9-22-19 Fifa 'assured' Iranian women will be able to attend football matches
Women in Iran will be able to attend football matches, starting with a World Cup qualifier next month, according to football's world governing body, Fifa. Fifa president Gianni Infantino said he discussed the issue with the Iranian authorities after the death of a female fan earlier this month. Mr Infantino said they assured him that women would be allowed into matches. Women have effectively been banned from stadiums where men are playing since just after the 1979 Islamic revolution. Earlier this month, football fan Sahar Khodayari died after being arrested for trying to go to a match disguised as a man. Ms Khodayari, also known as the "blue girl" after the colours of her favourite team Esteqlal, feared she would be jailed. She set herself on fire outside the court and died a week later in hospital. Her death caused widespread grief and outrage, both within and outside Iran. Football players and fans around the world have also been paying tribute to Ms Khodayari. Footballers from some European women's teams have been wearing blue armbands during matches, in her memory. Fifa itself has faced growing criticism, with people calling for the body to suspend or ban Iran's football federation. Fifa officials have spent a week in Iran discussing the 10 October match against Cambodia, Iran's first home game of the 2022 qualifying competition. "We need to have women attending," Mr Infantino told a Fifa conference on women's football. "We have been assured that as of the next international game of Iran... women will be allowed to enter football stadiums. This is something very important - in 40 years this has not happened, with a couple of exceptions." Although Iranian women have been banned from watching men's teams play, foreign women have been allowed limited access to stadiums in order to watch these matches. While the sporting ban is not written into law, it is "ruthlessly enforced", Human Rights Watch says.
9-20-19 Equality: Walmart faces discrimination finding
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Walmart likely discriminated against 178 female employees, said Sarah Nassauer in The Wall Street Journal. Some of the charges date to 2001, when Walmart workers first pursued a class-action suit alleging “the retailer systematically paid 1.6 million female workers less than men and offered fewer promotions.” The Supreme Court threw out the case in 2011, ruling that members of the group had too little in common for a single case. But the EEOC this week sided with dozens of the claims.
9-20-19 Can men really take paternity leave?
Woe unto the man who openly considers taking paternity leave, said the Asahi Shimbun. Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi received an avalanche of criticism last week after he announced he might take some time off to help his wife when their first child is born next year. The 38-year-old son of a former prime minister, Koizumi is a rising star in the center-right Liberal Democratic Party. But his socially liberal views—he favors letting married women keep their maiden names and thinks fathers should be more involved in day-to-day parenting—is causing a backlash. His detractors, who include former cabinet ministers, say that Koizumi’s government duties will require his presence, and that “working for the country should be his top priority.” Koizumi shot back that his critics were being “old-fashioned” and “pigheaded.” Under Japanese law, new dads are entitled to up to a year of paid leave to care for kids. But while 86 percent of Japanese men want to take paternity leave, only 6 percent of eligible fathers actually did so last year. Many who didn’t cited workplace attitudes that discouraged time off. Still, that mindset may be evolving, thanks partly to a new generation of politicians like Koizumi. The “seeds of change have been planted.”
9-20-19 The cost of traditional masculinity
“No man in America should be afraid of feminism,” said Liz Plank. The rigid gender roles that feminists want to break down make men’s lives more stressful and difficult than they need to be, giving rise to “man-made diseases” that shorten men’s lives. Traditional notions about masculinity lead men to engage in high-risk behavior in their personal lives and in their work; to avoid doctors and psychologists even when suffering physical and mental pain; and to drink, smoke, and eat poorly. The suicide rate is four times higher for men than for women—partly because men think weakness and depression are unmanly and partly because they are more likely to own guns. Even among minors, more than 80 percent of gun deaths are of boys. In European countries like Sweden, Austria, and Iceland, where gender equality is real and most women work, male suicide rates are much lower than in the U.S. and men’s life expectancy is longer. If men lose their jobs, their wives can shoulder the economic burden for a while without the men feeling shamed. Surrendering lone-cowboy masculinity in exchange “for a longer (and happier) life seems like a pretty sweet deal to me.” (Webmaster's comment: The emasculation of male brutes is a moral imperative!)
