What the Middle Ages Show About Women Leaders
Katrin E. Sjursen, The Atlantic
Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign has been the catalyst for endless discussion about how we perceive women in leadership roles. Sjursen’s piece offers an historical context to the subject by drawing parallels  between public discourse on 14th-century female leaders, and that surrounding women today. We were surprised to learn that written works from the Middle Ages were actually less susceptible to gender stereotyping than today’s often-strident debate and press headlines.

Theft and Artistry: Coldplay, Beyoncé in India Spark Discussion on Appropriation
Eyder Peralta, NPR
The line between homage and appropriation is thin, and attempts at the former often wind up becoming manifestations of the latter. Recently, the band Coldplay and singer Beyonce released a song together (“Hymn for the Weekend”), and critics feel the artists played into stereotypes that negatively affect Indians in the accompanying music video. Peralta talks with experts on the subject and highlights other troubling examples of this phenomenon in American pop culture, making this one of the more in-depth discussions of the matter we’ve read (or heard) recently.

A Look Inside Maternity Bags Around the World
WaterAid Medium Page
WaterAid, an international nonprofit that works to improve access to safe water, released a moving photo series examining hospital bags packed by expecting mothers across the globe. The disparities between the bags are striking – while some included nursing bras and snacks, others had to pack plastic sheets to protect themselves and their newborn children from unsanitary hospital beds. These simple photos serve as a timely reminder for those of us in more developed parts of the world to appreciate all we have.

Laws to Protect Women Often Do Just the Opposite
Mark Joseph Stern, Slate
This article explores America’s troubled history of passing legislation that is said to be in the best interest of women, but often proves to be anything but. A recent amicus brief penned by a group of historians notes that, as Stern put it, “when men pass laws purporting to protect women by limiting their liberty, the courts have a duty to scrutinize their true purpose and effect.” The team was inspired to write the brief after the passing of laws in Texas that place harsh restrictions on abortion clinics throughout the state.

What are some of your favorite reads? Drop us a line and tell us about them at [email protected].