By Claire Zillman
November 14, 2016

The New York Times has asked a valid question: Women have led some 70 nations over the course of history—currently, they head 17—so why not the United States?

One answer has more to do with the job of U.S. president than actual candidates. In Europe—where women such as Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, and Theresa May have served—governments are known for their generous social welfare programs, meaning women may be seen as more suitable for high political office. The U.S. president, meanwhile, is primarily viewed as commander-in-chief, and that role is harder for women to fit into.

Laura Liswood, secretary general of the UN Foundation’s Council of Women World Leaders, says the American president is seen as the guardian of the world and “we still have a very gendered version of what leadership means.” And of course that pesky double standard is also at play. Not only do women have to be well-liked, she says, “we also have to be tough.”

clairezillman


EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Serious security
The Duchess of Cornwall, also known as Camilla Parker Bowles, stepped out in the United Arab Emirates last week with an all-women security force, dressed in abayas. They are among the 50-plus women in the UAE’s presidential guard, whose members are trained in martial arts and combat techniques. To top it off, three of the five women protecting the royal recently climbed Mount Everest.
Refinery29
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A quick clapback
Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was quick to correct a man who claimed U.S. President-elect Donald Trump had not been racist throughout his campaign. When Emmett Tyrrell, editor-in-chief of the conservative magazine American Spectator, said it was “not true” that Trump had demonstrated racist language, Adichie cut him off, saying, “I am sorry, but if you are a white man, you don’t get to define what racism is. You really don’t.”

BuzzFeed
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Self-defense or self-promotion?
The Polish government is launching a new initiative to provide free lessons in self-defense techniques and hand-to-hand combat. The government says the project is aimed at women who want to develop skills for situations that threaten their lives, but critics say the lessons are an attempt to promote a positive image of the army and should be considered propaganda.
Motto

THE AMERICAS

Casting blame
As some Americans were still trying to make sense of Donald Trump’s stunning election victory, Hillary Clinton offered her own assessment this weekend. She pointed a finger at FBI Director James Comey, who in the last days of the campaign signaled a reopening of his agency’s investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server. “[O]ur analysis is that Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum,” she told donors on a conference call.
Fortune
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Remembering the restrictions
The New York Times asked readers to recall their most vivid gender barriers, and nearly 1,200 women responded. Louise Jones McPhillips, 62 from Birmingham, Alabama, recalled a career aptitude test in 7th grade. “My match for a dream career was architect,” she said. “The counselor told me that wasn’t possible because…architects had to know a lot of math, and girls ‘didn’t do’ math.” She eventually became one of the first female registered architects in her state.
New York Times

ASIA-PACIFIC

Breaking into America
The K-pop star known as CL fronted the best-selling all-girl group 2NE1 and has now ventured out on her own. She’s yet to make it big in the United States, despite being a muse for American fashion designers Alexander Wang and Jeremy Scott. She’s determined to make it in the market. “So I want to do it right, and that’s why it’s taking so long,” she says.
CNN
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Presidential probe
South Korean prosectors are expected to question President Park Geun-hye this week over the snowballing scandal involving the alleged influence peddling of her close confidant Choi Soon-sil. If the questioning does indeed take place, it will make Park the first South Korean president to ever go before prosecutors while in office.
Guardian

IN BRIEF

15 important jobs women have yet to hold in the U.S.
Business Insider
See First Lady Michelle Obama on the cover of ‘Vogue’
Vogue
How a black woman ventured into the heart of Trumplandia
Fortune
Watch Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton sing ‘Hallelujah’ in a powerful ‘Saturday Night Live’ cold open
Time
‘National Geographic’s iconic ‘Afghan girl’ returns home after 31 years as a symbol of her country’s tensions with Pakistan
Washington Post

PARTING WORDS

"When you’re ready, I hope you will get back out there and keep fighting."
- --Hillary Clinton, during a conference call with her donors following her election loss.

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