Wonk’s Saturday Reads: “Hillaryben” and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Saris

Hillary, wheels down in the land of my heritage, surrounded by vibrant power-saris instead of being the only bright corner in a sea of gray suits, as so often is the case, especially here in the US. (July 18, 2011/State Dept/Public Domain) ... CLICK PHOTO TO READ A TRANSCRIPT OF HILLARY'S REMARKS AT THE OPENING SESSION OF THE US-INDIA STRATEGIC DIALOGUE (July 19, 2011)

Morning, news junkies. This Saturday’s roundup is really more like two posts in one. It’s going to be top-heavy with news about Hillary’s current travels, so if you’re interested in other items about women’s issues, in particular news about Hillary protege Kirsten Gillibrand, please be sure to click after the jump for part 2! (There’s a bit more Hillary stuff in Part II, as well, not related to her current traveling per se.)

Alright, I’m going to start off part I with a mini-photo bomb of sorts (you can click on each photo to get more details about Madam Secretary’s travels):

First up, above to the right… Secretary Clinton arrived in New Delhi, India July 18 for the second round of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue. She was met by Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Menon Rao. (July 18, 2011 STATE DEPT/PUBLIC DOMAIN)

Next, below to the left: BJP Party leader Sushma Swaraj speaks with Secretary Clinton at her residence ini New Delhi. (July 19, 2011 STATE DEPT/PUBLIC DOMAIN)

Second pic below to the left: All India Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi greets Secretary Clinton at her residence in New Delhi. (July 19, 2011/STATE DEPT/PUBLIC DOMAIN)

Third pic below to the left: Secretary Clinton arrives in Bali and Is Greeted By Indonesian Director for Protocol Kandou, Indonesian foreign Ministry Protocol Liaisons Novita and Moniaga, and Ambassador Carden. (July 21, 2011/STATE DEPT/PUBLIC DOMAIN)

Powerful woman pow wow, the Hillary and Sushma edition! (July 19, 2011/State Dept/Public Domain) ... CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW A CANDID SHOT OF HILLARY AND SUSHMA WALKING HAND-IN-HAND.

As epic as it gets...Hillary Clinton and Sonia Gandhi! (July 19, 2011/State Dept./Public Domain)... CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW A NICE SLIDESHOW OF HILLARY MEETING INDIAN LEADERS (including more pictures of Hillary with Sushma and Sonia.)

Hillary, wheels down in Bali! (July 21, 2011/State Dept/Public Domain) ... CLICK PHOTO TO SEE A SLIDESHOW OF MORE AT STILL4HILL'S BLOG.

Here’s a really great read to go along with these pictures, from the Telegraph, Kolkota’s KP Nayar: RARE OPPORTUNITIES – Hillary Clinton’s commitment to India remains undiminished. The “Hillaryben” mention below, in discussing Hillary’s earlier trip to Mumbai, pulls on my heartstrings twice–one time for the Desi factor and another for the sisterhood factor (Hillaryben means “sister Hillary”):

Vegetable vendors and embroidery workers from Gujarat, typically ordinary Indians, made her feel at home in Mumbai, when they unhesitatingly called her “Hillaryben” and reminded her that she was among one of her kind, a woman, wife and working mother, not the most powerful lady in the world, arguably.

I’ve only teased just a tiny portion here. Please click over to the Kolkata Telegraph to read this all in context. It’s the kind of article about Hillary you’d be hard-pressed to find examples of in American media.

PTI has a report of Hillary’s visit with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa… Jaya is a great personality: Hillary. There’s a cute pic of the two women (Jaya and Hillary) together at the link.

Now for a read that is just plain fun. Via the Hindustan Times: Clinton hit the bar, had tandoori murg. On the menu for Hillary and what the article describes as “her 100-strong entourage”:

On her platter were a choice of dishes like seekh kebab, tandoori gobhi, chholey, daal makhni, aloo jeera, rajma masala and fresh mango lassi.

In Indian meats, there was tandoori murg, murg biryani, khushk raan, barra biryani and murg tariwala. Staple consisted of assorted naan, roti and jeera pulao, and for dessert, there were Indian mithais.

