Book of the Month

What Women Want: An Agenda for the Women's Movement What Women Want: An Agenda for the Women's Movement

By Deborah L. Rhode

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 9/1/2014

Get it at Duke button

American women fare worse than men on virtually every major dimension of social status, financial well-being, and physical safety. Sexual violence remains common, and reproductive rights are by no means secure. Women assume disproportionate burdens in the home and pay a heavy price in the workplace. Yet these issues are not political priorities. Nor is there a consensus that there still is a serious problem.

In What Women Want, Deborah L. Rhode, one of the nation's leading scholars on women and law, brings to the discussion a broad array of interdisciplinary research as well as interviews with heads of leading women's organizations. Is the women's movement stalled? What are the major obstacles it confronts? What are its key priorities and what strategies might advance them? In addressing those questions, the book explores virtually all of the major policy issues confronting women. Topics include employment and appearance discrimination, the gender gap in pay and leadership opportunities, work/family policies, childcare, divorce, same-sex marriage, sexual harassment, domestic violence, rape, trafficking, abortion, poverty, and political representation, all with a particular focus on the capacities and limits of law as a strategy for social change.

Why, despite four decades of equal employment legislation, is women's workplace status so far from equal? Why, despite a quarter century's effort at reforming rape law, is America's rate of reported rape the second highest in the developed world? Part of the problem lies in the absence of political mobilization around such issues and the underrepresentation of women in public office. In an age where many women are reluctant to identify as feminists, a broad-ranging, expert look at where American women are today is more necessary than ever. This path-breaking book explores how women can and should act on what they want.

National Spotlight

Ava DuVernay Ava DuVernay

A Writer, Producer, Director and Distributor of Independent Film

Excerpt from her website

Nominated for two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, five Critics Choice awards, eight NAACP Image Awards and five Independent Spirit Awards, Ava DuVernay's most recent film "Selma" chronicles the historic 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. DuVernay directed the film from her screenplay, with Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt's Oscar-winning company Plan B serving as producers.

Her previous narrative feature film, "Middle of Nowhere," earned DuVernay the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Best Director Award, making her the first African-American to win the prize. She also won the 2013 John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award and the Tribeca Film Institute 2013 Affinity Award for writing, producing and directing the poignant romantic drama set in the world of the prison industrial complex.

In 2010, she wrote, financed, produced and directed her first narrative feature, "I Will Follow." The family drama was hailed by critic Roger Ebert as "one of the best films I've seen about the loss of a loved one."

DuVernay made her directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed 2008 hip hop documentary, "This is the Life." Winner of Audience Awards in Toronto, Los Angeles and Seattle, LA Weekly raved, " 'This is the Life' vaults into the upper echelons of must-see hip-hop documentaries."‎

DuVernay has directed for television with the network documentaries "Venus Vs." for ESPN and "My Mic Sounds Nice" for BET, along with "John Legend Interludes" and "Essence Music Festival" for TV One. In 2013, she directed an episode of ABC top-rated drama series, "Scandal," as well as acclaimed fashion and beauty films for Prada and Fashion Fair with "The Door" and "Say Yes" respectively.

Prior to her work as a filmmaker, DuVernay worked as a marketer and publicist for more than 14 years, forming DVA Media + Marketing in 1999. Her award-winning firm provided strategy and execution for more than 120 film and television campaigns for acclaimed directors such as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Michael Mann and Bill Condon.

A graduate of UCLA, DuVernay is the founder of AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. She is also board member for both Film Independent and the Sundance Institute. DuVernay is based in Los Angeles.

ABC's Robin Roberts interviewing Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey about "Selma."

Website Spotlight

National Women's History Project

Writing Women Back into History

National Women's History Project

2015 Theme: Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives

March is National Women’s History Month. Every year the National Women’s History Project selects a unifying theme to be shared with all who want to promote women’s history. Please feel free to use this theme and any other materials on the website for your programs or events.

This year’s theme presents the opportunity to weave women’s stories – individually and collectively – into the essential fabric of our nation’s history.

Accounts of the lives of individual women are critically important because they reveal exceptionally strong role models who share a more expansive vision of what a woman can do. The stories of women’s lives, and the choices they made, encourage girls and young women to think larger and bolder, and give boys and men a fuller understanding of the female experience. Knowing women’s achievements challenges stereotypes and upends social assumptions about who women are and what women can accomplish today.

There is a real power in hearing women’s stories, both personally and in a larger context. Remembering and recounting tales of our ancestors’ talents, sacrifices, and commitments inspires today’s generations and opens the way to the future.

