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Criminalizing Catcalling, Arianna Huffington’s Email Trick, and Thailand’s Ex-PM Disappears

August 29, 2017, 5:58 AM UTC

At 34, Marlene Schiappa is France’s secretary for gender equality and the youngest member of President Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet.

She explained to NPR that one of her first orders of business is to make street harassment of women a crime, with violators being charged thousands of dollars on the spot. Schiappa experienced such abuse growing up in Paris.

“We took alternative routes, out of our way,” she recalls, “to avoid the bands of boys.”

Criminalizing catcalling is an approach that other jurisdictions—Nottinghamshire, England; Belgium; and Buenos Aires most recently—have implemented. “We felt it was necessary to bring awareness to a common occurrence that affects the daily life of thousands of women,” Congressman Pablo Ferreyra, who introduced the Buenos Aires bill, wrote after it’s passage.

Despite the seemingly growing trend, opponents of criminalization claim that such laws would punish—at random—a few individuals in the name of addressing a systemic problem and hamper free speech.

Nevertheless, France’s Schiappa is pushing for punitive measures for catcalling because she thinks it’ll send a message that such abuse is not the fault of women. Victims blaming themselves, she argues, is a prime example of “rape culture.”

—@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Go with the flowBP Southern Africa has appointed the first woman CEO in the history of South Africa's oil industry. Accountant Priscillah Mabelane will take over the role in September, six years after joining the company as chief financial officer. eNCA

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Under pressure
As U.K. MPs prepare to debate legislation that will put Brexit into effect, PM Theresa May is facing renewed pressure from her own party over Britain's departure from the EU after the opposition Labour party announced that it will push for the U.K. to remain in the bloc's single market. The move is expected to embolden pro-European members of May's party to push the prime minister toward a softer Brexit. 
Financial Times
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Soldiering on
Hundreds of army wives held a demonstration in Paris this past weekend to protest soldiers' living conditions and the lack of support for troops with post-traumatic stress disorder. "We feel completely helpless, we do not know how to cope with the condition, how to support our men," said one woman, whose husband has PTSD after serving in Afghanistan. "We want to show our discomfort, our anxiety and our anger." 
BBC

THE AMERICAS

Sending a message
Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of the wellness company Thrive Global, has a simple remedy for eliminating the dreaded piles of work that await employees returning from vacation. When workers go on holiday, all the emails they receive during that time are automatically deleted. "If the email is important, the sender can always send it again. If it’s not, then it’s not waiting for you when you get back, or, even worse, tempting you to read it while you’re away," she writes in HBR
Harvard Business Review
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For the record
Uber selected Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as its next chief executive. Khosrowshahi's record on gender equality was no doubt considered by Uber's board given the ride-hailing company's history with accusations of workplace sexual harassment. The gender diversity of Expedia's overall workforce is roughly on par with the rest of the country, but it's above average on women in leadership: 35% of its leadership team is female compared to a quarter for most Silicon Valley companies.
Fortune

ASIA-PACIFIC

Funny bone to pick
Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby was co-winner of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards prize, which is being shared by two performers for the first time in its 37-year history. Gadsby—just the fourth woman to win the honor—clinched the award with a show inspired by her anger over Australia's same-sex marriage debate.
Scotsman
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Disappearing act
The former prime minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, fled the country ahead of the verdict in her negligence trial last week, reportedly escaping to Dubai. Shinawatra faces up to 10 years in prison in a trial over a rice subsidy scheme that cost the country $8 billion. 
Fortune
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Making waves
In an effort to inspire other women, an all-female team from the Indian navy is embarking on a mission to sail around the globe. If they make it, they'll be the first female crew to do so.
BBC

IN BRIEF

'I hope you’re ready to get married': in search of Vietnam's kidnapped brides
Guardian

Civil rights icon Dolores Huerta offers advice to a new generation of activists
Smithsonian Magazine

How Judge Judy negotiates a salary of $47 million a year
Fortune

Women don’t promote their skills as much as men do on LinkedIn
The Cut

TV reporter covering Hurricane Harvey helps save a man's life
People

PARTING WORDS

"Even though headlines often focus on what's wrong, we still believe these positive trends will win out. We're optimists about your generation and the future.”
—Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a letter to his newborn daughter, August.