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The Week in Women: Which top woman has Prada hired to reverse blackface fiasco?

Models present creations for Prada fashion house during the Women's Spring/Summer 2019 fashion shows in Milan, on September 20, 2018. (ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

RAISING THE BAR
It’s going to take more
 than one big hire for Prada to convince us they’re serious about learning from their shameful use of blackface imagery, but their decision to give Ava DuVernay the keys to the house is a positive start.

The Selma Director has been brought in to co-chair Prada’s newly formed Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, where she’ll have a remit to create roles and internships for designers and students of color.

Here’s hoping DuVernay can set a similar precedent in fashion to the one she’s inspired in the film industry. Hollywood’s ‘DuVernay Test’, named in her honor, can only be passed if a work’s African-American (and other minority) characters have “fully realized lives, rather than serving as scenery.” At our 2015 Summit, DuVernay spoke with Meryl Streep and John Stewart about her philosophy for progress: Watch their conversation here.

MONEY MOVES
Actions speak louder than words, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s commendable decision to sell one of their prized Mark Rothko paintings to finance the acquisition of more works by women and artists of color is sending a boom through the museum industry.

The museum’s acquisition budget, which typically sits at around $3 million, is expected to skyrocket to around $40 million thanks to the sale.

ONE POWERFUL VOICE
Laila Haidari is the inspirational founder of Mother Camp, Afghanistan’s only private rehabilitation centre for drug addicts. Facing down constant threats from dealers and smugglers, Haidari has helped almost 5,000 addicts reclaim their lives in a country where the government projects a million women are fighting drug dependency.

The fearless Haidari has now found time for a new fight – against the peace deal currently being brokered by the United States and the Taliban, which she fears will mean a new war on Afghan women.

She shares her message at Taj Begum, the restaurant she owns whose profits fund Mother Camp, and where women can dine together with men, free of headscarves, whether or not they are married. Flying her flag high, Haidari named the restaurant after a 15th-century “warrior princess” who ruled over a vast kingdom.

TAKE NOTE, ESPN
Australia’s decision to increase their TV coverage of women’s sports has led to a huge surge in interest from the general population.

According to new research, over half of the Australian population now follows women’s sport on TV and attends games, an almost 50 percent rise that comes as Australian networks have expanded their coverage of the sport to include profiles of its biggest names.

The impact is already being seen in the increased participation of young Australian girls in school sports. Governing body Cricket Australia say they’ve overseen a 288 percent increase in schools participation across the country, with 73 new girls’ competitions launched in the last two years alone.

Moves are also afoot in Australia to close the gender pay gap for elite women athletes. It is believed to be the first time in the world that leaders of competing sporting codes and clubs have united on the issue.

A NEW DAY
Lebanon has appointed the Arab world’s first ever female interior minister in Raya Al-Hassan, who is celebrating her selection as a “pride point for all women.”

Al-Hassan’s confirmation (alongside three other female ministers) marks a hugely significant turnaround from the country’s previous government, where a reporter for The Guardian observed that even the Minister for Women was a man. In her first interviews, Al-Hassan immediately called for her appointment to be “mainstreamed and generalized across the region”, and said that reducing domestic violence will be central to her agenda.

In a candid interview with UAE newspaper The National, Al-Hassan also discussed how she became used to “being talked over by men,” and learned how to “discreetly pass your message or implement your action.” With her historic appointment now official, she’ll be doing the talking going forward.

IN OTHER NEWS
The Wall Street Journal’s reminder this weekend that the symptoms of cardiac arrest are different for women took us back to when Barbra Streisand first educated us on the topic at our Women in the WorldSummit. On our stage in 2016, Streisand shared how she founded the Women’s Heart Alliance because “too few women know they need to be fighting back — or how.” Learn how to spot the symptoms.

The two women who were detained in Montana just for speaking Spanish have sued with the support of the ACLU. After finishing work and putting their kids to bed, Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez were stopping for groceries when a border agent in line behind them demanded to know who they were, detaining them in his patrol car for an extended period while he reviewed their licenses.

He can stay there: Bill Cosby has described prison as “an amazing experience”, and feels “no remorse.”

Today’s the day that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returns to the Supreme Court bench (of course, she’s been working from home throughout her recovery.) And while we’re doubtful she’ll be flying to LA this weekend to see if the RBG documentary wins the Oscar, we’d put nothing past her at this point.

Previous newsletters

The Week in Women: Behind His Generosity – Your Say on Title IX – France’s Misogynist Gawker

The Week in Women: (First) Ladies’ Night – Man-Repelling Apartments – Dubai’s Silenced Princess

The Week in Women: Tiffany Trump’s Resistance – The Pope Confesses – A Victim Flips The Script

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