Focus

WILL - Focus - March 21, 2014

The Effects of Gender-typed Toys

Were the toys you played with as a child either pink or blue?  

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(Duration: 51:54)

Supriya Hobbs and Janna Eaves are painfully aware that they are surrounded by mostly male students in their engineering classes at the University of Illinois. That’s part of the reason they’re behind the new start-up Miss Possible Inc., a toy company with intentions to manufacture dolls for girls fashioned after historical figures like Marie Curie and Amelia Earhart.

“Most toys, especially dolls, are empty,” says Hobbs, “Entrepreneur Barbie wears a suit and has a smart phone; that makes her a CEO?”

This hour on Focus, Scott Cameron talks with Hobbs about the start-up, and why Hobbs and Eaves want girls to be interested in science and technology. We’ll also hear from Analisa Russo, part of the company Electroninks, which is bringing a gel pen to draw circuits to market this summer. Isabelle Cherney, a researcher at Creighton University, will tell us how the toys we play can have an effect on our perceived capabilities and our gender identity.  

Then, we’ll switch gears at the end of the hour when Jake Kuebler of Bluestem Financial Advisors, LLC in Champaign joins us to discuss issues in personal finance.  


WILL - Focus - January 29, 2014

Women On the Internet: Welcome but not welcome?

This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about technology is changing the conversation about sexism. 

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(Duration: 51:52)

people working at computers in a library

Sunday evening when University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise emailed the campus to say that classes would indeed be held despite a predicted below zero temperature with windchills reaching into the double digits, the internet became a way for students to voice their discontent. Within hours, a Twitter hashtag joking about the cold turned into a sexist and racist attack on the Chancellor herself. During this hour on Focus, Scott Cameron talks with Amanda Hess, author of the recent article “Why Aren’t Women Welcome on the Internet” about her experiences with the kind of verbal abuse directed at Chancellor Wise. Hess also talks about the University’s nonresponse to the incident.

Then, host Jim Meadows talks with Kate Clancy, an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois. She blogs for the Scientific American about “human behavior, evolutionary medicine…..and ladybusiness” and recently wrote about the current plight of women in academia. She says the kinds of backhandedness that happens online translates into real life consequences. Emily Graslie, the producer and host of the Field Museum’s behind-the-scenes science vlog “The Brain Scoop,” also joins the show. Her recent post “Where My Ladies At?” questions whether more women would pursue careers in science if they were met with a different kind of judgment from men in the field.

Categories: Community, Gender issues

WILL - Focus - November 26, 2013

Encore: Parenting a Transgender Child

Raising kids is already a challenge, so what do you do when your kids express that they are uncomfortable in their own skin?

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(Duration: 51:29)

Micah, left, Asher, Daniel and Sara pose for a family photo while on summer vacation.

When Sara and Micah’s oldest daughter Naima showed resistance to wearing dresses and playing typical “girl” games, they thought she was a tomboy who someday could be a lesbian, until the day when Naima told Sara she shouldn’t keep correcting people when they confused Naima for a boy.
 
It’s been about a year now since Naima became Daniel, with full support from his school, friends and parents. But as he grows older, there are lots of unanswered questions. Daniel is 8, but what happens in a few years when he hits puberty? This hour on Focus, we'll listen back to when Host Jim Meadows talked with Sara and Micah about their son and about his transition from Naima to Daniel at school, at home and in the community.
 
Psychologist Marco Hidalgo, who works with transgender youth and gender non-conforming youth at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago also joined us. He talked about what options transgender children and parents have as kids grow older and will talk with us about some of the social obstacles transgender youth face.

Categories: Gender issues

WILL - Focus - October 11, 2013

Parenting a Transgender Child

Raising kids is already a challenge, so what do you when your kids express that they are uncomfortable in their own skin?

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(Duration: 51:37)

Micah, left, Asher, Daniel and Sara pose for a family photo while on summer vacation.

