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Josannah Birman

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Knocking on the glass ceiling

Aja Kelleher is not an aggressive woman.  Ambitious and assertive, yes.  But aggressive is a bit harsh even though many men would, perhaps, paint her with that brush as she pushed her way up the corporate ladder as a woman and a minority in a field that is heavy with white men.  Standing out and standing up for herself has served her well.  More than 15 years of hard work have propelled Aja into a post as senior project manager for the Chicago office of a large investment firm making in the neighborhood of $100,000. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aja Kelleher PHOTO BY JOSANNAH BIRMAN

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Family

Three cultures. Two generations. One bond. This Shift series delves into the lives of mothers who came to the United States from other countries and the daughters they have raised here.

When we arrived at Christine Stef’s house in Arlington Heights, cars jammed the driveway. But there was no party. Christine, a 22-year-old nursing student, was simply home where she lives with her parents and two siblings. They each have a car. Read the rest of this entry »

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Like Mother, Like Daughter: Culture

Three cultures. Two generations. One bond. This Shift series delves into the lives of mothers who came to the United States from other countries and the daughters they have raised here.

From Agatha dreading Polish school to Dorina balancing her Mexican traditions with her husband’s, second generation daughters often walk a fine line between staying connected to their heritage and  mainstream American culture.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Dorina and her brothers

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Career

Three cultures. Two generations. One bond. This Shift series delves into the lives of mothers who came to the United States from other countries and the daughters they have raised here.

Dorina was the first person in her family to earn a degree, but she didn’t stop there. She went on to earn a master’s degree and is considering pursuing a PhD. She savors the independence of being an educated woman and describes a very different picture of a woman’s role in Mexico. Education is important to Christine and Agatha as well.

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Like Mother, Like Daughter: Pride

Three cultures. Two generations. One bond. This Shift series delves into the lives of mothers who came to the United States from other countries and the daughters they have raised here.

For the last part of the series we chose to stick to one question:  Why, beyond the obvious, are these three immigrant mothers so proud of their second-generation daughters? This theme encapsulates the purpose of the project – to capture the unique bond that these pairs of mothers and daughters share. Read the rest of this entry »

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Like Mother, Like Daughter

Three cultures. Two generations. One bond. This Shift video series delves into the lives of mothers who came to the United States from other countries and the daughters they have raised here. Hamsa Ramesha and I have interviewed three pairs of mothers and daughters about a generational gap that separates but more often binds them. Through in-depth interviews on family, career, culture and identity we learned that each pair shared core values. And what we found may surprise: their commonalities are a bridge. Read the rest of this entry »

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Seoul attempts to ‘heel’ gender woes

Sewer grates.  Cobblestone streets.  Ice slicks. Traversing these urban hazards in a pair of heels isn’t easy. Just the other day, I was walking from the train station to the office along with a steady stream of laptop-carrying workers.  I was just minding my own business in a pair of low heels when, wham! My sensible business-casual heel was stuck in a sewer grate and I was doing a one-foot hop to get it back on. Most women who wear heels probably have had a similar mishap so when I read this Time article about Seoul painting parking spots  pink so women could cut down on the high heeled commute, I was all for it. However, it seems this pink paint is brushing over larger gender issues. Read the rest of this entry »

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PHOTO BY MARKUSRAM VIA FLICKR

Pink collar jobs perpetuate wage gap between men and women

Midge Wilson, a professor of psychology at DePaul University, came of age when there were very few women in academia.  The absence of female voices spurred a career focused on researching gender issues and racial discrimination. Wilson, now 57,  talks about the wage gap between men and women and how ethnicity factors into the equation.

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Midge Wilson, Professor of Pyschology

Sotomayor’s success sheds light on continued inequality

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to approve Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is expected to be confirmed next week as the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice and the third female justice in the court’s history. As the spotlight shines on Sotomayor such great strides bring to light continued inequality.  With race. With gender.

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PHOTO BY FLICKER

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