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Jun 05
Her eye on the news
Mansplaining

Supporters are rallying around Senator Kamala Harris after a man rushed onstage and snatched her microphone during an event in San Francisco on Saturday, interrupting the presidential candidate’s comments on the gender pay gap to declare that he had a “much bigger idea” to discuss.

Her husband, Doug Emhoff, and several others quickly removed the man from the stage at the MoveOn Big Ideas Forum, allowing Harris to continue her discussion with political strategist Stephanie Valencia and Karine Jean-Pierre, the chief public affairs officer at MoveOn, a public policy advocacy group.

The man, later identified as Aidan Cook, is a member of animal rights organization Direct Action Everywhere, according to Slate. He told reporters after the incident that he had hoped to get the senator to answer a question on the need to take action on “factory farms that abuse animals,” an issue that he said “all of the 2020 presidential candidates are ignoring.”

His interruption of Harris and her fellow female panelists was derided by some social media observers as yet another example of a man attempting to “mansplain” issues to women.

When Guardian reporter Lois Beckett asked Cook whether he was aware of the optics of grabbing a microphone away from a woman of color in order to forcibly push his own agenda, Cook said that he was, and that he had “tried to show my profound respect for each of the people onstage.”

After the incident, observers took to social media to express their support for the senator:

Read the full story at Slate.

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Fashion forward

Gucci made a splashy statement in support of women’s right to choose during its latest runway show in Rome, featuring a variety of styles with feminist slogans and imagery — including a chiffon dress decorated with a flowering uterus.

Other designs in the fashion house’s 2020 Cruise collection included blazers and coats emblazoned with the phrase, “My body, My Choice.”

Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele said he was inspired by the seventies culture that spurred the movement for reproductive rights, according to USA Today.

“It was a historical moment when women — finally — rejected all the constraints that were imposed in the previous centuries and they became free,” he told Women’s Wear Daily.

Gucci’s latest collection comes a year after it donated $500,000 to March for Our Lives, according to USA Today, and months after it drew criticism for a sweater that portrays blackface. Recently, Gucci was accused of cultural appropriation after selling a $790 turban.

The latest fashion statement comes at a time when women’s reproductive rights are increasingly under threat in the U.S., with a number of states attempting to pass state legislation that would ban abortion.

The fashion show took place at the Capitolini Museums in Rome, according to USA Today, not far from the Vatican.

Read the full story at USA Today.

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Foot fight

Japanese women have submitted a petition to the government in protest of what they say is essentially a requirement for female employees: wearing high heels to work.

The Guardian reports that the “KuToo” campaign — a play on words from the Japanese kutsu, meaning shoes, and kutsuu, meaning pain — was launched by actor and writer Yumi Ishikawa.

“Today we submitted a petition calling for the introduction of laws banning employers from forcing women to wear heels as sexual discrimination or harassment,” Ishikawa told reporters after meeting with ministry officials, adding that a female government official had told her she was “sympathetic to our petition.”

In a tweet earlier this year, Ishikawa had complained about being required to wear high heels for a hotel job, and the tweet went viral, prompting her to launch the campaign.

Some supporters likened mandatory high heels to modern foot-binding, according to The Guardian. Others urged that dress codes be loosened for men as well, such as the business suits that dominate the Japanese workplace.

A similar petition against high heels at work was signed by more than 150,000 people in the UK, according to The Guardian, when receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home by accounting firm PwC on her first day of work in May 2016 for wearing flats.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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Inspirational

Public schools in Oregon will be required to teach students about the Holocaust and genocide, thanks to the activism of an unexpected duo: Holocaust survivor Alter Wiener, who died in December at age 92, and high school freshman Claire Sarnowski.

Sarnowski first met Wiener when she went to one of his talks as a fourth-grader in Oregon, The Washington Post reports, citing the Lake Oswego Review. The two became fast friends. “It was almost like we were old friends every time we talked,” Sarnowski told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “The age difference was never something we looked at.”

Sarnowski, now 14, said it was Wiener’s dream to establish mandatory curriculum standards for teaching students about the Holocaust, so she contacted a state senator, Rob Wagner. He went on to co-sponsor the bill.

Wiener and Sarnowski both testified at a hearing for the bill in September, according to the Post, and the Senate passed it in March. The House then passed it in late May. If the bill is signed into law by Governor Kate Brown, it will go into effect in the 2020-2021 school year.

The bill says the lessons must be designed to “prepare students to confront the immorality of the Holocaust, genocide, and other acts of mass violence and to reflect on the causes of related historical events,” according to the Post.

Wiener was imprisoned in five different concentration camps during the Holocaust, and most of his family was killed. He weighed 80 pounds when he was freed in 1945, the Post reports. He moved to the U.S. after the war, and began to speak about his life, later writing a book, From a Name to a Number: A Holocaust Survivor’s Autobiography.

Ten states have enacted similar legislation for schools, according to the Post.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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Unacceptable

Amid reports that two patients have been cured of the H.I.V. infection, attention is turning to a disturbing shortfall when it comes to research of the disease: an overwhelming lack of women in clinical trials.

Women make up more than half of the 35 million people living with H.I.V. around the world, according to The New York Times. The virus is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. Women and men respond differently to H.I.V. infection, but clinical trials rely heavily on the participation of gay men, according to the Times.

“There are all sorts of differences between men and women, probably mediated partially by hormonal effects,” Dr. Monica Gandhi, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told the Times. For instance, estrogen seems to lull H.I.V. into a dormant state — and the dormant virus is harder for the immune system or drugs to combat.

It’s generally difficult to get scientists to take the need to enlist women seriously, Dr. Eileen Scully, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, told the Times. “Some of the hard scientists dismiss this type of discussion as being more socially determined, or some sort of women’s liberation thing.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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06.05.19

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