Pantene Breaks Down Every Sexist Workplace Stereotype in One Ad


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Everything about this is excellent!

Business & Money

In 60 seconds, Pantene Philippines used an ad to deftly break down the double standards men and women face in the workplace.

While a man is a “boss,” a woman is seen as “bossy.” Men are “persuasive,” while women are “pushy.” If a guy works late, he’s “dedicated,” but a woman is “selfish.” A man who struts down the street is “smooth,” but his female counterpart is “showy.”

And if you needed any more reason to watch the commercial, made by BBDO Guerrero in Manila, then take Sheryl Sandberg’s endorsement of the spot:

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Israel and the EU – what will 2014 bring?


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Friend of the Gates, Karoline Henriques, is blogging away over at  Women in International Security Israel (WIIS) (we’ve linked to some of her previous thoughts on the Iran deal in Geneva – here; and on women speaking politically here)

Netanyahu and Ashton - GPO - May 9, 2012

(Photo Credits: GPO (Israel’s Government’s Press Office)

She’s just published an end of 2013-analysis of the EU-Israel relations for WIIS (read it in full here), including the Association Agreement and the Horizon 2020 research program (the one that all but fell apart before an interesting dipslay of diplomatic word-smithing… (We dig Karoline’s recap on the WIIS blog, and if you want more details on Ashton-Livni, read Ha’aretz coverage here)

Some food for thought…

2014 will no doubt see both increased EU-Israel trade under the AA and commencement of research cooperation under the Horizon 2020 framework. Concurrently, there will be heated political debate on the issues of the Peace Process and the disputed areas in the West Bank. As there are absolutely no indications in the political landscape that the EU will change its current positions, the clashes between Jerusalem and Brussels will likely occur with increasing frequency in the coming year.

Why Condoleezza Rice is a fantastic human being


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I love football. So does Condoleezza Rice.

The money quote is at 2:07 when she admits that she woke up at 3am to watch the Super Bowl from Israel. Condi, that’s me every football season. I feel your pain. But it’s so worth it. I assume my experiences trying to talk the guys at Lion’s Den or Mike’s Place into switching to the Georgia game is a bit different from what you must have experienced, but there’s nothing like watching your team win when you’re so tired you can only smile.

The video’s a part of a campaign that Sam Gordon got in on (link for our Sam Gordon story above).

I adore this girl’s spunkiness. The whole video is just one big “I rock. Handle it.” My favorite part starts at 1:22

The parents would actually come onto the field and, like, grab their boys by the face mask and be like, ‘You don’t let this girl beat you!’ and they’d get so mad at them, just yelling at them. ‘Get that girl!’ and I’d still beat them [giggle]

I love football. And I love people who love football.

Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Women and the Iran talks


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It was a pleasant surprise to listen to Israel radio following the news that Iran and the P5+1 group had reached an interim agreement in Geneva last night.

I mean, the news of the deal itself aren’t that pleasant (Iran isn’t really rolling back its nuclear program, but it gets sanctions relief in return) — BUT there were plenty of female experts interviewed, from officials in the Prime Minister’s Office to nuclear experts, army experts and political analysts.

It pleases one’s heart that qualified voices are heard. We only hope, they are heard *in the room* as well, as Israel moves into a new phase regarding the Iranian threat.

Speaking of “in the room” – Ha’aretz today has a lenghty article on EU’s Ashton and her role in the talks. We have heard a few rumours that she might look to replace Ban ki-Moon at the UN. It’s still only a rumour, but you’ve heard it here first (well, here and in German and French newspapers over the summer)

(i don’t know who owns this picture. found it here. is likely the Guardian’s – i like the serious look. too many ashton pictures are mean. if you don’t agree with her, attack her work, not her looks.)

Here’s the link to the piece, plus an excerpt. It’s by “subscription only” and we don’t break the rules here at the Gates…(read: Befriend a Ha’aretz subscriber -or get your own subscription)

Profile || Catherine Ashton, activist turned powerful diplomat at the heart of the nuclear talks

When Catherine Ashton’s name comes up in talks with ministers in London, they don’t conceal their smiles of condescension. She symbolizes everything they despise. She is a former activist in social welfare organizations, member of the Labour Party and senior representative of European bureaucracy, which they consider inflated and arrogant.

The European Union’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is one of the most important diplomats in the world, but she was appointed four years ago without any diplomatic experience whatsoever. She is one of the most powerful politicians in Europe, but has never run in an election. And she was appointed to her previous position as EU Trade Commissioner without ever having been involved in international trade


When she was appointed a year later as EU trade commissioner, she was already a target of much criticism in Great Britain for being chosen to fill a powerful position without relevant training or experience in the field. But to the surprise of many, as trade commissioner – and afterward as foreign minister – she actually led a series of complex negotiations and formed international coalitions for various issues, such as the battle against Somali pirates.

The Iranians are divided in their opinion of Ashton. “We respect her greatly and she knows how to create a pleasant and practical atmosphere in the talks. The fact is that we prefer to sit with her rather than with each delegation separately,” says a source close to the delegation. “The problem is it’s quite clear that there is no genuine political power behind her. She has to go to consult with the representatives of the world powers on every minor detail. Nobody is under the illusion that she has any authority to decide on her own. She is no more than a liaison, and at that she is very effective.”

