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International Women’s Day

March 7, 2017, 3:57 PM UTC

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, and unlike the American World Series, it’s actually an international event.

This year’s theme is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.” Work and access to economic opportunity remains a tremendous problem on planet earth, only 50% of working age women are represented in the labor force globally, compared to 76% of men. Many of those women are stuck working in the informal economy, without access to credit, education or property and other fundamental economic rights.

Fortune‘s Linda Kinstler has a look at how countries around the globe will mark International Women’s Day. Celebrations will vary wildly, from the political to the delightful. Women in Ireland will be striking in protest of the eighth amendment of the Irish Constitution, which bans abortion. In Italy, women will enjoy free access to museums and cultural institutions which have planned special exhibits designed to “celebrate the feminine world.” Where Russian men will be dashing about to plan extravagant celebrations for the women in their lives (I’ll let you make the Putin jokes,) in the Gaza strip, Hamas authorities have canceled plans to give students a day off even though the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has declared the day a public holiday.

Many Indian women have been using the days leading up to the holiday to share stories of the constant threats of rape, harassment, and abuse that are destroying their lives and their ability to work. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, a popular actress in the Tamil film industry, spoke publicly about being harassed at work and at public events, and the conditions that women film stars constantly face – groped and molested at film premieres and events, and in one high profile case, kidnapped and raped. Sarathkumar is using the holiday to kickstart a campaign to help protect women who work in film.

“You’re conditioned not to speak about these things. I think it’s time we start standing up for ourselves. When you hear about stories that keep happening to other women, it’s a bit too much, it’s getting worse these days. I think it’s about time we did something about it,” she said.

To capitalize on this year’s theme, tomorrow is also A Day Without A Woman, an effort organized by the same group that planned the wildly successful Women’s March on Washington. The rallying cry sounds simple: by removing themselves from the economy for one day – no paid or unpaid work or spending – the world will see the vital role women play.

But that effort has also been correctly critiqued as being a luxury that only a few can afford, a symbolic effort that dismisses the fraught lives of the truly vulnerable. The critique is reminiscent of the longstanding tension between white women and women of color when they attempt to organize together; women of color have often felt that the unique intersections of race and class are routinely misunderstood by white feminist organizers. But the work continues. As the organizers noted on their website, “Many women in our most vulnerable communities will not have the ability to join the strike, due to economic insecurity. We strike for them.” To accommodate those women who cannot exit the economy, people are encouraged to wear red.

What do you have planned? Please share your story with me or with my sister newsletter editor, the powerful Kristen Bellstrom at You can sign up for her always excellent Broadsheet, here.

On Point

New executive order on immigrationPresident Donald Trump reissued his ban on immigration from countries deemed high-risk, but with significant changes. Iraq has been removed from the banned countries list, after pressure from the military to vet citizens who were instrumental allies in the war. The new executive order will also allow people who currently hold valid visas to travel freely. People from the six remaining countries—Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen—will still be blocked from entering the United States for 90 days if they don't have a valid visa; it also removes language that singles out religious minorities. Despite the capitulation, the administration says their goal remains the same, to keep would-be terrorists out of the U.S.Time

An anti-immigration website alarms Indian families; targets IT workers
The site,, has been posting creepy surveillance photos and video of Indian families chilling out in public spaces in suburban Columbus, OH. “What we’re trying to point out is people in Ohio, IT workers and other professional people, have lost their jobs to foreign guest workers. That’s what our point is,” the site’s creator Steve Pushor told BuzzFeed News. Other content on the site includes true tales of white American workers being pushed out of jobs due to “an Indian IT mafia.” In one video, a voice over accompanies images of children riding bikes and playing volleyball. "It’s an amazing number of jobs have been taken away from Americans. The Indian crowd has ravished the Midwest. It’s crazy.”
Buzzfeed News

