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Updated: 21 min 12 sec ago

The business opportunity that is climate change

Wed, 2014-06-25 01:00

Climate change is a business opportunity.

There. I said it. Also? It's true. And kind of a paradox.

Global warming's been a bit buzzy this week, what with former Treasury Secretary — and current Republican — Henry Paulson in the New York Times this past weekend coming out in favor of a tax on carbon as the best way to control global warming, and a report from Paulson and others laying out the economic risks of climate change (Although, honestly, couldn't they have come up with a better name for the report than 'Risky Business?').

Six or seven years ago we sent Stephen Beard and Sam Eaton off to do a series we called 'Frozen Assets' — an exploration of the ways in which businesses would be able to take advantage of a warming planet. Back then, we concentrated on the areas that were (and mostly still are) literally frozen — Norway, Arctic Canada, and Greenland — and what would happen up there; oil exploration, fishing opportunities and shipping routes through the Northwest passage.

Since then, as the Paulson report and countless others have made clear, the obvious downsides have been mounting: decreased productivity, coastal property damage, infrastructure problems, lower crop yields and growing public health concerns. I could go on, but it'd be easier if you just have a look at the report, which I highly recommend.

Here — at long last — is my point. There's a way that capitalism — arguably the root cause of global warming — can help us find a way out. Or, at least, a way to mitigate the looming apocalypse. If companies, governments and people realize that market forces can work to our advantage in this — without resorting reflexively to well-entrenched positions — well, then maybe we've got a chance.

Or, to paraphrase Ezra Klein, maybe we're just screwed.

How education tax breaks benefit the rich

Tue, 2014-06-24 14:54
<a href="http://marketplaceapm.polldaddy.com/s/fin-aid-tax-breaks">View Survey</a>

Survey says: Guilty of not filling out your survey

Tue, 2014-06-24 14:27

I guess I should be happy that JetBlue and American Express and Dividend Miles and my kids’ pediatrician, and my dentist, and the Hertz "Gold" program, which I signed up for, but never used, care about what I think.

But on a scale of one to five, with one being "I am respected, hear me roar," and five being "I feel ignored," I’m all the way at ten—as in, "What kind of sucker do you take me for?" Apparently it’s not enough that I give these businesses my money, now I’ve got do their market research, too—for free.

Oh, excuse me, to be fair, sometimes they do offer a tiny payment, or the remote chance of winning a prize—both of which are obviously designed to get me to use the product or service again, which in turn will trigger … another survey. I don’t see a living in it.

But the surveys are gaining on me. The country’s best-known survey platform, SurveyMonkey, is now processing survey responses at the rate of 2.2 million per day, up from one million a day in January 2013, and it recently introduced a mobile app, meaning clients don’t even have to be at their desks to create and zap off a survey. Look out, here comes one now!

We have the internet to thank for this, of course. Online technology makes it less expensive and easier to send surveys than in the past, when data analysis took longer, and at least the cost of stamps were a deterrent.  

But you know, there can be one thing worse than taking a survey: not taking it. At my sons’ local GameStop, the employees are so nice, and make such heartfelt appeals for me to fill out the Customer Experience Survey that I feel actual remorse when I don’t. Survey guilt—who would have thought it possible?

Rich politicians emphasize humble beginnings

Tue, 2014-06-24 13:45

The economic disparity between the common man and the politician is as old as democracy itself. In 64 BC when Cicero was running for consul of the Roman Republic, his brother is believed to have written what could be called the first electioneering handbook.

“One question I think people should be asking is does it matter that politicians are so much better off than the people they are supposed to represent,” says Nicholas Carnes, the author of "White Collar Government: The Hidden Roles of Class in Economic Policy Making." “And what I find is that yeah, it really does matter. Politicians, who don’t have experience doing working class jobs really do think differently, vote differently, and introduce different kinds of legislation than the few politicians who do know what it’s like to be a blue collar worker.”

Carnes says that the average member of Congress spent 1.5 percent of his pre-Congress career working in manual labor or service industry jobs, a percentage that has changed little over the last 100 years.  

