Where The Girls Are (And Aren’t): #15Girls – John Poole OCTOBER 20, 2015 2:59 PM ET

Many fewer baby girls are born in India and China than the odds would predict.

Many fewer baby girls are born in India and China than the odds would predict. LA Johnson/NPR

Many fewer baby girls are born in India and China than the odds would predict.

LA Johnson/NPR

The world’s girls are healthier than ever. They live longer and more of them are going to school than at any time in history.

This story is part of our #15Girls series, profiling teens around the world. Read the stories here.

But most of them face discrimination simply because they are girls. The discrimination happens at every point in their lives.

In some cases, it starts even before they’re born, when parents decide to abort a pregnancy if the fetus is female.

A good way to get a sense of the progress — and the remaining gaps — in worldwide gender equality is by looking at the data. Numbers can tell a compelling story. The story we’re going to tell focuses on girls ages 10 to 19, an age range used by the World Bank and other groups to track populations. Worldwide, about 600 million girls fall into this age range. Nearly half of them live in just seven countries. Those countries are the focus of our story.

You might expect that there would be an even number of boys and girls in this age group in these seven countries.

But you’d be wrong.

Source: World Bank Population Estimates for 2015 Credit: Christopher Groskopf and Alyson Hurt/NPR

Source: World Bank Population Estimates for 2015
Credit: Christopher Groskopf and Alyson Hurt/NPR

The Missing Girls

Consider the girls who were never born.

On average, about 105 boys are born worldwide for every 100 girls. Girls tend to make up for this difference over time because of their greater resilience and resistance to disease.

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What’s Holding Women Back in the Workplace? – By NIKKI WALLER AND JOANN S. LUBLIN September 30, 2015

Despite support at the top, gender equality is a long way off at most U.S. companies. A study by Lean In and McKinsey reveals why—and what employees and companies can do about it.

A new LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. study on Women in the Workplace finds that corporate diversity initiatives aren't helping women break the glass ceiling. WSJ's Shelby Holliday takes a closer look at the reasons why and other key takeaways from the data. Photo: iStock/Getty Images

A new LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. study on Women in the Workplace finds that corporate diversity initiatives aren’t helping women break the glass ceiling. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday takes a closer look at the reasons why and other key takeaways from the data. Photo: iStock/Getty Images

Why aren’t there more women in the upper ranks of corporate America?

Cue the broken record: Women rein in career plans to spend more time caring for family. What’s more, they are inherently less ambitious than men and don’t have the confidence that commands seats in the C-suite.

Not so fast.

Something else is happening on the way to the top. Women aren’t abandoning their careers in large numbers; motherhood, in fact, increases their appetite for winning promotions; and women overall don’t lack for ambition and confidence that they can take on big jobs. Yet when asked whether they want a top role in their companies or industries, a majority of women say they would rather not grab the brass ring.

Those are the findings of a major new study of women in the workplace conducted by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. The research, which gathered data on promotions, attrition and trajectories from 118 companies and surveyed nearly 30,000 men and women, is among the largest efforts to capture attitudes and data about working women. The study involved major North American companies and North American units of global ventures headquartered elsewhere. It reveals sharply different views of the workplace, in which women say they experience a playing field at work that is anything but level.

Roughly equal numbers of men and women say they want to be promoted—78% and 75%, respectively. But as men’s desire for big jobs intensifies in the course of their careers, only 43% of women said they want to be a top executive, compared with 53% of men. Perhaps most startling, 25% of women feel their gender has hindered their progress, a perception that grows more acute once women reach senior levels.

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Politics of gender and religion surface in Women’s World Cup – by Graham Parker June 20, 2015 5:00AM ET

The young woman is wearing a black hoodie fashioned from one of the recognizable smart fabrics popular with sportswear manufacturers. The familiar Nike Swoosh is emblazoned on her chest, and she wears a black “veil” redolent of goal netting over her face. The hoodie is tightly stretched around her head. It’s impossible not to see it as signifying the hijab.

