• Brendan Smialowski/Getty

    Dollars & Sense

    Who needs equality?

    The infamous women's "advocate" Phyllis Schlafly is once again standing against women.

    She boldly led the fight against the Equal Rights Amendment and now she’s leading the fight against equal pay. Ladies, if you want a knight in shining armor to save you from yourselves, take a tip from Phyllis Schlafly. The founder of the Eagle Forum is worried that eliminating the pay gap will make it harder for women to find “suitable husbands.” In an opinion column in The Christian Post, she wrote, “Women typically choose a mate (husband or boyfriend) who earns more than she does…. I’m not saying women won’t date or marry a lower-earning men, only that they probably prefer not to. If a higher-earning man is not available, many women are more likely not to marry at all.” How curious that a woman who has earned a bully pulpit would dedicate her career to holding other women back!

    Read it at Think Progress
  • Meredith Hutchison/International Rescue Committee


    When I Grow Up

    What do you want to be when you grow up? This common question is rare for adolescent girls in eastern Congo—few had ever been asked. Through the Vision Not Victim Project, the International Rescue Committee and photographer Meredith Hutchison partnered to ask girls just that. Their visions were captured in this series of photographs and shared with their families and communities.

  • Franck Fife/AFP via Getty

    Sex Selection

    A Not-So-Level Playing Field

    “Masculine” female athletes are forced to undergo sex testing – and treatment – if they wish to compete professionally.

    After fellow athletes questioned the sex of South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya in 2009, she was barred from competition and required to undergo “sex testing.” In 2011, major sports governing bodies, including the Olympics Committee, instituted eligibility rules: if a female athlete’s body produces more testosterone than is typical, she must either take drugs or have surgery to lower the hormone level. If she refuses, she is placed under a permanent ban from elite women’s sports. Last year four female athletes, all from developing countries, were investigated for high testosterone. It turned out that they were all born as girls but had internal testes that produce unusually high levels of testosterone for a woman. The solution? Removing the women’s internal sex organs and partially removing their clitorises. All four women agreed and a year later, they were allowed to return to competition. While the doctors who performed the surgeries acknowledged that there was no medical reason for the procedure, sports authorities reason that testosterone gives women an advantage and therefore screening for high T levels is needed to keep women’s athletics fair. But emerging research shows that T levels can’t predict who will run faster, lift more weight or fight harder to win. Should women, usually poor women with limited opportunities, have to choose between medically unnecessary procedures – harmful ones at that – or their careers? 

    Read it at New York Times
  • Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

    Whose Property?

    An Artist Confronts Sexual Harassment

    Tired of cat-calls, one Brooklyn-based artist decided to confront the practice with a public art project, “Stop Telling Women to Smile."

    Tired of cat-calls, one Brooklyn-based artist decided to confront the practice with a public art project, “Stop Telling Women to Smile.” Tatyana Fazlalizadeh began posting self-portraits in Bed-Stuy 18 months ago (The Daily Beast interviewed her about her work in August) and ultimately interviewed more than a dozen women about their experience with public sexual harassment.  The women shared their feelings of objectification and demoralization; Tatyana photographed them and designed posters with their images above statements such as “My Outfit Is Not an Invitation,” or “Women Do Not Owe You Their Time or Conversation.”  The New York Times quotes her as saying “This is all about how women’s bodies are consumed and are considered public property for display, comment and consumption.” Her work has gone viral, appearing in Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and most recently Atlanta.Tatyana hung her “Stop Telling Women to smile” self-portrait at Alanta’s Krog Street Tunnel  on Friday night by Sunday the poster had been defaced with a spray-painted smile over her face and the words “Force It” underneath. Public property indeed. 

    Read it at New York Times
  • Marc Bryan-Brown/Women in the World


    Protecting Pakistan’s Innocents

    Pakistani Activists Use the Country’s Men To Elevate Women’s Rights

    Some men in Pakistan believe women deserve a bullet to the head for simply going outside their homes. Activists Humaira Bachal and Khalida Brohi, along with filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Ambassador Catherine M. Russell are fighting to change their violent views.

    Two weeks ago, a gang took over Humaira Bachal’s neighborhood in Karachi, pulled adults out of their homes, burned down their houses, and shot them point-blank in front of their children.  

  • Marc Bryan-Brown/Women in the World

    Unique Roles

    The UN’s Female Peacekeepers

    Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and others praise the three UN peacekeeping units composed entirely of women, including one all-Muslim unit, that function on the ground and in peace negotiations.

    Margaret Thatcher famously said, “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.” No where is this adage proven truer than when it comes to resolving conflict and making peace.

    Of the 56 United Nations peacekeeping units in the world, only three are composed entirely of women. And their impact is out of all proportion to their numbers: often hailing from countries and cultures where they were oppressed and held back simply because they were women, they exert a strong yet soothing presence in war-torn, ravaged nations where they are stationed.

  • Marc Bryan-Brown/Women in the World


    Day One Response Performs Alchemy

    Addressing one of the most-pressing issues of disaster relief, Day One Response gets clean water to victims.

    What began as Tricia Compas-Markman’s thesis at CalPoly has become a major, viable breakthrough in disaster relief. After the world had seen a tsunami hit Japan and Katrina hit the states in 2005, the then civil engineering student began exploring methods for quicker and more efficient means of delivering clean water to victims of disaster. She knew Proctor & Gamble had created a robust water-purifying system in a portable powder, yet gathering and transporting the water to those in need remained a challenge. “We didn’t reinvent the wheel,” Compas-Markman said of the Day One Response bag she created. “But we did make delivering clean water more efficient in a disaster situation.”

    Compas-Markman is modest. During the Toyota Mothers of Invention series at the Women in the World summit on Friday, she explained her deceptively simple device. The bag holds 10 liters of water, which can be scooped up from any river, stream or other body of water, no matter how dirty it is. Drop in a packet of the P&G purifying powder and shake the plastic bag for about 10 minutes, and you have potable and portable water.

  • Marc Bryan-Brown/Women in the World

    Mothers at Risk

    Fighting Maternal Mortality

    Midwives and other medical experts speak out on how to end the staggering loss of life occurring in the act of giving birth.

    Every two minutes a woman dies in childbirth or complications from pregnancy. It’s a sobering statistic, to be sure; staggering, even, considering that 99 percent of those deaths are preventable. Like so many ills in the world, maternal mortality can be linked to poverty and lack of education and resources. And when those issues are addressed, maternal mortality goes down.

    As proof, consider Edna Adan Ismail, founder and CEO of Edna Adan University Teaching Hospital. Having grown up in British Somaliland, Ismail won a scholarship to study as a midwife in Britain. When she returned to Somaliland in 1960, she was the first—and only—midwife in the entire country. “I was where the buck stopped,” she told the audience at the “Breakthroughs in the Fight Against Maternal Mortality” panel, sponsored by Merck, at the Women in the World summit Friday afternoon at New York’s Lincoln Center.   

  • Marc Bryan-Brown/Women in the World


    Making a Difference in Hell

    Neema Namadamu is an advocate for change in Congo. Erin Cunningham reports from the Women In the World Summit.

    In one of the worst places on earth to be a woman, or as MSNBC anchor Alex Witt describes it, "one of the more forgotten countries in the world," Neema Namadamu is making a difference in Congo.

    Aiming to "create heaven for her daughter in a place called hell," as she describes it, Namadamu is the ultimate advocate for change. "They say Congo is a lost cause," she tells Witt. "I tell people Congo is not a lost cause because I'm here."