History and a Free Movie

Yes, a FREE MOVIE. And now that I have your attention ….

In case you didn’t know it, March is Women’s History Month – a time to recognize the important contributions that women have made to us all; to pay tribute, and to also understand the sacrifices that many have, and continue to make, on our behalf.

The Town of Cary, along with the National Foundation for Women Legislators will show the movie “Iron Jawed Angels” starring Hilary Swank, Anjelica Huston, Patrick Dempsey, and many more. … all to celebrate Women’s History Month.

This film follows the women’s suffrage leaders Alice Paul and Lucy Burns in their struggle for a constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote. After the showing of this award winning movie, a panel of female elected officials will be on hand to answer questions from the audience, and share their unique experiences.

Confirmed panelists:

  •  – Elaine Marshall – NC Secretary of State
  •  – Jessica Holmes – Wake County Commissioner
  •  – Jennifer Robinson – Town of Cary Councilmember, District A
  • (and me)


Why focus on Women now?

In the last year, we have seen a number of news stories that highlight the continuing disparity between women and men in the workforce and in public service.

A recent report, called “The Status of Women in North Carolina Politics” finds “that when women seek and serve in political office – elected or appointed – they are as successful as their male counterparts. Yet women remain severely underrepresented in North Carolina political offices.

The report goes on to highlight that although women make up over 54% of the registered voters in the state, they hold less than 25% of all appointed and elected offices.

  • ▪  27% of all elected officeholders in the state are women, while women are 51.3% of the state’s population
  • ▪ Out of the 100 counties in NC, in 44 of them, there are no female county commissioners.
  • NC is not unique, in the US senate, it’s 20% women, 19.3% in the US House, 10% of governors, and 13% of Mayors of the 100 largest cities. And the numbers are even more strikingly bad for women of color and women in rural communities (6.2% are women of color, and 5.3% of state leg.)
Not just an issue in Public Service


It’s not just a phenomena in Public Service.  Women are underrepresented and discriminated against in Silicon Valley, where a recent Newsweek article points out that women are less likely to receive funding for their ideas, and many of the misogynitic ways of the old boys club still endure.

  • ▪ Venture Captalist typically fund women at the lowest levels, $100,000
  • ▪ Non of the TOP FIVE VCs have a single female senior partner
  • ▪ Only 14.2% of the top 5 leadership positions of companies in the S&P 500 are held by women.
  • ▪ 4.6% of the CEO in the S&P are women
  • ▪ Women earn 78% of what males earn in 2015 (up from 62% in 1979)
  • ▪ There are no US holidays named after women, no women on US paper currency, and fewer than  25% of US postage stamps honoring people feature women.

From Catalyst 2015, McKinsey & Co – Women Matter

None of this is surprising, but what is notable is that finally we are seeing more focus on bringing these numbers to light, but also  bringing them to the forefront.  Patricia Arquette did a phenomenal job calling out the inequities  as she picked up her Oscar and said, “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all.”


Patricia Arquette at the Oscars

Patricia Arquette at the Oscars

There IS Good News, Though

Research shows that the main reason so few women are in appointed or elected office is not necessarily overt discrimination – but that so few women actually seek these offices. There are many reasons for this, whether it’s lack of belief in their ability, concern of the toll it might take on their family, or lack of perceived experience.  However, when they DO run, THEY WIN.   From the report mentioned above, 25% of the candidates across North Carolina on the ballot were women, but 63% of these candidates won their races.

Women are underrepresented in government, this is clear. And if a representative democracy should look like it’s population, we have a while to go before we get there.

And here’s how and why….

1. We need to get young women involved early. Having them  aware of their impact and the important voice they have in the process of democracy is crucial.

2. Women are role models for other women. They are an inspiration, mentors, and confidants, and they want to help – just reach out and ask.

3. Women have a valueable voice to provide – they can offer a fresh perspective and a different approach to seemingly intransient problem Studies show that when you have a diverse group of people attacking a problem, you can find new ways and solutions than you would ever have considered before.

4. Women are a majority – a voting and buying block that can’t be ignored. Women spend 58% of online retail dollars, they make 80% of the Health Care decisions, and 85% guide and/or make purchase decisions in their household.

Data from Time and Digital Sherpa.

What’s Next? 

So, where do we go from here? Well, it’s time to have this important conversation where-ever and when ever we can.

I’m glad to see more women involved in Public Service at the local level, and girls and young ladies taking on careers that used to be thought of as “male only.” We need to continue to support programs for Girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), such as the National Girls Collaborative Project.

