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Hang the Rapists

Indians seem to want the perpetrators of the violent gang-rape of a women to be sentenced to death this Friday. But, asks Dilip D’Souza, what will that solve?

“I just want them to be hanged,” the young man said, “because there is no other way to stop it.”

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An Indian woman at a protest on Tuesday holds a sign demanding the death sentence for four men convicted of the gang-rape and murder of a student in a New Delhi. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty)

He was referring, of course, to the unspeakable gang-rape in Delhi last December; specifically, to how the men now convicted of the crime should be punished. He was standing outside the court where they were convicted after a months-long trial, and he expressed himself this way to The New York Times. While the actual sentence will be handed down on Friday, September 13, this man was echoing widespread public sentiment about what the sentence must be. From the young woman’s family to citizens like this one, there has been a loud chorus of demands for death.

Let’s have no doubts about what these men did. Driving around in a bus, they picked up a young couple from a Delhi bus stop. They locked the doors. They beat up the man. They dragged the woman to the back of the bus and tore off her clothes. They all raped and sodomized her. They bit her. They shoved a metal rod into her and tore her insides apart. When they had finally had enough, they threw the couple, naked, off the bus into the biting Delhi cold. They even tried to run over them with the bus, before speeding away.

Modern Suffragists

Pelosi Sweats for Women

‘Women can take the heat,’ the Democratic leader told her troops on one of the summer’s stickiest days. Eleanor Clift reports on Pelosi’s new push for women—which may be a rehash of old issues, but they still need solutions.

It was 90-plus degrees outside Thursday, the hottest, stickiest day so far of Washington’s summer, as inside the Capitol, Nancy Pelosi marshaled her troops for the launch of the Democrats’ new economic agenda for women. “We’ll be efficient,” she promised. “Hydrate first, then go outside and make our point. Whatever the weather, women can take the heat.” Standing on the Capitol steps in the midday sun, Democratic women lawmakers and a few hardy male colleagues looked like modern-day suffragists, their banners held high proclaiming pay equity, work-family balance, and child care in the signature purple color of the suffragist movement.

These issues are not new. Indeed they’re so familiar to women activists that Judith Lichtman, sweltering in the heat and humidity, marveled at how they’re the same causes she championed 40 years ago when she founded what became the National Partnership for Women and Families. With the Republicans in charge in the House, there is no chance that a progressive legislative agenda geared to the interests of women could pass. “But If you don’t start a national conversation, it will never happen,” she said. And there is reason to believe that these well-worn issues, redesigned to appeal to a new generation of women in the workplace, could have political impact.

At a luncheon roundtable with female reporters before going out on the Capitol steps, Pelosi talked about the growing disparity in income, how women are at the low end of the income chain, and how America’s children are affected. “Whether you want to call it an imperfect storm or a perfect storm, it’s bad weather for women all around,” she said.

With no legislative road map and no apparent strategy beyond highlighting these issues, reporters were skeptical about what Pelosi is up to, whether these issues have the same resonance they once had, and whether this focus on women is aimed more at rallying votes for next year’s midterm elections. One reporter questioned whether the economy was really that bad for women. Pelosi conceded that some women, typically those who are better educated and who are married, are doing better than their male counterparts. “Hip hip, hurray,” she added, but it’s not the norm. And she pushed back at the notion that this push for women is purely political. “Believe me, we would rather they [Republicans] came up and joined us in this rather than us using it as a political weapon,” she said.

Enough Is Enough

The Rise of Sexist Fashion

The logo of a Canadian brand called Plain Jane Homme is a silhouette of a naked woman with underwear around her ankles. But thankfully, Soraya Roberts writes, people are getting sick of sexist merch.

"Who the fuck is Plain Jane?" reads a T-shirt from the Spring 2013 collection by Montreal lifestyle brand Plain Jane Homme. Next to the question stands the silhouette of a naked woman, her back turned, with panties around her ankles. This is the logo of a Canadian clothing company that purports to be inspired by "the ultimate gentleman." Originally only appearing on T-shirts, the image is reminiscent of the infamous 1970s mud-flap girl favored by long-haul truckers and now adorns hats, jackets, and pants sold across Canada, the U.S., and Europe.

Sexist Fashion

Clockwise from top left, designs from Plain Jane Homme, Forever 21, Topman, Madhouse.