Jessica Houara-d’Hommeaux of France during a Women’s World Cup match between France and Colombia in Moncton, Canada, June 13, 2015.Clive Rose / FIFA / Getty Images

Jessica Houara-d’Hommeaux of France during a Women’s World Cup match between France and Colombia in Moncton, Canada, June 13, 2015.Clive Rose / FIFA / Getty Images

The young woman is Jessica Houara-d’Hommeaux, and she was posing for a Surface Football magazine feature in her native France. The image was ostensibly to help preview the Women’s World Cup in Canada, now underway, but it also served as a provocative response to a debate in France over the role of Muslim women in sports — and society.

In 2004 France barred the wearing of all conspicuous religious symbols in grade schools, which was widely seen as a move aimed at its large Muslim minority. In 2010 the country made it illegal for Muslim women to wear face veils in public. The moves have caused huge controversy, including in sport. Though FIFA recently allowed female players to wear an officially sanctioned hijab during games, the French football authorities have barred their players from doing so.

But the French debate is far from unique. Men in sport may be scrutinized for how their appearance and behaviors reflect societal norms, but the world’s female athletes also face hurdles ranging from economic inequality to entrenched cultural ideas about gender roles. Even the individual national federations charged with developing and supporting women’s soccer are often staffed by officials who are as much an impediment as a support to the players.

This year’s World Cup in Canada is the largest tournament yet, with 24 teams starting the competition, which has just narrowed the field to 16 for the knockout rounds. Whereas the equivalent tournament in the men’s game is insulated by the eye-watering amounts of money in the professional game, even the elite female players, such as Brazil’s five-time world footballer of the year, Marta, earn comparatively modest livings.

France is one of the remaining 16 teams and is one of the favorites to win the World Cup. Houara-d’Hommeaux, who plays club football for Paris St.-Germain, is one of the side’s key players and one of a cohort of players of Algerian extraction that includes the feted midfielder Louisa Nécib, known as the “female Zidane.”

That label has many layers of meaning: When Zinedine Zidane, the son of an Algerian immigrant and one of the world’s finest players of his generation, led a multiracial French team to win the 1998 World Cup on home soil, he became an icon of the republic. His face was projected on the Arc de Triomphe as millions of his fellow citizens celebrated the national triumph he helped orchestrate.

Many in France celebrated the moment as a successful reimagining of a more diverse French national identity, with the social critic Pascal Boniface even calling his popularity the beginning of “a new enlightenment.”

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No men allowed: publisher accepts novelist’s ‘year of women’ challenge – Who needs men? … the writers shortlisted for the 2015 Baileys women’s prize for fiction with chair Shami Chakrabarti Who needs men? … the writers shortlisted for the 2015 Baileys women’s prize for fiction with chair Shami Chakrabarti. Photograph: Ian Gavan/Getty Images Alison Flood Thursday 11 June 2015 03.00 EDT

Small press And Other Stories will produce no books by men in 2018 in answer to Kamila Shamsie’s call for direct action to beat gender bias in publishing

Who needs men? … the writers shortlisted for the 2015 Baileys women’s prize for fiction with chair Shami Chakrabarti

Small press And Other Stories has answered author Kamila Shamsie’s provocative call for a year of publishing women to redress “gender bias” in the literary world.

The novelist made what she called her “provocation” in Saturday’s Guardian, revealing that just under 40% of books submitted to the Booker prize over the past five years were by women, and pointing to everything from the author Nicola Griffith’s research, which found that far more prize-winning novels have male than female protagonists, to the Vida statistics showing that male authors and reviewers command more space than female.

“At this point, I’m going to assume that the only people who really doubt that there is a gender bias going on are those who stick with the idea that men are better writers and better critics,” wrote Shamsie. “Enough. Across the board, enough … I would argue that is time for everyone, male and female, to sign up to a concerted campaign to redress the inequality … Why not have a year of publishing women: 2018, the centenary of women over the age of 30 getting the vote in the UK, seems appropriate.”

And Other Stories, the literary press that uses a network of readers to source its titles, has become the first publisher to accept the challenge. “I think we can do it,” said publisher Stefan Tobler. “And if we don’t do it, what is going to change?”

