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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Emma Watson

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


She's a familiar face who won us all over with her many roles on the silver screen, she was named a United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador this past summer, and now that she has made her presence known she's ready to make it count.

Emma Watson delivered a speech this past Saturday, at a special event for the HeForSheCampaign at the United Nations Headquarters, on gender equality. Her words were so powerful they gripped the nation, and the speech went viral. Watson, 24, spoke eloquently and passionately about the misconceptions surrounding feminism, and explained that the HeForShe campaign's goal is to motivate men and boys to end gender inequality.

The speech's power speaks for itself. You can see the full transcript here, but these are a few of my favorite parts of her speech:

"We want to end gender inequality—and to do that we need everyone to be involved."

"I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive."

"I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights. No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality."

"Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too."

"If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom."

"the reality is that if we do nothing it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly a hundred before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work. 15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children. And at current rates it won’t be until 2086 before all rural African girls will be able to receive a secondary education."

And finally, as I let her words sink in, I'll join her in echoing her sentiment of change: if not me, who? If not now, when?

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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Kathryn Bufano

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


A few weeks ago I chose my good friend Nina McLemore as my woman of the week, highlighting that female CEOs in the retail industry are few in number. So this week I would like to celebrate another female CEO who is making waves in the fashion world: Kathryn Bufano, the new CEO of Bon-Ton Stores Inc., who was also just hailed as the 52nd female CEO in theFortune 1000.

With Bufano on the Fortune 1000 list, the overall percentage of women has risen to an all-time high of 5 percent. The number is increasing, but we have a long way to go to get to 50 percent.

In reaction to her number 52 spot, Bufano told Fortune: "I heard there weren't a lot of women CEOs, but when I heard that number of 52 out of 1000 I was surprised by that. There are a lot of women business leaders and many of them run small businesses. I think it is just a matter of time before that number will grow. I am proud and excited for the opportunity to run a public company, but there is also a lot of private companies and small business that have a lot of women in leadership."

As one of just a small handful of women CEOs at major retailers in the U.S., Bufano joined Bon-Ton from Belk Inc., where she grew sales, fostered strong relationships with suppliers, and kept the merchandise on-trend and true to the brand. With this healthy list of credentials, all eyes have been on Bufano to duplicate her success for Bon-Ton: "We expect new CEO Kathy Bufano to successfully navigate [Bon-Ton] through the next leg of its turnaround. Ms. Bufano has a strong track record as President and Chief Merchant at Belk and we think her experience is very transferable, particularly her strong relationships with both moderate and better national brands," said David Glick, an analyst at Buckingham Research Group.

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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Joan Rivers

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


When thinking of a woman with a long, illustrious career who was unshakably honest, even fiercely so, and hilarious, Joan Rivers is the first to come to mind. For this week's spotlight I want to join in as we remember her after her sad passing last week, and honor her for her accomplishments.

Many have written very eloquently about Rivers' passing and extraordinary career, and I've enjoyed reading about her legacy. She was a pioneer in many ways, a woman who broke through as a stand-up comic to host nighttime and daytime TV shows, evening selling fashion and jewelry products. She reached a point in her career where her personality became her legacy, which came out in many of the fashion TV shows and bestselling books. Some words to describe Rivers that I came across this week as I read the headlines include: trailblazing, unique, and soul-baring.

While Rivers may have been a subject of judgement and ridicule at times, she never apologized for who she was. She wasn't afraid to call others out by name, either, and make them own up to who they are and actions they took. It is often said that the safest defense against criticism is to ignore it. Rivers never followed that advice - she didn't play it safe, and wasn't afraid to use her voice. That's something all women can admire as we gain numbers in boardrooms and leadership boards.

There is courage in being unapologetically yourself, and not apologizing for every small thing. Women pursuing leadership roles in their career can expect to take a page out of Rivers' book, as well as her ability to come back even after suffering from personal and professional setbacks. Rivers was always ready to do new things, to get creative and take risks.

In his eulogy at Rivers' memorial service he said that he couldn't imagine the world without Joan Rivers. Unfortunately, we'll have to. But as women we're lucky to have Rivers as an example of one of those individuals who made things happen for herself in her own way.

