Today’s Lady News: Watch Rachel Maddow Give Smith College’s Commencement Address

Jessica Wakeman | May 17, 2010 - 8:30 pm

  • Political commentator Rachel Maddow delivered Smith College’s 2010 commencement address and gave some smarty-pants advice: “When given the choice between fame and glory, take glory. … Life might very well be long. Keep your eyes on the horizon and live in a way that you will be proud of. You will sleep more, you will be a better partner, you will be a better mom, you will be a better friend, and you will not have to remember any complicated lies to brag about at the old-age home because you can brag about the truth of your well-lived life.” If you’re going to listen to her speech, I suggest the second half! []
  • Sister Margaret McBride, a nun and administrator at a Catholic hospital in Phoenix, has been reassigned after allowing a woman with a life-threatening condition to have an abortion. Hospital officials at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center defended McBride and agreed that the 11-week-old fetus needed to be aborted to save the life of the mother, who had pulmonary hypertension. Bishop Thomas Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, said in a statement that McBride is “automatically ex-communicated.” [MSNBC]
  • Continental Airlines has agreed to provide back pay and interest to 132 women who were rejected from jobs as customer service agents and cargo agents. Continental is a contractor for the Department of Defense and the Labor Department monitors all contractors to follow equal employment opportunity laws. [Houston Chronicle]

  • Not everyone in the Navy is supportive of the new integration of women policy on submarines. The New York Times spoke with one anonymous sailor who said, “The chief of the boat calls it a brotherhood of master mariners — not a brother and sisterhood,” he said. “If all of a sudden they put females on my submarine, things would change so drastically, I don’t think we would be able to flow as well.” A retired petty officer named John Mason has created an online petition to keep women off subs. So far, it has signatures from 550 retired and active-duty personnel, as well as their spouses. [New York Times]
  • The Episcopal Church has ordained and consecrated Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool as its second openly gay bishop. Glasspool is also one of the first two female bishops in the Diocese of Los Angeles. [Boston Globe]
  • Florida Governor Charlie Crist has hinted that he will veto a bill that would require a woman to get an ultrasound before an abortion, which he called “mean-spirited.” [Politico]
  • Meet Hiam Hamade of Michigan, who travels around mosques to educate Arab-American women about the need for breast and cervical cancer screenings. Hamade says cultural differences, such as an emphasis on modesty, can keep Arab-American women from receiving the health care that they need. [Detroit Free Press]
  • Four female bridge painters have won a sexual discrimination lawsuit against New York City’s transportation department, which hired male painters with less experience than the women. The judge also said male bridge painters had sexually explicit material in a trailer at a job site in Brooklyn, making an unwelcome atmosphere for their female supervisor. [New York Times]
  • The Wall Street Journal asks, why are women-owned companies smaller than the businesses owned by men? [WSJ]
  • New York City has registered domestic partners for 17 years, but beginning June 3, it will offer marriage-like ceremonies to both straight and gay couples at City Hall. Most domestic partners are not gay and a domestic partnership is not legally the same as a civil union or a same-sex marriage. However, a same-sex domestic partner receives some legal benefits, especially if one partner is an employee of NYC. [New York Daily New]
  • Hazel Soares, 94, earned her bachelor’s degree in art history this weekend at Mills College in Oakland, California. Soares graduated from high school during the Great Depression and said she “never lost the desire to go” to college. [Washington Post]
  • Doris Travis, the last surviving chorus girl in the iconic Ziegfeld Follies, passed away last week at age 106. At age 14, Travis lied about her age to become a Ziegeld chorus girl with her sisters and performed for three years in the troupe. She later performed in silent films and at dance halls and eventually opened dance studios. Travis eventually earned her high school diploma in her 70s, her college degree at age 88 and was halfway complete on a master’s degree. Two years ago at age 104, she danced in a Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS benefit. [New York Times]
  • “American Beauty” actress Annette Bening says she supports abortion rights. “Women have to have their own personal choice about reproduction; ultimately women have to make these decisions on their own,” Bening said. “All of these decisions are very different and precarious and in some cases involve questions of health, but I do think that (abortion) is an important thing for women to be able to do.” [Fox News]
  • How did lesbians fare on TV this year? Check out After Ellen’s 2009-2010 television census. []


  • After seven months at sea, 16-year-old Australian sailor Jessica Watson completed an around-the-world voyage on Saturday. ‘”People don’t realise … what girls are made of,” Watson said. “‘When you take away those expectations, it’s amazing what you can achieve.’” [Sydney Morning Herald]
  • Bonita Norris, 22, has become the youngest British woman to climb Mount Everest. [Guardian UK]
  • Iran has in absentia sentenced lawyer, journalist and women’s rights activists Shadi Sadr to jail and lashes for her participation in a 2007 protest in support of four feminists who were on trial. Sadr, who is currently abroad, faces six years and 74 lashes for acting against national security and harming public order. [AFP]
  • Six women were recently attacked by a man with a meat cleaver at a crowded marketplace in southern China. One witness said the attacker singled out young women in the attack. Last week, China faced a spate of knife attacks on children at Chinese schools and police wonder if this was a copycat attack. [Reuters]
  • Japan ranks low on equality for women in the workplace — except for women who work in the beauty industry, that is. [AP]
  • A meeting of the Islamic Religious Authority in Vienna, Austria, has criticized European countries like France and Belgium for considering bans on face-covering veils for Muslim women. Many Muslims say a ban on niqabs or burqas is an anti-Islamic sentiment. [AP]
  • Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec said on Saturday that women who have been raped who have an abortion are committing crimes themselves. []
  • Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian woman who was held hostage in Somalia for 15 months, has established a scholarship to send 100 Somali women to college in the next four years. Lindhout, a journalist, was captured by young men with photographer, Nigel Brennan, in 2008 and only released after both their families hired hostage negotiators. “If the boys that had me, if their mothers had been educated women who taught them something about tolerance and peace and the world, who knows where they would be and what they would be doing, but I doubt they would be doing what they’re doing now,” Lindhout said. [Canadian Broadcasting Center]
  • Cherie Blair, a women’s rights advocate and the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, supports a program to outfit 4,000 female entrepreneurs in Kenya with mobile phones, which she called a vital economic tool. [AP]