9-13-19 Woman dies for soccer
Iranian soccer fans mourned the death this week of Sahar Khodayari, a 29-year-old woman who was arrested for sneaking into a soccer stadium to watch a game. Khodayari set herself on fire outside a courthouse last week after learning that she might be sentenced to six months in prison; she died of her burns seven days later. Public events in Iran have been either segregated or closed to women since the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution. News of Khodayari’s death led to an outpouring of demands for equality, with tributes posted on social media with the hashtag #BlueGirl—?a reference to the color of her favorite team, Esteghlal. Andranik Teymourian, a former captain of the national team, tweeted that soccer stadiums should be named after Khodayari “in the future.”
9-11-19 Are voters biased against women candidates?
With a record number of women in the fight for the White House, it's time to re-examine what role - if any - gender biases may play in the 2020 election. It's been a groundbreaking year for women in US politics: 1,834 women won office at the state and federal level during the mid-term elections last November and 2,112 are serving in state legislative offices. The year 2018 saw the largest increase in female representation in state governments following a decade of stagnation, according to the Center for American Women in Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University. Six women have launched campaigns for the highest office in the land. Women have vied for the Oval Office in the past - Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina in 2016, Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to run, in 1972, back to Victoria Woodhull in 1872, to name a few - but 2018 has seen more candidates than ever before. Each presidential hopeful must prove they are the best fit for the job, regardless of gender. But some argue the women are up against something more: unconscious biases that have long coloured our understanding of who a leader can be. "We all constantly form stereotypes based on what we observe - and we're not thinking about forming them, so they lie a bit below the surface... that's the implicit part," says professor Alice Eagly, a gender psychology professor at Northwestern University, Illinois. Bias comes into play when we make assumptions about people based on those unconscious stereotypes. Other stereotypes - like racial biases - also play a role in informing our opinions. Gender, however, comes with especially defined stereotypes. "How many observations of men and women do you get in one day? Many thousands! We automatically take in that information to decide what are the [gender] characteristics," Prof Eagly says. When looking at women running for office, political science scholar Kelly Dittmar of CAWP says the problems centre around role expectations. "We have certain expectations of gender roles, how women should act, what traits they have, and then we have expectations of what leaders look like, what are their traits, areas of expertise," Prof Dittmar explains. "And for women, the congruity between the gender expectations and the candidacy expectations have been in conflict for much of our history."
9-10-19 Iran's 'blue girl' dies after setting herself on fire
An Iranian female football fan who set herself on fire a week ago has died. The woman set herself alight in Tehran after her trial, for attempting to enter a football stadium disguised as a man, was postponed. The authorities in Iran regularly stop women from entering stadiums. Her story has been followed closely by Iranians around the world who used the hashtag "blue girl" - a reference to the colours of her favourite team, Esteqlal of Tehran. The woman, referred to as Sahar, which is not her real name, was arrested in March when she tried to enter a football stadium. After being jailed for three days she was released on bail and waited six months for her court case. But when she appeared at court she found out it had been postponed because the judge had a family emergency. She later returned to court to pick up her mobile phone and it is widely reported that she is thought to have overheard someone saying that if she were convicted she could get six months to two years in prison. She then set herself alight in front of the court house and later died in hospital. Women in Iran have been stopped from going to stadiums to watch men’s sporting events since 1981. This was temporarily lifted last year to allow women to watch the World Cup being streamed at a stadium in Tehran. While the sporting ban is not written into law, it is "ruthlessly enforced", says Human Rights Watch. Football's governing body Fifa set a deadline of 31 August for Iran to allow women into stadiums - something the country has not yet guaranteed. "We are aware of that tragedy and deeply regret it," a Fifa statement said. "Fifa convey our condolences to the family and friends of Sahar and reiterate our calls on the Iranian authorities to ensure the freedom and safety of any women engaged in this legitimate fight to end the stadium ban for women in Iran."