Cheers, Joan, to a wonderful career!

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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Diane Sawyer

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Returning this week to our regularly scheduled broadcast, pardon the pun, is our Wednesday's Woman of the Week. This week I would like to spotlight Diane Sawyer, who stepped down last Wednesday as the anchor of ABC World News and as the "face" of the network. Sawyer's career set a precedent for female anchors over her 25 years at ABC News.

"And now it is time to say goodnight," Sawyer said during her last sign off, "I just want you to know what a deep privilege it has been to sit in the anchor chair at World News these years, the flagship broadcast of ABC, where Peter Jennings created a signature of such curiosity and courage... It has been wonderful to be the home port for the brave and brilliant forces of ABC News around the world - and to feel, every single night, that you and I were in a conversation about the world together."

Sawyer started her career as a broadcaster at her local station in Louisville, Kentucky, before joining the Richard Nixon administration. She then transitioned to CBS, where she became the first female correspondent of 60 Minutes. In 1989 she moved to ABC and proceeded to co-anchor Primetime before joining Good Morning America in 1999, where she remained for a decade.

But the show is far from over for Sawyer. ABC News president James Goldston let ABC staff know that she plans to devote her "boundless energy" full time to "a team which will create and commission original reporting, big ideas and interviews for all platforms... Diane decided that now is the moment to concentrate full time on tackling big issues in new ways." He also added that she will be creating special events and conducting big interviews.

Some of her most famous interviews include noteable women who have made big strides in their respective fields: former congresswoman Gabrille Giffords, Malala Yousafzai, and Hillary Clinton just this past month.

"Diane is one of the giants of modern journalism," Goldston wrote, "We can't wait to see where she'll lead us next."

As for what's next for the anchor's chair, David Muir took over for Sawyer starting just last night. Which raises the question: where are the women in line to replace her? I first posed this question in my blog post on Women in Broadcast, and touched upon the subject again when I showcasedGwen Ifill and Barbara Walters as women of the week. The broadcast world transformed from a place of all men, to including more and more women, and now there are very few. So where is the next Diane, the next Katie, the next Barbara?

Noteables include Jane Pauley, who just moved over to CBS this past April and began contributing to CBS Sunday Morning, and this past month has been guest-hosting CBS This Morning substituting for Gayle King. Gwen Ifill on PBS is another woman of note. But when will these women get to the top?

It's an important question to consider as we celebrate Sawyer this week, and echo her sentiment on tackling big issues in new ways.

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Celebrating Women's Equality Day

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Happy Women's Equality Day!

Today we commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. But today celebrates more than just the passage of the amendment. Today brings attention to our continuing efforts toward gaining full equality.

So today I celebrate. I celebrate Susan B. Anthony and everyone who helped to secure women’s right to vote. I also celebrate women like Eleanor Roosevelt, Gloria Steinem, and so many others, who have gotten us to where we are today. I celebrate all of us today who are working to bring us to true equality.

I celebrate and I look forward to the next steps we can take to gain full equality. Can you imagine what we can be celebrating on August 26, 2020 – the 100th anniversary?

Also, today I celebrate the publishing of my book: Women Count, A Guide to Changing the World, because today each of us can do our part in making the world a better place for women tomorrow. What will you do?


I invite you to connect with me on Twitter and Facebook. Let's work together to make equality a reality before 2020!

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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Mo'ne Davis

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


There aren't many women who grace the cover of Sports Illustrated before they enter the eighth grade. Mo'ne Davis, one of the most talked about pitchers in the Little League World Series, did just that. Following along with our World Series theme the last two weeks, we celebrate Mo'ne this week as she becomes the 18th girl to play in 68 years of the Little League World Series, the sixth to get a hit in World Series history and the first female pitcher to throw a shutout.

She pitches for the Taney Dragons of Philadelphia, and has been captivating the rest of the nation as well. The network ratings for ABC and ESPN have heightened during the series, particularly during her appearances. As of Tuesday she has been featured on the front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer for five consecutive days.

But despite the media frenzy, many onlookers, including her coaches, commend Mo'ne's composure during a potentially stressful time. When asked about her reaction to seeing herself on the cover of Sports Illustrated, she said: "I don't know. Kind of surprised, but I mean, it was fun."

