‘Les Glorieuses’ fight for pay equity

The fight for pay equality isn’t just an issue unique to the United States — it affects women around the world. But women in France are not going to take it anymore.

According to Women in the World, French women’s rights activists encouraged women to leave work at exactly 4:34 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 7, all in an effort to shed light on pay equity in the workplace.

Marking the time that women stop being paid at their jobs according to the pay gap in France, Women in the World says the exact time was calculated by feminist group, Les Glorieuses. “In other words,” Women in the World reports, “women must work 38.2 more days per year than men to earn the same salary.”

A protest followed their exodus from work, with many of the photos being posted to social media with the hashtag, “#16H34,” says Women in the World.

Referring to the time women could stop working if they were paid a similar wage to men, Women in the World says the feminist group’s newsletter explained, “If women were paid as much as men, they could stop working on November 7 at 16.34” — a problem they argue “hides other inequalities. Women also do unpaid work, like household tasks.”

While the protests did disrupt the workday, it did draw support from France’s women’s rights minister Laurence Rossignol, according to Women in the World.

“When women protest, they make visible what is invisible,” Rossignol told Le Parisien, Women in the World reports. “I support them.”


Icelandic women fight for pay equity

Gendered pay discrepancies are rampant all over the world; according to Business InsiderNew Zealand has the most “equal” pay gap, with women earning about 5 percent less than men, while women in the United States earn about 18 percent less than men and women in South Korea earn a whole 37 percent less than men as of a 2015 report.

While the effects of the wage gap are felt around the world, women in Iceland decided recently that it was time to take action in their home country.

According to Women in the Worldwomen decided to leave their workplace on Monday, Oct. 24 exactly at 2:38 p.m. — a time beyond which unions and women’s organizations have calculated women essentially work for free due to the country’s 14 to 18 percent pay gap. Thus, female workers decided they would only work for the hours they’d be getting paid and left once their work didn’t merit any further pay.

While Women in the World explains that the country has been otherwise rather progressive, electing the world’s first female president in 1980 and passing “landmark” parental leave legislation in 2000, closing the pay gap seems to be the one thing still plaguing the female workers of Iceland.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a gender pay gap or any other pay gap,” said Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, president of the Icelandic Confederation of Labor, reports Women in the World. “It’s just unacceptable to say we’ll correct this in 50 years. That’s a lifetime.”


Leibovitz and Steinem collaborate for ‘portraits’

In 1999, renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz worked on a book collaboration with her partner of 15 years, Susan Sontag, called Women. Left incomplete, Leibovitz has since resurrected the project, according to Women in the World, and she’s getting some help from one of the most well-known feminist figures of our time.

Women in the World reports that the reboot of the project — Women: New Portraits — kicked off with a portrait of 82-year-old political activist Gloria Steinem. But beyond the creation of a new book, Women in the World reports that Leibovitz and Steinem have embarked on a “10-city international tour,  exposing the work through the use of pop-up sites, where the audience joins the two women in talking circles led by Steinem.”

Each city showcases new portraits, bringing the book to life with every stop on the tour while addressing a range of topics from “sexual violence perpetrated against women in Mexico City to life in the tech world of San Francisco.”

Women in the World says the project also attempts to advance the idea of “capturing women’s character rather than their physical beauty” that Sontag (who died in 2004) wrote about in the earlier edition of the book.

The tour stops in New York City on Nov. 18, setting up shop in a former women’s prison that Women in the Worlreports was damaged and closed after Hurricane Sandy. But once the exhibition closed on Dec. 11, “the structure will be transformed into the Women’s Building — a future hub for women’s groups and service, slated to open in 2020,” Women in the World reports.

For more information about the project, click here.

Malik fights for Olympic medal

Winning an Olympic medal is surely something to be proud of. But when you’re the first female from your country to medal in your sport, you have every reason to feel like you’re on top of the world.

According to Women in the Worldwrestler Sakshi Malik took home India’s first Olympic medal of the Rio games on Thursday, Aug. 18 after she won bronze in the 58kg women’s wrestling match. Her achievements don’t stop there, however: the win makes her “the first female Indian wrestler, and the fourth Indian woman, to win an Olympic medal,” reports Women in the World.

But the road to her Olympic victory has been far from easy. Women in the World says that Malik her two teammates come from Haryana, “the conservative north Indian state notorious for honor killing and sex-selective abortions — the region has the lowest birth ratio of girls to boys in all of India.”