But it begs the question: who the fuck is Plain Jane Homme—or any other company in 2013 for that matter—to make female submission its mascot?

Two years ago, PJH cofounder Hardip Manku, said in an exclusive interview with GQ magazine that the company’s logo was merely functional. “I wanted to create the letter ‘A’ and the only way to turn a female figure into that shape was to include the panties at the base of her legs,” he said. But with the PJH website describing the brand as an homage to “the girl every guy wants and every girl wants to be,” it’s difficult not to take umbrage. I’m not the sort of girl who wants to drop her underwear for a $48 T-shirt, and I’m pretty sure none of the other women I know would want to do that either.

Angel or Devil?

The Softer Side of Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox’s new memoir doesn’t offer any new confessions or clues to her rommate’s murder. But it does show a gentler, more sympathetic side to the ‘she-devil’ seen in the tabloids.

Amanda Knox’s highly anticipated book Waiting to Be Heard, published Tuesday in the United States, is not exactly a thriller.

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Amanda Knox gestures at a news conference in Seattle on Oct. 4, 2011, after returning home from Italy. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

Instead, it is a collection of carefully selected memories of her time in Perugia, Italy, where she spent four years in a sweltering prison accused of killing her British roommate Meredith Kercher. Knox does write candidly about her claims of heavy-handed interrogation at the hands of abusive Italian cops, sexual harassment by a creepy older prison guard, and her adamant denials of involvement in Kercher’s murder. But most of it has been heard before.

What’s new about the book is a close look at a person no one seems to really know—Knox herself.

POWER PLAYERS

Women and the Media

Indian TV host Barkha Dutt and Tina Brown led a Twitter chat Thursday to discuss women and the media. From the most influential female leaders in media to advice for their teenage selves, see the best tweets from the chat.

Attention, Entrepreneurs!

The $100M Businesswoman Project

Coca-Cola and International Finance Corp. are announcing a three-year initiative to get critical financial backing to businesswomen in Africa and Eurasia. Katie Baker reports.

In a promising step toward the economic empowerment of women in emerging markets, the Coca-Cola Co. and International Finance Corp. (IFC) on Monday announced a joint initiative that aims to support female entrepreneurship in Eurasia and Africa.

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A Coca-Cola kiosk at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 2010. (Marco Di Lauro/Getty)

The $100 million, three-year project will provide businesswomen within Coca-Cola’s supply chain with access to critical financial backing. In doing so, the initiative will pool the vast resources and networks of two of the world’s largest corporations. Coca-Cola’s beverage distribution system, which supplies more than 200 countries around the globe, has been held up as a model of efficiency and reach by such luminaries as Melinda Gates, who has urged not-for-profits to take a page from the company’s playbook. Meanwhile, the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, leveraged more than $20 billion in private-sector investments last year to foster sustainable growth.

The initiative, for which the IFC will utilize its network of local and regional banking institutions to provide financing to women in the Coca-Cola value chain, is already being implemented in Nigeria. There, the two firms are working with Nigerian Bottling Co. and Access Bank to offer financial support to local female microdistributors. In a statement on the joint project, Nathan Kalumbu, the president of Coca-Cola’s Eurasia and Africa group, said: “Women entrepreneurs make significant contributions to emerging and developing economies, yet have lower access to finance than their male counterparts. By providing greater access to capital, we are investing in our own success and the success of the communities we serve.”

Women’s Advocate

Climate Change’s Gender Gap

On International Women’s Day, Ireland’s first female president looks at the challenges ahead, including why women will bear the brunt of global warming.

When she was still a small and bookish girl, holed up in the library of a Sacred Heart nuns’ school in Dublin, Mary Robinson read about towering human-rights figures—Eleanor Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi—and dreamed of doing something worthwhile with her life. Before long, and famously, she did: first, as one of Ireland’s youngest senators and a barrister taking up cases with the European Court of Human Rights; then, as Ireland’s first female president, promoting peace in Northern Ireland and reaching out to the country’s marginalized communities; and, from 1997 to 2002, as the United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights, bearing witness to, and calling for international action on, vicious conflicts and widespread suffering in places such as Kosovo, Sierra Leone, East Timor, and Chechnya.

