volunteers

What America Lost as Women Entered the Workforce
Emma Green, The Atlantic
When it comes to activism, women have led many a movement. “They volunteered their time, waged political campaigns, and advocated for the poor and elderly. They organized voters, patronized the arts, and protested the government,” Green writes. However, “in the years since women’s liberation, this kind of civic engagement has dropped precipitously.” Careers have occupied much of the time women previously dedicated to organizational and volunteer efforts, she says, and this has reduced women’s social clout, especially that of lower-class women and women of color. Today, women participate in their communities in other ways. For example, working mothers often become involved in their children’s schools. But the ever-expanding roles women play in the professional world have left some feeling “an opposite kind of suffocation: a never-ending, ladder-climbing work life, the height of which is making money for someone else rather than building a world in which they’re invested.”


Women of the CIA: The Hidden History of American Spycraft
Abigail Jones, Newsweek
Women’s contributions in the world of espionage have long been overlooked, but this piece provides a surprisingly illuminating look at their role inside the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. “Women have been central to American spycraft since 1776, and they continued to play important roles in the World War II–era Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the CIA’s predecessor,” Jones writes. “Even so, the agency has a long history as a chauvinistic old boys’ club rife with sexism.” The agents interviewed discuss the difficulties of working in this atmosphere — as well as the hardships of trying to maintain a normal life, including a family — as they do the invaluable, grueling, secretive work of protecting their country.


How Women Won a Leading Role in China’s Venture Capital Industry
Shai Oster and Selina Wang, Bloomberg News
Female investors in China have risen to the top of the venture capital business and have backed some of China’s most successful startups. Chen Xiaohong, a former librarian, keeps a low profile but is behind the success of the largest VC fund ever raised by a woman in Beijing. Chen and her group of female peers have become influential, and their success is bringing more women into China’s technology industry. Though sexism and gender bias remain, China has become one of the best places for women to become venture capitalists and entrepreneurs because of the increasing number of women rainmakers. As women rise through the ranks of venture capital and private equity, like Chen, they are working to lift up the next generation.


The Politics of Pockets
Chelsea G. Summers, Racked
Women’s clothing tends to have unusable or small pockets compared to men’s, which have capacious pockets. This despite the fact that for more than a century, women have questioned the inadequacy of their pockets and why they are forced to, instead, carry bags. The history of women’s pockets goes back to radicals who believed that women should have equal political and financial standing with men. Women’s pockets were seen as a private space where there was increased freedom during revolutionary times. The dearth of pockets isn’t just sexist, but political too. The suit Hillary Clinton wore to the Democratic National Convention was simple and powerful — but there were no pockets. By wearing white head-to-toe, she paid tribute to the Suffragettes, and by having no pockets in her pantsuit she conveyed that she has nothing to hide.

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