The 2011 Summit brought together extraordinary women from around the globe. Watch the most inspiring moments.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Gallery: See Photos from the Summit
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.
The first female president of Chile tells Barbara Walters how the U.N. hopes to bring about equality in some of the most oppressive countries in the world.
Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet told ABC's Barbara Walters Saturday that she's hopeful about her organization's daunting task of bringing about gender equality around the world. Bachelet is running the newly launched United Nations group U.N. Women.
(Photo: Marc Bryan-Brown)
"We're not starting from zero," Bachelet said, adding that the U.N. partners with grassroots women's organizations even in countries that grant very few rights to women. "I have to tell you the only possible way to really ensure women's rights is to empower them. That's why for me, empowerment is essential."
Bachelet said bringing about economic equaity is crucial to empowerment, and that the best way to do that is to convince governments that women are smart investments.
"That's a tough job," Walters responded.
"It is, but there's so many wonderful women everywhere doing so many things. There are women that are being raped and women that are being harrassed, put in jail, whatever, but there's always this capacity for resilience, standing up again, organizing themselves."
Bachelet added that she sees a "huge opportunity" in the Middle East for women to get more rights as some countries may soon be re-writing their constitutions.
Bachelet said she hopes to recruit more women U.N. peacekeepers in regions like Congo to show people that women can be in positions of power and to be more effective at preventing rapes. She said a Congolese woman who was gang-raped by rebels asked the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights to help stop the epidemic of sexual violence in the country. "What reparation do I want? I do not want money," the woman said. "The only reparation I want is for you to see rape as not my problem, but your problem."
Walters asked Bachelet if she would consider running for president of Chile again, to which Bachelet responded, "I'm working for the women in the world, today, that's my essential issue."
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 this weekend.
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 this weekend. Plus,
photos from every event,
video highlights, and
complete coverage on our blog.
A Utopia in War-Torn Somalia
The heroic Dr. Hawa Abdi explained how she managed to take 1,300 acres in the middle of violence-plagued Somalia and run a peaceful community of 90,000 who receive medical care and food from the 63-year-old gynecologist. “If you don’t follow our rules, you lose your piece of land,” she said. "The boys who grew up in the camp are today the camp guards…We raised a whole generation of police,” added Abdi's daughter. The compound withstood a week of heavy shelling from 750 soldiers from the Party of Islam last year, when many of her staff was rounded up and executed. The militants put Dr. Hawa under house arrest, but she was eventually released. “I will die with my dignity,” she said.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From Hillary Clinton and Hawa Abdi to Christiane Amanpour and Nawal El Saadawi,see the participants in the 2011 Women in the World Summit.
In a time of momentous change in the world, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sets out on her most heartfelt mission: to put women and girls at the forefront of the new world order.