A letter to Men Who Trust Women

Hey, Your support for Men Who Trust Women is really important.

Reproductive health’s now center stage in political debates and legislation.

Men really can, should, and do play an important role in all of this.  Unfortunately, there are bad actors out there who oppose choice, and they often speak up to dominate the national conversation about women’s health. I feel that we should treat everyone like we want to be treated, and that means everyone gets a break.

Men Who Trust Women is really making a difference though.  A new national initiative of the Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women, Men Who Trust Women is the real deal. They’re a vibrant and growing national network that really has their feet on the ground. They provide a unique opportunity for prominent men to play a visible, supportive, and influential role as allies for women’s rights to make decisions about their health.

Your support for this Initiative’s critical. In the US, the Declaration of Independence tells us that we’re all equal under law, and I’m talking about following through with that.

The majority of the US public strongly supports the right to reproductive health care, including access to affordable contraception and legal abortion.  This is something that’s really important.  But, here’s the deal, opponents in state legislatures and in Congress continue to aggressively legislate away access to basic reproductive health care, with real consequences for our health and our democracy. States have passed laws banning abortion after only 6 weeks. Our Peace Corps members do not have access to coverage for abortion, and the military folks are only covered in rare, exceptional cases.

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Please join us as a Member of Men Who Trust Women, along with other prominent supporters, including Chip Conley (founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality and author), Howard Dean MD (former Governor and presidential candidate), and Vinod Khosla (respected Venture Capitalist). We know that reproductive rights and democracy are essential to our own lives as family members, friends, colleagues, and we welcome this opportunity to speak out as leaders and express our views. It’s just the right thing to do; and a nerd’s gotta do what a nerd’s gotta do.

If you’re able, please take the opportunity to contribute your financial support. It’s important to take a public stand for reproductive rights. You can donate online at Men Who Trust Women – Donate

Joe Brenner, National Coordinator of Men Who Trust Women, will contact you to discuss the Initiative’s strategic program. We really appreciate all your support. It’s not altruism, it just feels right.

Thanks!
Craig Newmark

Why Men Must “Lean In” to Support Women’s Leadership

Guys, let’s help get more women into public office.
Okay, this is about fairness, and getting better government everywhere.

I feel that we should treat everyone like we want to be treated, and that means everyone gets a break. That also means that all humans should have a chance to lead, in business and in government. In the US, the Declaration of Independence tells us that we’re all equal under law, and I’m talking about following through with that.
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Me with Jane Harman, Shelly Kapoor Collins, and Rangita de Silva de Alwis at the Bryn Mawr event.

In daily life and in government, when I see women running things, things usually work really well. Sure, there are some examples which seem to be deliberate, like in politics where a woman might front for bad actors, but that’s the exception.

Women’s leadership might be the key to unlocking progress in both government and the business world:

Even though women make up just 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, McKinsey studies show that America’s GDP is now 25% higher than it would have been without women. All because of women’s work in the marketplace.

A Goldman Sachs study also argues that eliminating the gap between male and female employment rates could boost GDP in America by a total of 9 percent, in the Eurozone by 13 percent, and in Japan by as much as 16 percent.

Recent McKinsey studies show that higher numbers of women in executive positions can result in higher rates of corporate return on equity.

Women voices bring a different perspective to the table in the public sector. Esther Duflo’s research shows that women are more likely to invest in public infrastructure projects—like safe drinking water— and are less likely to feed into corruption than their male counterparts. For example, at the local-level, women-led village councils approved 60 percent more drinking water projects than those led by men. This correlation between women’s leadership and development outcomes is clear.

Another study titled “Gender and Corruption”  finds that “(a) in hypothetical situations, women are less likely to condone corruption, (b) women managers are less involved in bribery, and (c) countries which have greater representation of women in government or in market work have lower levels of corruption.”

(Adapted from Rangita de Silva de Alwis’s forthcoming article on “Why Women’s Leadership is the Cause of Our Time” to be published in UCLA Law School’s Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs)

Guys, it’s time that we helped make this happen.

I’ve joined up with the Women in Public Service Project to play my part.

WPSP was started a few years ago by Hillary Clinton to promote female leadership across the world. It’s already successful giving leaders a chance, particularly in parts of the world where leadership from a woman can get her killed.

Please check out WPSP and help out!

Why do you support women’s leadership as the next frontier?

Over the past twenty-seven years I’ve been quietly supporting women’s groups, just proceeding on what feels like the right thing to do. womens center

That started with HAVEN, a women’s shelter in the Oakland (Greater Detroit) area, probably in 1985. My intent was to become a volunteer counselor, since they needed guys in that role. However, with the briefest of training I learned that I was way too wimpy to help in that manner.

Fundraising, well, I was able to help out there, agreeing to help set up fundraising events, one including the sale of artwork. All I remember clearly is that inhaling Windex fumes, not a good idea. Also, when visiting, I had to be escorted while in the shelter. The latter was the first time that the idea of boundaries really sunk in. There are always places where a person isn’t welcome, with good reason.

Over the past ten years, people have asked me to help out with a number of causes, focusing on social media and sometimes cash. The deal is that I get involved on a daily basis when that’s constructive, and otherwise, I respect boundaries, far as I can tell.

Since I know something about computers and a little about small business, my focus has been on helping girls and women in technology as much as I’m able.

 

In no particular order, the groups I’ve worked with include:

craig's kiva loans to date by country

In the spirit of respecting boundaries I’m very quiet, unless I think I’m being funny, but I try to keep that in check.

Recently, I’ve joined the Women in Public Service Project, started by Hillary Clinton. They’ve challenged me: Why is women’s leadership important to public policy and entrepreneurship? Why do you support women’s leadership as the next frontier?

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Until then, I’d been winging it, just doing what felt right.

However, I guess I needed to better articulate it, so …

1. Fairness. Treat people like you want to be treated.

Personally, I’m a nerd, feel that life should be fair, that everyone gets a chance to be heard, and maybe to help run things.

Sure, life isn’t fair, but that won’t slow me down. A nerd’s gotta do what a nerd’s gotta do.

2. To generalize: Women listen and work with one another to brainstorm solutions. To speak lightly of that, consider the cultural stereotype, that women prefer to ask for directions whereas men often prefer to try to figure things out and then get lost.

Note to self: JUST LISTEN. That is, don’t ALWAYS attempt to solve the problem, SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO LISTEN. (Courtesy of “You Just Don’t Understand” by Deborah Tannen.)

3. “The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.” -Charles Malik

That is, we’re living in a very small period of tremendous social change, where the people who are best prepared, who have the best listening and cooperative skills should get their chance of running things. I don’t think we’ll see revolution, we’ll see a rebalancing of power, shifting from traditional sources of power (authority and money) to power based on the size and effectiveness of one’s network.

… and finally, to self, JUST LISTEN.

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