Boobs need government too: why Kansas City is making changes

Once again, I love my city.

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 &
To improve entrepreneurial women-owned business processes  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. 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!


All good things

Today, as class was winding down and we were all about to head out for our adventurous Iowa weekends, my teacher made a request that I think should be more frequented among all of us. He said to us, “Have a good weekend! Be kind, be considerate. Welcome strangers and friends.” Wise, wise words from Bob Mesle.

It’s true what they say, that a teacher can change your life. Bob’s wife, Barbara, has been a kind, caring, honest friend to me throughout my college experience, and Bob has been that guidance for a dear friend of mine. The compassion and kindness that the Mesles have for all things truly inspires me to live in love.

And I don’t mean to be in love, romantically, although I believe they would agree that is one beautiful experience that cannot be explained truthfully enough through words. What I mean by living in love is to do all things with love in your heart and at the core of how you treat the world. Notice I didn’t say “of how you treat other people”, because life is so much bigger than just the human experience.

As I mentioned in my first post, my thoughts and philosophies have been making great changes since I have been in college, and Barbara is one of my major positive influences. In each of her classes she requires her students to journal throughout the week, and through many classes, journals, e-mails, and discussions, she has been a reflection of the importance of being a good person.

Maybe I’m one of those millennials who think my generation has some issues, but I can’t rag on us too hard be I think we’re doing alright with what we’ve been given. We’re trying. But if I could give one suggestion to make a better humanity it would be this: be kind, be considerate, be grateful. All good things. Good things come from good things. So if we live our lives waking up every morning and making the decision to be kind and considerate to our surroundings, we would be happier individuals and we would be a happier world.

You’ve had road rage before, right? Especially as a young driver I would yell at the cars that weren’t driving as fast as I wanted them to or curse the traffic-light gods after hitting my twelfth red light in a row. Anger produces anger. Have you ever noticed that if you’re angry enough, you just want to stay angry for a while? It’s like a disease, once you start your day pissed of at the world, bad things will happen. It’s the law of attraction.

So let’s start small by making today better right now. Focus on good thoughts. Energy is real. What you put into the world makes a bigger difference than you think. That guy behind the counter at GeekSquad who is working his ass off to help every customer quickly and with a smile, he is doing everything he can to provide a good experience for you. You may become angry and inconsiderate. Instead of getting impatient, complaining to him about your wait, being rude and throwing your stuff around, try bringing yourself back to reality.The reality is that he is doing what he can. The reality is that you are going to wait whether it takes five minutes or thirty minutes. The reality is that getting angry and impatient does not, contrary to popular belief, speed up the GeekSquad guy. You do not get out of the store any quicker by being angry– in fact it makes the whole process seem a lot more tedious and painful than it really should be.

Go ahead and be kind, considerate, and grateful for all good things. The simple fact that you even have a device to take to GeekSquad, or a car to hit all the red lights in, is something to be grateful for. Appreciate your life, because it’s all you’ve got. It could be worse.

Peace, and all good things.
Have a good weekend, be kind, be considerate, welcome strangers and friends.

Picking Up the Positive


Happy Ash Wednesday to all those celebrating today!!

I am not Christian or Catholic, so my faith does not ask that I participate in giving up something “bad” for the Lenten season. My boyfriend, however, participates in Catholic tradition and has decided to give up something for good reason. I mentioned to him that while he is giving up this aspect of his life for 46 days he should replace it with something else so it could be a more permanent and progressive experience. In support of his decision, I have decided to participate too.

I suppose I could exile caffeine but I hear it’s good to make it to class and to finish your homework. I could stop the beverages and such but I don’t see them as negative if they are used responsibly. I thought about trying to stop cracking knuckles so much but I’ve tried that before and failed so many times.

What I have decided to do is to pick up a positive action for the next 40 days, hoping it will create a transition into habit.

I am going to write. Every day, for fifteen minutes a day, I will write. I will blog, I will journal, I will work on my creative writing senior project, I will send letters, I will make lists, I will put to use the stationary sets I get from my aunt for my birthday ever year.

My goal from this is to make writing more natural and more convenient for me. I hope that from it I will generate ideas for particular pieces of writing and that I will expand my writing avenues.

It is good for the mind to read and write.

Studies show that reading a novel improves brain connectivity. The more we read, the better alert our brains are at processing information through changes (as we grow older, our bodies and our societies change– reading helps keep us on our toes).

Writing helps too. Slightly different from reading, writing engages our minds to not only analyze and imagine scenarios in our minds, but we must first create those situations as opposed to accepting them as a narrative reality. Baby boomer neuropsychologist Jenni Odgen, and writer of both fiction and non-fiction, is “convinced that creative writing is one of the best exercises for the aging brain.”

I believe that words are good for the soul. They help us to better communicate ideas and to better analyze the words of others. If we were all effective communicators I believe the world would be a much happier place. I write not to be understood, but if my writing leads to understanding I have accomplished much.

Here I go, embarking on a 40-day writing journey. Join me! Pick up something positive and dedicate yourself to proving your willpower to yourself. It can be something small or something life-changing, but try and keep track every day so that you have a visual report of how AWESOME you are doing. 🙂 I will keep you updated with mine.

Happy positive-fying your life!

Live well.