9-6-19 Gender equality: 'No room at the top for women scientists'
The number of women climbing the career ladder in science is "disappointingly low", say researchers. Women make up half of students in the life sciences, but only one in four professors, according to data from 500 scientific institutions worldwide. The main problem lies with retaining and promoting women into influential positions, the study concluded. It found women had fewer chances to serve on committees or speak at scientific meetings. Other factors included unconscious bias, tensions with work-life balance, poor funding and pay, and a lack of networking opportunities. The data, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, came from 541 universities and research institutions in 38 countries in the US, Europe and Australia. Women made up more than half of undergraduate and postgraduate students, 42% of assistant professors and 23% of full professors, although rates varied by institution. The findings back the view of many women in science that more must be done to address the problem of the "leaky pipeline" - where women leave the profession due to problems such as harassment and issues around promotion and pay. "There is no point in encouraging more girls into science if the system is set up to exclude them," Dr Jessica Wade of Imperial College London, who champions women in physics but was not connected with this particular study, told the BBC. "Improving gender balance in science will take institutional commitments to support women in their applications for promotion, act when there are reports of sexual harassment or bullying and make work allocation more transparent." Women have made important contributions to science throughout history, but have consistently been underrepresented at all levels. One recent study found that closing the gender gap in physics will take hundreds of years, given the current rate of progress.
8-30-19 The minimum wage
The minimum wage for restaurant servers and other tipped employees is less than $5 per hour in 36 states. About 4.4 million U.S. workers rely on tips to make a living, two-thirds of them women, and many have to frequently work double and triple shifts to make ends meet.
8-23-19 Scarlett Johansson tops Forbes highest-paid actresses list
Scarlett Johansson has topped Forbes' list of best-paid actresses for a second year - but is only the eighth highest paid actor overall. The 34-year-old's income of $56m (£45.7m) lands her below seventh-placed male actor Adam Sandler. She earned $15.5m (£12.6m) more than she did in 2018, thanks largely to the success of Avengers: Endgame. Modern family actor Sofia Vergara is the only other woman to break into the overall top 10. Earlier this week, Dwayne Johnson was announced as the highest-paid actor of the last 12 months, making $89.4m (£73.6m) according to the latest annual rankings from the financial experts. Notably all of the top 10 actresses earned above $20m (£16.3) this year, compared with last year when only the top two - Johansson and Angelina Jolie made that amount. Johansson is set to reprise her title role in the Avengers spin-off Black Widow next year. Meanwhile, Jolie - who earned $28m (£22.8) in 2018 - drops out of this year's top 10 due to increased earnings for several of the highest earners in the top 10. She is currently acting in and producing two forthcoming films - Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and The One and Only Ivan. Other names to drop out of the top 10 this year include Mila Kunis, Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett, Melissa McCarthy and Gal Gadot. Unlike the male actors list, there's a notable lack of diversity among this year's highest earning women. Vergara is Colombian-American, but there are no black actresses in the top 10.
8-17-19 Allyson Felix: Nike changes policy for pregnant athletes
Six-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix says female athletes will "no longer be financially penalised for having a child" after Nike changed its contracts for pregnant athletes. In a letter shared by Felix on social media, Nike says it will "not apply any performance-related reduction" for 18 months if an athlete becomes pregnant. Felix's daughter Camryn was born prematurely in November. In May, she said Nike wanted to pay her 70% less after she became a mother. Writing in the New York Times at the time, Felix, 33, said: "I asked Nike to contractually guarantee that I wouldn't be punished if I didn't perform at my best in the months surrounding childbirth. "I wanted to set a new standard. If I, one of Nike's most widely marketed athletes, couldn't secure these protections, who could? Nike declined." Felix returned to racing for the first time in 13 months in July at the US National Championships. After the meet, she decided to not renew her Nike contact and joined women's athletic wear company Athleta. On social media on Friday, Felix posted a picture of the letter from Nike executive vice president of global sports marketing John Slusher. She wrote: "Our voices have power. "Nike has joined in officially and contractually providing maternal protection to the female athletes they sponsor. This means that female athletes will no longer be financially penalised for having a child." In a statement to Sports Illustrated, Nike said: "Female athletes and their representatives will begin receiving written confirmation reaffirming Nike's official pregnancy policy for elite athletes. "In addition to our 2018 policy standardising our approach across all sports to ensure no female athlete is adversely impacted financially for pregnancy, the policy has now been expanded to cover 18 months."