A small publisher, And Other Stories releases 10 to 12 new titles a year. “We’ve realised for a while that we’ve published more men than women,” said Tobler. “This year we’ve done seven books by men and four by women … We have a wide range of people helping us with our choices, and our editors are women … and yet somehow we still publish more books by men than women.”


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The Gender Pay Gap: Easy to Politicize, Difficult to Fix – By Tierney Sneed and Andrew Soergel April 13, 2015 | 6:00 p.m. EDT

The gender pay gap persists more than a half century after the Equal Pay Act and is a top concern among voters.

Nancy Reichman, a member of Colorado's Pay Equity Commission joins a rally in downtown Denver.

According to the Labor Department, female employees are paid only 78 cents for every dollar made by their male counterparts.

Every year, progressives use Equal Pay Day to call attention to the gender wage gap. The day, which falls on Tuesday this year, typically comes in early April and represents how far into the current year an average female employee would have to work to earn what her male counterpart brought home in the last calendar year.

But with the 2016 presidential campaign gaining momentum, the day is not only a moment to reflect on the challenges women face in the workplace, but an opportunity to politicize a concern held by a wide swath of voters.

Equal Pay Day comes more than a half century after President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which aimed “to prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers.” Despite that legislation and labor laws enacted since, the earnings gap between American men and women remains wide, though its size depends largely on who you ask.

The Labor Department estimates female employees are paid only 78 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts, and the agency’s figures are used to determine that the average woman would have essentially needed to work slightly more than three additional months into 2014 to earn what her male counterpart would have made during the 2013 calendar year.

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Chelsea Handler Stands Up for Freed Nipples – By Amanda Marcotte


Chelsea Handler, covered up. Photo by ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Taking her statement about the image into consideration, it seems highly unlikely she pulled the image herself. We all know how much Instagram hates nudity and famous people who want to share pictures of their bodies with their fans, so the image was probably reported and deleted on their end. (But really, who knows?) ETA: After the picture was removed, Handler posted this message from Instagram, along with her response, “If a man posts a photo of his nipples, it’s ok, but not a woman? Are we in 1825?”

Chelsea Handler pushed Americans forward in our struggle to get over hang-ups about exposed female nipples on Thursday night. On Instagram, Handler posted a photo of herself parodying Russian president Vladimir Putin’s famous topless horse-riding photo. Instagram, not appreciating the hard work that had to have gone into getting Handler on a horse with her boobs out, took the picture down. Handler protested, putting up a screenshot of the “community guidelines” warning she got, writing, “If a man posts a photo of his nipples, it’s ok, but not a woman? Are we in 1825?”

To be fair, I think that both men and women generally felt, in 1825, like they couldn’t walk around with their nipples out. (A couple decades before is a different story, as see-through dresses were the rage in the very early 1800s. The more you know!) But her larger point stands: Men are so free to share their nipples with the world that world leaders have no problem letting everyone know what they’ve got going on under their suits and ties, but women’s nipples are still treated like looking at them in public might blind you.

This discrepancy cannot be explained solely by the fact that women grow breasts as a secondary sex characteristic. After all, men aren’t required to hide their secondary sex characteristics (beards) from the world in shame, though many parts of Brooklyn would be more aesthetically pleasing if they would. Not to mention that the parts of the chest area that are woman-only—the non-nipple parts—are not only acceptable but welcome in public spaces. Cleavage is one of the longest-standing popular accessories a woman can employ. The only part of a woman’s chest that is considered too daring to display is the part that we share with men, the nipple.

The taboo around the nipple encapsulates how ridiculous and contradictory our expectations about women, fashion, and sexuality really are. On the one hand, women are expected to be sexually appealing, even to the point of mutilating our feet to achieve that forever-sexy mystique. But we’re also expected to avoid being too sexual, or else we’re considered scandalous. The conflicting demands reduce us to counting inches of cloth and arbitrarily deciding that the nipple is a step too far. We’d all be better off in a more sensible society where women could walk around topless to look sexy but wearing 3-inch heels was considered over the top.

I’m not sure if Handler knew it, but she has come out in support of the Free the Nipple campaign, which supports public breast-feeding and fights against laws banning nipples in public. I don’t have the ovaries myself to buck the system and walk around nipples out. But that’s all the more reason I salute nipple warriors like Handler and Rihanna, who show it off and don’t care what you think about it. Perhaps they will be trailblazers, creating a new world where women can wear whatever the hell they want without worrying about a “wardrobe malfunction.”

