By Claire Zillman
August 23, 2017

In what’s being seen as a win for Muslim women, India’s Supreme Court has banned the controversial practice that lets Muslim men divorce their wives by simply saying “talaq”—or divorce—three times.

For years, women have challenged the practice in court. So what made the difference this time? The BBC reports that it was Shayara Bano, a 35-year-old mother-of-two, who last year became the first woman to challenge her divorce on the grounds that it violated her fundamental rights.

Bano claimed that she received a letter from her husband telling her he was divorcing her while she was away from home visiting her parents. Her petition demanded that the practice be banned entirely since it let Muslim men treat their wives like “chattels.”

Her case received a boost from a vocal campaign by the Indian Muslim Women’s Movement that had pushed for a ban for years. A decade ago, the group started compiling a list of women facing instant divorce and polygamy, and released a report documenting 100 cases in which instant divorce left women destitute. The organization sent letters to the nation’s leaders and collected 50,000 signatures calling for the practice’s prohibition.

Meanwhile, Bano’s case drew support from other women who filed petitions like hers. Those events led to the Supreme Court’s decision this week that the Islamic practice of instant divorce is unconstitutional.

Bano’s approach to the matter was effective because it targeted the rights guaranteed to Indians under the constitution—the backbone of nation’s democracy.

It was an obvious argument, according to Bano’s lawyer, yet she was the first to make it

“I wonder why no one thought of this before,” the lawyer told the BBC. “Maybe, it’s an idea whose time has come.”

—@clairezillman


EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Campbell’s call-out
Naomi Campbell ruffled the pages of British Vogue yesterday by criticizing the lack of diversity at the magazine. The model posted to Instagram a photo of the staff under former editor Alexandra Shulman that showed a complete absence of black employees. “Looking forward to an inclusive and diverse staff now that @edward_enninful is the editor,” she wrote. Enninful took over earlier this month as the magazine’s first male, non-white editor and has already shaken up the masthead, enlisting the likes of Campbell and film director Steve McQueen as contributing editors, but his day-to-day staff remains largely white. 
Guardian
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Long and short of it
One factor that reportedly helped convince U.S. President Donald Trump to recommit his nation to war in Afghanistan was a black-and-white snapshot shown to him by national security advisor H.R. McMaster. The 1972 image of Afghan women in miniskirts in Kabul has often been used by human rights groups and historians to explain how much more free women were in the years before the Taliban.
Quartz
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Counter-contour
Zadie Smith recommends spending no more than 15 minutes putting on makeup. In a new interview, the On Beauty author shared the advice she gave her 7-year-old daughter when she started spending more time looking in mirrors. “I explained it to her in these terms: you are wasting time, your brother is not going to waste any time doing this. Every day of his life he will put a shirt on, he’s out the door and he doesn’t give a shit if you waste an hour and a half doing your make-up,” she said. “From what I can understand from this contouring business, that’s like an hour and a half and that is too long.” Not everyone agrees with her assessment.
The Cut

 


THE AMERICAS

Out of fashion
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s wife, Louise Linton, boasted about traveling with her husband on a government airplane and tagged the designer fashion she wore on the trip in an Instagram post on Monday. Linton then lashed out at a critic who suggested U.S. taxpayers had funded her getaway. “Did you think this was a personal trip?!” she wrote in an exchange that got oddly personal. 
Fortune
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Adlon’s ascent
Actress Pamela Adlon, a single mom of three daughters, has found critical success writing, directing, producing, and starring in her biographical comedy Better Things. The show has won a Peabody Award and earned her an Emmy nod for acting. She talked to NPR about finding such acclaim at an age when many actresses see their careers start to decline. “Why am I not on the scrap heap, why did everything start happening for me at 50?” she said.
NPR
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Raising red flags
Cries to remove statues of the 19th Century gynecologist J. Marion Sims, who conducted experiments on female slaves without anesthesia and without their consent, have intensified after four black women protested a Sims memorial in New York wearing hospital gowns splashed with red paint around their pelvic area. Their photo has gone viral and others have joined their call, including a Sims historian.
Vice

ASIA-PACIFIC

Time crunch
Companies in Japan are slowly realizing that working women are a lucrative market. Take snack maker Calbee Inc. Its staple granola snack had the same recipe and sales tactics for 20 years. But once a female marketing executive pitched the cereal as a time-saver for Japan’s growing class of working moms, the company’s revenue jumped and so did its stock price. 
Bloomberg

IN BRIEF

This British hospital refused money raised by men dressed as nurses
BBC
Women’s workwear a woman would actually want to wear
Bloomberg
Princess Diana’s secret tapes and her celebrity savvy
The Cut
Why pregnant women are more susceptible to Zika virus
Fortune

PARTING WORDS

"Success seldom comes in exactly the form you imagine it will.”
- —Martha Stewart, in sharing her daily routine and advice for young people just starting out.

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