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The Countries Where Women Won More Medals Than Men in Rio
K.K. Rebecca Lai and Jasmine C. Lee, The New York Times
Everyone’s talking about this year’s Olympic women. From Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky to Sarah Sjöström and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, women took the gold and broke records as never before. Lai and Lee say this success appears to be tied to the degree of opportunities for female athletes in their home countries. Their charts tracing total medals won by women and men in 29 countries since 1956 shows vast differences between countries as well as changes over time. In America, men won far more medals than women until the 1980s, after which the 1972 federal government decision giving women equal access to school sports bore fruit. By 2008, American women came home with more medals than men, and 2016 was no exception. For other countries, the shift came at different times. Of course, on top of home-country restrictions, women have been held back by the International Olympic Committee, which controls the number of events women may compete in. Yet the revolutionary women of Rio showed the world what women can do when there is gender equality. It seems safe to assume that 2020 will be another big year for female Olympians.


Why Women Are No Longer Catching Up To Men On Pay
Ben Casselman, FiveThirtyEight
The shrinking wage gap between men and women has slowed, studies show. In 2014, women earned 79 cents to a man’s dollar, only 2 more pennies than they had in 2004. Interestingly, Casselman points us to a correlating change: There was a rapid increase in pay for people who work long hours – and men make up 70 percent of people working 50 hours a week, according to the Russell Sage Foundation. With women still spending more time with children and on housework, working overtime is far more difficult for women than it is for men. Women’s pay is also held back by female scarcity in lucrative technical fields, even as high-school girls outperform boys in many math and science subjects and more women graduate college than men. And of course, women with children can struggle to keep their jobs at all, and those who do continue to work are very often paid less than their male counterparts. Women may be taking one step forward only to be pushed two steps back, but they aren’t giving way.


Giving Up Alcohol Opened My Eyes to the Infuriating Truth About Why Women Drink
Kristi Coulter,
Medium
Coulter narrates the life of a sober working 20-something woman today with personal (and salty) prose and unfortunate familiarity. Surrounded by everyday workplace sexism and gender discrimination, women drink — a lot. Wine has become an accessory much like a purse. And it has warped into a reward after a hard day or a disturbing comment. Rather than facing the reality of life as a woman, many drink those realities away, though this culture of drinking has served only to place rosé colored glasses over an ugly world. A bottle of wine or a night out with the girls helps women to soldier through sexism at the office and watch men on TV debating whether or not women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies. Yet even more painful, the drinking culture keeps women from embracing their sober selves. Sometimes, Coulter suggests, facing the hardships is worth knowing that you can.


How American Muslim Women Are Taking on Trump
Clare Foran, The Atlantic
As hostility toward Muslims grows in the U.S., American Muslim women have become visible targets of hate. But many of them are stepping forward to respond — and their actions may be the key to change. After Donald Trump accused Khizr Khan of silencing his wife, Ghazala, at the Democratic National Convention, American Muslim women responded on social media with the hashtag #CanYouHearUsNow. Wearing the hijab in public may have become a dangerous act, but it has also become an opportunity to use their visibility to educate the world around them. “As Americans and Muslim women, we need to make our presence known so that people will see we are part of the community, and we love this country,” says Sarwat Husain, the president of the San Antonio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We are not what people think — uneducated, oppressed, and incapable of serving society.” In fact the signs, Foran says, suggest this period of hardship may encourage more Muslim women to vote, take on leadership roles and run for political office.

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