8-13-19 Sperm sorting method could prevent girls being born, scientists warn
Scientists warn that sex ratios could be skewed even further by the discovery of physical differences between sperm. The finding that some chemicals slow down sperm that carry the X chromosome could lead to gels for home use that make a couple less likely to conceive a girl, scientists have warned. “I am concerned about the social impact of this,” says Alireza Fazeli of Tartu University in Estonia. “It’s so simple. You could start to do it in your bedroom. Nobody would be able to stop you from doing it. It was thought that the sperm of mammals that lead to male and female offspring are identical except for the DNA they carry. But Masayuki Shimada of Hiroshima University in Japan and his colleagues have found that 500 genes are active in sperm that carry the X chromosome, which give rise to female offspring, that aren’t active in sperm that carry the Y chromosome, which lead to male offspring. Of these genes, 18 code for proteins that stick out from the sperm cell’s surface. The team has found that chemicals that bind to two of these proteins can slow down the movement of X-carrying sperm without affecting the Y-carrying ones. This discovery makes it simple to separate sperm according to the sex of the offspring they could produce. When the researchers used this method on mouse sperm, they found that selecting the fastest swimmers for conception led to 90 per cent of the resulting pups being male. When they used slowed-down sperm, the pups were 81 per cent female (PLoS Biology, DOI: 10.1371/ journal.pbio.3000398). The researchers focus on livestock, and they have found that the technique works in cattle and pigs (see “Why sort sperm?”, below). They haven’t tried it on human sperm, but Shimada says he thinks it would work.
8-13-19 Brazil's indigenous women protest against Bolsonaro policies
Hundreds of indigenous women occupied a building of Brazil's health ministry in the capital, Brasília, on Monday to protest against the policies of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. The group of some 300 protesters demanded better healthcare for indigenous people, especially women, and condemned proposed changes to how these services are delivered. The Bolsonaro government wants to make towns and cities responsible for providing medical services to indigenous people, and community leaders fear local authorities lack the infrastructure and specialised units required. The federal government is currently in charge of healthcare, and indigenous communities are visited by specially trained professionals. The protesters, who are in the city for the first March of Indigenous Women, sang and danced inside and outside the building of the Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health, known as Sesai. "We've been left abandoned. They treat indigenous people like animals," 43-year-old Teresa Cristina Kezonazokere told Correio Braziliense newspaper (in Portuguese). The demonstration ended almost 10 hours later, when Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said he would talk to some of their leaders. There were no reports of violence. Organisers say the event in Brasília aims to highlight the role of women in indigenous communities. On Wednesday, some 1,500 indigenous women from 110 ethnic groups are expected to join a protest to defend rights they say are under threat under Mr Bolsonaro. "We don't have to accept the destruction of our rights," said indigenous leader Sônia Guajajara. The president has promised to integrate indigenous people into the rest of the population and repeatedly questioned the existence of their protected reserves, which are rights guaranteed in the country's constitution. Mr Bolsonaro, who supports policies that favour development over conservation, says the indigenous territories are too big in relation to the number of people who live there and has promised to open some of them to agriculture and mining.
8-12-19 Teen Choice Awards: Taylor Swift backs equal pay for US footballers
Teen Choice Award-winner Taylor Swift has backed the US women's football team in their campaign for equal pay. After being presented with the Icon Award from player Alex Morgan, Taylor Swift said: "Please, please, please support her and her teammates because this isn't over yet. "It's not resolved." The women's team began legal action against the US Soccer Federation over equal pay in March, but the Federation claims they get paid more than the men. Taylor added: "Let people know how you feel about it because what happened to them is unfair. It's happening everywhere and they are heroes and icons for standing up." The California-based awards featured performances from the likes of Mabel and OneRepublic. Winners included BTS, who picked up four awards including International Artist. The event came hours after their management company announced the K-pop group would be taking a "long-term break". Jonas Brothers won the Decade Award - created to celebrate their first studio album in 10 years - and also took home an award for Summer Group. Louis Tomlinson won for his song Two Of Us, which was written about his mum, who died two years ago - just before he started his solo career. For the second year in a row, Riverdale won best TV drama, and its stars Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart won for drama actor and actress. Robert Downey Jr and Scarlett Johansson also both won for the second year in a row for their roles in the Avengers movies. Three films - Spider-Man: Far From Home, Aladdin and After - took three awards each. In the music categories, winners included Shawn Mendes, Billie Eilish, Cardi B and Lil Nas X.