But talking about that divide can be a political landmine as evidenced by Hillary Clinton’s recent claim that she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House.

 

Alex  Gourevitch teaches political Science at Brown. He says the politicians who are best at pretending to be equal are the ones who avoid talking about their own wealth at all, or emphasize their humble beginnings, like John Edwards for example, who campaigned not as a wealthy attorney, but as the son of a mill worker.

 

Another strategy is to be upfront about wealth as Romney did during his bid for the presidency.

 

Here's Bill Clinton discussing his life before he was an attorney in 2008.

 

And here's Jimmy Cater in a campaign commercial from 1976:

 

Surprising data on student loans

Tue, 2014-06-24 13:40

A new Brookings Institution report on student loan debt is causing quite a stir. It says the student loan crisis we’ve heard so much about may not be as bad as we think.  

The findings are so startling, even co-author Matthew Chingos didn’t believe them at first.

“My first reaction when we ran these data was, this has to be wrong,” he says.

But Chingos re-checked the data until he was satisfied with his conclusions. Among them: monthly student loan payments have stayed at three to four percent of a borrower’s monthly income, since 1992. Chingos also says, in 2010, only two percent of young households owed more than $100,000. 

“There don’t seem to be more of those than there used to be," he says. "If anything there are less.”

But Chingos says more people have student loans. Because more students are going to college. The people he really worries about? Those who never got their degree. People like Rhonda Wanzer, who at 48, has a good job with the federal government, but no college degree. She still owes about $28,000.

“I’m trying to devise a plan where I can pay it off at least before I can retire retire," she says. "I can retire in about 15, 20 years.”

Chingos insists Wanzer isn’t typical. He says most student loan borrowers do finish college, and eventually pay off their loans. 

His study has its critics who say his data -- which is from the Federal Reserve -- is too limited, doesn’t count everyone, and is old. 

Chingos says the Fed data is the best there is for this kind of research. And he’ll take a close look at new data when it comes out in the next six months or so. 

Other researchers, using Education Department data, agree with Chingos’s conclusions.   

Sandy Baum, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, says the real culprit here is high college tuitions.

"Tuition has certainly gone up rapidly, and particularly, in recent years,  in public colleges and universities, ” she explains.

Chingos says soaring tuition is the disease. And student loans are just the symptom. 

 

The numbers behind the Export-Import bank

Tue, 2014-06-24 11:59

The Export-Import Bank of the United States is a government agency that facilitates exports by U.S. companies. It's been doing this since 1934.

It works like this: A U.S. company wants to sell stuff to a foreign buyer but the foreign buyer needs some kind of financing to buy that stuff. Sometimes, U.S. banks won't offer that financing because the foreign buyer is in an unstable country, or perhaps because the bank doesn't think it's worth it to send someone abroad to vet a small loan that won't be repaid for five years, or otherwise considers lending abroad too risky. And sometimes, foreign banking systems aren't robust enough to offer these kinds of loans themselves, or they charge very high interest rates.

The Export-Import Bank offers insurance on loans to convince a bank to make that loan to a foreign buyer, and sometimes the Export-Import Bank will make that loan itself.

The total amount of international trade facilitated by this in 2013 comes out to $36 billion, a small fraction of the $2.3 trillion in U.S. exports. But the support goes primarily (90 percent) to small businesses, and the large businesses that do use these tools are generally of major economic significance, such as satellite or airline manufacturers.

1.2 million

The number of jobs the Ex-Im Bank reports it has supported since 2009

$2 billion

The amount of money the bank has generated over and above the cost of its operations over the last five years

0.211 percent

The bank's default rate, as reported to Congress this year. That's less than a quarter of one percent.

59

 The number of other export credit agencies around the world competing with the U.S.'s Ex-Im Bank.

(Source: The Export-Import Bank of the United States)

The U.S. Export-Import Bank - by the numbers

Tue, 2014-06-24 11:59

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is an independent, self-sustaining government agency that finances the export of American goods and services. For 80 years, it has provided working capital guarantees, trade capital insurance, medium- and long-term loan guarantees, and direct loans to exporters.

