By Claire Zillman
September 13, 2017

For the first time since 2007, American women last year posted a statistically significant annual increase in what they earn compare to men, according to new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. In short, the U.S. gender pay gap narrowed with women earning 80.5 cents—up from 79.6 cents in 2015—for every dollar men take home.

But don’t raise a glass just yet; that champagne’s going to have a bad aftertaste.

The most prominent factors that contribute to the gender pay gap are career choice, women’s decision to have children, and discrimination.

But part of the gain women recorded last year isn’t necessarily attributable to the alleviation of those factors; rather, it’s due to men making less money. The median woman made 2.3% more last year than in 2007, while men reported a 1.1% decline in that same period.

To chip away at the issues at the core of the gender pay gap, American women need resources like affordable child care, paid family leave, and more effective anti-discrimination efforts. Maybe then they’ll have progress that’s a little more worthy of celebration, instead of moving ahead because men have lost ground.

—@clairezillman


EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Making a scene
For the first time in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s storied history, women will direct all of the plays performed on the theatre company’s two main stages this season. The lineup includes directors Polly Findlay, Erica Whyman, Fiona Laird, Maria Aberg, and Jo Davies. The all-female roster was not deliberate, says RSC artistic director Gregory Doran. Rather, the directors were selected because they’d “been with us and had grown, developed,” he said. 
Guardian
.
Say Grace
In a deposition she gave last month, Zimbabwe First Lady Grace Mugabe denied assaulting a South African model in a Johannesburg hotel last month, stating she had acted in self-defense after being attacked with a knife. Mugabe, who may seek attempted murder charges against the model, said she was intervening on behalf of her two adult sons, who were “in trouble with a drunken young woman.”
Guardian

THE AMERICAS

Trump picks Hicks
The White House has named President Donald Trump’s long-time aide Hope Hicks, 28, as its new communications director in a move that underscores just how much the president values loyalty. Hicks has been on Trump’s political team since the early days of his presidential campaign and worked for the Trump Organization before that. 
Fortune
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Exit lane
Uber has been hit by another high-profile exit. Sally Yoo, Uber’s top lawyer, told staff yesterday that she will leave the company as soon as it hires a new general counsel. Her departure comes as Uber welcomes its new CEO and has it faces three federal investigations into its business practices. 
Wall Street Journal
.
Thanks for the magic
Gay-rights advocate Edith Windsor, who served as the lead plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case that granted same-sex married couples federal recognition and the right to the same federal benefits as married heterosexuals, died yesterday at age 88. “Married is a magic word,” she said in 2009. “And it is magic throughout the world. It has to do with our dignity as human beings, to be who we are openly.”
Fortune

ASIA-PACIFIC

Yes to Yacob
Singapore’s former speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob was declared the nation’s first-ever female president today. She won the largely ceremonial role after the Presidential Elections Committee deemed her the only candidate to qualify for the contest. Yacob is a member of the country’s Malay community and, in a push for inclusivity, Singapore had reserved the role of president for someone from that minority group this time around. 
Reuters
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Rebel with a cause
Actress Rebel Wilson has won Australia’s largest payout ever for a defamation lawsuit. She’ll receive $3.6 million in damages in the case that she won in June after a jury unanimously decided that a series of magazine articles had falsely portrayed her as a serial liar. She’s vowed to give the money away. 
BBC

 


IN BRIEF

Bikini baristas sue city for bare-skin ban: ‘It’s about women’s rights’
Fortune
DNA evidence from a female Viking warrior’s grave shows bias is in the eye of the beholder
Quartz
Mongolia’s hunt for female street artists
NPR
Issa Rae is the new face of CoverGirl
The Cut
The anti-Hillary Clinton camp has already hijacked Amazon reviews of her new book
Fortune

 


PARTING WORDS

"[T]here’s nothing wrong with having a little curve."
- —CNN anchor Don Lemon, responding to self-described 'chunky' reporter who was getting blown around by Hurricane Irma.

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