SF Talking Points: Building and Burning Bridges in the Workplace

Four Women Finally Land Right to Paint New York City’s Bridges: It took four years, but they finally won when Judge William Pauley III of Federal District Court in Manhattan “ruled that the city ran bridge painting as a ‘de facto boys’ club’ that turned away ambitious women in ‘unvarnished sex discrimination.’ He ordered that painters be chosen based on a civil service exam.” Any warrior women out there who would like to sign up? It’s a $44/hr job, and all ya gotta do is “climb 50-foot-plus towers, calmly amble across scaffolded aeries, lug paint pails of up to 65 pounds, rig lines and tackles for gravity-defying boatswain chairs and clamber atop swooping bridge cables. And mix and apply the right colors of zinc paint.” [NYTimes]

Scientists Discover That Lymph Node Surgery May Not Be Advantageous For Breast Cancer: The common practice for 100 years has been to remove lymph nodes from the armpits of breast cancer patients, as it was believed to help combat the disease. But a study now shows that this may have no effect on about 20% of patients who meet certain criteria. Unfortunately, while patients are likely to follow the guidelines of new studies, they often get scared when they suggest less treatment.

Don’t Buy Flowers From 1-800 Flowers On Valentine’s Day! And tell your boo not to for you, too! The flower plantations where 1-800 Flowers’ flowers come from often exploit their workers, as none of their stems are Fair Trade. Writes Amanda Kloer for change.org:

“On Kenyan flower plantations, workers reported being forced to work 8-12 hour days for less than a dollar a day, handling dangerous chemicals without protective gear, and living in cramped, unsafe conditions. In Colombia and Ecuador, which are the main countries that supply the U.S. flower market, over half of female workers have been sexually harrased or assaulted on the job, and mandatory 70 to 80 hour work weeks without overtime pay are common.”

Either sign this petition to get 1-800 Flowers on the Fair Trade circuit, or just don’t buy from them at all.

Chief Executive of Deutsche Bank Wants Women To Make His Boardroom More Colorful And Beautiful: Because that’s what we do best! Wait… we can do other things well too…

Josef Ackermann is proving that he is a real progressive in Germany, where none of the 80 largest companies have a female chief executive, and “only 2% of executive board members are women in the 30 firms which make up the Dax index of blue-chip firms.” Except then he let slip why he’s creating these initiatives for women. Whoops.


Author: Maura Hehir

Maura Hehir is a writer and student studying creative nonfiction writing at New York University. She volunteer-teaches a creative writing class to kids in Harlem and works in the marketing and design department at a bookstore.


  1. [...] nearly every other field was male-dominated — and now we live in an age when women are out painting New York City’s bridges. While it would likely be impossible to find out exactly what’s going on in editors’ [...]

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