Real friends… St. Pur-trick, thanksgivukkah and all the awards


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By popular demand (and to prove again that sane is boring) here is another look into conversations Vera and Sophia have across the Atlantic.

Thank you Viber

Sophia: Forget about Thanksgivukkah. Do you know what happens on March 17?!

Vera: Sct. Patrick’s Day. Like every year?

Sophia: well… look!!!

(links to picture above)

Sophia: It’s the Irish! And the Jews!

Vera: Nice

Sophia: All my peoples!

Vera: Dude

Sophia: don’t [editorial note: Vera calls people dude. Sophia is trying to get her to stop. At least with her. Vera then threatened to call her sister suffragette, but that is too long. So she defaults into dude. a lot]

Vera: dudette, you *can not* be Irish too

Sophia: oh, but i so can!

Vera: no way! you can’t claim both Ireland and Spain as yours. [editorial note: Sophia has a Spanish last name. From before her family got expelled in 1492. She’s still bitter about that but proud of her Sephardic heritage.]

Sophia: And Portugal. And Scandinavia. And all things Jewish

Vera: see what I mean?

Sophia: Hey – real friends let other friends claim ALL THE COUNTRIES

Vera: Really?

Sophia: Yes

Vera: Ok. you can be irish-spanish-jewish queen of all the lands

Sophia: Excellent. I shall rule with wisdom and benevolence

Vera: I am sure

Sophia: So, how bummed out are you that you’re not in Jerusalem this year for St. Pur-Trick?

Vera: Devastated. Not even joking.

Sophia: I know. But next year…

Vera:…. go ahead. Say it.

Sophia: Next year in Jerusalem!

Vera: whoop whoop


# # #

and then we went back to behaving like grown ups with jobs and responsibility

Repost: Iran and the West, and Israel


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With the permission of our good friend Karoline Henriques (we’ve reblogged another her pieces here), we’re reposting her two pieces she wrote for Women in International Security Israel (WIIS).


Today the negotiation teams from Iran and the P5+1 group – The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia – meet again in Geneva to try and reach an agreement between Tehran and the world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.

The parties have been meeting for over a decade without solving the outstanding issues, and with Iran significantly advancing its nuclear program in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

The November 20-22 talks come less than two weeks after the previous round of talks finished, and although no agreement was reached there is a renewed sense of progress, as well as a marked intensification in the concerns raised by Israel as to the implications of any interim agreement reached with Tehran (read more here).

While the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report from November 2013 showed that Iran has not installed any new IR-2m centrifuges and only increased the number with four new machines, it also documents that Tehran has continued to produce near 20% and 3.5 % enriched uranium at the same rate as reported in August, and its enrichment capability at the Natanz and Fordow facilities remains essentially unchanged. This means that Iran has all it needs to produce weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon and could do so if and when the Supreme Leader makes such a decision.

The issues on the table in Geneva

The issues on the table will be similar to the last round: Iran’s insistence on its nuclear rights and demand for lifting significant sanctions on the regime. The YouTube video released on the eve of the talks by Foreign Minister Zarif was a crystal clear example of this. Meanwhile, the P5+1 is demanding that Iran ends all nuclear enrichment linked to military purposes, and provides the IAEA with evidence as to the peaceful nature of Tehran’s nuclear program.

Read the whole thing here


She’s written another piece as well – it goes hand in hand with the one above:


Israel has many questions left unanswered. Photo credit: AP

November may well be the month when the deadlock with Iran over the country’s nuclear program is broken (read more here).

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been increasingly outspoken about Jerusalem’s opposition to an interim deal, characterizing it as a “bad deal” and warning the P5+1 group – The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia – not to rush into an agreement that would leave the Iranian nuclear program factually operational.

From an Israeli perspective, a nuclear Iran poses a grave and unacceptable threat to the country’s security, as well as the stability of an already volatile region.

Jerusalem’s position is that Iran can be allowed a peaceful, civilian nuclear program – like Canada – but precludes enrichment of uranium within the country. Additionally, all components of the program that are linked to actual and potential militarization must be removed. This is known as the so-called “ship, shut, stop” model, in which Iran agrees to ship its stockpile of enriched uranium abroad, shut down enrichment facilities and stop the enrichment program altogether, before the P5+1 groups eases the financial sanctions. In addition, Netanyahu has been calling attention to the plutonium facility and the heavy water reactor in Arak and demanding it dismantled as well.

At WIIS’s site is the complete closer look at two concerns voiced by Israeli officials and members of the intelligence community regarding a deal with Iran. Both have been ignored by the media in recent weeks.

while we wait for Godot and a deal with Iran


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P5+1 & Iran talks again in Geneva, now with flashy PR campaign as Vera describes below.

While we wait for Godot and a surreal deal with Tehran – I encourage you to read David Horovitz analysis in full. 

“Got his back? Nah.”