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Former president of Ireland Mary Robinson speaks during a press conference in April 2011. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty, file)

Now a member of Nelson Mandela’s Elders and the president of the Mary Robinson Foundation–Climate Justice—and a 2009 recipient of the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom—Robinson has detailed her career in a new memoir, Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice. From her early years in western Ireland, where she grew up in a large, loving, and faith-filled family, through her advocacy for the world’s most vulnerable citizens, Robinson’s story is one of determination, moral courage, and profound integrity of spirit.

In honor of International Women’s Day, I recently sat down with Robinson in Washington, D.C., to talk about her book, her long history of fighting on behalf of women’s rights, and her latest efforts to bring climate justice into the international spotlight. Here are excerpts from the interview:

Cameron Pledges Aid to End Female Genital Cutting Marvi Lacar/Getty

Largest-ever international investment.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is set to announce the “largest-ever” international investment to end female genital mutilation, London’s Sunday Times reported. M.P. Lynne Featherstone will lead the drive that aims to reduce female genital cutting by 30 percent in five years and completely eradicate it within a generation. Female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, is banned in Britain, but it’s estimated that up to 24,000 girls are at risk of being sent abroad to undergo the procedure, which is believed to make girls more marriageable in some cultures.

Read it at The Sunday Times

Outrage

Expelled for Speaking Out?

When a UNC student tried to bring attention to neglected reports of rape on campus, she was charged with violating the school’s honor code. She tells her story to Nina Strochlic.

Last February Landen Gambill decided to take action against her ex-boyfriend, who she says raped and stalked her throughout their long-term relationship. Now the 19-year-old is being threatened with possible expulsion from her college for creating an “intimidating” environment for her alleged abuser—and she’s gearing up to fight back.

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The bell tower on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Collegiate Images/Getty)

Gambill was a freshman at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when she took her case to the school’s honor court—a judicial body made up of five undergraduates—trying to avoid the emotional toll of a criminal trial. At the time, she says, she hoped to simply get a no-contact order to keep her ex-boyfriend away from her. Instead, she says, she endured a hearing that spanned 28 hours, in which she claims she was grilled about why she didn’t leave her boyfriend sooner and was scolded for “showing emotion on her face.” Gambill says she was asked loaded questions like, “Why didn’t you break up with him?” and “Why didn’t you fight back harder?”

“I had really high expectations of UNC as a liberal university,” Gambill says. “[I thought] they were going to support me as a survivor and as someone who’s in a relationship with sexual abuse. I was totally let down.”

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Why Abused Women Stand by Their Men

Even when women won’t testify, we need to consider prosecutions when there is other sufficient evidence, writes attorney Rikki Klieman.

Now former WCBS anchorman Rob Morrison is finally out of his marital home this week, and his wife, Ashley, may be one of those women who is lucky to be alive. He allegedly had a long-term pattern of physically abusing his wife, who is a beautiful and intelligent television journalist. Merely a month before this incident, the police were called when he is said to have choked her until she almost passed out. However, she then decided to drop the January complaint, saying that she had exaggerated her accusations.

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Getty

I certainly hope that Ashley, with support from family, friends, and counselors keeps Rob out of the house for good. Yet, I won’t be surprised if she, like so many other women, lets him back into her life.

Last month, Rihanna went to court, reunited with her battering boyfriend, Chris Brown, to support his claim that he completed his community service—which was put in place precisely because of the vicious beating he gave her on the night before the Grammys a few years ago. They are back together and smiling at the cameras again.

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‘My Attacker Was Never Caught’

Washington D.C. police routinely fail to investigate sexual assault cases, Human Rights Watch has found. Here is one woman’s story.

In late January, Human Rights Watch released a 196-page report “Capitol Offense: Police Mishandling of Sexual Assault Cases in the District of Columbia,” concluding that in many sexual assault cases, Washington police did not file incident reports, which are required to proceed with an investigation, or misclassified serious sexual assaults as lesser or other crimes. Human Rights Watch also found that the police presented cases to prosecutors for warrants that were so inadequately investigated that prosecutors had little choice but to refuse them and that procedural formalities were used to close cases with only minimal investigation. Below, Eleanor Gourley tells her story.

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Eleanor Gourley, 24, holds a copy of the incident report for her attack in the alley where a man attempted to sexually assault her in Washington, D.C. (Mariam Dwedar/Human Rights Watch)

I always felt that if I was the victim of a crime that the police would be there for me.

