Women’s Independent Press

Informing Women About Our World

Archive for October, 2011

Showcase Woman, Brenda Tate: November 2011

October 30, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Detective Brenda Tate has served in the field of law enforcement for 35 years, thirty of which have been as a police officer with the City of Pittsburgh Police Department. During her career she has served in many high profile assignments and has mentored numerous female officers to help them navigate successfully through the male dominated culture. Several of her mentees have risen to high rank within the department. She has also taken a leadership role in her non-work activities such as: Boy Scouts of America for Troup #59 and Scoutreach Committee, Centre Avenue YMCA Board of Management, Hill House Board of Directors, New Dawn Ministry “Winner in You” Mentorship program, and CORO Center for Civic Leadership/Women In CORO.
Detective Tate was one of the first female officers to serve on foot patrol in the city of Pittsburgh Housing Authority community. She also served in the high profile Dignitary and Witness Protection Unit, where she was responsible for organizing and providing protective services for high profile dignitaries, kings, queens and other royalty from abroad, as well as several US presidents and vice presidents and other high ranking US and foreign government officials. Also, Detective Tate has played a critical role in cultivating relationships with many agencies throughout the city (i.e. Housing Authority City of Pittsburgh Section 8 and Allegheny County Housing, Allegheny County MH/MR, major Hotel chains). These relationships are the life’s blood to the sustainability of the unit. She is currently a Detective in the PIRC Unit (Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Violence), which reports directly to the Chief of Police on matters related to community issues, gang and drug related violence.
Detective Tate has served her community as an Activist on the One Hill Coalition Task Force that was successful in the acquisition of the Benefits Agreement between the Hill District community and the Pittsburgh Penguins. In her church Ebenezer Baptist Church she is involved in the Women’s Mission Ministry and Senior Usher Board and played a significant role in the reconstruction of the church after a fatal fire destroyed the historic structure completely. She has served as chair in both functions as well as the Ebenezer Trustee Board. She currently serves on the Ebenezer Development Board. She has also performed missionary work for her church locally and in Africa, Eastern and Western Europe.
She is committed to helping her community in any way she can. She is a Pennsylvania State Addiction Counselor and an internationally certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She is able to use her expertise in these areas in her informal counseling and mentoring activities. Brenda is the proud mother of two sons, Reverend James E. Tate Jr. and Demetrius J. Tate.

Book Review, by Kathryn Atwood

October 30, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Exceptional Children by Ransom Riggs

This young adult novel is based on a series of very unusual old photographs
which is a very odd set-up for a book and that nearly worked but in my
opinion, completely missed the mark. I found the central character, Jacob,
extremely unlikeable. His personality issues reminded of me of those shared
by the female protagonist in the young adult novel “Revolution” but that
character had a dead brother, a sick mother, and an absentee father to blame
for her emotional turmoil. Jacob, on the other hand, has a two-parent cushy
life that he can’t seem to get comfortable with. Fair enough, it happens,
but I was never sure how Riggs wanted me to feel about Jacob — was I
supposed to think his self-induced ennui was cool? Was I supposed to pity
him? I didn’t quite get it.

Jacob is the narrator and his writing skill is impressive for a teen(though
often nearly sunk by the overuse of adjectives and metaphors) but this is
explained away by our being told that he takes accelerated high school
classes. His hopelessly hateful attitude and burdened writing were sometimes
difficult for me to slog through. But slog I did and that’s because the plot
points in the first half of the book reeled me so powerfully that I couldn’t
stop in until I discovered what had happened to Jacob’s grandfather (BTW,
the only character I found appealing, a Polish Jew who fought in WWII). But
as I entered the fantasy world of the book’s second half, I felt as if I was
Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, poised to open a door into a living color Oz
but instead ending up in an peculiar world of drab grey. It’s
different but not terribly appealing or even interesting.

However, it’s a credit to Riggs that even readers who don’t like the book
will probably have difficulty not slogging to the bitter end where we find
some key questions answered, see a key decision made, and watch a sequel –
shamelessly? — being set up. The idea of basing a novel upon quirky old
pictures is one that I find fascinating but the end result isn’t as good as
it looks.