1.2 million

The number of jobs the Ex-Im Bank reports it has supported since 2009

$2 billion

The amount of money the bank has generated over and above the cost of its operations over the last five years

0.211%

The bank's default rate, as reported to Congress this year. That's less than a quarter of one percent.

59

 The number of other export credit agencies around the world competing with the U.S.'s Ex-Im Bank.

(Source: The Export-Import Bank of the United States)

What is the biggest business in your home state?

Tue, 2014-06-24 11:28

Here's a bit of trivia that maybe only the host of a business program can love: A map, from a cloud computing company called Broadview Networks, that lists the biggest company by revenue in each of the 50 states.

My favorites? 

In Vermont, the Keurig Green Mountain company, of coffee fame.

Utah, the Huntsman Corporation, of Jon Huntsman 2012 GOP presidential candidate's family.

And Nebraska...c'mon...any guesses? Berkshire Hathaway... of Warren Buffett fame.

 

LeVar Burton on digital learning and Reading Rainbow

Tue, 2014-06-24 10:59

The Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign has a week to go. So far, LeVar Burton and his company have raised nearly $4 million.  

And no, they are not planning to use that cash to bring back the TV show from my childhood. 

Instead, Burton is looking to expand the reach of the Reading Rainbow app.  

I asked him why today's version of Reading Rainbow is online instead of on TV.  And why he thinks it's better to teach literacy on a computer. "If you want to reach today's kids," he said, "you need to be on today's technology."

You can listen to part of our conversation here:

 I couldn't resist asking him to sing a few lines of the Reading Rainbow theme song. You can thank me later.

 

I don't care if I never get back...or ever get back?

Tue, 2014-06-24 10:22

Eric Brewster and Ben Blatt are close friends who met while attending Harvard University, a few years ago. Their new book "I Don’t Care If We Never Get Back: 30 Games in 30 Days on the Best Worst Baseball Road Trip Ever" is about their 30 day road trip across the United States visiting all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums.

Blatt admits he was very sports eccentric and loved conducting money ball type studies as a hobby during college. He wanted to find the optimal way to visit all 30 ballparks in 30 days and invited Brewster to go along with him. However, Brewster didn’t quite share the same interests. He says he hates baseball.

"We were driving from city to city, going from the first pitch to the last pitch, just a pure baseball road trip," says Blatt.

Although Brewster doesn’t enjoy the sport, he agreed to join him because he thought it would be a great opportunity to visit most of America.

"I thought this trip would be the ultimate road trip experience," says Brewster. "The reality of it was it was total chaos, it was driving 20 hours, going to a four hour baseball game, then driving 15 more hours to go to another 4 hour baseball game, and putting that on repeat for 30 days."

One thing they both realized while visiting all of the different ballparks on the trip is that baseball is a business.

"It was one of the most surprisingly reinforced things we witnessed," says Brewster. "You just got to feel how much this was just a giant conglomeration of companies that are there to drive a profit. And that is what every minute of every game is about from that perspective."

'Tis the season for mangos

Tue, 2014-06-24 09:06

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Wednesday, June 25:

Are folks prepping for summer? The Commerce Department reports on durable goods orders for May. Stuff like lawn and garden equipment. Or a computer for you indoor types.

The Commerce Department also releases its final estimate for first-quarter gross domestic product.

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology discusses the future of human space exploration.

Ever wonder how to cut a mango? It's time to learn a new skill. The folks at the National Mango Board provide tips. They make it look easy. June is National Mango Month.

And the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival opens on the National Mall in Washington.

Corporate boards mostly a boys-only club

Tue, 2014-06-24 08:27

When Google released employees’ demographic data recently, it revealed just how white and male the tech company is. On the other hand, Google has something a lot of companies don’t: three women on its 10-person board.

Research has been mounting for a while that board diversity actually makes a difference to corporations’ bottom lines. Still, most firms aren’t in any rush to change the status quo. One recent study says parity in the boardroom will arrive in 2042.

