Sexism, Ageism & The Presidency


Men, too, are of course subjected to age discrimination, but they do not sit at the intersection of sexism and ageism that leaves professional older women without the glory or accolades — or, more importantly, real power — to show for their years of hard work. – Reuters

If you’ve spent any time on social media you’ve probably come across some of the conspiracy trolls who post hideous ageist comments and doctored photos of Hillary Clinton. These are urgently retweeted as if Dorian Gray’s painting has just been found hidden away in her attic. Donald Trump, who is actually older than Hillary Clinton, has amassed a laundry list of sexist comments of his own over the years: “And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get five percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the women’s card, and the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her, okay, and look how well I did with women tonight.” Actually, at the time of that statement and now, Clinton  is still ahead in this demographic. If she wins Clinton will join an underrepresented but growing number of women leaders around the world [Pew 2015]. The 2016 election has shown that it’s well past time for national recognition of strong role models for older women.  A quick google search revealed the following – please feel free to add your own:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 83Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was, of course, only the second female justice in United States history, nominated in 1993 at the age of 60. She continues to serve on the Supreme Court and influence key decisions furthering the rights of women, and she has been on the Forbes list of “100 Most Powerful Women” as well as the subject of the popular Tumblr blog Notorious RBG celebrating her judicial accomplishments as well as her status as an inspirational part of women’s history.

*Aung San Suu Kyi, 70Aung San Suu Kyi

Suu Kyi is Burma’s best known opposition politician, and the chair of the National League for Democracy, working tirelessly over the last 25 plus years on behalf of non-violence, peace, human rights and democratic rule in Burma, despite spending almost 15 of those years under house arrest by the existing government. She has received numerous international accolades for her efforts, including the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and as of 2014 was listed by Forbes as the 61st most powerful woman in the world.

*Katharine Graham, 1917-2001Katharine Graham

A pioneering journalist who President George W. Bush called “the beloved first lady of Washington and American journalism,” Graham led the Washington Post newspaper to prominence during the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 and the Watergate scandal in 1974. She took over the company in 1963 at the age of 46 and didn’t leave until 1993; during that time, she became the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company and to serve as director of the Associated Press. Her memoir, written in 1997, went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for biography.

*Sister Madonna, 85Sister Madonna

It isn’t surprising to hear that someone who has earned the moniker “the Iron Nun” wouldn’t show any signs of slowing down even at age 84. Spokane nun Sister Madonna Buder competed in her first triathlon at age 52 and since then, has competed in nearly 50 Ironman events and over 325 triathlons worldwide. Just this past month, she was dubbed the Ironman All World Athlete Champion for her age group – of course, because of her age, the Ironman organization keeps having to create new age brackets for her to compete in!

**Anna Wintour, 65

There’s one editor who can make or break a new designer in fashion, and her name is Anna Wintour. At the top of the Vogue masthead for more than a quarter-century, the 65-year-old Ms. Wintour expanded her influence over the billion-dollar confluence of fashion, retail and media by becoming artistic director of Condé Nast two years ago. As a testament to Ms. Wintour’s impact, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Costume Institute last year—with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with first lady Michelle Obama. Ms. Wintour has raised more than $125 million for the complex, which recently underwent a two-year renovation. To support emerging designers, she has also led the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund, which awards annual prizes to up-and-comers.

Angela Merkel, 62

Time Magazines Person of the Year 2015: The year 2015 marked the start of Merkel’s 10th year as Chancellor of a united Germany and the de facto leader of the European Union, the most prosperous joint venture on the planet. By year’s end, she had steered the enterprise through not one but two existential crises, either of which could have meant the end of the union that has kept peace on the continent for seven decades. The first was thrust upon her—the slow-rolling crisis over the euro, the currency shared by 19 nations, all of which were endangered by the default of a single member, Greece. Its resolution came at the signature plodding pace that so tries the patience of Germans that they have made it a verb: Merkeling.


(Sources: *Senior Living Blog, **Crains )

Balancing Trump – Can Journalists Confront Bullies?


It was personal for me when Hillary Clinton calmly responded to the racist tone of the current presidential campaign: “Everywhere I go, people tell me how concerned they are by the divisive rhetoric coming from my opponent in this election.” She sounded so different than she has in other speeches. With just the right tone, she went point by point backed up by fact after fact. And then everything turned upside down. Uncomfortable with gray areas, talk show hosts and pundits quickly reframed the dialog as a schoolyard scrap.

