Brigitte Macron’s Responsibilities, ‘Spouse School,’ and Taboo Talk in Hong Kong

August 22, 2017, 6:40 AM UTC

Politico‘s Annie Karni has a thoroughly entertaining story on how Newt Gingrich, an outspoken Washington fixture and one-time presidential candidate, is learning to take on the new role of—essentially—silent spouse. Gingrich will accompany his wife Callista to Rome as she becomes ambassador to the Holy See, and—in a dramatic role reversal—the former speaker of the house will “have no official diplomatic role abroad, beyond being generally presentable and essentially not heard from,” Karni writes.

To prepare for his new responsibilities, Gingrich enrolled in what he refers to as “spouse school,” a State Department-run crash course for foreign affairs family members that covers topics like maintaining the official residence and entertaining as well as “legal issues and ethics” and “stress management.”

One of Gingrich’s main takeaways? “You always have two fridges,” he told Karni, “one for personal food, one for entertaining, so you’re not eating out of the taxpayer refrigerator. I didn’t know that.”

Gingrich comes off as gung-ho about what will be expected of him.

“I’ll be the person at the front door saying, ‘Hi, I’m Newt Gingrich. The ambassador will be down shortly.’ It’s a great new role. Callista supported me in ’12 when I ran for president; I get to support her now. And I get to join the spouse organization,” he said.

Politics aside—Callista Gingrich’s appointment has been criticized a kickback for her husband’s early support of Trump—considering all our talk about challenging gender stereotypes, it is refreshing to see the former house speaker publicly embrace a role often associated with women—and study for it, no less.



Learning to delegateFrench President Emmanuel Macron's administration yesterday announced the responsibilities it will delegate to Brigitte Macron as it tries to boost the role of first lady: health, culture, education, child protection, and gender equality. She'll also hire an official staff. But some French citizens don't think they should pay for the staff of an unelected official, and the blowback is squeezing the new president's already sinking popularity. Financial Times


Strike against her?
English soccer player Eniola Aluko spoke publicly for the first time about accusing her former coach Mark Sampson of discrimination and making a racist remark about Ebola. Aluko was cut from the team days after making the allegations, timing that the club says was coincidental. She worries her experience will keep others from coming forward. "That's dangerous, if players feel like they cannot speak out about certain things."

Wrestling with acceptance
Female wrestlers in the U.S. have long featured on the professional circuit, but their amateur counterparts in Britain, Reuters reports, have faced more pushback. "We had numerous venues canceling us when they realized that the professional wrestling was featuring woman, because they thought that was the equivalent of porn," said an organizer of EVE, a monthly all-female wrestling show in London. 



For the record
Shortly after pop star Taylor Swift won her sexual assault case against a radio DJ, her social media accounts went dark. They resurfaced yesterday with vague Instagram and Twitter posts that are fueling fan speculation that the singer is prepping for a surprise album drop.

Getting the ok
Chile’s Constitutional Court approved a bill legalizing abortion in some cases in one of the final steps to overturning a decades-long law that banned the procedure completely. The bill is now ready to be signed into law by President Michelle Bachelet, who's spent years pushing for an easing of the prohibition. 

A monumental task
There are more than 700 Confederate monuments and statues on public property in the U.S., and the United Daughters of the Confederacy was a key organizer and fundraiser behind the majority of them. So how is the group reacting to renewed efforts to remove such tributes to the Confederacy? “They’re reeling, the daughters are,” Susan McCrobie, a current historian and past president of the United Daughters’ Kentucky Division, told the Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal


Taboo talk
There is a growing movement among women in Hong Kong to tackle the taboo topic of menstruation. Workshops where women—sometimes dressed in disguise—can discuss things like tampons and menstrual cups are gaining popularity. The groups also confront the unique challenges periods pose to women in the city, who log some of the longest work weeks on earth. 

Paper trail
The latest potential victim of Australia's on-going dual citizenship saga is Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis. She'd been under fire to confirm her eligibility to serve in parliament—dual citizens are banned—since her mother was a British immigrant. That pressure has intensified now that an incoming passenger card that she filled out as a 10-year-old in 1966 has surfaced and lists her nationality as British.


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This woman claims she was fired for leaking during her period
The Cut

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"I reject the argument that I wasn't the right person to bring suit. I was one of the only people who had the resources and the position to do so. I believed I had an obligation to speak out about what I'd seen.”
—Ellen Pao in her new book 'Reset'.

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