Malli Gero hopes it will come a lot faster. For the last few years, she’s been keeping tabs on how many female board members companies have. Gero is co-founder of the nonprofit 2020 Women on Boards. She says some top companies have women in 20 percent or more of board seats. But most are far below that number. She says the most successful companies can afford to hire search firms to find good female candidates, but others turn to their existing network.

“Most of the male CEOs know men like themselves, and those are the people they rely on,” Gero says.

And that’s how the cycle of men on boards continues.

It’s a cycle large investment funds like Calpers are trying to break.

Anne Simpson is senior portfolio manager at Calpers, California’s employee pension fund. This spring, it worked with a few other large funds to bring a shareholder resolution against Urban Outfitters. Calpers pressed the fashion retailer to put more women and minorities in its boardroom. Urban Outfitters’ main market? Young women. 

“Until last year this was a company that had an all-male board, mostly over 60 years old,” says Simpson. “And for us, this really isn’t a board which has the range of diverse experience and talent to really secure the company for the long term.”

Last year, after a previous shareholder resolution, Urban Outfitters agreed to put a woman on its board. Simpson says initially fund managers were delighted. Then they discovered Urban Outfitters had chosen the wife of its CEO, herself a fashion executive. The company, she says, made no effort to look further afield.

Technology executive Heidi Roizen is trying to encourage companies to do just that. Whenever she hears a CEO say he can’t find any good women, she whips out her list of qualified candidates. 

“I joke about having binders of women,” says Roizen. “I have more binders of women than Mitt Romney.” 

Roizen is a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm DFJ. She has served on more than 30 boards during the last two decades. And it can be a little lonely. She’s on several boards at the moment, including Tivo’s, and she’s the only woman on most of them.

It’s not surprising she’s in such demand. A recent study found women and minorities are far likelier than white men to be on lots of boards at once. 

Anne Simpson of Calpers says that’s because companies are still nervous about working with lesser-known candidates. They stick with women they know are good. Calpers wants companies to limit the time board members can spend on the job so new people have a chance to step in. Otherwise, Simpson says, “We won’t achieve diversity in my lifetime.”

As for Calpers’ effort to get Urban Outfitters to put more women and minorities on the board -- it failed. Most shareholders voted no. Malli Gero says shareholders worry about rocking the boat. But she says there’s another reason things don’t change: apathy.

“Most stockholders don’t even vote their proxies,” she says. “In fact they don’t even open those envelopes to look at the board compositions or to see what resolutions are up and need voting on.”

Gero says if you care about who is making the decisions at companies you have a stake in – the first step is to open that envelope. Then vote.

Ashley Milne-Tyte is the host of a podcast on women and the workplace called The Broad Experience.

Corporate boards still disproportionately male

Tue, 2014-06-24 08:27

When Google released employees’ demographic data recently, it revealed just how white and male the tech company is. On the other hand, Google has something a lot of companies don’t: three women on its 10-person board.

Research has been mounting for a while that board diversity actually makes a difference to corporations’ bottom lines. Still, most firms aren’t in any rush to change the status quo. One recent study says parity in the boardroom will arrive in 2042.

Malli Gero hopes it will come a lot faster. For the last few years, she’s been keeping tabs on how many female board members companies have. Gero is co-founder of the nonprofit 2020 Women on Boards. She says some top companies have women in 20 percent or more of board seats. But most are far below that number. She says the most successful companies can afford to hire search firms to find good female candidates, but others turn to their existing network.

“Most of the male CEOs know men like themselves, and those are the people they rely on,” Gero says.

And that’s how the cycle of men on boards continues.

It’s a cycle large investment funds like Calpers are trying to break.

Anne Simpson is senior portfolio manager at Calpers, California’s employee pension fund. This spring, it worked with a few other large funds to bring a shareholder resolution against Urban Outfitters. Calpers pressed the fashion retailer to put more women and minorities in its boardroom. Urban Outfitters’ main market? Young women. 

“Until last year this was a company that had an all-male board, mostly over 60 years old,” says Simpson. “And for us, this really isn’t a board which has the range of diverse experience and talent to really secure the company for the long term.”

