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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Why did I start this blog?  I have spent 20+ years  in the business world operating in environments where  decision makers were predominantly males.  There never seemed to be enough females in executive and decision making positions…much less minority females and I felt like it’s time to take action to encourage more inclusion. One way to change the power and infrastructure is if women take on leadership positions both within the private sector as well as in the government.  During the past few decades with the initial support of programs like Affirmative Action, we’ve gained the experience and credibility to assume higher leadership positions.  However, It’s critical that we continually push and assume executive & leadership positions in the private and government environment.  It’s the only way to have a strong voice,  definitive impact and create lasting change. 

However, as I looked around I noticed that there still aren’t enough women of ethnic and minority backgrounds in leadership positions to make huge changes.  As I began to research articles, I found out in the area of voting,  minority women voted in far lower percentages than majority females. In the 2004 elections 125 million people voted with women out voting the men. Overall, of the eligible people who could vote, 65% women voted compared to 62% of the men. There were approximately 26 million minority women who were eligible to vote.  However, while 70% of majority white women voted, 60% African American women and only 40% of Latinas and Asian women voted.  

Let’s think back to how close the presidential elections of 2000 were and the razor thin victories in different elections like a state governorship determined by less than several hundred votes. We  can see how this huge group of minority women voters could have major impact on the consequences on our country’s direction. When you think about how minority women represent the heads of households for many families, affect every aspect of their children’s education, health, housing and vote in larger numbers than men, it really makes you respect their significance. I began to question why minority women voted in far less percentages than their non-minority counterparts. If you look at minority women in leadership roles, in many industries the percentages are significantly lower.

I reflected upon my own parents who came from China. My father was a U.S. Naval officer and served our country for 24 years. Yet I never recalled that he nor my mother ever voted nor encouraged me to vote.  I realized that my own awareness and political conciousness didn’t develop until I attended the University of California in Berkeley and learned about the importance of voting and becoming involved in politics.

As I started to research the reasons why minority women voted in lower percentages, I discovered it’s a very complex problem affected by a huge number of factors. Different racial and ethnic groups face multiple hurdles and issues depending upon factors such as language, education, citizenship, income, etc.  Issues such as: being born in an immigrant family heavily influenced by the homeland cultural values, having parents who came from autocratic, communist or corrupt countries where there were no democratic opportunities to participate and vote, fear and mistrust of the government, language barriers, cultural emphasis on women to not speak up nor “rock the boat” for fear of reprisals, lack of civic duty and responsibility for voting, pressures to obtain a good education and jobs, deterrence from the males to participate in democracy and voting, etc.

As you research the different cultures and races, the issues vary tremendously and are very profound. I feel that the best way to try and understand some of these issues is to conduct interviews and to capture the personal stories of  women who represent these cultures, generations, and families.  Statistics alone cannot reveal the depth of the conflicting issues and pressures that these women face.

As a result, the research project has evolved from a book to a documentary we are producing called:

Engage Her! Getting minority women to vote

The documentary will be released later this Spring to impact the voting cycle of our 2008 elections.

In addition, we are launching this blog to incorporate the use of New Media, social networks and technologies to complement our efforts in sharing our findings. With the changes in generations and people’s adoption of new media to communicate, it’s critical to share and publish our stories in the most popular and prevalent media.  I am inviting a number of different minority women and representatives of organizations to post about relevant topics that influence our decisions about voting and leadership. As we interview women of different ethnic and racial groups, we’ll be posting about their stories, perspectives and including videos of their contributions.   I am fortunate to be co-producing this documentary with a Latina filmmaker, Maria Victoria Ponce .  She is equally excited about capturing the personal stories of minority women regarding their attitudes towards voting & participation. We’ll be asking their opinions of how we can engage themselves, their mothers, daughters and friends into the political and leadership process so can increase our overall representation in the system.

In addition, since we are faced with a unique opportunity for women to vote for the first time in history for either a woman or an African American candidate in one party for President, it will be interesting to see if more women feel compelled to vote based on these unique candidates qualifications. Our interviews will be conducted with women of all ages, races, generations, different political affiliations, etc. to get a broad perspective of the issues we all face.

We’ll also be interviewing people and organizations who have used innovative technology and marketing solutions to engage women both online & offline to involve them in social advocacy. With the New Media and social networks that have rapidly evolved, there is a whole new way of engaging the generation raised with mobile and networked technologies. We plan to invite women to interview their mothers, friends and communities about their opinions and post their videos online to share. We want to explore these stories and to hear their personal voices.  We invite you to join us and hope you will  share your stories so we can all learn from them.

Thank you for reading and we look forward to your comments.   Mable

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