Another fun one…it’s a PTI report via IBN (CNN’s sister network in India)… Cultural fare dazzles Hillary:

Chennai, Jul 20 (PTI) It was an enthralled Hillary Clinton this evening as the young faculty and students of a local cultural group brought on some captivating music and dance performance, prompting her to say she “was honoured” to be a part of the moment. […] Clinton said though she had witnessed some of these dances earlier, this was the first time she watched a performance so close that she “could see every muscle (of the dancers) move.”

You can see some fantastic PTI-copyrighted photographs of a bedazzled Hillary enjoying all this “cultural fare” here (via Sify).

And, here’s a very lovely picture of Hillary “sharing a lighter moment” with some women dancers (via the Deccan Herald, which has some interesting reporting about Hillary’s stay in India at the link). In the photo, you can see the tikka/bindi her Indian hosts put on her forehead, along with the garland. You can also see a big warm smile on Hillary’s face. Which reminds me of this great closeup of just Hillary from that night, via Getty Images. (I don’t know how long that link at DayLife will last for, so if you can’t see the photo there, let me know.)

Also, Dipnote has a picture up of Hillary with the dancers on a post about her meeting with the Working Women’s Forum. Oddly enough, they didn’t put a picture of her at the actual forum, but not to worry, sisters of the traveling stateswoman! Still4Hill has got the Hillary goodies on this one, all in one place.

Click to see S4H’s slideshow of Hillary at the Working Women’s Forum, as well as a transcript of Hillary’s remarks–if you love Hillary and her campaign for women, YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THESE PICS!

Toward the end of her remarks to the Working Women’s Forum, Hillary talked about the cookstove initiative (I’m quoting the latter half of what she said):

And so we will work with people around the world to help develop clean cookstoves, help to manufacture them so they are affordable for you to buy them, and we are delighted that we have partners right here with the Working Women’s Forum, with the Confederation of Indian Industries, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, who have joined the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, to make your lives and the lives of your children better and healthier. (Applause.)

Here’s a small sampling of the news coverage on this:

Clinton takes “clean cookstove” drive to India (nice pic at the link of Hillary looking completely in her element as she addresses the crowd)

(Reuters) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed one of her simplest but potentially most transformative diplomatic priorities in India on Wednesday: clean cooking stoves.

Huffpo/AP… Clean Cookstoves: Hillary Clinton Fights Cooking Deaths In Developing World. Check out the photo Huffpo ran of Hillary. It’s almost…*gasp*…flattering (for Huffpo anyway). My, my… it seems like just yesterday that Arianna and her editors found the most distorted pictures of Hillary that they could and blasted them on their front page 24/7. What a difference three years makes!

Here’s a silly item about Hillary’s visit to Greece earlier in the week, with some fun photos: Hillary Clinton: What is a Greek “Frappe”? It’s tabloidesque, but not particularly the kind where you regret giving the story a click. The author makes a punchline at the end about Hillary enjoying her non-frappe, American-style warm coffee and “[leaving] for India to reveal the secrets of a good, ice-cold Lashi.” (Hopefully the first secret Hillary revealed is that it’s spelled “lassi.” And, bless the EVOO queen Racheal Ray who has concocted her own lassi recipe for her show before, but it’s not pronounced like the dog “Lassie” either. It’s “lus-see,” i.e. rhymes with hussy.)

But I digress! Back to Hillary in Greece.

I personally love this AFP shot of Hillary walking past the Acropolis (as she leaves a signing ceremony for a Cultural MOU on import restrictions for archaeological finds between the US and Greece.) H/T S4H, who has more pics+video/transcript of Hillary at the Acropolis Museum here.

Also if you missed the CNN-Turkey Coffee Break with Hillary from last Saturday, Stacy at SecyClintonBlog has all your video, transcript, and photo needs covered at the link, so be sure to check it out.

These are just some Hillary highlights I took away from this week–this really isn’t a comprehensive review of Hillary’s world tour in terms of all the important diplomatic and development work she’s doing. (For that, I suggest you keep an eye out for Dipnote‘s Sunday week-in-review tomorrow.) As much as I’d love to keep blogging about Hillary’s travels this week, I’m afraid the post would become way too long, even for me! And, I actually have a laundry list of other items I’d like to link to before I wrap up and get to the women’s history trivia for this Saturday.