Last year, after a previous shareholder resolution, Urban Outfitters agreed to put a woman on its board. Simpson says initially fund managers were delighted. Then they discovered Urban Outfitters had chosen the wife of its CEO, herself a fashion executive. The company, she says, made no effort to look further afield.

Technology executive Heidi Roizen is trying to encourage companies to do just that. Whenever she hears a CEO say he can’t find any good women, she whips out her list of qualified candidates. 

“I joke about having binders of women,” says Roizen. “I have more binders of women than Mitt Romney.” 

Roizen is a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm DFJ. She has served on more than 30 boards during the last two decades. And it can be a little lonely. She’s on several boards at the moment, including Tivo’s, and she’s the only woman on most of them.

It’s not surprising she’s in such demand. A recent study found women and minorities are far likelier than white men to be on lots of boards at once. 

Anne Simpson of Calpers says that’s because companies are still nervous about working with lesser-known candidates. They stick with women they know are good. Calpers wants companies to limit the time board members can spend on the job so new people have a chance to step in. Otherwise, Simpson says, “We won’t achieve diversity in my lifetime.”

As for Calpers’ effort to get Urban Outfitters to put more women and minorities on the board -- it failed. Most shareholders voted no. Malli Gero says shareholders worry about rocking the boat. But she says there’s another reason things don’t change: apathy.

“Most stockholders don’t even vote their proxies,” she says. “In fact they don’t even open those envelopes to look at the board compositions or to see what resolutions are up and need voting on.”

Gero says if you care about who is making the decisions at companies you have a stake in – the first step is to open that envelope. Then vote.

Ashley Milne-Tyte is the host of a podcast on women and the workplace called The Broad Experience.

How to get a job on LinkedIn

Tue, 2014-06-24 08:23

Here's how LinkedIn says to use its site to get a job - tips straight from the source:

  1. Profile picture: A profile photo is key. In fact, adding a profile picture makes your profile 11 times more likely to be viewed.
  2. Endorsements: Add skills that your connections can endorse you for and recognize those you’ve worked with on their professional skills. There are over 3 billion endorsements given to date.
  3. Summary: Adding a summary of 40 words or more makes your profile more likely to turn up in a future employer’s search. A good tip is to ensure your summary includes keywords featured in desirable job descriptions for your field.
  4. Experience: It’s essential to list all past experience that may reflect your ability to execute and problem solve. In fact, your profile is 12 times more likely to be viewed if you have more than 1 position listed. Illustrate your unique professional story and achievements by adding visuals like pictures, compelling videos and innovative presentations to your experience section. Other members can even like or comment on what you’ve posted.
  5. Volunteer Experience & Causes: Adding causes and volunteer experience is a great way to round out your professional identity. Almost half (42%) of all hiring managers say they view volunteer experience as equivalent to formal work experience.

 

Does LinkedIn work for job seekers?

Tue, 2014-06-24 07:13

Looking for a job hunting can feel like dropping resumes into a black hole.  And what about your LinkedIn profile? Is anyone actually reading it? Or your updates? Turns out – yes. Someone, many someones, like Dwight Scott,  a recruiter with ExecuSearch in New York, are searching LinkedIn, potentially for you.

Scott says he doesn't spend a lot of time reviewing resumes of applicants. Instead he’s searching LinkedIn for potential hires. He says 65 percent of his placements this year are a direct result of reaching out to prospects on LinkedIn.

A version of LinkedIn just for recruiters offers powerful search options, Scott says. "Degrees, field of study, industry -- you can add custom filters if you like: status, what industry are they in, what groups have they joined? Are you interested in interviewing people that have joined Deadheads with Ties? Well, it’s right there -- that's a group."

"Everybody" Scott says, "uses LinkedIn."

 So what does this mean for people who belong to LinkedIn because they’re looking for a job? Or because they have a vague understanding that belonging to the site might somehow help them? I heard from a lot of workers who said they found jobs through the site – both by making new contacts and being contacted by recruiters. Claudine Halpern, who worked in management consulting for 35 years, says she’s used LinkedIn to get a lot of projects but is still reserved about the site.

