A photograph of 16-year-old girl scout Lucie Myslíková staring defiantly at a right wing protester during a May Day counter-protest in the Czech city of Brno quickly went viral Thursday, with Myslíková drawing widespread praise for calmly confronting the demonstrator.
"I wasn't afraid," Myslíková told the BBC, explaining that she had argued with the unnamed man in the photograph over immigration and refugees. According to Myslíková, the man told her she would be raped by the migrants she was hoping to save.
"I went to the counter-demonstration as someone who was determined to change things,” she said. “You ask me if standing up to skinheads should be left to older people—well us, younger people, are going to be living here a lot longer than the older generation." She was one of a number of girl scouts who rallied against a neo-Nazi demonstration in the city on Monday, outnumbering the far-right protesters about two to one.
While the snapshot of Myslíková courageously taking a stand is remarkable enough on its own, it is particularly noteworthy as part of an emerging genre of newly iconic photos that show young women around the world standing up to injustice.
In April, Saffiyah Khan was captured smiling in the face of an angry far-right English Defense League protester in Birmingham, U.K. She stepped forward to defend 24-year-old Saira Zafar, whom protesters were harassing because of her headscarf.
In July 2016, a photo of Ieshia Evans standing calmly in a billowing summer dress before policemen in full combat gear during Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, earned wide praise as the ultimate manifestation of “grace under pressure” and elegant defiance.
In May 2016, Swedish activist Tess Asplund was photographed in a similar pose, fist raised in the air as she stared down a uniformed march of neo-Nazis.
The list goes on. Taken together, the images of Myslíková, Khan, Evans, and Asplund carry an important message, which is that young women are on the frontlines of the fight to defend women’s rights, freedom of expression, and civil liberties the world over.
A survey of young women in the U.K. found that sexist depictions of female politicians in the media is discouraging them from pursuing politics. Almost half of girls between the ages of 9 and 16 say there has been a recent rise in media sexism, and 39% said it had impacted their confidence.
Feminism is in fashion in Tbilisi, where a new generation of women are rejecting the conservative post-Soviet dogmas of their youth and helping set their country apart from a region mired by Islamic extremism, authoritarianism, and misogyny. “The time when men dictated how women behave is long gone,” one local told PRI’s Anna Nemtsova. “Women are taking over the steering wheel in many Georgian families."
Dolce & Gabbana, H&M, Pepsi, and Nike are among the brands that have featured women wearing Islamic headscarves on catwalks and in advertising campaigns. But some Muslim women disagree with commercial depictions of religious head coverings. “I don't feel that the brands are doing us a favor—we don't need the approval of the mainstream companies to approve of our identity," Khadija Ahmed told the BBC.
The female pre-condition
The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed an updated version of the Republican American Health Care Act on Thursday, approving legislation that could leave millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions facing higher premiums, or without health care at all. Its passage is particularly harmful to women given that C-sections, sexual assault, and domestic violence have all been at times defined as "pre-existing" conditions.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter to criticize former National Security Adviser to President Barack Obama, Susan Rice, for declining to testify in a congressional hearing regarding alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Rice’s lawyer explained that she declined the invitation to the hearing because it was not a bipartisan inquiry.
Femicide by fire
The families of 41 girls killed in a fire at a Guatemalan children’s shelter last month are pushing for the state authorities in charge of social welfare to be tried for femicide. The girls died while locked in a room as punishment for a recent escape attempt; lawyers are arguing that the abuse and neglect they were subjected to is indicative of the state’s wider failing to protect women.
Kendall's latest controversy
Vogue India celebrated a decade in print by featuring Kendall Jenner as its May cover model, and many of the magazine's readers aren't pleased. Some protested the choice, saying the magazine should have featured and Indian celebrity or model instead, and were offended that Jenner had not yet shared the cover shoot on any of her social media steams.
Met Gala activism
Airbnb co-founder and chief product officer Joe Gebbia invited Yeonmi Park, a North Korean refugee and international refugee activist, to the Met Gala to try to use "that promenade in a meaningful way." The pair said they used the event's cocktail hour and seated dinner to discuss the rights of displaced people with the gala's influential guests.
Pocket Sun, the 25-year-old founding partner of VC firm SoGal Ventures, has spent the last two years creating “the world’s first female millennial-led cross-border VC firm,” specializing in early-stage startups in the U.S. and Asia with female founders, diverse founding teams, or a primarily female customer base. In an interview with Fortune's Michelle Toh, Sun explains how she capitalizes on the fact that her company sits outside Silicon Valley’s typical gender and generational gap, and aims to raise $15 million by early 2018.
News summaries by Linda Kinstler @lindakinstler
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--Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in conversation with Trevor Noah.