So here goes… your Saturday: Part II link dump…. you can go grab another cuppa first or save this for reading later this weekend, but whenever you’re ready… Click to continue…

  • The Foreign Affairs Council has released a report evaluating Hillary’s leadership at Foggy Bottom over the last 2 years. In a nutshell, the report’s author and Foreign Affairs Council president Thomas Boyatt gives Hillary credit for her past budget maneuverings, her emphasis on the defense-diplomacy-development triad, and the 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. Boyatt did express concern over a “lack of employees with hard language proficiency, particularly a shortage of Arabists, which could have negative consequences for Middle East diplomacy in the future,” adding the stipulation that, “I don’t want to be critical of Secretary Clinton yet, but let’s call it a warning notice.” Boyatt’s real complaint seems to be with the Obama Administration’s FY 2012 budget request in terms of staffing positions—for a reason that is all-too-predictable-by-now when it comes to this presidency:

“By asking for reduced numbers they’re in a pre-emptive capitulation — giving up before the battle starts,” Boyatt said.

Over all, left and right, the picture is not encouraging. Last year, for the first time in three decades, the percentage of women in Congress dropped. This year, women hold 89 of 535 seats (16 percent) in the U.S. Congress; 17 of those seats are in the Senate and 72 in the House of Representatives. Perhaps more stunning, the United States has only six female governors, four Republicans and two Democrats.

None of those numbers sit well with Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York, a Democrat who has now made it her mission to stand at the forefront of women’s issues in all aspects of life — from abortion to national security and economic concerns. “I have been very troubled” about the slowdown in women’s participation in public life, she told me, and that was why she introduced a national campaign, called Off the Sidelines, to fire them up.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand interview with Marie Claire: Why Kirsten Gillibrand Wants You to Run for Office. I’m not going to tease this one because you should just go click over and read it! I will say Hillary gets a prominent and lengthy mention, as does Gabby Giffords.

Penning an article for The Huffington Post today, Gillibrand writes that a bill she is co-sponsoring to repeal the 1996 law is gaining momentum. Even President Obama — who has been criticized by the left recently for his reluctance to support gay marriage — will endorse Gillibrand’s bill, White House spokesman Jay Carney announced yesterday.

The congresswoman was not the only Democrat to push back against West’s comments: In an email to constituents on Wednesday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., lambasted West for his “monstrous tongue lashing,” and urged readers to sign a petition expressing solidarity with Wasserman Schultz and her position on Medicare and Social Security.

“The rant against Debbie was downright shocking, especially when you consider she was protecting the interests of the people of southern Florida, the people she’s steadfastly represented for so many years,” Gillibrand wrote in the email. “Is it wrong to put the elderly before Big Oil?”

Gillibrand also took West to task for his comment about Wasserman not being a “Lady”: “Nothing is more ladylike than fighting for the issues that you care about,” she wrote.

“The system that’s the problem here, the system that’s the barrier is, broadly, patriarchy… (Clinton) wore pants suits with pearls. … She was properly masculine and properly feminine. (Clinton) did this performance and it didn’t quite work. And then Palin is doing this performance where she is taking the line between masculine and feminine and she takes a wide stance. She’s hyper-masculine . . . and then she’s also hyper-feminine. … She was still beaten up. (Palin) provided kind of a different brand or approach than Hillary Clinton and it didn’t matter.”

–Caroline Heldman,
From Clinton to Palin to Bachmann:
Why some Dems now support GOP women

  • Another one I’ll file under ‘food for thought’… via NPR/FP… Foreign Policy: The Feminine Realpolitik, by executive director of the “progressive” National Security Network Heather Hurlburt. Hurlburt takes on the “soft policy” vs. “hard security” debate. I’ll leave it to you guys to weigh in on her thoughts in the comments!

Women’s lib hasn’t made it through Washington yet. Micah Zenko at Foreign Policy magazine looked at the percentages of females holding leadership roles related to foreign policy and national security and found that women remain vastly underrepresented among our nation’s policymakers. Women held no more than 29 percent of the total directorial positions in the organizations discussed below.