Introduction to The Grammar Nerd

October 29, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Sydnee Bagovich
The Grammar Nerd

Through many years of introspection and hundreds of conversations with professionals, mentors, coaches, therapists, family and friends… After countless hours of reading articles and books, completion of exercises and tests, participation in seminars and workshops… I am finally heading down the path of defining my true passion. I love to write, I love to teach, and I love to bring people together. Woven throughout those activities is an absolute love for…grammar. What, you ask, grammar? Really?! That is such a dry topic that makes most people squinch their faces in dislike recalling bad memories of elementary and high school English. For me, it is fun! I was the one in class who enjoyed diagramming sentences! In fact, today, when I am unsure of how to say something, I will often do the little diagram in my head. Much as someone else might enjoy analyzing the strategy of a football play, or rebuilding an engine, or building a model airplane—all things that do not appeal to me—I enjoy writing about the right way to say things, the right words to use. Much as understanding the difference among their/they’re/there, or when to use apostrophes, or when to use I vs. me might cause confusion for some, this comes naturally and easily to me. I want to help people to understand and be more confident speakers. So, how do I do that?
I recognize that we are judged constantly by how we communicate. So what, right? Why should I care if people are judging me? Well, if your website is rife with improper grammar and punctuation, incorrect usage of words, partial sentences and bad format, then that judgment could result in a missed sale, a turned-off customer, elimination from the pool of job candidates, or movement from your website in search of the competitor’s page. I review your material—websites, presentations, proposals—for correct grammar usage and give you suggestions that will make your message clear and professional. I also present workshops that help you to understand many of those common errors and how to turn them around in your own communication to prevent that judgment and unfavorable review! And I do it in a way that is hardly textbook style. I present very conversationally and make it easy to understand.
For examples of my writing and a peek into my style, please visit my website, www.thegrammarnerd.com. You can read more on www.bizchicks.org and www.examiner.com. You can “friend” me on my Grammar Nerd Facebook page, and you can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter. Recently I was interviewed by The Web Strategy Coach, Brian David O’Keefe. Read that at: http://briandavidokeefe.com/2011/10/interview-the-grammar-nerd/. If you are interested in learning more about how I might be able to help you, please send me an email to grammar.nerd@yahoo.com.
Sydnee Bagovich
The Grammar Nerd

Leaders of Women’s Organizations Call on Congress to….

October 29, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Contact: Latoya Veal, 202-628-8669, ext. 116

Leaders of Women’s Organizations Call on Congress to
Consider Legislation That Would Strengthen Social Security

On October 26, 2011 , the Older Women’s Economic Security Task Force (OWES), part of the National Coalition of Women’s Organizations (NCWO), delivered a letter to members of Congress, calling on Congress to consider three pieces of legislation that would assure Social Security solvency for the next 75 years by lifting the cap on payroll tax contributions — a move that an overwhelming majority of the public has said they support, according to recent polls. The National Council of Women’s Organizations is composed of 240 member organizations, with more than 12 million members; the OWES Task Force is co-chaired by the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR).
The letter from the OWES Task Force states, “Social Security is a program that binds generations of Americans together, and we should strengthen, not weaken, this critical program. While these are tough economic times for everyone, a balanced budget should not come at the expense of millions of vulnerable Americans.”

The Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act (S. 1558), introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, and the No Loopholes in Social Security Taxes Act (H.R. 797), introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio, would close Social Security’s 75-year funding gap by applying Social Security payroll tax contributions to cover earnings of $250,000 or more. Currently, only wages up to $106,800 are taxed. These bills would preserve the Social Security Trust Fund by closing a tax loophole so millionaires would pay the same percentage of their salaries to Social Security as the average American worker. This will guarantee that Social Security remains solvent for at least 75 years.

The Preserving our Promise to Seniors Act (H.R. 539), introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch, changes the COLA calculation from the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) to a Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), which places more weight on the goods and services purchased by seniors. The CPI-E would account for the rising costs faced by seniors when determining Social Security cost of living increases.

