India’s Hidden Suffering: Women and the Agrarian Crisis

When we talk about the agrarian crisis in India and the quarter of a million farmers who have committed suicide since 1995, we tend to think about the men and the physical act of suicide–swallowing the very pesticides that landed them in debt after addressing final letters to village heads and prime ministers. A staggering […]

Where’s the Women’s Opportunity?

For the last thirty years, displaced homemaker centers in New York have provided crucial computer training services, employment counseling, and other support services for nearly a quarter of a million low-income women struggling to re-enter the work force after abandonment, divorce, separation or death of a partner or spouse. As of November 1st of this year, however, all of New York state’s twenty-two displaced homemaker centers will be non-existent, thanks to massive budget cuts in the state.

The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine (No, Not a Cookbook)

Rosa Achmetowna, the unapologetically manipulative, judgmental and unruly Tartar matriarch in Alina Bronsky’s The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, makes “tiger mother” Amy Chua look like a pushover. The novel begins with a hot mustard bath and a bloody knitting needle as Rosa tries her best to end her “stupid,” 17-year-old daughter Sulfia’s pregnancy. […]

Julia Alvarez Illuminates Our Competing Truths

The feeling of un-belonging or “between-ness”–in gender, country, language, family–is one that unites many of us who experience a certain ambivalence in our identities as citizens, daughters, artists and women. For Julia Alvarez, the award-winning poet and author of bestselling novels such as How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents and In the Time of […]

Sexual Violence on Campus: The Damage Done

When I was a sophomore at a small, liberal arts college in the Pacific Northwest, I wrote an article in the campus newspaper that upset some men in my dorm because it mentioned vandalism and harassment that had occurred there. I knew that they were upset because they broke into my room, stole my private […]

Good Journalism Is Worth Dying For

During her career as an investigative reporter in Russia, Anna Politkovskaya was poisoned, tortured, kidnapped and threatened with rape. “What am I guilty of?” Politkovskaya wrote in an article that was found on her computer after her murder in 2006, and which leads the introduction to Is Journalism Worth Dying For?: Final Dispatches, a collection […]

Warning: You Could be Pre-Pregnant

What ethical complications arise when physicians imagine all women of reproductive age to be potential moms, whether or not these women ever want or plan to become pregnant? That’s what worries University of South Florida philosophy and internal medicine professor Rebecca Kukla. She says that the “preconception care movement”–the recent push by organizations such as […]

Book Review: Chills and Thrills in “Haiti Noir”

Even before the earthquake ravaged Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and surrounding cities Léogâne, Petit-Goâve and Jacmel in January 2010, Haiti was synonymous with abysmal poverty, destruction and disease for many people. “Life was not easy in Haiti,” award-winning Haitian American author Edwidge Danticat writes in the introduction to Haiti Noir, the latest addition to Akashic Books’ […]

I Heart Deadly Women

I can’t help but love Jane Greer and Barbara Stanwyck for their striking performances as femme fatales (deadly women) in the 1940’s film noirs Out of the Past and Double Indemnity. In Out of the Past, the youthful and provocative Kathie Moffat, played by Greer, is the Black Widow who travels alone, commits murder, and […]

Four Ways to Fight Sexist Interviewers

If subtle gender biases can influence hiring decisions, what can women do about it? Here are some ideas: 1) The illegal interview question: know how to respond. Many hiring interviews are unstructured, so it is impossible to say how frequently hiring managers ask sensitive, gendered or downright illegal questions. I like career expert Ronald L. […]