Does LinkedIn Know Their Groups Discriminate?

About The Woman - LinkedIn

by Adriano Gasparri, Flickr.com

Fair dinkum, that’s me I’m pretty chilled and fair about most things. Like the next person I have views about politics, religion, race and sexuality.  It’s totally fine for people to have their own views too.

Yes you may have the feeling this is the beginning of a rant post, but it’s only a partial rant and healing one I hope. Something happened last weekend. I was on Yahoo and playing around with Twitter while thinking about ways how I could boost my visitor counts for About The Woman. Some lucky bloggers seem to have an endless ream of topics, but I have to look for ideas everywhere.

LinkedIn Groups. So there I was, friends have been nagging me to do the old LinkedIn thing for ages, I’m having some moderate success with Twitter, so I thought I would give LinkedIn a shot. What’s LinkedIn? Well it’s the 3rd biggest social media platform with about 110 million users. But unlike Twitter which is widely recognized as the best business to customer platform, LinkedIn is the best B2B platform. However I’m sure it’s not all business people do still build friendships and connections on the sidelines of all the business and networking stuff.

So I gave it a try. I filled in my profile, made it look as nice as possible although I really need some nice profile pics. It takes a professional to make me look good – honestly.  So there I was clicking away on any relevant looking groups –  dyslexia groups, blogging groups, freelance writing and one very cool group popped (I won’t use the exact name) Photography For Women Who Like Taking Pictures.

Bob’s Reply. If you’ve seen my profile, you’d know I’ve spent most of my life around women and I have a deep, respect and love for them in all their roles. So this group seemed to be the perfect group for inspiration! However the group was locked and you had to apply to be let in. There were two moderators, I sent a message and someone called Bob – which is not his real name, but it’s really similar.

Hi Bob I feel this group is right up my street. I have a blog that talks about all kinds issues the focus is on women, relationships, style and more. But I would love to connect and find out more on women in photography. It would be nice if down the line I could write about some, I mean we all have stories and photos speak volumes.

Not saying that’s a perfect message, but I don’t think I come across as a pervert, troll or spammer/marketer. He replied really quickly which I saw as a good sign. Bob said:

Are you a woman?

Yes you know what’s coming next. I was already getting cheesed off, and wanted to send a pre-emptive insult, but I wanted to give Mr. Bob a chance. I replied:

No I am not. This is requirement for your group?

Unsurprisingly Bob said:

Yes it is.

A thousand stinging replies came to mind and I had to sit on my hands to stop them from whipping out angry keystrokes. I’ve imagined several scenarios if the conversation had continued. The first question would have been:

Bob are you a woman?

He probably would have said:

That’s got nothing to do with it. It’s my group and as long as the 37,000 women are in my group, they will play by my rules.

I would’ve replied:

Is this your personal harem or are you the eunuch?

I could just imagine Bob’s pouty face.

I don’t have to listen to this, it’s my group and I’m not letting you in, so there!

Of course that never happened because I’m a gentleman and well… who knows what bodily part Bob may have had amputated to get that moderator’s job.

Does LinkedIn accept this? The point is, does LinkedIn know that people are excluded from groups based on their gender? Because that smacks of sexism to me, I would be equally unhappy if a group of male professional mechanics excluded women who were interested in cars. Who else is excluded from other groups? This is an important question I think.

It’s okay we all have our own opinions and preferences, that’s our right. However I believe in social responsibility especially when comes to the internet.  I don’t support any group or community that excludes another based on whatever criteria. As with everything there are always exceptions, but I’m not talking about therapy groups here. I’m talking about a photography group, that excludes men.

I find Bob’s attitude bizzare, and if LinkedIn condones this, that’s equally irresponsible. I can’t imagine there’s anything about LinkedIn’s rules that might allow this. After all LinkedIn is a business networking platform, which is strange because this would not be accepted in the workplace and certainly not in business. Needles to say I’m finding a lot more love on Twitter.

About The Woman

Forgive Lance Armstrong & Big Fat Momma 

About The Woman - Relationships &Love, Lies

By DonkeyHotkey, Flickr.com

What is love? Why do we sometimes seem so hell bent on destroying our love and relationships. I sometimes think that people are programed to self-destruct. Lance Armstrong is doped, the whole world knows it. But who are the victims? His team mates, marriage, and perhaps a friend or two. After many years of lying he probably doesn’t even have a single friend who would stand by him publicly.

In the fact the whole story reads like the script of Big Fat Momma’s House. A man tries to do something good, but lies – Lance Armstrong. The main character is trying to catch the bad guy and win the day – Tour De France, but along away people start to believe in him. Lance Armstrong  spends the rest of the movie getting into dubious situations while trying maintain his Big Fat Momma disguise. Finally just like the real one (who was also an imposter of the real thing), he gets caught, while trying to do what he feels is right.

