Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pizza and Women in Politics!!

Class has gone great, today we had another very interesting day. It was lots of fun as always to contribute our perspectives on the issues and topics we talk about. As on most days, today we had a couple of guest speakers one of which was Anna Hidalgo, a Brown Alumni and an old participant of the Women and Leadership course.

Ms. Hidalgo came to class to present to us a video, from PBS's show called "Now" on Women, Power, and Politics, and then an analysis of it and how it relates to our lives as women today. The movie concentrated on the topic of women in politics. The movie was interesting and brought to my attention how even though the U.S. is considered an advanced nation it has fallen behind when it comes to women participation in government. The U.S., according to the video, is ranked 69th in the percentage of women holding office, which according to Ms. Hidalgo we found has become worse because now we are the 85th. 

In the movie we got a good analysis of the ex president of Chile who was a woman and her perspective on the issue of women involvement in politics. In addition, we got to see the great progress of an African nation after its genocide and how in its parliament women form almost half of the representatives. It was very impressive to see how a nation that not long ago was devastated to such a great degree rose back and progressed in such a great aspect. There, women involved in politics are not put down or viewed wrongly because they believe in a woman's ability to lead and make important decisions. Additionally, they understand the great contributions that women make to society. 

In the movie, we also got to see a girls debate competition and its participant's view on the subject of being an unspoken woman. Moreover, we got the chance to see the campaign efforts of a New Hampshire Senator as she ran for office. Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were also mentioned in the film. What all the women shared in this video was the determination to represent and share their opinions with the world.

After, the video was over we got into a little discussion of the issues and themes that it presented. One very interesting thing that Ms. Hidalgo said while she was speaking to us is that for a woman it is necessary to hear the words, "run for office," or something along those lines, at least six/seven times for them to listen. Therefore, throughout the time she spent with us she told us that around four times and Kisa told us once. I guess we all just need around one or more of these encouragements and we will be off for mayor or something (according to her fact). In addition, Ms. Hidalgo mentioned what exactly is viewed or criticized in women politicians. She mentioned how a lot of attention is placed on their wardrobe and femininity. 

The time passed and it turned out that today we went for lunch at around 12:20 PM instead of 12:00 PM. Nevertheless, it was well worth it.

After lunch time, we had two more guest speakers, this time from Youth in Action, a non-profit organization from Providence. They spoke to us about their organization and its history. In addition, they went into detail on some of their actions and goals. To me this organization sounds like a really active one, but it is only located here in Providence. One of my classmates spoke about beginning another one of these organizations in Chicago, which to me does not sound bad at all. One speaker said that they would surely gladly aid if that became the case. According, to what they told us the organization really aims to help youth in different manners from expression to activism.

Class ended around 3:30 PM as always. Today, however, there was an event planned just for students like us, the ILC, that came here to Brown through some program. It was great to meet a couple of new people, eat pizza, and speak to first generation students as many of us are. The Brown students that were present told us a bit about themselves and their history. Afterwards, we were divided up into three different groups in which one or two of the students answered some of the questions we had asked through index cards when we had first arrived. The student who lead the group I was on was coincidentally from San Leandro, California! She was really nice and informative, just as Ryan, one of the organizers of the Leadership academy, and the other college grads in the room.

More to come later!!

If you want to see the video that we watched today in class follow the link below:


  1. Selene

    Thanks for the video link. As a history teacher, I wish I had known about this video when I was teaching. Sounds like they have you guys very busy, but I'm not surprised to hear how well you are handling things. Continued best luck throughout, and am looking forward to hearing more stories when you get back home....

  2. Mr. Kleiman

    Thank you so much for keeping in touch and commenting on my blog. Yes, absolutely I feel that videos like this one should definitely be shown in classrooms. Youth need to be informed so that they can improve their lifestyles and make a difference in their communities. Mr. Kleiman I think that it does not matter that you are no longer a teacher you can still make an impact by interacting with students as you already do, maybe even show this video like they showed us the one on Hip Hop that we were shown. We are absolutely busy on most days with events and work to complete. However, we do have time to have fun and interact it depends mostly on the decisions we each make and each of our priorities. Don’t worry I will tell you all about our experience once we get back, for the mean time keep on reading our blogs they reveal much of what we are experiencing.

  3. Selene,

    At some point people need to ask the question about why it is that so few women are involved in politics. Is it really just because they’re women?

    I work with a lot of people on different causes, Selene, and I tell them a general rule of life: “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.

    If a woman wants to rise in politics, she can’t expect the people to beat down her door and thrust the position at her until she takes it. She needs to have a goal and then to take the appropriate steps to achieve that goal. She has to persevere and never take no for an answer.

    There are a lot more strong women out there than you all may want to take credit for. Even so, if they want to move up, they need to grab a rung on that ladder and pull themselves up.

    There will always be people that will never support someone based on the color of their skin, their gender, their ethnicity, their religion, their political preferences, their sexual preferences and tons of other things that differentiate them from the homophobic racist bigots that walk amongst us. These are people that we will never be able to change but they’re in the minority.

    If a female seeks political office, if her message resonates with the people, in enlightened areas they’re going to vote for her. The US, though, is full of areas that are not yet enlightened about women but many of these areas are unenlightened about those other items mentioned in the previous paragraph, too.

    What are you going to do, Selene, to enlighten these people?