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Sophie Walker, leader of the Women's Equality Party. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)


The Week in Women: Former journalist takes on men’s rights activist, Priyanka Chopra throws some shade, and women of the Trump administration speak out

June 2, 2017

Arm yourself with some Veep-worthy burns, because this week’s news roundup is all about politics and politicians. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

Sophie Walker, a 46-year-old former journalist and the leader of Great Britain’s Women’s Equality Party, is running for office against a men’s rights activist. Her opponent, Philip Davies, is perhaps best known for having blocked a bill aimed at “preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence” because he considered it discriminatory against men. Walker said that she decided to run for office because she was “sick of women being put in the back of manifestos.” Davies countered by saying that Walker is a “politically correct sexist.” We counter by saying that Davies doesn’t understand what sexism means.

The White House Office of Management and Budget has announced that it will review rules that require most employers to provide free contraception coverage in their health insurance plans for female employees. Under the contraception mandate outlined by President Obama in 2012, birth control coverage was judged an essential preventative health service, and guaranteed to more than 55 million women. Some employers have fought against the policy, claiming that their religion forbids them from allowing women to use birth control. Legal advocacy groups such as the Center for Reproductive Rights are reportedly planning to challenge the Trump administration’s attempt at revoking the mandate.

Priyanka Chopra was harangued on Instagram after sharing a picture of herself meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The actress wore a dress and — gasp! — her legs were bare. Some social media users complained that the outfit was immodest, perhaps because many people in India consider showing one’s legs to be improper, but also because sexism. Chopra didn’t respond to the criticism directly, but she did share another photo of herself with — gasp! — her legs exposed and captioned it “Legs for days.” Top marks for subtle shade-throwing.

When K.T. McFarland leaves her post as deputy national security adviser to Donald Trump, only five out of 28 top White House staffers will be women. Speaking to Business Insider, several of these select women — Lindsay Walters, Kellyanne Conway, and McFarland herself — said that they weren’t bothered by the gender disparity, because jobs within the administration simply go to the person best qualified to fill them. But there are times when being a woman comes in handy, at least according to Conway. “I could tell you a great way that my gender has helped me with the president,” she said. “I’m actually unafraid to express my mind, but I do it very respectfully … and very deferentially.” Deferentially? Excuse us while we bang our heads against the wall.