Beginning her training at the age of 12, Malik said villagers used to shame her for practicing the sport, wrestling with boys and wearing shorts, reports Women in the World — all things that challenge the status quo of an area that didn’t allow girls to train with boys until 2002 and expects women to be fully covered in their dress.

“It hurt a little and I wondered why people said such mean things, especially when I was so young,” Malik said, according to Women in the World.

But now that the athlete has garnered worldwide attention and acclaim, Women in the World says Malik noticed that people have changed the way they treat her. “It’s so weird to see how people can change so suddenly,” she said, “how they take interest in me now that I’m rising to the top, yet didn’t support me when I was starting out.”

The one constant in her life: her family’s support. Without their encouragement, Women in the World reports that Malik knows her life would have taken a more typical path, leaving her married and with children instead of with an Olympic medal.

“My life is very special compared to my friends,” she said.

As for her Olympic win, that, too, did not come easily. Women in the World says Malik battled back from a 0-5 score while squaring off against Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova, only to win by a score of 8-5.

It looks like Malik’s life has a recurring theme: she continues to do the very thing that seems impossible.

Madam President

Girls can be successful athletes, talented filmmakers, skilled computer techs or even the president and vice president of the United States. That’s the message behind Barbie’s latest creation.

According to Women in the World, Mattel announced this week that they will begin offering a vice presidential Barbie in addition to their already-available presidential doll. While the presidential Barbie has been available since 1992, the new VP model allows girls to at the very least imagine an all-female president/vice president duo — and maybe even aspire to such a feat.

General Manager and Senior Vice President of Barbie for Mattel Lisa McKnight said that the doll not only allows girls to envision a career in politics for themselves, it also offers a window into the potential of our current presidential race.

“The President and Vice President dolls continue our efforts to expose girls to inspiring careers that are underrepresented by women,” McKnight said, according to Women in the World. “We see this doll set as a timely and topical platform to further the conversation around female leadership.”

On sale for $25, the vice presidential doll comes in a variety of hair colors, skin tones and face shapes, according to Women in the World, and is dressed in a skirt suit or a blouse and blazer. Already equipped with accessories like glasses, heels and pearls, Women in the World says the doll comes with one more thing: “a worksheet designed to inspire girls to consider politics as a career.”

Good work, Mattel.


All represented in proposed change to Canadian national anthem

It’s time to change the antiquated, male-specific language that marks many countries’ traditions — that’s what lawmakers in Canada are trying to say with a recent proposal.

According to Women in the World, a vote was held on June 15 to change the lyrics of the country’s national anthem in an effort to make it gender equal.

“Since 1980, ‘O Canada‘ has been the country’s official national anthem,” reports Women in the World, “but the song was originally written in French a century earlier for the 1880 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony, then translated to English later.”

The potential change will affect the line that says, “in all thy sons command,” with the revision making the lyric, “in all of us command” to make it inclusive of all genders. The edit, which was proposed in January by Mauril Belanger of the Liberal Party, aligns with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s agenda to promote gender equality, says Women in the World.

An attempt to change the lyrics was ventured in 2010, says Women in the World, but it was dismissed. For the most recent legislation to pass, it will have to be given a green light via a vote from the Senate.


Obama organizes women’s summit

While the clock is running down on the Obamas’ time in the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama is taking advantage of the time she has left to incite change in the United States.

On June 6, Obama announced a special summit to be convened next week entitled, “The United State of Women,” according to Women in the World. Set to kick off on June 14 in Washington, D.C., Women in the World says that summit will cover six distinct topics, among which are “economic empowerment, violence against women, entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Although news of the summit is exciting, perhaps equally as exciting are the women featured in the video announcement of the summit. Women such as Oprah, Shonda Rhimes, Tina Fey, Kerry Washington, Tory Burch and Aidy Bryant take part in the announcement, arguing that it’s “our movement … turning struggle into strength.”

A statement announcing the event explained its motivation this way:

“There’s a lot that’s been done by and for women and girls, but there’s still plenty to do … The summit will rally all of us together to celebrate what we’ve achieved, and how we’re going to take action moving forward.”

The summit will be live-streamed online, according to Women in the World. For more information about the United State of Women, click here.

Karan designs new healthcare program

Although renowned fashion designer Donna Karan retired from the fashion industry in 2015, she is far from finished making an impact in the world.