2015 is also the 35th anniversary of the Women’s History Movement and the National Women’s History Project. We are proud that, after decades of dedicated research and technological advances, the stories of American women from all cultures and classes are accessible and visible as never before. Numerous scholars and activists helped shape the Women’s History Movement, and also provided the research and energy which created and sustains the National Women’s History Project. During 2015, we recognize and celebrate the many ways that women’s history has become woven into the fabric of our national story.

Click here for a list of 2015 Honorees.

Duke Women's Center 25th Anniversary

Celebrations, April 7 - 20, 2015

Duke Women's Center 25th Anniversary

The Duke University Women’s Center is dedicated to helping every woman at Duke become self-assured with a streetwise savvy that comes from actively engaging with the world. They welcome men and women alike who are committed to gender equity and social change.

The anniversary celebrations will take place April 7-20, 2015. You can see a list of events here.

For more information or to register for an event, send an email.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)

In the United States April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities on how to prevent it.

Check out their website for more information.

A Conversation with Chief John Dailey

A Conversation with Chief John Dailey

We recently met with Chief John Dailey of the Duke Police Department to hear his thoughts and insights regarding his work—goals, rewards, and challenges. The discussion inevitably led to matters of diversity and inclusion, and the principles that guide his leadership of the department. Here, we share a summary of the interview.

Robert Crouch, Assistant Director
Neylân Gürel, Program Coordinator
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Division
The Office for Institutional Equity

Only a few seconds pass after starting our conversation with John Dailey, Chief of Police at Duke University, and he shares with us a quotation that is a guiding light in his work: “The actions of any police officer, in an instant, can impact an individual for life, and even a community for generations. Given this realization, every police officer must be centered on what is important. Service, justice, and fundamental fairness.” These words by Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of the book “The Nobility of Policing,” resonate throughout our conversation about his work—the goals, rewards, and challenges. Chief Dailey clearly leads from his heart and mind and in the center of it all are the words “service, justice, and fundamental fairness.” He knows that a solid understanding of diversity and inclusion is, of course, an essential component of those noble principles.

His pride in his staff is apparent. When we ask him about the challenges of his work, the first thing he mentions is ensuring that the community knows just how committed and dedicated each member of the department is in the work that they do. He says, “It’s really our job to facilitate Duke’s mission . . . and our members really go out of their way to try to support all of the community as it fulfills Duke’s mission.” He knows that successful police work within a community, especially that of Duke—an educational institution ranking in the top ten in the country and is incredibly diverse—is a two-way street. The officers have an obligation to understand our community, he says, and we have to work on making sure the community also understands the high standards of the department. Fortunately, the reminders of successful community relations are plenty. “We frequently get notes of thanks from members of the community,” he says, about a remarkable act of kindness or a member going out of his/her way, going the extra mile, above and beyond the call of duty, to serve the community in which we work.

As chief, he works hard on bringing top-notch, cutting-edge training to his staff to make such success possible, and he knows how lucky it is to be part of an institution such as Duke where resources exist for the kind of assistance he is able to provide.


He brings up a training conducted recently with the help of Office for Institutional Equity. It is the latest one in his long-standing relationship with OIE as a resource. With the assistance of OIE, he feels that his department is setting the standard nationally in training law enforcement around issues of diversity and inclusion. Last fall’s sessions focused on implicit and unconscious bias and involved the use of actors, which was a unique and important strategy. The officers were put in very difficult inter-personal conflict situations and they had to get through them in real time.

“At the end of the day,” Chief Dailey says, “most people get into this work to serve others and how we do that best is the question.” He continues, “We need to understand ourselves, we need to understand those we’re serving, and I think that‘s what drives our interest in doing the best we can for the community.”

The main goal in striving for excellent community relations is about modelling behavior of respect and dignity, according to Dailey. In addition to the help he receives from OIE, he also uses outside consultants. Training the staff in de-escalation skills, making use of emotional intelligence factors in hiring new members, looking into the use of body cameras are among his strategies in reaching for excellence. They also conduct a “citizens’ police academy” program, which is very popular with staff and is an important tool in combatting implicit biases that both sides have.

Chief Dailey sees his work as a calling and knows that the drive to be the best one can be starts internally. “And,” he says, “it all goes back to the idea of service.” To be able to really serve, it is helpful to understand and to be able to see from the eyes of somebody else how and why they got into a situation, or what might be going on. “We are fortunate that we have the time here, and the resources, to understand situations a little more, and to try to help solve them. Not just respond but solve as well.”

Dailey is grateful to be at Duke for all these reasons, and we leave the conversation with the impression that Duke is indeed fortunate to have a Chief of Police with Dailey’s professional standards and leadership skills.

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