission, A World at School. Malala was shot last October by the Pakistani Taliban for wanting an education. She wants simple things. She is asking world leaders today help by funding teachers and schools and to end child labour, child marriage and child trafficking so that by December 2015 every boy and girl can be at school. Here is a link to a petition to STAND WITH MALALA.
Angela Merkel is the first woman Chancellor of Germany. For the last 8 years she has been negotiating German politics, heading the EU (and through a near bankruptcy) and today is also known as the woman who indoctrinated the word “shitstorm” into the German dictionary. She’s also responsible of being the most powerful woman on the planet. The first to reach #2 on the Forbes list. She’s the real deal, from West Germany with Polish and German parents who lived through WWII. She got her degree in Physics and Chemistry and pursued a political career. She is the step-mom of two kids with her second husband’s children and loves soccer (er – football).
Sarabi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Habiba Sarobi is the mother of 3, the first female governor in Afghanistan and a doctor. When the Taliban came into power in the late 1990’s her eldest daughter was 12. They fled the country to insure her children could achieve an education but returned to become a politician and advocate against Taliban rule. She is a leader for women’s rights and environmental conservation in a foraged country.
Janelle Brown did an article on salon.com in December 2001 about Habiba and her wish to improve the life of women and improve the environment in Afghanistan. Brown quotes Sarobi about her husband wanting her to ride a donkey through the mountains instead of by foot. “‘I am an Afghan woman; I have to walk because of all the other women who have climbed through these mountains,’” She was trekking between Kabul and Peshawar to be with her husband and try to improve conditions in rural Afghanistan.
“The majority of Afghan women are rural. Women in rural areas are not considered even capable of opinion: Not only is she deprived of the basic right of expressing her feelings, but she can’t marry the person she wants, and is forced to marry at an early age. Basically,” concludes Sarabi, “they are being treated like animals; they are referred to in a derogatory way as if they have no rights.”
I’m reading “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini of The Kite Runner fame on my kindle. Do you remember reading The Kite Runner and feeling ashamed for not knowing enough about the Afghani culture, or even, the difference between Afghanistan and Iraqi wars with America? I love Mr. Hosseini’s ability to bring the daily life of Afghani families to American homes in a relatable way.
I feel badly for the beautiful woman from my home state, Marissa. She’s 21. She sadly chose a question about gender equality in the final rounds of the Miss USA pageant last night. They still air this production every year, as well as Miss America on broadcast television. Millions of Americans flock to watch the peacocks. The question was about the gender gap in wages for 40% of Americans whose income is primarily from the mother. She was correct that education has a lot to do with it, however, I believe and hope that the question is asked, during this viral hate speech, about why we still encourage our young women to parade in their gowns and bathing suits for “merit”. The winner is showered with praise, flowers and diamonds and then lives the rest of her life.