Fellow Troublemakers, do you try to stay on top of current affairs? Do you read, watch, and listen to coverage of cultural, political, and policy news? Maybe you’d agree; for the past several years it’s been too easy to get caught up in the flood of media content that distracts from the TRUE information that matters to us, our family’s future, and the longevity of our democracy. Wading through widespread misinformation, confronting the brutality of conflicts across the globe, struggling to make sense of political inertia, and parsing the many other hugely consequential stories worthy of our attention is exhausting. But, here are just a few news items that might inspire you, or that you might find worthy of further investigation.
The award for physiology or medicine was awarded to Drs. Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman. Their work enabled potent Covid vaccines to be made in less than a year, averting tens of millions of deaths and helping the world recover from the worst pandemic in a century. Dr. Kariko spent her entire career believing her work with mRNA could be transformative. Often overlooked, but never giving up, she was said to be obsessed with the concept and stuck with it despite the lack of support she received. Dr. David Langer, a neurosurgeon who has worked with Dr. Kariko said, “Kate’s genius was a willingness to accept failure and keep trying, and her ability to answer questions people were not smart enough to ask.”
Anne L’Huillier received the Nobel Prize in Physics along with Pierre Agostini and Ferenc Krausz for having demonstrated a way of creating extremely short pulses of light (in attoseconds) that let scientists capture the motions of subatomic particles moving at incredible speeds. Professor L’Huillier became the sixth woman to receive the Nobel Prize after also winning the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, said, “This highlights the major role of women in scientific research, a role that we must further promote and enhance, as currently only one-third of scientists are women.”
Claudia Goldin won the Nobel Prize in Economics for studying women in the workforce. She is the third woman to have won the Economics Nobel, which was first awarded in 1969, and the first one to be honored with it solo rather than sharing the prize. A trailblazer in her field, she was the first woman to be offered tenure in Harvard’s economics department, in 1989.
“We see a residue of history around us,” she said, explaining that societal and family structures that women and men grow up in shape their behavior and economic outcomes. “We’re never going to have gender equality until we also have couple equity,” she said. While there has been “monumental progressive change, at the same time there are important differences” which often tie back to women doing more work in the home. –NYT
Still imprisoned Iranian activist, Narges Mohammadi was awarded the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize “for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all. Her brave struggle has come with tremendous personal costs. Altogether, the regime has arrested her 13 times, convicted her five times, and sentenced her to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes.” – nobelprize.org
In a statement to The New York Times, Mohammadi said the “global support and recognition of my human rights advocacy makes me more resolved, more responsible, more passionate and more hopeful. I also hope this recognition makes Iranians protesting for change stronger and more organized,” she added. “Victory is near.” – pbs.org
Girl (Political) Power
Heather Cox Richardson, historian and author of the Substack’s most-read newsletter, “Letters from an American,” recently shared another of her many interesting observations appearing on the podcast Offline with Jon Favreau. She pointed out that Taylor Swift’s became the highest-grossing tour of all time because of the makeup of her audience. The unique cross-generational audience of women, she contends is proof of the power we collectively wield to elevate people, and indeed our voting will, when we are united. HCR calls it the power of our voices in this moment. She called out Swift for encouraging her fans to vote, putting that power to work! Trouble hopes Taylor hammers that encouragement home in ’24.
Have you ever heard of Margaret Winkler? As a young Hungarian immigrant, she learned the fundamentals of the film business working as a secretary for Harry Warner of Warner Brothers fame. In 1921 she founded her own production and distribution business. Not giving away her gender, she called the company M.J. Winkler Productions. When Walt Disney and his brother Roy contracted with her to market and distribute their work they finally found success. The expertise she brought them planted the seed of the Disney empire. Margaret is now recognized as the woman behind Disney’s 100th anniversary in 2023.
Author Judy Blume has long experienced censorship of her writing which is praised by fans for teaching children and young adults about their bodies. The mature topics in Blume’s books have generated criticism and controversy for decades. The American Library Association identified Blume as one of the most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century. She reacted by becoming an activist.
Blume says, “I believe that censorship grows out of fear, and because fear is contagious, some parents are easily swayed. Book banning satisfies their need to feel in control of their children’s lives. This fear is often disguised as moral outrage. They want to believe that if their children don’t read about it, their children won’t know about it. And if they don’t know about it, it won’t happen.”
“They’re trying to pass laws about what we can think, what our kids can think, what they can know, what they can talk about,” she says. “There’s legislation going on right now that says that girls in elementary school are not allowed to speak about menstruation…I mean, where are we? What country is this?”
Good question Ms. Blume. It’s our country and we’re willing to do the work to get it back on track. Remember, women who cause Trouble change the world! Look at the few highlighted here. We wonder what the world would look like today if women like these–like us–were making the decisions.
The recently handed down Supreme Court decisions regarding abortion, gun rights, school prayer, executive power, and affirmative action reflect the court’s 6-3 conservative majority. The political right appears to view them as an open door to push for furthering their agenda aimed at limiting citizens’ rights and thwarting any policy deemed progressive in any way. Upcoming cases are at once farfetched and frightening in their potential to affect our lives for many years to come.
According to constitutioncenter.org: “The latest arguments involve questions related to the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause, Second Amendment restrictions, and election redistricting. Also at stake is the fate of the Chevron doctrine, a Supreme Court precedent that promotes court deference to actions by the executive branch.”
Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo (22-451) and Relentless v. Department of Commerce (22-1219) Fundamentally, both cases challenge the power of federal regulatory agencies like the FDA and EPA to interpret the fine points of laws and to enforce meaningful boundaries for companies.
United States v. Rahimi Stemming from a lower court ruling on the constitutionality of taking guns away from violent domestic abusers; any ruling in this case will significantly impact the continued viability of current gun laws and the ability (if not the will) of legislators to effectively address the ongoing gun violence epidemic.
So, here we’ve shared a few items we think are of interest; recent news about accomplished and influential women, and some historic events unfolding in front of us. There are countless others out there. These snip-its offer just a tiny glimpse into our complex world and an idea of where we are in it. As we consider how to affect change, there are so many issues to be aware of; so many challenges to be concerned about, and so many fabulous women (and men) to be inspired by.
This November Trouble will mark our Thanksgiving with sincere and deep gratitude for you, the Trouble community, and for every TroubleMaker we have had the pleasure to spotlight. We hope that you have an opportunity to gather with those who are important to you and share a day filled with reminders of all we have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving TroubleMaker!
Stay tuned for more insights and inspiration.
Share what you learn here with the TroubleMakers you know and love.
SPEAK UP – SPEAK OUT. THIS REALLY MATTERS.