According to Women in the World, Karan recently launched Urban Zen, a bohemian-inspired luxury collection for sale at Bergdorf Goodman. But in addition to the new line, the icon also launched Urban Zen Integrated Therapy, which aims to “bring alternative healing treatments into traditional medicine,” says Women in the World.

The idea for the therapy program came from her own personal experience in taking care of husband Stephen Weiss as he was dying from lung cancer. She noticed that, while the hospital staff was directly targeting the disease in their efforts, caring for Weiss himself seemed to fall by the wayside, reports Women in the World.

Partnering with UCLA Medical Center and Beth Israel hospital, the Urban Zen Integrated Therapy program will bring reiki, aromatherapy and yoga into the hospital setting in order to serve the patients beyond pure medical treatment.

But her efforts don’t stop there. Women in the World says that Karan has also been working with the Clinton Global Initiative to “help artisans in Haiti expand their own businesses in the wake of the 2010 earthquake there.”

Way to go, Donna Karan!

Young journalist curbs her competition

There is no rule that says a ‘professional’ has to be a person of a certain age. Just look at Hilde Kate Lysiak, and you’ll see that professional prowess comes in people of all ages.

According to Women in the World, a division of The New York Times, Lysiak is a 9-year-old multimedia journalist and the founder of the Orange Street NewsBut just because she is young doesn’t mean Lysiak doesn’t take her job seriously.

In fact, Women in the World says that she reported a local suspected murder case ahead of “more established competitors with her scoop and the headline, ‘Exclusive! Murder on Ninth Street.’ She posted a story and video from the crime scene, and promised readers that she was ‘working hard’ on the investigation.”

Acting on a tip she received from a “good source,” the young entrepreneur and her parents received some backlash on her publication’s Facebook page on Saturday, April 2, according to Women in the World, but her father — a former reporter for the New York Daily News — said, “she’s really motivated.”

So far, her Orange Street News has garnered 18,000 pageviews in the past month, according to Women in the World, and even has a “print edition that can be mailed to subscribers for $10 a year.”

While Lysiak is certainly a flourishing journalist, she told the Washington Post this week that she does it for the love of information.

“I just like letting people know all the information,” she said.

Spoken like a seasoned journalist.

Food For Thought

It is no secret that America has a hunger problem — according to Move for Hunger, a program that picks up unwanted, non-perishable food items from those who are moving and delivers them to food pantries, “one in six Americans live on incomes that put them at risk for hunger,” with over 14 million American children relying on food banks for assistance. This is the exact problem that Komal Ahmad seeks to remedy with something as tiny as a smartphone app.

According to Women in the World, an affiliate of The New York Times, Ahmad is the founder and CEO of Copia, an “online platform that connects businesses with leftover food to local organizations that can distribute that food to people in need.”

Described by Ahmad herself as the “Uber of food donation,”she explained the impetus behind her app, saying that while our society has become accustomed to ordering food from our phones, we can now do something “that’s good for your company, that’s good for your company’s brand, that is good for the community, that’s good for your body and mind, and that makes you feel good too” by donating food through the app.

For her efforts thus far, Ahmad was awarded a $50,000 grant to put towards growing her company at the Feb. 9 Women in the World Salon in Los Angeles, with Toyota official Dionne Colvin-Lovely naming her as one of the Toyota’s “Mothers of Invention.”

Ahmad detaileded her first encounter with real-life hunger while studying at the University of California Berkeley, where she was approached by a homeless man who asked her for money; after taking him out for lunch, she discovered he was an Iraq war veteran. According to Women in the WorldAhmed noticed that “across the street from where Ahmad and the man had eaten lunch, the university’s cafeteria was throwing out thousands of pounds of leftover food. Right then, the dual problems of hunger and food waste struck her.”

But Ahmad’s shock over the dichotomy didn’t render her immobile. Women in the World reports that Ahmad then launched Feeding Forward, “a local service that began with UC Berkeley’s cafeteria in 2011 and has since grown into the tech startup Copia, which has now distributed some 600,000 pounds of food to 720,000 people in need across the San Francisco Bay Area, according to the company.”

As her company expands, Ahmad says she hopes Copia can begin to accommodate a larger variety of needs, including medical supplies. But for now, her app is focusing on solving food problems for all parties involved.

“Everyone wins,” Ahmad said. “We win because we’re feeding hundreds of thousands of people – including veterans, especially, and children and women. And corporations get to reduce the amount of food that they’re wasting. They reduce disposal costs. They get to feed people directly in their community, which is awesome. And we also help our environment.”