Even with a signature low-key manner, Mo'ne has big dreams for herself: to become a member of the girl's basketball team at UConn. When ashed if she thinks she will ever appear on in Sports Illustrated again, particularly on the cover, she said, "Hopefully it'll be me in a UConn jersey."

Her dreams could be well within her reach given her grace under pressure and her natural athleticism - 13-year-old Mo'ne is currently throwing 70-mph fastballs.

In addition to going after her own dreams, we spotlight Mo'ne because she is an inspiration to other girls looking to chase after their own. She is a role model to any little girl who hopes to play baseball someday, as well as to women who have experienced naysayers or doubters firsthand, as Mo'ne has likely encountered as she blazes her path to World Series history.

"I never thought I would be a role model at this age," Mo'ne told ESPN in a recent interview, "So I just have to be myself."

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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Kay Johnston

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Today's Little League baseball teams are open to both boys and girls, but in 1950 a 12-year-old girl was banned from her Little League team, and she went as far as pretending to be a boy in order to play. As the Little League World Series kicks off on August 18 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, this same girl, Kay Johnston, now 73, will be throwing the first pitch.

Johnston changed baseball forever when she tried out for a Little League team, the Corning King's Dairy team, by trying to pass off as a boy. She had her mother cut off her two long braids, and she borrowed her younger brother's slacks and T-shirt.

She said: "I loved baseball because my dad did, I loved any sport but baseball was my favorite. My mom cut my hair off. Whatever I had left I tucked into one of my brother's baseball caps. I said to my mom, 'What am I going to call myself? Kay doesn't sound like a boy's name.' She said, 'You are always reading little comic books, why don't you just take the name Tubby?'"

So Johnston, as her alias Tubby, made the team and quickly because one of its best players. When she made the team she became the first girl to play Little League. She said her brother told her she couldn't play because she was a girl. Reflecting on his words, she said: "I wasn't going to let that stop me. I was stronger than him."

However, after a week of pretending to be a boy Johnston confessed to her coach, who told her: "If you're good enough to make the team, you're good enough to stay on the team."

Little League officials disagreed. The news reached the Little League headquarters in Williamsport, they passed the Tubby Rule: girls could not play in Little League baseball. The rule stood for nearly 20 years, until 1972, before being oveturned by the New Jersey Supreme Court, backed by the National Organization for Women.

64 years later, Johnston is ecstatic to be throwing out the first pitch next Monday: "I'm more than excited. It's unbelievable I get a chance to throw out that first pitch." She has been practicing for the pitch in her backyard in Yuba City, and told the media that she's determined to show them that she still has it after all this time.

2.7 million children are currently registered with Little League, and though they do not keep track of gender breakdowns they have said that the number of girls in baseball is rising. They can each relate to Johnston, who said she "was just a young girl who wanted to play baseball... I didn't think being a girl should keep you from playing."

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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Sandy Barbour

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


News broke just last Saturday that former Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour has been introduced as Penn State's new athletic director, which makes her the first female AD in the university's history, and gives us reason to celebrate her as our woman of the week this week.

She's one of only three female athletic directors in the country. Former PSU women's AD Ellen Perry and SID Mary Jo Haverbeck, both beloved and celebrated women in the field, encountered glass ceilings issues in the athletics department prior.

Signs are positive for Barbour, who has a long track record. In her career thus far with Cal and beyond she has displayed dedication to academics, loyalty to friends, and a great passion for her work.

"We found the right person to lead our program," said university president Eric Barron during Barbour's announcement, "And the screening committee that weighed candidtate credentials found this person to be the clear choice, the first choice, the choice of every single member."

When discussing her new position, Barbour underscored that her focus will be putting academics first, and raising the 85 percent graduation rate to 90 percent. Her remarks brought applause from many Penn State coaches.

Barbour shared her elation at the press conference: "When you spend a professional lifetime serving institutions and, most importantly, students, you dream about coming to a palce like Penn State. Why? Because it represents the opportunity to have it all."

I certainly hope Barbour finds it all in her new position, and wish her warm congratulations and a long stay at Penn State. From her example we can all take away how a long and honest career can continue to open new doors for all women!