The May 2011 night I was assaulted, the police were mostly helpful and kind. One officer came to the hospital with me and stayed by my bed for about an hour, talking to me because I was so nervous and alone.  My attacker had stabbed me with a box cutter and told me he would kill me if I did not do as he asked. He took my cell phone, so I couldn’t call anyone.  The officer let me use his phone.

Lady Trouble

Are Obama’s ‘Strong Women’ Enough?

Valerie Jarrett says Obama “has been surrounded by strong women his entire life.” So what? That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a diversity problem.

As President Obama works to shape his second-term team, the last thing he needs is criticism about the insularity and lack of diversity among the tippy-top players. But earlier this month, when The New York Times ran a front-page photo showing a December Oval Office meeting between the POTUS and 11 senior staffers—10 men plus a tiny glimpse of senior adviser Valerie Jarrett’s leg—it was hard not to wonder: where are the women? It was arguably even harder, however, to resist rolling one’s eyes when the administration pushed back with one of the lamest rebuttals in modern politics.

Valerie Jarrett

Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett waits on the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport during a visit by the president in October 2012. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP, via Getty)

As ever with such critiques, it fell to Jarrett, chief keeper of the Obama brand, to play defense. Addressing the oft-heard complaint that White House women get cut out of both key meetings and presidential playtime, she told Politico, “I don’t play golf. I don’t play basketball. I don’t really like cards ... I don’t think anybody questions whether or not I have a role to play here. And so I think it is irrelevant whether the president wants to do that in some of his free time. What’s really important is, when we have something to say, does he listen to us? And he does.”

As for POTUS’s view of women in general, she asserted, “The reality is that this president has been surrounded by strong women his entire life.”

CHANGE

5,000 March in Ireland

5,000 March in Ireland Peter Muhly / AFP / Getty Images

In continuing demonstrations for abortion rights.

It’s the latest move in a series of events that could prove to be Ireland’s Roe v. Wade. On Saturday, 5,000 citizens marched in continued protest over the death of woman who was denied a potentially life-saving abortion. With some of the world’s strictest laws on termination, the mostly-Catholic country’s current laws fail to specify when the threat of the mother’s life is high enough to justify an abortion. In the case of Savita Halappanavar—a 31-year-old Indian woman suffering a miscarriage 17 weeks into her pregnancy—the law’s ambiguity meant death. As protests raged into a third day, Prime Minister Enda Kenny announced that he will not be “rushed” into a decision on the matter.

Read it at Reuters

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Best of the Women in the World Summit

Newsweek and The Daily Beast's second annual Women in the World summit brought together Hillary Clinton, Egyptian bloggers, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and dozens of inspiring activists from around the globe, showcasing stories of heroism and commitment—and sparking innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges facing women today.

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Marc Bryan-Brown

An Egyptian blogger urges young Muslim women to harness the Internet to battle an oppressive regime. A Cambodian teen—who only three years ago was scavenging for food in a toxic dump—dances beautifully onstage, showcasing the potential of girls in developing nations. And a young doctor captivates with her saga of quitting her job as a University of Chicago surgeon to bring modern medicine to millions in Africa.

Women in the World Summit

Women in the World Highlights

The 2011 Summit brought together extraordinary women from around the globe. Watch the most inspiring moments.

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13 Riveting Stories From the Summit

From a harrowing tale of sex trafficking in the U.S to a women's utopia in war-torn Somalia, read the incredible stories shared on stage at Newsweek and The Daily Beast's Women in the World Summit.

wiw-tease

150 Women Who Shake the World

They are heads of state and heads of household, angry protesters in the city square and sly iconoclasts in remote villages. Newsweek and The Daily Beast honors local heroes, and the growing network of powerful women who support their efforts.

12-great-moments

Best of the Women in the World Summit

Newsweek and The Daily Beast's second annual Women in the World summit brought together Hillary Clinton, Egyptian bloggers, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and dozens of inspiring activists from around the globe.

Women in the World: Telling Stories

Tina Brown sat down with Charlie Rose to speak about the purpose of the Women in the World summit. "By dramatizing these stories to people, by showing them women and hearing from them, letting them connect with them, they feel so much more aroused to help," she said.

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See Who's Joining Us at the Summit!

From Hillary Clinton and Hawa Abdi to Christiane Amanpour and Nawal El Saadawi,see the participants in the 2011 Women in the World Summit.

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