Needed: more leaders who look like me

April 19, 2019

If I lived in Colorado, nearly half my state legislators would look like me. But because I live in South Carolina (and despite our state being 51.5 percent female) only about 16 percent of the lawmakers in the S.C. General Assembly are women. This ranks us a dismal 44th in the country in terms of…

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Where are all the female college presidents?

March 15, 2019

In the next few months, a new president will be appointed to lead the University of South Carolina. Considering the school’s 218-year history, odds are another white man will succeed President Harris Pastides in the top job. Neither a woman nor a person of color has ever held that position at the University. Why is…

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Well Done, Ms. Athill

February 15, 2019

The last volume of Diana Athill’s multi-part memoir was published in 2016 when she was 99 years old. She died last month in London at age 101. You are forgiven if you’ve never heard of Athill, although she had been a legendary book editor and publisher in England since the 1940s. But she became internationally…

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Hear Us Roar

January 18, 2019

Women of “a certain age,” as the French say, will remember the powerful song by Helen Reddy called “I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar)”—a 1971 hymn to gutsy, strong members of the female sex. Reddy is 77 years old now, but I imagine she still roars. So do an increasing number of older women who…

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Journalism in the “Year of the Woman”

November 16, 2018

I read an article the other day entitled “25 Dying Professions to Avoid”. Journalism was one of them. For people in my profession, that disturbing headline was accurate in more ways than one. Reader circulation has dropped for 17 straight years, and Sunday circulation of U.S. newspapers is at its lowest level since 1945. The…

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Reprise: Anita Hill (and Christine Blasey Ford)

October 19, 2018

I still believe Anita Hill. I believe Christine Blasey Ford. Each and every one of my female friends also believe these brave women. Truly, as a colleague of mine said the other day, these are times that try women’s souls. And so, later this month, for the 27th year in a row, several hundred women…

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Captain Marvel and the “Year of the Woman”

September 21, 2018

The promotions have already started for Captain Marvel, a live-action film featuring the fictional female superhero from Marvel Comics that will be released in March. Apparently, the smashing popularity of the Wonder Woman blockbuster last year convinced movie moguls a female superhero can, indeed, carry a movie by herself. The producers have even cast Brie…

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Lifelong Learning for “Seasoned Adults”

July 20, 2018

I am a “seasoned adult,” which, in lifelong learning parlance, means I am over 50. And, I want to “thrive in life’s second half,” as the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of North Carolina-Asheville so aptly puts it. But it looks like I am on my own. Columbia has no large, comprehensive,…

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Back to the Motor City

June 15, 2018

Perhaps Thomas Wolfe was wrong. Maybe you can go home again. Last month I travelled to the Detroit area, where I grew up, for a nephew’s wedding. And lo and behold, I rediscovered the city of many happy childhood memories, but a city that had been afflicted with poverty, crime, and blight since the 1967…

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The High Cost of Mother’s Day

May 18, 2018

My youngest granddaughter, Sylvie, gave me a sneak preview last week of her gift to her mother for Mother’s Day. It was a charming booklet, hand-drawn in Sylvie’s first-grade classroom, declaring her love for her mom and featuring nearly a dozen “coupons” that Jessica could “cash in” over the coming months. “I will do the…

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