The buzz leading up to last weekend’s election in Iceland was all about the nation’s upstart Pirate Party, the collection of anarchists, libertarians, and techies founded by “poetician” Birgitta Jónsdóttir, that was expected to make huge gains in parliament. The Pirate Party tripled its presence in the legislative body but came up short of the lofty projections. Instead, the real winner of Saturday’s vote was women.
Female candidates won a record 30 of parliament’s 63 seats. That puts female representation in Iceland’s parliament at 48%, making it “the most equal” in the world among countries without a quota system, according to its own Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Other nations whose parliaments are closer to parity or majority women—Rwanda, Bolivia, and Cuba—either have quotas or "positive discrimination" in Cuba's case that ensure the success of female candidates. Iceland, meanwhile, has no such requirement, and yet its female representation is head and shoulders above the global average of 23%. It also beats the United States, where Congress is just 20% female. In other words, when it comes to electing women politicians, the tiny island of Iceland is winning against the rest of the world, big time.
Keira Knightley is on the cover of Harper's Bazaar U.K., and she took the opportunity to blast Britain's maternity leave policy as "archaic." The actress said paternity leave should be just as long as maternity leave so employers aren't incentivized to hire men over women. "You need to be a family unit, not just have the guy there for two weeks and then go back to work and the mother left desperately trying to figure it out," she said.
Sniffing out clues
The wife of former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is dropping hints about her upstart retail clothing line, registered as Samantha Cameron Studio Ltd, by way of IP filings. The latest documents indicate her brand will also include "products for personal hygiene and beauty care."
Bank on it
Clara Furse, the former CEO of the London Stock Exchange, will lead HSBC's U.K. consumer, small business, and wealth management operations. The non-executive appointment is one of many banks will make to comply with new ring-fencing regulations.
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren took a rare break from her bashing of Donald Trump to set her sights on a new target. She's decrying Time Warner's hiring of antitrust lawyer Christine Varney, who will try to convince the government that the deal with AT&T won't kill competition. Varney used to work for the government, and her new role epitomizes the problem of Washington's "revolving door," according to Warren.
'House of Cards' comes to life
The made-for-TV plot in which a husband and wife run as a ticket is a reality in Nicaragua. First Lady Rosario Murillo will appear on an upcoming ballot as a vice presidential candidate alongside her husband and running mate. The couple is expected to win the vote handedly, ushering in President Daniel Ortega's third term, and capping Murillo's decades-long climb to power.
A Halloween hero
At an NFL game this weekend, cheerleaders for the Denver Broncos donned their Halloween best. Members of the squad put on princess, cheetah, and butterfly costumes, but Romi Bean, who also works as a TV reporter, took a decidedly unglamorous route, dressing up and performing as an inflatable T-rex. A true MVP.
The influence-peddling scandal in South Korea took a new turn today when prosecutors jailed Choi Soon-sil, who's accused of using her friendship with President Park Geun-hye to manipulate government affairs. After questioning Choi for hours, prosecutors decided to “urgently detain” her—usually an indication that there's enough evidence for criminal charges.
Work it out
Afghanistan's society is so conservative in some rural areas that girls are not allowed to attend school or work outside the home. Businesswoman Tahmina Mahid Nuristani is challenging that notion in a rather provocative way: by opening Kabul's first-ever gym for women. The owner of Blue Moon Fitness Club says she wants the facility to encourage women to "come out of their houses, go to sports clubs and exercise."
Public sentiment toward working mothers is finally shifting in Japan. A national survey found that a majority of Japanese approve of women continuing to work after having a baby. It's the first time more than half of respondents have supported the idea in the 24 years the government has kept track.
CNN drops Democratic Party Chief Donna Brazile amid leaked emails
Why so many women executives left Yahoo this year
Progress on Australia's gender pay gap has been stalled for two decades
Air Force Secretary says Donald Trump is all wrong about the U.S. military
The secret history of Elizabeth I's alliance with Islam
Study shows Lyft and Uber drivers took women on longer, more expensive rides than men
--'Beverly Hills 90210' actress-turned-union boss Gabrielle Carteris at a strike last week. Early in her tenure, she's been more active than expected as head of the voice-over actors' union.