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A picture of Nadia Murad, public advocate for the Yazidi community in Iraq and survivor of sexual enslavement by the Islamic State jihadists is displayed in the Nobel Field, among the other 128 Peace Prize laureates of the Nobel history in Oslo on October 5, 2018. (FREDRIK HAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)


The Week in Women: Nobel Prize winners, the Kavanaugh Supreme Court saga and gender disparity in Japan

October 5, 2018

Dust off your T1-83’s, because this week we’re digging into all things math, science and tech. Let’s get started, shall we?

Nadia Murad was one half of the duo that won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, which was announced on Friday. The other half: Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, the founder of the Panzi Hospital of Bukavu. The two were recognized for “their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict,” the Nobel Foundation said in a statement. Murad, a 25-year-old activist who is a member of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, was captured by ISIS in 2014 and held as a sex slave for three months before she escaped. She’s gone on to become a courageous advocate for the Yazidi people and has stood up against the atrocities of ISIS. Both have appeared on the Women in the World stage, with Murad most recently having joined us at our 2016 London Forum. Our congratulations go out to the pair for a well-deserved award.

A Canadian physicist became the first woman in 55 years to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Donna Strickland shared the award with U.S. scientist Arthur Ashkin and French scientist Gérard Mourou for their “groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics.” This marks only the third time since Alfred Nobel created the prize in 1895 that a woman has been recognized for her achievements. According to the Nobel Foundation, Strickland’s work has “revolutionized laser physics” and is “opening up unexplored areas of research and a multitude of industrial and medical applications.” In other news, Strickland has now been deemed worthy of having a Wikipedia pageGlad to know she’s finally on par with all those animals that have fraudulent diplomas.

Priyanka Chopra has been quietly dipping her toes into the tech world and she announced this week that she is now a major investor in the popular dating app Bumble. This marks Chopra’s second angel investment; the first helped fund the Holberton School, a coding education company that seeks to teach students through projects and group learning in place of traditional courses. Bumble is an innovative dating app that gives women more control over interactions by leaving it up to them to initiate conversations. Chopra told The New York Times that she strives to invest in companies that are founded by women and can make a social impact. “I don’t want to just be one of those people who’s like, ‘Yeah, I want to be on the tech bandwagon” she said. “It’s not about that.”

A Reuters-Ipsos poll recently crunched the numbers and found that opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation by the Senate is growing. One week after Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford appeared on Capitol Hill to testify about Ford’s sexual assault allegation against the Supreme Court nominee, 33 percent supported the embattled judge taking a seat at the nation’s highest court, while 41 percent did not — a four percent increase in opposition since September 27, the day of their testimony. In the days since, questions have swirled about whether Kavanaugh was honest under oath about his alcohol consumption as a high school and college student, but Republicans and a Democrat nevertheless voted 51-49 on Friday to send Kavanaugh to a full Senate confirmation vote on Saturday. President Trump, as usual, has provided measured and thoughtful comments on the situation.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinz? Abe seems to be having a bit of trouble with his math. After naming just one woman to his new 19-member cabinet, Abe defended the gender disparity by saying that Satsuki Katayama, the lone female appointee, has the “presence of two or three women.” Criticism against Abe has been particularly sharp because the prime minister has purportedly taken up the cause of helping more women succeed in Japan’s workforce, where they face obstacles like sexual and maternity harassment. But we would like to thank Abe for giving us our new favorite way to deflect responsibility. As in: “Yes, I only paid one of my bills this month, but it has the presence of two or three of them.”

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Previously in The Week in Women

A bring-your-daughter-to-work day like no other, courageous testimony on Capitol Hill and feminist, weed-growing nuns

Soon-Yi speaks, a milestone divorce ruling in India and love is not officially dead yet

Time’s up for 2 big executives at TV network, a shocking cartoon and a contrite comedian