This is where the conference took a definite turn for the political!
The opening speaker was Meg Whitman, former eBay guru and now California Gubernatorial candidate. She made it very clear that her motivation for getting involved in politics at this stage in her career was how strongly she felt that the price of inaction is far greater than the price of a mistake. She sees California's current stalemate with budgets and those terrible propositions as a fear to take action and make decisions that Californians will pay for for many years to come.
Whitman's basic premise is that people are basically good. That's how eBay works with sellers and buyers who will never meet face to face, yet can trust each other to fulfill a contract. She is passionate about improving California, showing how clearly appalled she is that California is now ranked 48th in the nation for K-12 schools and that the droupout rate in one of the largest high school districts, LA Unified, is 50%. FIFTY! that is insane. I remember as a kid being told how wonderful the CA schools were and how those students would have a better chance of getting into good colleges than we would as Indiana students. What has happened?
Next we heard from a Democrat and the founder of PBWC, US Congresswoman Jackie Speier. Ms Speier spent the majority of her time emphasizing the economic gaps women still face in California. When PBWC was started in 1989, women were making 57 cents for every dollar a man made. Now, 20 years later, California women are making 85 cents per every male dollar. Yes, it's better - but why is there still a gap?
She went on to tell a heartbreaking story of Lilly Ledbetter who had been a manager at Goodyear for 20 years. When she was about to retire, someone gave her an anonymous note letting her know she'd actually been seriously underpaid for the last 20 years. She sued and was originally awarded $3million dollars in back pay, but when this went to the supreme court they took the judgement away from her. Their opinion was that she should've been aware and filed her grievance at the time, and because she waited 20 years she didn't deserve the award.
Ms Speier also noted that in the United States, we still allow cosmetics to be made from things that we know cause cancer and birth defects! She told us that nearly all lipsticks sold in the US contain lead. LEAD. In something we all put on our mouths. I am sure the manufacturers say you are not supposed to eat your lipstick, but really, how many of you out there bite your lip on occassion? Or possibly let your lips touch your food while you're eating. You get the point....
I'm not sure what she can do about this, but I do know that the EU has made great strides in this area and their women still get nice makeup. I'll have to start doing some research into the brands I use.