The Supreme Court will not hear Gavin Grimm’s case
Taking note of the Trump administration’s reversal of the federal government’s position on transgender rights, the Supreme Court yesterday said that it would not decide whether or not Gavin Grimm, a transgender teen from Virginia, could use the boys’ bathroom at his high school. It was a disappointing let-down for activists and the many major companies who were hoping for a better outcome, not to mention Grimm. The decision now returns to the lower courts, but experts expect the case will work its way back to SCOTUS eventually.
New York Times

SCOTUS: Jury deliberations are no longer secret if they were tainted by racial bias
It’s a sacred rule for a sacred act: what happens in the jury room stays in the jury room. But a Supreme Court ruling on Monday allows for an exception to that rule if those conversations included racially biased statements. It was a 5-to-3 decision. “Racial bias implicates unique historical, constitutional and institutional concerns,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority. The case in question comes from a 2010 sexual assault trial. “I think he did it because he’s Mexican, and Mexican men take whatever they want,” said one juror, inadvertently becoming a permanent example of how do jury duty wrong.
New York Times

New study: Breitbart created a distinct media ecosystem which affected the election
Yes, technology is to blame for fake news, but not in the way you might think, says The Columbia Journalism Review. They surveyed over 1.25 million stories between April 1 and Election Day and found a “right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world.” The study reviewed hyperlinking patterns and social media sharing and found that the that as pro-Trump audiences gravitated to highly polarized sources, they were more at risk for encountering “fake news” and disinformation, and were shielded from any journalism that challenged their world view. Not only were other media were influenced in how they covered the election, it explains a new tolerance for the falsehoods being shared by public officials.

Morehouse College Prez: Trump meeting a disappointment
Put another way by The Root: we all got played. John Silvanus Wilson Jr. published a statement after the two days of meetings, including a high-profile one with the president, attended by almost all of the 104 HBCU presidents. “[T]here were many signals from key Trump administration officials that they would surprise HBCUs with favorable treatment,” he wrote, an extraordinary promise given how much the Obama administration had invested in them. Advance chatter included a laundry list of items, including federal agency funding and a special HBCU innovation fund, none of which emerged. Despite his obvious disappointment, he graciously waved off the the DeVos gaffe. “From listening to her carefully for the last two days, I get the strong sense that she wants to get this job right.  She should still have that chance,” he wrote.
Morehouse College

The Woke Leader

Town hall meetings used to be pretty rough, actually
If the salty rhetoric and fist-waving that's now happening at previously sedate Congressional meet-n-greets are getting you down, then perhaps a history lesson would help. In the summer of 1816, American citizens turned on Congress in a fairly dramatic way. At issue was the passage of the Compensation Act, a bipartisan effort which increased Congressional salaries from a $6 per diem to a flat salary of $1,500, about $25,000 in today’s Tubmans. Voters were not having it. Angry citizens flocked to town hall meetings across the country, holding mock court proceedings and shouting angry epithets. “[T]here has never been an instant before of so much unanimous an opinion of the people, and that through every State in the Union,” said former president Thomas Jefferson, who was shocked, shocked by the summer of madness. He went on to predict bloodbath at the polls. Some 70% of elected officials were eventually voted out of office.

Blessed are the cruise directors, for they shall know happiness
What makes for a happy life? Seeking the next thing. Neuroscientist Jaak Panskepp argues that of seven core instincts nestled in the human brain (anger, fear, panic-grief, maternal care, pleasure/lust, play, and seeking), seeking is the most important, and all mammals are similarly wired. The reward is dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to reward and pleasure, but is also linked to planning activities. This may be the reason why we spend so much of our lives at work, living for the rush of the perfectly executed executive retreat, or the best of all possible product launches.

The way we talk about the times when we all bore witness
Shani Gilchrist is a beautiful writer, and she brings an easiness to even the most emotional topics. In this essay, she talks about the often odd ways people recall stories of shared, race-based trauma – shared memories of Klan abuse that become an odd mix of nostalgia, wonder, bonding humor. “But laughter and camaraderie like the kind my friend Mary relayed to us can make even stories in which the KKK played a part seem more bearable when there is no option to forget,” she writes. Our stories are complicated, the way we share them with our kin, even more so.


Whatever your fight, don't be ladylike.
—Mother Jones