According to a national survey conducted last month by the Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint, U.S. voters overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare as a way to reduce the deficit. By a 50 point margin, they oppose cuts to these programs as a part of a potential Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction proposal. By a margin of 66 percent to 22 percent, they oppose reducing COLA increases for beneficiaries now and in the future.
“Social Security continues to keep many older women out of poverty,” said NOW President and OWES Co-Chair Terry O’Neill. “We urge Congress to leave Social Security out of any deficit-reduction plan produced and to consider these three bills which could truly strengthen, not dismantle Social Security for future generations.”
IWPR President and OWES Co-Chair Dr. Heidi Hartmann said, “Studies consistently show the critical importance of Social Security for many Americans; in fact, we have found that both women and men are increasingly reliant on Social Security income at this time of high unemployment and declining home and investment values.”

Signers to the letter included leaders from the National Women’s Political Caucus, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Mothers’ Centers, Global Women’s Project at the Center of Concern, American Association of University Women, Black Women’s Health Imperative, Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, National Association for Female Executives, Feminist Majority, Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, Wider Opportunities for Women, Jewish Women International, Women’s Committee of 100, Media Equity Collaborative, Women’s Research and Education Institute, National Women’s Law Center and Older Women’s League.

The National Council of Women’s Organizations is composed of more than 240 women’s organizations representing more than 12 million U.S. women. The Older Women’s Economic Security (OWES) Task Force was formed in 1998 to study, monitor, and act to enhance older women’s economic security. NOW and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) are co-chairs of the OWES Task Force

November 2011 Events

October 29, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

November 1- Business Growth Expo – Speakers Showcase & tradeshow – Greentree Radisson - 8-4 pm- hundreds of local business professionals and 30 exhibitors – For more info and pricing, call Dena Trusiak at 412-208-3814 or email dtrusiak@bizjournals.com 

November 2 - A Networking For A Cause Event - ALL Proceeds will go to The Military Connections Christmas Stocking Drive - Military Connections sends Christmas Stockings full of goodies to our deployed men & Women at no charge to the family or soldier - MilitaryConnections.org- There are still some vendor/ exhibitor opportunities open. Tables are only $40.00 Please contact Carol Briney 412-781-8773 or Carol@CarolbrineyWorkFromHome.com for more information. - 5:00pm - 8:00pm - Comfort Inn - RIDC Park Fox Chapel - $10.00 before October 28th , $15.00 after or at the door - Price includes: hors d’oeuvres, a door prize ticket, and exceptional networking - Tickets can be purchased on line with a credit card or through the mail with a check (your ticket will held at the door) Send your check made out to BLX Networking to Carol Briney 134 West 8th Street Aspinwall, Pa. 15215. With cash from Carol Briney or Tina Nobers at BLX Networking Lunch Events or From Summer Tissue at the Oakmont Chamber Office, or Dora Butko - Cheswick Floral - Attendees are encouraged to bring any of the following items to be used in the Christmas stockings. For each item you donate you will receive an extra door prize ticket - Canned Chef Boyardee with Pop-Top Lids-Chewing Gum -Individual Packs of Crackers -Granola Bars -Power Bars -Chapstick -Pretzels -White Athletic Socks (ankle or calf) -Powdered Drink Mix -Pouches of Tuna

November 5 - 9:30 - 11:30 am - The Four Agreements: Paths for Peaceful Life - Be Impeccable with your word…Don’t take anything personally Don’t make assumptions - The Four Agreements: Paths for a Peaceful Life
Cost: $25 - Be impeccable with your word - Don’t take anything personally - Don’t make assumptions - Always do your best.
To register go to www.julieannsullivan.com/events


November 6 - Wine & Cheese Networking Event: Talbots, The Galleria, 1500 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon; $10/person, sponsor opportunities available - 5:00 p.m.—7:00 p.m. - Registration is online at www.winpitt.org

November 10 - Magee Centennial Celebration - 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm - $100 per person - Circuit Center, 5 Hot Metal Street Pittsburgh, PA 15203-2350 - Cocktail reception featuring live entertainment - Join us for the celebration of the century: Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC’s Centennial Celebration - For the most up-to-date event information and to register, visit www.mwrif.org/365 - We will be unveiling the Magee 100 Mosaic artwork and Centennial video at the celebration. To learn more about and to upload your photos to be included, visit www.mageemosaic.com. The final mosaic, designed by award-winning artist Mark Bender, will become a mainstay in the Magee-Womens Hospital lobby.

