“We tell ourselves stories in order to live...We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the "ideas" with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.” - Joan Didion
“Hive” mentality is a popular concept among young adults that emphasizes collective thought and intelligence. In the past, this concept has been limited to mere political debate in classroom settings or water-cooler office banter, but today it is a constant influx that seeps through our cell phones by way of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
For my generation especially, the internet capitalizes on collective opinions to create a communal feeling among users. Things like ‘cancel culture’ and ‘stan accounts’ attract millions of users’ attention because of controversy and debate. Arguably, this sucks users into sections, where they feel they must adopt every aspect of that group, even if it does not represent their core belief. To an extent, this communal feeling can be a good thing, but what happens when it consumes that culture?Instead of being a section of empowerment and liberation, it can become a group that fights for a cause to any extent. The dangers of subjectivity are just the same as the dangers of objectivity - they inhibit a blindness that can tear at the seams of change and progression. Destruction of group relations through hive mentalities makes the extremities of each group flourish and diminishes any type of bipartisanship with other groups.
Social media inhibits both the positive and the negative of this culture. It can strengthen community ties, empower groups with self confidence and daily reminders of self love, but it can also force us into a box; one that is steel-cut and seemingly impenetrable. We must be aware of media and technology’s impression on us, its divisiveness, it’s pointing fingers, it’s collective conscious. To combat this, we must diminish the dark side of technological engagement through conversation.
Gender, specifically, divides and conquers on the basis of identification. Personally, I have seen firsthand how hive mentalities impact women’s empathy and empowerment. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all provide informational platforms where women can come together and share their stories.
Most recently, the #MeToo movement jump started a community of sexual assault survivors via social media encouraging other women to come forward. Because of the hard history of our gender in our world, we, as women, were ready to stand behind these issues.
But, what about empowerment from other groups? The bigger issue here is that we understand these issues as women who experience them firsthand, but where do we begin to help other genders understand women’s struggle?
To study this a little closer, I wanted to see what social issues members of my immediate community are directly impacted by. But adversely, I wanted to study whether each subject still felt affected or bothered by issues that they don’t necessarily experience themselves.
I sent out a poll to my Facebook and Twitter community, along with singling out some candidates to ensure a diverse pool of genders among respondents. The first nine questions of survey were built in a specific way to ensure that all candidates responses were tailored to their personal experiences. The tenth and final question asked respondents what social issues they feel need reform, despite their experience of them.
Interestingly enough, climate change and poverty were the number one issues that eighty-five percent of respondents felt need reform, even if not readily experienced. The current state of our climate and the existence of climate-change deniers pushed me to believe climate would be on the lower half of the spectrum. Poverty, though, was an issue I was expecting to be highly noted among respondents and did not shake my attitude.
Women’s issues averaged in the mid-low range of the percentile, with the highest statistic being reproductive health at seventy percent. Issues like gender equality, women’s access to education, maternal health, and women’s employment opportunities were among the lower statistics reported from respondents. These issues are more readily experienced among women and cannot be felt by a society as a whole unless attention is brought to them.
The heightened level of mass shootings throughout our country sparked gun control impact to forty-five percent, nearly half of all forty respondents. The existence of student loan debt reported about 32.5 percent whereas more personal issues like islamophobia and same-sex rights reported a 2.5 percent impact.
Even when islamophobia and same-sex rights reported smaller personal impacts, they still generated a bigger call to action than personal women’s issues. The importance here is not that issues are not readily experienced, it is in how women are communicating and opening up to other groups.
Our struggle and pain is valid and should be mobilized by other groups. We must build strong ties with other diverse groups to help take down the one thing holding all of us back-- apathy. We need to be aware of our struggle, but we need others to be aware of it as well. By opening up ourselves and using social media for empowerment and self confidence, we might be able to pull women’s issues to the forefront of the social conversation.
We must remember that just because we are a part of a group does not mean we aren’t all scared of the same things. That we feel the same impending doom of the collapsing environment, the hardship in impoverished neighborhoods and underprivileged citizens. We have to change the current social media atmosphere to not only be inclusive, but also be a tool to connect, rather than divide. We must promote listening to others with the intent to understand, not the intent to respond. We must understand our identity, and use it to teach others about our struggles.