“It’s a tool," she says. "It’s not A+. Nothing is A+ without the work you do around it.”

Halpern says anyone looking for a job needs to have a strategy, like updating their LinkedIn profile on a regular basis so it gets in front of lots of eyes – like Dwight Scott’s.

“You can’t put out a profile out and ignore it," she says. "You've got to keep it rolling. It’s like a snowball. You've got to keep it rolling and rolling and rolling and you've got to keep it growing, otherwise it doesn’t work for you."

LinkedIn says it’s used for a lot more than jobs – like marketing and education. And it says it’s impossible to track how many jobs are filled through its site. But Halpern says you’ll have a better chance of getting noticed if you’re a joiner, and an updater. Providing ever more information. Which is what LinkedIn promises its paying customers – recruiters.

Peter Cappelli, a professor of human resources at Wharton, says that employers and recruiters have to be careful to see through all that white noise on the site. They have a tendency to look at workers' current titles to see if they match jobs that need to be filled, which Cappelli says can mean ignoring creative hires and potential. At the same time, he says, LinkedIn makes it easy to game the system. And no one is going to post a bad recommendation on the site.

“Everybody gets good references," Cappelli says,  "and everything is glowing, so at some point it’s kind of useless.”

Like this reporter's mother, who endorsed her skills on LinkedIn

“I hope," said Cappelli, "she gave you a good reference.” 

PODCAST: Specialty drugs

Tue, 2014-06-24 03:00

Home prices are up, but not by as much as predicted - more on the context behind the numbers. Plus, a new angle on climate change is aiming to portray the issues as an economic problem. Also, 2015 will be the first year that health care costs are expected to rise since the recession. The reason? Specialty drugs. 

That's not a beach ball, it's radar equipment

Tue, 2014-06-24 03:00

Vacations take many forms. Some even include an itinerary with a social conscience. But hotel guests at the Fort Walton Beach Holiday Inn Resort are in for something entirely different.

Atop the hotel is what appears to be a very large beach ball. But upon further inspection, underneath that shiny, beachy veneer is military equipment.

More specifically, it's a rooftop station designed to receive radar signals. It also houses a secure conference room for meetings. 

To the vacationers, it's like any other resort, but to the military, it's Eglin Air Force Range Test Site A5 -- The military allowed the new hotel to be built on its land to raise money in an era of tight Pentagon budgets. 

Though, guests probably won't notice anything out of the ordinary -- access to the beach ball will be limited to very few people.

At most, the giant beach ball/military base makes for an interesting photo op.

 

D.C. starts taxing more services, like yoga studios

Tue, 2014-06-24 02:13

The following story was updated after the D.C. Council approved the city’s new budget today. It also voted to start charging sales tax on gyms, yoga studios, and other services.

Yogis in Washington D.C. are taking deep breaths. Very deep breaths.

Partly because that’s what they always do. And partly because the D.C. Council gave final approval to a tax proposal that has yoga teachers and fitness buffs worried.

It also highlights the changing nature of the sales tax. The council expanded the sales tax on the things we buy to include more services like gyms and yoga studios.

Debra Mishalove owns Flow Yoga Center (where, full disclosure, this reporter used to cat/cow).

“I have people who come to my studio, they’re dealing with symptoms from MS,” Mishalove says, referring to muscular sclerosis. “I have people who are dealing with depression, the pills weren’t working the yoga is. I have people who are coming for weight management, for eating disorders.”

The list goes on.

“I hate to see anybody have to pay any more than they do right now to access wellness.”

Opponents have dubbed this a wellness or fitness tax. But the tax expansion will also cover tanning salons, carpet cleaners, and car washes -- services that weren’t exactly mainstream when the sales tax began in the 1930s.

Back then, we spent most of our personal consumption dollars on stuff -- physical goods -- and that’s the base of the sales tax. But now, the service sector accounts for two-thirds of what we buy.

