By Claire Zillman
October 24, 2016

A few weeks ago, male governors in Japan donned pregnancy vests in an effort to urge men to help out more at home. Women there do about five times as much housework as men thanks to the country’s fierce adherence to gender roles that keep women at home and, importantly, out of the nation’s rapidly aging workforce. Men, meanwhile, are known to work incredibly long hours and take a hands-off approach to parenting. For instance, just 2.7% of them take Japan’s rather generous statutory paternity leave.

The governors’ mission was noble but their execution was ill-conceived. Slate writer Elissa Strauss was one critic to bash the stunt, writing that it failed to emulate the real experience of pregnancy, which can include organ displacement, insomnia, exhaustion, and depression. Plus, it had no positive effect on men’s parenting skills because it didn’t encourage men to actually parent.

An organization in Japan seems to have gotten the gist of Strauss’s message loud and clear, and it’s taken a somewhat novel approach to tackling Japan’s long-held gender roles. Non-profit Fathering Japan is encouraging men to get more involved in child-rearing by teaching dads to read to their kids, from how to use an animated delivery to choosing an engaging book. Those may seem like pretty elementary techniques, but founder Tetsuya Ando says some men in Japan need instruction in the basics. “The priority of traditional Japanese fathers is work … they don’t know what to do even when they come home early,” he says.

The effort reflects a larger mission by the Japanese government, which wants more women to work outside the home. It’s investing $500,000 to create so-called “iku-men”—a play on the Japanese word for “child-rearing” and the English word “men.”

clairezillman


EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Inflexible Brexit
Scottish FM Nicola Sturgeon wants Scotland to remain in the EU’s single market even if the rest of the U.K. leaves it. She’s expected to float that idea to Theresa May today, but the prime minister will likely reject it.
Financial Times
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Not being charitable
Christina Sass is co-founder and COO of Andela, a two-year-old company that aims to cull tech talent from places like Nairobi and Lagos and the recipient of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s first major investment. She says the company is not based on naive do-gooding but is “unabashedly for-profit.” 
Ozy
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In need of repair
A church in north London, known as “the birthplace of feminism,” was just placed on England’s Heritage at Risk List. The Newington Green Unitarian Church, now called New Unity, has a rich history of fostering activism and advocating social justice—its forward-thinking sermons in the 18th century inspired feminist pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft—but it’s now in poor physical shape.
Refinery29

THE AMERICAS

Next chapter
Last month, Gretchen Carlson received a $20 million settlement from Fox News after filing charges of sexual harassment against its former chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. (He denies them.) Now she’s turning her attention to ridding U.S. employment contracts of clauses that require such claims to be resolved in private.
Time
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Noisemaking is not enough
Mexico City has rampant sexual harassment and assault on its public transportation system, and women there are not impressed with the mayor’s latest effort to stop it—plastic whistles intended to scare away would-be attackers.
NPR
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Election cycle parenting
CNN’s Maeve Reston writes about covering the 2016 presidential campaign in the U.S. while caring for her 21-month-old daughter. She describes it as feeling like a constant choice between being a bad mother or a bad reporter.
CNN

ASIA-PACIFIC

Making things easier
Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi this weekend promoted an overhauled investment law that aims to dilute the power of the nation’s old military-linked oligarchs. It’s also geared toward jump-starting Myanmar’s economy by easing the process for smaller, local business to secure operating permits.
Wall Street Journal
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A rival for Rinehart
Four cattle farming families are challenging Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman, in her quest to own cattle company S. Kidman and 1% of the nation’s land. Their $386 million bid tops the $365 million offer by Rinehart and a Chinese partner and would keep the historic firm 100% Australian-owned. 
Guardian

IN BRIEF

Where are women in F.B.I.’s top ranks?
New York Times
Japanese climber Junko Tabei—the first to summit Everest—has died.
National Geographic
Watching the U.S. presidential debate with Hillary Clinton’s BFFs
New York Times
How to confront sexist “locker room talk,” according to science
Vox
The case for why men should wear makeup
Quartz
Meet the mother of El Salvador’s pro-choice movement
Lenny
How 11-year-old Sarai Gonzalez went from an unknown little girl to a Latina icon
New York Times

PARTING WORDS

"My dream changed from becoming a doctor to becoming the prime minister of Pakistan."
- --Malala Yousafzai, talking about the influence of Benazir Bhutto at a conference last week.

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