  • Moving on to news about women in the MENA region… via Raw Story/AFP:

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s first woman foreign minister — and also its youngest — was sworn in on Tuesday, ending a five-month job vacancy a week before crucial peace talks in India.

Hina Rabbani Khar, aged 34, is also expected to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the sidelines of the regional ASEAN forum in Indonesia this week.

(This is becoming a bit of a trend… last year Hillary met up with the then-newly elected Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the ASEAN summit in Hannoi.)

A SAUDI woman will be tried for taking the wheel, in what she said was an emergency, despite the ultra-conservative kingdom’s ban on females driving.

The unnamed 35-year-old was arrested in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, then released with her father as her guarantor, Saudi newspaper Okaz reported yesterday.\

The woman said she had to drive because she was suffering from a haemorrhage and, “in the absence of public transportation” and no driver of her own, she had no other way to get to the hospital, Okaz reported.

The world should recognise what Saudi women have already achieved and support them in claiming their rights and creating institutions and mechanisms for enforcing them. Their efforts for their own liberation must be acknowledged and allowed to lead the way, so that Saudi decisions can be made about Saudi issues.

Women2Drive was begun by and for Saudi women to continue the expansion of their participation in Saudi society.

That’s one step closer to the 
driver’s seat.

Women’s organizations contend that with only one woman in the new Cabinet, International Cooperation and Planning Minister Fayza Aboul-Naga, the new government is far from egalitarian. Although described by the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram as “liberal-dominated,” the Tahrir Square protesters that forced the change claimed that even the new cabinet was too pro-Mubarak. The public outcry forced Sharaf to postpone the swearing in of the government on Tuesday.

“This is an intentional ignoring of women’s representation,” Nahed Shahata, head of programming at the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR), a Cairo-based organization, told The Media Line. “Women stood alongside men at Tahrir Square. They were killed and injured just like men. It’s not a question of gender; this is an important period of democratic transition.”

Launched in March and produced by women cartoonists and women writers only, Bayan Yani has made a splash confronting uncomfortable topics such as “honour” killings, women’s rights, sex, adultery and Islam, and with occasional irreverent glances at lighter fare such as weight loss or cellulite.

[…]

Bayan Yani means “the seat next to the woman’s seat” — referring to a Turkish convention on long-distance coaches under which a woman travelling alone is not seated next to a man.

  • And, then there’se the opposite of what Bayan Yani is doing: Have you seen those annoying “Hail to the V” ads yet? Shakesville’s Melissa McEwan on Summer Eve’s latest assvertising campaign: “Well, more like vagvertising. “ Melissa only covers one of the ads in the series–you can see more of them here. The first one I happened to come across was the Lady Wowza one (black woman stereotype). All I have to say is if vajayjays could talk, I doubt they’d sound as humorless and inane as Hail to the V’s mock vaginas do. I’d love to see NineteenPercent‘s response to this nonsense!
  • Here’s a good one to follow up with after reading about the Summer’s Eve controversy. NYT/Rebecca Traister… Ladies, We Have a Problem:

To object to these ugly characterizations is right and righteous. But to do so while dressed in what look like sexy stewardess Halloween costumes seems less like victory than capitulation (linguistic and sartorial) to what society already expects of its young women. Scantily clad marching seems weirdly blind to the race, class and body-image issues that usually (rightly) obsess young feminists and seems inhospitable to scads of women who, for various reasons, might not feel it logical or comfortable to express their revulsion at victim-blaming by donning bustiers. So while the mission of SlutWalks is crucial, the package is confusing and leaves young feminists open to the very kinds of attacks they are battling.

While support for women veterans has improved, “it has not been enough,” Shinseki said during the 2011 National Training Summit on Women Veterans held here on July 16.

The task force’s “near-term mission,” he said, is to develop – in coordination with VA’s Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, and in conjunction with the Defense Department – a comprehensive VA action plan that will focus on key issues facing women veterans and the specific actions needed to resolve them.

Those issues include obstetric and gynecological care, childcare, military sexual trauma, homelessness, aging and end-of-life issues, among others, the secretary said.

  • The Florida Independent has a good piece up summarizing the latest on the war on women at the local legislature level… The states’ war on women. The only minor issue I take with it is that the article neglects to point out that it’s not just a Republican war on women that’s the problem–it’s the absence of Democratic leadership fighting FOR women.

