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    Patricia Rossi is America’s etiquette and protocol coach, with over 20 years experience in business etiquette and protocol training.

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MOM ALERT: DAUGHTERS LACK ROLE MODELS

My daughter’s sixth grade class participates in an annual tradition in her school called “The Wax Museum.”  The children choose a person/character they would like to represent, and then dress up during a special day in which the entire school participates.  My daughter’s first choice was Massie, the Queen Bee of a prep school in the Clique book series by Lisi Harrison.  Then she decided perhaps Dawn Wells, Mary Anne from Gilligan’s Island was a better choice until she Googled her and learned about her reckless driving arrest, et al.

“What about Sandra Day O’Connor, first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court?” I asked.

“No.”

“Mother Teresa?”

“NO!”

“Susan B. Anthony?  You can be handcuffed and be her when she tried to vote.”

“No.”

“Helen Keller?”

“No.”

“Kathrine Switzer, the first women to register and run in the all male Boston Marathon in 1967?  You can wear a jogging suit with your number half way ripped off like it was on the day she ran when the race director tried to pull it off.

“No.”

“Margaret Thatcher?  You can use your British accent.”

“No.  Tell me some women around today,” she asked.

“Hilary Clinton?”

What was so distressing is watching her dejected face each time I suggested a great woman.  Clearly, no feeling of pride for what women endured and eventually overcame.  Finally, I convinced her that Jackie Kennedy was a grand choice, “She redecorated the White House; she was lovely and glamorous; and she became a book editor after her husband died.”

When I polled her friends on their choices, I was told – Laura Ingalls (young life), Laura Ingalls Wilder (older), Queen Elizabeth, I don’t know, JK Rowling, Snape (male character in Rowling’s Harry Potter series – don’t ask), and Annie Oakley.   That’s the best we’ve got for our girls, two girls sharing Laura Ingalls Wilder?  She’s a great choice, but where are the contemporary role models?

The Washington Post printed an article in February of this year suggesting great movies for girls with positive role models – A League of Their Own (not bad), Miss Congeniality (huh?), Fly Away Home and Whale Rider. Really? That’s the best we have to offer our girls?

Not surprisingly, kids (including mine) watch far too much television.  This article suggests, “One report indicates that for girls ages 12 – 17 years old, 3 out of 4 of their favorite television shows were reality TV shows.”

I think the only clear choice for us moms is to torture our children with one story a week about a woman who did the unthinkable, solved the unsolvable, reached the unreachable and put her stake into the big mountain of I DID IT!

And maybe, just maybe they will understand what it means to really want something so badly that attaining it may just diminish their personal bank of character, will and reputation. Let’s hope that our girls will some day learn that the reward for of one’s hard work is more than money. Daughters of the 21st Century are going to be shocked to find that some things just can’t bought, instead the price is much higher and often much more difficult to spend.

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FROM THE VAULT 1984: Mississippi ratifies the 19th Amendment

Talk about dragging your feet, TODAY is the 90th anniversary (August 26, 1920) of the certification of the 19th Amendment allowing women their right to vote.  But some men just refused to give in.  Mississippi legislators would have to slip in the 19th Amendment 64 years later under cover of night when no one was looking.

“bury [19th Amendment] beyond resurrection;” [women should remain] “queen of the home and hearthstone.” “I am absolutely, inherently, fundamentally, first, last, and all the time opposed to woman suffrage.” – Joe Owen of Union, Mississippi 1914.

“The Clarion-Ledger congratulated them, stating that “the vile old thing (the Susan B. Anthony Amendment) is as dead as its author.” – Mississippi Women and the Woman Suffrage Amendment

Mississippi’s Ratification of the 19th Amendment came only after debating the Equal Rights Amendment in the 70s.  Some felt it was an embarrassment that Mississippi had never passed it – so “on March 22, 1984, the Mississippi Legislature — on a day when few legislators were even listening and with no opposition — finally ratified the Nineteenth Amendment” – source: Marjorie Julian Spruill, Ph.D., is associate vice chancellor for institutional planning and research professor of history at Vanderbilt University

What other states took their time:

Maryland – March 29, 1941
Virginia – February 21, 1952
Alabama – September 8, 1953
Florida – July 1, 1969, not certified until August 22, 1973
Georgia – February 20, 1970
Louisiana – June 11, 1970
North Carolina – May 6, 1971
Mississippi – March 22, 1984

source: Wikipedia

This region looks awfully familiar.