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A Hidden Camera Reveals How Women Are Constantly Harassed on the Street – By Amanda Hess OCT. 28 2014 3:19 PM

Whenever I bring up the topic of street harassment with men, they tell me they just don’t see it. Literally: When they’re walking down the street with a woman, other men don’t make a noise. Enter Hollaback!, an anti-street harassment organization, which recently teamed up with the video marketing agency Rob Bliss Creative to show what it’s like to walk down the street alone as a woman: totally exhausting, reliably demeaning, and occasionally, terrifying.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at Oct 29, 2014 2.40

To film the video, Rob Bliss outfitted a backpack with a hidden camera and walked across New York City streets for ten hours in front of actress Shoshana B. Roberts, who was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt and holding a microphone in each hand. Bliss’ camera caught men approaching, leering, and trailing Roberts’ movements; the mics recorded their comments, which ranged from ostensibly friendly greetings (“Have a nice evening!”) to unsolicited commentaries on Roberts’ body (“Sexy!”) to absurd commands (“Smile!”) to pure expressions of entitlement (“Somebody’s acknowledging you for being beautiful! You should say thank you more!”). The ceaseless chatter (plus some light stalking!) adds up to a constant reminder that, just for walking from point A to point B, some men believe that women’s bodies and minds should be made accessible to them on command. “How are you this morning?” doesn’t sound so sinister. But when a male stranger shouts it, it’s just another unearned claim for a woman’s attention—one that could escalate should the woman so much as bat an eyelash. Roberts didn’t; she still got harassed at every turn. Bliss recorded more than 100 instances of verbal harassment in all, and that doesn’t include winks and whistles.

I sent the video around to some men in my office to gauge their reactions. “I knew this stuff happened—I see and hear it every once in a while—but the frequency of the remarks was astounding,” one colleague told me. “As a (fairly obvious) gay guy, I like to think I know something about being surveilled and self-aware in public, but this style of direct confrontation is pretty rare,” another said. The video is a “great reminder of how even the most ‘innocuous’-seeming comments pile up over the course of an hour, day, and life to feel oppressive and awful,” added a third. And he noted that the harassment caught on Bliss’ camera only catches one half of the equation: “In the wild,” he told me, “I pretty much only see the once-over from behind, which is legion, and is often accompanied with meeting another dude’s eyes like, amiright?

Some men, though, still aren’t seeing it. On Twitter, some are pushing back against the video, claiming that it’s not harassment, it’s just annoying, and that refusing to reply is, frankly, impolite. Of course, it’s largely women who are singled out for constant annoyance just for stepping outside, and are dismissed as rude for not accepting it graciously. If you don’t get it after watching this video, the problem isn’t just the guys caught yelling at Roberts. The problem is you.

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The GOP’s rising female stars – By Scott Wong – 10/26/14 02:30 PM EDT

House Republicans won’t dramatically increase the number of women in their chamber next year, but a handful of likely freshmen could help the GOP as they struggle to reach out to female and minority voters.

Among them, Mia Love of Utah, who is poised to become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress, and Elise Stefanik, a self-described “millennial” who at 30 is slated to become the youngest woman ever to serve in either chamber.

Retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally, the first U.S. female pilot to fly in combat, is facing stiff headwinds in her race against Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), but she too could join the freshman class if Republicans keep up the momentum.

Only 19 of the current 233 House Republicans are women; 17 of them will be returning in the next Congress. So GOP leaders have been working overtime to try to boost their ranks — not only to diversify their caucus but also blunt Democrats’ blistering charges that the GOP is waging a “war on women.”

Rising female stars like Love and Stefanik can help change the public perception — and the narrative — that the Grand Old Party is a homogeneous group of old, white guys. Even if fewer than one in 10 Republican lawmakers is a woman.

“Yes, messengers are important, and having a broad spectrum of members who represent that background — youth, women, Hispanics, every walk of life — is very important,” House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), a mother of three and the No. 4 Republican in leadership, told The Hill in a phone interview. “And we do, we just need to keep building on it.”

