Thursday, September 16, 2010

40 Years After Women's March for Equality & `Rat' Takeover--Conclusion

According to Ms.’s editor in the late 1990s, Marcia Ann Gillespie, the magazine’s then-current management played no role in formulating the Smith College library’s policy of restricting access in the 1990s to the Ms. archives material from the period when Pat Carbine and Gloria Steinem managed the magazine, prior to its subsequent re-organization.

Ms. was purchased in 1996 by Jay MacDonald’s MacDonald Communications, in partnership with Bud Paxson’s Paxson Communications media conglomerate. In its May 15, 1998 issue, the New York Times described Paxson Communications, then, as “the nation’s largest owner and operator of television stations” in 1998; and noted that Paxson’s vice-chairman at that time, William Simon Jr., was the son and business partner of former Secretary of the Treasury William Simon, Sr.—the then-president of the right-wing John M. Olin Foundation.

Later in 1998, Ms. founder Steinem and other investors created Liberty Media and repurchased the magazine from MacDonald Communications and Paxson Communications. But by 2001, Steinem’s Liberty Media was facing bankruptcy and Ms. magazine was sold to the tax-exempt Democratic Party-oriented Feminist Majority Foundation, which then turned it into a quarterly publication. But Steinem is still listed on the Ms. magazine masthead as a “Consulting Editor,” according to the magazine’s web site at

Ironically, despite its policy of still restricting the public’s access to some of the Ms. archives material during the late 1990s, the Sophia Smith Collection reported in its February 1998 newsletter that it received a $107,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities “to process eight collections documenting women’s activism.” And, coincidentally, according to the site, Steinem is now apparently “working with the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College on a project to document the grassroots origins of the U.S. women's movement.”

Steinem also currently sits next to Robin Morgan on the board of directors of the Women’s Media Center, whose president—“a native of Austin” named Jehmu Greene—“got her start working in the fertile ground of Texas politics including an early stint with Governor Ann Richards’ campaign in 1994,” “later played key roles at…the Democratic National Committee” and was “an advisor and national surrogate for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign,” according to the Women’s Media Center website. In 2008, the Women’s Media Center received over $935,000 in contributions and grants, according to its Form 990 financial filing; and in 2009, the Ms. Foundation for Women also gave a $5,000 grant to the Women’s Media Center , according to the Ms. Foundation for Women’s Form 990 financial filing. And, coincidentally, between 2006 and 2010 the Ford Foundation gave three more grants, totaling $750,000, to the Ms. Foundation for Women, according to the Ford Foundation’s website. In addition, in 2010, the Ford Foundation—on whose board of trustees sit both Goldman Sachs Senior Director and former Vice-Chairman Robert Kaplan and Former Morgan Stanley Asset Management Vice-Chairman Peter Nadory—also gave a $100,000 grant to the International Women’s Media Foundation, a $100,000 grant to WomenEnews, a $200,000 grant to the Women’s Leadership Fund and a $300,000 grant to the Young Women’s Leadership Institute.

On a national level in recent years, U.S. working women in their 20s--who made a median income of $25,467--still earned less than working men in their 20s--who made a median income of $28,523. Yet in some U.S. cities, such as New York City and Dallas, U.S. women in their 20s have apparently been earning more than their young male counterparts. As an article that appeared in the August 3, 2007 issue of the New York Times, titled “For Young Earners in Big City , a Gap in Women’s Favor,” observed:

“Young women in New York and several of the nation’s other largest cities who work full time have forged ahead of men in wages, according to an analysis of recent census data. The shift has occurred in New York since 2000 and even earlier in Los Angeles, Dallas and a few other cities….

“The analysis was prepared by Andrew A. Beveridge, a demographer at Queens College, who first reported his findings in Gotham Gazette…It shows that women of all educational levels from 21 to 30 living in New York City and working full time made 117 percent of men’s wages, and even more in Dallas, 120 percent….

“In 1970, all New York women in their 20s made $7,000 less than men, on average, adjusted for inflation. By 2000, they were about even. In 2005, according to an analysis of the latest census results they were making about $5,000 more: a median wage of $35,653, or 117 percent of the $30,560 reported by men in that age group.

“Women in their 20s also make more than men in Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis and a few other big cities. But only in Dallas do young women’s wages surpass men’s by a larger amount than in New York. In Dallas, women make 120 percent of what men do, although their median wage there, $25,467, was much lower than that of women in New York….Even among New Yorkers in their 30s, women now make as much as men.”

But although a lot of money from corporate sponsors and foundations has apparently been distributed to various organizations led by certain feminist women in the 40 years since Rat was taken over by radical feminist women and large numbers of U.S. women marched for equality on August 26, 1970, only a minority of U.S. women seem to have completely escaped the economic effects of continued institutional sexism, racism and classism in the United States in the 21st-century. While the official unemployment rate for white female workers over 20-years-of-age in the United States of 7.1 percent in July 2010 was less than the 8.6 percent jobless rate for white male workers and much less than the official 16.7 percent unemployment rate for Black male workers, over 6 million U.S. women workers over 16-years-of-age were still officially unemployed in July 2010.

Even though 40 percent of U.S. women who work now have jobs as either managers or middle-class professionals within an economic system whose corporations exploit women workers at home and abroad and whose endless imperial wars kill large numbers of women annually, 1.3 million U.S. women still worked as maids, 1.4 million as waitresses, 3.1 million as secretaries, 2.2 million as cashiers, 1.2 million as receptionists, 1.6 million as retail salespeople, 1.2 million as health care aides, 1.2 million as child care workers and 821,000 as office clerks for low wages in 2009. And although around 90 percent of the over 2 million people currently imprisoned in the United States are men, “the number of women in prison, a third of whom are incarcerated for drug offenses, is increasing at nearly double the rate for men,” according to The Sentencing Project’s website.

On Nov. 16, 2004, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research issued a press release which reflected its evaluation of what the status of women in the United States has been in recent years. The press release, titled “New Report: Women Still 100 Years From Full Equality,” stated the following:

“After decades of progress, women are still decades away from achieving full equality in America, according to a new report on the status of women.

“`At the rate things are changing, it’ll be 50 years before women’s paychecks equal men’s, and nearly a full century before women hold half the seats in Congress,’ according to economist Heidi Hartmann…

“Seven states are rated worst for women in 2004 [than in the previous few years]; Mississippi, South Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas…

“American women are paid 76 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the new report…

“While it will take 50 years for women to close the wage gap, it will take women of color even longer. At the rate of progress between 1989 and 2001, it will take African American women 75 years to close the gap between their earnings and those of white men’s…Hispanic women are the hardest hit, as they have not experienced any progress in closing wage gap, and in fact the gap has widened…

“`There’s been progress since our benchmark report in the mid-90s, when there were only 58 women in Congress, but we’re still worlds away from the 268 seats American women have a right to expect,’ according to political scientist Amy Caiazza, one of the report’s editors.

“At the rate of change over the past decade, it will take 75 years for African American women to achieve equality of representation in Congress, and it will take Hispanic women 66 years…

“State legislatures are all heavily weighted toward men…

“One of every eight American women is living in poverty…Nationwide, nearly one out of four African American women live in poverty…One-fourth of all Native American women nationally live in poverty…

“`Life is getting worse, not better, for women near the bottom of the American economy…’ according to Hartmann.”

But, not surprisingly, the tax-exempt, multi-billion dollar Ford Foundation still had enough surplus capital in 2010 to give the Institute for Women’s Policy Research a $700,000 grant in 2010—40 years after U.S. women marched for equality and took over the Rat underground newspaper in Manhattan. (end of article)

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