The Week in Women

Abortion restrictions, paid leave for miscarriages, and the intersection of feminism and tacos

Scenes from another life: Nairobi, Kenya, October 2016

Hello, readers, and welcome to The Week in Women, a roundup of women’s rights news from around the world, followed by links to a few good features, longform pieces, podcasts, and radio stories in the universe of gender equality, international human rights, politics, and whatever else is interesting on the internet.

Enjoy, subscribe (or upgrade your subscription!), and share.


What to Know

Your Name’s a Lie: American “pro-life” groups are telling women in developing nations that abortions are reversible. They aren’t, and “abortion reversal” procedures put women’s lives at risk.

Feminist Firsts: In what is hands-down the best piece of novel legislation I’ve read about all year, New Zealand is offering leave to people who miscarry. Important correction: In my initial post, I wrote (echoing the claims of many Western news outlets) that NZ is the first country to do this. That is entirely untrue! The Philippines and India both offer paid miscarriage leave, and have paved the way for other nations.

Always My FLOTUS: Michelle Obama’s lessons for kids.

Cancel Culture: We’re only a few weeks into 2021 and this is already stacking up to be a banner year for restrictions on abortion rights in the U.S. — largely from the same people who claim they’re fighting for “freedom.” More than 500 abortion restrictions have been proposed in 44 states this year so far, and we’re only three months in.

Feminist Foreign Policy: If Biden and Harris want to lead on women’s rights, they can help end the conflict in Syria.

Jerked Around: Afghanistan is on the verge of a peace deal — but it could imperil women’s rights.

Misogynist-in-Chief: Turkey pulled out of a convention against violence against women, and Turkish women are livid.

Better Late Than Never: Could the U.S. join the 21st century and pass the Equal Rights Amendment?

Collateral Damage: How U.S. sanctions on Iran hurt women.

Impure: Purity culture is a sexist lie, and the rules don’t apply equally.

Gender Outlaw: Should misogyny be a hate crime?

Reproductive Wrongs: When the Czech Republic was under Communist rule, thousands of women were sterilized without their consent. Now, they’re seeking redress.

Say It Louder: Indian journalist Priya Ramani said #MeToo, and was sued for defamation. She won, in a crucial case that gives women broader abilities to speak out about men who harass and abuse us.

Heroine: Meet the teenager helping Polish women flee abuse.

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Proud Mary: The final word on Tina Turner.

Bird Broads: An army of women in India are trying to save a rare stork.

Feminist Frauds: What’s behind the movement to exclude trans girls from sports?

Setback: The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear an abortion rights case out of Kentucky which could effectively outlaw abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy.

Slap on the Wrist (and in the face): In Australia, two political leaders accused of rape and misogyny have been demoted — but not axed.

Rest in Power: Jessica Walter, you were a damn funny woman.

Sex Lies and #MeToo: Why did a poor woman from a village in China get a harsh prison sentence for a case of sex and corruption, while the men who paid her got off with far fewer consequences?

Witches of Oz: Australian women are agitating for their right to safety and bodily integrity. Here’s a history of how Aussie women have fought for themselves and won.


What to Read

A Debt of Honor: The U.S. must fulfill its responsibilities to the Afghans who put their trust and lives in American hands. [The Atlantic — and seriously if you read only one thing from this newsletter today, make it this]

How Do Plague Stories End? In the literature of contagion, when society is finally free of disease, it’s up to humanity to decide how to begin again. [The New Yorker]


Take a Break

and go see the pioneering feminism of Niki de Saint Phalle at MoMA.

or watch the new doc Truly Texas Mexican, a look at the food, culture, feminism, resistance and history of Texas Mexican cooking.

…or read the latest novel from Isabel Allende, a woman who says she’s been a feminist since kindergarten.

or take a virtual tour of Gloria Steinem’s apartment.

…or come on a writing + yoga retreat with me in Tuscany! Covid-willing, the retreat is from Sept. 11-17th on a woman-owned organic farm in the Maremma region. One of my own yoga teachers, Emily Shapiro, will teach daily Vinyasa flow classes; I’ll teach daily writing classes and a yoga workshop or two. There will be lots of food and wine, meals under the Tuscan sun, a mozzarella tasting, more pasta than you can possibly eat, extremely cute farm dogs and cats, and a beach you can bike too. Covid vaccination is required, and Covid best practices will be in effect on the farm. And because so much is still in flux, we’re offering a flexible refund policy, and will cancel the retreat (and refund you fully) if travel bans go back into effect. There is one room left. Just hit reply to this email to request more information. If Tuscany doesn’t work for you, there are additional retreats coming in Spring 2022.


And that’s it! Please feel free to share this newsletter, and feel even freer to subscribe.

xx Jill