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WASHINGTON - APRIL 12: Benetvision Research and Resource Center for Contemporary Spirituality Executive Director Joan Chittister speaks during a pre-tape of "Meet the Press" for showing on Easter Sunday at the NBC studios April 12, 2006 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press)

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The Week in Women: Why was a feminist nun banned from a religious conference?

June 26, 2019

A FAILURE OF CHARACTER 
In cowardly yet characteristic fashion, Boris Johnson, the favorite to be Britain’s next Prime Minister, is sending women out to clear his name.

This weekend, police rushed to Johnson’s London home after neighbors heard him and his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, in a loud, heated argument. A neighbor recorded Symonds screaming “Get off me!” at the former Foreign Secretary. Did Johnson apologize? No. Did his team then release an old  – or staged –photo of Johnson and his girlfriend in a romantic country setting? Take a guess.

As if hiding behind one woman wasn’t enough, Johnson then sent out a female colleague, Priti Patel, to defend him live on air. Video footage supplied by the radio station showed Patel reading from a script. Meanwhile, Johnson refuses to answer any questions about the incident himself.

KICK-ASS NUN 
Sister Joan Chittister is the feminist nun who’s spent her career calling for gender equity, opposing nuclear war, and calling for common people to find “uncommon courage” to tackle social injustice.

Seemingly for these reasons, she’s been banned from speaking at a Catholic summit in Australia next year. While Joan — whom Oprah Winfrey says gave her a “wake-up call” when they met — has called her ban “pathetic,” her friends don’t expect it to hinder her cause. As her friend Gail Grossman Freyne told the New York Times:

“It will only increase the number of people, in all of Australia, who will buy her books. What kind of threat is this 83-year-old Benedictine who has spent her life preaching the gospel?”

APPLY THIS
Wearing red lipstick — “The color of blood because we had to leave blood on the pitch” — Brazilian soccer captain and superstar Marta gave a post-match interview for the ages as she stared into the camera and begged young women to keep training, telling them: “Cry now so you can smile at the end.”

“There’s not going to be a Marta forever,” the 33-year-old warned. “The women’s game depends on you to survive.” 

Marta is one of many World Cup players who are wearing make-up and flaunting cool hairstyles on the field–and giving a good kick to the tired notion that women can’t be  feminine – and world-class athletes.

PROGRESS IN PAKISTAN 
Pakistan is creating at least 1,016 courts to tackle violence against women –one for each district in the country. 

In a speech to the nation, Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said the courts would enable victims to “speak their hearts without any fear.”

The announcement is both welcome and overdue. Last month, we read distressing reports that newspapers in Pakistan’s most populous city, Karachi,barely cover the daily slaughter of the city’s women because it is so routine.

GOT THE MESSAGE? 
In 2009, Sara Gideon heard a voicemail intended for her husband, asking him to run for the town council.

She decided to run for it herself. Ten years later, Gideon is the Speaker of Maine’s House of Representatives. 

Yesterday, she announced she’ll be challenging Susan Collins – the woman who cast the deciding vote in favor of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation – for Collin’s Senate seat in 2020.

HARD TO SWALLOW
A second libido drug for women is headed to the market, but does a reported side effect make it dead on arrival?

40% of the women who’ve sampled newly approved Vyleesi report that even if it upped their sex drive, it also made them nauseous and gave them headaches.

That’s just a slight improvement over Addyi, the first drug to treat low libidos in women. That treatment can cause women to faint if they combine it with alcohol.

WE’RE ALSO TRACKING

Did Meghan Markle add some extra sparkle to her wedding ring?

She Would Know. WeWork’s former head of compensation has alleged the company ignores “glaring” evidence of gender pay discrimination.

Beam Us Up, Scotty. Scientists have discovered that frozen sperm can survive the weightlessness of space, proving there’s “no need to waste rocket fuel on men when colonising the cosmos.”

“It feels like a group of extremely smart and annoying interns are running the country. Lauren Collins hangs out on Planet Macron in France.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WITW STAGE 
Comedian Louis C.K. received a standing ovation in Brooklyn this week. Revisit the brilliant panel at Women in the World 2019, where leading comedians asked each other how long #MeToo’d comedians need to stay off the stage.