By Claire Zillman
February 22, 2017

Isabella Lövin, the deputy prime minister of Sweden, spoke with Cosmopolitan during a recent trip to New York, and again denied that her now-famous bill signing photo was an attempt to troll President Donald Trump. The image of Lövin surrounded by seven female colleagues and advisors went viral because it mirrored one of Trump—with seven men—signing an order limiting women’s access to information about abortion.

Lövin says that the picture—and I found this line especially powerful—represents her reality. She told Cosmo:

“It’s a true photo. It’s a photo of me and my closest collaborators—my two state secretaries and press secretaries and advisers—so it’s not staged in that way. But I’m really happy that so many people love the photo and that they really felt empowered by the photo.”

Even with that feel-good message, Lövin acknowledges that the fight for gender equality is not done, especially from a global perspective. She recalls meeting with Chinese counterparts and Sweden’s eight representatives—seven of them women—sitting across from China’s all-male delegation. According to Lövin, Sweden’s finance minister joked at the time: “Well, you know, we looked for some competent men, but we only found one.”

Many governments the world over would be hard-pressed to purposefully assemble a tableau of women like the one featured in Lövin’s photo, let alone have it happen—as Lövin claims—by accident. The underrepresentation of women in the Trump administration is certainly top of mind. His cabinet is, of course, seriously short on women, and a USA Today analysis found that even at the aide level, men outnumber women 2 to 1.

@clairezillman


EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Concentration of power
Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev yesterday named his wife Mehriban, who previously worked as a lawmaker, the first vice president of the ex-Soviet nation, making her the person next in line in the nation’s power hierarchy. Her appointment came after a constitutional referendum passed in September. The constitution doesn’t describe the VP’s duties specifically, but it’s expected that they will include overseeing the cabinet.
Time
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Headscarf hubbub
France’s far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen showcased her hard line on Islamic custom in Lebanon yesterday by refusing to don a headscarf. The decision disrupted her plans to meet with the country’s senior Sunni Muslim cleric. “Pass on my considerations to the Grand Mufti [Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian], but I will not veil myself,” she said. The controversy comes a week after female politicians from Sweden were criticized for wearing headscarves on a trip to Iran.
Wall Street Journal

THE AMERICAS

In Jackie’s image?
Some of Melania Trump’s recent fashion choices have resembled those of Jackie Kennedy, but there are other signs Trump’s role in the administration will imitate the former first lady’s. Like Kennedy, Trump is more private than her outgoing husband. She’s also publicly committed to the historic preservation of the White House, her decorator is known for subtlety, and the statement announcing Trump’s pick for event planner made a point to highlight Anna Cristina Niceta Lloyd’s distant connection to Jackie O herself.
Washington Post
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Still on the hook
Writer Roxane Gay isn’t letting Simon & Schuster off the hook, even after the publisher pulled its book deal with conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos over comments on pedophilia that recently resurfaced. S&S didn’t simply “do the right thing,” as some have suggested, Gay says. It saw the pedophilia controversy as too harmful to its bottom line, but did not take the same stand against his “racist and xenophobic and sexist ideologies.” S&S was set to publish Gay’s book How to Be Heard, but she pulled it when the publisher struck its now-rescinded deal with Yiannopoulos. Amid the controversy, Yiannopoulos also resigned as senior editor at Breitbart yesterday.
New York Magazine
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Flexibility backlash
Flexible scheduling is considered a panacea for the lack of women in upper management since it gives women the chance to flourish by working in their own timeframes. Not so, says a new Harvard Business Review piece that compiles the results of several research studies. Women are actually punished for working flexible hours, perhaps because they choose alternative schedules to accommodate childcare responsibilities—whereas their male counterparts are motivated by productivity—or because of bias.
Fortune

ASIA-PACIFIC

Le Pen of the Pacific
Pauline Hanson, an Australian senator and leader of the right-wing One Nation party, is seen as Australia’s answer to Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump. Hanson, who ran a fish and chip shop before entering politics, was elected to office in 1996 on a platform that warned Australia against being “swamped by Asians.” Now public support for One Nation—while still at a very low base—is rising, and its populist appeal could push mainstream parties further to the right, undermining Australia’s openness to skilled migration and free trade.

Financial Times
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Backing down
Last month, T.R. Zeliang, the chief minister of India’s remote Nagaland state, announced plans to reserve one-third of seats in local urban authorities for women. Protests by male-dominated indigenous groups, who argued the policy defies their customary laws, became violent. Two people died and local elections were postponed. Yesterday, Zeliang stepped down from office in a move that’s being seen as a setback for women seeking equal say in local government.
Reuters

IN BRIEF

Jill Biden to be named board chair of international aid organization Save the Children
Associated Press
Screenwriter Ryan Murphy wants to solve Hollywood’s gender problem
New York Magazine
Nevertheless, she bought a shirt: The future of feminism is futile
Outline
This woman was the U.S. Navy’s ‘hidden figure’
Refinery 29
Meet Zambia’s first female fighter pilot
BBC
Women’s representation at Uber is bad—even by tech industry standards
Fortune

PARTING WORDS

"[I]t gives it a really good sound when I poke it."
- --Jordyn Hirsch, 12, on her recipe for slime—it's a thing, apparently, She's one of many enterprising young women making and selling the trendy substance.

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