When Sara and Micah’s oldest daughter Naima showed resistance to wearing dresses and playing typical “girl” games, they thought she was a tomboy who someday could be a lesbian. Then one day Naima told Sara she shouldn’t keep correcting people when they confused Naima for a boy.

Categories: Gender issues

WILL - Focus - April 26, 2013

Coming up on Focus: Boston Marathon Media Coverage, Record Resurgence and Biking to Work

Do you bike to work? Do you like listening to music on vinyl? Is the media doing a good job of reporting on the Boston Marathon bombing case?  Find out more about what’s coming up next week on Focus and join our conversation.

records

Coming up next week on Focus, we’ll talk about cycling and how strong biking communities and cultures are fostered, why records are coming back and if they’ll stick around. We’ll also talk about nanotechnology and the exciting possibilities for the future.


WILL - Focus - April 26, 2013

Jane Brody and Kathrine Switzer

This hour on Focus, we talk with two health and wellness icons. For the first half of this episode of Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with New York Times Personal Health columnist Jane Brody. Then, in the second half, he talks with Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to register for a bib number in the Boston Marathon. She’s this weekend’s guest legend runner for the Illinois Marathon.

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(Duration: 51:02)

The 1967 Boston Marathon Race Commissioner trying to pull Kathrine from the race course.

Jane Brody is known for her writing on health, wellness and end of life preparation and care. Her Personal Health column in the New York Times is syndicated across the country and new every Tuesday. For the first half of this hour on Focus, Jim Meadows talks with Brody about her writing and career. She’ll be speaking at the UIUC Monday, April 29.

During the second half of this hour, Jim talks with Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to register for and run the Boston Marathon with a bib number. She’ll be in Champaign-Urbana for the Illinois Marathon. We’ll talk with her about her relationship with marathoning, the recent tragedy in Boston, and the famous photo of the 1967 Boston Marathon Race Commissioner trying to drag her from the race course.

Categories: Gender issues, Health, Sports

WILL - Focus - January 30, 2013

Women in Combat and the Transition to Civilian Life after the Military

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(Duration: 50:38)

Elizabeth Ambros at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina, with unidentified male

Even though the ban on women serving in combat was only officially lifted last week, women have already been serving on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. This hour host Craig Cohen talks with Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Erica Borggren about what the ban means for women in the military and about her experiences serving in Iraq.

Categories: Gender issues, Military

WILL - Focus - November 02, 2012

Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color

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(Duration: 51:26)

Living Color investigates the social history of skin color from prehistory to the present, showing how our body’s most visible trait influences our social interactions in profound and complex ways. Nina G. Jablonski begins with the biology and evolution of skin pigmentation, explaining how skin color changed as humans moved around the globe. She explores the relationship between melanin pigment and sunlight, and examines the consequences of rapid migrations, vacations, and other lifestyle choices that can create mismatches between our skin color and our environment. This book explains why skin color has come to be a biological trait with great social meaning— a product of evolution perceived by culture. It considers how we form impressions of others, how we create and use stereotypes, how negative stereotypes about dark skin developed and have played out through history—including being a basis for the transatlantic slave trade. Offering examples of how attitudes about skin color differ in the U.S., Brazil, India, and South Africa, Jablonski suggests that a knowledge of the evolution and social importance of skin color can help eliminate color-based discrimination and racism.


WILL - Focus - September 28, 2012

Half the Sky - Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women

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(Duration: 51:60)

Maro Chermayeff, Executive Producer and Director

Edna Adan, Founder, Edna Adan Hospital of Somaliland

Host: Craig Cohen

Inspired by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book of the same name, Half the Sky - Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women is a four-hour television series for PBS that documents women and girls who are living under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable — and fighting to change them. Their intimate, dramatic and immediate stories of struggle reflect viable and sustainable options for empowerment and offer a blueprint for transformation. We'll talk with two guests - Maro Chermayeff, Executive Producer and Director, as well as one of the activists featured in the film, Edna Adan, founder of the Edna Hospital in Somaliland. Half the Sky airs on WILL-TV in two parts, on October 1st and 2nd at 8 pm.



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