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The Week in Women: What word did the U.S. demand be cut from a landmark women’s rights agreement?

By on March 19, 2019

We thought it was sacred. At the same 1995 conference where Hillary Clinton first declared that “women’s rights are human rights,” the United States signed the Beijing Declaration, viewed ever since as the global blueprint for women’s rights.

Yet unthinkably, the United States will now refuse to reaffirm its commitment to the Beijing Declaration, according to draft documents obtained by the Guardian.

Despite America helping to create the critical agreement, which was adopted by 189 countries, the U.S. now looks ready to hobble it at an ongoing U.N. forum, splitting from its European allies and aligning instead with the likes of Saudi Arabia. The U.S. is even said to have demanded that the word “gender” be removed from the forum’s outcome document.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Cherith Norman Chalet, however, claimed that America is now in fact leading the charge on women’s issues by “protecting the gift of life” — in other words, by rolling back abortion rights. 

For the first time in more than 30 years, a woman will host an American late-night talk show on one of the Big 4 networks. (The last was Joan Rivers in the 1980s).

A Little Late with Lilly Singh, helmed by the Canadian-Indian YouTube star, will replace Last Call with Carson Daly on NBC.

As fellow Canadian Justin Trudeau sent his congratulations, Singh revealed that the content will be similar to her existing work, “except my sound guy won’t also be an extra and won’t also write the script.”

All day Monday, public transport in Berlin was cheaper for women than for men in an acknowledgement of Germany’s persistent gender wage gap.

March 18 was chosen because it was Germany’s Equal Pay Day — 77 days into the year, to represent the number of extra days women have to work annually to earn as much money as men. While a number of men complained that the plan was unfair, spokeswoman Petra Nelken said that was exactly the point: “Just for a day we just wanted to make the big pay gap feel tangible in ticket form. This is what women are up against every day.”

So here’s our question: if Germany’s wage gap is going to stay the same for now, why can’t these lower fares stick around, too?

Betelhem Dessie is the 19-year-old Ethiopian entrepreneur whose educational initiatives have already helped 20,000 Ethiopian children learn to code.

Her work is helping Ethiopia to become a player in the global tech space. Dessie, who already has seven patents to her name, just gave an interview to the BBC that is worth your time — especially the touching moment a six-year-old girl shows Dessie the climate change awareness website she built using the entrepreneur’s software.

On the latest episode of the TBD podcast, Tina Brown gets into it with Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York until his dramatic firing by President Trump.

Bharara shares the moving story of Sue Ann, a prostitute who was beaten and robbed of her life savings of $11,000. While the perpetrator assumed the victim would never seek justice, Bharara’s office took on the case.

Sue Ann “dropped to her knees” when she won — it was the first time anyone had ever stood up for her. Listen to the full episode here.

Elecia R. Dexter was appointed editor of Alabama’s Democrat-Reporter last month after the previous editor called for the KKK to “ride again.” This weekend she stepped down, citing that editor’s continued influence and interference in the editorial process.

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon tweeted a moment we can all relate to: getting home after a long day only to realize you’ve been wearing two different shoes since you left the house that morning.

2020 candidates Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke have suggested that a woman will be on their ticket if they win the nomination.

The crowd went wild at an off-Broadway New York theater when Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem and Diane Von Furstenberg showed up. The former Secretary of State was treated to two standing ovations.

In a fresh New York magazine profile, journalist Rebecca Traister writes of former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams that “the Georgian who is usually sure about everything [is] conflicted about her future.” You can see both Traister and Abrams (though not together) at the Women in the World Summit (April 10-12, tickets available here.)

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