8-11-19 This underground network helps Yemeni women to safety
The group uses WhatsApp to help facilitate a safe escape. Azal held her breath and hoped the burqa she was wearing would be enough to evade detection at the nearly two dozen checkpoints that lay ahead. If everything went according to plan, she would soon be in Sudan. Getting in the back of a pickup truck with a strange man posing as her husband was just the beginning of her harrowing escape from Yemen. "I never imagined this would be my life," said Azal, who asked that her last name be withheld for her family's safety. More than four years of war between the Houthi movement and the Saudi-backed, internationally recognized government has ripped Yemen apart and led to the world's worst humanitarian disaster. Houthis, backed by Iran, have captured large swaths of the country, including the capital city, Sanaa, from pro-government forces. In those areas, rights groups say Houthis have escalated their crackdown on public displays of dissent. In October 2018, Houthis arrested Azal, then 21, along with dozens of other university students who attended a protest against poor living conditions in the capital, according to Rasha Rashid Jarhum of the Peace Track Initiative. In prison, guards severely beat her and accused Azal of belonging to ISIS. Released after 12 hours with a bloodied face and a warning, Azal knew she needed to leave her city — and fast. "The Houthis [then] asked my university to hand me over. They were outside my house day and night," she remembered. "I was driven out of the country, forced to run from one house to the next." Some 6,000 miles away in Ottawa, Canada, Rasha Rashid Jarhum had begun coordinating Azal's escape through the messenger service, WhatsApp. "We were asking her, what are the options? We told her, once you think you can safely relocate and once you arrive in Marib, just contact us," Jarhum said.
8-10-19 Are women better ultra-endurance athletes than men?
Through thunderstorms, scorching heat and icy rain, Fiona Kolbinger cycled 2,485 miles (3,999km) in a little more than 10 days over some of Europe's most demanding terrain. In doing so, the German cyclist became the first woman to win the Transcontinental Race this week. That in itself was remarkable: it was the first time she had formally competed in an ultra-cycling event. But what was all the more remarkable was the fact she finished the brutal journey from Bulgaria to France a full 10 hours ahead of her closest opponent. "I am so, so surprised to win," she said. "When I was coming into the race I thought that maybe I could go for the women's podium, but I never thought I could win the whole race." Perhaps she should not have been so surprised: her result is one of a number of wins racked up by female ultra-endurance athletes in recent years. In January, British ultra-runner Jasmin Paris became the first woman to win the 268-mile Montane Spine Race in the UK, finishing the course in 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds, smashing the course record by 12 hours. And that included time to breastfeed her baby along the way. And in May, British junior doctor Katie Wright beat 40 men and six other women to win the Riverhead Backyard ReLaps Ultra-marathon in New Zealand, running almost non-stop for 30 hours. Is this a sign women are better at ultra-endurance events? And if so, why? In general, women have a greater distribution of slow twitch muscle fibres, said Dr Nicholas Tiller, a senior lecturer in applied physiology at Sheffield Hallam University. These muscle fibres are more resistant to fatigue and more suited to endurance. He said that men still tended to have bigger muscles and greater maximal capacities like strength and aerobic power, which is why women generally can't compete with men over shorter distances like a marathon.