The Editor-in-chief of the Times of Israel does an excellent job listing all the reasons this is the winter of discontent in the middle east or “ten things we know so far…” (read it here)

1. Israel always knew the Obama Administration was all about “engagement” and that it would keep open the door to a diplomatic arrangement with Iran almost indefinitely. But there were those in Jerusalem who did not rule out an American resort to force, under certain circumstances, until the Syrian chemical weapons crisis over the summer. At that juncture, the horrified American public and Congressional reaction to the prospect of imminent conflict with Syria further hardened the Administration’s determination to do whatever it could to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis without resorting to force. And, since then, Israel has broadly concluded that — while the US insists it is not bluffing, and while it has made preparations for military action — there is no credible American military option.

2. Israel assumed that there were various back channel negotiations taking place between the US and Iran. Despite American pledges to fully coordinate with Israel in grappling with the rogue Iranian nuclear program, Jerusalem was not kept informed of all such contacts.

3. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was aware of the US game-plan for an interim deal en route to a more permanent arrangement. The news 10 days ago that this interim deal, as presented in Geneva by the P5+1 nations, would enable Iran to continue enrichment to 3.5% was deeply discomfiting but no great surprise; the news that Iran would be allowed — in the initial formulations of the deal — to continue work at the Arak heavy water facility, by contrast, was unexpected and profoundly troubling for Jerusalem. That facility, if work continues, will go live sometime next year, and then becomes deeply problematic to target in any military intervention.

4. Israel regards Secretary of State John Kerry’s interactions on the Iran negotiations in recent weeks as illogical, inconsistent and problematic. There is a fundamental contradiction between the secretary’s assurances that Israel has been kept fully updated and his insistence that Israel should not critique a deal about which it is less than fully informed. His assertion that Israel should not criticize the deal before it is done is regarded as risible, since once a deal is done, any criticism would be rendered irrelevant.

Iran Campaigns for your Friendship


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Iranian nuclear talks resume today (Sophia’s definitely a better person to fill us in on the details) and Iran appears to be going on the campaign trail.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif released a video on YouTube in which he reiterates Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it’s Iran’s right as a member of the family of nations to obtain nuclear abilities. Watch the 5-minute video for yourself:

Well, now I’m all warm and fuzzy. Which is a good thing. It’s 22F outside (-6 in “real degrees,” as Sophia would say). My poor choice to leave Israel aside, this video represents yet another piece of Iran’s media blitz to appear rational and peaceful.

A Christian Science Monitor article yesterday, however, illustrates well how, at best, Iran is expressing… mixed signals:

On Monday, Iran unveiled what Fars News Agency described as its largest “homemade strategic drone,” called Fotros, which it claimed can fly 30 hours nonstop with a range of more than 1,200 miles at 25,000 feet. The drone can be armed with missiles, can easily conduct combat operations, and can send “precise images and films throughout the mission,” said Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan.

A 23mm triple-barreled Gatling-style cannon that shoots 900 rounds a minute, billed as an “anti-cruise missile weapon system,” was also unveiled Monday. Iranian media also reported on a new lightweight sniper rifle and a shoulder-fired missile to bring down helicopters that one officer said “has no foreign rival.”

On top of that, Iran plans to start large military exercises on Nov. 22, the final day of the Geneva III talks, that will display armored and airborne power.

The article provides the caveat that Iran sees all this as a deterrent against “threats of military action from the US and Israel.” Yea, okay.

The slick, well-produced campaign Iran has launched is an interesting one. I do wonder whether it’ll change public opinion. Pew released a report today which makes it look as though that’s unlikely.


A majority of Americans see Iranian nuclear weapons as a major threat, and support the use of military force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Just about everyone (93%) opposes Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.

The factsheet comes from a report which listed the findings of a March survey.

usIn Spring of this year, 69% of Americans (and I concentrate here on the US, since the Obama administration is driving the negotiations) viewed Iran in a  “somewhat unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” light. Iran definitely has an uphill battle on its hands.


Happening Now – Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can Choose


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Go watch the pop-up online telethon Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can Choose.

Or just follow #TexasWomenForever (or #VagNapkin) on twitter.

I’ll write an explanation tonight🙂

UPDATE:  (9:28pm Eastern)

All the women of Orange is the New Black signed a call sheet. It’s being auctioned now. I love technology and the fact that this pop-up auction fundraiser drive is possible.

we like: Criado-Perez & The Women’s Room


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caroline criado-perez. Remember her?

bbc twrThe woman who campaigned for the Bank of England to man up and put women on the money?

(then there was a whole disgusting twitter troll attack on her)

She has a blog where you can read about this initiative to ensure female experts are used by the media, rather than the bookers recycling the same (old) men [yes, that was ageist of me. i am not sorry. young researchers are also discriminated against]

The Women’s Room.

On the 29th of October 2012, The Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 aired a segment that spoke about women’s bodies without featuring any women’s voices. Women were angry, and told the BBC it was unacceptable – and yet the next day, the very same thing happened, with the excuse being that the Today Programme had been unable to find any female breast cancer experts. After a brief exchange on twitter, Catherine Smith and Caroline decided to take action, and create a database of women experts for the media. This was to become The Women’s Room.

Rock on, say we…