See also: Dr. Paula Johnson [one of the physicians on the IOM panel] on women’s preventive care (via White Coat Notes). From the link:

Of the eight main recommendations the institute made, the one that seems to getting the most attention would require most insurers to cover FDA-approved methods of contraception. Why was that included on this list?

We really viewed this was as the prevention of unintended pregnancies and the promotion of healthy birth spacing. In the United States, nearly 50 percent of pregnancies are unintended. There’s quite good data that by preventing unintended pregnancies — there is a very clear link to the improved health and well-being of women.

We know that cost can be a very significant barrier to women, to anybody, to the population, but… it is a greater barrier to women. Women tend to be lower income. Women tend to experience higher out-of-pocket costs.

It’s not a belief held by all, but I think many in the medical community and the public health community consider contraception important for prevention.

Planned Parenthood lauds recommendation for prescription birth control insurance coverage (via VTDigger)

Why One IOM Committee Member Dissented on Women’s Health Report (via WSJ Health blog).

Birth control plan blasted, “pregnancy is not a disease” (via CBS News).

  • Shifting gears… CNN’s Elizabeth Landau: Sci-fi women more than hot babes. I have to say, I find it a major oversight that there was no mention of Gillian Anderson’s ‘Dana Scully’ in this article. I know we’re a long ways from the Clinton 90s, but still, you can’t talk about the gender progress in sci-fi without talking about the red-headed skeptic who ran around in pantsuits with her partner as they tried to save the world from the Cigarette Smoking Man!

Magnus, 46, asked Mission Control in Houston to send updates on the scores and news from the Women’s World Cup during her 13-day mission on shuttle Atlantis, which is delivering supplies to the International Space Station. This year, the international women’s soccer competition is in Germany, where it runs through July 17.

Yesterday (July 13), the U.S. team defeated France by a score of 3 to 1 in a World Cup semifinal match.

“Oh that’s terrific! Oh, excellent,” Magnus radioed Mission Control after hearing the news. “Thank you. That makes me very happy!”

Longtime sports pundit Bryant Gumbel thinks that the U.S. Women are being “coddled” in a “patronizing” way that their male counterparts would never experience. This week the host of HBO’s Real Sports noted that a top-level men’s team which fumbled away glory in a similar scenario would be roundly criticized and harshly analyzed, whereas the USWNT has essentially been praised for “a nice try.”

Records of Post Office workers dating back to 1737 have been published online for the first time.

The records include the stories of the women who kept the Royal Mail running during wartime.

[…]

Ancestry.co.uk international content director Dan Jones said the archives are a “massive” family history resource.

He added: “The records also tell us a lot about the social history of the Post Office, in that it actively recruited women, particularly during the world wars, which led to a growing acceptance that work roles should not be defined by gender.”

Today in Women’s History (July 23)

Via Liz Library:

Chiaki Mukai: Click to read her wiki bio. (NASA Photo/Public Domain)

Event 07-23-1994: Chiaki Mukai, heart surgeon and first Japanese woman in space, spent a then record 15 days doing scientific experiments aboard a U.S. spacecraft.

Eileen Collins: Click to read her wiki bio (NASA Photo/Public Domain)

Event 07-23-1999, NASA’s first space mission commanded by a woman.Air Force Colonel Eileen Collins blasted off from Cape Canaveral in a rare night takeoff (12:26 am) and ended five days later (07-27-99) in a rarer night time landing (11:20 pm). On 07-24-99, mission specialist Catherine “Cady” Coleman was in charge of efforts to successfully deploy the $1.55 billion Chandra X-ray Observatory and did most of the delicate deployment herself.
The twice delayed launch was witnessed by the WOAH compiler and several women members of her family from a nearby beach. The crowd was surprisingly subdued as if they realized something wasn’t right.
It wasn’t until the next day that the public learned a fuel leak almost resulted in a highly dangerous, forced night landing. It would have been the first “forced landing” of a U.S. space ship. Captain Eileen Collins handled the crisis perfectly and the mission continued as scheduled.

That’s it for me. What’s on your blogging list?

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Sky Dancing and Taylor Marsh]

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