As Britain Celebrates Century of Women's Vote, Many See Much More to Do獲投票權滿百年 英國女權還有長路要走
文/Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura
A century after they won the right to vote, British women celebrated their gains on the 6th of February but took a gimlet-eyed view of their status in modern-day Britain.
In recent months alone, there have been revelations of sexual harassment in the hallowed chambers of Parliament; a scandal at the Presidents Club, where hostesses were reportedly harassed and assaulted at a men-only charity dinner; the disclosure of gender pay gaps at the BBC; and the resignation of a Labour politician who accused the party of sexism after some members heckled her by singing a song about stalking.
The anniversary seemed all the more meaningful because it was taking place in the midst of the #MeToo movement in Britain. Julianne Hughes-Jennett, a lawyer emerging that day from an exhibit on the suffragist movement at the Museum of London, tried to take the long view.
"One hundred years in the context of history is a drop in the ocean," she said.
Not all women won the right to vote when the Representation of the People Act passed on Feb. 6, 1918. It conferred eligibility only on female property owners age 30 and older, the culmination of years of campaigning and militancy by leaders such as Millicent Fawcett and Emmeline Pankhurst. It took a decade more before Britain extended the vote to all women 21 and over.
Since then, much legislation has been passed to advance women's equality. Hughes-Jennett, wearing the suffragists' white, green and purple ribbon on her jacket lapel, pointed to the Equal Pay Act in 1970. "But it still takes a while for culture to catch up with the law," she said.
Greta Brandler, 102, who was 2 when the first voting act was passed, reminded listeners on a BBC television program how much more needed to be done. "Men are control freaks," she told the broadcaster, without a trace of irony. "Look at what we've got in Parliament — 7-year-old boys squabbling and fighting."
Brandler said, "Women have moved closer to the glass ceiling, but a woman has to be twice as good to be equal to a man."
The irony of the BBC's coverage was not lost on some British viewers, who criticized the broadcaster on Twitter for covering the centenary even, they said, as it denied some of its female employees the same salaries as their male counterparts.
Traffic Is Terrible, but Californians Keep Buying Cars天天塞車 加州人照樣買車通勤
文/Matt Stevens and Julie Turke
It is one of those stereotypes about Los Angeles that is actually true: Every Angeleno has wasted time in traffic.
Anyone looking for evidence need look no further than 2016, when voters chose to tax themselves in hopes of making their commutes a little less painful. The countywide transportation tax, which will raise $120 billion for subways, light rail lines and other transit projects over 40 years, was approved decisively — by almost 70 percent of voters.
Investing in public transportation to battle congestion isn't a new idea. Since 1990, Southern California has added more than 100 miles of light and heavy rail in Los Angeles County, and more than 530 miles of commuter rail regionwide, according to a recent study. And yet, traffic remains terrible. How can that be?
New statistics from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority offer one alarming reason: Despite all the spending on public transportation, its ridership is falling. In fact, recently released statistics show that in 2017, ridership fell to its lowest level in at least eight years — mostly because far fewer people are taking the bus.
Experts and officials have many possible explanations for the decline: competition from ride-share companies, changes in immigration policy that affect some of the region's most reliable transit users, and the fact that some would-be riders just don't think public transit is safe.
But a new report from the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, says the biggest reason is that more Southern Californians are buying cars. Between 2000 and 2015, the study says, private vehicle ownership in the area increased from 1.7 to 2.4 vehicles per household. And the study says car ownership grew fastest among "foreign-born households" and other low-income people who tend to take public transit the most.
"Transit today relies on a high rate of use by a narrow base of people," the report's authors wrote. "But if that narrow base of people is acquiring vehicles, transit's healthy future lies in reversing those circumstances, and striving for at least a low rate of use by a broad base of people."
In a region of 18.8 million people, they note that about 77 percent use public transit rarely or never. It's a pool of "vast untapped potential." The obstacle? Driving remains cheap.