8-9-19 Women may travel alone
Saudi Arabian women celebrated this week after the kingdom lifted some of the onerous guardianship restrictions that constrain their lives. Women will now be allowed to get passports and travel without a male relative’s permission and to register births and be guardians to minors. We will have “a generation growing up completely free and equal to their brothers,” said activist Muna AbuSulayman. The changes, part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reform program, come after a string of high-profile cases in which Saudi and Emirati women have fled abroad to escape domestic abuse. But the guardianship system remains in place. Male relatives can still report women to authorities for “disobedience” and living on their own, offenses that are punishable by imprisonment and flogging.
8-2-19 Princess flees
The estranged sixth wife of the ruler of Dubai is begging a British court to protect her children from being forced into marriage. Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, 45, brought her daughter 11, and son, 7, to London several months ago, saying Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum wanted to marry one of them off. She is seeking asylum in the U.K., sole custody of her children, and a restraining order. Sheikh Mohammed, 70, who is prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and has some 20 children by many wives, is challenging the petition. Two of Sheikh Mohammed’s daughters from other marriages tried to flee their homeland, one in 2000 and one last year; both were captured by Emirati forces and forced to return to Dubai.
8-2-19 Saudi Arabia allows women to travel independently
Women in Saudi Arabia can now travel abroad without a male guardian's permission, royal decrees say. The new rule announced on Friday allows women over the age of 21 to apply for a passport without authorisation, putting them on an equal footing to men. Women are also being given the right to register births, marriage or divorce. The kingdom has recently eased other long-standing social restrictions on women, though campaigners say more remains to be done for women's rights. Saudi Arabia has increasingly come under the spotlight over its treatment of its female citizens, an issue highlighted by several high-profile cases of Saudi women seeking asylum abroad. The de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has sought to relax prohibitions on women, including lifting a driving ban last year, in a bid to open up the conservative kingdom. But he has also cracked down on women's rights activists, putting a number of them on trial in recent months. Saudi's male guardianship system gives husbands, fathers and other male relatives the authority to make critical decisions about women. Until now, this has meant women there were required to seek those relatives' permission to obtain or renew a passport and exit the country. But the royal decrees published in the kingdom's official weekly Um al-Qura gazette on Friday stipulate that Saudi passports should be issued to any citizen who applies for it, and that anyone over the age of 21 does not need permission to travel. The changes allow women for the first time to register their children's births, as well as marriages and divorces. They also cover employment regulations that expand work opportunities for women. Under the rule, all citizens have the right to work without facing any discrimination based on gender, disability or age.
7-18-19 Trump and the everlasting problem of men demanding apologies from women
It was a busy weekend for President Trump on Twitter. You've no doubt heard the story by now: In the span of 24 hours, Trump posted a series of rapid-fire tweets aimed squarely at "the Squad" of four Democratic congresswomen of color — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — telling them to "go back" to their home countries. These tweets revealed, yet again, the president's deeply racist and misogynistic character. But it was one of his follow-up tweets, posted July 15th, that demonstrated an equally troubling pattern with which many women are all too familiar: men demanding apologies from women. "When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said," Trump asked in his tweet. The question smacks of sexism: A grown man chastising women as if he were somehow superior to them, as if they need to be "put in their place." Never mind the foul language he himself has used to describe everything from his political opponents to entire countries. Never mind that most of Trump's accusations against these congresswomen were false. It didn't matter. These women, Trump believed, had misbehaved, and needed to pay the price of public humiliation and contrition. This kind of gaslighting behavior is peak misogyny, and most women are very familiar with it. The phrase "I'm sorry" may seem small and inconsequential. It's only two words and three syllables. And of course, men have been asked or forced to apologize for their actions, too. But the demanded apology's power over women is huge: Research shows that women are society's chief apologists, saying "I'm sorry" far more often than men. Indeed, society's tolerance for women who are anything but quiet and polite is low, and the punishment imposed on such a woman is shame and remorse. And it's not just society: Women themselves believe they should apologize more often for their actions. One 2010 study published in Psychological Science suggested that "women have a lower threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior."
