Pink Petro Staff

Super heroines, geniuses and three other things you missed last week

Blog Post created by Pink Petro Staff on Oct 5, 2015

From Pink Petro partner, Betsey Guzior, Bizwomen engagement editor

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Geniuses: Meet the women who are among the latest group of fellows selected by the MacArthur Foundation. The fellows are given "genius" no-strings-attached grants of $625,000, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years to do with what they please. Among the women in this year's list are a poet, a scientist, a social entrepreneur, and a video artist.

  • Mimi Lien, 39, is a set designer for theater, opera and dance. She is noted for her immersive experiences created for stages, outdoor venues and even a large meadow.
  • Marina Rustow, 46, is a historian at Princeton who is slowly revealing the complexities of Jewish life in medieval Middle East through the records of a synagogue.
  • LaToya Rudy Frazier, 33, is a photographer and video artist at the School of the Art Institute who has been documenting the economic decline of her family's hometown of Braddock, Penn.
  • Beth Stevens, 45, is a neuroscientist at Boston Children's Hospital. Her work on the role of microglial cells in neuron communication is helping researchers understand the origin of neurological diseases.
  • Alex Truesdell, 59, is a social entrepreneur who creates low-tech and affordable tools and furniture for children with disabilities. She also is executive director and founder of the Adaptive Design Association
  • Ellen Bryant Voigt, 72, is a poet whose works invoke a distinctive musical quality, with simple titles such as "Owl" and "Fox" in her 2013 collection, "Headwaters.
  • Heidi Williams, 34, is an economist studying the consequences of innovation in health care.
  • Michelle Dorrance, 36, is a tap dancer and choreographer who is redefining the genre on the stage, incorporating movement and sound in new ways. In one piece, the dancers tap on platforms that create a sound loop used in the rest of the piece.
  • Nicole Eisenman, 50, is a painter challenging the masculine inequities in art and sculptures, as reflected in her upending of masterworks and figure painting.

A new study by Sheryl Sandberg' s organization, Lean In, sheds light on why more women aren't clambering to climb the corporate ladder.The Women in the Workplace report surveyed 118 companies and 30,000 employees to find out why disparities still exist.
  • Women aren't as eager to get to the top, but not for the reason you think. More women said it was unfairly stressful for them to take a path to leadership.
  • Leadership programs abound, but participation is low. Additionally, family friendly policies are still perceived by both men and women as being detrimental to their career paths.
  • Women feel it is still an uneven playing field for advancement, keeping them from even trying.
  • Male and female professional networks are quite different, inadvertently creating barriers to high-level contacts.

The best places for women to work: Fortune has released its first list of the 100 best places for women to work.

 

  • The No. 1 company is TrueWealth in Atlanta, which offers 84 days of parental leave, a flexibility schedule, and generous telecommuting opportunities. And 67 percent of the company's management positions are held by women.
  • No. 14 David Weekly Homes of Houston extends counseling services to family and marital issues. Software company H20/Overgroup leads a program for girls to get into technology fields. At No. 25 BrainStorm, employees are given $50 a month to share with their favority charity.
  • Fortune combined statistics on the percentage of its female workforce with self-reported data to come up with its list.  But as the blog Refinery29 pointed out, Fortune might not have put a priority on family leave perks, which might have been a mistake: "Next year, let's hope Fortune and Great Place to Work expands its criteria and considers how important family leave is to women of all ages. That's what women want from their employer, not free breakfast a few days a week."

Basket case: A generation ago, handmade Longaberger baskets were fashionable direct-sales collectibles for the home. The elegantly woven baskets of all shapes and sizes could hold everything from sugar packets to blankets. Collectors could buy holiday editions, sets and accessories. Bigger companies tried knockoffs, but the Longaberger brand, with its simple gold metal nameplate on each item, endured.

 

  • Fans and dealers even flocked to conventions and to tour the company's headquarters in Newark, Ohio, that's (we kid you not) shaped like a basket.
  • Last Friday, all sorts of financial drama is unraveling the company. Tami Longaberger, the daughter of the company's founder and former CEO, is suing the holding company now in control of the brand, for failing to pay back a $1 million loan. The Columbus Business Times also reveals that the company owes back taxes.
  • It's a long way from 1976, when Dave Longaberger created a direct-sales brand based on his father's style of basket making. Competition from China, the fall of direct sales, and generational tastes can be to blame. But the Longaberger brand clearly doesn't have a handle on its future.

Supergirls: Make way for more comic book heroines.

 

  • DC Comics is launching a new series called Super Hero Girls, featuring teenage versions of Super Girl, Wonder Woman and Batgirl, who attend Super Hero High. The merchandise universe will include dolls, a cartoon, apparel and graphic novels. A bigger debut is planned for the New York Comic Con Oct. 8.
  • The Powerpuff Girls are powering for a return to TV and little girls' closets. A new show featuring Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup — super heroines who juggle fighting crime and getting their homework done — will debut in 2016 on the Cartoon Network, which originated the series. Next year you'll also see Powerpuff Girl Halloween costumes, clothes and figurines.
  • Can't wait for these cartoon versions? Hang on until Oct. 26 for CBS' "Supergirl,"the live action drama that spins the origin tale to give it an "X-Files" twist.

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