Boobs need government too: why Kansas City is making changes

Once again, I love my city.

http://www.togetherkc.com/about/about-sly-james/

Photo of Mayor James

Kansas City’s mayor, Sly James, is making major improvements to the city by creating government representation more suitable for women. WE HAVE BOOBS. WE ARE GOVERNMENT. WE WANT JOBS. The Women’s Empowerment initiative is designed to increase the number of jobs and high-ranking municipal government positions for women.

“I spend half of my life in meetings,” he said. “And often there’s no women in those meetings.” Yet, as he points out, women make up 51 percent of the population and are now graduating from college at a higher rate than men. Women are a resource for government and business that should not be overlooked. He hasn’t in his office. “Eight of 12 of my staff members are women,” he said. “We look for the best person for the job and wow, guess what, they’re women.”

The initiative is a result of “collaboration between the Mayor’s Office, Central Exchange, Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City, and UMKC’s Women’s Center” over a series of months.

Its 2 main goals are to:
1. To create an inclusive, diverse, organization &
2.
To improve entrepreneurial women-owned business processes

http://kcmayor.org/we  In December of 2013, the Pew Research Center released a study suggesting that about 75% of women have pessimistic views regarding gender equality in the workplace. “The study finds that women under 32 now make 93 percent of what young men earn, aided by women’s higher rates of college completion. But the analysis of census and labor data also shows the gender pay gap will widen for women by their mid-30s, if the experience of the past three decades is a guide.”

Realistically, one reason for this pay-gap is accounted for in the amount of time women take off of work to start families. And accounting for the progress women have made toward equality in the workplace and community, I’m sure Margaret Fuller would be proud of women’s opportunities today. But, we’ve still got work to do.

“‘The report shows that we have made substantial progress on gender equality in the workplace,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University. “But our progress has shown us more clearly what still needs to be accomplished.'”

After reading up on Kansas City’s initiative, I am becoming excited about the strides the city is taking to help support women in the community, workplace, and government. My favorite part of the initiative is a part of Goal #1: “foster an organizational culture that nurtures diversity of perspectives and experiences”.

Breaking this objective down into pieces, I first would like to point out that I appreciate the vocabulary that was chosen. To foster means to encourage and promote the development of, so this affirms that the city will positively work toward the development of change to gender equality in the work setting.

Organizational culture suggests that the project will include people whose collaborative behavior leads them toward a common goal. The idea that the project will nurture diversity targets women in particular, as we are beings who nurture by instinct. Focusing on a woman’s perspective and experiences will create a better balance in society by accounting for all circumstances that men may not consider when creating government policies.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/04/03/kansas-city-mayor-promotes-womens-empowerment-initiative/ Because us women make up such a significant part of our society, I think we should be more interactive in our government and policy making. Considering that each gender is not represented equally in government committees, this could- either by choice or by unfortunate luck- result in an entire system of inequality.

Identifying himself as a black man who grew up during the Civil Rights movement, Sly James feels like he closely identifies with people who have unequal rights. I think it’s fantastic that he shows the importance of equality by improving opportunities for people of a different demographic than himself. “I think I’m sensitive to discrimination and unequal opportunities because I’m a minority,” says James, who was named one of the five most innovative mayors in the country by Newsweek in 2012, exceeding expectations in entrepreneurial infrastructure.

Kansas City: revolutionizing details of our society in order to create a better world for everybody, breasts included!

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Organic: The Superhero

“Organic is something we can all partake of and benefit from. When we demand organic, we are demanding poison-free food. We are demanding clean air. We are demanding pure, fresh water.” -Maria Rodale

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Organic vegetables at a farmer’s market in Argentina

I would rather eat eggs all different shades of speckled-brown from chickens that wander around the yard all day and eat a bug or two. They are SO much better than the eggs you get from the grocery store! I live in a rural area, so it’s easy for me to get ahold of locally grown, organic foods, but you can find them in almost any area!

Organic food is better for insects, animals, humans and the environment. With all that good, organic is the newest popular superhero.

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A farmer at Kansas City’s farmer’s market trades produce

Google definition:
or·gan·ic/ ôrˈganik/ adj.
1.of, relating to, or derived from living matter.
“organic soils”
synonyms: living, live, animate, biological, biotic 
2. of, relating to, or denoting compounds containing carbon… produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.
synonyms: pesticide-free, additive-free, natural

So, the idea of organic is truly fantastic.