“If you don’t tax services in the long run, you don’t have a sales tax. End of story,” says Matt Gardner, executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. He says states should tax more services, ideally at a lower rate. But broadening the tax base isn’t easy, he says.

“Nobody really knew that Ohio tattoo parlors had a lobby in 2003. They found out really fast that they actually did,” he says. “In Maryland in 2007, I certainly don’t think lawmakers dreamed that landscapers would be surrounding the state capitol, but they did.”

What’s at stake is revenue for education, health care, transportation.

A group of tax wonks called the Federation of Tax Administrators compiled a list of 183 services that conceivably could be subject to sales tax -- everything from automotive rustproofing to taxidermy. D.C. currently taxes about 75 of them.

D.C.’s new sales tax expansion is part of a larger budget and tax proposal that reduces business and personal income taxes.

Kim Rueben, a commissioner on DC’s Tax Revision Commission, says the idea is to tax services that aren’t that portable. For example, you're not going to remove your wall-to-wall carpet to get it cleaned. That has to happen in your house.

Likewise, "If you live and work in D.C., it’s going to be really tough for you to decide that you’re going to go to a gym in Virginia or Maryland instead,” she says.

Chelsea Clinton wants more girls involved in STEM

Tue, 2014-06-24 02:00

Chelsea Clinton has been out in force these past few weeks. Last week, she spoke at an event in New York City for Google's pledge of $50 million dollars to close the gender gap in the tech industry. This week, she's in Denver, Colorado for the Clinton Foundation's event Clinton Global Initiative America, where she's been hosting conversations about getting women and girls to engage with careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The disparity between the number of women and men in STEM fields is no secret. It's a problem that Clinton says starts as early as middle school.

“Research is saying that teachers call on girls less than they call on boys in math and a science classes...which sends an invisible but insidious message their opinions aren’t as valued as boys,” says Clinton.

She also cites research showing that gender and race can play a role in the effectiveness of medical treatment, which makes increasing diversity in the science and medical fields all the more important. 

Recently, Clinton's $600,000 salary as a correspondant for NBC came under scrutiny. When asked if she felt the response was inherently gendered, Clinton pointed to a need for a larger conversation about opportunity for women on all levels instead of zeroing in on top earners like Sheryl Sandberg or Meg Whitman.

"The real question is how do we ensure that there are both equal opportunities for women, and that that work is valued commensurately...one of the challenges is, you know, we have so many fewer women, that those comparisons are still just hard to make," says Clinton.

In her own life, Clinton credits her parents for encouraging her to have diverse interests -- she still remembers when Santa Claus brought her a commodore computer.

Chelsea Clinton wants more girls involved in STEM

Tue, 2014-06-24 02:00

Chelsea Clinton has been out in force these past few weeks. Last week, she spoke at an event in New York City for Google's pledge of $50 million dollars to close the gender gap in the tech industry. This week, she's in Denver, Colorado for the Clinton Foundation's event Clinton Global Initiative America, where she's been hosting conversations about getting women and girls to engage with careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The disparity between the number of women and men in STEM fields is no secret. It's a problem that Clinton says starts as early as middle school.

“Research is saying that teachers call on girls less than they call on boys in math and a science classes...which sends an invisible but insidious message their opinions aren’t as valued as boys,” says Clinton.

She also cites research showing that gender and race can play a role in the effectiveness of medical treatment, which makes increasing diversity in the science and medical fields all the more important. 

Recently, Clinton's $600,000 salary as a correspondant for NBC came under scrutiny. When asked if she felt the response was inherently gendered, Clinton pointed to a need for a larger conversation about opportunity for women on all levels instead of zeroing in on top earners like Sheryl Sandberg or Meg Whitman.

"The real question is how do we ensure that there are both equal opportunities for women, and that that work is valued commensurately...one of the challenges is, you know, we have so many fewer women, that those comparisons are still just hard to make," says Clinton.

In her own life, Clinton credits her parents for encouraging her to have diverse interests -- she still remembers when Santa Claus brought her a commodore computer.

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Support the voices, music, information, and ideas that add so much to your life.Thank you for supporting your local public radio station.

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