By Kendall Rotar
Reports offered that 51 percent of the wage gap narrowed in 2018. Despite these numbers, researchers still project that factors such as political empowerment, educational attainment, and health are growing at a backwards rate, stifling the wage gap and causing women to fall short to their male counterparts.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, the city’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion reported increases in the city’s investment in women-run businesses. As of 2017, the city saw the highest rate of contracted companies with women as their heads in recent history. The department is said to be working closely with local businesses to focus on implementing diversity training, but some groups are questioning how much change these tactics are bringing about.
Women in law firms are reporting that a grey line exists with sexual assault committed by clients seeking counsel from law companies. Many women working at these firms note that they are too afraid to report any inappropriate behavior committed by clients because they fear their claims will be overlooked.
In an alarming studying conducted by the Times UK, researchers found that people are more likely to recommend a male counterpart for a job when asked to think of a recommendation. This, the study finds, is due to the fact that women have been socially stigmatized as knowing less and holding familial roles.
The MLB’s Diversity and Inclusion team has set out to involve more women in the industry. The team’s initiative is to bring a larger amount of diversity to the table in hopes of showcasing different talents throughout the MLB company. Sixty women, with experience in both baseball and softball, were invited to a two-day event where they are able to showcase their talents in either playing, coaching, or scouting.
After 25 years of friendship, Judith Balcazar and Anne Davidson joined forces to create a pair of underwear for women post bladder surgery. Balcazar, who recently had bladder surgery, felt that other women might share her insecurities and decided to create what are known as “Giggle Knickers” for women who experience post-surgery complications.
Naziya Basharmal was keen on starting her own tailoring business in the Kandahar province despite having only 800 dollars to start up her company two years prior. Her persistence kept her company alive amidst the conservative providence, pushing herself to go beyond gender barriers established in her community.
GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. A common concept often used in computer programming. Now though, it has been coined by sociological analysts to explain a common phenomenon in business: if something starts off with bad information or intentions, it will ultimately end up going to bad places.
Chelsea Whelan is Tasmania’s first woman to enroll in a bricklaying apprenticeship. After working in many different fields, Whelan decided that her original goal was what she needed to be investing her time in. Late last year, Whelan enrolled in her apprenticeship where she follows in the footsteps of her father and grandfather before her.
In a conversation with high school athletes at Santa Barbara High School in California, female firefighters encouraged young women to enter the public service career path. Specifically, the Montecito Fire Protection District suggested that women look into working on the firefighting force to increase female leadership in public safety.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is taking initiative to expand their college of business for female entrepreneurs. Currently, their business school is only 33 percent female, following the historically old trend of male dominance in business. Women in the college are speaking out from all ends, from deans to first-year students, they are working to highlight the extensive research and dedication done by women involved in the program. Students are commending the college for making sure women are represented across the board. Women sit as recruitment advisors, associate deans, and esteemed researchers. Kathryn Warner Brightbill told Daily Nebraska of her troubles with gender and career, while also highlighting the successes she’s seen in progressiveness. Warner Brightbill stated that her accounting department is one of the most progressive she’s seen, with women at the forefront of every aspect. She stated that the university and her female colleagues inspired her to keep working on expanding female involvement in the college.
Girl scouts in Connecticut are engaging in various workshops showcasing different kinds of construction or development jobs after high school graduation. Building trades in the state are working to include women in the construction industry by exposing young girls in girl scout organizations to electric work, metal cutting, and carpentry. The event was initially reserved for boy scout troops, but with the female representation in these occupations at only 3.2 percent, the state decided to open the workshop to local girl scout troops. The troops are exposed to different tasks required from the jobs, and also provides virtual simulations for more hazardous tasks like crane use. Young girls remarked that the workshop was empowering because they were able to meet with women in the job.