November 10 - “Stop Time in its Tracks” - Join us as Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC - celebrates a century of excellence and looks forward to a promising future - 6:30-8:30pm - The Circuit Center, 5 Hot Metal Street, Pittsburgh - Live Entertainment by the Rick Purcell band featuring Shari Richards - The Magee 100 Mosaic artwork and centennial video will be unveiled. Enjoy the many chef stations and open bar. All guests will be presented with a special gift - Registration is $75/person - Cocktail Attire - Proceeds benefit Magee’s Patient Care Fund - Please see the attached invite and return the RSVP by Friday, November 4 to: Denise Wickline, Magee-Womens Foundation, 3339 Ward Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 or register online at www.mwrif.org/365 - Can’t attend? Consider making a donation to the Patient Care Fund at www.mwrif.org - There is still time to be included in the Magee 100 Mosaic by registering your photos at www.mageemosaic.com

•November 10th, 1:00pm: Diana is hosting a free teleclass: Get Ready, Get Set, Breathe
•November 15th at 6:00 pm: Diana will be speaking at a free event in Asbury Heights Retirement Community in Mt Lebanon on the topic of:
Keeping Your Holidays Stress Free and Absolutely Delightful!
•November 16th - Diana will be hosting a huge Holiday Book Sale with Bonus Gifts. More information will be forthcoming on her website and her EZine.

November 11 Brentwood Baldwin Whitehall Chamber of Commerce
11 am, 6th Annual Holiday Bazaar at theSouth Hills Country Club
4305 Brownsville Road, Whitehall
To help us with our holiday shopping, and to provide greater opportunities for local and home-based businesses, the monthly meeting of the Women’s Networking of the Brentwood Baldwin Whitehall Chamber of Commerce is hosting a special Holiday Bazaar.
If you or any of your friends are looking for new marketing opportunities to We welcome members and non-members.
We will once again hold a raffle at the luncheon with the money raise going to theSouth Hills Interfaith Ministries (SHIM) food pantry. Please bring an item to donate for the raffle. Everyone will pass out cards and brochures and present a one-minute “commercial.
Lunch - $15 - Bring a friend!
Lunch for Non-Members –
$18 Display Table - $10 (Deadline for Display Table reservation is November 7th)
Please make a reservation by contacting our secretary: Mary Dilla at: 412-884-1233 secretary@bbwchamber.com

November 17 – Biz Chicks - Greet the Holidays with Cheer not Fear! 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Offices of Meyer Unkovic & Scott 535 Smithfield St. 12th floor

November 18 – Women’s Power Lunch Pittsburgh - “Holiday Glitz in Glitzburgh” - 1:00 till 4:00 pm - Wyndham Grand Hotel - Downtown Pittsburgh - Lunch, Networking & Holiday Shopping - Cost: $35.00 prepay online - RSVP at www.womenspowerlunch.com - Hosted by: Suzanne Froehlich
suzannef@zoominternet.net - 412-389-3420

December 1- Biz Chicks - 6th annual Holiday Extravaganza - 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. Regional Enterprise Tower, 31st floor 425 Sixth Avenue / Pittsburgh

December 7 - Linked In Workshop -Panera Bread, Waterworks, 942 Freeport Road, Pgh. $35/WIN-Pittsburgh members $45 all others; 8:30-11:30 a.m. or earlier to setup your WIFI - Bring your laptop - Registration is online at www.winpitt.org