We can all learn more about the important contributions women have made – and, you guessed it, there’s an app for that!  Using Google’s Field Trip App,

Google's Field Trip App

Google’s Field Trip App


If you haven’t used this app, check it out! When you are logged into Field Trip and switch on the SPARK: Women on the Map history notifications, you will receive an alert when you are near a place where a woman made history, and then you can read more about her and her accomplishments.

And finally – we need to get young women involved by inviting them to apply and be appointed for local boards and commissions, and finding new ways to encourage women to run for office, start businesses and spread their wings.

And sometimes, taking them to a movie about the Women’s Suffrage movement, and showing them the strong shoulders that we all stand on, is a great place to start.

Hope to see you at the movie!

Women's Suffrage

Women’s Suffrage (from the Library of Congress)

What’s going in over there?

dev-mapp-1Have you ever driven by one of these signs and thought – “Hey, I wonder what’s planned for that property?”

Well, you guessed it, THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT! And it uses Open Data.

code-for-caryThanks to the great work done by the new Cary Code for America Brigade (read more about them at the CaryCitizen), you can now get quick access to development information around Cary by using your smart phone or your computer. This impressive project does a great job at illustrating the value that Open Data can provide to citizens, by giving you the power to see what development is occurring close to home, or work, or in your community.





DevMapp is a very cool application that maps development in Cary – by mashing a Google Map along with permit and rezoning data provided by the Town.

What does that really mean to you? Well, with this application you can look at its map (the app will locate where you are if you give it permission to do so) and then you can visually see where development is being planned across the town. Just “click” on those properties that are highlighted and then you can dive down and review the plans associated with that property, see the rezoning applications, etc.

A Walkthrough

Ok, let’s pick an example to walk through.  I’ve picked  one close to where I live. (Why not?) Going to the DevMapp application on my computer, and allowing it to see my location – the application shows me this map, below – after I zoom in a bit. Notice that so much of the new development is occurring on the western side of Cary. No surprise, right?  (I’ve addd the red circle to illustrate that point.)

Map of development around Cary

Map of development around Cary

Also notice that the colors of the properties on the map indicate the status of that property. That is, where there is active construction is occurring – is displayed in RED, and upcoming rezonings, in BLUE. (Note – it’s the BLUE projects that are  on the map, not the bodies of water.)



So, I click on the property at the corner of Davis & High House – close to my house. And, lo and behold, I see it’s the Bradford development. On that popup is a direct ink to the Town of Cary site and subdivision plans associated with this project. Woo hoo! Instant and easy access to what’s planned for that corner.


Now, let’s look at a Rezoning: This time, I’ll click on a “blue property” – this one is on High House Road. In this example, the rezoning pop-up is displayed, and also a hotlink to the Town of Cary Rezoning page. In this case, I see that the rezoning is in 2014, so I click on the 2014 rezoning page link. There, I see the information regarding this rezoning – such as the fact that it has a scheduled Public Hearing on June 26. And, finally, clicking on that link takes me directly to the Staff report for that property. Voilà!


How does it work?

The application takes the rezoning and permitting information about a particular property that is going through the review process or in construction, and uses that data provided by the Town and then marrying it with the Google Map geolocation information. Finally there is a bit of magic – or what we call programming,  by the team at the Code for Cary Brigade, to bring you this great application.

All of the information provided by the Town of Cary is Public Record and Open Data – and a great way to provide visibility of development in and around Cary in an easy-to-use app.  

Try it out

iphone-codeforcary-mapSo, now it’s your turn.  From your computer, if you are reading this from a PC or MAC, you can click HERE – or type in:

Or, from your smartphone – type in in your browser, and you can check it out there.

By the way, be sure to do a shoutout to the team that did such a great job on this – either on Twitter – @CodeforCary.

Want to help out?

Get involved with the Code for Cary team. You can learn more and meet them at one of their Hack Nights.  You don’t have to be a programmer to help – lots of folks have great ideas and thoughts to improve the current application, or you may have ideas for new work to tackle.  All are welcome.

As always, thanks for listening and please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns.


Featured photo created by me using the DevMapp application, and turning on Satellite Mode. 🙂

 Updated 6/5/14 – Please note a few changes to this post:

1) Added the new DevMapp logo and Code for Cary logo

2) Note that the DevMapp application has since changed the color used for rezonings from BLUE to GREEN.  (Besides that, the function remains the same.)

3) Updated a few pictures because the CaryCitizen is too good at it and I stole their ideas. 🙂

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