The Good:
1. Organic food is grown without the use of synthesized fertilizers or pesticides
– Some studies show that children and fetuses may be harmed by even a tiny amount of pesticides
2. Synthetic pesticides are chemicals that are designed to kill or keep pests away
– The Environmental Protection Agency recognizes that these pesticides may harmfully affect the nervous system, the hormone or endocrine system, may irritate the skin or eyes, or may be even be carcinogens (directly linked to cause cancer). Organic food is not grown with the use of these harmful chemicals, but instead is grown using pesticides made from natural sources (biological pesticides). Washing produce does not rid it of the pesticides, however, it does remove foodborne-illness pathogens, so don’t skip that step!
3. Like humans adapt to the flu virus, pests may adapt to pesticides
– Conventional farming is NOT sustainable. Pests may develop and immunity to the chemicals, causing a development of stronger chemicals that are more harmful to animals, people, and the soil. Also, because conventional farming is less expensive than the organic alternative, it is keeping organic from becoming more easily affordable. Organic farming uses natural methods to get rid of unwanted pests.
4. Organic isn’t limited to food!
– Sustainability is one of those things that’s just hard to hate. Organic pesticides and products are better for the environment! They can be used for more than just produce or meatf! For you ladies who want natural beauty products, these 4 makeup brands are certified organic by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture). It’s important to keep in mind, however, that the USDA only certifies products if they are made with agricultural resources. I know Sephora advertises natural and organic products, but I am not sure of the validity of that. If you love Sephora, as most women I know do, make sure to ask next time you stop in!

simplegetfile.gif This is the seal you will see if the USDA has certified a product organic.

Organic.org does a good job describing the differences between different types of organic. The labeling can be tricky or misleading, but they have tried to sort out the differences for consumers. Here are the three most commonly used/ confused labels:

  • Something that is 100% organic is made with 100% organic ingredients (excluding salt and water). These foods may be labeled with the USDA organic seal.
  • Organic foods contain 95%-99% organic ingredients by weight, and the remaining ingredients have been approved by the NOP. These foods may be labeled with the USDA organic seal.
  • Foods labeled Made with Organic Ingredients are made with 70%-94% organic ingredients. These products will not be labeled with the organic seal, but may list up to three organic ingredients on the front of the package.

The USDA has a blog, and in 2012 they had a series called “Organic 101”, in which their efforts were directed at clarifying some of the organic food dialog. requires that farmers and handlers document their processes and the processes are observed from everything to the “seed sources, soil conditions, crop health, weed and pest management, water systems, inputs, contamination and commingling risks and prevention, and record-keeping”

BUT WATCH OUT!

The Misleading:
1. “Organic” doesn’t mean “local”
– People sometimes use these words interchangeably. Some organic food travels overseas to reach you in your local health market or grocery store. Choosing local is good because the goods are fresh, you are supporting your community, and you can check out where you are getting your food and goods.
2. The USDA does not regulate seafood
– Because seafood is, well, seafood, it’s difficult to regulate what the animals are consuming (see my last post). Be wary if you see seafood packaged or labeled as organic- there is no real way to tell that it is.

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Kansas City Farmers’ Market

3. Being organic doesn’t make something a “superfood”
– America’s recent health kick has included a lot of talk about superfoods, but while organic food has many benefits over conventional food, that doesn’t mean it’s probably going to boost your immune system greatly, or help your heart health.  However, reducing your intake of pesticides and chemical fertilizer is a healthy decision.
4. Organic animals do not receive antibiotics
– “Organic practices prohibit the use of hormones, antibiotics… If an antibiotic is used to restore an animal to health, that animal cannot be used for organic production or be sold, labeled or represented as organic.” I feel like, what if the cow was sick and they didn’t know it or didn’t do anything about it because they can’t give them antibiotics? That’s probably not good meat for us to be eating. The Organic Trade Association has compiled a group of studies done by doctors, scientists, and researchers on the use of antibiotics on animals and how it is harmful when transfered to humans.

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The entrance to the farmers’ market in my city, which I adore. Kansas City, MO

—–> Just because a food isn’t labeled “organic” doesn’t mean it isn’t organic
– The problem with the system of identifying organic products is that it’s not an easy process; It takes a few years and thousands of dollars. Many small farms or agricultural business do not have the funds to be certified organic. Another perk of buying locally: you can ask! Or even go see for yourself if they are willing to let you take a peek!

Food For Thought: If everybody in the world chose to eat only organic meat, it may be difficult for agriculturalists to keep a large enough yield of organic feed. However, if the population as a whole began eating less meat, we could yield an abundance of organic foods, also making them more convenient and affordable for a greater number of people.

Help this superhero keep you healthy: buy organic!

Peace and happy organic eating!