Women’s Small Business Association (WSBA), LLC.
You don’t want to miss this!
Get Heard! Get Noticed! Get Leads! (TM).
Please join us in the month of November as we welcome Tim Sullivan of The Business Times as our guest speaker at our Network Lunch and learn How to Make More Money Using the Pittsburgh Business Times. The focus is to teach professionals to develop quality leads from the Business Times and be a step ahead of their competition. Please rsvp at WSBAfounder@aol.com and if you have any questions contact marzullope@verizon.net

This is an informal networking event, open to any business woman who would like to increase her business contacts or clients in the Pittsburgh area. RSVPs can be made by email at WSBAfounder@aol.com. Please bring 10-20 of your business cards, cash for your lunch check plus your $2 meeting fee and be prepared to be educated. We look forward to seeing you there!

Women’s Small Business Association (WSBA)
Look for us on http://www.facebook.com/WSBAPA

Recipes from Women’s Independent Press: Spaghetti Alla Norma

October 29, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

A classic Sicilian Pasta sauce, the combination of eggplant and tomatoes make it quintessentially Italian.
1 to 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt,
Approximately 2 cups of coarsely chopped and peeled tomatoes
1 pound eggplant cut into ½ inch cubes
Approximately ¾ cup thin sliced fresh basil
Approximately ¾ lb. of spaghetti
About 1 cup of fresh mozzarella cheese cut into cubes,
Cook garlic and oil over medium high heat for about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and salt ,cook for about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the eggplant reduce heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the eggplant is tender. Cook the spaghetti according to directions, multi grain pasta works very well, toss with sauce and cheese and serve immediately. Add a nice salad and a wine with a warm Mediterranean flavor, Librandi Rosso Ciro Classico 2005
Buon appétito!
Anna Marie

Feng Shui for the Spouse or Partner in a Military Family

October 29, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

By Yvonne Phillips FSII




The constant worry, separation anxiety and practical challenges of running a home that may be moved several times during the deployment of a military spouse is a chronic and cumbersome circumstance that befalls many of the millions of US armed service families. Transience, separation and loneliness compound the daily rigors of running a household in unstable economic times and fulfilling the overwhelming role of both mother and father to children who often worry about the safety of their parent serving and contend with the complexities of adjusting to multiple schools and living environments. All of these factors contribute to much of what cannot be controlled, yet influenced through optimization of environment and focusing awareness to space and the flow, or lack thereof, created within the home.
The head of the household will want to bring harmony and positive flow to the dining area where family members gather for mealtimes. Place a mirror on a wall above the table, being careful not cut off the heads of those seated there, in order to reflect togetherness and connection. Enhance the table with green accents, such as a tablecloth to inspire a sense of family as well as community. Use a circular mat, round bowl, or circular mirror holding candles in the middle to trigger health chi. The circle is a most auspicious form in Feng Shui and can be used in the center of a room in the form of a rug beneath the table.
For a calming retreat from stress, both the bath and bedroom are sanctuaries for escape and relaxation. Avoid blue tile or paint in the bathroom, as water can “drown” positive chi flow in a room that already contains an abundance of this element. Close the lid of the commode, add bamboo or framed images of such, or purchase some very inexpensive bamboo rods to offset the water element. Light some pink candles to energize relationships that may be challenged by distance or the strain of tours of duty and relax in a warm tub of bubbles.
In the bedroom, avoid all water elements, including fountains. De-clutter frequently and compensate for any sharp corners on dressers or tables with plants. Remove photos of children and family to another space in the home, pair similar objects, such as candlesticks and knick knacks together on dressing tables and night stands to reinforce partnerships and balance. Explore the potentials of Feng Shui to support much-deserved positive flow and calm in your space.

Negativity Can Make Seniors Forgetful, Study Says

October 29, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Q. My 80-year-old mother who lives alone sometimes gets herself so worked up over things that suddenly she can’t remember anything and then becomes nearly incapacitated. Is this common?

A study earlier this year from Rush University Medical Center found that people who are easily distressed and have more negative emotions are more likely to develop memory problems than more easygoing people.

In commenting about the study, author Robert S. Wilson, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist at Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, said: “People differ in how they tend to experience and deal with negative emotions and psychological distress, and the way people respond tends to stay the same throughout their adult lives. In previous studies, Wilson and his colleagues showed that people who are easily distressed are also more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than more easygoing people.