After women voters largely abandoned the GOP in 2012, Republicans launched Project GROW, a program to recruit and groom more conservative women to run for office. Love, Stefanik and McSally were among 10 female standouts tapped to receive extra fundraising help and candidate training through the program, which is led by Reps. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and Diane Black (R-Tenn.) .

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Alaska same-sex ban struck down – The state could appeal to the 9th Circuit Court. | Getty By ASSOCIATED PRESS | 10/12/14 7:21 PM EDT Updated: 10/12/14 11:41 PM EDT

An LGBT flag is shown. | Getty

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge on Sunday struck down Alaska’s first-in-the-nation ban on gay marriages, the latest court decision in a busy week for the issue across the country.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess said the ban violated the U.S. constitutional guarantee of due process and equal protection. Later Sunday, an official with the state’s Department of Vital Statistics said the state will begin accepting marriage-license applications from same-sex couples on Monday.

“This is just an amazing day for Alaska. We’re just so fortunate that so many have fought for equality for so long – I mean, decades,” said Susan Tow, who along with her wife, Chris Laborde, were among couples who sought to overturn Alaska’s ban.

Tow and LaBorde, who married in Maryland last year, planned to meet with other plaintiffs, some by phone, later Sunday to celebrate.

Five gay couples had asked the state of Alaska to overturn a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1998 that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The lawsuit filed in May sought to bar enforcement of Alaska’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. It also called for barring enforcement of any state laws that refuse to recognize gay marriages legally performed in other states or countries or that prevent unmarried gay couples from marrying.

Burgess heard arguments Friday afternoon and promised a quick decision. He released his 25-page decision Sunday afternoon.

“Refusing the rights and responsibilities afforded by legal marriage sends the public a government-sponsored message that same-sex couples and their familial relationships do not warrant the status, benefits and dignity given to couples of the opposite sex,” Burgess wrote.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/10/alaska-gay-marriage-111823.html#ixzz3G0975Mym

Satya Nadell’s ‘karma’ advice: ‘Deplorable and incorrect’ – BBC News Washington, DC 10 October 2014 Last updated at 17:55 23 MINUTES AWAY

When you’re a speaker at a “celebration of women in computing”, it’s probably not a good idea to make off-the-cuff remarks about how women should trust “the system” to give them the pay they deserve.

 Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said women should rely on “karma” for pay rises


This is the lesson Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella learned the hard way on Thursday.

“It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along,” Nadella said during an on-stage interview.

“Start Quote

That system that Nadella wants women to put all their blind trust in only provides them with 78 cents to the dollar of what men earn”

Laura Stampler Time magazine

“Because that’s good karma. It’ll come back because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust,” he said.

Given that this was a tech industry conference, Mr Nadella’s controversial remarks appeared on Twitter and other social media sites practically the moment they were spoken. By morning they were making national headlines.

The resulting commentary is the stuff of Microsoft public relations nightmares.

“Nadella achieved this emotional engagement by offering up the most deplorable and incorrect advice to women in the workplace since Joan Holloway told Peggy Olson to wear something that showed off her darling ankles,” writes Nitasha Tiku on the tech blog ValleyWag, referring to the television programme Mad Men, which depicts office culture in the 1960s.

At Time, Laura Stampler writes: “Gender pay gap got you down? Take a crash course from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Etiquette Academy For Polite Young Ladies: Smile pretty and don’t be so unbecoming as to ask for a salary bump. After all, a raise is a lot like a male suitor, and if you pursue it, you might just drive it away.”

Although the “karma” portion of Nadella’s speech gained the most attention, Stampler reserves her sharpest words for “the system” that Mr Nadella says will take care of female workers.

“Unfortunately, that system that Nadella wants women to put all their blind trust in only provides them with 78 cents to the dollar of what men earn. And if we look closer at the women Nadella was specifically addressing, the reality is fairly grim: a gender pay gap exists on every level of Stem [science, technology and maths] jobs. In Silicon Valley, men with bachelor’s degrees earn 40% more than their female educational counterparts,”

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