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GREAT DEBATES: Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s N-word rant

You really need to listen to Dr. Laura’s conversation with her caller to understand how bizarre her conversation is.  While her spewing the ‘N’ word is upsetting to most, what I disliked was her dismissal of her caller’s feelings.  Let’s talk after you listen:

FULL AUDIO: Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s N-word rant.

Ok.  First of all, I believe the caller is right to feel irritated by the constant comments about her race.  Imagine if the comments were focused on other things – “what do fat people think” or “you’re a stay at home mom that doesn’t work, so”, it’s the consistent chipping away of a person’s confidence when couching a question before a response is required. She’s supposed to be a mental health therapist, but she appears to require one herself. What I actually took away from the whole conversation is that she hates Obama. Too simplistic? Is it more sinister than that? Hmmm…I think Obama needs to set up a beer summit with her.

GREAT DEBATES: Dr. Laura Schlessinger's N-word rant

You really need to listen to Dr. Laura’s conversation with her caller to understand how bizarre her conversation is.  While her spewing the ‘N’ word is upsetting to most, what I disliked was her dismissal of her caller’s feelings.  Let’s talk after you listen:

FULL AUDIO: Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s N-word rant.

Ok.  First of all, I believe the caller is right to feel irritated by the constant comments about her race.  Imagine if the comments were focused on other things – “what do fat people think” or “you’re a stay at home mom that doesn’t work, so”, it’s the consistent chipping away of a person’s confidence when couching a question before a response is required. She’s supposed to be a mental health therapist, but she appears to require one herself. What I actually took away from the whole conversation is that she hates Obama. Too simplistic? Is it more sinister than that? Hmmm…I think Obama needs to set up a beer summit with her.

Women in the Board Room

Why do people always refer to Norway as “progressive?”  I would almost call them “backward” or “impulsive.  ”

In 2006, the Norwegian government imposed a law that would require “State-owned companies are already obliged to comply and now have 45% female representation on their boards.”  Since 2003, it was voluntary, but nothing happened.

The Norwegian equality minister, Karita Bekkemellem, is now threatening firms that don’t comply with closure.

“From January 1 2006, I want to put in place a system of sanctions that will allow the closure of firms,” she said. “I do not want to wait another 20 or 30 years for men with enough intelligence to finally appoint women. More than half of the people who have a business education today are women. It is wrong for companies not to use them. They should be represented.”

Did it work? Well, no.

A study by Amy Dittmar, associate professor of finance at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and her colleague Kenneth Ahern “found that when a board had a 10% increase in the number of women, the value of the company dropped. The bigger the change to the structure of the board, the bigger the fall in returns.”

“The constraint imposed by the 40-percent women quota-led firms to recruit women board members that were younger and had different career experiences than the existing directors,” says Dittmar.

What’s the answer?  Forced compliance?  Does it really matter?  The majority of small business owners are women.  We end up making our own board and supplying the products that women want.  Perhaps the answer is simply making our own way instead of waiting for someone to make it for us.

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Is it Just Me…

Ok, so someone pointed out to me that the Right to Life groups all seem to favor endorsing men.  There are some great candidates and in Georgia, they endorsed all the Republican men running for governor and not the Republican woman:

Georgia Right to Life picks a fight with Karen Handel

5:11 pm June 3, 2010, by Jim Galloway

“GRTL’s real problem with Karen is twofold: First, they disagree with her stance regarding exceptions to an abortion ban in cases of rape and incest.

Secondly, Karen opposes the group’s push to ban invitro fertilization, which has helped so many couples realize their dream of having children. The group has proposed legislation to virtually eliminate invitro.”

What’s going on in your state? Do our Girlfriends think this is disturbing?  Is the trend bothering you?

Full Disclosure: I am a registered Republican, but don’t always follow the party line.  I look at the whole candidate.

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