The differences are he caught the bad guy (Tour De France) several times and kept on lying – while making tons of cash. Unlike the fake Big Fat Momma, he kept on lying even when the latex mask started to peel off.  Like Big Fat Momma, Lance Armstrong got the girl – seven of them, but he had to give them back.

Lance raises some ugly questions about us – In the general context, and in relationships why do we feel we have to lie? How many times have we, or will lie to our loved ones and friends? Does it really matter if we are trying to do the right thing or wrong thing, then lie? “Oh I was just protecting you”, is that really ever the case? Politicians, husbands, wives, criminals often confess, but when? That’s right, after they were caught. Blah blah hindsight and all that, but I’m not talking about hindsight. What I’m talking about is the need to do lie in first instance – that little white lie. So when do we feel we have to lie in relationships?

You don’t want to be with that woman or man? Then don’t cheat on them. Give him/her a chance to find somebody that does want to be with them. Man up, and just be single. If there are other things you’re lying about, then talk about it with someone. If we can try to understand why we feel, or do things it can be an extremely useful tool in prevention. If we take the example of having an affair, it’s much easier to talk about why we feel the need to cheat with someone, than actually cheating. As a good friend once advised me “It’s the perfect crime, until you get caught.” Don’t do it in the first place and you won’t have to lie.

It’s not my fault, it’s life – I agree to a point. We do have unreal expectations, dumped on us, every where we are told if we drink that beer we get the hot girls, or if we buy the gadget we will look handsome and automatically get a better job. Lance’s case he pretended to be superman and he was in many ways, from cancer to a wonderful athlete. But once he showed the world he was superman, that’s when it all got worse.

If we blame Lance, or even Big Fat Momma, then we need to take a closer look at ourselves. Why do we only confess when we are caught? Why do we feel a need to do this stuff, why are we so destructive? Most importantly for Lance Armstrong and for us, what are the reasons behind our confessions? If we confess only because we were caught, then how are we “or him” going to move forward? I’m not picking on Lance Armstrong (or Big Fat Momma), I’m just using him for SEO, but the question remains why do we get ourselves into these situations?

About The Woman

If Only Santa Was a Woman – Unwanted Gifts

About The Woman - a woman, beautiful woman, middle aged woman, a girl, Christmas, woman, Mrs Santa, Mrs Claus

by North Charelston, flickr.com

Christmas friend or foe, either way it’s gone for another year. But what’s left? Big stomachs, ruined bank accounts, headaches, screaming kids that don’t want to go back to school, more than a few unwanted gifts, and that’s just me! So how about the rest of the world? But seriously what do you do?

Why do we even buy presents in the first place? Guys will buy a gift for a woman they love and other people will buy fabulous gifts which are loaded down with good intentions. But what is it? Guilt, pressure, love or just simply a case of keeping up with the Joneses? One thing for certain, the original religious concept has become somewhat neglected, forgotten or even shunned by popular opinion. Even when we do remember the genesis of the idea, it’s molded into plastic and sold as an action figure.

What about all those gifts we don’t want? The advertisements, pressure from colleagues, commercials for credit cards and loans offer no advice. All these tools of commercialism only point in one direction, and that’s towards the checkout. There are however a few shining lights out there from the odd individual, to the online business. Some of these offer useful solutions to the overdose of unwanted presents.

Not everybody is out to make a quick buck from our problems, according to a story by Reuters there’s actually a pretty cool shop in Slovenia which opened just in time for Christmas.  The idea behind the shop is simple yet important.  Basically if you don’t like a gift then simply change it for one you like.  To quote the shop owner “people get and give too many present nowadays” and I think the shop owner is 100% right.

In some cultures especially in China cash really is king when it comes to gifts. Yes you could say it’s a cold, perhaps even an unthoughtful kind of gift – but there’s no denying its versatility.

Gift cards are increasingly popular gifts, I especially like them when it comes to kids. As opposed to cash, it allows you moderate control on what they kids will blow their money on. But these sentiments maybe the thing’s biggest downfall. What happens when you get a gift to a shop you stylistically have nothing in common with? What are your options if you have a gift card you don’t like, can you take it back to the shop in question and get the cash? Not likely, at least not in that shop. But there are ways according to The Daily Beast.

Cash back sites – the middle man will take a cut!

Giftcards.com, will assess the cash back value, mail you a check or even transfer funds via paypal. Gift Card Granny, it’s a smiliar variation on the above, it scans sites that will give you the most value for you card.Just be prepared to make a small loss on the value of the gift card.

Then you have old faithful – Ebay. There’s always loads of people who are wanting to get their hands on a bargain. But you will have to prepared to sell for a lesser amount, but it’s better than being stuck with a card you hate.

Other options

Gift card rescue, works with Amazon, you get a bonus 5 percent for changing it too an Amazon gift card. Cardpool, works much the same way.