7-12-19 U.S. women’s soccer triumph drives push for equal pay
The U.S. women’s soccer team came back to New York City this week to a ticker-tape parade and chants of “USA! Equal pay!”—echoing the shouts in the stadium that greeted the squad’s fourth World Cup victory. Tens of thousands of paradegoers cheered the team, which turned in a historically overpowering performance, winning its seven matches 26-3, including a 2-0 defeat of the Netherlands for its second straight title. The team was defiantly joyful and relentless in the process, beginning with an unheard-of 13-0 romp of Thailand. The Americans celebrated goal after goal, sometimes cheekily—as when forward Alex Morgan pretended to sip tea after scoring in the semifinal against England. “There is some sort of double standard for females in sports,” Morgan said to critics, a theme that continued after the Americans’ triumph. The women’s team is pursuing a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, claiming they make less than the underperforming men’s team. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) proposed a bill this week that would withhold federal funding for the U.S.’s hosting of the 2026 men’s World Cup until the teams got equal pay. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer invited the women champions to visit the Capitol after President Trump demurred on a White House invite. Co-captain Megan Rapinoe, the dominant player of the tournament, said Trump distracts from the example her teammates have set: “They have inspired particularly young women to believe in themselves, to be brave, to be bold, to be fierce.”
7-11-19 Islamic headscarf: Iran's promotional video divides opinion
As part of Hijab week in Iran, a video endorsed by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps promoting the Islamic headscarf has created a social media stir. In the clip, produced by the Basij Cyberspace organisation, an "inappropriately dressed" young woman enters a shop that sells fake jewellery. The woman, who is also the film's narrator, says the male shopkeeper gives her "a peculiar look and a meaningful smile". When she asks about real jewellery, he tells her she needs to go to a store where jewellery is "kept in seven boxes and locked in seven safes". He also tells her anything that is valuable is "hard to access and commands special respect", while appearing to lean low and stare at her. When a woman enters wearing a full-body veil, the chador, the man stands up straight and bows his head. The clip ends with the first woman - now dressed in a chador - saying: "I realised I had to make a change. I understand the difference between fake and genuine jewellery." It has been viewed on Twitter 114,000 times since posted, and has inspired some people to share their views. Responses to the animation have been mixed. One woman, apparently pro-establishment, felt it did not help promote the hijab at all and disliked being compared to jewellery, tweeting: "I'm a human being. Don't downgrade us to goods," A man who claimed to be a shopkeeper said he was more vigilant with chador wearers as they could sneak things under their clothes. Another woman tells the "absolute jewels" to "leave us fakes alone", implying that she does not like being told to wear the full-length veil. Some have lamented that the animation is "ridiculous" and a waste of mobile data. In Iran, the law requires women to wear modest "Islamic" clothing. In practice, this means women must wear a chador, a full-body cloak, or a headscarf and a manteau (overcoat) that covers their arms.
7-2-19 Germany's Ursula von der Leyen nominated to lead EU Commission
EU leaders have put forward their choices for the bloc's top jobs, with a woman for the first time proposed for European Commission chief. The nomination of German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen came as a surprise after the main front-runners were rejected. IMF head Christine Lagarde has been nominated for the head of the European Central Bank (ECB). The announcement follows days of difficult negotiations. Ms Lagarde said she was "very honoured" to have been nominated, tweeting that she had "decided to temporarily relinquish my responsibilities as IMF Managing Director during the nomination period". Their nominations must be approved by the European parliament. "We have agreed the whole package before the first session of the European Parliament," said European Council President Donald Tusk. He praised the "perfect gender balance" and said Germany had abstained on Ms Von der Leyen's nomination over coalition issues. However, he pointed out that Mrs Merkel herself had backed her. The German leader told reporters that her abstention had come according to a deal reached in the ruling coalition in Berlin. "We agreed this in the coalition: that if there is no unanimity, then one abstains. But one can say this has been approved today without any opposition," she said. If Ms Von der Leyen is confirmed in the role it would be the first time in over 60 years that a German has been given the post. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said the nomination of two women for key jobs sent a powerful message that the EU was leading the way towards gender equality. However, there were concerns that the European Parliament's own contest for the main job - the "Spitzenkandidaten" (lead candidate) process - had been cast aside. Neither the winner, Manfred Weber of Germany, nor other frontrunners were selected by EU leaders.