Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Talking about a real woman

Okay. I admit it. I've got a "girl crush" on Dolly Parton.

I was at the Southern Women in Public Service conference in Nashville this week where Dolly was presented with the Lindy Boggs award for public service. She entered the ballroom to accept the award singing "9 to 5" ... gave a great speech ... got off some great one liners in an interview with 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Cissy Daughtry (think frumpy 60 something interviews not so frumpy ageless woman) ... and sang "her favorite song" "Coat of Many Colors" strumming her guitar expertly with improbably long fingernails.

Among the things she said I remember....

Asked to comment on her song for the movie Transamerica ... she began by saying that everyone should be free (as she says she is) to be exactly who they are. Then she reminded folks that she'd been nominated for "9 to 5" and lost in a year when Cissy Spacek did the Loretta Lynn movie and that this year she'd been nominated this year and lost when Reese Witherspoon was doing June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. She quipped that next time she hoped that she wouldn't be nominated in a year with a country music movie.

Asked what advice she had for a man thinking about becoming a woman she said, "I'd tell him the installation will be expensive, but it's the maintenance that will kill you."

Asked about the difference between Republicans and Democrats, she said that Republicans care about "the bottom line" and Democrats are more "top heavy." (Okay, think about it... Dolly Parton).

Asked what she thinks about dumb blonde jokes she said she didn't really mind them because she knows that she's not dumb and, more importantly, that she's not blond.

She poked fun at herself and had not a single remotely unkind word to say about anyone else.

She was "real" in every way you can imagine that matters, while acknowledging that almost none of what you see is "natural."

Dolly received her award in significant part because of her work in founding The Imagination Library.
Because of her efforts, children all over the country have books at home to inspire them to read and to help them prepare for school.

Let's see ... rich, smart, good looking, nice as can be, great sense of humor, focused on children as our future, great voice, wonderful songwriter ... etc, etc.

Now you can see why I'm smitten.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Watch out Men ... The Women are Coming

Two interesting articles recently highlight the enhanced role that women will play in the future of the American economy and in Washington politics ...

Cited on the Post's blog, On Balance,is an article that appeared in The Economist on April 12th (available online only to subscribers). In The Economist article titled Women and the World Economy, the lead was ...
WHY can't a woman be more like a man? mused Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. Future generations might ask why a man can't be more like a woman.…

Commenting on the article, the Post blogger points out that women have made phenomenal progress in the last 50 years ... so much so that their success (and economic power) is beginning to threaten men. However, the reality of the marketplace is that women continue to make less than men on average.

One question that the article provokes for me is that posed by Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid's Tale ... if men are threatened by women's economic strength, what steps might they take to stay in power and control rather than let "nature" and demography take its course?

And, if that weren't enough, today's K Street Confidential column in the business section of the Post is headlined "Women, Minorities Make Up New Generation of Lobbyists" Why the change? High powered women exiting government through the revolving door looking for work is one reason. Flexibility of the work is another. Here's a reason offered by a partner in a woman-owned lobbying firm:

"This town has shifted business models from the Old Boys Network to a focus on substance, competence and credibility," said Stephanie E. Silverman, a principal of Venn Strategies LLC, a woman-owned lobbying firm. "In the old model it was difficult if you were a woman. In the new model you can be a man or a woman and it doesn't matter."

Wow ... expertise over relationships or golf scores. What's this world coming to?