The most recent study found that those who often experience negative emotions such as depression and anxiety were 40 percent more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who were least prone to negative emotions. “These findings suggest that, over a lifetime, chronic experience of stress affects the area of the brain that governs stress response. Unfortunately, that part of the brain also regulates memory.”

Seniors who are cooped up at home for long periods of time can become emotionally distraught over the smallest things and become forgetful as a result. Outside activities and companionship may make a difference for those seniors who are easily distressed and experiencing negative emotions.
For fifteen years, the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise network has been devoted to providing seniors with the highest quality care in their own homes, and to arming families with the information they need to make the best decisions about caring for aging loved ones. If you, or any organization of which you are a part, is interested in learning more, please contact our office. We would be happy to speak to your group free of charge about this subject, our services, and even employment opportunities.


Rebecca Champagne, Human Resource Coordinator
Home Instead Senior Care
1102 S Braddock Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
Phone: (412) 731-0733


November Business Program Calendar

October 29, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Programs are held on Thursdays at 12:15 pm at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Downtown & Business, 612 Smithfield Street, Downtown. They are free and open to the public.

November 3 Scams and Frauds – At Home, Work and on the Internet
Rebecca Maier, Public Relations Director
Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Western Pennsylvania

Scammers are clever individuals who know exactly how to gain the trust (and often the money) of their innocent prey. Since opportunities for deception are all around us, we need to understand how some of these operations work. Ms. Maier will alert us about sweepstakes scams, Internet scams, work-at-home scams, identity theft and more. Find out how you can protect yourself and your family from those who want to take advantage of you.

November 10 Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) Explained
Debra Blair, Vice President – Financial Consultant
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

What’s the difference between a mutual fund and an ETF? Did you know that ETFs combine the diversified investment feature of mutual funds and can be traded throughout the day? If you want to learn more about ETFs and how they work, here is your opportunity to get the information you’ve been looking for. Ms. Blair will explain the risks and benefits so you can determine if ETFs should be part of your investment portfolio.

November 17 Shop ‘Til You Drop: The Crisis of Consumerism
(DVD – 52 minutes)

Why do we feel the need to “keep up with the Joneses” and impress others with our material possessions? Are we allowing ourselves to be manipulated by the media and advertisers who convince us that we need much more than we actually do? Will buying more “stuff” really make us happier? This documentary provides a fascinating examination of the social, psychological and environmental costs associated with the never-ending pursuit of material happiness.

November 24 No Program - Happy Thanksgiving!

