Six Things You Need to Know Right Now: Artificial Barriers, the Pay Gap & Give Hillary a Rest!

I’d like to introduce a new weekly feature here at The Broad Side — Six Things You Need to Know Right Now — as a way to bring you some excellent reads from around the web. We know it’s hard to keep up on all the best content, so we’re going to try to help you with that. So, please enjoy our first installment of Six Things You Need to Know Right Now!

1. 10 Ways We Limit Our Success & How to Overcome Those Artificial Barriers at Poynter.com. This one especially resonated with me as someone who has been told for a long time with regard to starting The Broad Side project, “You can’t do that because you ….” insert one of the following — (1) are a nobody and should know your place, (2) don’t have enough money to make a go of it, or  (3) are the behind the curve on women’s writing online.  Maybe some or all of those things are true. But I realized a few months ago that I was letting these artificial barriers that were lingering in my head get in the way of something that could be amazing. What are your artificial barriers?

2. The Gender Pay Gap Got Worse, Not Better, in 2012 — and It’s Great for Women at Forbes.com. “According to new numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 full-time employed women earned just 80.9% of the salaries their male counterparts did, down more than a full percentage point from 2011 when the number hovered over 82%.” No, that’s not the good news. Author Meghan Casserly argues that this could help President Obama’s call in the State of the Union to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would provide needed updating to the Equal Pay Act of 1963.  Confused? Think the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act already took care of that? It didn’t. Signed into law four years ago, the Ledbetter Act only ensures employees — both men and women — a longer window of time in which they can sue for wage discrimination and back pay, not equal pay for equal work.

3. The Family and Medical Leave Act turned 20. Many families have taken advantage of this law to have time off to care for a newborn child, a newly adopted child or a sick family member.  And it’s good as far as it goes in protecting worker’s jobs.  But the leave you take under this act is unpaid.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we caught up with some of those other civilized countries and also paid workers for the leave that’s necessary to create families and help loved ones?  Now that would be family friendly!

4. The morning after pill doesn’t make you a slut at MotherJones.com.   According to the article, “While more people are using [the morning after pill], what’s most interesting is who is using it and how. For instance, only 5 percent of women over 30 have used it. And most who have say they have only done so once—a rebuttal to the stereotype that the morning-after pill is enabling women to be irresponsible hussies.”  Fortunately, there’s at least one college where you can access it from a vending machine.

5. Hillary Clinton is the 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner.  OK, that’s not the newsy part. But the rest of this Top Ten list of possibilities has some surprises. The governor of Montana Brian Schweitzer? Janet Napolitano? Virginia Senator Mark Warner? Looks like I’ve got some 2016 studying to do.  As for Hillary, as I’ve said before, can’t the lady just have a nap, get a facial and drink a nice glass of Chardonnay before we all start pulling her back into the arena?

6. Forget those E-readers. Build a library! I do worry that by the time my daughter has children, the notion of hard copy books will be to that generation what 8-track tapes are hers. And with increasing numbers of libraries in the U.S. and across the globe closing, who knows whether the volumes we have on our shelves today could become antique collector’s items? But what if you and your neighbors decided to build your own community library? It turns out, it’s not all that difficult.

Come back next week for the next edition of Six Things You Need to Know Right Now!

 Image via iStockphoto/Noam Kahalany

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