Charities can benefit too. Plastic Jungle allows you to donate the cash on the card to a worthy charity, its aligned with a few such as Red Cross. Plastic Jungle rather cunningly allows you add air miles as well, in cooperation with United Airlines.

Traditional gifts

If the gift is a more traditional kind of gift you can deal with it in similar ways. You could try holding a swap party. People rewrap the gifts they don’t want, and give them to someone else – of course they ran the risk of getting disappointed twice. Or you could do it the boring way and not wrap them – an episode of The office springs to mind. Just make sure things are of a similar value!

Returning stuff to the stores can be an option. It depends on the store of course, not all stores have equal policies on returning gifts. Just check the policies for online and locations for shops. But of course if it’s given to you then you might have little choice, you’re going to have to roll with the punches.

Re-gifting, I have done this and felt horrible about it. But that doesn’t mean you have to. In my case I had to go back overseas and didn’t have the luggage space, so I off loaded the gift and saved time, and money (but it still didn’t feel right). Although seriously why not? I think the key issue is, to choose more carefully than the person who you gifted it to you in the first place. The lucky person might appreciate it more than you did.

Donate it! Just like the gift cards, donating something can be a rewarding experience and in my book a much nicer feeling option than just simply re-gifting. I have a friend who just a few years ago, gave 100’s of man sized teddy bears to a load of kids that needed a bit of happiness in their lives – although in this case they were just extra teddies from the factory. But honestly the kids didn’t care about how they got them, they were happy just the same.

About The Woman, Merry Christmas Everyone!

Human Trafficking a Mother’s Love

About The Woman - woman photo, photo woman, a woman, picture woman, human trafficking, women in trafficking

by Ira Gelb, Flickr.com

Buenos Aires, Argentina — 13 people accused of human trafficking and in the disappearance of a young woman who was allegedly kidnapped and forced into prostitution which is just another kind of modern slavery.

What is human trafficking?

The typical countries that are plagued by people trafficking humans, are normally lawless, places where the police are ineffective, typically a place where corruption and bribery are rife. These kinds of countries are prone to kidnapping, forcing women and children in prostitution, sometimes through drug addiction and almost always through coercion.

People who live on the fringes of society are often most affected by this, or even persecuted groups that have little legal status. Mostly it’s women and children who which are the unfortunate targets, for this life of sex and slavery.

My country doesn’t have that problem

You would be wrong to think this. Human traffickers are in every country, but what are the statistics for human trafficking? It’s estimated by organizations that as many as 3 million people women and children every year are the targets of the human trafficking trade.

The U.S. State Department’s estimated numbers for trafficking of people, in and across US borders are somewhat lower, at something between 600,000 and 800,000 per year. This is still too high by a long way. It’s been estimated that trafficking in women makes up some 80% of the human trafficking trade.

What about slavery?

Lets look again at the numbers – an estimated 3 million per year! So in the 21st century there is more trafficking in women and young girls than slavery in the 18th century. So basically, how far have we really evolved? There are more women and girls being forced into brothels annually than African slaves sent to toil in the plantations 300 years ago. According to a US report, the volume of human trafficking in the Middle East, and Africa are at critical levels, a trend that is likely to continue unless more is done about it.

Prostitution is not a crime everywhere

It’s true in many countries, it’s not illegal. What about Argentina? Argentina like some European countries allow prostitution. But whether you agree with this or not that’s a different point. But the prevailing thought is, if it’s legalized and governed there is less chance for the underworld element, and the business of trafficking humans to take advantage of it.

What’s the Buenos Aires connection?

At the start of the story I mentioned Buenos Aires, so what’s so special about Argentina? Well at the moment, Argentina is at the focus of the world’s attention and at the epicenter of a movement that’s working hard to break up human trafficking, within its borders

At the center of that movement is a mother, her name is Susana Trimarco’s. Her story is as equally inspiring as it is sad and tragic. She lost her daughter to human trafficking, she was snatched while coming back from a doctors appointment, leaving a 3 year old daughter behind. I say lost because in the process of freeing 100’s of women, Susana has yet to find her daughter.

Susana has her work cut out for her as she fights corruption in the police force, and within corruption in the political system. As a result of her investigations 13 ringleaders have come under arrest, but in case that’s dawn massive amount of media attention the ringleaders (who have all been implicated in her daughters disappearance and forced prostitution have just been acquitted and will not face any further jail time. The 13 ringleaders include both men and women, it was part of a well organized family business – women also often play key roles in women trafficking, sometimes as recruiters or in managing victims of human trafficking.

Raised Awareness

She has won recognition across her own, country, South America, North America and even won a Noble nomination for her work. But I am sure, the only thing on her mind is helping women like her daughter and the fight to find her daughter again. In this, her Mother’s love will not let her rest until she is found.

About The Woman

(more on Susana Trimarco, coming soon)