The famous car service Uber partnered with the wildly popular company Girl Boss to put more women in executive positions. Girl Boss works to inform and empower women everywhere by providing podcasts and information on women’s accomplishments around the world. This October, the companies held a contest where women were invited to submit business ideas on a ten slide pitch deck. The idea stemmed out of the hit show Shark Tank and aims to close the entrepreneur gap in gender. Women who are finalists in the contest are flown out to New York City where they are invited to pitch their idea to a panel of big-name investors. Jen Rubio is said to be the judge of each business idea and will help find more investors and executives to grow the winner’s business. Uber donated the prize money to finalists in hopes of helping them start on their journey into the C-Suite.
As only the third woman in history to receive a Nobel prize, Donna Strickland yearns for more woman, like herself, to earn the honor. Strickland’s initial reaction to finding out she was only the third woman in history to receive the award left her dumbfounded and sparked a conversation about women’s underrepresentation. She told Now Toronto that she did not put her gender into account when following her dreams and stuck to her work ethic and drive while doing rigorous research. According to the article, women are paving a path for young women in a number of fields but are not being acknowledged for their hard work and determination. The belief that older generations must mentor and guide more young women in their fields is important to Strickland and her work.
Research conducted by the Chicago Tribune shows that women in the workplace are experiencing increased discrimination and wage loss because of breastfeeding. Women have been speaking out about this issue due to the implementation of pods for women to breastfeed in and the accommodation of men’s discomfort over women’s comfort. NPR producer Alexis Diao states that there is an “intense pressure” to prove that women are working at the same level as they were before childbirth and breastfeeding. The “unforgiving culture” in the workplace causes a big increase in the wage gap for women bearing children. An incompatibility with breastfeeding and maternal responsibility is hindering women’s chances to succeed in the workplace after choosing to have a family. Past studies have shown that women who breastfed their children less or not at all experienced a smaller wage loss than those women who breastfed frequently.
Earlier this week, India took initiatives to promote workplace safety for women. Sexual harassment in the workplace has become a central issue in the country’s legislature, and officials are keen on mending this problem. The law states that a current female staff member in a senior executive position acts as an officer to the women in the office to provide a safe, consistent voice if need be. This officer is joined by a committee of women in the workplace who are committed to and passionate about keeping their co-workers safe. Any female employee is allowed to confide in the committee or officer about any uncomfortable behavior or harassment she may experience.
At a conference in Hong Kong, 50 female scholars from around the world gathered to speak about oppression in their career paths. The male-dominated engineering industry is reaching out to interested young women in hopes of encouraging them to pursue careers in the field. The conference focused on helping young women succeed in any male-dominated industry related to engineering. Many women came forward with stories about their career paths and how being married or having a family were main concerns from their personal mentors. The conference secured that six top ranked universities would pledge to diversify their programs and also hold themselves accountable for the retention rate of women in these specific majors.
A new study conducted by Market Watch found that the distribution of small tasks around the office exacerbates the gender wage gap. In an interview, researchers found that women are more likely to be treated like interns or asked to do menial tasks when reporting to male authority figures. The research team also used an app called Hive that encouraged women to track their daily tasks and describe their workplace. This highlighted the study’s initial finding of women being left to do things like “grunt work” and “non-promotable” projects. For privacy, the app left off the names of the companies but assured researchers that the results show gender barriers in the workplace as a multifaceted issue. A number of women came forward after the results to share their own stories. One woman noted that it was an “unspoken” rule that she clean up after her male counterparts, even their own personal workstations, after other employees left work.
The Guardian recently highlighted successful women in the construction industry. In interviews, the women noted that the construction sector of the workforce is becoming more female friendly, as uniforms become more accommodating and leaders encourage more women to pursue the career path. Women in STEM and engineering roles have been going to schools to talk to young women about the culture shift in construction and how they can get involved. These women believe it is important for the younger generation not to fear going into the industry because of social constructs surrounding the job. One woman, Dimitra Koutsi, noted that she wants young women to understand the satisfaction of the job and how they can impact people's lives. She said that construction changes people’s quality of life and that pride exudes from this type of labor.