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Interchange – Is a Woman a Person? Needing Ellen Willis More Than Ever

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So, here we are, August 4th, 2015, and I’m asking “Is a Woman A Person?” You laugh, no, scoff at me for asking this. Of course!, you say. But are we “persons” by degrees with some considered lesser beings? Consider the concerted attack on women’s health funding by Republicans seeking to defund Planned Parenthood. It seems women ought to be tethered to reproduction and firmly under the control of the male head of the family. Right? We’ll look at the essays of Ellen Willis in this program as a way to investigate the longevity of this male supremacist attack on women.

On June 30 I talked with Ellen Willis’s daughter, Nona Willis Aronowitz, who had edited a selection of Ellen Willis’s essays, about Willis’s life and her influence as a writer,, which included her work as a music critic–rock music critic–for the New Yorker magazine, but was mostly political, and always feminist. We didn’t dig too deeply into the specifics of the Radical Feminism of Ellen Willis that night.

But, with the continuous onslaught against women primarily through access to care, which seems to be about restricting access to biological options regarding reproduction, we should return to Ellen Willis. No, we must to return to Ellen Willis.

There was something of a dismissive review of The Essential Ellen Willis in the Los Angeles Review of Books back in May of 2014 by Lisa Levy. It disparaged Willis exactly where I would praise her for sounding one particular feminist note for forty years. For FOUR decades what remained consistent for women while Ellen Willis was writing for both a popular and academic audience? The attack on women’s individual rights. The ongoing commitment to restricting women from being able to decide without the imposition of a man and a male supremacist society how to live their lives as equal human beings. But the book reviewer seemed to tired of that complaint, or too tired of having to read about it over and over.

GUEST
Jennifer Maher, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington.

MUSIC
Aretha Franklin – “RESPECT”
Eurythmics – “Sisters are Doing It For Themselves”
Bikini Kill – “Rebel Girl”
Beyonce – “Run The World (Girls)”

ARTICLES REFERENCED
“Abortion: Is a Woman a Person?” (Village Voice, 1979)
“Radical Feminism and Feminist Radicalism” (Social Text, 1984)

RELATED
Interchange – What Makes Us Vulnerable: The Essential Ellen Willis
Interchange – Impulse Under the Influence: Campus Rape Culture
Interchange – Rape and White Male Privilege

CREDITS
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board and Music Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

IU Ranks 11th Nationwide For Female Enrollment in STEM Programs

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Indiana University now ranks eleventh in the United States for female enrollment in science, technology, and math programs, according to The College Database.

IU also places second among Big Ten universities for women enrolled in the so-called hard sciences, or STEM programs.

The Bloomington campus has 90 STEM programs, with 1,288  women enrolled, or 51 percent of the total enrollment in those programs.

IU tries to help women in STEM programs succeed in teaching, research, and professional development.

In addition to the Center of Excellence for Women in Technology, IU offers the Provost’s Professional Development Awards for Women in Science, and provides a Women In Science, Technology, and Math Student Residential Community.

Julianne Martin is the Provost’s Program Coordinator for the designated living center for women in science.

“A big reason we wanted to start a residential learning community for women in STEM fields was to help provide support for women in those fields,” Martin says, “They get be surrounded by peers studying the same things, in the same classes and have the same academic goals.”

STEM programs are defined by The College Database using guidelines provided by National Science Foundation for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The Bloomington campus has no engineering school, but does have one of the nation’s largest informatics and computing schools, so it classifies its programs using the STEM acronym.

IU Provost Lauren Robel says the university has made a focused and deliberate effort to attract women to the sciences. She adds that IU is becoming a beacon for women in these fields.

Martin says the old stereotype of science and math being male-only fields is gradually fading away.

“Some fields are better than others, like biology, with female enrollment,” Martin says, “But fields like astronomy, math and physics have much lower numbers. As you go up the academic ladder even into the careers the numbers just get smaller and smaller. So hopefully with these programs we can help women stay in these majors as undergrads and go on to careers in these fields.”

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in the STEM fields will grow at twice the rate of other fields in the coming years.

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