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People gather to lay flowers and messages of support in St. Ann's Square in Manchester, northwest England on May 26, 2017, placed in tribute to the victims of the May 22 terror attack at the Manchester Arena. (BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)


The Week in Women: Terror in Manchester, France’s gender-equal cabinet, and the swat seen around the world

May 26, 2017

It has been a tough and turbulent few days in news, though the week was not entirely without bright spots. Let’s take a look back.

A suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded dozens more at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on Monday night. Many young girls and teenagers were among the victims; the first to be named were 8-year-old Saffie-Rose Roussos and 18-year-old Georgina Callander. At least three mothers were killed while accompanying or waiting for their children: Allison Howe, Lisa Lees and Michelle Kiss. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack and the bomber, 22-year-old Salman Abedi, reportedly traveled to Syria and Libya to make connections with the Islamist group.

A local woman is being hailed as a hero for her actions in the wake of the attack. Paula Robinson and her husband were at a train station adjacent to the Manchester Arena when the bomb went off. As chaos spread, the couple led as many as 50 terrified teens to a nearby Holiday Inn Express. Robinson then broadcast online that she was with dozens of children, and began fielding calls from frantic parents. Some have taken to calling her the “Angel of Manchester” on social media.

And now for some good news: French President Emmanuel Macron has fulfilled his first campaign promise by instituting a gender-equal cabinet. Of the 22 positions available, 11 will be filled by women. While Macron’s predecessor, François Hollande, also achieved gender balance in his cabinet, the most powerful roles were assigned to men. It would appear that Macron has made a concerted effort to avoid this pitfall, appointing Sylvie Goulard as minister of defense, Agnes Buzyn as minister of health, and Muriel Pénicaud as minister of labor. Brb, just moving to France.

It was the swat seen around the world. After President Trump and first lady Melania Trump touched down in Israel, where they had stopped during Trump’s first foreign tour, the president reached out to hold Melania’s hand. Cameras captured the first lady swiftly flicking the gesture away — or at least, that’s how the interaction was gleefully interpreted by the internet. Social media really had a field day when Melania once again appeared to dodge her husband’s hand while descending from Air Force One in Rome. No one can say with any certainty what was going one between them, and let’s not let speculation distract us from the real issue at hand: What the heck was going on with that orb?