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10 Steps to Become the CEO of You, Inc

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Climbing the corporate ladder might not be for everyone, but everyone can use secrets to business success in order to improve their lives and reach their goals. The key to success is to set achievable goals, develop a plan to reach those goals, surround yourself with people who can help you, and – most importantly – take charge to run your life the way you want it to be ran.

Here are ten steps to Become the CEO of You, Inc., excerpted from my book:

1. Make things happen for you, don’t just let them happen to you

Each of us only has one life to live. We can either: 1. Take responsibility and create the lives we want to live or 2. Let others shape our lives into something they want us to live. If you let others shape your life, you’ll never attain the degree of success you’re striving for.

2. Set your goals

Every CEO has an “end in mind” for their company. So should you. Write a journal entry or type an e-mail to yourself describing what you see yourself doing in three years. Be specific, but don’t over-complicate it. For example: 1.) “I’m a manager in the financial services sector of a Fortune 500 company,” 2.) “I’m on a team, solving global issues and I’ve traveled to eight different countries in the past year,” or 3.) “I’ll work out at least five days per week.” The more specific you are about what you want to be doing, the easier it will be to develop a plan to make it happen.

3. Create your board of directors

Now that you know where you want to be in three years, you’ll need a team to help you get there. This “board of directors” should consist of people who can help you confirm your aspirations, and then help you achieve them. These people should include mentors, sponsors, industry experts, peers, etc. They will help open doors for you, get you the right assignments, give you advice, or simply be there to listen.

4. Develop an annual plan with quarterly goals

Set short-term goals and hold yourself accountable. Meet your goals for every quarter and you’ll have a successful year. Have three successful years and you’ll meet your “end in mind.” Continually revisit and reevaluate your plan to make adjustments as needed. Do this to make sure you stay on target.

5. Execute your plan… everyday

If you don’t work toward your goals each and every day, you’ll miss your goals for the quarter, for the year… and for your entire life. Take time to think about what you’re doing (and not doing). If you don’t have the skills and capabilities to reach your goals, find a way to obtain them (this might be an instance where you refer to your board of directors).

6. Focus on your product

In this case, the product is you. Always be on the lookout for ways to improve your product. Search for ways to make yourself better, whether it’s through education, experience, networking, exercise, etc. Stay up-to-date in your field and skills. If your product is outdated, nobody will want it.

7. Pay attention to the packaging of your product

Develop the presence, poise, and voice to meet your goals and effectively perform in order to be in the position you want to be in. How are you presenting yourself at meetings? How do you associate with superiors, co-workers, and employees?

8. Market yourself

Be visible in your company, your industry, and your community. Prepare for every meeting. Learn how to use your voice with passion. People need to know who you are, what you’re capable of doing, and what you really want to do.

9. Demonstrate your skills

Make people want your product. Look for ways to utilize your entrepreneurial skills and deliver value to the company and shareholders. Recalibrate as changes occur, but don’t forget to deal with the cards you have in your hand today… not the ones you’re hoping to have in the future. Remember: You can do anything you set your mind to do.

10. Take time for yourself

Regularly assess where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. Make sure you’re heading in the right direction and moving at the right speed to get you where you want to be. If you’re not, adjust and keep moving. Don’t forget to have fun along the way!

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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Arianna Huffington

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


In addition to being the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, the self-proclaimed "sleep evangelist" and Thrive author Arianna Huffington is on my radar this week for all she does to help women realize their potential, to grow both professionally and personally, and to succeed in a way that is balanced and true to their spirit.

At a recent Power of Pink lunch Huffington explained her new definition of success to crowds of admiring business women. "Right now we define success in terms of two metrics - money and power," Huffington said, "And this is like trying to sit on a two-legged stool: sooner or later you fall off."

Her book, Thrive, delves into Huffington's ideas on redefining success and creating a fulfilled life. She talks candidly about her own challenges in regards to managing time and prioritizing the demands of a career and raising her two daughters.

In Thrive Huffington mentions the importance of sleep and its relation to being and doing your best in the workplace, and offers tips for fostering an effective work/life balance.

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Women Count White Border
$24.95, Hardcover
256 Pages
September 2010
Purdue University Press

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