Senator Gillibrand’s Call to Action

October 16, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

By Marianne Schnall

October 2011


Like the national appeal to Rosie the Riveter during World War II, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is asking women to move “Off the Sidelines” to the center of decision making and power in the United States.
 Of all the ideas to jump-start the economy, or solve other serious problems facing the world, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is convinced that an obvious strategy has simply never been realized—the equal participation of women.  She cites some startling statistics: “We only have 17 percent women in Congress, we only have six women governors. In terms of economic empowerment, less than 3 percent of women are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and 16 percent are on Fortune 500 corporate boards.” To her, it’s about gender equality but also the multiple benefits in both the political and corporate arenas of having more women at the table when decisions are made.  “A lot of studies show that when women are on corporate boards that companies do better. My own experience in Congress is when women are on committees and at hearings, the nature of the discussion is different, and the outcomes are better—better decisions are made.”
Although wary of generalizations, Gillibrand thinks that as more than half the global population, women bring a necessary and different world view. “A woman’s perspective often will complement a man’s” she says.  By bringing both perspectives to the table, “you will have a more holistic approach, one that is 360 degrees.” She finds, for example, that “women are often very good listeners, often consensus-builders, often able to compromise, and reach across party lines in Congress, able to forge deals and reach better solutions.”
These types of observations led Senator Gillibrand to create Off the Sidelines, a new initiative and web site intended as “a nationwide call to action to get more women engaged, both in solving this economic crisis and entering political life and being heard on political issues.” Her goal is to “create a one-stop-shop for empowerment,” showing “once you understand the issues and what the challenges are, where can you go to make a difference.”
Gillibrand likens Off the Sidelines to the iconic Rosie the Riveter campaign during World War II when record numbers of women—including her grandmother, great aunt and great grandmother—entered the workforce while men were off fighting the war. “I feel like we need Rosie the Riveter of our generation. That campaign alone produced two million women into the work force within 14 months, and by the end of the war, six million.” Today’s call to action would say “women, we need you to be advocates, to be heard on the issues you care about, to be voting, to be running for office, to be part of decision making.”
On the economic front, she believes women are poised to make strides to boost our economy. “If we are going to out-innovate, out-compete, out-educate our competitors,” she says, “we are only going to succeed if women are leading the way.” She points out, “Women are now graduating with more than 50 percent of advanced degrees, more than 50 percent of college degrees—and women-owned and minority-owned businesses are the fastest growing sector within small businesses.” However, to reap the full benefits we must confront longstanding road blocks, by addressing issues like pay equity. “Women are earning 78 cents on the dollar—if we had equal pay in this country, you could raise the GDP [Gross National Product] by up to nine percent.” And she adds,  “Women start businesses with eight-times less capital than men.” If they had the same access to capital, we would see substantial growth, she says “because women owned businesses are so fast-growing.”
The other challenge facing many women these days—the struggle to balance work and family—has always been an issue of interest for the senator, and something she can personally relate to, as the mother of two children herself.  “We’ve had these women’s economic empowerment roundtables all across the state, and we got feedback about the lack of affordable day care, good, quality early childhood education.” Employers should know, she said, that “when they provide child care services, or when they make it easier for parents to work, they are increasing access to very good workers. That it’s a very pro-economic [growth] issue.” Advantages to businesses are backed up by studies that “show that if you provide day care on site or make it accessible, that actually a lot of parents are more productive workers as a result.” Senator Gillibrand is already trying to tackle this through presenting “a number of pieces of legislation to double the tax credit for early childhood education” and offer “incentives for employers to create opportunities for on-site day care, or easily accessible day care.”
One of the strengths of the Off the Sidelines web site is personal narratives from women about what inspired them. For Gillibrand, it was her grandmother. “She was a woman who came from very modest means—never went to college and was a secretary in Albany state legislature. She wanted to have a say in the priorities of the people who represented her. And so she organized other women to work on campaigns with candidates that they valued. She made a huge impact on the political landscape  [by] fighting for issues she cared about, and using the grassroots as a tool to amplify her voice.”
Sharing “stories from regular women about what got them off the sidelines, why they care about an issue and what they’re going to do about it,” in an interactive way is critical to the site, she says. “Oftentimes women need to see other women doing things as a guide.”
Gillibrand frames Off the Sidelines as a call to action because, she says, studies have found “that women really need to be asked to participate, that they respond very well when they’re asked to run for office.” She is quick to add, that “the studies also show that when women do run, they win—that they do have the ability, they do have the tenacity, they do have the drive, they can raise the funds.” Women need to hear that “this is something that they can do.  That you can find a way to balance a career and family—that there is a way that you can be part of the decision-making fabric of this country and still be a good mother.” She says women ask themselves, “Is it the right time in my family’s life to take on these challenges? And my call to action is very comprehensive—do whatever you can do: Are you voting? Are you being heard? Are there issues that you care about that you could advocate for? Would you ever consider running for office?” Her call to action is for women’s participation across the board.
“Getting off the sidelines is a state of mind,” says Gillibrand, a matter of “understanding that women’s voices matter.” The timing is “urgent,” she says.  “I mean, this is one of the toughest economic crises we have been in, certainly in my lifetime, and if we are going to grow our economy and really create a competitive environment against other nations, we need women as part of that effort. We need women leading the way. Until women are able to achieve their potential, America will not achieve hers.”

For more information, visit  http://www.offthesidelines.org.

For more information, visit http://www.offthesidelines.org.