…the meme of both sides dragging the presidential campaign to new lows has taken hold across the media. This palpably absurd argument was being stated as the sad truth across the Sunday shows this morning. – Huffington Post 8/28/16

Lessons Learned Fighting Bullies

A newsroom that goes with “he said, she said” when a call can be made is engaged in reckless behavior that may easily blow up in its face. That wasn’t true ten years ago. But it is now. – Jay Rosen, Press Think,

I took a break from blogging about a year ago. Suddenly site visits on my website and Facebook page have taken an unexpected uptick. Given that the topic is workplace bullying, my guess is that watching journalists fail to rein in the damaging and often ludicrous misinformation that Donald Trump and his spox people hurl is triggering painful memories for victims/targets of toxic bosses. Those of us who’ve had our health, finances and careers turned upside down or destroyed by an abusive boss know all too well how difficult it is to have a meaningful conversation once the “he said, she said” door is opened. Continue reading

Report Connects Rise in Suicides at Work to Workplace Bullying

Suicides at work: The number of people taking their own lives at work is on the rise.In 2013, there were 282 workplace suicides. That’s up from about 250 in the previous two years.”Toxic work environments that include workplace bullying and increased work pressures are most likely to have contributed to this growing problem,” the report states. NY CNN Money 5/2/15

No Job Is Worth the loss of the precious gift of life. In the video below, Lisa struggles to understand why her sister’s supervisor “kept badgering her and backing her into a corner and my sister just felt helpless” The year that Jodie died marked the highest number of workplace suicides ever reported by the fatality census [USDOL] .


Workplace Bullying: Picture This!


Here’s a great infographic about #WorkplaceBullying all set for you to share with those people who just don’t seem to get the harm abusive workplaces create.
Workplace Bullies

New Year’s Resolution: Stop Bullying Co-Workers

This year I was honored to be among the experts on the eBossWatch panel to determine the worst bosses of the year. The list included “three mayors, five judges, 19 law enforcement officers and officials, 12 restaurant bosses, and a venture capitalist…The states with the highest number of bad bosses on this year’s list are New York (13), Texas (11), California (11), New Mexico (5), Georgia (5), New Jersey (4), and Kentucky (4).” Many of these harassment cases had already been settled or won in court. But, at least for now, workplace bullying isn’t against the law in the U.S. While it’s often hard to detect, it’s no less devastating financially or emotionally and even the most well-meaning employees can suddenly find themselves at one end or the other of a pile on. Here are 10 simple ways you can stop making your co-worker or employee’s life hell in 2015:

definition-150x1501. Stop calling them “defensive.” In fact, having that label attached to the back of an employee should be a clue to any HR person that they are face-to-face with classic workplace bullying and the victim is getting smeared and blamed for the attacker’s behavior. One glance at a dictionary should tell you all you need to know about the situation: “de*fen*sive: adjective, serving to defend or protect <defensive fortifications>”,  “devoted to resisting or preventing aggression or attack<defensive behavior>”.  Continue reading

HBO’s “Getting On” and Workplace Bullying

409454_PA_Getting-On_27x40Given the epidemic of toxic workplaces in the healthcare industry it shouldn’t surprise viewers that the second season of HBO’s “Getting On” opened with the topic of workplace bullying front and center in a very sensitive way. As the title implies, the show takes place in a hospice center. Nurse Dawn is being pressured by her superior to help with a research project in addition to her already emotionally overwhelming job tasks.

Dawn’s immediate supervisor, Patsy De La Serda, tries to help her understand the situation she’s in:

“Dawn, I think we both know what it is. It’s Dr. James. You’re in an abusive and toxic relationship with a woman who hates women and she’s taking it out on you. I think you have difficulty maintaining firm boundaries and saying no.”

Dawn responds: “I say no to her all the time even though it’s very hard for me. It’s true that I am sensitive and it’s true that I let people take and take and take and take and I’m not very comfortable it doesn’t come natural for me to focus on me.”

Patsy counsels her: “Which is why we need to work on your mindfulness training. You can’t be solid in life unless you’re solid with yourself. I take care of me first and then you. I put my seatbelt on then yours. Mindfulness is mind fullness.” [more below] Continue reading